Wallet

Back in the fall, we re-arranged our home while I Painted the Kitchen Cabinets. Some of the changes we really hated, so it went back. Such as the switching of where our dining table and our couch was located. But one of the changes has messed me up.

I moved a cabinet that was under our stairs in the front foyer of our home. Not a big deal in itself- it made our front entry look more open and less cluttered. What is throwing me off is that I don’t have a basket to toss my wallet and keys into anymore.

This has left me a little bit lost. I’ve left my keys in numerous jackets and hoodies. My wallet has wandered all around my home trying to find a place. I have left it at my computer, on the bathroom counter, even in my jeans. The only thing I know the location of is my iPhone.

I need to get a new location or basket for my stuff. I kind of miss having a chain on my wallet like I did as a teenager. Maybe it’s time to make that fashionable again. I could always hang it on a hook on the wall with my keys and not lose either anymore.

School Camping Trip

In June, my son will be attending his grade seven camping trip. My daughters each did it for their grade seven year. It’s a tradition that is upheld in our local community schools. It’s something the teachers look forward to as well as the students. It’s kind of like a farewell to the kids before they enter high school.

The big difference this year is that I’ll be attending as one of the parent volunteers. My son requested I come at the start of the school year. Of course I wanted to be a part of it. I found out on Friday night that I have been accepted to be a chaperone. My son couldn’t be happier. I’m looking forward to it.

I did a grade seven camp as a kid and had a pretty good time. I also attended a cub scout camp for one summer a few years prior. Both were great experiences. Looking back though, some of the councilors were a bit sketchy. Hopefully I won’t come across as sketchy.

I’ve met most of the kids in my son’s grade. He also has a collection of what I consider to be “top notch” friends. All of them have a wonderful sense of humor and are really delightful kids. Since they’ve all met me, they know I can be a bit, uh, zany?

In the end, I am excited about making memories for my son and his friends. The trip should be a ton of fun!

More Astro Boy

The place- Edmonton.

The year- 1983.

The time- 6am.

Everyday before elementary school, I would watch a cartoon called Astro Boy. I had to wake up super early in order to catch the show because it started at 6am every morning. Except on weekends, when I would catch reruns of The Mighty Hercules on Sunday mornings. Two very different styles of animation and story lines.

My daily viewing of Astro Boy started my day off on the right foot. At the end of every episode, Astro would do a recap with mistakes. The Astro voiceover would then ask if you caught his mistakes. It meant the show required undivided attention. Everyday at school, I blathered on about this cartoon constantly. This evolved into other kids also watching it. Eventually the show became the talk of the playground. We would argue over the “mistakes” and talk about that day’s villain or battle.

As I grew up, I took the lessons that Astro- aka Atom– taught and instilled them into my life. Pure kindness and compassion shown from a robot. Who’d of thunk that an anime machine would forge my pathway through life?

As I got older, I received the collection of 1983 Astro Boy on DVD many years ago. I also received the 2003 series. On a few road trips, my children have marathoned through both series.

Because of my children knowing that it was a childhood favorite of mine, they bought me a couple of characters they found. These were discovered in a gas station toy aisle during one of our road trips. The toys may not hold any real value to anyone else but me. I love my family for always thinking of me.

When I was about 18, I really wanted a t-shirt that I had discovered that depicted Astro Boy in a hologram image that would change depending on the view of him. You could see the inside workings or his outer body depending on the angle. The down side was twofold. First, this was the early 1990’s and the shirt cost $80 (approx. $150 in today’s market). Secondly it was one size too small for me.

During our trip to Tokyo last year, I found the shirt again. My wife told me not to buy it because there is no easy way to care for the decal. Turns out she had also found the shirt and knew it would be perfect for me. This past Christmas, I received the shirt. My inner child bounced with joy.

The original Astro Boy that came out January 1,1963 was the first cartoon to introduce Anime to the world. I have loved anime ever since I first saw Astro on tv in my living room when I was 7. I also wrote about Astro Boy last year. I’ve even expressed sadness over the end of an era for a t-shirt that I loved based on another favorite anime- Akira.

What was you first anime show?

Do you have fond memories of cartoons from you childhood?

Taking This City for Granted

I’m always excited to travel to other countries, states, provinces, and visit different cities. I enjoy driving around certain cities such as Los Angeles or Calgary. Some of my favorite cities to walk around are Seattle, Tokyo, and San Jose. As well as the beaches of California and Hawaii. And of course, Disneyland.

Our adventures over the years have taken us to see some beautiful cities and picturesque landscapes. From unique architecture to forests to parks to beaches. But I forget that Vancouver is unique and beautiful in its own way. With many of the things I have experienced elsewhere.

Over the past few weeks I’ve had the opportunity to work downtown Vancouver. It made me want to come down to this city more often. I’ve begun to take the time and just wander around Vancouver as well as take in a Hockey Game with my son. Vancouver has parks and architecture that you can only find here.

The outskirts of Vancouver boast beautiful trails located in many municipalities; and White Rock’s beaches aren’t crowded. This year, we aren’t planning any big trips or vacations. I’m going to plan more daily explorations of our current stomping grounds. Let’s share what the Lower Mainland has to offer.

By all means, give me some ideas of places to visit and things to do. No need to keep secrets about this exquisite locale we call home.

What I Didn’t Get For Christmas

Sometimes you just don’t get what you want for Christmas. Of course Christmas is a time of giving; But receiving is pretty sweet as well. I’ve tried to drop hints to my family over the years. I guess my subtlety was overlooked– Most likely ignored.

I had a wonderful Christmas, as I do every year. With good laughs and lots of love being spread. I don’t want to sound ungrateful. However, maybe next year Santa could find room in his sleigh for one of these items I’d kinda like:

I have been wanting a large 3D Printer for ages. Maybe not that large. But still, I love movie replicas. I see this as a way of doing it as a hobby with the idea of making my own movie replica props. Full size Han Solo in Carbonite? Yes please!

Speaking of movie props, on my list is the Leg Lamp with crate from the film “A Christmas Story”. I have wanted this for nearly three decades. Ever since I first saw the film as a teenager. It screams Christmas to me. Yes, my wife has known I have wanted it but refuses to buy it. She’s kinda like Ralphie’s mom in that aspect.

See that watch Elvis is wearing? There’s just something about the design of a Hamilton Ventura wrist watch. I’m not a watch guy, but this is the piece I have always wanted. Forget Rolex, that’s way out of my price range, or the trendy 1980’s Casio calculator watch (I had one of those at one point as a kid)- a Hamilton Ventura is where it’s at.

I have many other things I have hinted at that are just regular items, like a sawzall or outdoor speakers, but this dad just seems to get ignored. Honestly, I’m okay with that. All of these items I’ve mentioned, I could just go out and get myself. That’s not what Christmas is about.

I am delighted with the gifts I did receive from my family. Many of them surprised me. From a jar of mustard to slippers, or a stuffed animal that shares my birthday, or a keepsake from our trip to Japan- my family knows the right things to give me that hits me in the feels.

For this, I am grateful and wouldn’t change a thing.

Christmas Video Games

Almost all my life, Christmas has involved video games. Either getting new systems or games. This year was no different.

We picked up a Switch for the family and the NES/SNES minis for my wife and I. Even though I didn’t want to last year. We also picked up a couple games to play. All afternoon and night yesterday had us playing as a family.

Even today, everyone has been gaming throughout the house. Lots of laughs and smack talk a-plenty. When I was younger, my family never played games with me. I did play with friends quite often. Which was great. I also powered through those endless games for hours on end.

As well when I was younger, we had one of those large wooden cabinet tvs that sat on the floor. Over the Christmases, starting around 1980, our home had consoles arrive that would require Channel 3 or 4 to work. Intellivision was our first one. A couple years later, we got a Colecovision/ADAM computer combo. At which point my father bought another tv. This time a small 13″ one that could go into a different part of the house so that I wouldn’t bother him as I played games.

Eventually, when we moved to a new home, that small tv ended up in my bedroom for a couple years. Until the Sega Genesis came into my life. We moved again, and then my parents bought themselves another tv and I was given the large old one. Which took up half my new bedroom. So I got a Futon bed to fold into a couch in order to play games more. Which meant I also never put it into bed form. Super Nintendo, followed by the N64 became favorites to play with friends as well.

Growing into an adult and having a place of my own for nearly the past two decades, I have changed TVs every couple of years. With technology constantly evolving, “upgrading” is one of my favorite things. This Christmas we upgraded our theater room projector. For about five- six years, we had a small 720p Epson projector. It got a ton of use. But as the game systems and games got visually better, it was time to upgrade.

So on Black Friday, we ordered a new projector online. Since we had such good luck with Epson, I wanted to stay with it. Our new projector shows images in 4K. We weren’t expecting it to be such a large machine. However, the entire family agrees that the quality in the images is incredible. Especially when shown on a 106″ screen.

It was strange today to play on the big screen and then take the Nintendo Switch out into handheld mode for the same game. Going from 106″ to 6.2″ would seem incomprehensible in 1980.

What memories do you have of video games? Do you still play them? Have you upgraded your tv or stereo to match the quality of modern systems?

Christmas Eve Close Calls

Today as I was driving to work, I almost got in a car accident. There was practically no one on the roads at the time. I was in a roundabout when another driver nearly hit me. She was clearly not paying attention. Probably distracted thinking about Christmas because she was in a real hurry.

There are certain rules of the road that people need to follow. Yielding to those in a roundabout is one of them. I wasn’t angry at the other driver, just a bit frustrated. But I’ve been on the other end as well where I’ve made a mistake driving nearly causing an accident.

Christmas Eve 1993, when I nearly got in a car accident. I was 17 at the time and my mother had asked me to go get gas and a car wash up the road from our place. My younger sister came along for the fifteen minute car ride. It was probably to get us out of the house in order for my mother to do last minute gift wrapping. It was evening time and the roads were getting frosty with patches of ice.

I was approaching a stop light and wanting to take a righthand turn. That’s when my wheels locked and I slide towards the car that was perpendicular to us. I must’ve stopped inches away from t-boning the driver’s side door. When I stopped, I quickly reversed and then proceeded to make my turn- waving apologetically to the other car.

Once I had turned into the gas station, a police car pulled up behind me with lights flashing. The officer had seen my close call but was kind enough to let me off with a warning and some friendly advice to be careful during the holidays.

I’ve always remembered that moment and taken it to heart. Even with your mind elsewhere, you need to pay attention to your immediate surroundings.

Stay safe over the holidays everyone!

Winter Solstice 2018

We had a small get together last night to celebrate the Winter Solstice. This is the second year we have done this. I enjoy celebrating the Solstice. Being that my family is Atheist, it makes more sense to celebrate this style of tradition.

Being host to a social event is one of my passions. I love to serve good food for good friends. Lots of appetizers and cookies for everyone to enjoy. My friends come from all different aspects of my life and mingle well with one another. That makes for a good time.

As each group left our home, we gave them a small tin of cookies to enjoy later. It’s a way for them to reflect on the evening with a hope that they enjoyed coming out as much as I enjoyed their company.

Here’s to the daylight getting longer now! May you all enjoy the balance of the winter as it crests towards springtime.

Never Too Busy To Pause For Life’s Moments

Life can get pretty hectic. Especially towards the holiday season. Kids concerts, last minute gift shopping, year end work deadlines… Throughout it all, you need to remember to pause for a bit and just enjoy life.

It’s also tough to not want to compare your life with someone else’s. All those fun photos and memorable moments they’re having. Kinda wish I was doing the same sometimes. But my life is pretty darn good when I look at it. I just need to focus on what matters most to me:

My family.

They’re really good people who have stories to share with me. I need to remember to give them the attention that I give my social media feed. Sometimes I need to be an ear for them to talk to. Other times I just admire them without their knowledge. Catching those “Ah-Ha” moments when something clicks. Or seeing the kindness they can show others without being prompted.

Those are the moments I don’t want to miss. I just need to hit pause once in a while and enjoy.

Yule Be Wiggling

When I was younger, one of my favorite things about Christmas was decorating the tree. The tree in my childhood home was shiny. Lots of glittery ornaments, multi coloured lights, and an excessive amount of tinsel! The green plastic tree was almost silver by the end.

However, around the age of twelve, my sister and father decided to decorate the Christmas tree without me. I’m not gonna lie, that kinda stung me in the heart. Even though I told my family that what they did sucked, they did it a couple more times during my teenage years as well.

Fast forward to the family I have created. My wife and I always make sure that the kids are around on the day we decorate the trees. We’ve even created a tradition for it that we repeat each and every year.

We do all the normal things that families do. Such as put on a fire in the fireplace and drink eggnog while we put out decorations on our Christmas trees. (Yes, TREES- plural.) We have two trees that we decorate as our “Fun” trees and one as our “Elegant” tree.

During the decorating of our Fun trees, we like to have fun- obviously. Our tree decorating has an odd tradition. We have to watch Yule Be Wiggling by The Wiggles! Back in the early 2000’s our children loved watching The Wiggles. As a way of keeping them youthful- we added a viewing of this film while the ornaments get hung up as a part of our Christmas traditions.

And our children continue to love it. All of the songs are memorized. I even have the songs on a cd that gets requested to be played in the car during December! As much as our oldest tries to fight it, this tradition still brought a smile to her face last night as we decorated the Fun trees.

Later this weekend, we will decorate our Elegant tree. This tree has all of our fragile glass and keepsake ornaments. We decorate this one as a family as well. But no bouncing around watching “The Wiggles” for this. It’s the classic Rudolph that will be playing on our tv.

Do you have any out of the ordinary Christmas or Holiday traditions? Let me know in the comments below!