Another Beautiful Evening

Last night my teenager and I had dinner together. We watched the clouds in the sky as the sun vanished behind them. I’m still mesmerized by the views we have from the back of our home. I was happy to share the moment with someone.

There’s just something magical about nature and how the universe works. I don’t know the answers to Life- but I will say, watching a sunset hanging out with someone you care about really fills my heart with joy.

Friendaversay

23 years ago I started a job at the Colossus Movie Theater. I had so desperately wanted to work at a theater for my teenage years but never had the chance. At age 23 I finally got the opportunity. It was as if my life waited for the moment to arrive. I wasn’t a teenager anymore- so I was needing to find a friend closer to my age.

Within the first few days of working at the theater, I made friends with a fellow named Matt. We have been through so much together over the last two decades (and more). Matt is one of the few people who really knows my struggles. He has been a great ally as we been Theory navigated relationships and fatherhood.

On this day, 23 years ago, the theater opened. Star Wars Episode 1 was released. All of us were excited to be working there. My new friend-Matt dressed as a Storm Trooper. Freakin’ cool… Matt became a close friend.

After all these years, I’m happy to have started at Colossus and create the friendships I needed. It was almost exactly half my lifetime ago when this started. Better than high school- life was great back then. And it started me on the journey I needed to be on to get where I am today.

Those friendships from Colossus were important to me. I watched these friends succeed over the years and create lives that were challenged, yet amazing. Half my life has been involved with watching them and being a part of their lives. I’m happy to have made such great friends over the years. From those friends, I made more friends. A never ending life of kindness and fun.

Thank you Matt for being the close friend of mine that I needed. You have been an important part of my life, and I appreciate you.

Another Beautiful Night

I cannot express enough how much beauty there is to view in this world. I look out off my back porch, and it feels like we are living in a land of fantasy.

Watching the sunset off in the distance has become a favorite pastime of mine. I stand up on our deck and just absorb its light. Our lower patio deck has stairs that look as though they are about to show you the way to an adventure. A journey that could take you off into the lush green fields and out into the horizon.

I am extremely appreciative of what we have. I know we won’t have it forever, but that we have it now is great. It’s important to reflect on what one has and appreciate the work and time it has take to get to this place. Especially when it feels as though live is trying to throw curveballs in your direction. Staying positive is the best way to battle those hardships and challenges.

Enjoy the what the world has to offer and don’t dwell on the negative.

Don’t You Forget About Me

Today is one of those dates in films that matters to those who love nostalgia. March 24, 1984.

The Breakfast Club is set for this date- way back when. A classic film from the 80’s. A John Hughes masterpiece. I remember watching it on tv one weekend in the 80’s. It was one of those “Special TV Movies” that were unmissable.

I haven’t seen this film in years (I think…I’m having deja vu as I write this blog- maybe I’ve seen it more recently). And tonight my wife and I are watching it in bed. Seeing these actors and listening to the dialogue makes me realize that the world has drastically changed. Yet in some ways we can all still relate to the struggles of life.

The hardships of being a teenager. The fact that these complete strangers stuck up for each other is understandable as well. I can relate to all the characters in one way or another. Many of us can, which is what makes it such a great film.

Watching it now, I see the scenes of the principal and relate to him as well. The difficulty of being an adult towards teenagers is my life these days. Life just keeps changing and evolving.

It’s unavoidable. It just happens.

A Year Ago Changed Our Lives

Last year on New Year’s Eve my wife and I had a meeting that would change our lives. Early last December we had a couple power failures and numerous branches fall on the house. It was time to look at doing something about it. So we met with a real estate agent last December 31st.

I don’t miss the hardships of country living.

The fact that he met us New Year’s Eve impressed me tremendously. We weren’t about to put the house on the market immediately, but wanted to discuss listing in spring. He didn’t just show up, but had other listings nearby and a price point ready for us to discuss. At the time, my wife and I thought we could make 1.7 million if we were lucky. He was also of the same thought. Our house at that time would sell for 1.6-1.75 millon. We were happy with that idea.

The day the world changed for us.

Then by mid-February we had the house ready for staging and listing. The market skyrocketed up. And we listed for almost 2 million. A week later we would sell for 1.9. Our lives changed drastically when we made that decision to sell. We did buy our dream home a week after that. Taking a chance to make a huge change in our lives was scary. But we did it.


Yesterday my wife and I dropped off our son at his friends pace that lived nearby our old house. So we decided to take a drive to our see the old stomping ground. Not much had changed for the outside of the old house. But as we drove down our street, a sight surprised us. The neighbor across the street had a “For Sale” sign. He used the same agent as us. So my wife and I stopped in to talk to them.

Bob loves staying active.

Bob is 88. When we sold our place, he said he would never sell unless he could get 5 million for his home. He planned to die in that house. That house and our old place were built that same year- 50 years ago. Besides my wife, he was the only original person in the neighborhood to still be there. Us moving from the neighborhood surprised a lot of people. Especially Bob and Mary-Anne.

Yesterday we sat and talked with them for a couple of hours. It was a really nice visit. Except when we found out why they were selling. Bob has stage 4 cancer- with a chance to survive six months. Which explains why they sold their home. They got the same price as we did ten months earlier. The move out date is May 1st. The sad reality is that Bob may actually die in that house. However, his attitude towards death is one that I hope to take up when my time nears.

He lived a good life with numerous experiences that he shared with me over the years. Yesterday he said that he’s ready to go. He’s ready to pass on the fortune from selling the house to his family- because you can’t take it with you. Bob doesn’t look or act like he’s dying. He’s still a youthful 88 year old. He has never let age, pain, or his body stop him from being active.

I’m glad we stopped in to see them. They were always so kind to my family as we lived there. Moving away was tearful for us. Staying there would’ve been more emotional. It’s astounding what can happen in a year. Our lives changed in a year because of one meeting. It appears that meeting also changed the lives of those around us as well.

Noticing Coincidences

Sometimes I feel like I’m living in a version of the Matrix. I’ve been experiencing moments in life that share coincides in unusual ways. Or I should say, I’m noticing the coincidences more.

Yesterday I was talking to a friend about Tim Burton’s Batman movies; today a rail car rolled into our yard with a Penguin graffiti mural. I love rail art and enjoy the pictures that are A little different.

The other week when I got my new iPhone, I changed my background to a Matrix theme. A few days later a new trailer for the fourth Matrix film dropped. There hadn’t been any media surrounding the movie, so my brain was a step ahead.

I’ve also been hearing the term “Making It Up As I Go” a lot lately from song lyrics to tv shows. I know I’m not the first to use the phrase, but it has been the title of my Blog for years now. It’s like when you hear or see your name in places you don’t expect it.

Do you ever notice coincidences and wonder, “Hmmm…”

I Forgot To Take Pictures- But It Happened

Today my wife and I had a lunch date at The Trading Post in Fort Langley. It was a double date with some coworkers of mine. We went to celebrate the 5th anniversary of the brewery. There was live music and good food. Pics or it didn’t happen.

I took one photo. It was as I waited outside the eatery before anyone met up with me. My wife was waiting in the car to keep warm prior to the opening. Our friends were only a couple minutes behind us. I was first in line. Just like my other years of attending their anniversaries.

We had a great time talking and eating. So much so that I didn’t take any photos. We just all lived in the moment. No sharing of life on social media. Lots of good laughs and intimate personal conversations. It was good to share in person.

So no photos. But it did happen. I’m glad it did- my wife and I needed a break from this week. A mental health break of sorts. It felt good.

Calendar

We all live our lives based around calendars and clocks. For years I have recited the days of the week starting on SUNDAY. Even my regular work schedule is Sunday to Wednesday. Plus the family calendar we use started that day as well.

This year my wife bought a Disney themed calendar. (Mostly because we have all been dreaming about a future vacation to Disneyland.) Each week starts on a Monday. This is not normal for me! But it works really well for the rest of the family. Since school and work goes from Monday to Friday. Saturday and Sunday are days off for everyone else.

February also lines up as a perfect month this year when you go Monday to Sunday. Little joys like that make me smile. I can forgive the calendar we use this year for that reason alone. The only thing is we have to start filling in the days with our busy and hectic lives.

How do you recite the days of the week? Are you a Sunday starter or a Monday person?

Quiet Yard

Today is peaceful in my backyard. There’s no sounds of cars racing down the road. Nor is there lawnmowers or pressure washers. All I can hear is the faint sound of crows off in the distance as the wind gently whistles through the trees.

So I invited some friends and coworkers over. It was surprisingly fun as we spaced ourselves away from one another. It was a Social Distancing Socializing at our place.

No wives. No kids. Just lawn chairs and axe throwing. Of which my guests brought everything. It was a ton of fun. And it ended early. Hence why I’m posting about it.

I hope y’all are having a great time together these days!

Putting the Fun in Funeral

Facebook reminded me of my first ever tagged photo.

The picture is of my father’s gravestone. It got me thinking, especially with everything going on in the world, about my funeral. No, I’m not being morbid. I’m thinking about how my service would go. I’d start it off with Dead by Korn. The song has some bagpipes in it that go back to my Scottish roots on my mother’s side.

Click on the image to hear the song “Dead” by Korn

“All I want in life is to be happy (happy) All I want in life is to be happy (happy) All I want in life is to be happy (happy) All I want in life is to be happy (happy)
It seems funny to me
How fucked things can be
Everytime I get ahead
I feel more dead”

It’s a pretty accurate song about life. I’d like to be playing “All I want in life is to be happy” on repeat very silently during the service.

As the final song to say farewell to me in that day, I’d like to have playing is Just a Man by Faith No More. I love the climax of the song and his voice is gospel at times. It would be a prefect send off. Here is a link to the live performance: Faith No More 1997.

What are your funeral songs? Is it tough to think about your own mortality?

I Want To Create More Art

I was in my woodshed the other day finding some more pieces to paint like I did two weeks ago (Check them out: Painted Wood).

I don’t have any more pieces with knot holes in them, but I did find some that I could see potential in. So I filled a box and brought them into my home.

A bit of cleaning and making sure they are smoothed out is the next step. After that it’s time to get inspired. Perhaps hours of Christmas music? Or watching favorite Christmas Movies (Gremlins anyone?).

Or maybe just a day off from work and get the time to do that. I’ve been at work too much lately. Hopefully that’ll change soon. Its not the worst thing to happen to me. It’s better than bad, it’s good. LOG!

What was I talking about again?

Should I Set Travel Goals?

It’s nearing the end of 2019. A little over two months remain. For me it feels like I’m floating on my back just letting the days pass by. It feels this way because I haven’t set any lofty travel goals for 2020.

I’m not longing for some crazy pursuits to find meaning in my life. It’s just that by now I usually have plans set for vacation and travels into the following year. But not this time. Not yet. I’m still waiting for some information about what will be going on with our children Be it school or speed skating. It’s hard to book travel if things are in limbo.

So do I just sit around and grow mushrooms on my life? Should I set other goals? Should these goals be for me or should I try and include my family? I never do anything if it doesn’t help out or somehow involve my family. Is it okay to be selfish?

But it would be nice if the next goal was for me. Maybe I could do some travel on my own. But the guilt of “Wish you were here” would get me down.

I don’t know. Maybe I should just wait a bit longer before getting to ahead of myself.

Parenting Nightmares

Over the past few nights I’ve had a tough time falling asleep. It’s rare for my mind to keep racing as I lay in bed. But the last few nights are different. I’ve been trying to come to terms with how to work in some preventative parenting towards our teenagers. It all stems from situations that have happened to other parents in my community.

I don’t usually share an opinion on emotional topics, nor do I usually discuss similar situations in my blog. Today is different. In Langley there were two recent loses of teenager life in two different ways. The kids were 14 and 15.

The first loss was a teen girl who took her own life. As many know, depression can hit hard to a great many people. It’s how we help others, or seek out help ourselves, that can be a changing point in this. I don’t have a magic fix to offer here. I have had friends battle depression. Some have lost that battle (such as my friend Jeremy) but many have tackled it successfully in a variety of ways. Suicide is a tragic answer and I always feel terrible hearing about it. Both for the loss of the life and for the friends and family that have to come to term with it and questioning whether they should’ve done more. Those questions are the hardest to find an answer to.

The other lose of life was a young boy at a skate park. I don’t know much about his life, but it sounded like he was a well loved kid and whose father treated him like a best friend. All the boy wanted to do was fit in, like many teenagers. Sadly he overdosed on narcotics. But what makes this story that much more saddening is that his “friends” were Snap Chatting his finally moments laughing about how he was tripping out. From what I understand, of those who saw the videos- no one did anything to help.

What I take away from this last situation is two things:

First- Drugs really are bad. I grew up as a kid hearing to “Say NO to drugs.” As a teenager, I lived right next door to where this teen lost his life. I’m not saying I was a smart teen/young adult living in that neighborhood. I think I felt pretty untouchable and indestructible like many teens. But I knew that it wasn’t the lifestyle I wanted and eventually left those “friends” behind. I was lucky, or smart, or unsure, but somehow I have gotten to this point in my life. I have seen and heard too many stories of drug use and overdoses and how it rips a family apart.

Second- Social media can be destructive. People hiding behind a cellphone sharing videos thinking it’s amusing. How are these teens going to deal with the loss of someone so young? A vigil was a great place to start for the grieving process. But again those questions come up, “why didn’t someone help sooner?” In today’s society we hear of far too many people thinking someone else will do something.

So as a parent, I talk to my kids on a regular basis. But when their eyes glaze over and they just nod and say, “yes dad” I just hope that my message is getting through to them. My wife and I can monitor every move they make. But we hope that they are willing to talk to us or help someone in need. Not to be the coward who thinks someone else will do something. Or fear of reprisals from their peers. The loss of a child’s life is the most tragic to bestow upon a family and community.

So stay vigilant out there. Try and help those who need it. Please share with me how you talk to your teenagers about suicide, drugs and social media. I’m sure I’m not the only parent trying to get through those hard talks. We could all use a little help.

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.

Chess

I love playing chess.  I think of myself as pretty good at it.  During grade 8 and 9 I was in the Chess Club at school.  Because that’s where all the cool kids hung out.  Or rather the ones who had no other friends.  Even in my yearbook for grade nine- they misspelled my name in the photo.  Hashtag loser.

Back in 1991 grade nine- sweaters weren’t cool. Now, my daughter thinks it looks great.


My love for chess has gotten me further in life than most people would have guessed.  It helped me understand how to run a railroad.  Putting the trains and crews in the best positions to successfully move traffic.  I’ve often explained my job as a large chess game.  In fact, I also look at my life as a game of chess.  Especially my career thus far.

I started as a pawn.  Moving forward one or two steps at a time.  Occasionally doing a side step to take on a new challenger.  I finally made it to the other side of the board and was able to swap my pawn for another piece.  While most would choose a queen as their dominant piece, I chose otherwise. 

A simple game of chess.


My career hasn’t been a straight line- like the path of the rook or bishop.  I find that I move more like a knight.  Either going two steps forward and one step to the side or going one step sideways and two steps forward.  Sometimes jumping over an obstacle or enemy.  It’s a crooked way of working towards my goal, but achievable nonetheless.

In grade nine, my math teacher said that some of the greatest leaders in history played chess.  It’s a game of wits and looking ahead a few moves.  

Life is like a game of chess.  Take your time and think out your future moves because it may affect your next five moves.  My goals are attainable and I don’t need to show my hand.  I’m not going to wipe out everyone in my way, but I may have to take on a few opponents as I go.

Perhaps one day it will be checkmate.  Or maybe I’ll give up and take on a new opponent.  Who knows.  Until then, don’t hate the player- hate the game.

Queen & Bowie… & Carlin?

I realized today that I will never see Freddie Mercury and David Bowie perform in my lifetime.  Two great musicians are no longer on this planet.  Both passed away many years apart from each other.  I still enjoy listening to their music collaboration 35 years later.


1982: Under Pressure came out.  When the song plays I can feel their voices resonate the words throughout me.  The battle we all face from the pressures of life is portrayed in this song.  I have felt pressure lately in my life.  Both at home and at work.  The pressures of being a good parent.  The pressures of making the right decisions at work.  Pressure coming at me at all angles.

This is our last dance

This is our last dance

This is ourselves

Under pressure

Under pressure

Pressure

I could recite this song and almost every other greatest hit Queen song written.  I do not own any Queen or Bowie albums.  When I was 12, a friend of mine made a cassette copy of Queen’s Greatest Hits on one side and George Carlin on the other.  I have no idea where that cassette is but it influenced my life.


Strange that even in all of their greatness, they passed on.  They each left a legacy.  For no reason I thought about them today.  My tendency towards sarcasm and atheist views were influenced by Carlin (among others, but he was humorous).  My love for being who I am was influenced by Mercury.    My ideals and wonder of life and beauty was inspired by Bowie.

All of them did what they wanted- they enjoyed life.  I need to remember that.  Life is for living.  I need to keep on living my life the way that matters to me.