Yesterday evening my 15 year old son sent me a text. It was the nicest and most surprising text I have had in quite some time. I was genuinely taken aback by the text.
My son and I talk a lot about Marvel and Star Wars. We try and watch the movies and shows together. It has turned into a great father/son bonding time. But to have him start by asking if I wanted to attend a movie with him and his friend was by far the most loving moment he has shared with me- without knowing it.
I am now seeing a movie on Friday night with a couple of teenage boys. They could’ve easily asked to be dropped off, but I’m glad he chose to ask me along. Things may change over the years, but this Friday I will feel like a superstar. And all it took was my son asking a simple question. My heart swelled up last night when I read the text.
Everyday we have to clean the skimmer trap in our pool. We also take a net and gather up any bugs or debris that is floating on the top of the water in the pool. Not a lot of bugs at this time mind you. Occasionally there is a bug trying to swim and escape the pool, so I’ll help it out.
Yesterday I watched as a dragonfly attempted to land on the water. I fished it out with my finger and the dragonfly shook the water off it’s wings. Then it just hung out with me. Not a care in the world. Had it been a wasp- I’d have been stung as a thank you.
I ended up making a short video for my newly created TikTok account. Feel free to view it here: Dragonfly. It was neat to just have it on my finger. I have had numerous other wild critters in my hands. Check out the links below to my former blog entries:
Earlier this year Weezer released a new song, I Need Some Of That. I immediately connected with the lyrics. The same way I can associate life with the Barenaked Ladies song, Pinch Me. Both songs are well written songs about youth and living in the suburbs.
Only recently have we re-entered the suburban lifestyle. I hadn’t realized how much I needed it. Seeing children playing, folks washing cars, dog walkers, joggers, sprinklers on the lawn; all of it is a sense of serenity and life. A life I had as a child and teenager that somehow I forgot about or didn’t acknowledge at the time.
I now enjoy being around neighbors who stop and say “Hello”. Not that our old neighborhood wasn’t like that. It just took walking for a couple of acres to possibly see someone. In our old neighborhood- everyone knew everyone for decades. This neighborhood? Perfect strangers greet each other with a smile and a kind word.
It’s just what I needed. A lifestyle consisting of strangers just being nice. A wave or a nod sharing a moment. Living in the suburbs has a zen like feeling you cannot find anywhere else. A sense of security and safety. I’m totally drinking the cherry koolaid on this one folks.
Well folks I made it this far and you have joined me for the ride. I am about to crest my five year mark of writing every single day. I cannot believe that I have been blogging now for 1825 days in a row.
I have diligently written every day for these five years- no matter what. I have written about movies and music (I’m not an entertainment blogger) and enjoying small businesses (I’m not an influencer). I even write about family (Not a parenting blog) or when I was on vacation in other countries (Nope, not a travel blog).
I just write for the sake of writing. Sometimes what I share can be inspirational. Most often it is to remind people that life is good and memories are worth sharing. Many people can relate to my experiences it seems, which can make for pleasant interactions with my audience.
Generally speaking, I don’t have thousands of followers. But of the almost 900 people that do follow and choose to interact with me, I will respond to every comment made. That always makes me happy. Last year in 2020, I had over 14,000 views on my site. That seems like an astronomical amount of strangers visiting my ramblings. Especially when I look at my stats and see that people all over the world read about my life.
I just want to say a hearty “Thank You” to all my friends and followers out there. I’m sure some days you think to yourself, “There’s Josef’s blog, showing up in my newsfeed again.” While other days you may look forward to seeing what I have in store.
I plan to keep my momentum going and will continue to share my thoughts each and every day. Please keep reading, sharing and interacting with me.
I’m always of the belief that we should help others out in the best way possible. It goes beyond just giving donations to charitable organizations. We need to help one another achieve more every day.
I have found over the years that the majority of people out there need help. But many of us have difficulty asking for it. One of the best things that ever happened to me was a friend referring me to the company I now work for. Since that time, I have done my part and recommended others to apply here as well. Not everyone has garnered employment, but I have done my part to try and lead them to greener pastures.
Lending a hand is also a personal activity of mine. I’ll make myself available to assist friends and family whenever possible. Helping my kids and wife is always a priority when it comes to this. I’m not saying I put their needs ahead of mine, but rather I accept that their needs are of equal importance and will help out when able.
Over the years I have learned skills and growth from many coworkers, friends and family. My family and I have gotten to where we are with the help of those who care. I have also assisted others in personal development. We are all in this together- why not build one another up and “Pay it Forward”.
Being a father is great! You get to never grow up. Kids want you to play with toys, watch cartoons, dress up, all that fun stuff.
I love the fact that I get to steal my kids’ lunch snacks and pack them into my lunch. My son has accepted this and even packs treats for me to enjoy. This time was a couple pieces of strawberry Nibs candy. It was a pleasant surprise.
Back in high school I used to buy big boxes of Super Nibs every week. I’d keep them in my locker. As people wandered the halls, they knew to stop by for a treat if they saw me at my locker. I’ve always been the sort of person to share if it brings people joy.
Inadvertently I have bestowed that quality in my son. It brings me joy that he wants to make others happy with simple gestures as I do.
I’m still going to steal granola bars and cheese and crackers for my lunch. But a Nib or two is always welcome.
Okay folks, we are on the verge of 2020 coming to an end. You got this! You’ve been holding on tight for this whirlwind of a ride and it’s almost over.
Even through all the insanity that this past year has brought, it doesn’t mean that it will sudden change on January 1st. But we can change. We can all become the good natured, warm hearted people that we should be.
Be nice to everyone.
That is sage advice. Why is it so difficult to achieve? I’m by no means perfect. But in the new year I am going to actively push myself to think more positively and compassionately about others and their situations. I’m going to be nicer to everyone.
Yet another original Star Wars actor has passed away. Today was Jeremy Bulloch- the original actor who played Boba Fett.
Back in 2012 I had the honor of meeting him at the Fan Expo in Vancouver. It was one of the local convention shows that my wife had a booth at selling her handmade hats. (Need a winter hat? Check out Ningen Headwear) I also remember it clearly because it was on a Sunday and the celebrities were literally across from our table looking bored.
So I took my six year old son over to meet a few celebrities. First we met the original Batman and Robin- Adam West and Burt Ward. Those two were sitting together and had a riot talking to my son about being superheroes. After about ten minutes of talking to Batman, we side stepped to talk with Mr. Bulloch.
My son’s reaction was to tell him how we had just met Batman and Robin. Jeremy’s reaction was perfect. The two of them talked about the old Batman show and how bad guys never win. My son knew who Boba Fett was, it’s not like I hadn’t instilled the love of Star Wars at a young age. But it really is different when you never see his face (compared to West or Ward).
Like I said, all three of these gentlemen interacted with nothing but kindness to my young boy. That truly made them heroes in my eyes that day. No fan theories or questions about getting into a costume or what it was like to work with other actors. Just a couple old guys playing along with a kid that they didn’t even know.
But those few minutes with Jeremy Bulloch were as impactful in our lives as Boba Fett’s original five minutes on screen. For that, I wish to say thank you sir.
This morning when I came home from work, I decided to have a cup of coffee as I usually do. Instead of grabbing one of the Matching Mugs that my wife and I use, I chose to grab an old mug of my father’s. I somehow inherited the mug decades ago, and forgot about its existence until today.
It states on the mug this poem:
If there is one doctrine
You truly believe
It’s this one: It is nicer
To give than receive.
Your heart is unblemished
By envy or greed;
You are there for all
In times of desperate need.
Because of the kindness
And love you distribute,
You shall improve this world-
You’ll truly contribute.
I remember gifting my father this mug when I was a child. With it’s faded paint and cracking glaze, it continues telling a story. One that I read numerous times growing up. A story that I feel I have inadvertently made real.
The doctrine on the mug is one I tend to follow as often as I can. Being an ear for the voices, having my hand to hold, and passing on my love to those who need it- fills me with a great joy. I’m always the person to be counted on when needed most.
Yesterday as I was leaving for work, the familiar childhood tune of “Turkey In The Straw” was echoing through our neighborhood. Living in a very spread out neighborhood filled with acreage- it can be heard for blocks. It is also rare for the ice cream truck to come by. This happens maybe two or three times in the summer.
A few minutes later I was in my car driving. At the stop sign, I saw the ice cream truck stopped in front of my neighbors. A mother and her kid were walking away, and then a boy was walking up with another boy beside him. This other boy was my son.
So I pulled over and walked up to them. My son looked guilty as if I had just caught him doing something he shouldn’t. As I walked up, the other boy’s father also walked up. He told me that Theory is a really great kid and that the ice cream was their treat. Which was mighty neighbourly of them.
Besides going to see what my son was up to, I knew who the ice cream man was. No, it wasn’t Freddy Krueger…
Back when I finished high school, I would work four afternoons a week as a gas station cashier. An older fella worked the graveyard shift. This was Nelson. I would see him at turnover and we didn’t have much in common since he was twice my age at the time. We were both let go when the gas station changed ownership. I went off to eventually work at a variety of jobs. Where as Nelson went to be an ice cream truck driver. The year was 1996.
We spoke briefly, mostly exchanging pleasantries and a bit of idle chitchat. I felt bad for this 61 year old guy driving a truck with faded paint and signage. So I ended up buying some overpriced frozen treats for the rest of my family in order to support this former coworker. Sure, he looks kinda creepy with his coke bottle glasses and missing teeth. He’s also been delivering ice cream for ages, listening to the same tinkling of bells, and dealing with children; he must have lost some marbles along the way. I swear it’s the same truck I saw him driving when he first started the gig.
If you stop at an ice cream truck in Langley and see the old guy with greasy black hair and 1980’s glasses, rummaging through his old Viking freezer for the $4.00 bar your kid so desperately wants- make sure you say “Thank you Nelson”.
His smile will be genuine because he really does love his job.
I began writing my blog for today, but wasn’t happy with it. It was a very heavy opinion piece that even made me angry reading it. Not because I wouldn’t agree with my piece, but rather that people could end up offended. And that is not the goal I have with my blog.
So I deleted it.
That blog ceased to be. It is in the dark recesses of technological ones and zeros. I removed it one character at a time. I watched as my cursor blinked slowly at first as each letter vanished. Then whole words disappeared, followed by entire sentences.
So now you get this blog entry instead. I wish it was more inspiring. Perhaps it is?
Perhaps not sharing a differing opinion because I knew it could push some buttons is in fact an inspiration.
Yesterday we received a good dumping of snow that School was cancelled. Our side street is always neglected by the snow plows which sucks. Driving in or out of our home is tough. But our neighbor across the street is always Determined to plow the snow every year in order to get out of his driveway for breakfast. He saw my kids shoveling our driveway and decided to come over and use his tractor to clean up our driveway a bit faster. This made my kids happy.
Later in the day, our daughter took it upon herself to make him a thank you card. She also included a couple of packets of hot chocolate for him. She wasn’t asked to do this. Which means that my wife and I have instilled a great set of values on our children.
Kindness and compassion are paramount when it comes to being a good person. Doing it without cause or applause is a much greater feeling as well. (Chances are my kids won’t read today’s blog). I think we’ve done a pretty bang up job as parents that’s for sure. I’m also really happy that our neighbors are such kind people as well.
Trust is something that you can’t come by easily. But to have a complete stranger trust you is even more scarce. Especially when it comes to money. My story here is a simple one, but made my heart smile nonetheless.
Yesterday as I was driving home from the school with my kids, I stopped at a person selling flowers on the side of the road. She has set up in the same location for a couple of years now selling flowers out the back of her van. We often drive past without thinking twice. Yesterday I finally decided to stop and surprise my wife with a bouquet of flowers.
As I was talking to the lady, I realized I had no cash on me. So I asked if she takes debit or credit cards. Since I’ve worked conventions- many people set up a Square account to be able to make such transactions, which seems to be the trend nowadays. Unfortunately, this lady did not have a card reader. I was ready to thank her for her time…
Immediately she asked me which bouquet I wanted and told me to pay her back another time. Even with my repeated objections, she insisted. I chose a lovely full arrangement of flowers. The flowers looked great when put them on our table at home.
But it gets better.
My daughter this morning texted me that she put $20 in my wallet to cover the cost of the flowers. I was not expecting that from her. It seems that kindness can rub off on people. Seems like our parenting skills are paying off.
But wait there’s more!
I returned today to pay the flower lady the $20 for the bouquet (which is a good deal for the amount of flowers btw). She was smiling and thanked me for the payment. Before we walked away, she handed my son a large yellow daisy.
Kindness is contagious. This stranger trusted me. I could have chosen to not pay her back. But the guilt would have eaten at me every time I drove past her. Because I’m not that type of person- I could never have done that.
Instead, I will have a smile in my heart when I see the back of her van propped open and buckets of flowers placed around her feet.
There’s too much anger in the world. That it makes me sad.
I have found lately, that as much as I try to ignore it, people are very vocal about their opinions. To a point where they stop listening and just do talking.
I want to be open minded about people’s opinions on politics, religion, money, entertainment, and even life. Just because I am open minded, doesn’t mean I need to agree with one stance or another. It means I can accept that we have a difference of opinion, but remain respectful of it.
Anyways, don’t get angry with someone just because they don’t share the same beliefs as you. Get angry at them for not using coasters under their drink glasses. That is unacceptable.
I learned that quote from my Disney Training back in my days of the movie theater. (I also learned a four finger point, but that’s not important here). I still use the term “My Pleasure” everyday. No matter what type of interaction I have. It is one of my favorite sayings instead of “You’re welcome.” or “No Problem.”
Here’re the reasons such a phrase works well as a response to them saying, “Thank You.”. “You’re Welcome.” Implies that the actions fall solely on the other person.
“No Problem.” Is forcing a negative connotation into your response. People hear the first word and it creates a poor emotional response.
“My Pleasure.” Shows that you care about what you are doing for the other person.
I recently had a “Chat Conversation” with an Apple representative. He used the term “My Pleasure” three times during it. In the the end he was very helpful, so I kept the conversation upbeat. Using positive terminology helped in getting my issue resolved quickly and efficiently.
What I have learned is that using positivity gets positive results.
I find it weird when someone at work talks about me behind my back. Especially when it’s something nice- that’s even worse. I don’t do compliments well.
Turns out I’m making a good impression at work lately. I think it comes from the fact that I am honest and polite. Or maybe it’s because of my obsession with Star Wars. Or perhaps my use of movie quotes in daily conversations. Whatever the case may be- I’m not sure I like it.
But being kind and listening to others makes me feel good. If I do talk about someone behind their back, I will say it to their face as well. No point in hiding behind rumors and hearsay.
I like being nice though. I guess it shows and people talk. 😎
Blogging is fun. I do the writing mostly for myself, but it seems others enjoy reading about my life. From old friends to complete strangers- everyone has been relatively positive about what I share. Good feels.
I’ve also enjoyed online interactions with my fellow bloggers. Every week, I am interacting with more and more people. They are like Magical Internet Faeries spreading joy in my life. On this journey, I’ve been lucky enough to dodge the trolls.
Or perhaps the trend is swaying in the right direction? I have found lately that people proudly share more positivity, and say things like love conquers all or even hate leads to suffering…
Whatever the reason may be, I’m really happy to be a part of the online community. Keep up the good work universe and all you Internet Faeries who bring me joy! You know who you are.
Turns out that if I’m feeling down, my wife feels down. We’ve been together for many years now. We share emotions and feelings- oftentimes feeding off one another. I always knew this to be true.
25 years ago I read “The Celestine Prophecy“. I wouldn’t say I’m spiritual or New Age in any form. But this book (and its sequels) made me realize more about human interactions than I thought possible. I’ve lived my life with a knowledge that people feed off one another’s feelings and emotions. Both good and bad. This book is also a part of the reason I want to visit Peru. Maybe I will try and find my own “Spiritual Journey” one day.
Before I go and book a plane ticket, there are plenty of practices I do already that I learned from these books. I try and surround myself with positivity and kindness. My friends are people who bring me joy. At work, I try and keep an upbeat attitude. It usually helps relieve tensions.
With a family of five at home, there have been times that each of us struggle to have control. I hope my children take the time to read these books. It will help build stronger empathetic characteristics in them. They already care about others, but there’s always more that could be done.
After we talked about our feelings, my wife and I are getting back on track. We are setting some lofty goals for the year and finding ways to relax. I love my naps, and she loves her video games. Both are excellent ways to combat those “blah” feelings. Maybe it’s time to re-read the “Celestine Prophecy“.
We have been without power now for 27 hours and counting… Yesterday wasn’t so bad, read about it here: No Power No Problem. But after a while it is getting a bit taxing.
We haven’t seen an end in sight for when the power will be restored during this ice storm. Warm fires and board games don’t exactly feed the family. We did a sandwich spread last night which was tasty. I used a cast iron pan in the fireplace to toast up the breads (almost like a grilled cheese). This morning was scrambled eggs and bacon with boiled water making French pressed coffee. My family wasn’t going to starve by any means.
After a bit of “Social Media Complaining” a friend of ours invited us over for dinner. We wholeheartedly accepted! We gladly drove for about a half hour to have use of flushing toilets, electricity and being fed. Our friend makes fantastic meals and we often share plans with one another. They’ve come to our place on occasion as well.
A bottle of wine and a case of beer were brought over to share. Accepting the kindness from friends reassures me that people are wonderful. Good conversation and good food made our evening extremely pleasant. I’ll never not take up someone’s offer to be kind. It’s not a handout- it’s friendship. It’s looking out for those who matter most to you.
Thank you to my friends for opening their doors and hearts to my family tonight. Your love and kindness is appreciated!
There’s a famous Canadian that has said some things and done some things. Then there’s me.
I’ve also said some things and done some things. What surprises me is the impact of my words and actions vs someone famous. I don’t have the same size audience. Mine is much smaller, a bit closer to me, perhaps even a bit more intimate.
My audience is my children and my wife. My audience is my friends and coworkers. My audience is complete strangers.
Somehow I have made an impact on each life I touch. I have received handshakes and thank you cards for just being me. I have been acknowledged for my actions or my patience- through emails and phone calls. It surprises me each and every time it happens.
All I ever want to do is make the world a better place. I want to watch others succeed. I want people to realize that happiness comes from within.
That’s just who I am. A regular Joe. An everyday hero to no one in particular.
Yesterday was a blah day. I didn’t want to be at work. I didn’t want to see my family. I just wanted to stay in bed. Part of it was the fact that I felt under the weather. Another part was that it was my father’s birthday yesterday. The last part that really made me sad was the fact that I hadn’t seen my kids for nearly a week.
Work and my desire to have a social life cut into my fatherly duties. Something that my own father used to do. I was upset at myself for it. So I felt blah. Real blah.
All it took for me to feel better was a simple text from a friend. I realized I’ll have bad moments in life. But it’s sometimes nice to see your life from someone else’s point of view. My friend lifted my spirits with some kind words.
He didn’t have to. But yesterday’s blog post Father’s Birthday was more emotional than I’ve written lately. It’s nice that my friend took the time to read it and give me some kind words.
Hate spews hate. That’s why I choose to be kind to people whenever possible. I don’t need to have everyone like me but I also don’t go out of my way to make people hate me. Usually.
I find that many people’s beliefs prevent them from truly sharing love and kindness. It’s a big reason that I’m an atheist. I want to live in a world where everyone is be able to express their feelings or opinions without reprisal. I may not believe in a god but I do believe in the good inside of people. Being accepting of how different we all are is a great attribute that many people lack. Often hiding behind religion or even racism to explain their behavior.
I try and accept people as decent humans. Showing some random kindness is my way of sharing my beliefs: Be kind to others.It’s that easy. Or as Wil Wheaton says: Don’t be a dick.
Inside of my mind is a plethora of thoughts. Thoughts I have shared daily for many days now. According to my stats- 595 days of blogging. I’m almost at 8000 visitors and 12,000 views. I’ve also had readership from 80 different countries. To me- these are some of the nicest numbers I have seen in my life.
The biggest take away from writing daily is the kindness people bring forward. Unlike social media, there is less negativity in this aspect of my world. It brings joy to my heart. Any comments or notes written to me about my posts are encouraging. It keeps me excited about writing.
Sharing my version of art gives me more purpose. It drives me to be a better writer and a kinder person. Inside of my mind is an entire world to explore. Sharing my tales are a way for family, friends and strangers to peer through the window of my soul and see something unique.
I encourage everyone to express themselves in an artistic manner. It can be hard to put yourself out there. Getting over the fear of rejection is a tough hurdle.
Back to my title of today’s piece: I wanna know what you’re thinking.
Please share your works of art more. Be it writing, drawing, singing, dancing, photography, or any other number of things- please share it. The world needs more art. More expression. More beauty. More kindness. We all have it inside of us. Let’s make this planet a great place to live on.
Share. You may be as surprised as I am at how many people you can reach in the end.
So last Friday I wasn’t feeling great and took a day in bed. Reflecting back on it, I had a day of depression. Me. A man who is always chill. The guy who is ready to be nice to everyone. The dude who abides.
I had a bad day.
My bad day began the day before. It really shouldn’t have, but it did. I started my days off by taking a nap post night shift. I was supposed to meet some friends and a coworker for a beer later on Thursday evening. However, my coworker was called into work and my friends had forgotten/ or had difficulty making it out due to weather. I struggled on and went out for a beer by myself. Talk about taking one for the team.
Having a beer by myself wasn’t a big deal. I made a plan and I stuck to it. However, as I was out, I got really irritated by a few women that were at the brew house. It wasn’t their fault. They just spoke really mean about the people they knew and did it in a loud voice. *Lucky* for me I was sitting at the table next to them minding my own business- but eavesdropping on them without much choice. It made me sad that all they wanted to do was complain and share hatred about their lives.
After only having a couple beers while I was out I decided it was time to go home. At home, I ended up drinking another beer and calling it a night. But the thoughts of how mean these ladies were talking about their “friends” stuck with me as I fell asleep. That third beer made me bitter.
I woke up the following day feeling like crap emotionally. So I stayed in bed and proceeded to sleep off and on throughout the day. But the bitter pit stayed in me. It took me the entire day to shake it off.
People can have a profound effect on one another. Knowingly or unknowingly. I don’t know why I felt so bad after hearing these strangers talk. But I did.
Drowning out the negative is difficult to do. Moving forward I will continue to try and remain positive- both in how I live and act. Perhaps my little bit of positivity can make the world a better place.
Yesterday I went to work. (Like I do most days that I’m required to if I want a paycheck.) For the most part, I really like the job and the people I work with. During my shift yesterday a coworker said I do a pretty good job and asked me if I like my job on a scale of one to ten. Ten being “Best Dream Job Ever” and one being “I wake up everyday wanting to shoot myself in the face.” After some thought, I said I’d put my job at a 6.5-7 on most days.
However… Occasionally there is someone I work with whom I just can’t stand. There are only a select few actually. Not bad considering there are a few hundred people that I deal with regularly including customers, supervisors, and people in other departments. Working in an industry that has varied shifts and on-call workers is a blessing some days. This means oftentimes I won’t be stuck dealing with those that I don’t like.
Back to yesterday- because it was the most recent situation. I showed up to work to get the turnover from the fellow before me. I trained him last year and he’s really good at his job (patting myself on the back here!). He tells me that he is always thinking throughout his shift “What Would Josef Do?” He always has the start of my shift set up for success. When I turnover to the next Yardmaster, I do my best to leave them in good shape as well. You never want to be “That Guy” who sucks at their job. Trust me. Those people get their names scrawled on bathroom walls… because hey, we are grown ups here.
Sometimes I think I need to keep my opinion to myself about which coworkers I like and don’t like. But that can be difficult when you just need to get it off your chest. I was talking with my fellow Yardmaster yesterday as he was finishing his shift and I was about to begin, I let it slip, nay outright mentioned, a coworker that I hated working with. He laughed and said to me that that person earlier in the day mentioned how much they enjoy working with me. Dammit-all-to-heck.
I am usually overly kind to the people I can’t stand. I knew I did this. My wife has pointed it out to me as well. It’s a fault I have. Unfortunately it means that they think I enjoy their company.
Trust me, if I liked you and wanted to be your friend, I’d treat you like shit. Ask any of my close friends how nice I really am.