Kayaking the Salmon River, Fort Langley

Today my wife and I went out kayaking again. We drove towards our children’s school, and sauntered down the Salmon River in Fort Langley.

We parked along Glover Road and walked down a path and put the kayaks into the water. My wife and I slowly followed along the water for around and hour and a half. It was a nice leisurely paddle. But we also knew that we’d have to paddle back.

It was another calm, zen like experience. Since we were in Fort Langley, we decided that we would stop at The Trading Post for a snack and a beer. It was a great experience, we even made friends with an older couple who were out on a motorcycle cruise.

If the weather holds up into tomorrow, we hope to kayak once more locally. I’ll be sure to share that experience here on my blog.

The Vedder Made Today Better

I am so happy that my wife had us pick up a couple of kayaks last summer. We go a lot of use out of them last year, and we don’t want the momentum to stop this year. My wife joined a kayaking group on Facebook and there have been some great locations shared. Today, we drove about thirty minutes away from our home to enjoy a spot.

I want to start off by saying, it took me longer to get the kayaks ready today. That was because our fourteen year old son wanted to learn how to strap the kayaks to the car and he did the majority of it. There is a bit of an art to getting kayaks tied down, so I was glad to share the knowledge with him. I also enjoyed just chatting with Theory. He’s a bright kid who is always curious about how the world works.

Onto my wife and I and our afternoon. We found the small boat launch with ease. There was a few people around fishing, but no boats on the river. So we unloaded quickly, sunscreen and bug spray was applied and into the water we went.

My wife described the water as “Glass” and she was right. It was one of the smoothest paddles I have ever experienced. The water levels were so high, that at times we were not just going through tall grasses, but literally floating through the trees. It was calm and amazing.

We spent a good two hours just casually enjoying the views. We saw Canada Geese, ducks and a couple of cranes. It was quiet and peaceful as we wandered out.

By the time we returned, there were four more kayakers hitting the water. There’s something about kayaking that brought up conversations with strangers. We chitchatted with a few people as we packed up, because another couple of groups showed up. This spot is appealing right now because of the high water level and calmness. In a couple of weeks, the water will drop and the river will have an entirely different feel.

Chances are my wife and I will go back in a couple of weeks to see the change. But until then, there is so much more of British Columbia to explore. If you missed my Instagram video, here is a quick shot of a couple of cranes that we saw:

Fresh And Fruity

We have so much fresh fruit in our yard! I love it.

In the very back of our yard, there is salmonberries. Which just so happen to be ready for consumption! We also have a bunch of huckleberry bushes throughout the yard. Once they are ready, the kids load up on them.

This year, I discovered our cherry trees are producing fruit. It’s been a couple of years since they did. I’m looking forward to enjoying them. Our pear tree is also producing an abundance of fruit which should be ready in a few weeks.

We had a plum tree- but it ended up being diseased and had to get cut down. Those plums were juicy! As well, we used to have an apple tree, but alas it fell over one year in a storm. I have since planted a new apple tree a couple years ago- this time with four different types of apples infused into the branches. Currently I only get an apple on each branch, but one day- variety!

Do you have fruit trees or bushes that you grow? Summer is the best for walking the garden and eating right if the limb.

Leave Work at Work

When I finish a shift at work, I like to try and leave my thoughts of work behind. Of course it’s not always possible. Now that I have a “Work Phone” I’ll check emails while having a coffee and getting ready to leave my house. But I still avoid thinking about work on my days off.

If I hang out with coworkers outside of my work hours, more often than not we talk about… trains. It’s unavoidable since trains are what we have most in common. Sure, sometimes work gossip is fun, but there’s more to life than just that.

Work is essentially the beast you need in your life to survive. It brings you financial freedom, a meaning to your existence, a sense of identity. If asked, “What do you do for a living?” Your job is usually the first thing you mention.

Is it what you do for a living? Or do you enjoy your hobbies and family time more? Getting out of the habit of having a job or career define you is challenging. Once you get into the right frame of mind however, life becomes fresh and vibrant. Like being a child once more with no cares, but to play.

Remember to play. It’s good for the mind and body.

Father’s Day Night

With yesterday being Father’s Day, my children gave me gifts that reminded me that I’m a father. However, it was a very bipolar type of evening.

I arrived home to see my teenage daughters making homemade pasta for dinner. The kitchen was a mess and flour was everywhere. They were stumbling over each other trying to make dinner. During this, my son had retreated to his bedroom to hide.

For the rest of the evening, there was snarky attitudes going back and forth between all three kids and my wife. As they spoke to me, their tunes would change. They were each doing their best to show me kindness, but at a cost of being somewhat negative towards one another.

After dinner, the kids brought out the gifts that they had made for me. None of the gifts surprised me, as they were exactly what I was expecting. A Lego creation from my son (of my Nissan Rogue), some painted wood carvings from my middle and a painting from my oldest. I appreciate each gift as the kids showed off how proud they are of what they made.

We ended the night watching Robocop from 1987 just because I hadn’t seen the film in ages and wanted something to watch that the kids had never seen before. After the film, it was off to bed and sleep took over.

All in all a typical night, I even got a few gifts from it. It didn’t upset me that there was a bit of animosity between my family members. In actuality it reminded me of how normal we all are; and not everything is perfect no matter how much we try and showcase our lives on social media.

What Were The Skies Like When You Were Young?

The skies always had little fluffy clouds in them.

I love staring into the skies and seeing the clouds floating there. I’ve done it since I was a child. Sometimes I just get lost in thought as I daydream. I sometimes think back to my late teens and listening to “The Orb”.

Stereophonic and psychedelic- a peaceful easy feeling. Listening to music while staring off was a great way to pass the day. A simplistic time in my youth where nothing mattered.

Clouds continue to take me away to my happy place. A spot in my mind that no one can control-the depths of my id. The inner me of me.

The skies continue to bring tranquility to me. I love taking photos of the clouds. I try and take pictures with clouds in the background as well when doing pictures of the outdoors.

Do you like clouds?

What Do You Say?

My daughter asked me a unique question the other day that I was unable to answer her immediately. She asked, “If you could give a motivational speech, what would you say?” This question was heavier than I expected. I had to think this one over.

Naturally I told her that I’d let her know. But she had me thinking about it all night. At least my daughter told me that I was inspiring with the majority of my blog posts. Hopefully she’s been reading my blogs! She’s also extremely intelligent and has a knack of reading people… just like her father.

Yes, she played me.

My daughter knew that in order to win me over she needed to “show” that she reads my blogs. Of course I do my best to be inspirational with what I write. Sometimes I write about my children and their achievements. Because their success is my success. I also love to write about the beauty in the world, even when it’s really tough to see it.

Even in my positivity, I have a dark side to my humor. I love to let it out and surprise people with my crudeness. Last night was no exception.

Our family sat around and played Cards Against Humanity. One of my favorite games for all the right reasons. It’s rude, vulgar, and downright funny to see our teenagers try and out do each other in the punchlines. Or try and play disturbing cards to gross each other out.

Like I mentioned though, I am good at playing people. I play the cards that I know will win based on each of their sense of humor. The first round was an easy win for me. The second round, the family started to use my technique against me. But it was more fun to see them strategize on who played what cards.

Cards Against Humanity has been humoring me for years now. We’ve seen it at conventions and I’ve bought into special edition cards that support a sort of anarchy. I’ve even shared the game with others and gotten them hooked on it. Evil, pure evil.

My motivational speech? It would have to be titled, “Play to the gallery.” Where every time I had to give a speech, I’d tell people what they want to hear.

Transcendental Music

I worked for twelve hours. I drove for forty five minutes to get to work and forty five minutes to get home. I got home, I put on some music, and made dinner for everyone. We ate our burgers on the back patio, shared some stories of the day, and genuinely enjoyed each other’s company.

Slowly, everyone left the table. No words were said. Just one by one they left. Until I remained. Hoping one or more would return. But they did not. They left their dirty plates. They left me behind.

After about ten minutes, I changed the music. I put on some trance music by The Orb and stared off into the yard, listening to the music and the wildlife, eventually closing my eyes. I let the music take me away. Several moments passed. I had been zoned out. It was relaxing.

I miss listening to music for the sake of music. No lyrics. The occasional word is spoken. But the rhythmic nothingness of trance music with the sounds of birds chirping is zen like. I do not care that the dishes were left behind. Or that no thank you’s were offered up to me for working all day and making dinner. My wife also worked, so did our eldest. The other two had online school. We all had busy mental days. Busy happens.

Life is busy. We all experience it. Take a breather and don’t get angry. The dishes will get washed. The table will get cleared. The smiles will remain. The music will play. The time is now.

Pre-Grad Photos

Today our oldest daughter sort of did her graduation ceremony. I say sort of because it happened without fanfare, just some video cameras and a few classmates.

The school had the art majors come in to be filmed as they crossed the stage. The larger groups of students were lined down the halls standing at markers. From there, only four went into the auditorium at a time. Then one would walk across the stage and pause in various spots as they were filmed and such. No audience. And only a handful of teachers. The rest of the world (family and friends) will see an edited version of the ceremonies June 17th- the original date of the Grad.

For the rest of the week, our daughter gets to hold onto her grad gown. My wife and I are planning on making the most of it and take a metric ton of photos. We already began tonight. We got lucky that our daughter has had the biggest smile all evening. Many of the photos were far more fun than I expected.

Today was a bittersweet day that’s for sure. It was already going to be bittersweet knowing that she has put in a lifetime of schooling that culminated to this final moment. We also drove up to her elementary school where she first entered the school system, just to get that photo.

Her smile was obviously genuine. And I did capture numerous other candid photos. But I cannot share them, she would be more embarrassed than she will be seeing this post. Even though I am totally a proud parent!

Wanna see pictures of my kid??

Our Boy is Fourteen

Where does the time go? Our son is 14 today. Every year I write about him on his birthday, as I do with each of our children. Okay, I write about our children more than just on their birthdays. But on their Birthday, it’s always about them. Here’s a quick snippet about him and his day.

He’s quite the charmer. He knows how to make people happy through his kind acts. Theory also has impeccable manners and is respectful of everyone. It makes me happy to see that our parenting has paid off. Plus he has two wonderful big sisters who have steered him towards being the great kid that he is.

Today was a fairly subdued celebration. We had a big breakfast, followed by opening of gifts. My wife and I finally purchased the trick scooter he wanted. Later this evening, we will be attending Back To The Future at The Twilight Drive In. It’s a sold out show and they predict rain. That will be fun seeing how to cram three teenagers and two adults into a small suv!

But as far as Birthdays go, this one is pretty good for him. And he seemed very happy with what he got. Especially the handmade gifts from his sisters. (A painting and a Star Wars pillow).

Happy 14th Birthday Theory! May the Force Be With You!

In The Trees

The weather has become ab-fab. That means more time outside again. Having a yard and the space like we do makes for a relaxing time.

This afternoon I put up some lights in our tree deck with the help of my son.

For dinner, I stopped at a fish n’ chips place called C-Lovers and grabbed some cod. We had a picnic on the deck.

I played some music on a Bluetooth speaker called “Songs to Sing the Shower”. My wife danced on the deck. I took some pictures as I watched from above as the kids played frisbee and they sang.

Life is really good if you let it.

Keep It Bright

During these crazy times in the world, when everything seems gloomy- keeping it light and bright is paramount. Sharing positivity, or support to those workers who get out there daily is important. It keeps their spirits up knowing that what they do is important. I’ve also been glad to see the Google Doodle showcasing their efforts daily!

The rest of us need something bright as well. Sharing a phone call, or a text to someone who you’ve lost contact with. Or share some thoughts on Instagram or Facebook. It may have seemed trite and melodramatic in the past, but now it really feels necessary.

Something to look at.

In our home, I washed the windows and repainted the walls in order to brighten our living space. We even moved our dining table to be closer to the windows. Seeing the outdoors and how much beauty it holds brings me joy. A fresh coat of paint indoors makes for a new lease on life as well.

What’re you doing to “Brighten” your world?

Somebody Out There “Rocks”

My wife goes for a walk a couple of times a day around our neighborhood. Sometimes she detours through the trails at the nearby Steele Park. (Mostly because my wife still plays Pokémon Go and the park is a Pokéstop.) Today I joined my wife and she showed me something cute along the way.

Someone or someones have been leaving little surprises along the trails. They have been painting rocks and placing them back along the pathways. It’s lovely to see. My wife says she has fun trying to figure out if there are any new ones put out.

To whomever is doing this- thank you! It’s a pleasure to see these works of art. I’m glad my wife took me to see them as well. Such a simple idea, and I love that they just leave them out in the wooded area.

Recognizing The Helpers

As the Corona Virus fills our newsfeeds, it can feel overwhelming. I try and read the articles that are uplifting or of moral benefit. I’m glad to see folks sharing stories of helping or supporting one another.

Mr. Rogers was a wise man.

Hearing the daily 7pm pots and pans clattering from our neighbors, or the car horns, boat and train whistles while out in the streets brings a smile to my heart. It shows that people are appreciating our care workers that much more during times of crisis.

I read a status the other day and it got me thinking. The status was this (minus some of the negativity): “Next year I don’t want to hear about the Oscar, Grammys, Tonys or Golden Globes. I don’t want to see a single actor, actress, singer, celebrity or sports person on any red carpet.

Next year I want to see nurses, doctors, ambulance crews, health care support workers, shop workers and truck drivers, all essential workers, grocery store workers having free red carpet parties with awards and expensive goodie bags.”

This is a great sentiment, however unrealistic. There will be no televised show for these workers. Perhaps the celebrities or sports person will take to their soap box and say something. It will cause raucous applause and then the event will continue with some jokes until the next award winner takes to the stage and says something of similar merit. It’s a puppet song and dance that we have witnessed for years now. Perhaps these award shows are the “Normal” that people are craving now.

Or is the “Normal” that people want the desire to spend money- be a good consumer. Perhaps we should reflect on this time we have now and create a “New Normal” when all is said and done. Sure, I want to travel and go shopping and spend time in restaurants. But that’s only because I’m being told I can’t. It’s ingrained in our psyche to question everything and fight against being told “No”.

I’m at home as often as I can be. I’m saving money. My house feels like a home once more. My kids are learning how to cook and bake (and enjoying it). My wife and I are talking about more than just the daily routine struggles- we are connecting. The world seems calmer, cleaner and somehow nature is content. Wild animals are roaming a bit freer and pollution is down. A part of me wants this aspect of Covid19 to remain. This unbeknownst harmony that was created.

Back to my point. As we Physically Distance and Self Quarantine, we need to recognize those people risking their health and well being. Thank you to those that are working hard to keep our families safe and allow us to have food on our table. I don’t have a red carpet or an awards show. But I hope that as each person shares kind words, you know who you are and how much you are needed. I also hope that the world creates a “New Normal” and your actions stay in the forefront of our minds.

Putting the Fun in Funeral

Facebook reminded me of my first ever tagged photo.

The picture is of my father’s gravestone. It got me thinking, especially with everything going on in the world, about my funeral. No, I’m not being morbid. I’m thinking about how my service would go. I’d start it off with Dead by Korn. The song has some bagpipes in it that go back to my Scottish roots on my mother’s side.

Click on the image to hear the song “Dead” by Korn

“All I want in life is to be happy (happy) All I want in life is to be happy (happy) All I want in life is to be happy (happy) All I want in life is to be happy (happy)
It seems funny to me
How fucked things can be
Everytime I get ahead
I feel more dead”

It’s a pretty accurate song about life. I’d like to be playing “All I want in life is to be happy” on repeat very silently during the service.

As the final song to say farewell to me in that day, I’d like to have playing is Just a Man by Faith No More. I love the climax of the song and his voice is gospel at times. It would be a prefect send off. Here is a link to the live performance: Faith No More 1997.

What are your funeral songs? Is it tough to think about your own mortality?

Happiness Passed On

Our children have been junior coaches for only a short time. Yesterday one of the parents who help volunteer at our club, dropped off a small gift for them. Our middle daughter was blown away by the gesture. She shared this on her Instagram:

“It’s little moments, little moments of everyday. Little moments like now, like today. The simple little things that make up a bigger entity. The entity of life. Little moments are everything to me. Little bursts of happiness, of joy. The cheers of teammates as you do a race, the unstoppable smiles of finally reaching your goal. Support and love. My favourite moments are the moments I spend here. I love watching the kids improve. Each moment changing everything. Each practice. Every second counts, every second matters to me. I love the smiles that sneak on their faces and they can’t make disappear, the jokes, the hard work. My favourite moments are the ones I spend here, with them. Helping them in any way that I can. My favourite part is when it all pays off and you can see how they’re proud of themselves and want you to see their achievements. My favourite moments are the moments I spend with you. It makes me happy to see that you feel the same way too, you never have to do this although it’s nice to feel appreciated. But you can’t appreciate me as much as I appreciate you. Thank you. Thank you so much. Keep making these little moments with me every time. I miss you all and can’t wait for next season to see you improve even more!”

I was extremely touched by her words. She definitely takes after her father in promoting positivity. That’s a great quality to have. It’s no wonder she, as well as her brother and sister, have become such great leaders and coaches. I’m really proud of all of them for the hard work they put in every time they are on the ice trying to help others.

Great job gang! And a big thanks to Langley Blades for all the years of skating.

Home. Home Again.

I like to be here when I can.

As much as I enjoy sharing about the adventures we take or have taken, I still enjoy having a home to rest my soul at. Being here a bit more frequently lately has made me appreciate what I do have.

Besides four walls and a roof to hold my stuff, I have a loving family. A family that remembers my birthday and Father’s Day. A family that will go out of their way to like the things I like in order to share moments with me.

In this home there are vestiges of each and every one of them. From pictures to artwork to trinkets- our collections share a story or a fond memory. I’m lucky that these reminders are around. They bring me joy.

That’s all I wanted to share with you. But I also used today’s blog as a friendly reminder to myself that I have an entire universe of love and kindness here in my home, even if I feel trapped.

Women’s Day 2020

Previously I’ve mentioned how amazing some of the women in my life are. Including last year’s International Women’s Day. Every year, I become more and more proud of my wife and daughters.

My wife is a shining example of a great woman. She is loving and caring towards all of us. Many times she is sacrificing her time in order to benefit the family. Without her, I could not imagine a life as wonderful as I have now.

Our oldest daughter is working hard towards finishing high school. Twice a week she is a junior coach for our speed skating club. She also works for 1 Fish 2 Fish– a fish market in Langley. She works with a bunch of other women, all of whom are fantastic customer service representatives and extremely knowledgeable about seafood. They are led by another great lady who has run the business for two decades now.

Our middle child also does junior coaching at Langley Blades Speed Skating. Last month she went to Fort St. John BC Winter Games as a Young Official. She was an amazing asset to the team and loved volunteering her time there. She also pushes her abilities at school with great success.

These are the three women who matter most to me. I’m proud of their individual success stories. It’s also good to see that they are strong, assertive leaders. Our daughters will continue to grow and prosper over the years.

What women are you proud of in your life?

If Life Seems Jolly Rotten…

There’s something you’ve forgotten.

And that’s to laugh and smile and dance and sing.

I’ve always enjoyed Monty Python since I was a teenager. And ever since then I can remember quoting their songs, tv show bits and movies. What I find beautiful about that style of comedy is that they can make fun of the reality we live in and endure, but bring a smile and laugh to the audience.

Of course some of the songs seem pointless and ridiculous. While others try and cheer you up. Some of the humor pokes fun at the government and that in itself is timeless- “Help! I’m being repressed!

And yeah, lately life has been a bit tough. Lots of stresses being placed on me and the members of my family. From work to school to speed skating and beyond- it’s not always easy to get through each day. But I try. We try. Finding bits of joy and humor helps a lot. Monty Python wit is appreciated.

So remember, when you’re feeling very small and insecure,
How amazingly unlikely is your birth;
And pray that there’s intelligent life somewhere out in space,
‘Cause there’s bugger all down here on Earth!

Family Day

Today is BC Family Day. A day designed to celebrate the family environment. That’s something I can always get behind.

I’m a huge proponent of positive family interactions. Many of my blogs are focused on our children and the activities they do and what we do together. I’m always trying to share the highlights and joy that comes from what we do together.

Today, I hope that many of you in British Columbia with kids and loved ones, take the time to relish what you have. Family isn’t always easy. Neither is being a Mother or a Father. With everything that goes on in the world- it’s nice to just have a day to relax and reflect on family values.

Happy BC Family Day everyone!

Invisible Man

Lately I’ve felt as if my existence is inconsequential. I’m floating through life day to day without making a mark. Work treats me like another number that can easily be replaced or removed. I feel as if the company doesn’t value what I bring to the table after a dozen years of service. I keep going because I like getting a paycheck. That’s sort of important I guess.

At home, our kids are busy being teenagers wrapped up in their own lives. With our oldest graduating this year from high school, our youngest working towards his speed skating goals, and our middle trying to figure out where she fits in in this world- daddio here takes the back burner. I’m easily ignored and forgotten about.

I also haven’t interacted with my friends in ages either. Everyone is busy being adults nowadays that it gets tough to get together. I’m not even sure what’s going on in their lives anymore since I don’t follow anyone on Facebook. Almost a year ago I thought the right thing to do for my Mental health was remove everyone. Now it feels lonely and a dreaded feeling of FOMO has crept in.

Perhaps today I just needed to vent and air out what I’m thinking. Feeling small and insignificant is a sensation I know many of you have felt as well. Usually I’m pretty positive and upbeat. Sometimes happy just doesn’t happen. This too shall pass, right?

But, uh, everything’s perfectly all right now. We’ re fine. We’re all fine here, now, thank you. How are you?

Come On Get Happy

Sometimes I overly express that people should be happy and take care of themselves. The truth is that it’s also totally okay to not happy. Look at my life. I’m a tall, thin guy who has trouble finding pants. And that sucks.

But music makes me happy. And something about music from decades ago is great for chasing away my existential blues. Those classic pop songs that you can sing along with.

Sometimes I wish I could write music. Music that others would sing for generations- even after the Hits no longer held the charts.

I also love discovering unique music at thrifts stores that was tossed aside. I’ll pick up all sorts of music from 1920’s thru to the 1980’s. Albums that no one knows or would ever need to know. They get play time now in my home.

Am I making people happy? I don’t know. Maybe in some inadvertent way. Buying an album at a thrift store ensures money goes back where it’s needed. Playing those albums brings joy to me and sometimes my family. That joy gets spread in the world to their friends.

So maybe I can make people happier.

Four Years Of Daily Musings

January 27th, 2016. I began the first of my daily blog posts with this: Come Here To See All My Mistakes. Sure, you’ve read about those, but you’ve also read about my successes. Not to mention family and friends. Sometimes travel or home popped up. Occasionally I wrote about work.

Generally I wrote whatever came to mind when I pulled out my iPhone to write my daily diary. I appreciate you all for coming along and reading these. I know you don’t always want to comment. Nor do you always remember to read them. And that’s totally okay with me.

I sill want to thank everyone for watching my blog grow and change each and every day for FOUR YEARS. Crazy to think that I have diligently written 1460 days in a row.

1461 if you count today.

Never Too Serious

I’m a fan of living life for the sheer enjoyment of it. I have never taken myself that seriously. I don’t think anyone else takes me too seriously either. How could you?

Some days I dress based on how I feel. Be it a superhero or a goofball. I don’t think I have one set look. Jeans and a t-shirt is my comfort zone I guess. But I can still dress elegantly when I want.

When I take selfies with friends and family- I bring out some fun in their hearts as well. I love seeing people smile and express a bit more of their crazy side.

Even the few celebrities that I’ve taken pictures with have enjoyed that I don’t need to be uncomfortable or serious. The biggest constant in who I am is that I’m ever changing. Monty Python sang it best:

Life’s a laugh and death’s a joke, it’s true
You’ll see it’s all a show
Keep ’em laughing as you go
Just remember that the last laugh is on you

Blue Monday 2020

Today is the third Monday of the year. It is also dubbed “Blue Monday”. Last year I was having a string of bad luck (read about it Here: Blue Monday). This year has not been nearly as bad- knock on wood as they say.

However I am feeling more gloomy than usual. I’m not to sure as to why. I think it’s because I haven’t been distracting myself lately from the daily routines. Perhaps it’s the weather? Maybe it’s those bills that I don’t like. Chances are it’s an accumulation of everything.

I think tonight after dinner it will be time for a nice cup of tea and a book. Try and change up the routine of passing out to some show on Netflix. Shake up the monotony of life a bit.

Do you experience Blue Monday? How do you combat Blue Monday?