What’s On Your Bucket List?

Normally I talk about myself in my blog. Sometimes at the end I ask if anyone wants to share in the comments, and I’ll get a few responses. But today I wanted to try something a bit different.

Today, I want to know more about all of you. I want to know one of the following two things. You can answer both if you wish.

  • Have you completed something important on your bucket list- and how did you do it?
  • What is on your bucket list and how do you plan on accomplishing it?

That’s it. Pretty simple questions. What I would like to find out is where people are getting their ambition to achieve their goals.

I am hoping that the answers will help other people in getting to their goals. Because we are all in this together and we need to cheer one another on! Please, do not be afraid to share your responses. I’d love to hear the answers.

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.

Hyped For Disneyland

Yesterday I booked the dates for using our Disneyland tickets that were purchased back in February 2020. I was only able to book them 120 days in advance. So when the dates opened, I jumped on them.

At this point the availability was good, but I didn’t want to chance it since we are doing a whirlwind trip. We are driving down, splitting it into a two day drive. Followed by four days in the park and a two day drive home. No resting or relaxation day in there.

From our first trip to Disneyland

Once I booked the tickets, our son began to really get invested in the trip. Discussing favorite lands/rides/food from previous trips. He also began to get new plans made for a possible itinerary for us. Plus he was sharing so trivia facts about the parks.

His excitement is contagious. It’s getting us all into the spirit of the road trip. I’m glad that our previous trips there were so joyous and memorable. I have a feeling this will be another memorable experience. Plenty of new things to see and do since our last visit in 2018.

Are you planning any vacations once more? Isn’t it nice to have a sense of freedom returning?

Best Burgers Ever

Las Vegas definitely has a lot to offer. But the one thing that was outstanding was the burgers we ate.

Two days in a row I hit up In-N-Out Burger. I’m not going to lie, they serve up the best fast food burgers in the Western United States. I have never had a bad experience at any of the restaurants. I have blogged numerous times in the past about In-N-Out Burger and how much we love it. (My wife is upset that I went twice on my trip!)

But the best burger I have ever eaten in my life was at Gordon Ramsay Burger. I can’t even… seriously… absolutely delicious! The quality of beef, the spices, the cheeses, the bun- all of it was cooked to perfection. I also had it medium done, which was something I have never had in a burger.

If I didn’t spend $60 USD on a burger and beer, I’d consider going there again. But I do worry that in doing so, I may not love the food as much in the future. It’s the sensation that the memories and the first time experience are most vivid and exciting.

At the end of the day, I’ll always have In-N-Out Burger. They have not disappointed.

More Vegas Lights

No one told me I’d be walking as much as I have this trip. But with so much to see you forget about the walking.

Besides walking around outside, we end up walking through numerous casinos as well. Tons of sounds and lights inside. The only part about walking inside is the smell of smoke is strong. Not my favorite aspect.

Today will be a day of gift store shopping. There are neat stores everywhere. Coca-Cola, Hershey, M&M, Pepsi, so many kitschy places to check out. I’m sure I will find some great and unique gifts to bring home.

This Is Vegas

We have had a ton of fun so far over the last 24 hours. Lots of walking and drinking as we do it. I’ve enjoyed the strip and viewing every thing it has to offer.

I’m excited to see more of the strip tonight. We have had a good time of silliness and drunken stupors as we wander the city. My calf muscles are sore since I am not used to the walking.

I’m hoping to do some shopping tomorrow before heading home. There are plenty of kitschy places around. All of which I plan on hitting up for some souvenirs.

Have you been to Las Vegas? Any places I should try and hit up before leaving here?

Vegas Weekend

For the first time in a couple of decades, I am heading out for a “Boys Weekend” today. A coworker asked me about a month ago if I wanted to go to Vegas for his bachelor party. Initially I was leery because of a few reasons.

First, I don’t gamble. I have been to the casino twice in my life. Once was $20 and I lost it in the first five minutes. The second time was $5 and I won $50 in the first five minutes. I am also really bad at card games. I have gone to friends places for poker and always leave empty handed.

Secondly, I thought that I wouldn’t know anyone else. Turns out there will be a couple of other coworkers going. So at least I’ll have some people to hang out with.

Thirdly, I’m the oldest of the group. The next oldest is 11 years younger than me and the youngest is 20 years difference.

But I’m excited to have some time to just enjoy myself with a bunch of guys. There will be a lot of drinking. And insults galore. It’ll be a ton of immaturity and silliness. I have been asked to not take pics of our stupidity and not to share on my blog. So I will be respectful of my friend’s wishes.

Time to enjoy some Viva Las Vegas before we head out.

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

Real Quebec Photos From My Wife And Son

Yesterday I mentioned how my wife was sending ridiculous pictures to me while on her trip. Shortly after writing that blog, she sent me some much nicer and more touristy style of pictures. Here is a quick collection of images from my wife and son:

Architecturally, Quebec is Eastern European influenced. The entire place reminds me of a real life fantasy world smack dab in the middle of Canada. And people just going about their business, because living like this is totally normal.

I do wish I was there with them. Maybe one day I will go on a trip and see what Quebec has to offer. For now, I just get to enjoy a few photo dumps from their trip!

Quebec Has My Wife And Son

My wife and son have arrived safely in Quebec. They have a couple of days to explore before the speed skating competition. So that’s what they did.

Throughout the day my wife sent me random photos. None were really the type that people share while on a vacation or trip. More just things that she found interesting or humorous- and sent them to send me.

I am a little unsure as to why she shared a picture of kale dumped on the side of the road. Or why she felt it necessary to send a picture of snow the height of a car. In fact, when she sent that to me, as I am here in Vancouver, it began to snow shortly after I received the text. We can all blame her for the snow arriving here! Sorry friends on behalf of my wife.

However, amongst the random pictures of things, she did send me a smiling selfie of the two of them. There was also the obligatory poutine meal picture. So I know they are happy and well fed on this trip. Hopefully she will share some other pictures of more interesting adventures and I can pass them on to everyone else.

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!

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.

Forty Six- Returning To The Wedgewood

It’s my birthday today. I am now 46 years of age. No big celebration this year. Just a night away with my wife. A chance to act young and silly. All while feeling like royalty.

We have returned to The Wedgewood Vancouver for our night away. Last time we were here was nearly three years ago. This time around we are on the 8th floor and truly overlooking the city. I like this place because of the service we receive. From the valet meeting us in the street to the concierge bring wine and chocolate covered strawberries to the personal touches of the greeting card in our room.

A sense of luxury and pampering really makes this feel like a well deserved getaway. The stresses of life are left at home, and our short journey into Vancouver is wonderful. A fancy dinner and a couple bottles of wine- we shall let all of our cares subside for 24 hours.

Cheers to everyone who wished me a Happy Birthday today! I may be older, but now my foolishness is more eccentric.

Onto the next adventure!

Manifesting Memories

It dawned on me today that I manifested a perfect life for myself based on my favorite memories.

Our current home takes my earliest memories of living in Edmonton. Back in the early 80’s, that house backed onto farmer’s fields. Where the views went on forever. Even this last winter snowfall reminded me of the streets and fun I had from ages 5-8.

The next house my family moved to in 1985 had an in ground swimming pool. I recall always having friends over playing and lounging around listening to cassettes on my portable ghetto blaster. Last summer, I continued that tradition in our new home. Every time I was in the pool, I had music playing on a large Bluetooth speaker.

Growing up, I loved movies. The idea that a short story could take you away to an entire new world always filled me with joy. As a teenager I always wanted to be a projectionist. That became a reality in my early 20’s. I loved doing that job for almost five years. We even had our own theater room in our last home.

Besides our my dream job and current home, I remember always wanting to be a good father. In 2000, I met a partner who became my best friend. Her and I both had similar family goals. So we married quickly and got to work making a family even quicker. As the kids grew up, I stayed young. Constantly playing with them and creating new memories for us.

One day, I suspect our kids will manifest their own dreams and goals from the positive experiences they have had.

I didn’t even touch on these facts of what I always wanted: that have also come to fruition:

  • Traveling to Hawaii
  • Traveling to Tokyo
  • Driving the Extraterrestrial Highway
  • Owning a lightsaber
  • Experiencing VR
  • Owning a car
  • Owning an arcade machine
  • Having close friends that last a lifetime

There are so many more things in my life that have come in to reality. All of it is possible through the power of positive thinking. It’s not always going to be easy. Some things are a long arduous journey. But looking back, I know this is exactly where I need to be.

Looking forward, I know exactly where I need to get to. And I hope you are having the same successes in your lives also.

Leaving Mexico

Yesterday was bittersweet having to end our vacation in Mexico. Seven days and six nights of fun was the perfect amount of time to get a mental recharge.

To end our morning, my wife and I walked the other side of the beach. Someone had set up a “reindeer” from driftwood. A bit of a reminder that Christmas is a couple weeks away.

A couple of hours before our shuttle was to arrive, we checked out at the main lobby. We had the option to go and swim, eat, or drink as we waited. Instead we all sat around and just talked. My wife and Megan played some cribbage. Russ enjoyed some cellphone time and I found a couch to shut my eyes for a bit.

The ride to the airport was quick, but getting through the airport was drawn out and exhausting. Airports always feel like that- organized chaos. Once we were in the sky, our six hour flight home felt like an eternity. But we made it home safely. My wife and I are already talking about when to return to Mexico again.

It was a fun trip for being a last minute excursion. (Last minute by our standards considering we only booked in Mid-October).

Second Last Day

On our second to last day, we went for breakfast at the restaurant by the beach. We had our regular breakfast server- Carlos. He had seen us numerous times this trip. We were even seated at the same table every morning. Carlos brought us our drink order without being asked. He knew exactly what we wanted.

Immediately after breakfast we spent the rest of the morning on the beach. The waves were calmer than the day prior, so we enjoyed splashing around and being goofy. At one point, there were schools of fish swimming up to us. A fellow guest at the resort gave me a bun he had taken from the breakfast buffet. As I tore off pieces and tossed them in the water- more fish approached me. I was able to reach down and pet them.

In the afternoon we wandered to the pool and cooled off before dinner. We chose the French restaurant this time. This was quite the elegant experience. From frog leg appetizer to baked Alaska dessert, everything was a production and delicious.

We ended our evening at a cheesy magic show followed by a few games of UNO at the bar. Every single day has been filled with good times starting at 8am and ending by midnight.

Mid-Trip in Mexico

In the middle of our vacation to Mexico, we decided to take a day on the beach. The beach first thing in the morning was impressively pristine. So we spent all day hanging out there.

Our friend, Megan, joined us while we relaxed. We had a few drinks, read our books, and frolicked in the ocean. I did my attempt at being David Hasslehoff running out of the ocean. The service was great as well, and the drinks kept coming.

Mid-day was a PCR test. We require this in order to get back into Canada. Not really a highlight, but it was quick and over with in a matter of moments. Soon we were back at the beach. That was when a couple of vendors came by selling jewelry, towels, blankets and dresses. I did my best negotiating and haggling and picked up a couple of souvenirs.

Shortly thereafter, my wife and I went to get a back massage on the beach. This was a fantastic way to relax and get those tense muscles loosened. The sound of the ocean in the background was tranquil and soothing.

Afterwards we headed out for dinner at the Teppanyaki again (it was by far the best experience for dinner). Once dinner was over, we headed to the theater and enjoyed a burlesque show. The theatrics and acrobatic dancing was intense. The show was well worth watching. My throat was sore from all of the hootin’ and hollerin’ I was doing.

It was another full day of relaxation and fun.

Poolside In Mexico

Yesterday we had a full day just hanging out at the pool. That’s a lie. First thing in the morning we ate breakfast at a restaurant by the beach. Shortly after, we learned how to make guacamole and the history of the ingredients. Then we did salsa dancing lesson. THEN we hung out at the pool.

It was a good time relaxing. The drinks kept flowing and laughs were raucous. Lounging for hours really helped with the relaxation that was needed this year. As well, seeing our pool back home surrounded by snow made me happy to be here.

Later we had dinner at the Mexican restaurant where a mariachi duo came to our table and played some music. Afterwards I caught the tail end of a Michael Jackson tribute. We ended the night eating churros as live music played in the main plaza area. Halfway through vacation and it’s been so much fun.

A Birthday To Remember For My Wife

Yesterday was my wife’s birthday. Besides enjoying Mexico, I added a day excursion for her and I to enjoy. All three activities were a blast!

First was a visit to Tulum. We learned about the ancient civilization and had a wonderful view of the ocean from up top. Shortly after we had some fun snorkeling with manta rays and sea turtles. This was immediately followed by a visit to swim through the Cenote caves.

When we got back to the resort, there was a lovely birthday plate waiting in our room for my wife. We met some friends for a Teppanyaki dinner. Great show with excellent food. Again, my wife was treated to a birthday dessert.

It was a great birthday for my wife who doesn’t always like being in the spotlight. The resort has been wonderful so far.

Happy Birthday Lee-Anne

Today is my wife’s birthday. That’s a big part of the reason we are in Mexico! One of her biggest goals in life was to be somewhere warm for her December birthday. Finally I was able to achieve it for her. She was gracious enough to take me along on for the vacation!

I’m happy that Lee-Anne has been a great big part of my life. Giving her this trip was a much needed excursion that she is worthy of and deserved more than anyone else I know. Her smile on this vacation has lit up the atmosphere everywhere we walk.

So far we have spent two days of over indulging in food, drinks and siestas. Today we are off on an adventure that I am hoping goes smoothly. It’s another of her bucket list items that she wants to do on this trip. I’m pretty sure she will be smiling even more by the end of the day.

Happy Birthday Love!

Valentin Imperial Day 1

“Set amid lavish gardens on a half-mile-long stretch of pearlescent beach named Playa Del Secreto (The Secret Beach), the adults-only, all-inclusive Valentin Imperial Riviera Maya boasts one of the most breathtaking swimming pools in Riviera Maya, Mexico!”

That blurb doesn’t do this resort justice. Having never traveled to Mexico, this is our first taste of what the country, and an all-inclusive, has to offer. It has been nothing but friendly and fun for our first day. Pools, beaches, booze and friends made us feel welcome and comfortable.

We arrived by 9am, and check in wasn’t until 3pm. The resort held our luggage and we were off to begin enjoying the amenities. First thing was to get some breakfast and coffee into us. Of course mimosas began flowing steadily as well. My wife and I were warned by our tenants to not over indulge on the booze on day one. That was going to be challenging. But since water and food was also in abundance- we survived day one without issue.

Drinks were coming pretty regularly mind you. So we tried a bunch of new drinks. We also enjoyed some food truck tacos and an elegant dinner with some friends.

The night ended with my wife and I going for a stroll and enjoying the stars. Relaxing without concern is a great feeling. I can get used to this life and am already able to see what people find appealing about this style of vacationing.

Red Eye

It’s been a very long time since I have been on a “Red Eye” flight. The first time was a trip to Scotland as a child. The worst one was a trip home from Toronto.

Today, we got off the flight early this morning after six hours in the air. My wife and I chose to do it this way so that we could have a siesta on the beach or by the pool in case we didn’t get much sleep on the plane. No point in spending an extra $400 for a night of sleep.

Traveling during these strange times is well, strange. I’d much rather sleep away the awkwardness instead of interacting with strangers on a plane. Anyways, on to the first day of vacation! Exhausted but ready for it!

Weather Or Not

Being on vacation is wonderful. Yesterday and today we had some nice weather with sunshine peaking out. The rest of the week- not so good. A chance of snow tomorrow and a miserable looking week continues on. I’m glad our Christmas lights are up.

Good thing my wife and I fly out to Mexico tonight on the red eye. Besides getting away to beautiful weather, we are leaving the teenagers behind! Grandma is in charge and our tenants are watching over things as well. This is the first real vacation for just the two of us, ever.

My wife and I have taken a weekend away every couple of years. Usually just a drive into Vancouver or a quick escape to Seattle. Our honeymoon was also a short drive to Harrison Hot Springs and lasted for only three days. Every other trip we have been on, we brought the entire family. It’s about time to focus on just the two of us.

My wife is also excited to spend her birthday in a warmer climate. We would have done this last year for her big 5-0, but the world wasn’t ready to open up. Even the trip this week has some hurdles to jump through. But I think it’ll all work out nicely in the end.

Mostly because we won’t be here for the start of the snow season.

Shatner In Space

Today was another one of those incredible days for humanity. The second customer based space flight took place on Blue Origin. This time the oldest person to travel to space was on board. William Shatner aged 90 was Jeff Bezos’ guest. Which is fitting considering that Star Trek paved the way over 55 years ago. In 1970’s NASA named their space shuttle “Enterprise” as a nod to the 60’s sci-fi as well.

This morning I took thirty minutes out of my day to watch the launch and re-entry into Texas. The take off and landing is always the most exciting parts to witness. As technology has progressed over the years, I am in awe of the accuracy in which these feats are achieved.

I’ve always been fascinated by space travel. I know that I am unable to ever accomplish that goal at this time. Even if money was no object and I forked out that money to get on an Amazon rocket- the tallest a person can be is 6’4”. I’m about four inches too tall. Darn you genetics!!! But hey, if a 90 year old can go to space and safely return home- I’ve got 45 years to figure out how to get there myself.

For now, I live vicariously through the events that NASA and these Private Companies showcase. It’s a brief entertainment value that allows for the imagination to run wild. Congratulations to William Shatner for being the first living Star Trek star to make it into space. As well as being the oldest person to do so as well. I can’t wait to hear his tale of travel once he gathers himself together after such an emotional journey.