Map It Out

The map you read is not the land you travel.

I realized that no matter what map you follow- there is more to explore if you look around. I have often experienced more from life by just trying to figure out where I am by using landmarks. Maps are just “guidelines” for how to get somewhere. GPS doubly so. When I use the navigation in my car to get to places I’ve been before-it’s more just to see the time when I will arrive, not the route to use.

Maps help you get from point A to point B. They’re two dimensional. Maps don’t give you information on what you will see on your journey or the people you’ll meet. Sure looking online might show a landmark or recommend a sight to see, but that’s still not the land in which you travel.

Life is similar in many ways.

You map out a goal and figure out how to achieve it. There may be stops and detours along the way that your map didn’t show you. If you stay the course, you’ll get to the destination. Or maybe your destination will change. In which case you map out a new route. Just remember to check out the land in which you travel.

There’s more to life than just reaching that destination. Explore the world.

Out Of The Corner Of Your Eye

I’m not sure what is going on lately with me. I’ve been having weird moments where I think I see something, only it’s not there.

ere I am JH

Usually I just brush it off. Attribute it to lack of sleep. Only I’m not tired.

Maybe it’s a glitch in the Matrix. One that will drive me crazy. Or maybe I’m imagining it all. Perhaps my eyesight is going. I am getting older after all. Who knows. For now, I’d best ignore it like I have been. Right?

Woah. Did you see that? Probably not. And neither did I.

Where’d The Day Go?

I lost my day today.

It wasn’t like it didn’t happen. On the contrary, lots happened which is why I’ve lost my day. More like lost control of the day.

First was an early morning Speed Skating Meet. It was the first one at our club for the season. So at least it was close by. In between my children’s races I was trying to finish a book- Aramada. So I often got lost in the story while waiting.

On the way home, I had to stop and put in my vote for a Mayor, some township councilors, and some school trustees. This opened up a healthy discussion about politics with my 12 and 14 year olds. They asked who and why I was voting for certain people. As much as I don’t want to create a bias in their future plans- I couldn’t very well not talk about it with them.

At home we had a late lunch and the kids showered up. We had bought a large picnic pork roast, so I carved it into four different meals. A big hunk for tonight’s dinner in the slow cooker. Some got cubed and tossed in the freezer for future use. I sliced a bunch for breakfasts later this week. That left the bone- which will go towards a split pea soup later this autumn.

Now I am waiting to pick up our 16 year old at school. She participated in a 48 hour Zoom Fest. It started Thursday at 5pm and ended today. The students had that time to create a short film. I hope to see the results at some point, but for now- I’m impressed by her commitment to a deadline and her ability to work with others on such a project.

So my day just went quickly and was filled with a lot of life. Maybe I didn’t lose my day after all.

Rather- I lived it.

Life Is On The Move

Sometimes life happens rather quickly. You can’t stop it- so you need to roll with it. The crazy feeling that you need to keep up with the world can be overwhelming.

You move so quickly that you get a big rush to go from one thing to another. The next big thing. Sometimes the feeling that you could miss out becomes overwhelming.

What if life throws an opportunity your way but you’re too busy being overwhelmed with the daily aspects to take advantage of it?

Sometimes you just need to stop.

Stop and reflect. Stop and enjoy. Stop rushing through every moment. Stop feeling regret for the choices you make.

If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.

Working From Home

My wife has been a stay-at-home parent since our first child was born. To generate some extra income, my wife began Her Own Business that she could do from home. It has been moderately successful and she has enjoyed it for the most part. Over the past few weeks, she has taken on a regular 40 hour work week for Shopify and she still gets to work from home.

My wife has been really good about it. She has figured out the right way to “check out” when she is done for the day. Even when she would get emails late at night for her business- it never bothered her enough that she would let it interfere with her home life. Working from home is definitely something that I feel she has successfully conquered.

Over the next couple of weeks, I will be covering a coworker’s vacation. I will be working remotely from home for most of it. The hardest part is that I need to be available 24 hours/day for phone calls. Most of this time I will need to be able to access my laptop fairly quickly- unless I know the answer (or can fake my way through). Because this territory is new to me, I am unsure of how to balance time with my friends and family while continuing to monitor work.

I hope that I can create a stable environment for myself and that I can do this without regretting taking on a new challenge.

Only time will tell.

The Great Question

The answer to the Great Question… of Life,the Universe and Everything… is…

42.

Today I turn Forty Two. My life has been pretty darned good so far. This year I am planning on making the most of my 42. First is my bucket list trip to Tokyo. I’ve always wanted to travel there since my childhood for many different reasons.

Next will be to meet a couple of my childhood icons at the Calgary Expo at the end of April: Paul Reubens and Wil Wheaton. I dressed as Pee-Wee one Halloween and I loved it. I almost had the opportunity to meet Wil Wheaton, but I chickened out. Not this time! I even wrote about it two years ago: One Day.

I’m also blessed with extra vacation time off this year. I am going to try and make the most of my time by relaxing and traveling. There is so much beauty to see and experience in the world. I may even venture off on my own without the family. Just because.

Here I am, age 42. It’s an important year to me. Not 40 or 45 just because they end in a five or zero. No midlife crisis planned either. Just enjoying 42 years of the earth’s rotation. Especially the last 17 years. Life has been full of off-set plans, like being married on a Tuesday just because. Or naming our first born daughter Random from “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” series.

42 years of just trying to make my world a better place.

“Forty Two!”

“Is that all you’ve got to show for seven and a half million years’ work?”

I guess so.

The Dystopian Now

I have always loved Dystopian Future stories, shows, and movies. Books such as “1984and “A Handmaid’s Tale” were great reads and I wrote a bit about it here: Dystopian Life.

Movies like “The Matrix” , “Brazil” , “Blade Runner” and even “The Fifth Element” show a technological gritty society. Always gloomy and wet with momentary rays of sunshine that bring forth a quick smile on one of the characters. I’m currently in the process of watching “Altered Carbon” on Netflix. Darker than most dystopian shows, but still very riveting.

Here we are, on the cusp of the new millennium, and I feel we are already in a Dystopian world. I drive into Vancouver for work and home again- a dreary wet world stuck in traffic. My vehicle’s dashboard has a screen showing me the radio station I am listening to or I can switch to navigation or many other options. My cellphone connects through my car as well. I can use voice commands to send and read messages or actually talk to people. My car warns me if I’m too close to another car or if one is in my blind spot.

That’s just my drive home. At home, my phone controls the music and media I play in three different areas around the house. Music from anywhere in the world can pump through my home. Nearly every electronic device can be connected. My wife has a Fitbit and it watches her heart rate and counts her steps. It connects to her cellphone and connects with other people as well.

So yes, I think we live in a Dystopian world. The future is now. Rain and technology- that’s my daily life.

Back To The Weekly Grind

Tonight I am back to work.  My two weeks vacation flew by. It was crammed with some great memories and adventures, but duty calls.


Heading back to work is nice. I really enjoy my job and the people involved. It’s also a great way to fund the lifestyle we have come to enjoy. I was speaking with my brother-in-law the other night and he feels it would be a good opportunity for one or more of my children to get into it as well. I tend to agree.  However, I also know that they should get out and enjoy some freedom prior to getting right into a career out of high school.

Personally, I enjoyed life after Grade 12 ended. I didn’t want to make anything with my life, nor did I ever see a future in front of me. Every thing I did and everyone I spent time with was more important to me than making plans for my life. So I lived life. I fell in love. I realized it was all that mattered. Shortly after, things began to just fall into place.

Even today, I wonder how I got here. How did I get to be in charge of people’s lives? Or responsible for millions of dollars of products to be moved every day? I used to pump gas for elderly ladies in Oldsmobiles and get in trouble by my boss for not offering to wash their windows. I used to stock shelves and even mopped puke off of floors. I have no shame in my past. I worked odd jobs but they never defined who I was. 


Now a part of who I am is in my job. I have no qualms about saying that. I put more effort in making life good for my family and making life good for those around me than I ever did before. I have no idea what the future holds for me on the railroad. What I do know is that the days/nights I spend at work- I enjoy. The thought processes to meet deadlines, the challenges to maximize outflow. The craziness of all the other railroaders and hearing about the lives they are working towards. I enjoy those shifts because they fund the time I spend away from work as well. Which is equally as important.

Four days working with three days off? That’s the lifestyle I am loving now. I see my family more which sounds crazy because technically I’m spending more time at work. 

Life is on Repeat…

Funny how life hits you in the strangest of ways. So far this summer I have cancelled plans at the last minute for no better reason than, "Just Because". It kind of bothers me. A couple days ago it was going for a hike to Inch Creek. Last night was the Drive-In movie. A few weeks ago it was cancelling going to the swimming hole up the road.


So today I chose to make a splash… I mean- make it up to the family. We went to the swimming hole for an hour or so to cool down. We got back home and I was about to sit down and write about it, when I remembered that I had done that before. Cooling Off was written one year ago.

So it's odd that life is on repeat. Because two years prior we did the same thing. Every year we went once. As much as it was a nice treat, chances are we won't be going there again this summer.


Now it's time for another evening on the lake as the kids do dryland training for speed skating.

So far the summer is on repeat: Work, nap, lake, beers… not that I'm complaining. I need to get the kids to the Drive-In movies this summer before it's too late. I also need to get some camping and get a few hikes in.

Life could be a lot tougher. But life is pretty freaking swell, even if it is on repeat.

The Grade 7 Farewell

Tonight was the Grade 7 Farewell and dance for our middle child.  It’s rather interesting to celebrate this at the school they attend.  Since the school currently runs from Grade 1 thru Grade 12.  It seems there are certain milestones at every school that deserve celebration.

Awww Graduating Preschool.


Finishing Kindergarten and moving on into Grade School: That is a really special moment because it’s a real transition from baby to child in the education system.  It’s one of those years that you can see the development progress in each child.  And it’s as tough a moment at the start of that year as it is at the end.  But then school just goes on, year by year, with little parties at the end of each until they hit Grade 7.  

Grade 7 is filled with the start of growing into adults.  Real homework, challenging projects; throw in puberty- and the year is a roller coaster of emotions.  But they made it.  A part of me knows that our daughter is still a child.  She’s still the little girl who loves Hello Kitty and all of her stuffed animals.  But I know she is growing up.  She’s also the young lady already planning her university workload- still five years to get through my dear before that day.


Darwin is full of smiles and laughs today.  She enjoys hanging out with her classmates. She will see her friends over the summer. She will even see many of then again next year back at the same school.  The life and fun of being a kid in Grade 7 going into summer is everlasting.  It brought me back to my youth seeing the smiles and joy on all of their faces.  The kids did a great job, and we’ve done a great job.  There was joy and pride shining through on the parents as well tonight.

If high school for my daughter follows a similar path to mine- the next five years may contain the biggest challenges yet.  For both her and us as parents.  But I will be there proud as ever when she graduates Grade 12.  The same pride as when she graduated preschool.

So it turns out that today was another turning point in one of our children’s lives.  I’m really happy for her.  I’m really happy she isn’t embarrassed by my either.  She looks up to me for some reason.  And I look up to her as well.  Darwin is proving to be a very bright and talented hard worker.  

Total proud dad here. I’m doing an okay job being a father. She doing a great job just being her.