Sky Time

Every so often I am just in awe of the sky. Last year I shared a bunch of photos I had taken over the years- Read about it here: What Were The Skies Like.

Today I came home after a night shift and was again filled with wonderment of the sky. I’m also enraptured to have such a beautiful view available to enjoy; and share. The pleasure I get staring off is immeasurable. The view from our front balcony and the back balcony make for an almost 360° sight line of the sky.

On a day like today, I’ll just stand around soaking in the world. My concerns are gone for a brief moment until I get distracted by family members. But these little moments are the zen required to fulfill me and create inner peace.

How does the sky make you feel?

I Need Some Of That

Earlier this year Weezer released a new song, I Need Some Of That. I immediately connected with the lyrics. The same way I can associate life with the Barenaked Ladies song, Pinch Me. Both songs are well written songs about youth and living in the suburbs.

Only recently have we re-entered the suburban lifestyle. I hadn’t realized how much I needed it. Seeing children playing, folks washing cars, dog walkers, joggers, sprinklers on the lawn; all of it is a sense of serenity and life. A life I had as a child and teenager that somehow I forgot about or didn’t acknowledge at the time.

I now enjoy being around neighbors who stop and say “Hello”. Not that our old neighborhood wasn’t like that. It just took walking for a couple of acres to possibly see someone. In our old neighborhood- everyone knew everyone for decades. This neighborhood? Perfect strangers greet each other with a smile and a kind word.

It’s just what I needed. A lifestyle consisting of strangers just being nice. A wave or a nod sharing a moment. Living in the suburbs has a zen like feeling you cannot find anywhere else. A sense of security and safety. I’m totally drinking the cherry koolaid on this one folks.

Littles

Today was a good day. I had the opportunity to have a few coworkers over with their families. Each of them have young children to take care of.

It’s been a long while since my wife and I have had to deal with small kids. It was nice change to hang out with everyone. And see how they handle their kids.

I’ve always been good with children. They seem to gravitate towards me. Today made for another one of those moments. My favorite part was being able to hand back the kids at the end of the days. The kids were well behaved. I’m most impressed with my friends’ parenting skills.

Peaceful Easy Feeling

Back to work after vacation doesn’t mean that enjoying summer is over. I’ve been coming home the last couple of evenings feeling grateful for what I have.

Having a positive outlook on life is important to having positive things happen for you. Luck is also a huge role in everything that happens. We are lucky to live in this part of the world. Clean water, good education, and plenty of opportunities for success.

Finding success can create happiness. At some point though you really need to step back and admire what you have accomplished.

Vibing with a peaceful easy feeling is what my summer is all about. Come on in. The water’s fine.

Fog and Sun

I still can’t get over the fact that we have a view to enjoy from our new home. Usually I’m sharing photos of the backyard and stories of sunshine. Yesterday was the last day of my staycation. This morning I had to head into work in order to pay for this lifestyle.

Before leaving my oasis, I enjoyed a cup of coffee as I looked at the fog leading off into the horizon. The sun wasn’t out yet, so the colours of the world were subdued and cool. If there wasn’t the occasional tree and a hill in the far distance, I would’ve thought we were in the clouds.

Everyday I become more appreciative of what we have. It has been a long road leading to this. This home is now my sanctuary. Or if you wish- My Happy Place.

Twenty Year Celebration

Yesterday we had some close friends over for an evening of hanging poolside. I love to entertain, and our anniversary was a great reason to have friends over.

We supplied our guests with food and drinks. There were bottles of wine chilling on ice for everyone’s pleasure. I had also printed off some custom labels for the water bottles. I made sure to keep everyone hydrated as we hung out in the sunshine.

Most of the evening I spent wandering around and socializing with everyone. At one point in the evening my buddies and I took a “Bro Pic”. We had done the same thing years ago at a brewery. It was the only picture i know of that was taken all day.

That’s a good thing. It means everyone was having fun and distracted from their phones. My wife and I are lucky to have such great friends that we have known for years. Even better is the fact that they mesh well with one another.

A hearty thank you to everyone for coming over and having fun yesterday. We look forward to having our friends over more often now that we are settled into our new home.

Twenty Years Of Marriage

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Need To Get A First Nap.

I still haven’t had my first official nap in our new home. I’ve tried to relax, really I have. But there is still so much to do! Don’t get me wrong, I’m enjoying all my little projects on the go. It’s far better than having projects that are a necessity.

But I could still do with a nap one day. Our bed is very inviting- except the views keep me alert and daydreaming.

I’ve tried relaxing in our hammock poolside, but that has been cut short due to the heat. I end up back in the pool or finding air conditioning in the house.

Going back into the house also means more projects. It’s a vicious cycle. I think I’m going to have to schedule a nap in order to get one!

Hanging Out With A View

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

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

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

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

Night Sky Happy Feelings

After a hot day poolside, it was just as nice to just hang out as dusk fell.

We could see the skyline off in the distance. As the horizon faded from the orange to darkness above, I relish in the pleasure of knowing we will have this view for years to come.

My wife and I took a brief stroll around our cul-de-sac and discussed some future plans for our front yard. Having continuous dreams keeps us going. And in the end, it makes us happy.

That’s the goal life- happiness. And I do my best to achieve it everyday.

3

Triple trouble- time to talk about number 3.

Rule of thirds. When I’m feeling especially artsy, I’ll take photos and do my best to follow the rule of thirds. If I’m being sassy or humorous- I also follow the comedic troupe of doing a joke three times. Surprisingly, it works well.

As you may be aware, we have 3 kids. They are teenagers now- almost into adulthood. Each has grown into their individual personalities. My wife and I love them to pieces and have become so proud of them. If you have been following my blog, you will notice that I tout their accomplishments on a regular basis.

Finally, this move will be the third house my wife and I will be purchasing together. Eighteen years ago we bought our first place for $210,000. That was one of the most difficult expenses we ever faced. I worked three jobs at almost 80 hours per week to make ends meet. Within two weeks of buying that house we found out we were expecting our second child.

We sold that home in just under four years of owning it at $410,000. Our mortgage that remained was $167,000. That was when we bought the house we are in now for $570,000 in the year 2007. After fourteen years, we were able to get $1,900,000 for the home. Earning us $95k a year.

We are now moving into another beautiful house that meets our changing needs. As excited as I am about the change, it is difficult to fathom that we have come this far in under two decades. Even though this is the third house for us to buy, it kind of feels like this is our first house. It was the one that we absolutely fell in love with and it won’t need any upgrades for a long time.

10

As my daily countdown continues, today is 10 days remaining until we move. Here’s what the number ten means to me.

I enjoy top ten lists. I probably began enjoying Top Ten Lists from my late night tv viewings. David Letterman was always clever with his humorous take on these lists. SNL had a few good skits from Wayne’s World as well. I continue to be sucked in to Click Bait top ten lists.

Doctor Who was a family favorite show a few years back. Each of us enjoy our Doctors, but my favorite is the Tenth Doctor. His personality is fun and smart. His heart (or is it hearts?) was always big and generous. David Tennant is a fantastic actor and made the show great to watch. Cheesy sci-fi at its finest.

Of course you can’t count down until you learn to count up. Everyone I know has learnt how to count to ten. Meeting a child and sharing in their joy as they excitedly count that high is a wonderful feeling. We all use ten as the base for counting- it just makes sense. Our world is at our fingertips and we use those fingers to count at such a young age. Many of us still use our fingers as a visual tool to count.

I’m giving our new home a 10/10 for how amazing it will be once we are settled in.

No Prob-llama

On Friday night my wife and I stopped by a friend’s place for a BBQ dinner. On their property is some sheep. And a llama named “Bobby.”

My friend’s young son took me out to meet Bobby. As we walked towards the fence, the llama came running up. She took one look at me, then walked away. Just to stare at me side-eyed while I hung out there.

Llamaste

Bobby was just chilling out amongst the sheep, no real cares in the world. The perfect attitude required these days. Better times are coming.

I do feel my life is like Bobby in a way. Running up to see the excitement, then hanging back to watch it unfold. I snagged a selfie with her in hopes to have some more of her zen rub off on me. I tend to forget that not everything needs to be a burden. Sometimes you can just let things be.

Daddy/Darwin Day June 4th, 2021

Once in a while my middle wants to have a day with me. We have dubbed it “Daddy/Darwin Day”. Usually it’s me taking her out for a lunch or coffee and we talk. Today was a spontaneous “Daddy/Darwin Day” that we both needed.

We started with returning the recycling to get a bit of money back and clean out prior to our move. $12.10 is all we received, but no big deal- we didn’t have much to return. Then we went for gas and into town to hit up Indigo Books. It’s a favorite of our two daughters to go to a bookstore when they need an emotional “pick-me-up“.

Our little world at home has been having a couple road bumps, so it was nice that she asked me to go out with her. In fact, she paid for our Frappuccinos later in the afternoon. That was a lovely treat.

We had good heart to heart bantering. As well, she asked cryptic questions that I answered, but knew she was trying to get somewhere… without getting there directly.

She even tried to drive the Honda Element down the block to our house. This was a good milestone achievement as the vehicle is manual transmission and this was her first time driving a car with a clutch. Not too shabby.

I enjoyed our time together and wish to have more days like this.

Peanut Butter Firsties

It’s been a few years but I finally got to have one of my favorite “Firsties” this morning. It may not seem like much, but it is one of my most anticipated experiences. I rarely get to enjoy it because other members of my family get to it before I do. They probably don’t realize how much I enjoy these moments.

I’m talking about a fresh jar of peanut butter.

To me, there’s something beautiful and magical about being the first to open a jar of peanut butter. We buy Kraft smooth peanut butter and always have. What I enjoy is unscrewing the lid and seeing that the foil seal is still pristine. A quick tug of the tab and the smooth brown spread is exposed to the air and a waft of peanuty goodness comes out.

The untouched butter taunts me awaiting the first scoop. A knife or spoon- doesn’t matter; all that matters is taking that first swipe. The cut that drives into a perfectly flat crown. The utensil slides down deep followed by a twist and out comes the first taste.

That first taste is the greatest. It’s as if the peanut butter has a chemical reaction with the air as it is exposed for the first time since the factory. I get a little greedy and spread extra on my toast. But hey, these moments are few and far between. Why not spoil myself just this once?

Do you have the same experience with a fresh jar of peanut butter? Or do you find a similar joy with another food?

Let me know in the comments.

1001 Days Straight

WordPress recently congratulated me on 1001 days straight of blog posts. That’s a lot of stories about me and my life experiences. However, I’ve actually written more than that. 1001 days puts me only to the end of August 2018.

I’ve written in this blog every day since January 27,2016. That’s 1950 days. I hit a few technical issues in the years of blogging which explains why it didn’t count every single day posted. Computers, am I right? Wait, I use my iPhone 98% of the time to write.

I have enjoyed journaling here in hopes that my experiences are uplifting and relatable to those who do read my blog. I enjoy writing about parenting, traveling, music, movies, memories, growing old, and kindness. Sometimes I stray from that and share a bittersweet or sad story. But it’s generally about me and my thoughts for the day.

As always, thank you to my devoted followers for reading my tales. They may never become a bestseller novel, but the stories are mine to share.

21

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

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

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

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

Twenty One. What a great number.

Practicum: One Year Done

Our oldest finished her practicum and received her feed back today. That means a year of post secondary school is now behind her. She is finally relaxed.

Ice Cream Cake

Tonight we picked up an ice cream cake to celebrate her first year behind her. Random deserves a treat after such a stressful few weeks getting her project completed.

Unfortunately there are no options for her to get in the workforce this summer. Covid has made it difficult for her to get some hands on experience. Hopefully after her second year she will get experience in her chosen field. In the meantime, she is excited to work for her boss at 1 Fish 2 Fish this summer.

What’s really neat is that for her practicum film project- she interviewed a coworker about working there. After getting feedback from her teacher, Random is going to edit the project and present it to her boss. I think that’s wonderful. Our daughter can combine her passion for film and fish into one.

I hope she continues to enjoy the career she is choosing to pursue. There will be plenty of opportunities coming up and she could be a very busy person.

On Track Photos

I love taking pictures of the artwork on rail cars. I enjoy how an image can tell a quick story.

I also like taking my pictures with a bit of an artistic flare. It’s amazing how lighting and backgrounds can change the feel of the image so easily. Not to mention the filters that smartphones and apps have available. An original image can change completely given the appropriate filter.

Taking pictures of inanimate objects is easy enough. Especially if the art is worthy of a photograph. Catching the right light and angle is also important. Rule of thirds, leading lines, framing- any of the photographer’s special gambit of artistic flair is made easy using railroads and rail cars. I have been doing it for years in order to perfect those skills I learned in high school photography almost thirty years ago.

I appreciate Instagram for being able to showcase and see some fantastic images. There are a lot of talented photographers out there who make a subject jump out at you and make you feel emotion.

I’m feeling contented and courageous by sharing my pictures regularly. I hope you all enjoy seeing the art from my point of view that others have painted. Feel free to follow me on Instagram and see more pictures of rail cars and my life.

A Taste Of The Vedder

Yesterday my wife and I enjoyed a midday kayak on the Sumas Canal that leads to the Vedder River. Last year we went at the end of June when the water levels were much higher. That allowed for more exploration along the calm water’s edge. Read about last year’s adventure here: Vedder Made Today Better.

Yesterday was just a brief stint in the water. The levels were much lower and we really weren’t as prepared as we thought we were. Even though we packed some snacks and put to use our new PFDs, we just weren’t as ready as we thought. The water wasn’t difficult to paddle- the problem was the sun. We forgot sunscreen. Our water bottles can only keep us cool and hydrated for so long.

We are definitely fond of the calm clear water which we paddled on passing the tall grasses. We have also become bird watchers while on these journeys. Yesterday we saw numerous cranes, geese, mallards, hawks, and bald eagles. As well as a few fish and frogs hiding out.

Even though our adventure was short, we still enjoyed the brief paddle. Getting a bit of a workout in the sun was nice. I enjoy the car ride as well, that allows for my wife and I to talk about life.

All-in-all a good mental and physical health moment in the middle of the day.

2021 Mother’s Day

For Mother’s Day, our kids did their best to make my wife happy. Breakfast in bed, a day of Netflix binging, dinner, doing what was asked (without eye rolls and back talk) and a few gifts. Everyone was happy. It was great.

On social media I witnessed numerous wishes to moms everywhere. A few moms I know shared what their families had done for them as well. There was a lot of love going around yesterday.

I also saw a few images of my favorite tv moms. These are the ones who taught me about life. Many of them were humorous and worthy of being a tv mom.

I enjoyed the positive vibes I witnessed yesterday. There is plenty of love for and from mothers out there. Love like that should be shared more often.

I Married A Great Mother

I have been lucky enough to have married my best friend. She has been nothing short of supportive and loving. Our kids have been even more lucky with having such a great mom to look after them all these years.

Mother’s Day 2012

In the past our kids have brought their mom breakfast in bed, made special artwork, and generally given as much love as possible for little kids to muster up. Now as they are all teenagers, I have tried to allow them to make their own decisions on what to do for their mother. Obviously a few reminders over the past couple weeks of today’s special person were dropped. Since I’ll be at work all day, I’ll have to wait and see how they did when I get home.

I’m hoping that they give her the love and attention she deserves today. I’m pretty sure the kids won’t muck this up, they love their mom a lot. I know that there are moments that my wife would like some time to herself. She will get some of that alone time starting next month when she can enjoy a quiet bath or a book by the fire. After almost nineteen years of being an on-the-go parent, she will deserve the relaxation.

Happy Mother’s Day Lee-Anne!

As I See It

I’m enjoying “me time” in my backyard this afternoon. A bit of a breeze, but I was doing some yard work to keep warm. I’m taking a small break to enjoy some music, the weather and share a couple of photos.

Here is what I am seeing right now as I sit in my wheelbarrow:

Here’s what the satellites and ufos can see:

I’m just a small piece of the vast universe. I’m going to enjoy my time here on this planet. Who knows what comes next. Today is just pure enjoyment. Pleasure to be alive, just floating around on this crazy planet.

Enjoying a moment is important when life is filled with challenges and hardships. Taking a moment to remember that it’s not all bad. Life is grand. I’m enjoying it.

Find The Spiritual Side

Today is 4/20. A day that many people indulge in marijuana and just chill out. I think it’s great- even though I am not a pot smoker. I say it’s great because smoking a bit of pot tends to allow people to reach a different level of enlightenment. I honestly feel the world needs more enlightened people. I’m enlightened AF as the kids say.

For example: Ten years ago today, I took my four year old son to the Center of the Universe. Eight years ago, my daughter and I met a childhood hero of mine-Elvira. Meeting Elvira changed my daughter’s view of women being powerful and still remaining feminine. Seven years ago, my son was an honorary “Lego Master Builder” at a convention volunteering his time helping kids. Six years ago, we were in Golden, BC on our way to yet another convention. Four years ago today, my wife and I stopped in Weed, California at 4:20 to honor a friend of mine I had lost.

Sure, some of the memories I just shared seem insignificant to many. But each year on this day had a lasting emotional and mental effect on my life, and that of my family’s. All of it positive in some fashion. Most of it unintentionally spiritual.

Perhaps I’m just looking for answers. But aren’t we all? Isn’t that why people spark up a doob? To get spiritual? Or get lost in thoughts? Maybe it’s to become one with the universe. Far out man.

Whatever the case may be for people smoking the green on 4/20, just remember to have snacks nearby. And if things get outta hand, or you need a tripping buddy- there is a new helpline for you. The Fireside Project. Call or text +16234737433 for free emotional support to help you through a trip.

As always, stay safe and have fun!

Take Out Day

Since it was my daughter’s birthday yesterday, we wanted to do a nice dinner for her. Usually we get Nikko Sushi for any celebratory meals. But our daughter wanted to try something different. Due to current health restrictions in British Columbia, we had to order take out.

It also happened to be “National Take Out Day” as well! We picked up some slushies from a corner store, some Indian Food from Taj, and an ice cream cake from Dairy Queen.

Besides samosas, my family doesn’t eat a lot of Indian food. We did buy samosas, but we also had coconut chicken curry, butter naan bread, and paneer. It was delicious. I am impressed that our kids are always willing to explore tastes from other cultures.

17? Ugh. As if

The ice cream cake was a delicious end to the meal. Our daughter has been enjoying 80’s/90’s movies all her life and went with a “Clueless” inspired cake. We watched the film afterwards for a good laugh. (Wow, there are a lot of stars that were up and comers from back then! Thanks IMDB for helping me to recognize them.)

Did you enjoy some take out yesterday? What did you have?

Do you like Indian cuisine? What would you recommend we try next time from a restaurant?

Let me know in the comments.