Loving My Kids

These are my three kids. Even though they are teenagers growing into adults, they will always be my kids. This picture was from last Monday- the first day of “full time” school.

My family puts up with me during my tough emotional time from September to November. Yesterday they joined me as I went to the graveyard to visit my father’s resting place. We didn’t really talk about him while we were there. Which was okay. They were with me showing some emotional support. I just needed them to be there.

Afterwards we went out for donuts. We sat at a table in a small coffee shop and enjoyed ourselves. No talk about anything pressing. Just idle chitchat. It was a pleasant Saturday afternoon followed by a home cooked meal.

It brings me joy that my kids can be so loving. I need it from time to time.

It Wouldn’t Keep Still

Today was one of those really busy days off. To quote Mrs. Premise: “Busy? I just spent four hours burying the cat.” It feels like all I’ve been doing is hardly making a dent on my projects. Just making more of a mess. Like trying to bury a cat that won’t keep still.

But I’m done for the day. Time to finish up making dinner and vegetate in front of the big screen and watch some shows. It’ll be some relaxing family time tonight in the theater room. Although I’m sure our oldest will be preoccupied with her new iPhone 11.

But some days I’ll take what I can get. Especially as the kids get older.

Sober September Number 3

This is my third year going for “Sober September”. In fact I am already starting it early because last year I slipped and had a beer part way through the month. I won’t let that happen again this year.

If all goes well, I’m going to push for an Alcohol-Free Autumn. I’m not sure if my wife will try and join me this year. She doesn’t possess the same internal struggle as I when it comes to having a vice. In general I have more of those evil addiction traits than her.

Most of my year has had me in pictures with various beers at a variety of places. I appear to be touting the joy of drinking like an old magazine advertisement. As if drinking and fun go hand-in-hand. But seeing the last image of myself in front of my favorite watering hole, I realized I don’t look as healthy as once was. I have put on some unhealthy weight and a fake smile that I really do not like.

So wish me luck in my journey of Sober September 3. Each year gets harder than the last to let the drinking go. That is a sobering statement in and of itself.

Vacation Feels

It’s nearing the end of summer. It’s the final push to enjoy ourselves. I am also starting eleven days of vacation. That means time away from work, which is great to recharge the mental batteries. Even though we may not be traveling to a favorite destination.

We are still planning on having a good time as a family. Tonight we made smoked turkey legs and watched some “Disney Park Blogs” YouTube videos during dinner.

Of course we all wore our Mouse Ears! Because who knows when the next time we will be attending a Disney Park again… But the feels needed to come out. The ears brought forth joy, laughter and memories.

I’m ready to have a great time with my family during staycation. British Columbia is the next best place to be next to Disneyland! Especially if you get to share moments with loved ones.

Smelling Clean

I like to shower everyday. After my shower I always put on “Pit Stick” to freshen up. Over the past couple of decades I have been loyal to one particular brand. For no other reason than it is inexpensive and works for me.

Degree Antiperspirant. I don’t like overly fragrant men’s stuff. Degree is perfect. As I mentioned about a month ago, I hate to Sweat. It feels icky. Rarely do I skip on my daily shower. Sometimes I’ll have two in the day if required.

If I forgo a shower, or know that I’ll need one later in the day, I do not put on antiperspirant. I put on deodorant. And since this is a rare occasion, my deodorant has lasted me a very long time. So long in fact that I swear I’ve had it since before the internet became a thing. There isn’t even an “AOL KEYWORD” on the label.

This brand of deodorant is even cheaper than my antiperspirant. It has a fantastically tacky name- SpeedStick. It also smells like my father once did- since it was the brand he tended to favor.

There’s an argument to be had of antiperspirant vs deodorant. I’m not going to start that today. Since I am biased in my judgement- because clearly sweating is icky. A

nd antiperspirant is the obvious winner.

Country Living for Convenience?

I cannot get enough of living in the country. Being on the outskirts of the suburbs, we own an acre of land. Filled with trees and plenty of space to relax. We are only a few minutes away from accessing major routes to get into cities and local shopping. Our privacy and peace make all the difference to my mental well being.

Visiting a friend over the weekend, I also appreciate that we don’t have a farm to maintain. Not that they do, they just rent a house on that land. But their privacy and views are also amazing.

My wife and I discuss on a regular basis the idea of moving in the future once the kids are all done high school. But we both want something different it seems. I still want some privacy and space. She wants connivence to walk to shopping and have less land to maintain. Both of us want bigger and better bathrooms and a kitchen. Newer would also be nicer.

Until our son reaches his final year of school in three years, it’s tough to discuss plans. I honestly think we will remain where we are for at least another decade, if not longer. So I feel we should do some work around the house to update it so that we can enjoy it before someone else does.

Having inner peace is important to me. I’m not sure I’m ready to trade it for convenience.

Allergic to Friday

My day off was completely wasted on a bunch of nothingness. Sure I played about two hours of video games with my wife this morning. Afterwards I helped the kids with some yardwork for about thirty minutes before the weather turned. I also dyed my daughter’s hair for her. But that was it.

Allergies kicked my butt today. Probably due to the change in air pressure and the rain mixing with pollen. But I had all these ideas to make some tasty treats while the weather was poor. Instead I took some allergy medicine and promptly went to bed. For a few hours…

Now I’m awake and it’s almost dinner time. My wife will be done working shortly and she’ll ask what I did all day. I can’t lie to her… because she works from home and knows exactly what I did today. It’s a silly game having her ask me that question. Honestly, I’m just unmotivated and will be looking forward to going back to bed tonight- hoping that my allergies will be better tomorrow.

Oh, and sorry about the “Bear Memes” I was too lazy to add any real substance to my story today. And pandas are always cute when they’re lazy. So I’m hoping my laziness is also cute. I barely (or should I write “bearly”? ) wanted to even blog.

I hate allergies.

Time For A Break

My son went out skim boarding with the neighbors for the first time. He was enjoying himself immensely. Until he had a bad fall. My wife called me to tell me that he had broken his arm.

It seems like a right of passage for young people to break an appendage or require stitches. I had stitches three separate times and dislocated my elbow as a teenager.

The first thing my wife said was, “Thank goodness he didn’t break his leg.” Which is true. It would affect his speed skating skills. A broken arm is not going to impede him much.

The break wasn’t terrible and is known as a “buckle fracture of the left distal radius” but I know it hurt him. He was doing his best to hold back the tears and wasn’t wanting anyone to touch his arm.

He is proud of the fact he has a cast. Although he instantly complained that he couldn’t play video games. My response was- “Read a Book.” Much to his dismay. In a few weeks he should have it off. In the mean time- I have a bunch of books for him to read.

Blueberry Flan

My father used to make a flan once, maybe twice a year. Either filled with canned peaches or fresh blueberries. Today I made his recipe with 3 cups of fresh washed blueberries. I think it turned out quite well. Here’s how I made it:

Recipe from my father.

1 pkg yeast (I used 17.5grams of fresh yeast today) mixed with 1tbsp sugar

2/3 cup milk 1/3 cup warm water

Mix together to activate yeast


3 cups flour

1/3 cup sugar

2 eggs

Mix everything together and set aside to rise. Do not be surprised- this is a sticky dough. Approx 30 minutes to have it double in size. (Make sure it is covered with a slightly damp tea towel.)


Preheat oven to 350°. Once dough is risen, roll it out on a floured surface and place in a greased cookie sheet. Push into the edges and leave 1/2 inch or less of space.

Spread 3-4 cups of fresh blueberries, peaches, or what ever fruit you want. A thin layer is all you need since the juices from the fruit will spread out as it bakes.

Make the crumble topping with 2 tbsp butter, 4 tbsp sugar and 4 tbsp flour. I enjoyed using our pastry blender for this. After the topping was spread out, I sprinkled extra sugar because I like it sweet.

Bake for 30 minutes.

Boom- Flan!!!

Oh look, a blog post with a story followed by a recipe. Not my usual style, but I enjoyed making it. I’m hoping the family enjoys eating it as I haven’t made this in ages. So long ago that my kids don’t remember ever having it.

Long Day Went By Fast

Today was one of those strange anomaly days. Where it was really long, but went by quickly. I woke up at 8am, suddenly it was 3pm and I had forgotten about lunch.

We had now entered that awkward time of day where it’s too late to start something, but also too early to start something. So the next few hours meandered by. I didn’t even try for a nap to pass the time. What is wrong with me?

Then it was 6:30pm and dinner needed to be made. The day was on the verge of being over. Because once dinner was done, we were likely to watch a movie to end our night.

I have lots of plans for around the house. Tomorrow is a full day of little projects. I am also wanting to watch a movie or two- the sort of films my wife isn’t a fan of. But tomorrow will be another busy day and feel like it is going slowly until the mad rush at the end.

Maxim-um Effort

Today I was going to do some organizing near our shower area. Boxes of stuff had toppled over and junk was just getting thrown in the vicinity. After taking a few things out and getting my son to store them in the barn, I decided to re-box some magazines.

I have seven years of Maxim Magazines dating back to issue number 1 in 1997. When I worked at the movie theater from 1999-2004 I regularly read the magazine. I would also leave my copy in the booth for the projectionist to peruse while waiting for films to end.

I’m passing on the magazines to my son now. I told him to read at least one article from each magazine. Some of the info is very dated (like buying the perfect big screen tv!). As well, all of the women featured are almost 20 years older now.

The first issue, he flipped back and forth stopping on stories about cars, movies from 1997, and how to cook a steak. He read out the steak one and we discussed “Grilling the Perfect Steak”. Sounded like he wants to learn to BBQ after that story. He continued on reading about the perfect toolbox starter as well.

Maxim Magazine will offer up some tips to manhood that my son may not want to ask me. I think it’s a good chance for him to see what life was like 20 years ago. Where ads for alcohol and cigarettes made people look like life is full of parties if you get drunk and smoke. He already knows that life isn’t really like that.

Did you grow up reading magazines before the Internet came around?

Bugs Be Gone

This summer is one of the worst for mosquitoes. Every year I complain about them.

I use bug repellent and sprays every night. Because we like to sit outside for dinner, we also use area spray to try and prevent the bugs from bothering us. I don’t overly like the sprays as it affects my asthma. I really don’t have a choice though or I’ll be super itchy.

We have a bug zapper outside the door as well. The occasional ZOT or BZZT sound makes me giggle each time. Does hearing the little bit of death make me a psycho?

We also have a bug catcher in our kitchen. Trying to keep those annoying fruit flies at bay. As well as any other mosquitos that may arrive inside our home.

How do you deal with the bugs this time of year?

Humor Me

I was thinking about something while driving into North Vancouver on my regular commute a few weeks back. I thought it to be funny as an observational humor moment involving masks. All because of a few rear view mirrors.

Then yesterday, I happened upon this image on Instagram. I chortled pretty loudly to myself as it was exactly what I’ve been thinking for weeks. I’m sure many of you are seeing this trend as well.

Now, I’ve heard people crack jokes about drivers being solo in a car but still wearing a mask. A driver could be wearing a mask for many reasons. Maybe they make multiple stops. Or perhaps they just dropped someone off or are about to pick someone up. Or maybe they simply forgot they had it on. But the reality is, the less a person touches their mask, the less chance they have of inadvertently making themselves sick.

Humor me and wear a mask people. It is a good idea to keep one in your car as well. By all means- throw a spare on your rear view mirror. You won’t be alone, take a look around.

Cheerio To Eating Breakfast Cereal

Yesterday morning I decided that a great way to start my day would be eating a big bowl of Cheerios in milk. In all my years of eating breakfast and growing big and strong, I knew that in order to really enjoy a bowl of Cheerios I had to be the first to eat a bowl from the new box.

I also knew that once I opened a fresh box and poured out the cereal- I’d have to act quickly in order to enjoy these little, round, mini oat donuts. The spoon needed to be at the ready inside the bowl, underneath it’s first scoop. The bowl of cereal had to be on my dining table waiting patiently. And only then, would the milk be added.

Then I shovel those crunchy, (what I assume is sawdust and glue infused) oat circles into my mouth as quick as possible. Like an Olympic swimmer, you have to plan your breathing and time it between scoops. I eat my Cheerios so fast that the milk barely has time to penetrate their inner circles.

Within seconds, the bowl is filled with nothing but a milky desert sand coloured liquid. No more bites. Now to drink!

Do you tilt the bowl and continue on the animalistic path of slobbery? Or do you elegantly utilize your spoon and savor the new milk?

If you chose “tilt the bowl” you are my kind of cereal connoisseur. Like a kid rushing to be ready for school- one needs to get this meal in the body as fast as possible. No one likes soggy cereal and thick milk.

I’m older now. And after yesterday’s breakfast- much wiser. It turns out my adult body doesn’t like milk the same way as it once did. Turns out that scarfing down a bowl of oat cereal can upset my tummy tumtum. What I once enjoyed in the bowl- now upsets my bowel.

I can safely say that I am ready to move on. I shall no longer eat bowls of cereal with milk. Even if it’s the first bowl of freshly opened cereal. The best bowl.

Who needs an enema when you can have a big hearty bowl of Cheerios to clean you out… And clear out a room.

Ending Vacation / Starting Short Work Week

My vacation is over which means back to work for me tonight. I have a “week” of night shifts. But it’s really only three nights. I have a four day weekend coming up starting Wednesday. Which makes it nicer to ease into the workload after vacation.

It’s been nice just doing camping, kayaking, and hanging out. No smell of diesel or grain dust on me. I will need to dig out my work clothes and gear before I return to work this evening.

My wife doesn’t return to work until tomorrow. So she is going to relax for one more day while I nap before my night shift. Pretty sure she is going to play video games. She has an extra day off on Thursday so her work week is shortened as well.

So far summer has been pretty good to us. I hope for it to continue over the next couple months.

19 Years Later…

Today is my 19th Wedding Anniversary! That’s a long ass time to be married in this day and age. Especially since I married her when I was only 25 years old. And had no idea what my life would have in store for me.

What’s crazy is I still feel young and alive when hanging out with my wife. She has been the greatest person to participate in life’s experiences with. From raising children, traveling the world, buying a home, or changing numerous careers… this has been a delightful challenge of life that I have enjoyed sharing with her.

I cannot wait until we get to celebrate 20 years, 24 years, 31 years, 42 years, possibly 65 years together. I love my wife tremendously and have been lucky to create milestones with her. I hope for her to feel the same and for us to have a Happy Anniversary! To quote the movie that inspired our wedding, and our life together:

The greatest thing you’ll ever learn- is just to love and be loved in return.

Truth, Beauty, Freedom, Love

Grad Dinner..?

Our oldest Graduated three weeks ago from Grade 12. Besides the ceremonies being cancelled, so was the Grad Dinner. My wife and I have been trying to get our daughter out for a special dinner since then, with no luck. Our oldest originally wanted a special meal like the one my wife and I did Last Year at the Bacchus French Restaurant. But it hasn’t opened yet because of restrictions.

Today, we finally went out for a meal. Our oldest also wanted her siblings along, so we ended up at Ramen Bella in Langley. Where we each got a large bowl of ramen, and our daughter got herself a Poké Bowl.

It was a good treat for everyone and also very filling. I’m glad our oldest picked a place that the family could enjoy, even though my wife and I were trying to offer her something special just for her. It seems as though our daughter is still very family oriented and loves sharing experiences with her brother and sister.

To me, that shows she is growing up into a wonderful young lady. Each day I am becoming more and more proud of her.

Weaver Lake Hike

Yesterday we took advantage of the overcast weather and headed on a hike around Weaver Lake. It was a good thing that it wasn’t sunny.

My friend was adamant that it was a 12km hike. My wife was saying that people do the hike in three hours. Neither sounded appealing to me. Especially since each of us were breaking a sweat within the first kilometer.

The trail was overgrown in some parts, and difficult to maneuver in other parts. I was glad that there were orange markers set up in trees along the path. There was also milepost markers every 500 meters telling us the distance traveled.

As we hit the 6 km marker we were at 2 hours and 45 minutes. We rounded the corner and we were at the base of the campgrounds. Turns out the trail was roughly 6 kilometers. I was overjoyed the it was over.

Honestly, it was a more challenging hike than I expected. Lots of rough terrain and constantly up and down the hillsides. Well worth it for the views. I’m glad it was shorter (distance wise) than we expected. The kids were happy as well.

Camping Is For The Birds

Our first night at Weaver Lake involved some visitors to our campsite. We had some Canada Geese show up near our fire pit. They were very domineering and strolled in like they owned the place.

A short time after, a couple of owls perched overhead preparing for their night hunt. They gave a couple squawks to one another as they landed. When they flew, it was silent. Most impressive.

We got ourselves a great spot by the water and enjoyed the frogs croaking as night fell. Being in the thick of nature is relaxing. And calming. Something magical about British Columbia that makes it worthwhile living here.

Time For A Tech Break

Getting the family ready for a camping trip is challenging. Even if you’re only gone for a couple of days, it takes hours to get packed up. No matter how much you tell everybody when you want to leave, you always fall behind.

It may seem odd to pack up the necessities of life in order to live outside temporarily. But I like camping. Most of my technology stays behind. Obviously I keep my phone for pictures and music. But the connection to the outside world via the interwebs is severed.

I like taking mental breaks always from the world. It keeps me sane. Plus I love the outdoors. I almost don’t need to leave our home as we have a lush and beautiful yard that seems to go on forever. We own an acre of solitude, just far enough away from the hustle and bustle of the cities and suburbs.

Taking a break from technology is important. I appreciate the world a little more when we do go away. A chance to see the natural wonders out there.

July 4th 2020

This year, we were planning on changing up our July 4th festivities. Back in February (before the pandemic took over) we bought tickets to Disneyland and booked our favorite hotel. Up until about a month ago, we were having a tough emotional time canceling the hotel. We really wanted to experience Disneyland in the summer since we’ve had the chance to enjoy springtime and numerous times at Halloween.

We really wanted to see the Disneyland 4th of July Fireworks. I assume that Americans can put on quite the show. Tonight, we shall watch those fireworks from the comfort of our home.

As well, instead of a road trip along the West Coast of the USA, I plan on taking some of the family camping during my vacation. As our kids get older, it seems there’s a bit of freedom expected. So our oldest is choosing to stay home. As uneventful as camping is, we are still happy and healthy and ready to enjoy the world.

But tonight, we shall resort to our July 4th Tradition. A viewing of ID4: Independence Day. I love this film. I also love the fact that our kids believed me (when they were much, much younger) that this film is historically accurate. Thank you Hollywood!

Happy July 4th to our American Neighbours!

Newbie

So, I’m a relative NEWB when it comes to being outdoorsy. I have done some hiking and lately have been kayaking. I tend to get some beginner stuff in order to try out activities before getting carried away. Our kayaks are beginner style, and I have enjoyed them tremendously. My wife and I will probably upgrade them one day once we get better at paddling and such.

Today I went out and bought some fishing stuff. I’ve gone fishing with coworkers and friends in the past. I have just never owned my own equipment. I appreciate the basic knowledge they have given me over the years and am looking forward to having some fun this summer. Not the “Billy Bass” singing “Don’t Worry Be Happy” kind of fun. But actually trying to fish.

Before I bought stuff, I asked around for some advice on what a NEWB like me should buy. There is an art to what gear to buy depending on what you want to fish. Since I am doing fresh water fishing, I bought the gear that will be needed. I also paid for a fishing license for the year.

So any of my friends who want to hit the water with me and show me the ropes- I’ll be a bit more prepared than before. Now to watch some YouTube videos to get some skills before I make a fool of myself in front of my son.

Loving Canada

Today is Canada Day! I am proud to be Canadian. So much so that I work for Canadian National Railway. Just kidding, I work for the railroad because I love trains. Man, I cannot say that with a straight face. I work for CN because I enjoy making money to live.

Moving on…

Growing up, I remember my father always drinking Molson Canadian Beer. When I turned legal drinking age, Molson was my go-to beer for many years. Mostly because I’d buy a $20 t-shirt and get a free case of beer. (At least that’s what I told myself, but clearly it was the opposite).

There was a commercial years ago put out by Molson that I enjoyed. I Am Canadian aka Joe Rant. It felt like the commercial was made for me specifically. I rewatch it every year. I also share it every year. I am a proud Canadian and love this country with all of its amazing landscapes and diverse culture.

My name is Joe.

AND I AM CANADIAN.

Happy Canada Day!

One More To Go

I have one more shift to go at work before a week of vacation kicks in. I’m so excited I can hardly contain myself. The crazy part is that I don’t have much planned for my time off. Our Disneyland trip is on hold due to COVID-19. We were looking forward to spending The Fourth of July in the USA for the first time ever. I assume it’d be a big deal. Especially in Disneyland!

I still plan on being not-so-sober during my time off. I do have a few days of camping planned with most of my family and a friend with his kids. Last summer he joined us and, well, drinking was pretty much non-stop. But the weather was great and so were the kids. So why not go for round two?

It’ll be hard to make it through that last day of work without a big smile on my face. Somehow, I’m sure I’ll survive until that first beer hits my lips. Then it’ll be a blur.

White Rock Kayaking: Nicomekl River

Day three in a row of my wife and I hitting the water in our kayaks. Today we drove further southwest and put in the water at Ward’s Marina in White Rock. The smell of the fresh sea air was pleasant as we paddled throughout the afternoon.

This spot opens daily at noon. So it is generally not very crowded, even for a Saturday. The weather was cooler than it had been the past couple of days. And with no trees to shade us, today was a perfect day to enjoy this adventure.

Of course, as we paddled from Elgin Park towards Blackie Spit. The route had some tough spots where we had to work more. But the neatest part was going under the BNSF train bridge as the train crossed overhead. The vibration made the water push us away from the location. Making it difficult to stay still in order to get a good photo.

On our way back home, we stopped by the Fraser Valley Cider Company and sampled some of their ciders. There was live music as we sat in the farmer’s field and enjoyed some local beverages and cheeses from other local farms. Stopping at a place like this was a nice way to end the afternoon. Plus it supports local businesses which I wholeheartedly encourage.

Three days off flew by quickly. I enjoyed our kayaking adventures over the last few days. I really enjoy the time I’m spending with my wife as well. We needed the companionship as we relax with time away from our hectic lives. Plus we are getting some good exercise as we go.