Twenty Years Of Marriage

Today marks our Twentieth Anniversary since the day we married. What a glorious adventure we have had so far. It makes me understand that happiness is what you make of it.

After twenty one years together and twenty years of being married- Here’s my advice on how to have a long and happy marriage.

  1. Have fun. Joke around. Don’t take everything seriously. But avoid mean spirited and hurtful humor.
  2. Listen to one another. Your partner may need to vent from time to time. It’s not always your place to offer advice, but rather offer an ear just to listen.
  3. Thirty second hugs. Holding on for thirty seconds can genuinely help pull stress and anxiety away. There has been many a time that a hug has helped in a situation.
  4. If you fight, and you will fight, avoid insults. Insulting one another or jabbing at each other’s insecurities is hurtful. It’s also unproductive in delving into the root of the issue and finding a resolution.
  5. Don’t go to bed angry. Talk it out. Apologize. Stay up late to work things out. Do that 30 second hug thing in the end.

There’s so much more to a healthy relationship. Obviously you need to first find a person you can connect with on many different levels. The most honest advice I ever heard about marriage actually holds true-

Find someone you are content to watch tv with. Just being able to sit with your partner and share down time is as important as sharing all of those epic adventures you want to have.

After twenty years of marriage, I am still in love with everything about my wife. We were a perfect match and we both knew it from the day we met at a night club all those years ago… but that’s a tale for another day.

Happy 20th Anniversary Lee-Anne! I love you.

Hanging Out With A View

After almost three weeks in our new house, we have been extremely active in setting it up. Unpacking, organizing, getting a cleaning routine going, that sort of thing. On an almost daily basis we have also been hanging out in the pool. All of it is great and keeping us busy.

This evening I took a page from my wife’s book. We stopped to enjoy the view from our living room. Sure, there’s more work to do and a dinner to make. But taking a breather to remember why we bought this house is important.

The skyline. Something we gave up in our last home. But the exchange in our last place was the beauty of living in a park like setting. Old growth trees offering natural shade and cooling of the home. To me, this exchange is equivalent, even though different in many ways.

Appreciating what we got and what we work towards is necessary. We love our new home and are working hard to create Kingdom Havelka as a magical place to live.

1

So this is it. One day until we move. This countdown has been keeping me distracted from talking about the real feelings I have about this move. Joy, sadness, stress, fear… but wait there’s more! Today I will focus on what number 1 means to me.

I have a best friend since Grade 1. That’s over forty years of friendship. We have been through quite a bit of life’s journeys together- including sharing advice with one another. He is coming out tonight with his son to help us with our move in the morning. It’s wonderful that his son is friends with my son since birth. That’s been going strong for fifteen years now.

“One love, one heart
Let’s join together and a-feel all right.”

My wife is my one true love. She has been a wonderful partner in all of these years that I have been on this planet. Without her, I don’t think I’d be anywhere close to living this lifestyle. I talk about her regularly. She is my number 1.

With one life to live, I’m excited to continue my journey on this planet. Creating a new homestead with fresh memories.

21

May 29,2000. Twenty one years ago my wife and I met. We have been together almost every day since then. Any time we have been apart, we have spoken on the phone. The time we have had apart is so minimal that I’d hazard a guess it’s been less than one month all added up.

We are moving into our dream home in twenty one days. I am nervous and excited at the same time. Change is good. Like all of the changes that have entered my life, the biggest ones have occurred with Lee-Anne by my side.

In all this time, my wife has- and will be- the constant that makes my life matter most. She has pushed me beyond my comfort levels and helped in creating who I am today. From parenting to career to travel to just living life- after meeting Lee-Anne my journey has been a whirlwind of excitement.

In July we will celebrate twenty years of marriage. In our new home, with an adult child and two teenagers to celebrate with us. I’m always amazed to look back at life and see the journey we have been on. Sometimes you miss the process as you are in the midst of it.

Twenty One. What a great number.

Tender Fart- The Unspoken of Carebear

My wife and I have a special relationship. It’s filled with love and understanding; compassion and kindness. But above all- acceptance. Acceptance of our flaws.

I accept that my wife has a crude sense of showing her love for me some days. I recently saw some screen shots of a text conversation we had about four years ago. It’s the same type of conversation we have had previously and continue to have.

Fart humor.

Yes. That text exchange was while we lay next to each other in bed. It’s not the first time we have done that. Nor will it be the last time. (I’m obviously talking about my wife’s farts and how proud she is of them).

Everyone farts. You can’t deny that. Is it acceptable to share them? Honestly- read the room first. Not everyone finds passing gas humorous. Especially if there’s an odor that goes along with it.

I enjoy that my wife and I are that comfortable around one another. And that we can fart freely. We both still giggle as a reaction to one another’s gas works. A little rumble in the down under makes for some good laughs.

Do you fart around your loved ones?

What Is Love?

When I was a teenager, getting my driver’s license was easy. At age 17, I was able to borrow my mother’s car periodically. One summer day my friend and I took our girlfriends at the time to the PNE in Vancouver.

It was a lot of fun going on rides, eating food and playing carnival games. The girls we were with went to the local radio station booth and sang a Brian Adam’s song and received a cassette tape of their rendition. Loads of laughs and handholding as we journeyed around the fair.

Anyhow, her and I eventually ended our relationship as the summer also ended. It was totally civil. We kept in contact over the years and went out on the occasional date every so often as we entered into adulthood.

I mention this specific date because my former girlfriend had removed her earrings. They were heavy and hurting her ears. She lost/forgot them in my mother’s car (which eventually became my car). I discovered them a few years later along the side of the seat and kept them with some other mementos from my youth- such as letters, artwork, and trinkets. I’m a bit of a hoarder…

Yesterday, I noticed my 16 year old daughter wearing the earrings. I had no idea that she had taken possession of them. But I find it really cute to see that teenage girls over the decades still have the same sense of style.

Puppy love is great. Perhaps my daughter will have a fun date this summer whilst wearing these earrings. Who knows.

All That And A Bag Of Chips

Valentine’s Day is about love. I have found over the years that expressing love today doesn’t need to be flashy and over the top. Nonetheless, moments like that are beautiful and memorable. But you can be romantic in simpler ways as well.

For my wife, I gave her a bag of Lays potato chips and a case of pink grapefruit soda. It may sound silly to everyone, but I know that it meant a great deal to her. That’s because when we first began dating, this was her comfort snack while we cuddled.

“Dee-ah-tay Pample-Mousse” as we called the pop, is a great refreshing beverage. My wife used to enjoy having a 2 liter bottle at the side of the bed. She would have it sitting there for days on end, just slowly going flat. But that’s how she liked to drink it.

Memories like this are what makes Valentine’s Day a bit more romantic in my eyes. Looking back at our younger selves with awe and amazement that we have been together for over 20 years now. If I could, I would go back in time. Not to change anything, but rather to relive the moments once more.

Happy Valentine’s Day sweetheart. I’m glad that you are all that- and a bag of potato chips.

Family Decorating the Tree Time

Today was a late afternoon of decorating our third tree as a family. We had Rudolph playing in the background as we do every year. My wife has been doing a fantastic job over the years of keeping each of their ornaments separated. This made the decorating so much easier. Especially since this tree hosts our keepsake ornaments.

Trying to get a good picture during the decorating is always difficult. Someone is always on the move or deciding they don’t want their picture taken. Or the obvious- back is turned because they are putting an ornament on the tree. But I was able to snag a few candid shots before our obligatory “Family Photo” in front of the tree.

As our children continue to grow, even now as our eldest is an adult, I wonder how many more days I have like today with them. I also know that our family dog, Lex, is getting up there in dog years. Capturing these moments is heartwarming. Sharing them with the world is a necessary evil. I love seeing other people showing their family time, and I hope that my friends also enjoy seeing our smiles.

So take care this December. And take lots of photos of your loved ones- including pets- to remind yourself that 2020 isn’t all bad. At least that’s the advice I’m giving myself this year.

Loving My Kids

These are my three kids. Even though they are teenagers growing into adults, they will always be my kids. This picture was from last Monday- the first day of “full time” school.

My family puts up with me during my tough emotional time from September to November. Yesterday they joined me as I went to the graveyard to visit my father’s resting place. We didn’t really talk about him while we were there. Which was okay. They were with me showing some emotional support. I just needed them to be there.

Afterwards we went out for donuts. We sat at a table in a small coffee shop and enjoyed ourselves. No talk about anything pressing. Just idle chitchat. It was a pleasant Saturday afternoon followed by a home cooked meal.

It brings me joy that my kids can be so loving. I need it from time to time.

Marriage In 2020

Yesterday our neighbors were having a wedding ceremony. It took place in the backyard of a newly built house. There was a small gathering of people there. The rest of their guests- well let’s just say they did a drive-by car parade.

My wife and I came home in the evening to see these signs placed down our street. It was a lovely gesture for the newly married couple. You don’t need big and flashy in order to get married. Sometimes simplicity is the way to go.

So congratulations to the newlyweds- whoever you may be. Since we haven’t met any of our new neighbors due to Covid-19… But at least they found love.

Eighteen? How is This Possible?

I am beside myself. Our oldest daughter turned 18 today.

My goodness. I don’t even know what to feel. A part of me is so happy to have had all of these years growing up with her. Another part wants to go back and do it all again, only this time take it slower.

Throughout the years, we had our ups and downs. She often played up the fact that she was embarrassed by me and how I act. Especially when I was really proud of her accomplishments. I would cheer the loudest and even made signs to show my support to her. I always wanted to be around, even when she tried to shoo me away.

Perhaps that’s where my relationship with her is. Random, who like to be called Dom now, is a strong willed teenager. She is an adult now. It’s time to let her truly make her own mark in the world. Time for her to rise and fall as she navigates the next stages of her life.

And I will still be there for her. Shouting encouragement from the sidelines. This is my little girl. The one I swaddled and held close when she was born. Knowing that I had to do my best to protect her over the years.

I think it’s time to go get some tissues because this man’s eyes are full of tears.

19 Years Later…

Today is my 19th Wedding Anniversary! That’s a long ass time to be married in this day and age. Especially since I married her when I was only 25 years old. And had no idea what my life would have in store for me.

What’s crazy is I still feel young and alive when hanging out with my wife. She has been the greatest person to participate in life’s experiences with. From raising children, traveling the world, buying a home, or changing numerous careers… this has been a delightful challenge of life that I have enjoyed sharing with her.

I cannot wait until we get to celebrate 20 years, 24 years, 31 years, 42 years, possibly 65 years together. I love my wife tremendously and have been lucky to create milestones with her. I hope for her to feel the same and for us to have a Happy Anniversary! To quote the movie that inspired our wedding, and our life together:

The greatest thing you’ll ever learn- is just to love and be loved in return.

Truth, Beauty, Freedom, Love

You’re The Cream In My Coffee

I heard a song today and it made me smile.

I’m not a poet,
How well I know it,
I’ve never been a raver,
But when I speak of you,
I rave a bit, its true.
I’m wild about you,
I’m lost without you,

You give my life its flavor,
What sugar does for tea,
That’s what you do for me.
You’re the cream in my coffee,
You’re the salt in my stew
You will always be my necessity,
I’d be lost without you
.

I listened to this song a couple more times as I drove home from work. There was something about the crack and hiss of the old recording that made it magical. It was as if the old song was speaking directly to me. Like the voice inside my head was reminding me of how much I love my wife.

Sure, it sounds cheesy. And it is. But it’s also true. I came home and at the dinner table I said the line to my wife, “You’re the cream in my coffee.” I thought I was being sweet.

My wife promptly reminded me that I don’t take cream in my coffee.

Mug Shots

Like most folks, we have an assortment of coffee mugs in our cupboard. They often appear as gifts based on whatever the recipients fancy. From Owls to Lego, to mugs that come free with a bottle of booze- these become personalized favorites of us all. But my wife and I are cheesy. We have a collection of matching mugs.

It started years ago with a couple of horoscope ones from the dollar store. But it soon branched off into ones that defined who we really were.

My wife dominated over me by absconding the “Player 1” mug leaving me to be the Luigi to her Mario. Always second to none, but she’s my number one.

I am particularly fond of our first set of Disneyland mugs. Simple art of the classic characters that defined cartoons My wife is the Minnie to my Mickey.

Soon after we picked up another set of mugs. She is the elegant Eve to my clunky love struck Wall-E. But wait, there’s more…

A couple of years later she became my Belle. That’s right, we really are that cheesy. Even our kids began to get in on the fun.

Of course Disneyland plays on the memories and heartstrings of everyone who enters their gates. The store shelves are lined with trinkets and mugs that need to be brought home. Every one of our morning coffees is in matching mugs. And no one else is permitted to use them.

Do you have a favorite coffee cup?

Are you as cheesy as we are?

Let me know in the comments.

My Wife’s Coworkers

I attended my first ever Baseball Game last night courtesy of my wife’s work. Meaning that this event was with my wife’s coworkers instead of mine like we usually do. This time I got to be my wife’s “Plus One” and meeting her coworkers IRL was a neat experience. I’ve heard so much about them and I’ve occasionally “seen” them while they do video conferencing. But to talk and mingle with them in person was neat. Kind of like an extended family that I’d never met but could relate to easily.

The energy within the large group was astounding. Laughs and photos were going on while food and beverages were being consumed. Lots of SHOP talk was happening. They all had a great time.

My wife’s coworkers really make her happy. She has developed some fantastic relationships with many of them. I’d say I’m jealous, but in reality I’m happy inside. I’m happy because my wife is happy- and she deserves this happiness the most..

18 Years

Today I celebrate 18 years of marriage to my wife. It has been an amazing journey. With far more ups than downs.

I have loved every moment. Even that time when she stabbed me in the face with her finger nails and tried to apologize acting all sweet and cute.

Or the time she thought I was taking a selfie and wanted to show that she brushes her teeth- so I took a selfie with her.

I love that ten years ago, we went on our first family trip to Disneyland. I never knew that an inner child was a real thing until I saw my wife gushing with pleasure and excitement as we wandered the parks. This also started a continuous desire to return as often as possible to Disneyland. Whenever we are having rough emotional patches- we talk about previous trips and future plans of traveling to those Magical Lands.

Through 18 years of marriage, we have created and cultivated a beautiful family. Our three kids have been a source of pride for us both. We love to joke and laugh with them. Our kids have become extensions of our personalities- sharing love into this world the same way my wife and I do.

Our love for one another has grown tremendously strong over the years. I’m lucky to have such a great partner. She is as crazy as I am. She even lets the crazy loose more when I’m around.

May our journey together not be restricted to just these first 18 years of marriage. We have a bond that I feel will last a lifetime.

Happy 18th Anniversary Lee-Anne! I love you with all my heart.

Sincerely,

Josef

Mother’s Day 2019

I took my wife out of town on Friday because we needed a break. But also because I wanted to try and take her mind off of today. Today is Mother’s Day as many of you know. My wife is a spectacular mother to three amazing children. All of whom aren’t home today.

Photo sent to us from a parent chaperone.

This weekend our two youngest are out of town for a music trip. Which really isn’t a big deal, except for the fact that our youngest youngest is two years younger than the rest of the group.

Our son has pushed himself to learn trumpet and violin since September 2017 when he began grade six. This past September he joined Junior Concert Band which is for grade eight and nine students. Our son and his friend are the only two grade seven kids in Concert Band. This weekend is kind of a big deal for them because the majority of the kids in the band are from Grade Nine.

So those two are away- due home in the late afternoon/ early evening. Our oldest is working her regular job until 5:30pm so she isn’t around all day either. That meant no breakfast made for my wife like she’s had In The Past. Our children will all be home by dinner in order to celebrate Mother’s Day- but I have to work the night shift.

Mother’s Day is a nice way to show that there is more thanks to be given to these special ladies. Especially as you get older. My wife decided to go and visit her mom for a brunch. I think that’s a nice way to show that she still cares about her. I’ll be giving my mother a call as soon as I hit the “Publish” button.

Above all, make sure you wish those moms out there a…

Happy Mother’s Day!

43 Years

I have reached a milestone. Where today is the youngest I will ever be again and the oldest I have ever been. Actually, the milestone I’m talking about is making it past 42.

42: The answer to life, the universe and everything.

All of which was solved last year. I discovered a part of myself that I never knew existed: I want to travel more and see this great planet of ours.

The rest of my time on earth is just bonus fun now. Fun that will keep me laughing and living life to the fullest.

Thank you to everyone who wished me a Happy Birthday. I have felt the love from all of those who I have had an opportunity to reach out to at some point in my existence.

Fun Romancing

Yesterday was Valentines Day. Some people expressed their love for one another on social media. Others shared bitterness and sarcasm. Many people shared pictures of lovely dinners and flowers. Whatever your day was like, I hope it was great. Mine was super romantic.

First my wife and I dropped the kids off at school. Then we went for breakfast at a random bistro that we had never been to before. One of the best breakfasts I have ever had. Also the most expensive breakfast I have ever had. This was our romantic meal of the day.

Then my wife and I went home to play some video games in bed. Followed by a mid morning nap. Which led to me sleeping until 4pm because I worked the night shift the day prior. I woke up because I had missed four phone calls from my wife. She left the same message each time in her silliest voice possible. “Call me. Call me. Why won’t you call me? Caaaaaaaaallllllll me.”

When she came home, we played some Smash Bros and Mario Kart on the Nintendo Switch. My wife is really good at gaming and beat me repeatedly at these games. After a couple of hours of video games, I made dinner for the family.

After dinner we watched one of my wife’s favorite films- “Stardust“. It’s also one of my favorites. A fairytale involving love. Something about Neil Gaiman’s works translate from novel to film beautifully.

Yesterday was a day pretty much designed to make my wife happy. From a lovely breakfast date to lots of video games to enjoying a romantic film. I think we should do more days like this.

A Dozen Years

My son is turning 12 today. That’s a dozen years of having a mini me around.

It’s uncanny how much he looks and acts like I did/do. Because of this, I can see how much my father got annoyed with me.

But I also love that my son looks up to me as a role model. Sometimes I need to see myself through his eyes in order to be a better father.

He is definitely a lot like I was as a child. A love of LEGO, playing outdoors, video games and movies are all things I enjoyed as well. I never knew how much I wanted a son until we had him. He is one of the greatest joys I have in my life.

Happy Birthday Theory!

Love, Dad.

Look at the Pretty Flowers

I bought my wife one of her favorite flowers today:

She loves the multicolored roses. I try and pick up different blends whenever they are available. I used to buy them from a place called “Awesome Blossoms” but their shop has since moved. So finding a rose in blue and purple is a bit more difficult these days. My wife still enjoys the “fire and ice” roses that I get for her.

Today being Valentine’s and all, I also picked up some tropical flowers to go with the single rose. There was a small dumping of snow overnight, so I thought they would remind her of our trips to California and Hawaii. The flowers brought a smile to her face. (And allergies…)

A sweet moment today was brought to us by our daughter. She made us some origami flowers and card for this morning. She is getting excited about our family trip to Tokyo and is getting in the mood because practicing her paper folding. These flowers did not cause allergies.

I love that there is a sweet spot for romantic and kind gestures in our household. That makes my heart full. Have a great Valentine’s Day everyone!

No. You Say Goodbye.

I’ve known my wife for nearly 18 years. During this time we have developed excellent communication skills. This is because we have a tiny quirk between us. It’s probably the biggest thing that keeps us together. It’s really simple actually.

We call each other on the phone. That’s it.

When we first met- my future wife gave me her phone number. A few days later, I called to ask if I could call her again later that evening. That was my first phone call to her. And it worked. We now call each other constantly.

Every time I drive to work, I call my wife. Whenever she is out on an errand, she calls me. Even a quick drive to drop the kids off at school- our phones are connected. We talk about dinner plans, schedules, people, politics, pretty much everything. We’ve even had conversations when we are a ten hour drive apart from each other.

It’s difficult to get into my car and not call my wife. I’ve done it since I first met her. Hearing her voice is a part of my daily drive. It brings me joy. I never want the phone calls to stop.

Because every call ends with “I love you“.

16 Years is a Lifetime

I love my wife very much. Today is the day we celebrate 16 years of marriage. My wife and I have been together for only 17 years.  So I guess when it’s right, it’s right. We have made a lifetime of memories together. I expect a lifetime more.


We mesh quite well together. When I’m crazy-she’s normal. When she’s crazy- I’m normal. We create a peace between each other.  We harmonize our chi or feng shui that thing.  Whatever it is, it works for us. I’ve never been happier.  Life is pretty darned good.

When we got married, we never said “I Do.” Instead we said, “I Will.” The difference in those two sentences has made a difference in how I view our lives.  “I Do” is just for the moment.  “I Will” implies for a much longer time.  It promotes future planning.

I do love my wife. 

I will love her forever.

Compliment and Complement

Define compliment & complement.

Compliment: a polite expression of praise or admiration.

Complement: a thing that completes or brings to perfection.

I like using both of these words.  Their use is pretty standard even if people mistakenly swap them.  In fact, I would use both of them to describe my wife’s connection with me.  

I learned not to tell my wife to smile more.


My wife is most definitely a compliment to me.  She is always there when I need to hear some flattery or admiration.  Her praise can bring me out of a funk quickly.  At times, just her smile or caress is the greatest compliment I could receive. She is my muse when it comes to writing as well.

And by definition- she is a complement to me in many ways.  She has improved my wellbeing over the years through her warmth and tenderness.  Whenever I think of my life, I know that she has to be a part of it.  We share many noteworthy moments together.  All of which would seem insignificant if it wasn’t for her around.  We have travelled together, laughed together, parented together, and just plain lounged around together. 


My wife is my companion on this journey of life.  She brings great harmony to my world.  Until my wife lets loose once in a while, most people think I’m the silly one and she’s the responsible one.  This will often surprise people. But not me.  She is a great woman who makes every day a joyous occasion.  

17 years ago. We still haven’t changed.


She is both a great complement and a compliment to me. I wouldn’t have it any other way.