Early Skate Practice

Normally my wife attends the speed skating practices on Saturday and Sunday morning. I offered to show up today and let her sleep in. Partly because she had a long work week. But also because the parent who does first aid is off sick this week, so I volunteered to be rink side just in case.

It was a beautiful morning as the sun rose up. The kids arrived thirty minutes early to do a warm up outside prior to entering the arena for skating. Even before the coach got there, they all knew that they should do a few laps around the facility to get their muscles activated.

Standing rink side, I enjoyed how smooth the kids were on the ice. Each of them had good form and listened to the coach’s advice as they lapped around. Today’s practice wasn’t about speed, but rather technique. It works the kids towards muscle memory for when competitions come around.

Being supportive of our kids for these last twelve years has made a difference in the commitment level that they are putting in. Theory is getting stronger and we are hoping he starts to get into bigger competitions as he gets older. Our other two have taken away the ability to coach future skaters and our middle child continues doing it every Sunday.

So a big high five to all the parents out there that make the sacrifices to be up early and pushing their kids at various sports! I see you. Keep it up.

Autumn Equinox 2022

In the next few minutes summer shall be over and autumn will be upon us. Luckily for us living in the Vancouver area- the daytime weather will be nice and warm for at least another week keeping us in the mid to low 20°C areas. Summer is just not ready to hand over the season lightly.

I for one am glad about this. It means more time with our pool open as the sun beams down. Earlier today, my wife and I went for a swim to try and make the most of this weather.

It also means we will have a chance to prepare our gardens for winter. I’m genuinely excited about that. We will be setting up a temporary greenhouse to protect our remaining tomatoes and peppers before the last harvest. We also have some trimming and planting to get done so that next spring the gardens will bloom.

Of course I do like all the seasons. Autumn brings with it Halloween and warm food and drinks. As well as apple pie and turkey!

So happy Autumn Equinox everyone. Go enjoy the pumpkin spice!

I Turn My Camera On

Today would have marked my father’s 80th Birthday. One of the few things I have kept of my father’s is his camera. It’s nothing special to anyone but me. Valued at $40 used on eBay. The Praktica is nothing more than a 35mm chunky camera.

The reason it’s special to me is that my father realized that when I was born- he did not own a camera. He went out and bought it within a couple of days of my birth. Partly because there was some uncertainty in my living beyond a short while. I had respiratory issues from birth. But that’s another story. This camera was purchased in 1976- the original receipts and warranty card are still in the carrying case.

I ended up using this camera in high school back in the mid-nineties for my photojournalism class. I took numerous black and white photos with it as well as colour pictures. Some of those ended up in the year book. Including my favorite which was a collage overlay of four photos together making up the front of the school. Not too easy to do when there was no preview screen and had to wait to get the images developed.

Now as our son enters grade 11- he has taken up photography as his art major. With it came a curiosity of my father’s old camera. In the first week of photo classes, he went through four rolls of film just taking black and white photos with it. Soon he will develop the pictures and see what he has created.

The one picture that my son wants to take with the camera is one I am impressed he thought of. It’s nothing outrageous, but rather one that brings the camera’s journey full circle. He plans to take some photos of my father’s tombstone- using the same camera that my father had bought to take pictures of me at birth. It’s quite convenient that the graveyard is merely steps away from the school grounds.

I’m not going to lie, at first I had a tough time allowing my son to use the camera. But he has been respectful and understanding of the sentimentality to me. He keeps it in the case and is very careful when handling it. As I said, there’s no monetary value to this item. But it means a lot to me as I wish my father could have seen the lovely grandkids that were produced. I would hope he would’ve been proud of me. But I didn’t become a good father to impress him. I became a good father to spite him.

Happy 80th Grampa. You missed an entire world, yet somehow you are still a big part of mine.

Harvest Followed by Relaxing

Today was a bit hazy and hot out. My wife decided that it was a perfect day to harvest some of her tomatoes and peppers. That way she could work in the kitchen preparing ways to preserve them.

She began by cutting up her banana peppers into rings. She kept the colours of the peppers separated once sliced up. While she was doing this, she had a vinegar brine solution simmering on the stovetop. I stirred it up occasionally. (I’m helpful!)

We currently have three jars of pickled peppers on our counter. Even though I’m not a big fan of pickled food, they sure did smell good. I have a feeling we will be enjoying these over the next couple of months in a variety of ways.

My wife took a break from doing anything with the tomatoes today. As the sky began to clear up, and the smoke rolled away- we hit the swimming pool for a little Sunday relaxation.

We spent hours in the pool. At one point before dinner, our 16 year old and 18 year old also hit the pool. It was a nice afternoon of using the water to cool off. Summer sure doesn’t feel like it’s over. But nature is sometimes pushing to get autumn onto our doorstep.

We can tell by the fruits and vegetables from our garden being ripe and ready to consume.

One Week Down

Technically it’s still summer- albeit back to school has occurred. Although… the first week of school didn’t really have much in the way of instruction. So it was a bit more relaxed than the majority of the school year.

Back to school, and starting at a new school, make for a bit of enjoyment and stress in a young person’s life. I have been enjoying the stories from out two youngest every day this week. There seems to be a genuine enthusiasm in their tone while they talk.

I’m pretty sure the sharing of daily events will diminish as the year goes on. But nonetheless- I’m listening now and cherish the moments with our kids. Because in the not so distant future, they may not want to share stories. At this point I’ll take what I can get from our 16 year old and our 18 year old.

Greetings At Home

This evening, I was at the front balcony waiting to see our kid come home. I know it’s only the second day of university, but it was nice to see them walk up the driveway with their backpack in tow. The was a sense of ambition as Darwin hustled up the path to the house.

I called out a greeting as they walked in. I received a half answer as Darwin rushed in the door. Darwin was eager to get home. Over dinner, we discussed the classes and I could sense the excitement of the semester to come in their voice.

I’ll always be the parent that greets our kids after a long day- no matter how old they get. I’ll gladly stay up late and offer support no matter how difficult life can get. Home is where the heart is- and home is where you make it.

Today Is Gonna Be A Great Day

“There’s a hundred and four days of summer vacation- ‘Til school comes along just to end it”

Summer is over, at least for our kids… There’s still a few days left before the official 1st day of Autumn. This evening was a chance for my wife and I to relax by floating on the pool. We enjoyed our last evening and our smiles couldn’t be bigger.

As our youngest heads into his second to last year of high school, we are slowly relieved of the extra duties we once had. Our middle is about to attend their first year of university as well. The journey into adulthood is well underway for our kids. Our eldest is already two years out of public school and summer vacation.

As I lounged around watching the sunset- it dawned on me that life is really what you make it. We have worked hard to get to this stage in life and hope that our children appreciate the effort we have put in for them. They each have a future ahead of them that I look forward to seeing. And each day is better than the last.

“This could possibly be the best day ever…
And the forecast says that tomorrow will likely be- A million and six times better.
So make every minute count-
Jump up, jump in and seize the day!
And let’s make sure that in every single possible way-
Today is gonna be a great day.”

Old Man Shower

Now that our tenants have moved out, it was time to check that all of our facilities are working. As I mentioned before- the laundry machines got swapped and we have set up a nice living room in the basement. We also ran the dishwasher and tested the fridge water/ice maker. In the bathroom- besides using the toilet and sink- I needed to try out the downstairs showers.

Is that a tub or a walk-in shower? It’s both.

The basement portion of our home was tailor built to accommodate an older generation. You know- people well past their sixties. In the basement is a bathroom with a unique tub. It is a walk-in bathtub called “The Imperial”.

It’s the sort of tub that you need to step into first and latch the door before filling it up. Naturally I needed to try it out. So I stepped inside and began to fill the tub.

In under 8 minutes, the water had filled up past the jets and covered my knees as I sat there. At this point, I turned on the jets. BUBBLES!

I’m not going to lie- I was fairly comfortable as the bubbles and water washed over my lower body. This is one of the few times my knees have been submerged in a bathtub as an adult. TMI: I really enjoyed the bubbles that came up past my junk. It wasn’t arousing in any way, just sort of nice. Looking at the pamphlet- it’s called “The Bidet Notch”. Noice.

Draining it is far faster than any other tub I have ever been in. I pulled the stopper and the water flowed out in an almost vacuum like state. Anyways, I may hit this tub when I have a long day. It’s calm, relaxing and at the far end of our home- away from the hustle and bustle of our lives.

Man, I’m ready to be old.

Seeing It From A Different Perspective

I’m always sharing pictures of sunsets and views from our vantage point. I love the colours that nature produces and the way the sky is always vibrant and ever changing.

Today, we had a late dinner and sat inside instead of on our deck; like we usually do in the summer. When eating at the dining room table- normally I face the glass door that looks outside. Tonight I sat opposite of my normal chair. I was missing out on the sunset, but the world was shining into our home and brought with it similar hues.

As beautiful as the sun shining into our home was, my wife and I had a difference of opinion on what the colour actually was. I said it was orange, my wife said the colour shining in was purple. Our son said it was light brown. Now I’m leaving it up to my friends and readers- what colour do you see shining against our grey walls?

Honestly, I’m at a loss. I am adamant that it’s orange. But I could very well be wrong.

My Time Is Precious

The one thing in this world that people will try and take from you is your time. That’s one of the few things I have a difficulty giving away. I’m particularly fond of my time off from work or time to myself. That is time I will not give up too easily. However, my immediate family takes priority when time is required of me.

Oh look- we have a cat now.

I had a few days to myself last week after our road trip to Disneyland. I took the time to be creative, carefree and calm during this time. No commitments beyond a couple of hours with friends on one evening. That was some time I gave willingly to them. I was able to benefit from the recharge of hanging out.

Cold drink on a hot evening.

When I’m by myself, I like to keep busy. I have difficulty just lazing about. I don’t watch a lot of tv to pass the time anymore. I used to do that in my youth and have since decided that television is not really my thing. Of course there are a few shows that I do enjoy. I prefer to sit around with a drink to watch the clouds roll by and the sun set.

How do you allot your time? Are you willing to give it up easily, or do you keep track of your time like I do?

End Of My Summer Vacation

Saturday was the last day I had off for my vacation. I had the house to myself for the last few days of vacation. So I enjoyed my solitude.

My wife had taken Theory to a speed skating competition in Calgary for the weekend. Darwin tagged along as well. I was lucky enough to have watched his races via a live stream from The Olympic Oval.

Being that I was home meant I had to take of the garden. We have had a good amount of vegetables coming in. Mostly peppers and tomatoes. Our mixed apple tree is bearing a ton of fruit as well. I can’t wait to make an apple pie from the green ones!

The end of my day (and vacation) I watched the sun as it set. The sun beams shone over the land as the clouds lay up in the sky. A flock of geese flew past at one point making a flight path southward. Summer is almost over- unfortunately my summer vacation has come to an end.

But it was fun while it lasted.

Vacation About To Begin!

Work is over for the next week and a half. Time to enjoy some well deserved sunshine! Now, as the sun sets, I am happy to be off work.

My son and I had a good evening in the pool after dinner. After tonight’s relaxation- fun is the goal for the next seven days! I’m looking forward to time with the family as we hit the open road! We are packed and ready to roll.

Hooray for time off!

Vacation Anticipation

Relatable post time. Here come the memes.

I have only one more shift to go before vacation. Yes, there is a countdown within the family of how many hours remain as well!

There’s always the moments when your brain is already focused on the future and not the day at hand. Nothing is going to get me down. I’m preparing myself to be checked out.

Getting thru that last couple of days of work are always difficult before a vacation. It’s even harder to return to work after some time off.

But a break is always healthy. Leaving work behind and just focusing on some mental relaxation is paramount to good health. We all go through this. I hope you all have good vacations as well when you go on them!

Another Beautiful Evening

Last night my teenager and I had dinner together. We watched the clouds in the sky as the sun vanished behind them. I’m still mesmerized by the views we have from the back of our home. I was happy to share the moment with someone.

There’s just something magical about nature and how the universe works. I don’t know the answers to Life- but I will say, watching a sunset hanging out with someone you care about really fills my heart with joy.

Bro Time

This afternoon I got some time to hang out with some of my friends. We didn’t do anything exciting- just hanging out. Well worth my afternoon!

We farted around in the pool for most of the time. Lots of jokes, and throwing a ball between one another. A perfect afternoon of nothingness.

Later in the afternoon- my friend brought out his drone. He played around filming my home and created a video that he will be sending to me later on. I love the idea of seeing our home from a new perspective.

I had a few other buddies show up throughout the evening. Loads of good conversations were had. I’m glad they all showed up, I needed their company. It was a good evening. I’m glad we did a bunch of nothing together.

Nothingness was a ton of fun. I’m glad to have some bro time.

Alone On The Pool

My wife is out of town with our youngest in Calgary. Our other child is at work and won’t be home for a few more hours. After doing my weekly Thursday shopping- I opened the pool to give it a clean.

Now I’m floating around by myself- listening to music and enjoying life as the sun beats down. I am enjoying my solitude. Getting here was hard work and headaches for many years. Now it’s time to enjoy the fruits of our labors. Even if it is by myself.

Being alone isn’t so bad, but I like to share experiences with others. Come on by for a dip. I’ll gladly share this life with friends!

Weather Seems Nice

Normally we don’t do a big vacation in the summertime to a nice warm place. Living in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia- we have really nice summers. So there is never a need to travel to a sunny destination.

As you can see, this upcoming week has some high temperatures and mostly sun. A good way to enjoy August. Why should we go anywhere?

You see, our goal is to be in Disneyland for the first time during summer. Similar highs, but the lows are far warmer. We won’t get much of a chance to cool off each day. But that will be just fine with me!

We have been waiting for this trip to Disneyland for over two years. We bought tickets hoping to travel in July of 2020 to see what the summer season (and July 4th) would be like in the parks. But, you know, Covid had other plans for everyone.

Soon we will be south of our home and enjoying the Warm California Sun. I’m excited about our family vacation and look forward to the weather being on our side!

My Little Sister

It’s my little sister’s birthday today. Sadly, I have not had the opportunity to visit with her for about a year. Life gets a bit hectic and making plans have also been thwarted by scheduling conflicts. Here in BC, those ferries are unreliable as well these days.

I did give her a call today on the phone. We had a pretty good conversation about growing up, becoming parents, and hoping that things get better. Not that anything is truly bad, but things can always be better.

She will always be known as “Joe’s Sister” in our circle of friends. Her personality is much larger than being known as that. I look back fondly on our memories growing up. We always had each other, through good times and bad.

So thank you for being my sister Nikki! Love you always- as only an older brother can (including insults!) Happy Birthday.

Behind the Scenes

I often share images of hanging out in our backyard. But I don’t always talk about the work that goes into cleaning and maintaining the pool everyday. It usually takes me 30-45 minutes by myself every time.

The first thing I do is get some music playing. It just makes manual labor so much more enjoyable. Then I take off the floating pool rings that protect and keep the heat in the pool.

Then it’s time to vacuum and skim the pool. (Periodically I’ll also scrub the sides with a gentle brush.) Of course, when vacuuming- there are numerous valves to twist in a certain order before and after.

Then I test the pool and add chemicals as required. Lastly, I rinse and inflate the pool toys if they need it. Fun takes work! Now to jump in the water to cool off!

A Day Of Rain

The rain came in yesterday and was gone by this afternoon. Working in the rain sucks, so I have sympathy to those who endured the downpour. But it was a nice refreshing cool down that we needed. Plants seem to be a bit happier in our garden as they also needed the refreshment.

I enjoy sitting out on our deck and watching the clouds afterwards. I snapped a quick picture, then put my phone away and just enjoyed the fresh air. The world can be filled with dark clouds periodically, but when those pass- it’s just calm with a gentle breeze that makes you breathe easier.

Do you like when the rain passes by quickly?

Weekend At Home With My Wife

This weekend our two teenagers went off to Vancouver to attend Anirevo (an anime convention). So my wife and I had the place to ourselves.

And we goofed off.

We played in the pool for hours- splashing and laughing with a few drinks inside of us. We lounged in the gazebo (which we have now dubbed “The Cabana”) and had some fantastic dinners together. It was like having our own private oasis on vacation together. These past couple of days has us realizing that becoming “Empty Nesters” won’t be so bad.

I’m really happy that my wife and I can do these things together. It feels as though we didn’t really have much time to date before we jumped into parenthood 20 years ago. So we are making up for it now.

Life is pretty good these days.

Aqua Thursday

We had another fun filled afternoon and evening yesterday with our friends. We listened to music, had a few drinks, lounged in the pool, and ate a wonderful meal out on the deck. Our friend even did synchronized pool floatie dancing to Celine Dion for us.

It was a ton of fun, as always. I really enjoy their company and love spending time with friends.

I only captured a couple of photos as my phone is often the one that is playing music. This gives me more opportunity to be attentive to the conversations. A lull in talks didn’t have me reaching for my phone. In fact it was quite the opposite. It meant it was time for a new conversation topic.

Joking and playing around in the pool is loads of fun. Being an adult doesn’t mean the fun has to stop. If anything, I realize that who cares what other people think- just enjoy life! And enjoy it with friends.

Signs

Right before my vacation ended, a couple of decorative signs we ordered for our home arrived. Since we aren’t the type to have a sign that says “LIVE, LAUGH, LOVE” we needed something more, us and our home.

Which way to the pool?

The first sign was a generic POOL➡️. We put it up on the fence so that you can see it as soon as you walk out the back door. Yeah, most of our backyard is the pool, but it’s a little bit of fun considering how much we treat our home like a resort. I also find it humorous that you would need to see sign considering it’s the only way to go to find our pool.

The Deck

The other sign was closer to “LIVE, LAUGH, LOVE” and was installed in the upper part of our gazebo. It reads: “The Deck: Sit. Sip. Relax. Enjoy” A perfect motto for hanging out in our backyard. The feeling of calmness and chillaxin’ comes over everyone who sits back there. Our own private oasis, ready for friends and family to relax and enjoy.

Of course we did look at some silly pool themed signs, but potty humor or borderline stupidity isn’t our style. We wanted more zen and resort-like. I think we succeeded.

Golfing… As Predicted

Our son began his first job three weeks ago. He is currently a groundskeeper at Surrey Golf Club. Check out my write up about his first week here: 1st Work Week. As I anticipated, he wants to take up golfing now.

He has found about 75-100 golf balls so far at his work. He came home yesterday and wanted to practice his swing. So I did my best to teach him. He hit about 30 or so golf balls and nailed maybe 5 of them comfortably.

My father attempted to teach me how to golf a couple of times throughout my childhood. Unfortunately, he wasn’t patient with me. I think around age 13 he gave up. To be fair, so did I. But I did listen and remember his teachings. I was able to pass the wisdom onto Theory. As much as I wish I could continue to teach my son how to swing a club, if he wants to learn it would be more beneficial for him to take lessons.

Taking from my own past experiences- both in teaching and being taught- learning from a parent isn’t always the best. Expectations can be too high, anxiety kicks in and then finally disobedience to the lesson being taught. Which causes a bit of animosity between parent and child.

I do have a feeling our son will enjoy golf. He is very keen on learning more and loves his job tremendously. The job has been great for him so far. He likes it so much, some days he goes in up to an hour earlier than scheduled. That means being at work at 4am!

Best of luck Theory in becoming a better golfer. Grandpa would’ve been proud.

Staycation 2022 Day 2

The weather has been nothing but fantastic so far on my staycation. I spent most of today in the backyard working on a project that I will have done by tomorrow. Once done- it means more relaxing for the rest of my time off.

I can’t complain about my second day at home. I got done what I wanted to get done. I also took a couple of breaks in the pool this afternoon. I enjoyed my music as well.

To end my evening, our downstairs tenants made me dinner because the rest of my family had other plans for their dinners. I really appreciate the sentiment and am about to enjoy the dinner.

Life really can’t get much better than it is. Love how my life is going.