Excited For Disneyland

Even though we don’t head to Disneyland for a few more months, I’m getting very excited for it. It seems as though everything is pointing to a wonderful vacation.

Yesterday I was driving home from dropping the kids off at school- the sun was starting to come out. As it did, my watch reflected onto my visor; creating an all too familiar image. The iconic Mickey Mouse ears.

Naturally it made me feel jovial and happy. The previous trips were a blast. Each one was slightly different- creating new memories and unique experiences for all of us. Our future trip is looking almost like a whole new experience as well.

We will get to travel to the Star Wars inspired portion of the park: Galaxy’s Edge– finally after three years of anticipation and excitement. Plus there’s a whole new Marvel inspired land that will be a fun experience for all of us.

But there’s also the normal fun we love to have every trip. Turkey legs, Dole Whip, parades,shopping, rides, meeting characters… the list goes on and on. It’s just such a magical experience each and every time. This next time around, we are bringing a person who has never been to Disneyland. So we will get to see the joy and wonderment through their eyes as we hit up all the fun spots and secrets we have learned over the years.

Do you ever get signs of things to come? Does it make you excited? Let me know in the comments.

Change In Weather Attitudes

I mentioned previously about wind storms and the havoc it once reigned on our lives. The chaos that the wind would cause. The destruction and mess that it would leave behind for us to clear up. And the fear that a branch or tree would come crashing down.

Today was another windstorm. And as it continues, I am glad to have moved from our previous house. My wife is also getting over those bouts of weather induced anxiety. She was even able to joke about it earlier.

I’m glad she was able to find humor finally after decades of calamity and fear. It also seems that this windstorm is doing its best to get rid of the cold weather we have had these past few weeks and months.

As of late, I have been wanting warmer weather to approach. This weekend, I may get my wish to come true. We are expecting some sun and higher temperatures that we have yet to feel this season. I look forward to lounging in the backyard and having fun doing so.

As a man, I want to get everything done so I can have nothing left to do. I just want to do nothing in the sun. Just experience it. The warmth on my face, the red hue behind my closed eyelids, and the sensation of the world being at rest and comforting.

Being Awesome

I have started back with my egotistical self esteem. Years ago, when Facebook was in its infancy, I would write statuses about how awesome I am. I shared daily with my friend group about what a great person I was and how amazing I am.

I realized recently that I haven’t been feeling so proud of myself. I was undermining my own ego. I had moved away from saying nice things about myself. Of course, I wasn’t saying anything negative about myself out loud mind you. More like I just wasn’t saying anything at all about myself.

I have been sharing positive pictures and stories. Yet none of it was truly about me. It was of things I do and places I was at. Not the inner feelings. Those I generally keep bottled up. And I was feeling really low. It’s time for a change.

So instead of being sad, I’m going to be awesome instead.

True story.

Everything Matters/ Nothing’s Important

I’m not sure why it happens… but it does…

My brain oftentimes brings up a memory that happened a few years prior on a day that is generally really close to the date of the original occurrence. I’m not talking about those Facebook Memories either. My brain just finds something and says- hey what about this thing?

Since I began blogging about my thoughts and experiences, I finally have a way to look it up once more and see what I originally wrote about. For example, Unfinished Work was a piece I wrote on May 18, 2017. Reading it now, I see that I really did put a lot more thought and length into what I wrote. Not that a lengthy blog is good… but it was one of the images that I was searching that my brain had decided to think about.

EVERYTHING MATTERS NOTHING’S IMPORTANT. This was a mural that was nearby my place of work when I was in downtown Vancouver. I’m not sure why it resonates with me periodically, yet it does. It’s a what life feels like some days. It’s not important, yet somehow it matters. Those intrusive thoughts and feelings that you should just leave behind. But there you are, letting it bug you.

So stop letting it get to you. It’s not important in the long run. Simple advice that even I wish I would take. Yet sometimes I can’t, but I should. I have to stop letting things bother me. I need to focus on the positive more. Even though that can be hard to do.

As I said though, my brain somehow cycles through thoughts and memories roughly the same time and date. Hopefully my next set of memories is more positive and I can get out of my rut.

That would be nice.

Call Mom

It’s Mother’s Day. Or rather Mother’s Day is almost over. So if you haven’t done so, call your mom!

I was pretty late today in giving my mother a call. Work was busy and I didn’t have a break long enough to step away and call her. When I did get through to her, I learned she was at my sister’s place for the weekend. That’s really good news. As my mother gets older I’m glad that she is close enough to my sister’s place that she enjoys taking a weekend to go visit.

My mother isn’t overly tech savvy, so FaceTime or video calls don’t generally happen. So seeing my mom is only about two times every year. I think that early this summer I’m going to head over to the island and visit for a few days. I’m pretty sure there’s a couple minor projects around her place that she would want some help getting done. That’s the good son in me talking.

Have you called your mom? If not, there’s only a few hours left! Or perhaps you had a chance to see her. Either way, make sure they know that you’re thinking of them- especially on Mother’s Day.

Shout Out To Family Pets!

We have always had a dog in my life. At one point my sister brought home a kitten way back when… In my early 20’s I also got a kitten, but he had a traumatic ending to his young life. A few years ago, we adopted some guinea pigs and loved the little squeaks they made. I also had a fish tank for a few years and enjoyed the zen like ambiance.

But dogs are the one constant that have brought me and my family the most joy and love. Our latest family member is Maki and she is so cuddly and kind to each member of the family. Sometimes embarrassingly so. Yet we love her.

She knows and senses when one of us needs a bit of extra love. She will come by and snuggle up right into your face. It’s a wonderful feeling albeit it can be annoying at first. But much like eating when you don’t realize you are angry because you are hungry- Maki fills your heart and joy returns.

Do you have a pet that brings you joy? Are you more a dog person or a cat person? Perhaps lizards or fish are your thing. Let me know in the comments if a pet has made your life better.

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.

Our Little “Therapy” Dog

Having a pet is genuinely nice. In the past we have had fish and Guinea pigs as well as dogs. To be perfectly honest, we have always had a dog in our lives.

Our latest dog we have had as a family member for about a year and a half. We named her Maki once we adopted her. As goofy as she is, and as crazy as she gets around other dogs, we love her immensely.

She is our little “Therapy” dog. She makes each of us feel happy when we need it most. If you are upset, she knows instinctively and comes to you for rubs and kisses. Maki has been specifically good for our middle teenager’s mental health. That’s the room she sleeps in six nights a week. The other night is with our youngest.

As much as I push Maki away sometimes (dog breath galore!) I do enjoy having her nearby. She comes to snuggle me when I want to nap and really invades my space when she wants to. Maki is a happy dog and she makes us happy as well.

Sunsets In Bed

Life is what you make of it. You can dwell on the negativity and it can bring you down. Or you can learn and grow and change those aspects of your life.

I’ve had my share of downs. I’ve tackled challenges. I’ve endured difficult times. After it all, I am able to see the beauty that the world still has in store. I appreciate that I can feel the sun on my face and watch the clouds roll off as I lay in bed.

I appreciate these moments. This world has so much more to offer. Getting past those negative emotions and thoughts; the light shines through. Another day to love and live.

Happy Easter Friends.

2022 Canadian Youth Long Track Championships: Live Feed

Today I was able to watch my son in Quebec at the 2022 Canadian Youth Long Track Championships. My wife sent me the link this morning. She also gave me a few minutes warning right before he hit the ice.

Viewing the races on YouTube in real time made me happy. I felt like I was supportive even though I wasn’t physically there. I also watched his final two races of the day on our big screen tv. That was cool!

Watching on my phone, I also did a “Screen Grab” recording. Once the races were done, I cropped the length of them to be just of his race. This way I can send it off to him to review. He will probably show his new coach as well in order to get some feedback to get better.

Tomorrow is another day of racing for him. I suspect that he is tired after todays events. Long track speed skating is not his strongest yet, but he really enjoys it. Now to get him some training in places like Calgary and Fort St. John.

For my family and friends who wish to watch the feed tomorrow, here is the link: YouTube Live Feed

Window Seat

In our home we have large windows that overlook the backyard and the fields beyond. Usually I’m standing up and staring off. Recently we added a cushion to the window seat in our master bedroom. Yesterday afternoon I took advantage of it and lay down, watching the clouds roll by.

This evening is an entirely different view. Storm clouds are rolling in. The thunder has tumbled a couple of times. What I thought was rain, turned out to be a mix of snow and hail falling down. A harsh change in weather is coming in quickly. I get to enjoy it from the comfort of my window seat.

Being able to watch the outside world and see the sky has been absolutely entrancing to me over the last few months of living here. I never realized how much of the world we were missing being surrounded by trees in our last home. Mind you, that was wonderful for different reasons. Specifically the privacy and shade we were offered.

But this window seat brings me joy. I can stretch out on it and fully embrace the view. Do you stare out the window during storms or watch the sunset and clouds? Or am I alone at embracing the beauty of the world that we normally take for granted…

Major Change In Arts

Our children have all been attending, or have attended, the Langley Fine Arts School. Each of them began in the music program. The choices at the younger ages (until grade ten) for picking an “art major” was limited to four choices. Drama, music, dance, visual art.

Over the years, the children were able to expand their horizons and interests. Our oldest went on into film. Our middle moved to writing after a stint at stop motion. And our youngest is wanting to change from music to photography. My wife and I have fully supported each child as they progressed into the newer fields. The best part is that the school also encourages the talented students to join the various after school music groups even if not in the major.

Our son has been working on photo manipulation and was really proud to share with me the following project.

The class was instructed to take an image and “paint” over it. They used computers to edit the image. Our son really enjoyed this assignment and as I said, was really proud of his results. And so are we.

I think it’s absolutely fantastic that he can explore various creative options; and that he likes to do it. Any time we can encourage our children to explore their passions, we will. So far, our kids have proven to us that changing their art majors has been beneficial to their growth. I hope for them to keep up with their hard work.

Backyard Bird Watching

As the weather gets nicer, I find myself becoming more and more of a bird watcher. From our backyard we get to watch loads of birds flutter about. My two favorites are the birds of prey and hummingbirds.

I recently moved the hummingbird feeder outside of our bedroom into a position that I can see much better. From our bed, we can lounge and watch as these fast flapping fowls feed on sugar water. It’s a calming fun to just stare at them.

When I’m out on the deck, I enjoy watching the hawks as they circle for food in the field behind us. The other day we were treated to an owl doing the same thing. It was only a few feet away from our back deck and I was able to capture a short video clip. View it on My Instagram if you choose. It was really neat to see. This was the first time we witnessed an owl doing it’s hunting and I was in awe of its silence as it did so.

We have also seen numerous other birds such as cranes and robins, ducks and geese. When we moved from a location that was dense with trees to this open view, I love the change in wildlife that we get to observe.

Do you find watching birds to be calming as well? Any favorites? Or perhaps some tips on how to get some good photos? Let me know in the comments.

Disneyland 2020? Finally Going 2022.

We booked Disneyland tickets in February 2020 about a week before the world shut down. We had been planning to go for July 4th in order to see the military fly over and fireworks for that day. However, our trip has been in a state of hiatus ever since.

Memories of our 1st Disneyland trip

We are now on the verge of finalizing a trip to the most magical place on earth! The tickets we had bought were extended, but only until December 15th of this year. My original plan was to go at Christmas this year. Sadly that is unable to be accomplished. The other unfortunate part is our oldest will most likely not be joining us. This will be our the first Disneyland trip without them.

Of course I am discouraged by all of this. However, I know that the remaining four of us can still have a good time together no matter when we book our trip. As travel to other countries has been returning, I find it encouraging for our future vacation plans. I know that Disneyland won’t be the same as it was in years prior. But the familiarity is something we can look forward to.

Have you begun traveling again? Has it felt different or just another step to be taken in order to experience the world? let me know your thoughts on travel in the comments.

Training Ground

Our son is still actively training even though the regular speed skating practice season is over. Now he is onto Spring Session with his future club. And they push hard.

He is enjoying it. He’s looking fit. He’s strengthening his muscles, and getting a chance to meet other athletes with similar goals. Our last club was great and the family was there since 2010. But because our son wanted to continue with competitions- he needed to move to a club that really pushes the skaters.

Last weekend our son also went to participate in a special training at a University campus. This was put on by RBC to allow up and coming athletes from various sports to showcase their skills. It was mainly for sports that aren’t as mainstream as some. So no hockey or baseball were being represented. Once the evaluations are completed from the one day event, those kids selected will be given a grant to help pay for their dreams to compete.

I do hope the best outcome for him with that brief moment to showcase his strengths. But since it is Canada wide, he knows that he can’t be disappointed if it just doesn’t happen for him. However, we are still making sure that he practices and trains as much as possible in order to keep his muscles strong. There are a few summer programs and still a couple competitions that he will attend prior to autumn.

Training and a regimented schedule will help to keep him focused. I know he wants it bad enough, so my wife and I will help him on his journey as best we can. Mostly my wife mind you. She is really devoted in seeing what competitions are coming up and his times at each event. Being a supportive parent is the best thing we can do for him.

Do you train for something you enjoy? Let me know!

It’s Just Stuff

Sometimes shit happens. There’s no need to get angry over it. Especially if it was unintentional and completely by accident.

Yesterday evening, my coworker struck my car as he was leaving the parking lot. He drives a raised truck and his back tire rubbed loudly against my bumper as he pulled out of his parking spot. I was in the parking lot at the time and my initial reaction to him was as expected. “What the hell dude!?”

He felt awful. After plenty of apologizing while I inspected what had happened, I told him not to worry. It didn’t look like and damage was done. No dents or scratches were immediately visible. Just rubber had been well, rubbed on.

The next morning, he arrived early and was cleaning my bumper before I left work. There was still two large streaks that he was unable to get off and he was sure it had gone through the paint. He offered to pay for the damages. I told him we would talk later. I got home and took out some ultra fine grit automotive sand paper that I have (for my 3d printing) and gave it some gentle swirls. It all came off and I gave it a quick wipe. Unless you know this happened (I guess most of you know now!) it’s hardly noticeable. As if I cleaned a bit too well on the one spot.

I sent the picture of the spotless corner to my coworker. He was relieved and continued to apologize. I know that it sucks when something happens by accident. But in all seriousness- it’s just stuff. My car is nearly six years old now. It has chips and scratches from just normal driving. I do appreciate his efforts in trying to clean the marks off, as well as his sincerity of the incident.

Things like this happen. It’s just how we react that can change the outcome. I could’ve yelled and screamed. But that would not solve anything and create a rift in our working relationship and environment. Instead we can joke about it and move on.

Don’t You Forget About Me

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

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

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

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

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

It’s unavoidable. It just happens.

Pure Imagination

The other day I mentioned that my son and I worked on the Lego Sakura Bonsai tree together. We keep it in a square display case in order to keep it dust free. Our son decided that it looked kind of bland and wanted to update it a bit more.

He used his imagination and memories of when we went to Tokyo. In doing so, he added a rock garden, a waterway, and some greenery. I’m impressed by how he designed it- using a multitude of different pieces to create a cutaway scene.

Our son wants to add more detail to the last corner. I have a feeling it will flow into what he has created thus far. I love that he is so creative and takes the styles he has learned from years of conventions and Lego displays in order to utilize the pieces so uniquely.

Do you love building with Lego? Are your kids still playing with it as they grow older? Let me know in the comments.

Spring Break Staycation

As my last day comes to an end, I think I had a relatively great staycation. A quick look back at the last ten days showed how busy it was. As well as how productive it ended up being.

We did a bunch of gardening, went to a speed skating meet last weekend, had a night on the town for my birthday, and built a gazebo as a family. We built some Lego, and our oldest came to visit and we all had a delightful time. There really isn’t much more I could ask for.

All in all it was a great birthday week. I’m glad I spent it with my family.

Parent Commitment

As much as I discuss our kids and their accomplishments when it comes to speed skating, there is still a lot that goes on behind the scenes.

The parents are often in the crowds cheering on the skaters. But they also take the time to sharpen skates and discuss equipment and skating strategies. Keeping the kids excited and actively involved can be challenging as the days go on. It’s not just the competition days though.

My wife travels a lot with our son. I have gone on the occasional trip for practice with him. But the competitions are mostly my wife’s domain. She is always excited to travel with him. Our son does his best and knows that these trips aren’t cheap. Nor are they a vacation. It’s like traveling for a business trip.

The business is skating. And encouraging our kids is the best way to keep them out of trouble due to boredom. It’s a sacrifice of our time and money, but the results are well worth it. A commitment to supporting our children no matter what.

Spring Break Staycation Time

It was a quiet evening yesterday at work. The sky was clear and the tracks were nearly empty. I enjoyed the calmness that came with my shift. I had a few days off approaching and was glad that there wasn’t going to be any unfinished business.

I finished my night shift at 6am and raced home to begin my first vacation of the year. As soon as I got home, it was straight to bed for a nap. Seriously one of the best ways to enjoy a staycation is to just relax.

My wife and I went for a walk around the neighborhood in the afternoon. We talked about the kids, money and my upcoming birthday. When we returned home, I took down our old awning and cracked open a beer. I’ll be putting up a new gazebo and selling this old one on Facebook Marketplace soon enough.

Tomorrow will be some more yard work since the sun is supposed to be out. I kind of like the tinkering about and just making the yard look nice. Sometimes a vacation is just meant to relax oneself. No fancy destination required.

Final Few Months

As our middle child approaches the end of being in the public school system, I remember fondly everything that has gone on. My wife and I did our best to be there for every single performance that was put on. No matter the cost or inconvenience it may have on us. Each and every production showcased the growth and skills the kids had learned over the years.

Old photo of Darwin singing.

Last night was an orchestra performance celebrating the class of 2022. My wife was able to attend- unfortunately I was unable- and enjoy the show. Twelve or so years of learning, practicing, and recitals lead to a successful performance by all involved.

Having our kids attend a Fine Arts school really pushed their creativity and knowledge of the arts. As they enter adulthood, I know it be be a strong foundation for their lives moving forward. With only a few months left, I am excited to see this part of our child’s journey come to an end and the next one begin.

As always, I am a proud parent.

Darwin Does Coaching

While our youngest is out in Fort St. John for a speed skating competition, Darwin has been actively coaching the home town skaters.

Darwin in a blue jacket from 2020 BC Winter Games.

On Friday night, we were in Langley and I watched as Darwin taught the younger of the two groups. Most of it was the basics of speed skating and a lot of drills.

Today is the last day in North Surrey for the season. Our club is in charge of this Sunday skate, so it’s a bunch of Langley skaters who want an extra day of practice. After some basic drills, Darwin plans on making it a bit more fun and games as the last day.

Next year is up in the air if Darwin will coach. Post secondary will take up the majority of their time. This upcoming Friday is the last skate of the year at our club. I know Darwin will be there and hopefully it won’t be emotional for all of them. The kids love Darwin.

Next weekend, Theory has one more competition in Richmond. Darwin has put in a request to be in the coaches box for that one. I think it’s amazing. How Darwin wants to help Theory and any other Langley skaters one last time.

Too Busy For A Real Meal

This morning was a hustle and bustle kind of day. Kids to school, get gas, hit Costco, grocery store and Home Depot… rush home to unload and then off to a different Home Depot to buy what I wanted. Kind of frustrating trying to get a patio set these days it seems. But I was successful in acquiring it!

What was great was the sales associate at Home Depot was happy to help me load up my car- it meant they didn’t need to find a place to store the set as it was on a palette and in the shipping area. Once at my vehicle- two more employees came to help load it up. Which was awesome! I strapped everything down and drove home.

I got home and my wife came to meet me in the driveway. I was taking the straps off and we took the table off the roof rack. The remaining benches and chairs were in my vehicle and very heavy! my wife made a comment that I should wait until I could get friends over to help move the set. At this point, some random jogger stopped and offer help to move it from my vehicle to the garage. Awesome! Totally appreciated it. Then he ran off.

Because of all my running around, I didn’t have time to make a nice lunch for myself. So I went old school living on my own style. Mac n’ Cheese with a can of tuna and a cheap beer on the side. Perfect for just myself. Honestly, who am I trying to impress these days?

I’m looking forward to the spring and summer when I can really enjoy the weather. Even the small glimpse of it was a nice addition to my day. But I want to give out a big cheers to the three Home Depot employees and the random jogger who helped me today! You guys are the mvps of my day! Thank you!

Walk To Clear My Head

Today was emotional for me at one point. I started to just wallow and was unsure what to do with myself. So my wife suggested to go for a walk. As blasé as I was, I went out expecting to just wander our neighborhood.

We headed down the road and wandered behind our home. My wife asked if we could walk on the other side of the dyke. So we did. It was brisk and cool outside which made for a strong cleansing of the mind. We walked until the end of the dyke and turned around.

That was when I realized where we were. Beauty stretched out towards the mountains. The berry fields were raw with a natural color to the vines. The grass was green and growing. And the skies went on forever. As we walked back home, my head was clearing.

It was a much needed walk. Something I used to do when I was younger. I forgot how satisfying a walk can be and how helpful it can be mentally.