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.
Getting the 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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Today my wife and I went out kayaking again. We drove towards our children’s school, and sauntered down the Salmon River in Fort Langley.
We parked along Glover Road and walked down a path and put the kayaks into the water. My wife and I slowly followed along the water for around and hour and a half. It was a nice leisurely paddle. But we also knew that we’d have to paddle back.
It was another calm, zen like experience. Since we were in Fort Langley, we decided that we would stop at The Trading Post for a snack and a beer. It was a great experience, we even made friends with an older couple who were out on a motorcycle cruise.
If the weather holds up into tomorrow, we hope to kayak once more locally. I’ll be sure to share that experience here on my blog.
I am so happy that my wife had us pick up a couple of kayaks last summer. We go a lot of use out of them last year, and we don’t want the momentum to stop this year. My wife joined a kayaking group on Facebook and there have been some great locations shared. Today, we drove about thirty minutes away from our home to enjoy a spot.
I want to start off by saying, it took me longer to get the kayaks ready today. That was because our fourteen year old son wanted to learn how to strap the kayaks to the car and he did the majority of it. There is a bit of an art to getting kayaks tied down, so I was glad to share the knowledge with him. I also enjoyed just chatting with Theory. He’s a bright kid who is always curious about how the world works.
Onto my wife and I and our afternoon. We found the small boat launch with ease. There was a few people around fishing, but no boats on the river. So we unloaded quickly, sunscreen and bug spray was applied and into the water we went.
My wife described the water as “Glass” and she was right. It was one of the smoothest paddles I have ever experienced. The water levels were so high, that at times we were not just going through tall grasses, but literally floating through the trees. It was calm and amazing.
We spent a good two hours just casually enjoying the views. We saw Canada Geese, ducks and a couple of cranes. It was quiet and peaceful as we wandered out.
By the time we returned, there were four more kayakers hitting the water. There’s something about kayaking that brought up conversations with strangers. We chitchatted with a few people as we packed up, because another couple of groups showed up. This spot is appealing right now because of the high water level and calmness. In a couple of weeks, the water will drop and the river will have an entirely different feel.
Chances are my wife and I will go back in a couple of weeks to see the change. But until then, there is so much more of British Columbia to explore. If you missed my Instagram video, here is a quick shot of a couple of cranes that we saw:
We have so much fresh fruit in our yard! I love it.
In the very back of our yard, there is salmonberries. Which just so happen to be ready for consumption! We also have a bunch of huckleberry bushes throughout the yard. Once they are ready, the kids load up on them.
This year, I discovered our cherry trees are producing fruit. It’s been a couple of years since they did. I’m looking forward to enjoying them. Our pear tree is also producing an abundance of fruit which should be ready in a few weeks.
We had a plum tree- but it ended up being diseased and had to get cut down. Those plums were juicy! As well, we used to have an apple tree, but alas it fell over one year in a storm. I have since planted a new apple tree a couple years ago- this time with four different types of apples infused into the branches. Currently I only get an apple on each branch, but one day- variety!
Do you have fruit trees or bushes that you grow? Summer is the best for walking the garden and eating right if the limb.
When I finish a shift at work, I like to try and leave my thoughts of work behind. Of course it’s not always possible. Now that I have a “Work Phone” I’ll check emails while having a coffee and getting ready to leave my house. But I still avoid thinking about work on my days off.
If I hang out with coworkers outside of my work hours, more often than not we talk about… trains. It’s unavoidable since trains are what we have most in common. Sure, sometimes work gossip is fun, but there’s more to life than just that.
Work is essentially the beast you need in your life to survive. It brings you financial freedom, a meaning to your existence, a sense of identity. If asked, “What do you do for a living?” Your job is usually the first thing you mention.
Is it what you do for a living? Or do you enjoy your hobbies and family time more? Getting out of the habit of having a job or career define you is challenging. Once you get into the right frame of mind however, life becomes fresh and vibrant. Like being a child once more with no cares, but to play.
Remember to play. It’s good for the mind and body.
With yesterday being Father’s Day, my children gave me gifts that reminded me that I’m a father. However, it was a very bipolar type of evening.
I arrived home to see my teenage daughters making homemade pasta for dinner. The kitchen was a mess and flour was everywhere. They were stumbling over each other trying to make dinner. During this, my son had retreated to his bedroom to hide.
For the rest of the evening, there was snarky attitudes going back and forth between all three kids and my wife. As they spoke to me, their tunes would change. They were each doing their best to show me kindness, but at a cost of being somewhat negative towards one another.
After dinner, the kids brought out the gifts that they had made for me. None of the gifts surprised me, as they were exactly what I was expecting. A Lego creation from my son (of my Nissan Rogue), some painted wood carvings from my middle and a painting from my oldest. I appreciate each gift as the kids showed off how proud they are of what they made.
We ended the night watching Robocop from 1987 just because I hadn’t seen the film in ages and wanted something to watch that the kids had never seen before. After the film, it was off to bed and sleep took over.
All in all a typical night, I even got a few gifts from it. It didn’t upset me that there was a bit of animosity between my family members. In actuality it reminded me of how normal we all are; and not everything is perfect no matter how much we try and showcase our lives on social media.
I’ve been a father for nearly 18 years now. In the grand scheme of things, I think I’ve done an okay job of raising three kids. Obviously I could not, and did not, do it on my own.
Without my wife; aka mother to our children; there really wouldn’t be a Father’s Day for me. She and I have worked together over the years to create a loving environment for our three beasts kids.
To be completely honest, I don’t know if I was ever going to be ready to be a dad without her pushing me. I’m glad to have taken on the challenge and the role. Our children are my pride and joy. I will always be there for them in whatever form they need me.
I was never close with my father. I’d like to think I have become the father I always wanted. The kind of father who goes on vacations, jokes with their kids, has family movie nights, even loses at video games to them. I have shown love and support through all of their endeavors, be it Cheerleading, Speed Skating, and the arts- no matter what they wanted to do, I was there.
Certainly there were times when they wanted to give up. But my wife and I pushed them and guided them through those hurdles. It’s not always fun and laughs when you have to be the bad guy either. In time, I’m sure they will understand why and when we needed to be strict with them.
For now, I’m just glad to be celebrated as their Father. I have a drawer full of handmade cards and gifts from over the years. I cherish those moments and memories.
I’ll always remember them as my kids, even as they enter adulthood.
It’s been a few years of orthodontics, but yesterday our middle child had her braces removed. Her older sister had hers removed back in December of 2018, read about it here: Brace Yourself, and she has been smiling more ever since. I’m hoping that this too will happen for our middle.
Naturally, I had to take a “Before” picture. Darwin was doing her best to hide the braces behind her smile. But you could sense the joy that was about to unfold as she walked into her final orthodontist appointment.
This is the obligatory “After” picture. Notice how she is showing more teeth! Finally, after a few years of braces, tightening, and suffering, she has a reason to smile.
The braces are off! Now, and for years to come, she will have a beautiful smile. And our pocket book will be full once more… until our youngest goes in.
When I was 19 I pierced my tongue. It didn’t overly hurt, it just swelled up for a week or so. I made it about three days before my father noticed. I have had the piercing in for about three years before I removed it. Within a year, I decided I missed the piercing and had it re-pierced because it had grown over. That hurt because they went through the scar tissue and I had a mouthful of blood. But the swelling only lasted a couple days.
I have now had my tongue pierced for 20 years since that second time. Many people don’t notice because I don’t lisp or show it off. I also haven’t chipped any teeth from accidentally biting it. But last night, somehow, my tongue got swollen. So I took out my tongue piercing.
I’m not sure if I had an allergic reaction to some food or if it is something else entirely. But eight hours later- my tongue is still swollen. I’m going to keep the piercing out for a bit longer, but I would like to get it back in before the hole closes up. I should have a few days… but if my tongue remains puffy I may have to accept the fact that a part of my persona has changed once more.
A quarter century and no issues. I hope to be able to put it back. A tongue piercings is such a late nineties trend that I wonder how many people I know still have their piercing in.
Did you ever get your tongue pierced? Did it affect your speech pattern? Or have complications? Let me know in the comments.
Oh man. Finished the night shift yet again. I enjoy working at night for the simple fact that the world is calmer and not so busy. I’m so lucky to be home to hear the birds chirping and singing before the world gets busy.
Sure, it’s nice and tranquil most of the time. I used to pull all nighters as a teenager/twenty something. I would be out wandering parks or fields and listen as the birds slowly woke up. It was like a concert firing up. An overture played from eons of nature growing and practicing together.
Falling asleep to the sound of birds is very different than waking up to hear their lovely tune. I want to say I enjoy it, but it’s keeping me awake longer as I wait for the sounds of cars and human noise to lull me to sleep.
The other day I was curious if I could befriend some of the wildlife that lurks in our neighborhood. Particularly the squirrels. They looked like they were having such fun running and chasing one another all the time. Plus they bounce up and down all cute like. What’s not to love?
I noticed the little rascals were getting into our bird feeder and had successfully knocked it onto the ground one night. So I used some birdseed to entice them to get closer to me. It started with a small pile by a tree that they like to climb. Then after a bit I began to put some seed in a leather glove and laid it down on our deck.
Three of the squirrels began to show up closer to our home. They ran past me a few times and we’re becoming more courageous about approaching me. It’s been a couple of years since the cute furry Wildlife has come up to our house.
I even named the squirrels. Jimmy James, El Gato, and Samson. JJ is the lazy one on the fence. El Gato is the female who acts like a cat about to pounce. And Samson is the crazy one who jumps branches.
As much as my experiment is starting to work, my wife is none too impressed. It seems these little fellas are pooping on our deck and making a bigger mess of the bird feeder. I have been asked to adjust my plan to get them to wander elsewhere.
Time to get them to the other side of the backyard and maybe we can bond over some berries.
At the start of my preteen years, we moved from the arctic tundra of Edmonton to the rain forest neighborhoods of Vancouver. We gave up ice and snow for an older home with a swimming pool. This was the greatest single thing that I appreciate my father ever doing for the family. Of course I was angry to leave my three closest friends behind, but I eventually made new friends. I did manage to keep in touch with my best friend since kindergarten 1981.
Back to talking about my first Langley house. I loved that home. I had plenty of privacy upstairs. My little sister didn’t like having the bedroom across the hall from me, so she moved downstairs and the upstairs became mine. We also had a large unfinished basement with plenty of space to become a second home. But the house had the greatest thing ever- a swimming pool.
Not one of those circular above ground pools that are only good for playing “Marco Polo”. This was a pool with a ten foot deep end, a slide and diving board. The prefect size for swimming laps and filling with 20 friends. Our backyard at the time was basically a large deck and the pool. Perfect for lounging on a hot summer day. I remember swimming in rainstorms and at night. My family sold that home due to many factors. One of them being the cost associated with upkeep and heating of the pool was far more than was worth the headache. My parents figured we weren’t getting much use out of the pool anymore, so it was time to move.
Since my memories of that home, whenever our family travels, we always have to book a hotel with a pool. I love swimming, my kids don’t overly care one way or the other. That being said, we’ve never bothered to pursue the idea of a pool in our current home. I do love the trees we have and don’t want to get rid of them to add a pool at this time.
Assuming our kids move out or we get grandkids, or my wife and I ever do sell this house- I’d like to find a home with a pool. It would be a treat for me to have a little oasis to enjoy. Or maybe one day we will redo the landscaping in our current yard and add a pool. I’m sure that a windstorm or two will knock down a few more trees over the years.
Perhaps that will be my midlife crisis. Who needs a luxury car? Give me a pool any day.
Today I went out for a kayak with our daughter in Fort Langley. This is the first one of the season. I was a little rusty getting the kayaks onto the roof of the Rogue. I had to unstrap them a couple of times to get it just right.
We made it out to the boat launch in Fort Langley and confirmed that the swiftness of the current wasn’t to difficult for our adventure. As we were about to launch, a fellow walked by and struck up a conversation. He noticed our CN Rail hats and told me he worked at CN for 42 years before retiring. Sounded like he was working in marketing at the am time I began my career there. It was a good talk as he shared some stories and told him of the changes going on. Seems I cannot get away from the railroad even on my days off.
Eventually my daughter and I were in the water and began to paddle. It was tougher than I imagined. My arms were not used to the movements and after about twenty minutes, it felt like we hardly got anywhere. We stopped along the shoreline at a log and chugged back a bottle of water each. She took out her phone and snapped a bunch of photos for a class project. I captured a few of us.
We floated back to the boat launch rather quickly. Good thing we did the hard paddle against the current first! Once on shore, we packed up the kayaks with a greater ease and my daughter asked if she could stop by a friend’s house. So we did. Social distancing of course while there. It was a nice afternoon.
Now I’m sore, but energized- if that makes sense. I look forward to more kayaking this summer. It’s all my wife’s fault for making me want to go out and do it! Pretty sure the next kayak adventure will be with her.
“Making your way in the world today takes everything you’ve got. Taking a break from all your worries, sure would help a lot.”
Okay… So it’s Thursday today. Many people do a Throwback Thursday post on various social media platforms. I think it’s time to go waaaaaayyy back. It’s time to do a mental reset for everyone. Especially adults who’ve forgotten the simpler things in life. Where this was the hardest question to answer as a child:
What is your favorite dinosaur?
I began asking everyone this question yesterday, continuing into today. And I mean everyone. To my surprise there are two types of people who answer. Those who answer quickly, and those who get confused by the question.
The ones who answer quickly are usually the ones who have small children in their lives. Either their own kids or grandkids. The other ones who have to think about it- do not have kids. The second group is also weirded out that I ask. And many do not remember anything about dinosaurs.
Just for fun, here’s the top five answers adults give me:
That is also pretty much the order of most popular to least. I had some people answer by describing the dinosaurs to me. Reaching way down into their memory banks of what these creatures once looked like. (That one with horns like a rhino… The one with a club tail… the dinosaur with a long neck). I also got into deep conversations with some about dinosaurs, museums, children, etc. This simple question opened up conversations.
My request for all of you out there- start conversations today with, “Mind if I ask you a question? What’s your favorite dinosaur?” You will be glad you did.
I’m finally through the longest mentally exhausting work week ever. Even though it was just my regular schedule, and the workload hadn’t changed, I’m done. I can actually feel my body loosening up and needing rest.
I’m going to take some much needed “me time” this weekend. I hate to do it, but I may need some time away from the family as well. If only for a couple of hours. I feel like I’m mentally overwhelmed and not making sense any more. I want to get back to normal.
By normal, I don’t mean “The New Normal” that everyone is talking about. I need to get back to my “Joyous Josef” normal. Fun t-shirts, silly discussions and laughing. That’s the normal I desperately need.
I worked for twelve hours. I drove for forty five minutes to get to work and forty five minutes to get home. I got home, I put on some music, and made dinner for everyone. We ate our burgers on the back patio, shared some stories of the day, and genuinely enjoyed each other’s company.
Slowly, everyone left the table. No words were said. Just one by one they left. Until I remained. Hoping one or more would return. But they did not. They left their dirty plates. They left me behind.
After about ten minutes, I changed the music. I put on some trance music by The Orb and stared off into the yard, listening to the music and the wildlife, eventually closing my eyes. I let the music take me away. Several moments passed. I had been zoned out. It was relaxing.
I miss listening to music for the sake of music. No lyrics. The occasional word is spoken. But the rhythmic nothingness of trance music with the sounds of birds chirping is zen like. I do not care that the dishes were left behind. Or that no thank you’s were offered up to me for working all day and making dinner. My wife also worked, so did our eldest. The other two had online school. We all had busy mental days. Busy happens.
Life is busy. We all experience it. Take a breather and don’t get angry. The dishes will get washed. The table will get cleared. The smiles will remain. The music will play. The time is now.
British Columbia is starting to allow businesses to open today. With a ton of stipulations mind you… Many of which require extra sanitization and precautions.
The best practices for everyone is to remain civilized towards one another as we navigate these new ideas. The other thing is we should remain vigilant is our respective spacing from one another. Avoid touching your face and cleaning your hands regularly should remain paramount from now on anyways.
Be smart people.
Personally, I’ve enjoyed my time at home. I’ve learned to make dough, pasta and deep fried desserts. I’ve also had the opportunity to be closer with my teenagers than I thought possible. We’ve had a bunch of fun singing Disney songs and cracking jokes. Sure, the occasional disagreement and a bit of space was needed, but all-in-all I think the time at home has been beneficial.
At some point, I’ll go to a restaurant or get a haircut. I’m in no rush to do those activities. I wasn’t feeling trapped or lost without a coffee shop being open. My life has remained relatively the same. Enjoy the world people. Be smart doing it. And support small businesses to the best of your ability!
Once the restrictions on travel get lifted, will you be planning a vacation?
Personally, I think I’ll wait a bit. But I also realized that there is a great big world out there that I’ve missed out on already. I now want to see more of this planet than ever before. Mostly because I’m being told to stay home!
Of the vacations and travel I have done, the best times was spent with my family. We’ve taken our kids from California to Tokyo, Hawaii to Calgary. These are top of my lists- especially to travel to with kids/teens. I have now created a small list of places I still want to go to as a family. Now to figure out when to get there and how to afford it!
Road trip across Canada
The last one is what I’d love to do with my wife. Do a fun road trip in a camper van or small RV once we retire. Spend a few months just picking up and going everywhere we can. Plus if we’re on the move, it’ll feel like a grand adventure!
This summer we would like to be camping more than before. Not glamping. We’ve never done that, yet. Or we may just stay in our yard and live the best quarantine life we can! But I want to travel!!!
Last night we hit the Twilight Drive In for a retro double feature. The family piled into the car and we were off… two and a half hours before showtime. Even though we bought tickets in advance, it was sold out and we have a few spots that are a “Must Have” when watching from the car.
We’ve done the local Drive-In numerous times in the past. Many times for our son’s birthday (same with last night). Even though last night was quite the rainy evening, we stayed for both films. It made for added effects to our viewing of Back to the Future / Back to the Future II.
Of course, our car battery died halfway through the second film. I ran the car during the intermission in order to try and keep the battery alive. The seven speaker stereo, defogger and wipers did the battery in. But since we’ve done this before, I knew to bring a backup radio. Because, you know… the movie watching is important! By the end of the second film, the car started up again with no issues.
Oh yeah, I almost forgot- our son lost one of his final baby teeth from a hard candy in between the films. I told him the tooth fairy does not visit teenagers. He was not at all phased. That’s because the tooth fairy still made an appearance.