2500 Daily Blog Posts

I have been writing a daily blog for myself for a long time now. In fact I just realized that I have been sharing my thoughts and stories for 2500 Days in a row!

Somehow I still manage to make the time for writing something out. The funny thing was, today I had no clue what to write about. So I was curious as to how long it had been since I started blogging. I made a goal to write every single day. Every single day. No matter what. I wrote out a story of some sort.

I’d like to think that I’m sharing a personal part of myself with all of you. I hope that it has brought you closer to understanding who I am as a person. Seeing what makes me tick. Enjoying my excursions and travels. Laughing at my ridiculous misfortunes. Perhaps even a quick tug on the heartstrings as I shared a sorrowful event from my past. Whatever the story may have been, I have enjoyed writing it out.

Will I stop writing these blogs? I am unsure. Doing these have become such an integral part of my mental processing that I wonder if I can stop. Writing clears my head. Sharing makes me feel like a part of society. Having feedback makes me a better person.

Thank you for joining me on this journey for nearly 7 years! You are the best!

Love, Josef.

Foggy Autumn Vacation

This is one of those rare vacations where I didn’t have much planned. Setting up the Christmas lights was really about it. Everything else I am doing is just the routine of our lives. Grocery shopping, speed skating practice, meeting up with friends… that sort of thing.

During my downtime I am watching some tv and playing video games. No big household projects or crafting this time around. I just want to relax. And I’m getting to do exactly that.

Last night I soaked in the tub, read a book and enjoyed a glass of wine. This morning I have been staring out the window amazed that the fog is so thick and just doesn’t want to lift or burn off. Yet somehow our view is still just as stunning without being able to see much. As if we are floating in the clouds.

That’s kind of how I feel about my week of vacation. I’m enjoying it, yet not much is happening that is exciting. This staycation is precisely what I needed. No hustle, just floating through. A chance to watch the world and appreciate the beauty it holds.

Beetlejuice Carving 2022

This year someone suggested I do a Beetlejuice theme on my pumpkin. Originally I was going to do him from the cartoon with Lydia and the title plate as well. In the end I opted to do the snake version from the original film.

After years of carving pumpkins, I have gotten faster at it. My first intricate pumpkin was a Jack Skellington one that took over 4 hours to complete. Every year I get faster. I am also able to visualize the finish product as I go.

My intensity in pumpkin carving has passed on to my two oldest children. They have also spent hours carving pumpkins. Our middle loves doing anime fandom style. They are busy working on theirs this afternoon as well.

Besides a picture- sometimes I wish there was another way to preserve these art pieces. But they are meant for one night and then they cut up and into breads, soups and pancakes. We don’t just toss them in the trash once Halloween is over.

Do you carve pumpkins? How much time do you invest in doing it? Show me some of your favorites please!

Beetlejuice.

Much Needed Rain

Over the last few days, the Lower Mainland and Vancouver area has gotten some much needed rain. As much as I enjoyed the extended summer weather- rain was badly needed. And welcomed.

Even just the short amount we have gotten so far has brought back a bit of vegetation and vibrancy to our world. This will help with keeping wild fires down as well as give some life to the plants that have needed it most prior to going dormant for the year. I have also heard of people in our old neighborhood having their wells start to run low and even dry. That’s a tough situation to deal with. The rain can help fill those natural supplies once more.

Working or driving in this weather can be frustrating as well. Please just remember to take it a bit slower out there. No one wants to get in an accident or injured. Besides- rain and Vancouver go hand-in-hand according to other parts of the world. But only when it isn’t sunny and those folks are just jealous of the good weather we get most of the other time.

Dad’s Ruby and Gold

I always have an emotionally rough go from the end of September until the end of November. These months are the time I think of my father the most. This year specifically, since September 19th, I have been trying my best to find the good in the memories of my father. I know he wasn’t a bad person. I just felt wasn’t the dad I wanted or needed growing up.

Besides the occasional photo I have of my father, I don’t have much to remember him by. I kept a couple of golf clubs, some tools, a hat and an ashtray. I was given his wedding ring and his ruby ring when he passed away. So I have been wearing them around my neck for the past couple of weeks.

I always remember him wearing these rings on his ring finger. They never came off. That is something I have taken to in my life as well. My wedding ring has been on my finger since 2001. I have not taken it off for longer than a few minutes at a time. Mostly to clean it or check it’s shape.

Wearing them around my neck, I have held them periodically in my hand. I’m not quite sure what I’m looking for by having them. But I as I said, I am trying to focus on more positive thoughts. Perhaps there is a mystical power of the ruby or even the gold that I am trying to conjure.

I know that when I think of the ruby and gold, it reminds me of the bohemian glasses my grandfather brought from Czechoslovakia back in the 80’s for my father. Those are the only glasses I wish to have in my possession one day. Currently those are with my mother. I hope that she will gift them to me at some point. As I mentioned, I don’t have much from my father.

But his rings are important to me. This is the longest I have worn them and I really want to discovery the positivity of their symbolism.

Getting Stoned

Today I bit the bullet and went to get some river rock delivered for our home. I was surprised that they were able to deliver within a couple of hours of ordering.

I lay some landscape fabric down a few weeks ago. And last week, I had put the garden wall along the property line. The bark mulch garden islands were also completed last week.

I took me about three hours and twenty five wheelbarrows to fill the garden. The neighbors each came by and commented on the improvements and how hard I worked. One neighbor even brought me a beer. It was nice to get acknowledgment and approval from the neighbors.

Of course, I’m really proud of the work done over the past year. I’m also sore from the backbreaking labor- but it was all worthwhile. Now to hit the pool and find some advil.

More Ice Time

Theory’s newest speed skating club is very active. They push the skaters harder than I have seen. So far it seems the skaters are up for the challenge and not complaining. The group still has ice time at an older rink, so they are utilizing it.

Every Tuesday that I am working night shift means I will be dropping our son off at Planet Ice. This was the club’s original home ice. If I’m working day shift- I’ll likely be picking him up on the way home. It is probably one of the coldest rinks I have stepped foot into. This is good for the skaters. But chilly for the parents and spectators.

At least the group is getting some intense workouts. It is much needed for every skater. I can’t wait to see the results over this next season.

Queen Elizabeth II

It is with great sadness that the world bids farewell to The Queen. She has been an icon for many generations. The world now mourns the loss of such a wonderful person.

Personally, I never followed along with the royal family. I do know my mother is more in tune with the Royal Family- being Scottish and all. I called my mother this evening and she gave me the rundown of what will be coming next for the Royal Family.

Chances are I will watch some of the service for the Queen. I did admire her wit and subtleties when it came to politics. Of course, almost each and every photo of her is a favorable one. With numerous smiles and iconic moments. My heart goes out to her family and the communities in which she watched over.

Long live the Queen.

First Day(s) Of School/Work September 2022

Today was the first day of school for our youngest at age 16. He was returning to his high school for grade 11. He stayed at a friends house last night because today was only an hour or so long and more just a chance for everyone to meet up again.

Our middle attended their first day of post-secondary at the Simon Fraser University. Upon arrival, it to was a meet and greet type of day, but lasted about six hours or so. They had a chance to make some new friends, create group chats, and even went to the mall with these new friends after the first day ended.

My wife also began a new job today for a company called Jane. She is working remotely (from home) in a similar manner as she once did for Shopify. Her day went rather quickly.

But all three of them had great experiences on the first day of their new adventures. I was genuinely excited to hear about their first day encounters over dinner. I’m glad our middle made some new friends already and is really enthusiastic about the school. I was a bit worried prior to this moment. But I think my fears and anxiety trumped theirs. I’m also really proud of my wife for jumping into a new role after such an unexpected leave from her previous job. I know it wasn’t easy for her to go an apply for work when she didn’t foresee that moment coming. But she is back in the saddle again and moving forward with her career! Our son was just happy to be back with his high school buddies and his change in fine arts major is a chance for him to showcase other skills he has.

All in all a good first day was had in our household. How was your first day?

More Space At Home

We have only been three days without tenants in our basement suite. Yet we have taken over and began decluttering the rest of our home. This has been nonstop with help from the entire family over last little bit.

We managed to unpack a bunch of boxes from our garage to fill our secondary kitchen. Our camping supplies came out of the garage and went into the storage under the stairs. We also moved two of our shelving units from the garage and placed our crafting supplies into a walk-in closet.

In one of the bedrooms downstairs, I assembled a new queen sized bed and fresh mattress for visitors to use. The other bedroom will be used as my wife’s studio for the time being. So a lot of fabric has moved from the garage into that room. Our garage doesn’t feel as cramped now that everything is out- especially the shelves. Basically, passengers in the car can get out in the garage instead of the driveway like they once did.

The biggest hurdle was today. The other day, my wife decided to try out the washer and dryer that was in the basement suite. We had never used them in the 14 months of living here. Of course my wife fell in love with them… so we had to swap them with the ones upstairs. A couple of things about this make me happy- now all the appliances in the basement match and are LG brand. The other thing I like is that the washer we moved upstairs is a top loader- meaning the door won’t get hit by the garage door as you enter the home. Plus it lightens up the laundry room. The worst part was moving four heavy appliances up and down the stairs. Good thing our son is sixteen and strong.

My favorite change is our couches. We moved the brown leather sectional into the basement suite along with a new Amazon Fire TV. This feels like our old theater room. Upstairs we bought a love seat and a chair from IKEA along with a new rug. The room is now bright and vibrant feeling, not so clunky. Best part- our settee matches in fabric colour and fits in nicely to the sitting room feel.

We still have a few little things left to do. Like clean up the empty boxes and finish arranging the kitchen. However, these last couple of days have felt like we are gaining back our home as well as our space. No more clutter or holding onto furniture and furnishings for future use. The future is now- and it feels wonderful.

Disneyland 2022: Day 1 In The Park

We arrived early at the park and were second in line to have our tickets scanned. Then it was off to rope drop on Main Street. Once that occurred- it was a mad rush to our first ride: Rise Of The Resistance.

Afterwards was some fun wandering Galaxies Edge and getting onto Smuggler’s Run twice without much wait. Along the way, a Wookiee joined us. That was magical.

Then it was off to the other rides. Loads of smiles as we waited in the stand-by lines. Surprisingly the wait times were not as bad as the app was telling us. We did have a couple longer waits, but nothing exceeded 40 minutes.

Even with one ride crapping out- only lasting five minutes. But we were ready to wait for Space Mountain. Mostly because of the air conditioning. It was mid-afternoon and hot!

The end of our evening was spent in Fantasyland. Followed by a picnic dinner as we sat waiting for the Main Street Electrical Parade. It’s a neat experience to watch as the lights begin to turn on throughout the park from a central location.

After the evening ended, we snuck in another couple of rides followed by some gift shop wandering. A short nap (aka sleep) and we are off to Day 2: California Adventure.

Last Minute Darwin Dinner Date

I left work at 6pm to go home. On my way, I went to pick up our middle child from their work. What should have been a 20 minute drive to meet them was well over twice that. So we decided to grab some dinner and wait out the traffic.

We stopped at Red Robin near where we met up. The burgers were pretty good and of course an Oreo milkshake was needed. We had a good conversation that was more adult-like than we normally have.

I’m glad we took the time to just hang out. It was far better than me rage driving in bad traffic. After our dinner, the commute home was quick.

Our doggo needed our attention since they had been home alone while we were both at work. It’s rare that someone isn’t at home to love her. She was super excited to see us when we did arrive home.

It was a pleasant evening together. A chance to hang out as friends instead of parent/child. I look forward to many more dinners like this as they grow up and want to share about their day and life with me.

Final Month Of Tenants

Our tenants have given their notice to move out at the end of this month. As much as the income was nice and beneficial from having them there, it will be amazing to have the space back for our usage.

The tenants of our basement suite happen to be the original owners of this house. When we first bought the home they were only supposed to live here for six weeks. That would have put them out at the end of August last year. As we were about to move in, they had asked if we could extend it to February as they waited for their new home to be built. We agreed. Of course, as February approached they asked to extend it to May… then July… as the house they were getting built was getting delays.

Even though they are moving out at the end of this month, their new home isn’t quite done yet. In fact it sounds like mid October may be the completion date. But during these final stages, they wanted to be closer to the new house (which is on Vancouver Island). That’s completely understandable. Maybe now they can apply some pressure to their contractor to get their place done. I am glad that we have become friends with the former owners. As leery as we were at first, those fears subsided over the year.


For us this means nearly 1900 sqf of living space will become available to us. A full kitchen, living room, den, two bedrooms, two full bathrooms and plenty of extra storage. It also means we can begin to furnish our current space as we move some of our older furniture downstairs. This has become an exciting journey for my wife and I. We have been window shopping (and a bit of real shopping) as we plan new styles for our home.

This has made us feel youthful and fun. When we first started dating we went on many dates doing this sort of thing. Planning bedrooms, living rooms, etc as our family grew. The plan when we purchased this house was to allow for our children to have their own space as adults to live. We are helping them by furnishing the area and hope that one or two of them take the opportunity to use such a magnificent space to grow into adulthood before the possibility of moving out on their own.

Until that time, we will use the extra kitchen to prepare meals while we sit out at the pool instead of always running up and down the stairs. We will also have the space for friends and family to stay and visit for longer periods than just a few hours. Especially those from out of town. There will now be a few beds available for guests.

Everything feels exciting and new again about this home. Only one month to go!

Staycation So Far- Soooooo Good!

I have been throughly enjoying this past week of staycationing at home. For a couple of the days I built a Deck for my wife’s garden. The two of us have also gone for a couple of walks together. We did a bit of shopping, we have made some amazing dinners and I have been doing breakfast meals better than ever. All with the company of the one I love.

But the majority of this staycation has had us poolside. We have done nothing but relax, swim, read, listen to music, enjoy the breeze, and appreciate what we have. If it weren’t for having to make our own meals and clean up after- you’d think we were staying at a private oasis resort. But this is exactly what where we wanted to get to in life- appreciating our home and each other’s company.

As much as I am looking forward to our next “get away” I can’t help but be upset about leaving our home to do it. Especially in the summer. My days off from work will have me poolside whenever the weather permits. But until then- time to get back to enjoying this staycation!

Cheers everybody! Catch me by the water for the next few days if you want to hang out!

Hearts

Today I saw random hearts in odd locations. The first one was on a walk with my wife. There on the path was a patch of clovers.

The grouping made a lovely greenery shape in the dusty cracked walkway. I paused to take a photo and just admired how nature can create such beautiful imagery.

The other one was on my wife’s elbow. We were in the pool and I saw where she had injured herself the week before had a tiny heart. As we swam, it washed away, but not before I snapped a picture.

The world was showing me love today. I didn’t know that I needed it- but deep down I know I did.

Our Youngest’s 1st Work Week

As I mentioned previously, our two youngest finally got summer jobs. Today, I’m going to talk about our youngest. That’s because I have been receiving updates from our neighbor about it.

Our youngest has finished his first week of work. There have been early mornings all week. He has come home after an eight hour day at 1pm and taken a nap on more than one occasion. But it hasn’t deterred home from getting to work each and every day this week.

On his first day, he was actively working the grounds by hand. He raked the sand traps and was given the general lay of the land. It’s funny, but after three days at work, he’s already talking about golf and the course he works at.

Three days later and he was using the machines to smooth out the sand traps. He came home today and enthusiastically described the work involved in operating these machines. My hunch is telling me that he will keep this job for a few years and enjoy the summer benefits he gets from working there.

He also wants to start golfing now. He has been told a bunch of advice and feels the need to get involved more. He gets free golf, so I’m sure he will take advantage of it by the end of summer and into fall. All I can say- my father (his grandfather) would be proud.

Grad 2022

This evening we will be attending our middle teenager’s graduation ceremony. We are excited for this moment as it’s a major milestone. Years of schooling is behind Darwin and an entire life of adulthood lies ahead.

Of course we took some pre-graduation photos! The clouds were out, but no rain so we took the opportunity to take some pictures in our backyard.

Darwin wanted to wear something cute and meaningful to them under the gown. A Sanrio skirt and cute shoes were a perfect choice.

My wife and I each got a photo with the star of the day. We will be taking many more pictures throughout the evening. Be assured that as a proud parent- I will be sharing them today and tomorrow!

Seeing the tassel with the year on it makes this moment that much more real. All of the memories of Darwin’s successes and accomplishments have come flooding in to my mind. My heart has been welling up and I’m going to blame tonight’s tears on allergies.

Way to go Darwin! We are so proud of everything you have done and who you have become. Today is your day- cherish this moment and all of your memories of the road that brought you here.

Love always, mom and dad.

Blue Once More

After a week and a half of frustration- our pool is back to normal. Loads of chemicals, scrubbing and vacuuming made our pool usable once more.

The algae is finally gone! At one point our pool was vibrantly green and it felt as though it would never change. Today I did a quick scrub and a vacuum to get the remaining algae off the sides and corners. A little bit of careful elbow grease and patience went a long way. I really don’t want to deal with algae again.

With the weather showing us some sun this evening- it was a great opportunity to jump in the pool and relax. I could do that aspect anytime!

Now I’m ready for summer to commence!

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.

Daddy/Darwin Time: Day 1

My wife and son have taken off to Quebec for a few days. Our son is competing in a speed skating event this Thursday and Friday. So as they are off jet setting to the icy tundra of central Canada- I am at home with our middle child.

It started off not so great. I was at work, and She went off to school. But right at the start of her day- she texted me that she had lost her Compass Card (that’s the bus pass for the Vancouver and Fraser Valley). I had just put $30 on it the other day to make sure she had a way to get to and from school. Needless to say, I had to cancel that card and move the amount to another card. She had to borrow $2 from a friend to get home.

I was certain that this event would make for a crummy start to our week at home together. Luckily, I was wrong.

I came home to a messy kitchen. Darwin decided to make fresh pasta for dinner! She was hoping to be done and cleaned up before I got home. I am so happy that she didn’t let the little set back affect her attitude today. Now I’m cleaning the kitchen and we are getting ready to have a nice dinner together.

I’m going to cut my blog short so we can hang out. I do hope we have more ups than downs this week!

Fog In Fog Out

This morning the fog rolled in quickly. It also rolled out just as fast. I awoke at around 7:30 this morning to look out my back window.

Within an hour it was heavy fog. And fifteen minutes later it was all but gone. I watched as the fog slowly pushed its way westward, revealing the colours of the fields that lay behind our home.

I do enjoy getting up early when the weather is nice. The sun over the last few days has helped with my mental state. The fog internally is also beginning to roll away as spring and summer quietly approach. This is the first time in decades that I feel at one with the changing seasons. The warm and cold, the dreary and uplifting… I’ve begun to feel better mentally as the chaos of life isn’t as busy. A couple years of this pandemic has made me reevaluate what is important.

Does the weather affect your moods? Does the sunshine help you feel better? Have you had a chance to understand your emotions and values better over these last few years? Let me know in the comments.

Not Feeling Today, So Let’s Think About The Past

It’s rare that I have a day where I have no idea what to blog about. I had a couple days lately where I really didn’t do much or think much. I just floated through my life. Off to work, back home to watch tv and go to sleep. All just to do it again. Time to figure out something completely random to write about.

My family moved in the summer between my grade 9 and grade 10 year. My parents downsized into a newer home in a newly built suburb. It was a really nice place, but I didn’t know anyone in the neighborhood. A few blocks away was a family run video store. Not a Blockbuster by any means, and the selection did lack. I remember going there the day “Problem Child” was to come out on VHS. They did not have a copy that week. But because we went there every couple of days that summer, the owner got to know me and had the film ready the following week for me and kept a copy aside for me to rent. (Little secret- it’s not a good movie.)

Next door to the video store was a small fast food burger restaurant. I got employed later that year as my first real job flipping burgers. My boss was a great Korean fellow named Byung Sunny Kim. We called him Sunny. He would sing songs in Korean and if it was just the two of us working, he’d incorporate my name into the song. He was a pleasant man and took really good care of me while I worked there through high school. Even buying me my first flat of beer (yeah, I was 17) and we had a couple beers on the back steps of the restaurant- and he told me to behave.

At the video store they ran a contest to guess the day the owner would give birth to her first child. Winner would get a year of free movie rentals. I have no idea who won, but it was a community feeling as we waited for her to have her baby. I remember seeing the child shortly after she was born as the owner had to work regularly at her own store. That’s the difficulty of running a small business.

This little neighborhood strip mall die die shortly after I graduated. Burger Brothers was bought by McDonalds as Sunny cashed in for retirement. The video store was squeezed out by a Blockbuster Video that was on a major road, garnering more traffic. It took me turning into an adult to realize that I had it pretty good when I lived there as a teenager. The emotional connections I made with the small business owners meant a lot and have stayed with me a lifetime. I continue to support small businesses and have grown to appreciate the personal touches they give to me as a regular customer.

I had nothing to write about today, so I chose a time in my life that I forgot about. Maybe I’ve mentioned these stories in the past, maybe I haven’t. But at least I created some content, which is my daily goal. It also made me a bit sad to think about these old family run businesses that are no more.

But they impacted who I am today in their own way. And for that I am grateful- looking back when I am unsure where to go in the future.

Winter Solstice 2021

At 7:58 today the Winter Solstice occurred. Officially it is the darkest day of the year with the least amount of sunlight. After today, the daylight peaks out more and more until the Summer Solstice.

Every year, we have a Winter Solstice Party. This year it is being limited to a select few friends. Mostly because of lockdown procedures requested by the government to curb the spread of Covid-19. But having a party on a Tuesday is different as well.

My wife and I use Tuesday as a special day throughout our lives. We were married on a Tuesday. Our son was born on a Tuesday (not much choice there mind you) and we bought our dream home on a Tuesday. The Winter Solstice falling on a Tuesday is great. Not everyone wants to hang out at the start of the week. So it makes it extra special being around those who do make an effort.

As much as I love Winter Solstice and feel it is a worthy celebration, my wife has requested that we have a Summer Solstice party in 2022. That just so happens to fall on Tuesday June 22. It’s as if the universe is telling us something.

Happy Winter Solstice everyone! May us all look forward to our lives getting brighter as each day comes forth.

Stepping Up

My family and I have been volunteering at our Speed Skating club since September 2010. As the years have gone on, volunteer work at other events has also happened. As I mentioned yesterday, we had our First Meet of 2021. My wife, myself, and our seventeen year old volunteered for the entire day. Our fifteen year old son competed in the morning, then volunteered for the afternoon.

Our son went above and beyond in his role. Originally he was going to be on the ice as a Track Steward. That meant he would check the ice after each race, adjust the markers, and assist as needed. Instead, at lunch he was asked if he could coach on the sidelines to a new skater from out of town. That skater came down with his father, but did not have a coach there. Because our children have done assistant coaching and coaching over the last few years, Theory stepped up to help without hesitation.

Because this meet was on our home ice, our son knew where to be to offer encouragement and support to a skater he met just moments prior. Watching my son on the sidelines calling out advice and coaching was one of the proudest moments in parenting that I have had. Theory is a great person and offers plenty of encouragement as it is already.

It feels as though our family has made a name for themselves in the local Speed Skating community. I hope it continues on for years to come. I know I’ll be volunteering still and I know our teenagers are enjoying it as well.

Moving The Goal Post

I’d like to think that everyone sets goals and does their best to achieve them. Sometimes along the way the goal might change or the route to get there will alter slightly. You know what? That’s okay.

In the end you get where you’re going. Savoring the accomplishments is tough to remember to do. Reflection is also required once in a while. We may forget that we had a goal and it can come and go- and we don’t notice how hard we worked towards it.

Goals can be big or small. They can be health related or career oriented. You can have more than one goal at a time, and achieve more than one at a time as well.

Sometimes we think we want a goal but it’s not the right goal so we abandon it. That’s fine as well. For years I wanted to write a novel, instead I have been blogging about my life and thoughts every day since January 2016. They say “write what you know.” I know about me.

So check on your goals. Readjust as needed. Set some new goals. Achieve and fail, but learn along the way. Be the best you that you can be.

GOAL!