Looking Towards The Long Weekend

I have one more night to go until my weekend. The weekend is just my regular three day weekend, but it’s a long weekend for many of our friends. With that being said, it looks like there will be some more beautiful weather in store for Friday to start us off!

My wife has arranged for a couple of our friends to join us in floating around the pool. That is pretty much the extent of the plan. Float in the pool and relax with a drink in hand. It’s hard to want to leave this house and do stuff elsewhere since it’s our little slice of paradise. I’m always game for lounging at home doing nothing but relaxing.

If you have plans for the up coming Long Weekend, make sure you stay safe. Hydration, sun screen, and be smart about drinking alcohol. Have an eye on the roads for groups of children as they tend to get together and let loose as well- sometimes not paying attention to traffic.

Sunshine And Lifestyle

I’m not sure I can trust the weather app or the meteorologists anymore. This weekend was supposed to rain everyday with almost 50-90% each hour. I was ready to get upset. But they were wrong.

The last two days I have absolutely taken advantage of the sunshine. The pool is sparkling clean and the fields are lush behind us. I have floated around for hours on end listening to music and just appreciating the world. As they say- Living my best life.

But because of the uncertainty of the weather, we haven’t invited anyone over to share our slice of paradise with. I really want my friends to come and hang out. Having the space and wanting to share our happiness is one of the best things we could do. When you have more than you need- build a longer table, not a higher fence.

Continuing Cosplay

Years ago we introduced our children to the world of cosplay. They loved the idea of being able to be a character from a show or video game. My wife enjoyed making their costumes. I enjoyed acting out the characters with the family. We all really enjoyed showing off at Comic Cons.

Pokémon Trainers and a wild Pikachu!

For me, that felt like a lifetime ago. We haven’t dressed up for conventions in years. Halloween was a wash for me last year, as I didn’t dress up. I did my Obi-Wan for May 4th, so I was happy there. The love of dressing up in cosplay is still rampant with our 18 year old. That also makes me happy- even if I don’t know the characters they are doing.

Out of the blue, our middle went to our next door neighbor yesterday and asked if they would come over to help with some cosplay photos. After living in our home for almost one year, this was the first interaction the two of them had. It was a positive one. Our neighbor, who is 16, has been interested in doing cosplay but was unsure where to start.

Good thing we moved in next door! Now our middle will have someone to teach the joy of cosplay to. I am really happy that my wife and I encouraged this activity years prior. It has helped with our kids expressing themselves through fandoms. Now that expression is being shared from our teens to others.

That’s pretty cool.

Slow Love

I first met my wife a little over 22 years ago. On our first date, we set our wedding day based on numbers with both like. Within a couple of weeks, I told her I was falling in love. within months we were engaged. Thirteen months after meeting, we were married.

Life and love was a whirlwind adventure. We made moves together that benefited us long term. Kids were quickly in our lives. We tried to budget, but bought a house and a new car. My wife was a stay at home mother. She did a few part time jobs. I was still gaining ground on where my career would take me. Money was tight for years… Until last year. Somehow we took out a million dollar mortgage and our money woes are behind us (hopefully permanently). Don’t ask me how, but our mortgage payments are easier to handle compared to the credit card debts we once held.

Taking love slow. Snailed it!

Nowadays my wife and I are re-kindling our love. It’s a slow go, but we are finally able to focus on ourselves. Our kids are starting to grow up and explore independence. The two of us are going on much needed vacations together without the teens also.

What I like most about the changes- we are still in love, and slowing falling more in love each day. As each day, week, month and year passes- I am glad to have found a partner who makes me happy every time I see her. Somehow the slow down of our life together has been a glorious change. The rest of our lives are busy still, but there is an end in sight for that aspect.

Soon it’ll just be the two of us taking it easy and falling in love all over again

What’s On Your Bucket List?

Normally I talk about myself in my blog. Sometimes at the end I ask if anyone wants to share in the comments, and I’ll get a few responses. But today I wanted to try something a bit different.

Today, I want to know more about all of you. I want to know one of the following two things. You can answer both if you wish.

  • Have you completed something important on your bucket list- and how did you do it?
  • What is on your bucket list and how do you plan on accomplishing it?

That’s it. Pretty simple questions. What I would like to find out is where people are getting their ambition to achieve their goals.

I am hoping that the answers will help other people in getting to their goals. Because we are all in this together and we need to cheer one another on! Please, do not be afraid to share your responses. I’d love to hear the answers.

Needed To Kayak

Last year, my wife and I neglected going kayaking. We had to move, get into a new home, learn about the neighborhood, and most of all- enjoy the swimming pool. We didn’t make time to go out and enjoy nature. No kayaking or camping.

This afternoon, I said screw it. My wife has been missing kayaking. As I was getting the gear on the top of my suv, it began to rain. Too bad. I was set on going out and if I put it on the back burner again, we may not go anytime soon.

The rain wasn’t so bad in the end. It kept the air cool. However, the path down to the water was muddy and slick. But even that didn’t stop us from getting on the water.

It was a good couple of hours of paddling and talking. We saw ducks and a crane. The sounds of the birds and the rain on the water was soothing and calm. It makes me want to go out more often this summer.

Towel Day and 45 Years of Star Wars

What a day to be a sci-fi nerd. I was so excited about this day I began writing this blog a year prior. But then I hit a writer’s block and that was the only sentence I wrote all year. Or I just procrastinated. Either way, I fished writing it today.

As many folks know by now, I love Star Wars. It has been around for 45 years as of today. I could go on and on about this science fiction fantasy universe, but I won’t do that today. I already celebrated May 4th.

More importantly- Today is Towel Day! This one is really significant to me. Our oldest received their name from book five of the trilogy. In my opinion- Random is one of the greatest names in this day and age. Random can choose a new name at random and no one would question it. Random can do random things and again, kind of difficult to question. But most of all, Random has suited their name since my wife first agreed to the name a little over 20 years ago.

21 years ago, Douglas Adams passed away at age 49. He was the author of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Or H2G2. A comedic series of books about the absurdity of the universe. I had recently re-read the novels when he passed. A short time later, the universe clobbered me with a 2×4 and was about to make me a father for the first time. Naturally, I wanted the universe to know that I was game and ready to play along. Random would become the greatest gift and biggest hurdle for my life. Which has brought me to this bit of wisdom:

As significant as today is, and how nerdy it is, one must always be prepared for adventure- so remember to bring a towel. It may just save your life!

Or perhaps just use a clean towel to dry off. That’s important too.

Enjoy It

This weekend has been the one we have been waiting for. The sun is shining, the grass is green, and the pool is ready.

Over the past couple of days, we have enjoyed the swimming pool. Today is going to be no exception. We are planning on hanging out with our downstairs tenants and sipping on some beverages. Taking advantage of the weather whenever we can is the goal.

Being neighborly is important as well. We enjoy having company over and plan on visitors coming by throughout the summer. Getting along with those around us is paramount. We are past the stage of loud parties, but I still enjoy my music playing.

Reach out and we will have you over this summer on a Friday or Saturday. Just remember to bring the sunscreen and a snack to share!

Excited For Disneyland

Even though we don’t head to Disneyland for a few more months, I’m getting very excited for it. It seems as though everything is pointing to a wonderful vacation.

Yesterday I was driving home from dropping the kids off at school- the sun was starting to come out. As it did, my watch reflected onto my visor; creating an all too familiar image. The iconic Mickey Mouse ears.

Naturally it made me feel jovial and happy. The previous trips were a blast. Each one was slightly different- creating new memories and unique experiences for all of us. Our future trip is looking almost like a whole new experience as well.

We will get to travel to the Star Wars inspired portion of the park: Galaxy’s Edge– finally after three years of anticipation and excitement. Plus there’s a whole new Marvel inspired land that will be a fun experience for all of us.

But there’s also the normal fun we love to have every trip. Turkey legs, Dole Whip, parades,shopping, rides, meeting characters… the list goes on and on. It’s just such a magical experience each and every time. This next time around, we are bringing a person who has never been to Disneyland. So we will get to see the joy and wonderment through their eyes as we hit up all the fun spots and secrets we have learned over the years.

Do you ever get signs of things to come? Does it make you excited? Let me know in the comments.

First Dip In The Pool

The sun peaked out this afternoon long enough for us to enjoy it. It was sent hot, but in the sun it was warm! A couple of weeks ago we had taken the cover Off OurPool in hopes to jumpstart the summer. No such luck.

Yesterday, the weather report was not looking promising for the near future. But I was hopeful. So today, when my wife finished work, we jumped into the pool. We both agreed that we were going in- rain or shine.

Lee-Anne went in first. The sun was out and the atmosphere was pleasantly warm. I had turned on the heater for the pool yesterday- and it was a comfortable 24°C already.

We had kind of forgotten to let the kids know that we were going into the pool. So when our middle came home from school- they ended up hanging out in the yard while my wife and I swam. I felt like Darwin was the adult in the situation- making sure that two doofuses didn’t drink too much and get hurt.

I’m definitely looking forward to enjoyment of the pool throughout the summer. I’m already feeling the energy burn from splashing around. Swimming has always been a good workout that leads to a great sleep. Hopefully we can have friends over soon to enjoy the fun and relaxation poolside. It would be nice if the entire weather forecast could change for the better!

I’m Blue Da Ba Dee…

This afternoon I decided that I wanted to do a painting. It had been a couple of years since I last did a special one for myself. I was feeling energized and didn’t want my ambition to wane. So I jumped right in.

Shelley by Josef 2020

A little over two years ago, I did a small version of a painting inspired by an artist named Shelley. The original painting was huge. I believe it was four feet by four feet in size. The one I made that mimicked the original was on one foot by one foot. Today, I decided to double the size. I also chose to change the color palette.

Blue Shelley by Josef 2022

I love this new color concept that I did. It made me think that perhaps I could do one or two other ones that could be similar. Perhaps a green one. Or a red/pink one. “Blue Shelley” is double the size of the one I did two years ago. But still half the size of the original piece that inspired me.

I know it’s not an exact replica in the shapes. But that’s what makes it unique. It’s not a printed image, but rather an inspired one that was inspired by another that was created by my memory.

I think I’d like to do more paintings again. I enjoyed listening to music and doing today’s piece. It was relaxing and pleasant.

Do you paint any art pieces? Let me know in the comments. Or perhaps share with me a picture or link to your art.

My First iPod

Since hearing about Apple retiring the iPod, I thought I could share about my first one. I first got an iPod in 2006. I bought it for myself on my 30th birthday. It was the latest version (5th Generation) and the first video model as well. 30GB in black.

I still have the iPod. I also still have the original box. On the day I got it, I uploaded every song in my library onto it. A far cry from 7500 songs that I could’ve put on it. But I also added a ton of digital photos onto it as well. Condensed video was not as easy back then to create. So my videos were minimal. Streaming was not an option either as you still had to connect to a computer where all your music and photos were saved.

That day, my wife gave me the gift of taking our kids away for the night so I could just enjoy my new toy. The kids were 2 and almost 4. Our son was to be born a couple months later. So I was left at home alone. So I did what any 30 year old man with 24 hours of freedom and a new piece of technology would do.

Mushrooms.

I will say, my first experience with the iPod was memorable. I listened to tons of different music, played with the settings, scrolled quickly with the click wheel and just enjoyed laying in bed listening to anything I wanted. However, by the time I was ready to sleep, I was lonely.

The photos I had put on my iPod were of my wife and kids from the previous couple of years. I missed them tremendously even though it was just one night. Our daughters were so loving and happy to always be around me. To this day, I still miss those moments of kindness and innocence they would showcase towards me with their personalities.

My heart was filled with joy the next day when they returned home. The love from the girls was the best gift that birthday. The iPod was a close second. Sixteen years later and I still get choked up thinking about my thoughts of missing them. Psychedelics are interesting to say the least.

Did you have a memory from your first iPod?

Hyped For Disneyland

Yesterday I booked the dates for using our Disneyland tickets that were purchased back in February 2020. I was only able to book them 120 days in advance. So when the dates opened, I jumped on them.

At this point the availability was good, but I didn’t want to chance it since we are doing a whirlwind trip. We are driving down, splitting it into a two day drive. Followed by four days in the park and a two day drive home. No resting or relaxation day in there.

From our first trip to Disneyland

Once I booked the tickets, our son began to really get invested in the trip. Discussing favorite lands/rides/food from previous trips. He also began to get new plans made for a possible itinerary for us. Plus he was sharing so trivia facts about the parks.

His excitement is contagious. It’s getting us all into the spirit of the road trip. I’m glad that our previous trips there were so joyous and memorable. I have a feeling this will be another memorable experience. Plenty of new things to see and do since our last visit in 2018.

Are you planning any vacations once more? Isn’t it nice to have a sense of freedom returning?

Leaving Langley Blades

Our family has been a big part of Langley Blades Speed Skating since 2010. My wife has done a lot of volunteering, I have done my part whenever possible. Our two oldest became assistant coaches over the last few years as well.

However, as the next season in September approaches, many changes are coming. Our two oldest won’t be coaching since post secondary has taken priority in their lives. As well, our son will be leaving to go to another club. At the next club- he will have an opportunity to expand his abilities. He has already begun Spring Training and is enjoying the challenge.

As a thank you to my family, the Langley Blades presented us with a plaque and an award for our dedication to Speed Skating. My wife received it on Friday night at the AGM. Lee-Anne described the evening meeting as a bittersweet event. It was kind of the club to recognize the hard work and volunteering our family did over the last 12 years.

We will continue to see the skaters and parents at various meets and competitions. Perhaps we will be called upon to assist with their meets. Who knows, our two oldest may be able to find the time to coach as required. It’s tough to move on from a sports club sometimes. The growth for our son will only come if he learns from other coaches. And the growth of our previous club will come as they bring on new skaters.

Thank you Langley Blades for the years of training and fun. And a big thank you for the acknowledgment of our dedication to the club.

If you are local and want to keep your children active – try Speed Skating at Langley Blades.

Vegas Weekend

For the first time in a couple of decades, I am heading out for a “Boys Weekend” today. A coworker asked me about a month ago if I wanted to go to Vegas for his bachelor party. Initially I was leery because of a few reasons.

First, I don’t gamble. I have been to the casino twice in my life. Once was $20 and I lost it in the first five minutes. The second time was $5 and I won $50 in the first five minutes. I am also really bad at card games. I have gone to friends places for poker and always leave empty handed.

Secondly, I thought that I wouldn’t know anyone else. Turns out there will be a couple of other coworkers going. So at least I’ll have some people to hang out with.

Thirdly, I’m the oldest of the group. The next oldest is 11 years younger than me and the youngest is 20 years difference.

But I’m excited to have some time to just enjoy myself with a bunch of guys. There will be a lot of drinking. And insults galore. It’ll be a ton of immaturity and silliness. I have been asked to not take pics of our stupidity and not to share on my blog. So I will be respectful of my friend’s wishes.

Time to enjoy some Viva Las Vegas before we head out.

Hidden Wonders

For Darwin’s Birthday, I took her to a magic show in New Westminster. I learned about it from a coworker who heard it from someone else. Which is kind of neat, because it’s a Magic Speakeasy called Hidden Wonders.

First off, entering the building was a unique “Curios” style store. We walked around and looked at some of the items on display. Later, during the show, we found out all of the items were personal belongings saved/hoarded, by the magician.

We were the second group to enter the store. When it was our turn to go to the back, they gave us a key and told us to open the door to get into the show. Only we weren’t told which lock would open the door. This was a bit frustrating, but entertaining afterwards. That’s because once seated in the small auditorium, you got to watch from a hidden camera, the difficulty everyone was having.

Once past the door, there was a display of magic items, trophies, pictures, etc related to the magician we were about to see. Once past that section, we were seated in an intimate auditorium of about 30 seats. I picked up VIP tickets, so we were at the front. Great seats with the opportunity to view the slight of hand up close.

An hour and a half went by with the magician, Shawn Farquhar, telling us stories of his past and sharing tricks. Darwin was asked to choose a trick and ended up choosing to play “A game that you couldn’t win.” That was entertaining as Darwin knew that there was no chance to win, yet Shawn would give the illusion of choice- numerous times. Darwin did end up winning a hug from one of Shawn’s assistants- that was a nice touch that Darwin needed.

At the end of the show, Shawn had a set list of what went on throughout the evening. “Darwin loses the game” was written on the paper. Now Darwin has it in writing that “They lost the game.” If you know, you know.

Once the show was over, we ended up looking around a bit more at the Curios portion of the theatre. We also spent some time talking with Shawn Farquhar a bit and he did a few more slight of hand tricks as we shared tales of Disneyland vacations. I will say, he is a great showman and keeps his stories relatable and connects with the audience on a personable level.

If you want an intimate venue with some humor and magic- I fully recommend the show. If you really want to be involved a bit more- spend a couple extra dollars and get VIP seating. This was a great experience and it is the perfect way to get out of the past couple of years of enduring a lack of human interactions.

A big thank you to Shawn Farquhar and his staff. As awkward as Darwin was at one point, Shawn was a professional and has dealt with crowds and people over the years. He was a gracious host and I highly recommend the show. Check it out at Hidden Wonders and be sure to use the promo code HW15 for a discount.

Darwin Is 18

Celebrating birthdays is something that the majority of us enjoy doing. Whether it’s our own or someone else’s- it’s nice to acknowledge a full rotation of the earth once more.

Darwin has quite the sense of humor. No “Happy Birthday” message again this year.

Today was our middle child’s 18th Birthday. Since it was just the two of us at home and it was a holiday, I allowed for some school friends to stop by. Our downstairs was loud with laughter and fun. I only showed up to do some dishes, bring in the pizza and cut the ice cream cake. A good way to stay out of sight, yet make them aware that there was a parent nearby.

Not that our children have had troublesome friends. For the most part, all of their friends have been really nice. Today, I did my best to hide away for the five or six hours of them laughing and playing games. It was the kind of birthday that Darwin wanted. Tomorrow, my wife and youngest return home from Quebec and we will have some family time to celebrate.

I still have a fun night planned for Darwin’s birthday. I’ll likely share the story tomorrow morning. But for now, it’ll be a Darwin/Daddy evening. I’m glad that I have the opportunity to still have some one on one time with Darwin. It’ll be tough as they enter adulthood and want to spend more time with friends.

Happy 18th Darwin!

Quebec Has My Wife And Son

My wife and son have arrived safely in Quebec. They have a couple of days to explore before the speed skating competition. So that’s what they did.

Throughout the day my wife sent me random photos. None were really the type that people share while on a vacation or trip. More just things that she found interesting or humorous- and sent them to send me.

I am a little unsure as to why she shared a picture of kale dumped on the side of the road. Or why she felt it necessary to send a picture of snow the height of a car. In fact, when she sent that to me, as I am here in Vancouver, it began to snow shortly after I received the text. We can all blame her for the snow arriving here! Sorry friends on behalf of my wife.

However, amongst the random pictures of things, she did send me a smiling selfie of the two of them. There was also the obligatory poutine meal picture. So I know they are happy and well fed on this trip. Hopefully she will share some other pictures of more interesting adventures and I can pass them on to everyone else.

Friday Fun

Today was a day of shopping and just having fun. My fun consisted of the following:

Finished shopping at Costco, so I sat in a prime spot and ate my hotdog. Numerous people wanted my spot, but I just sat there eating. Now don’t go thinking I’m a jerk. First of all- there is no seating at Costco, and who wants to drive home and eat a cold hotdog? Secondly, I built some karma points to offset this by helping and older lady lift some heavy items into her trunk. I was also being kind to drivers on the road and allowing merging from store driveways. So there’s that.

For the afternoon, it’s time for some European treats. My favorite drink combo: IRN-BRU and vodka will bring forth some memories and fun. The chocolate Flake bars will also necessitate a sugar high.

Time to enjoy the afternoon!

Disneyland 2020? Finally Going 2022.

We booked Disneyland tickets in February 2020 about a week before the world shut down. We had been planning to go for July 4th in order to see the military fly over and fireworks for that day. However, our trip has been in a state of hiatus ever since.

Memories of our 1st Disneyland trip

We are now on the verge of finalizing a trip to the most magical place on earth! The tickets we had bought were extended, but only until December 15th of this year. My original plan was to go at Christmas this year. Sadly that is unable to be accomplished. The other unfortunate part is our oldest will most likely not be joining us. This will be our the first Disneyland trip without them.

Of course I am discouraged by all of this. However, I know that the remaining four of us can still have a good time together no matter when we book our trip. As travel to other countries has been returning, I find it encouraging for our future vacation plans. I know that Disneyland won’t be the same as it was in years prior. But the familiarity is something we can look forward to.

Have you begun traveling again? Has it felt different or just another step to be taken in order to experience the world? let me know your thoughts on travel in the comments.

Solo Movie Viewing

It’s been years since I went to the movies by myself. Back in the 90’s I used to go to the mall on a Friday and head to a matinee to see the opening weekend of a blockbuster. In the early 2000’s I worked at the multiplex cinema and would watch films regularly by myself. Many times from up in the booth staring through the small window.

Today I needed to revisit this feeling. I attended the IMAX at the theater I once worked at. I bought a ticket for the back row away from everyone else. Absorbing the experience by myself brought back the sensation I once enjoyed. I was able to dive deep into the movie and view it uninterrupted. No whispered discussion with friends or family during the show. Just the film and I.

I will say, I enjoyed doing that. I may return to solo viewing of movies. It was a time to unwind and fall into the fantasy world of cinema.

An experience that I truly missed.

Pure Imagination

The other day I mentioned that my son and I worked on the Lego Sakura Bonsai tree together. We keep it in a square display case in order to keep it dust free. Our son decided that it looked kind of bland and wanted to update it a bit more.

He used his imagination and memories of when we went to Tokyo. In doing so, he added a rock garden, a waterway, and some greenery. I’m impressed by how he designed it- using a multitude of different pieces to create a cutaway scene.

Our son wants to add more detail to the last corner. I have a feeling it will flow into what he has created thus far. I love that he is so creative and takes the styles he has learned from years of conventions and Lego displays in order to utilize the pieces so uniquely.

Do you love building with Lego? Are your kids still playing with it as they grow older? Let me know in the comments.

Spring Break Staycation

As my last day comes to an end, I think I had a relatively great staycation. A quick look back at the last ten days showed how busy it was. As well as how productive it ended up being.

We did a bunch of gardening, went to a speed skating meet last weekend, had a night on the town for my birthday, and built a gazebo as a family. We built some Lego, and our oldest came to visit and we all had a delightful time. There really isn’t much more I could ask for.

All in all it was a great birthday week. I’m glad I spent it with my family.

Lego Sakura Bonsai

Today my son and I changed our Lego Bonsai tree into a Cherry Blossom tree. He and I worked together to finish off the branches and attached them to the tree. I like that the change coincides with Sakura blooming over the next couple of months.

We picked this set up back in the summer and built it together as a family- Lego Bonsai. This set is by far one of my top favorite Lego sets that we own. Although I will say, most of our Lego sets are pretty amazing. I love the Disney Castle, the Spaceship from Lego Movie, Star Wars Lego sets, as well as numerous more sets we have collected over the years.

Something about Lego and the simplicity of how it works, yet using imagination- it can turn into something much more extravagant and elegant. All while using simple plastic pieces to do it.

Do you have a favorite Lego set? Do you often build them as a family or with your kids?

Let me know in the comments.

Doggo Play dates

This weekend had some nice sunny days for us around here. It was so nice in fact that our dog even had a play date. She was tuckered out in the end after running around the backyard with her friend from downstairs.

Jax

A fluffy black doggo lives with our tenants in the basement. Sometimes he comes upstairs to see if Maki can play. It’s funny as well when he wanders inside and Maki wants to play outside. The two of them trip over one another at the back door as one enters and the other leaves.

Maki

By the end of this weekend however, Maki was out of energy from jumping and running around with Jax. She needed a break and came upstairs to lounge in the sun. Jax followed her up and was trying to get her to play some more. She was done and just plopped down not wanting to participate anymore. Jax accepted this and went on his merry way.

It’s fun to see these floofers out there goofing off. They run and chase each other- generally exhausting one another. Jax is one of the few dogs that Maki doesn’t bark at. They’ve been good friends since they met in June.