The First Set of Races

So it begins. The first inter-club race of the Speed Skating season. Our club in Langley is hosting today- which means a lot of the parents from the club are volunteering in some aspect. Our two daughters are also helping for the entire day as “Place Judges”.

This is the look of a tired parent who was here a couple of hours before races start to set up mats along the boards. Those mats help protect the skaters should they fall.

We also have paramedics on stand-by should anything happen. This year I asked my buddy Greg if he would be available to help us out. He eagerly responded and was able to bring another 1st Aid Attendant with him.

Only a few races in, and they’ve had to come and check on a couple of the kids who fell. No serious injuries, more just precautions. And of course my wife needed a bandaid. Sharpening the skates can be dangerous when you’re not careful!

In the end, it’s amazing how a small community comes together in order to support these kids and teenagers in a sport that they love. I am proud that our son wants to achieve his goal of making it further in the sport.

There are numerous kids and parents from the variety of clubs who also want the best for all of the children. Even though these are competitions, there is a comradery between us all. Positive encouragement is given to every skater. That brings me joy.

Staying Dry

My wife and I had a fairly successful Sober September. I faltered once and had a beer at the airport in Winnipeg. As September ended and October began, I wasn’t eagerly waiting for the month to end in order to “Hit the sauce” so to speak.

On Thursday we went out with some friends for a dinner. Originally we were going to go to Trading Post in Abbotsford- a place with great food and atmosphere. I would’ve likely had my favorite beer there- the 1828 Helles Lager. But they were closed for a private event. So we ended up at The Canadian Brewhouse instead.

Their beer special was Budweiser. A beer I don’t overly enjoy. So I had a ginger ale instead and I felt good about it. I know we’re only five days into October, but I’ve been enjoying a variety of teas and sodas in lieu of alcohol. The only thing I’m noticing is that I am craving sweets more often. Hence the sodas.

As Autumn progresses, I’ll probably enjoy a drink or two at some point. I’m just not actively going out to buy beers or planning nights with friends at breweries as I have in the past.

Maybe I can find an elegant tea house nearby and invite you out for a social date.

Fridays For Future

The most recent climate change movement spearheaded by Greta Thunberg has gained momentum as of late. I feel this is probably one of the first times that the world is finally listening to its future- the children.

I am in full support of those who wish to strike for climate change. If children choose to walk out of class in support of this movement- then all the more power to them. Many of our local school boards have decided that there will not be repercussions for any students who choose to be a part of the strike. I commend the boards for their actions as well.

Clearly the world has needed some true action in regards to reducing the damage being done by humans. I’ve always heard about what I can do to help since the early 80’s. Reduce, reuse, recycle. A mantra that I am actively doing at every possible chance. But is it enough? Obviously more people, corporations, and countries need to be a part of the change.

Are you joining in #fridaysforfuture ?

Do you support children striking from school?

What do you do to help the environment?

Let me know in the comments.

What A Mess

Getting my kids to tidy up after themselves is tough. Our main living space is already hard enough to keep clean when five of us are always around. Especially with the fact that we are busy and always on the go. Always.

But their bedrooms are entities entirely unto their own. That is their place of solitude and peace if they so require it. As teens, they do love disappearing into their rooms. I just wish they’d make them, uh, more habitable.?.

Our two youngest are notorious for not making their beds. They’re also pretty good at leaving clothes everywhere as well. My wife and I try to get them to tidy up on a weekly basis. But it feels like their rooms explode into chaos almost immediately.

At least our oldest daughter takes pride in making sure her bed is made every morning. She is also the one who tries to ditch doing chores and hides in her room the most. The biggest problem with her room is she has the dog sleep in there at night. Our dog sheds a lot. Our daughter rarely vacuums her room. There is often little furryballs gathering in the corners.

It’s hard to motivate our teenagers to clean up. Instead of motivation, it usually ends up being empty threats of my wife and I claiming that we will throw everything out if they don’t clean up. But because of our hectic schedules, there isn’t much time to let the kids saunter through cleaning, so the mess just continues.

All parents face this dilemma. And it doesn’t get any better as the kids become teenagers. Oh well.

More Speed Skating Ice Time!

The Langley Blades Speed Skating Club has been able to secure a couple of hours every Sunday at a sports complex that just opened. The complex is so new that they don’t even have the concession area rented out. I’m glad that our little club jumped at an opportunity to get more ice time- this will be beneficial to all of our skaters as well as future skaters.

The new location is just a twenty minute drive from the Langley Sportsplex where we skate twice a week and have our competition meets. It may seem odd that our club has some new time at North Surrey Sport and Ice Complex, but we have skaters who live in Surrey. This is a great opportunity for them to be closer to home and maybe garner more speed skaters to join.

This new ice looks pristine and will be a great opportunity for the skaters to get more practices in. Speed Skating always seems like an afterthought at these places. Hockey and Figure Skating always comes first. We are lucky to get the time slots we do and when new times come available, the skating clubs push to try and secure a couple of hours.

Personally, our family does a lot of traveling around to make the most of the opportunities to speed skate. Every week our son skates 4-5 days for a couple of hours each time. It’s not just in Langley mind you. We also travel to Maple Ridge and Abbotsford in order to get some training. Some of the skaters at those clubs come out to Langley as well. It’s quite the little community of skaters all sharing in the knowledge and expertise of the sport.

Now that we have a Surrey location- maybe there will be a new club created. But in the meantime, they shall carry the Blades name for the foreseeable future.

For more information about our club, visit Langley Blades or find them on Facebook. We’d love to see more up and comers join in the sport.

Trying To Be A Better Man

Today would’ve been my father’s birthday. Over the years I’ve been trying different ways to remember the good in him. Which has been difficult when the bad memories were more impactful. From September 19 (My father’s birthday) to November 25th (the date he passed away) I’m not a pleasant person to be around at home. I’ve been consciously making different choices in my life to try and be a better person each and every day.

For two years in a row I grew a beard. It made me look like him. I was thinking of making it a tradition, but last year my family pushed hard and made me feel bad that I grew facial hair. I’m not sure why, but I’d rather not have bitterness thrown at me from those whom I care about. So no beard planned this year.

Last year I did “Sober September” and this year I’m trying as well. I had a couple of beers once this month and felt instant shame in myself for being weak. The reason is my father drank heavily and I worry that the trait runs deep in my genes. Especially when I look back at most of my Instagram posts and see a lot of beer in my hands.

Obviously I’d love to say that I am in control of my drinking, but am I? I come home from work and would like a beer with dinner. I have days off and want to see friends which generally brings up drinking. Maybe this year I’ll try not drinking from September 19 to November 25th. Do the complete opposite of what my father would do. Maybe only then can I push the negative out of my mind and bring out the positive memories.

I sure don’t want to end up like him- sour, angry and dead by age 58. That doesn’t appeal to me. I want to be a better person.

I know I’m a better person. I just need to remind myself from time to time.

Why Am I Sick!?

I think I brought back something from Winnipeg that I didn’t overly want. A massive head cold and stomach bug. It started slowly on Sunday, but blossomed into something much less desirable by the end of Tuesday.

Taking a sick day is rare for me. But I really needed it. Sleep and medicine has been useful in trying to combat this attack on my body. Wearing comfortable pjs and eating comfort food has also been helping. (That’s probably just the lazy factor making me happy.)

I want to blame the recirculated air on the airplanes for this. But it’s probably a culmination of that plus back to school (kids are germ spreaders!) and the change in weather. My stockpile of unused tissues is diminishing as my collect of used ones increases.

Ugh. I just want to get back to feeling normal.

Is that too much to ask?

Trees and Vines

I love eating green grapes. One of my favorite fruits right next to apples. When my wife and I bought our first home- I had two apple trees and a grape vine. I took great care and tended to them meticulously in order to enjoy the fruits which they bore.

We moved to our current home a dozen or so years ago. There was already an established plum tree, a pear tree and an apple tree in the yard. I planted a second apple tree as well. Over the years, we saw fruit from the original three trees. But in the last couple years, we lost the plum tree to disease and the original apple tree uprooted. This year the pear tree did not bear any fruit.

Sadly, this means our fruit trees are no more it seems. Even the apple tree I planted has not grown much in a decade. We have many other healthy trees which keep our home and yard shaded.

I think that next spring I will plant some grape vines in the sunnier part of my yard. I love green grapes.

Facebook Follies

Years ago I used to post about six or seven status updates on Facebook every day. This was not including the amount of times I’d change my profile picture as well. I went through a phase where I shared any and every humorous Star Wars image I could find.

Back in March of this year I took a drastic approach to this addiction. I deleted all my friends from Facebook. I’m not blaming my friends for my addiction. It’s just they humored my zany antics and prompted me to continue. I needed the next big laugh or long list of “comments” and “likes”. Those feelings never lasted and I craved more attention creating a vicious circle.

I find now that my daily blog is more informative and a better use of my time. It allows me to truly express myself and share how my life is going. I’m also reading more pieces from other bloggers and feeling much more productive. There’s an entire world out there that doesn’t require “a like for a like.”

I still use Facebook, but in a much different facet. I read articles that are enlightening or educational to me. I also interact with my blog followers when they comment. It’s a different, more grown up feeling I’m getting from using Facebook.

And I “like” it.

Sober September

I’m going for year two of Sober September. The end of summer had me enjoying my vacation with quite a few beers this year. As much as I want to sport the beer gut and “Dad Bod” I also want to be healthy. Taking a break from the hops and barley will help.

We also have quite the collection of Growlers from the breweries we’ve visited. It’s time to let them gather dust for a bit. Generally if I liked a beer, I bought a growler. But the artwork on the bottles is also important. I guess it’s kind of like spoon collecting?

Anyways, it’s September 1st. Time to get on the path of Sober September. I’m glad I did it last year and was eager to do it again this year. My wife has said she is going to join me this month as well. That’s the kind of awesome support that I appreciate.