Serpentine River Kayak Behind Our Home

Today was our first kayak adventure of the year. Last year we only went out once. My wife is hoping that this year we get out more often. She would prefer once a week. We shall see how this goes over the summer.

We decided to try an area we never explored by kayak before. The dyke behind our home that is just beyond the fields. It’s an area we walk (or rather my wife walks) on a regular basis. We drove the kayaks down to the side of the road and made our way towards the water.

Getting down to the water was a bit more steep than we have wandered before. But we got the kayaks down to the edge of the water. We launched from underneath the roadway. we paddled out for about thirty minutes prior to turning around to head back.

This adventure was significant to us. Back in 2007, my wife worked for a hot air balloon company. For our anniversary that year, we went up for a ride. Along the way, we passed over the dyke that we kayaked today. We paused for a quick picture in the same spot where we captured a previous picture. This was all prior to the house we are in was built.

It was a good afternoon of enjoying the calm and serene waters. A few spots of shade were nice and we even witnessed a large crane fly off. It was a perfect afternoon. I’ll happily do this once more.

Yard of Changes

The former owners of the house we bought are still in contact with us. In fact, we continue to rent out a room two days a week for the husband while he is at work on the mainland. Once in a while I get to see what the house looked like back when it was first built.

The backyard was once filled with lawn. There were cedar trees planted along the rocks that have long since been removed. I’d still have been happy had we bought this home and the yard looked like that. Bright and open. A huge difference from our last property.

Instead, the former owners put in a pool and extended a wood deck to the furthest point in the yard. Since we bought the house, we have made some changes and additions of our own. This has helped to create our “Dream Home”.

In the short time of living in this house, we have changed the landscape in other areas. I’m loving what we have done and look forward to creating more modifications over the years.

Excited Over Old Technology

Today I had my 17 year old go and pick up an item for me that was on Facebook Marketplace. I don’t generally use that format to get things, but somehow an item I wanted materialized within weeks of me thinking about it. I jumped at the chance to pick it up. And for $15 I really don’t think it’s in bad shape.

Teknika c6010

I picked up an old Teknika VHS camera. I swear these were the industrial models that 7/11 used to rent out. This thing is heavy. The downside is that the battery no longer works, so I will be required to keep it plugged in. The upside- it came with a blank VHS tape in it- so I have a chance to fiddle around with it.

It even came with a keyboard so I can type in titles and such for the videos. This will likely take me some time to figure out, but how 80’s can you get? That fact that the camera is from somewhere between 1986-1989 is awesome. And it works!

But Josef, why did you want this camera?

My wife and I are having an anniversary party in July with the 80’s as a theme. Specifically 1988. That year was the peak of everything 80’s right before the 90’s started to sneak in. A video camera from this time is perfect. I plan to have it on the entire time, connected to a television for fun.

I also picked up 30 pairs of sunglasses that scream 80’s. This will be available to our friends as they arrive to the party. I cannot wait until our anniversary in seven weeks time! If you can think of anything else that screams 1988- let me know!

I an’t wait to see how this camera works. It should be a blast!

Theory is 17!?!

Our youngest is cresting the final years of teenagehood. He has turned 17 today. A year ago he got his learner’s driving license. In a couple of days, he will be going for his New Driver test. That is a big accomplishment and a right of passage for most youth. He’s a pretty confident driver, so I have no doubt he will pass his test.

Theory bought Fish Flops last week.

He has grown to become very similar to how I was as a teenager. Goofy, funny, sarcastic yet kind. Honestly, I’d probably also have bought “Fish Flops” at his age just like he did last week. Much like him, I’d be able to convince a couple friends to buy them as well and wear them to school.

The one thing that really got me in the emotional feels occurred the other day. He approached me and asked if I could teach him how to shave his face. My father never taught me how to shave and with no internet around back then, I had to fumble through trial and error. Until 1998 when I began to read Maxim Magazine and read an article of how to properly shave. Since then, no more nicks or cuts. I passed that knowledge onto my son this past weekend.

He’s on his way to become a real gentleman. He always puts others first and is extremely helpful when required. His smile is contagious and I love him for everything he does. He’s a great kid and deserves to have a wonderful birthday.

Happy 17th Birthday Theory!

Basic Sandwich

With the warmer weather approaching quickly, I tend to not eat as much as I do in the winter months. I tend to snack periodically and keep myself hydrated instead. Most days I’ll have one big meal- usually at dinner.

I don’t consider a sandwich to be a meal. I think of that as a snack. Same with a bowl of soup or a cup of noodles. Just a quick and easy snack to keep me going for the day.

One of my favorite sandwiches is a basic cheese and lettuce on lightly toasted bread. I throw on some mayonnaise and mustard for added flavor. This is the sandwich I used to make when I worked at Burger Brothers as a 16 year old over thirty years ago. At BB, we would get a discount on the burgers, but our boss allowed us to have a veggie or veggie and cheese sandwich at no cost. This was a great way to ensure I could save some money working there.

I also enjoy a simple cucumber sandwich in the summer. I find those to be very refreshing. Same with a BLT. All great snacks that utilize vegetables in some form.

Do you have a basic go-to sandwich?

Friends

This weekend I spent my Friday and Saturday hanging out with friends. Normally I see people about once every couple of weeks. My “Social Meter” has a short battery these days, but I was glad to get the opportunity to hang out. Different dynamics on both evenings, so it made it easier to get out in the world on back-to-back evenings.

I take the moments I spend with friends as something much more than just hanging out. Socializing is a great way to share experiences, discuss life and just comprehend the world around us. I reflect on what we talk about and learn from the humor and memories each person brings to the table. I’m very much an observer, but I also add my own flavor to the conversation at the correct intervals. Social cues are something I can read quickly and adapt to.

Discussing entertainment, travel, work, life, etc also helps to put thoughts into words and clear your mind. There are days on end that I feel overwhelmed with my emotions and thoughts. Talking things out really does help. Having friends to connect with us almost as important as food and oxygen. It’s good for your mental health to be social.

Thank you friends for a good weekend! Until next time when my “Social Meter” becomes full again!

Star Wars Day 2023: Immersed in Galaxy’s Edge

May The Fourth Be With You!

Today is Star Wars Day. This year I’m not doing any cosplay like I have in the past. Instead I’m just going to enjoy the weekend with a couple of buddies tomorrow as we watch an unedited version of the original trilogy.

Obviously I love Star Wars. When Disneyland opened up Galaxy’s Edge, I was giddy with excitement. When we went last summer- I got to meet Chewbacca once more! It was loads of fun.

Getting immersed in the Star Wars universe was a great experience. When I go back to Disneyland, I will definitely be there again to see more of the land. There is just so many amazing details that make it feel as if you have transported to another galaxy.

I’d love to one day be a bigger part of Star Wars. Maybe I’ll get a job in Disneyland when I retire and can wander around the land in character form. That would seriously be my dream job. Hanging out at Galaxy’s Edge all the time- in Disneyland as well! That’s like a two-for-one kind of dream!

Happy Star Wars Day everyone!

May The Fourth Be With You

Easter Preparation

It’s Easter weekend. A time for chocolate and bunnies (and chocolate bunnies). I’ve never been a fan of Easter. That probably stems from Catholic school when I was a wee lad. The imagery and stories of a man with a crown of thorns, torture, blood, even coming back from the dead are a bit traumatic for young Josef.

On the other side, we also never did Easter egg hunts as children. So Easter weekend wasn’t as fun as it could have been. My mother did leave out some chocolate on the kitchen table, so we did eat that junk food.

As a parent, my wife made me participate in hiding eggs for our children over the years. If I wasn’t working, I’d hang out and watch them as they gathered up their treats. Our kids would then combine the chocolates and divide them equally.

My wife is still filling plastic eggs for our children. Even though they are turning 17, 19, and 21 this year. What’s humorous is that our kids were asking if the Easter Bunny was visiting this year. Good thing they asked my wife, because my answer would have been “no”.

Hoppy Easter

I’m okay with the fact that my kids want to hang onto a part of their youth. Lucky for me is that if there is extra candy (that can’t be evenly distributed) I get to enjoy it. I also think my wife is enjoying babying our kids periodically like this. Me- I just enjoy being immature- that’s how I hold onto my youthful follies.

Anyways, I hope that everyone has a fun filled Easter weekend! And remember to find all of those eggs!

Can You Wiggle Your Ears?

I have some useless talents. Ones that I’m okay at, but nothing that I would say I could be a professional doing. I can roll my tongue, do basic yo-yo tricks, hackysack, solve a Rubik’s Cube, do origami, and now make rugs. The one thing I always wanted to learn?

How to wiggle my ears.

I know it sounds silly. But it was the one talent that my father had which he would do when he was in a good mood. His smile was genuine and he would make his ears dance. As a child, it enthralled me. I could not, for the life of me, figure out how to do it.

My dad once told me he would spend hours in front of a mirror trying to home this skill. As a child, I did not have the patience to do that. As an adult, the question comes up as “why do you need to learn this?” Well, it’s something I still want to learn, so it’s time to search the interwebs.

Do any of you know how to wiggle your ears? Care to teach me?

Rug Wars

Back in February a group of fellow tufters got together and we voted on the theme for Rug Wars. The category that won was “Acid/Trippy”. So the idea behind the competition is that we had the month of March to design and finish a rug. It had to be original and entered by March 31st. Throughout April people will vote on rugs and by the end there will be a winner announced.

Here is my entry:

I went with an idea that reminded me of my youth and the psychedelic themes of the 90’s. Back then it was popular to see tv shows about the unknown, aliens, ufos, etc… like X-Files. Not to mention my own experiences with trippy activities and mind bending realities.

The competition is a friendly one. No prize to be won. Mostly I want to get recognition from my fellow tufters and see what others had in store for their entries. Once the competition begins, I’ll share the link and hope that my friends and readers will vote me up!

Today is Tomorrow’s Yesterday

Living for the moment isn’t always easy to do. Oftentimes I find myself concerned with what tomorrow brings. I play scenarios in my mind of the decisions I need to make and the potential outcomes. I also reflect on my past and wonder what I could have done differently.

All the while I’m losing sight of the here and now. I need to stop torturing myself and live in the now. Appreciate the present, for it is a gift.

Meditate upon this wisdom with me.

Ohhhhhhhhhhmmmm

Farewell Jodie

My mother contacted me earlier today with some sad news. Her little dog passed away overnight. She was pretty broken up by the loss. Jodie had been a big part of her life for six years now.

Jodie was a good companion for my mother. This doggo was the reason my mom would go out for walks and get fresh air. My mother was telling me how people on the beach and in her neighborhood knew Jodie and loved the cute little fluff ball. Hopefully losing Jodie won’t stop my mom from getting fresh air and seeing neighbors.

Jodie would sit on my mother’s lap daily as well. Periodically, Jodie would bark, and my mom would tell her to “shush” but it was still nice for my mom to talk and pet her.

My mother is not looking to replace Jodie at this time. Being that my mom is 81- caring for a small animal is not in the cards anymore. I know that Jodie will be missed and I feel bad for my mother’s loss.

Losing a pet can be as difficult as losing a family member. It’s not a pleasant feeling.

RIP Jodie.

Tron: A Legacy

Last week, on my birthday, I went to buy some records. One of the records that was purchased, my son asked if I would split the cost with him. I happily obliged. You see, in 1983 I received a record for my 7th birthday. That record was “The Story of Tron” with music and dialogue from the motion picture. I listened to it repeatedly. I love the film and the idea behind Tron.

The record my son wanted to buy was from the sequel “Tron Legacy”. Of course I couldn’t say no. At the cashier, he said, “Don’t worry dad- I got this” so I didn’t have to pay for part of the record. Funny thing is he had no idea until today that I had been gifted the other Tron album for a childhood birthday.

I find it interesting that 40 years later I was going to be in possession of another Tron album. Albeit, our son is wanting to keep them in his room. He has somehow managed to become the keeper of our movies and movie memorabilia. The one thing I asked was that he play the album on my new record player as it has a better quality needle and will protect the vinyl over time compared to a more inexpensive record player.

I can’t wait to hear the album. I’m waiting until my son wants to unwrap it.

You know, it almost feels as if this record isn’t for me after all…

Gifts For This 47 Year Old

I want to take the time today to express gratitude to those who gave me birthday gifts this year. Even as I approach 50 and I can pretty much buy whatever I want- there are gifts that are given to me that prove that people know me quite well.

I did buy myself a record player, and hit up some vinyl stores in Calgary. This was a gift to myself, but my wife approved the purchase in advance knowing how much I wanted a new record player. This one has Bluetooth technology and I took the afternoon on Friday to enjoy some music. There’s something nostalgic and wonderful when you hear a crackle of old records through the speakers.

My middle child re-gifted back to me my “Deathnote” notebook. Only this time, they had taken it to Fan Expo and had the voice actors of three of the characters autograph the inside it. That was awesome and humorous if you know what the anime/manga series is about.

Our youngest gave me some artwork from Akira. A beautiful print that I want to get framed and hung up. This was one of the first anime films I ever saw which blew my mind. Prior to this film, I had seen a few different series, but this one holds a place in my heart.

A last minute gift that was given to me from the friend we were staying with- was right up my alley. We had been talking and he mentioned he had copies of the original Star Wars trilogy in high resolution. Unaltered by Lucas- taken from original film and captured in almost 4k format. As if watching the films for the first time in the theater back in the 70’s and 80’s. I am saving watching these for Star Wars Day later this year.

It was a good birthday for gift receiving. Thank you again to everyone who reached out to me wishing me a happy birthday.

Shake The Foot

Sometimes when I try and fall asleep in bed, I have a tendency to shake my left foot. More like I shimmy it in a strange circular fashion. Other times I wave my foot in a seesaw motion- back and forth. I do this unconsciously and then stop myself when I notice I’m doing it.

Then I hold myself extremely still and that’s when I fall asleep. Shaking my foot is like my body wanting to shake out all my energy first. It’s a habit I have had forever. I know this routine has irritated my wife over the years when she is wanting to fall asleep.

As I mentioned- once I notice I’m doing it, I like to make sure that I’m in a comfortable position and refuse to move again. I hold still until I eventually fall asleep. In all honesty it doesn’t take me long. I love that aspect of who I am. The ability to sleep at will.

I just need my left foot to listen!

Wired For Stereo

I had noticed that our tv in the basement was a bit quiet. I didn’t want to spend money on a sound bar. So this weekend I decided to pull our home theater stereo out of the attic and set it up.

Wiring the speakers was a bit of a challenge. Lucky for me, above the fireplace was hollow, so wires were easy to string in the wall. The only downside was the wood that was blocking me from running the wires below. I bought a 16” long drill bit and was able to slide it through the hole in the wall. I was surprised at how easy it was to run all those wires.

Now I have speakers set up on the wall around the tv. All that I have left is to run wires for the surround speakers. I’ll probably do that later in the spring. Mostly because I will have to remove the baseboards and then run the wire up the walls. That will probably take me a few hours to complete. For now the speakers that are for the back of the room are sitting beside the fireplace.

The last thing left to do is make sure of the sound quality. Probably watch some tv or a movie. Then try out music.

Man, I missed my stereo. So happy it’s back!

Tune Up

Today we had our piano tuned up. We kind of neglected doing it for a couple of years. Which was not good. But the tune up went well- just took a bit longer than it should have. At least no repairs were required.

Now that the piano is sounding better, hopefully we will hear it played again. I know that our kids periodically “tickle the ivories”. When their friends come over, many of them can play piano, and enjoy sitting down to play.

This will be nice to have it all sounding good once more. Now to just keep up with the tuning twice a year!

If you tune it, they will play it.

Mustard Glasses

I like mustard. It’s good on sandwiches, burgers, hot dogs, and other meats. Something about mustard just adds a good flavor to food.

My father introduced me to “Hot Prepared” mustard when I was a child. It comes in these glass jars with a plastic lid. They look like little dimpled beer steins. As a child, when they were emptied, we would use them as glasses.

Over the years, those glasses became my glasses. We still save each jar after using the mustard and utilize them as drinking glasses.

The funny thing is, my father was getting those jars of mustard when he owned a deli over forty years ago. He owned the deli for a couple of years, until we moved away when he got a new job. A few years later, he would buy the mustard from a deli in Langley. That is the only place I know where to buy it as well.

I’m sure I could find the mustard elsewhere, but a part of me wants to remember where the origins of my love of this mustard came from.

Dad’s Roladin Recipe Modified

When I was a child, my father would make fantastic dinners. He brought with him some recipes from his homeland back in Czechoslovakia. One recipe, which I didn’t like as a child, dawned on me today and I wanted to attempt it.

My father would make Roladin. Basically a thin steak, mustard, pickle, onion and bacon rolled up. My father’s version also involved a hard boiled egg. Again, when I was younger, I wasn’t a fan.

Today I was making a beef brisket but wasn’t sure what to have a side with it. So I decided to hard boil eggs, add pickle and mustard in a wrap. It was an almost perfect replica in taste as my memory came flooding back.

My wife liked it so much that we are going to make it again. I enjoyed it so much that I ate two helpings. A big thank you to my father for making a meal back in the day that I couldn’t stand, yet somehow I chose to mimic the tastes.

Couple Of Date Nights

Last night my wife and I went out for a quiet dinner date. The pub was in the neighborhood where we first owned a home. So naturally we drove past our first house. That was neat to look back at where we started.

We ate some tasty pub food and talked about life. It was a nice break. Afterwards we drove to Michael’s and checked out crafts and yarn before heading home.

Tonight we dropped our son off at his speed skating practice and headed out to a place called “Industry Arcade”. There we paid for an hour of free play and got our fill of pinball games! We also did a bit of competitive game play on a few classic arcade games. I’m still pretty good at Frogger while my wife was better at Donkey Kong.

To finish our evening off, we grabbed a couple of lattes and watched the end of our son’s practice. I have enjoyed our rekindled fun times over the last couple of days. I think we may go to play more arcade games again in the future as it made us feel youthful again. Perhaps we were longing for the years past when arcades were a thing. Both of us have different memories of arcades, but similar in many aspects.

It doesn’t matter how old we get- my wife and I enjoy being juvenile.

Date Nights

Since I had to work last night for Valentine’s Day- my wife and I are headed out for a date tonight instead. Then tomorrow we are going on another date. Followed by Friday evening building a Lego set together. I’m looking forward to each one.

Tonight we are going to hit up some pub style burgers and have an evening together. We are rekindling our youthful follies over the next few dates. It will be nice to just spend time together just the two of us.

We have been on different wavelengths and schedules lately. It feels as though we are just ships passing in the night. A few moments here and there, nothing meaningful. These next few nights will be fun.

I’m glad my wife said she will still be mine. Even after all of these years.

Flowers For Lee-Anne

Every so often, specifically on Valentine’s Day, I have brought home flowers for my wife. From lilies to roses and the occasional tropical flower- my wife has appreciated the sentiments behind the flowers.

I have always loved a pop of color in our home as well as the fresh scent the flowers give off. As beautiful as the flowers can be, they don’t last long.

Periodically my wife would dry them out. Then we would have a lovely arrangement that can last for years.

This year I decided to pick up an Orchid Lego set as a Valentine’s Day gift. We really enjoyed the Bonsai Tree from a couple of years ago and still have it on display (read about it here: Lego Bonsai). My wife has always wanted orchids, but we both know that real ones would not last. With the Lego set, the flowers will look pretty all the time.

Building this set will also be a fun activity for us to do laster this week. We really enjoyed doing some of the Christmas sets as a family and have built other sets as well together over the years. I love that Lego is creating these sets for people of all ages.

So have a Happy Valentine’s Day! And I hope that if you gave or receive flowers that the last a long time!

Disneyland Visits

My wife is currently in Disneyland for a work retreat. She has officially caught up with me on visits to the park! I told her that from now on we must be together in Disneyland- no exceptions!

Lee-Anne is staying in a hotel that overlooks her favorite part of the parks. She gets to see California Adventure and is able to view her favorite rides on the Pixar Pier. This is making her visit a bit more special considering she is technically at work.

The craziest part about her visit to Disneyland?

We took our family there for their first visit 14 years ago today! We had so much fun. We have seen numerous changes over the years. We have traveled to Disneyland for a variety of celebrations. My wife is enjoying the current celebration: 100 years of Disney. I can’t believe Walt started his animation a century ago.

There’s something fantastic and truly magical about Disneyland. From exciting new adventures and rides to reliving memories from previous trips. I know that my wife and I will be doing trips there again- just the two of us. Adults in Disneyland acting youthful. I asked my wife to do some recon for a future trip of just us two.

I am jealous of her. If I could have taken the weekend off and didn’t have other obligations- I would have joined her. But since this is a work retreat, she did have some work stuff to do prior to enjoying the parks. I hope she brings us back some great gifts!

Social Media and Me

My social media usage has changed over the years. The main one I post on is Instagram. The only reason it seems like I am on Facebook is because the two are connected. I have ignored Twitter for so long that my app has gone back into the cloud. This doesn’t mean I don’t use the social media services. It means I am not as active as I once was when posting.

My social media postings were once creative and silly. My friends and I would have banter back and forth- posting jabs and jokes at one another. For an entire year I shared Star Wars memes. Facebook was a place for me to have fun and share my fun times.

It all changed a few years ago. I believe it was a culmination of a few factors. I began to write a daily blog. This allowed me to share more in-depth stories about my life and adventures (when I have them). I also changed my career path. That meant folks I was “friends with” left because they feared I would change. Surprise- that didn’t happen. And lastly, Facebook constantly makes changes to how you view their platform. I began to miss “recent stories” from my friends who I followed and they missed mine.

About three years ago, I “unfriended” nearly everyone on Facebook. A year and a half ago I was at a funeral service and people convinced me to get back on Facebook to be able to connect again. So I did. But hardly anyone shares anything anymore. I get videos and webpage “suggestions” now. I don’t post unless it’s a “memory” from when Facebook was fun.

Because of the changes in how social media is used by nearly everyone, I really don’t know why I open Facebook. It’s just kind of there now as a thing I can’t get rid of because of nostalgia reasons. I’m also getting older and feel that when I want to interact with friends, I’ll call or message them. Hey we may even meet up in person from time to time.

Anyways, don’t forget to FOLLOW AND LIKE. Share with your friends.

Namaste.

Pit Stick

Growing up as a teenager, I would use deodorant everyday. I kind of liked the smell of that better then the teen boy musk I would exhume. Pretty sure my classmates also appreciated it.

Once I met my wife, she suggested I change to antiperspirants, so I did. I have been using those for over twenty years now. I bought the same product every time I needed more. I had a certain fragrance about me that just seemed to be me.

However, in the last year or so I think my body has fought back against antiperspirants. Maybe I’m going through a “second puberty” entering my next section of the aging process. Or the perhaps the product I use may have changed. I’m not feeling as clean smelling as I once did. So I’m going to go back to using a deodorant instead.

I shower daily, sometimes just a quick rinse, other times a scrub clean with various products. Those days I use a face wash, a body wash, one of a variety of shampoos (depending what smell I want my hair to have). But after every shower- I apply pit stick.

To be honest, I am enjoying the smell of my deodorant more than my antidepressant ever had. Perhaps in a few days/weeks this smell will become my new normal. A fresh scented Joe.

Which do you use and why? Deodorant or Antiperspirant? Perhaps a bit of both depending on how active you are? Let me know in the comments.