As I See It

I’m enjoying “me time” in my backyard this afternoon. A bit of a breeze, but I was doing some yard work to keep warm. I’m taking a small break to enjoy some music, the weather and share a couple of photos.

Here is what I am seeing right now as I sit in my wheelbarrow:

Here’s what the satellites and ufos can see:

I’m just a small piece of the vast universe. I’m going to enjoy my time here on this planet. Who knows what comes next. Today is just pure enjoyment. Pleasure to be alive, just floating around on this crazy planet.

Enjoying a moment is important when life is filled with challenges and hardships. Taking a moment to remember that it’s not all bad. Life is grand. I’m enjoying it.

When The Weather Report Is Wrong

Earlier this week the local weather was showing rain for days. Days. My weekend was looking unfavorable to say the least. I was going to need to spend my time packing some more. Instead, I had dry weather so I got a few chores outside done. Even though it was slightly overcast, I was enjoying the fresh air.

Luckily this afternoon, the clouds dispersed and the sun showed up. Driving out to skating for our son had me feeling the heat inside my wife’s car. An illusion of summer was once again upon us. It was looking like a perfect night to eat dinner outside.

Alas, the temperatures said otherwise. Our backyard is shaded by trees, so it was even cooler than expected. Our dinner was quick with minimal talking and we headed back in for the night. We can still hear the birds and view the skies as night falls.

I’m glad it didn’t rain much on my days off. We were able to get more downsizing of some possessions completed as a family. Boxes packed, stacked and ready to go. Only seven weeks remaining… but who’s counting?

Too Much Yard

People have asked my why we sold our property. The main reason is we have too much yard.

I’m getting older and want simplicity. A small lawn to mow, perhaps a few plants and bushes. Taking care of the old growth trees is too much these days.

Even though we move out in 50 days, I have pride for our home. We are still looking after it, but the yardwork is intense. This weekend will be busy trying to clear out dead branches and utilize a burning permit.

Today was a write off for me as well. I’m still feeling the after effects of getting my vaccine the other day. My energy levels are extremely low. Likely, my wife and I will do the majority of the work and our teens will run and hide every chance they get.

That’s the other hard part. Getting assistance. I was a teenager once. I know what it’s like to want to have a life not devoted to chores. I remember my father tricking me into allowing a friend stay over for a couple of nights one summer- in order for us to lay down sod.

I’m getting older. I can’t push as hard as I once did. It’s almost time for my midlife crisis. Maybe that’s why we bought a new house with a pool…

Find The Spiritual Side

Today is 4/20. A day that many people indulge in marijuana and just chill out. I think it’s great- even though I am not a pot smoker. I say it’s great because smoking a bit of pot tends to allow people to reach a different level of enlightenment. I honestly feel the world needs more enlightened people. I’m enlightened AF as the kids say.

For example: Ten years ago today, I took my four year old son to the Center of the Universe. Eight years ago, my daughter and I met a childhood hero of mine-Elvira. Meeting Elvira changed my daughter’s view of women being powerful and still remaining feminine. Seven years ago, my son was an honorary “Lego Master Builder” at a convention volunteering his time helping kids. Six years ago, we were in Golden, BC on our way to yet another convention. Four years ago today, my wife and I stopped in Weed, California at 4:20 to honor a friend of mine I had lost.

Sure, some of the memories I just shared seem insignificant to many. But each year on this day had a lasting emotional and mental effect on my life, and that of my family’s. All of it positive in some fashion. Most of it unintentionally spiritual.

Perhaps I’m just looking for answers. But aren’t we all? Isn’t that why people spark up a doob? To get spiritual? Or get lost in thoughts? Maybe it’s to become one with the universe. Far out man.

Whatever the case may be for people smoking the green on 4/20, just remember to have snacks nearby. And if things get outta hand, or you need a tripping buddy- there is a new helpline for you. The Fireside Project. Call or text +16234737433 for free emotional support to help you through a trip.

As always, stay safe and have fun!

Life’s Like A Movie

Life’s like a movie, write your own ending. Keep believing. Keep pretending.

Seven thousand four hundred and eighty days. Or twenty years, five months and twenty four days. That was when I proposed to my wife.

We had gone out for dinner, then an evening stroll in Fort Langley. We stopped at a coffee shop and sat on the patio, at which point I popped the question. On the sidewalk right next to us they were filming a movie.

We married on July 10,2001 in Fort Langley at a small church on a Tuesday. Across the street, they were filming “Air Bud 4”. The production company stopped filming and stood at the door and watched us get married.

This past weekend, my wife and I walked through Fort Langley once more. This time the little town had changed into the setting of “Sonic The Hedgehog 2”. Fort Langley became a town called Green Hills. My wife and I went “full tourist” and took a bunch of photos.

My favorite part about walking around, was seeing the details added to the set. Things that no one would ever see. The background story of a fictional town hidden all around. As if Green Hills was a real place.

Movies have always been a big part of my life and I enjoy them tremendously. Movies can whisk you away for a couple of hours into an imaginary storyline. My life with Lee-Anne has been magical since we first met.

The eye of the mind makes a movie. And my movie has been nothing short of awesome.

Double Dose of Kayaking in Fort Langley

My wife and I took a break from packing our house in order to enjoy the summer-like weather. We got up early the past two mornings and headed out to Fort Langley to enjoy some tranquility and exercise.

Yesterday we went to Salmon River and paddled alongside of the farm land. The water levels were so low that we were able to get through a small tunnel and explore more than we had in the past.

Today we went to the Bedford Channel and pushed further than we have before. Whenever we kayak here, we go against the current first in order to float back. The current wasn’t as strong as in the past, which was nice. I was also impressed by the courtesy of other paddlers and boaters considering how busy the boat launch area was getting.

The feel of the sun on our faces really brightened our moods. We also stopped on both days to buy lunch from local businesses. Not that the Fort Langley community isn’t bustling as it is! But my wife and I have a couple favorite spots that we love to support.

I enjoyed my early dates with my wife. We needed some of this time together in order to rejuvenate.

Take Out Day

Since it was my daughter’s birthday yesterday, we wanted to do a nice dinner for her. Usually we get Nikko Sushi for any celebratory meals. But our daughter wanted to try something different. Due to current health restrictions in British Columbia, we had to order take out.

It also happened to be “National Take Out Day” as well! We picked up some slushies from a corner store, some Indian Food from Taj, and an ice cream cake from Dairy Queen.

Besides samosas, my family doesn’t eat a lot of Indian food. We did buy samosas, but we also had coconut chicken curry, butter naan bread, and paneer. It was delicious. I am impressed that our kids are always willing to explore tastes from other cultures.

17? Ugh. As if

The ice cream cake was a delicious end to the meal. Our daughter has been enjoying 80’s/90’s movies all her life and went with a “Clueless” inspired cake. We watched the film afterwards for a good laugh. (Wow, there are a lot of stars that were up and comers from back then! Thanks IMDB for helping me to recognize them.)

Did you enjoy some take out yesterday? What did you have?

Do you like Indian cuisine? What would you recommend we try next time from a restaurant?

Let me know in the comments.

Sun Of A…

I enjoy seeing the sun. It just kind of sucks seeing it when you are at work.

These early mornings are also rather chilly to start, but midday is toasty and warm out. You can tell that summer is peeking it’s head around the corner. We are getting just a little taste of things to come.

As spring keeps bringing nicer and nicer weather, I really want to get outside more often. A dose of vitamin D helps bring up that energy needed to feel good.

Even if I am stuck at work, I get opportunities to walk around the rail yard and enjoy the sun on my face. Sure, I’m not at the beach, but I’ll take what I can get. My days off look like they should be warm and sunny as well. Perhaps a trail hike or kayak trip will happen this weekend.

It’s Okay To Have A Bad Day

We all have bad days. It’s totally okay to have them. Even when the sun is shining and the world should be wonderful-a bad day happens.

A bad day is a good way to appreciate what you do have. It may not feel like at the time, but in hindsight it becomes clear.

So take the good with the bad. That’s the advice I needed to tell myself today. I thought perhaps others may need to hear it as well.

Good Afternoon For A Walk

My wife and I dropped off our son at the skating rink for his Saturday practice and laps. Due to restrictions, we are unable to stay and watch. Instead of driving home, my wife and I decided to go for a walk.

We wandered around a park and neighborhood that we don’t normally go to. I enjoy walks like this. We get to see how other people decorate and care for their properties. I love to see well manicured gardens. It gives me inspiration for our home.

As soon as the spring blossoms arrive- it all disappears into summer greenery. The life cycle of beauty keeps me smiling. Walking around and getting fresh air is also helping with the sanity these days. Much like last year, I plan on trying to enjoy the outdoors as much as possible this year.

Swimming

I love to swim. Almost every time we would travel, we tried to stay in a hotel (or motel) with a pool. After a long day of conventions/skating/Disneyland- it was a good way to relax before bed.

Oftentimes we would be the only people in the pool. It was as if no one else enjoys swimming. Or perhaps they just don’t like us. We are a bit of a strange family- pretending to be dolphins or zombies. That may have had something to do with having the hotel pool to ourselves.

We also enjoy swimming in the ocean, lakes and other natural spots. My wife used to call our kids “Water Babies”. We would hunt down places to swim whenever possible. Hawaii and California have beautiful beaches, and British Columbia has some fantastic lakes. What’s not to enjoy?

I always enjoyed swimming. For about half a decade during my preteen years- my family had a house with a pool. I swam regularly in it, even though I think my parents felt otherwise. I mean I also played a lot of video games and locked myself in my room watching television… But my exercise was to go swim. And I was good at it. I hope to be swimming regularly once more in our new home.

I do find it odd that last June I mentioned about buying a home with a pool: Pool of Thought even before we listed our house for sale. One year later we will be living out this desire. Our own private oasis in this world. Inadvertently I guess I had created a Vision Board and achieved the goal. Imagine what I could do if I set my mind to a goal?

Do you enjoy swimming? Do you hunt out hotels with pools when you travel? Let me know in the comments.

My Original Profile Picture

Recently Facebook reminded me of my first “Tagged” photo. It also happened to be the photo I used as my profile picture for the first year or so on Facebook.

As you can see, it is of my father’s gravestone marker. Anyone who I befriended at the start of my Facebook days would have seen this image. Obviously I took this picture and tagged myself in it.

Fourteen years ago, I didn’t take selfies or share many pictures. In fact, my first smartphone was the iPhone 4 in 2010. Any photos I did share were from a one megapixel digital camera. I had to upload The images onto our computer, then filter through them (because the display screen on the camera was tiny- there was now way to tell in a picture was good or great). Most of my photos were of my kids as well.

So there wasn’t a profile picture of me that I was content with. Not with the age of “Showing off Instant Perfection” starting…

Yes folks, it’s still going on. We all want to share the best part of our lives. Most of the time I think it’s great seeing the individual successes. But I also know that it can be mentally taxing on each and every one of us. Myself included- for both.

So instead of trying to create the perfect profile picture with a low end digital camera- I used a picture with my name. It also served as a reminder of my father and the difference in our parenting styles.

Plus it is a bit morbid seeing your own name on a tombstone. I find that stuff amusing.

Vertigo Go Away

Before going to sleep this morning, my brain decided that a case of vertigo was needed. The experience was nauseating to say the least. So much so, I went into the bathroom in order to just sit on the toilet in case I threw up. I’m not sure why this kicked in, but I did not like it one bit.

Even as I lay in bed trying to deal with it, I was feeling sick to my stomach. It’s been years since I have had the sense of being “tilted”. There was a sense of being off balance and the floor was higher than it is. The sensation was as if my brain was glitching out.

As a small child I remember reveling in the sensation, trying to keep it as long as possible. I would try and control what was going on in my brain at age four. Little did I know that it was due to ear infections and fevers back then.

Today was unexpected. I’m not sick, nor do I have issues with my ears anymore. But as quickly as it started, it abruptly ended. Hopefully not to return.

Getting Too Old For This

I thought I was alone in feeling old. In speaking with a couple of buddies yesterday, it turns out we are all feeling our ages.

Late nights don’t happen as much because of early mornings, dealing with teenagers is hair loss inducing, home repairs are getting overwhelming… the list of frustrations is long- and we are all feeling it.

Then there is the body aches and pains. The never-ending complaints about back pain, shoulder pain, muscle aches, odd strains that occur at random. Our bodies aren’t what they used to be.

So we find solace in one another. We are getting too old for this shit. I understand why we all need some “guy time” as well. Beers, campfire, cooking, just hanging out. All of these are a requirement in order to field the complaints. We know that each of us is in a similar boat.

Somehow we keep it together.

I’m pretty sure it’s because of napping.

Farewell Spring Break

Today is the last day of MY Spring Break– even though it’s the First Day Of Spring! My wife still has Sunday off and our kids have another week off from school. Lucky ducks.

I’m not sure how it went by so quickly. I was up early almost every day and stayed up late as well. We achieved a lot around the house through packing and donating. I think that was where all my free time went towards.

We did get some driving lessons in for our middle child, which was good. As well as a ton of emails and paperwork completed for the purchase of our new home. My wife and I spent a lot of time together on a few walks, and we went out for my Birthday supporting the local businesses.

I guess in the end, it was a fulfilled “Staycation” keeping me busy. It just seemed like something was missing. Perhaps the whole “can’t travel” outside of Canada has me down. I’m sure once more folks receive the vaccine, those borders will open up soon enough. For now, I should just appreciate the time I had at home with my family.

It would also be nice not to have to return to work… but bills gotta be paid somehow. Now to look forward to my next set of vacation days- set for when we move!

Green Food

Yesterday was St. Patrick’s Day, so my wife decided to have some fun with our foods. We added a bit of food coloring to a couple of our meals.

Our pancake breakfast was a colorful way to start the day. This breakfast is always a family favorite no matter what colour we make them. The skillet cooked flapjacks were delicious.

Dinner however…

Dinner was unsettling.

My wife made fried chickpea patties, which are always good. We had a basic romaine lettuce salad on the side. Our other side was rice with a mushroom sauce. The mushroom sauce was dyed green and was most unappetizing looking. That made it a bit more difficult to enjoy, even though it is something we have had in the past (only in its normal state).

One of our kids described the sauce as ogre snot. The other said it looked like Nickelodeon slime. Unfortunately the colour changed how the meal tasted in my mind. I’ve had issues with foods in the past based on texture or smell. Never colour. This was a first for me.

Note to self: do not dye cream of mushroom soup ever again.

He’s Hip. He’s Cool. He’s 45.

March 15th. 03/15. Multiply the numbers together and you get 45. That’s right folks. It’s my birthday today. I’m turning 45.

Back when I was 16/17 the tv show “Kids in The Hall” did a skit. Check it out here:He’s Hip. He’s Cool. He’s 45. I remember it being goofy and ridiculous. Because people who were 45 weren’t cool.

And yet, here I am. 45. I don’t see myself as hip or cool. I am however, a father, a husband, a railroader, a geek, and an all around nice guy.

I have no plans for my Birthday today either. I’m not wishing or hoping for an extraordinary gift from anyone. I’ll probably get a few texts and phone calls from friends and family. That’s all I really need.

And maybe a nap. Naps are cool.

Maskne

It’s been a year of following guidelines and wearing masks. I never had issues from breathing through a mask. But I have on occasion developed some acne from mask wearing.

The term that I’m sure you’ve heard is Maskne. A combo of mask and acne. I have only gotten a couple of pimples on my chin since the pandemic began, so I’m happy about that. I generally have clear skin.

I did however discover a zit inside my nose yesterday. A ZIT INSIDE MY NOSE. What the heck? Why? And why does it hurt so much?

I had to stick my finger into my nostril and press my nail against it to pop it. I popped the zit by picking my nose. It hurt so badly I was crying. Yup, I am a sexy man. Sorry folks, I am spoken for. My wife is extremely lucky.

How is your acne behind the mask going? Any fun stories like mine?

Our Future Home

In just over two and a half weeks we had listed our home, sold our home and bought a new home. It was fast, stressful, and filled with joy! We were able to get the price we wanted for our current place (and more). We are soon moving into what feels like our dream home.

There are so many things about this new house that appeal to us. First and foremost is the address. Yup. I’m a numbers guy. I like patterns. We had to get married on 10/07/2001 because I liked how the members were. The address for this place is 16261 61A Ave. In Chinese lucky numbers, the meanings are as follows:

ONE: UNITY

SIX: SMOOTH

TWO: HARMONY

I think this house will have that all for us: UNITY/SMOOTH/HARMONY.

This new home is nearly 5000 square feet over three levels. The listing was described like this: “Welcome to the POOL PARTY in this GORGEOUS FOXRIDGE home located in prestigious WEST CLOVERDALE! This extraordinary home has it all,quality construction,breathtaking views, 4982sqft w/ 5 bds,6 bths & daylight WALKOUT BASEMENT for INLAWS w/ finishings that mirror the main!Luxury living awaits,w/ immaculate master w/ fireplace,extravagant ensuite & 2 closets.Your open concept main floor overlooks your PRIVATE RESORT like pool & deck to enjoy coffee,cocktails,family & friends all while looking at your mountain & valley views(w/ Jimmy Buffet playing in the background). The list doesn’t end,S/S appliances,quartz counters,hardwood flooring, custom window coverings,coffered & vaulted ceilings & OVERSIZED driveway. All this in a family-friendly cul-de-sac close to schools, parks & walking trails!”

Yup, there is a built in pool in the backyard. This was the only thing that was giving us second thoughts about buying the place. It’s an extra expense that we never had on our “wish list” for a house. But the views, the space and the massive basement suite (that can generate a good income) more than makes up for it.

The interior of the house is exemplary in its style. The owners were meticulous with the upkeep and for a ten year old house- it shows as if it was brand new. The yard space and the views are what really drew our attention to this house. Even though we are moving from a treed backyard on almost an acre, the green belt and farmland behind this new property makes it feel spacious.

By summer our family will be in our new home. This will be a big change for us all- but a very welcomed one. I’m really happy and proud of how hard we worked at being homeowners for twenty years to get to this point. The long game has paid off, so they say.

Covid Vaccine

Starting next Monday, the general population of BC will be able to book their vaccinations for Covid-19. They are starting with people over age 90 the first week. Then every week after will go down by five year increments.

I hope to have my sleeve rolled up as soon as I am able to. That is because I am missing a portion of my left lung and have had respiratory issues my entire life. Covid has been stressful for me this past year. However, if I have to wait until July or later, I will patiently do that.

If all goes well, I really hope the restrictions will be lifted this summer. It would be nice to have a larger gathering once more with some dear friends. Where we can talk about all the frustration the pandemic has caused!

Here is the BC Roll Out: Covid Vaccine

Do you plan on taking a needle for your health? Why or why not? Let me know in the comments.

Watching Winter Fade Away

As the sun makes a more regular appearance these days, it feels as if winter is long since behind us. But Spring is still two weeks away.

My wife and I went out for a walk in Fort Langley today in order to take advantage of the weather. The coffee shops and restaurants had people lined up- social distancing of course. It wasn’t as busy as we expected on the trails, which was nice. We walked for about 5km just talking and enjoying a day off from house hunting. However, a couple of trains went by, reminding me of work.

At home, the vegetation is starting to become green and budding. We will get to enjoy one last Spring Bloom in this house, which is what we wanted. We talked about the plants that we will take to our next home instead of talking about what we will miss about this one.

In a sense, we are already moved out as we separate our feelings from this home. Sure, there’s still yard work and cleaning to do over the next couple of months. We don’t want to leave the place in shambles for the new owners. Plus we get the joy of spring and the feeling of starting anew.

Hump Day Happiness

It’s always a good feeling when the weather is nice. The world just seems more alive and vibrant.

Sometimes a midweek break of poor weather has you looking forward to the weekend. A day at work or school just seems to be a bit more pleasant as you look out the windows. It lifts your spirits with the knowledge that the weekend is fast approaching.

Cresting Hump Day means the week is almost over. A sense of relief, a warm fuzzy, a breath of fresh air.

I like sunny hump days.

March On

I cannot believe that we are in March of 2021 already. It feels like only yesterday that lockdowns began. But it’s been over a year. Here we are heading towards spring the following year… when is this pandemic going to end?

The “New Normal” is now the normal. Wear a mask, wash your hands ♾ times a day, keep your distance, no large crowds… For the most part, we are all accepting of these new rituals. I have become more accustomed to hand sanitizing than I ever thought I’d be.

Of course this has also made us buggy and stir crazy. (Since when did Sea Shanties become popular?) In the end we have discovered what is important to us. Walks in nature, making video calls to family and friends, learning new skills like baking or painting- all part of the “New Normal”.

As a society, we have been able to March On. That makes us resilient. Let’s keep up the positivity as we head towards a healthy tomorrow.

Three Day Work Week Stress

Hooray for the upcoming four day weekend!

With everything that is going on this month- it is nice to realize that I only have a three day work week. Even better is the fact that I have only one more shift to go. What’s been really good is that work has been comforting in the fact that the stresses there are manageable.

I’m not liking the house selling/buying stresses. About twenty years ago when my wife and I did a “Pre-Marriage Course”. It was part of the agreement we made with the pastor in order for her to marry us. The course was over a weekend and delved into a lot of subjects related to marriage. The one I recall the most was how to Tri-fold a towel. The other was about the different stresses in our lives. (Folding towels isn’t one of them… unless you make it one).

The top stressors after death and marriage was having children and moving. I’m happy to report that divorce hasn’t happened and death in the family has been at the wayside since just before we married. Children are an ongoing stress. But moving has happened only twice since my wife and I met 21 years ago. I guess it was about time to add that stress in our lives.

So as nice as it is that I have a three day work week, it just means that I will be able to focus my free time at home stressed out. No real avenue to relieve that stress either. I’ll probably just end up gathering more junk together and get it ready for pick up. I’m also going to try going for a walk each day to clear my head. I just need to stay active and not dive too far into my own thoughts.

Castle Havelka

It has officially happened folks. After a couple of years of hemming and hawing we put our house on the market to sell. This has been an emotional and tough decision that didn’t happen easily.

First, some history on the house:

It was built by my wife’s father in the early 70’s. He was a bricklayer by trade and enjoyed woodworking as a hobby- and it shows throughout the home. We took possession of the house in May of 2007 when our son was only one year old. It has been a great home to grow in with our kids, with innumerable memories made and loads of personal touches added over the years. Putting the house on the market has a greater emotional connection with more members of this family than just my wife and I.

Here is a collection of pictures from the house after staging. It sure feels like a little oasis away from the hustle and bustle of life.

If you wish to check the listing while it is still active, head over to REW. This house has never been on the market, so the value we put on it is worth more in memories than it is in dollars.

We are excited to pass it on as we say goodbye to the beautiful nature that surrounded us. This is a truly unique home that we hope will be enjoyed by future families.