Great Wolf Lodge

Yesterday and today we enjoyed the water slides and Great Wolf Lodge. It’s a perfect ending to our summer vacation. Having children of an older age makes it a very different experience than the time we came here five years ago.


The first big change was requesting to stay on the Top Floor. Eight stories up- there aren’t any children running up and down the halls. We have a decent view of the side of the Resort as well.  The next big change- all of our children are comfortable in water. Neither parent forced to be with a child on every slide.


My wife and I took full advantage of not having to be with the kids. We snuck off to live life like a couple of teenagers. Sort of.  We were the parent couple that held hands walking up the stairs to the slides. We laughed and screamed as we went down the slides together. But our ages began to show. The exercise going up the stairs winded us.  Down the slides- the spinning and going backwards made us nauseous after a time.


Hours of waterparking gave us dry skin and prune hands and bad hair. The kids were independent and we were tired. There were no changes in how Great Wolf Lodge looks or is run. If anything, rust and peeling paint was more prevalent. The place is showing its age.  


Soon, our children won’t care much to return here.  But for now- it’s all about the fun!

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Vacation Vacation 

I’m at the point in my vacation that I need a vacation from my vacation.  We have been nonstop going since my first day off. It isn’t slowing either.


Vacationing on a budget and trying to do as much as possible is a challenge.  So far, we’ve had a chance to have new experiences that will last a lifetime. We’ve been traveling around BC enjoying nature.  The weather has cooperated immensely.


I’ve hit a point though- I’m old. Early mornings and late nights to make the most of my time off are starting to have its toll. The kids have the energy which helps renew mine for most of the day.  I just need a day to recover.  Not like the old days- this isn’t a hangover. I’m too old for that. I just need a nap or two.

Death Note? More like Death No.

Sadly, not everything Netflix touches turns into gold. The other day, my family and I watched the Netflix version of Death Note. The only thing about the movie was that it was DNINO. Yup. It fell under the trap of using a name of a popular show and had nothing to do with it. It was “Death Note In Name Only”.


Death Note was originally written as a fantastic anime. Years ago, my wife and I fell in love with it. So much so that we bought props and merchandise that reminded us of it. My wife has a necklace with an “L” on it and sometimes I call her “L”. I have a copy of a “Death Note” for myself. We also have a couple anime t-shirts from the series. Our eldest daughter has the series in manga form as well.


“Death Note” is a personal favorite anime of mine. It’s up there with “Akira”, “Astroboy” and “Cowboy Bepop” for shows that make the anime genre what it is. The Netflix version of “Death Note” is terrible. Even as just a regular movie it’s not good. This new movie only had the names of most of the characters and Ryuk. Not much more than that was accurate to the original story.


If I could write in my Death Note the names of those responsible for this terrible film, I would almost be tempted to do so. This new film was sacrilegious to the original. After watching the film, I am heartbroken by the knowledge that it wasn’t true to the storyline.

My advice to those thinking they should watch this new version of the show, watch the original anime instead. Trust me- you will love the character interactions and the climax of the storyline much more.

Netflix, I am saddened by what you have done to a beloved anime. Furthermore, if any director takes on “Akira” you better make it as accurate to the original as possible. You wouldn’t want fans going Neo Tokyo on you.

Longines FEI World Cup Experience 

Yesterday was an experience to say the least. One that my wife and I spoke about afterwards as something we would like to do more often. It seems being a part of such a luxurious event is in our blood. The event was held just up the road from our home. Even though we didn’t know about it prior to last week.
We were invited to attend the FEI World Cup Jumping at the Thunderbird Show Park. (I found out TBird is North America’s premier equestrian show facilities next only to Calgary). It was Olympic Caliber Show Jumping and was open to the public to enjoy as well. I was ecstatic that I had been given an opportunity to view the show from such a nice location. We had a firsthand view of jump number 2 and 10.


Our seats were under a shaded tent at “The View Rosé Party”. We enjoyed a couple of glasses of Sparkling Rosé and some finger foods as the horses and riders ran the course throughout the afternoon. Prior to the show beginning, there was a live band on stage. They graced us with the Canadian National Anthem as well.  This show was impressing me already.

My wife and I joined a table of very knowledgeable spectators. My ignorance of how the show worked didn’t deter them from answering my questions. In fact, everyone at our table wasn’t just willing to give me advice and answer my questions, but they were also eager to bestow their knowledge upon me. As an outsider to the venue, I really appreciated the help.  The explanation of how the course works, the timing and penalties made me more focused as we watched.


The other people at our table have been to numerous events and knew many of the riders as well. I even got a bit of my “Nerd on” when I found out Jennifer Gates- daughter of a certain Bill Gates- was riding that day.


The food and sparkling Rosé was delicious as we watched the riders from our table. There was no slow down in the action. As soon as one rider was done, the next would take the field. I found myself getting more enthralled as each rider ran the course. My wife pointed out that I have a cute way of saying “awwww” when something bad happened. But the entire crowd would make this noise.


As the temperature began to rise towards 30°C I was appreciative of the bottled water supplied to us. I couldn’t imagine the sweat from the horses and riders as they pushed to make a great time. After the 27 riders finished the first run, it came down to the final seven. The show’s excitement came to an end as the final rider took to the course- and won. A picture perfect finalé for a wonderful afternoon.

It was the kindness of the fellow spectators that really made my wife and I want to return. (Which I think we shall attempt again next year.) A huge thanks should be given out to the volunteers and the hosts as well: both TBird and The View Winery. My wife and I will be back next year- we really enjoyed our afternoon date.

I’m a Writer? Cool!

Every day I share a blog post.  Mostly I try and be inspirational. I’m always focusing on the good points in life.  Sharing memories and adventures I have had. I do this for myself.  Like a diary of sorts. My own daily memoir.

Something unique happened to me.  An old friend of mine posted on social media if any  Fraser Valley bloggers wanted to come to a horse show and write about their experience. I raised my metaphorical hand and said, “I blog daily.” And with that, I was invited to a horse show. Little known fact about me living in the countryside: I know NOTHING about horses.

Ya.  About that.  Within moments of my friend giving me the okay to come blog, I had to ask two questions. Now, I like to think of myself as a smart man… usually I can figure something out in context.  But I was at a loss within seconds of her sending me info. 


I had some serious studying to do.  This show was far from my comfort realm of movies and family. As excited as I am to be invited to write, I am terrified as well. Not just the idea of learning about a horse show, but also becoming one of the crowd.

I can’t show up in pink hair with a Batman t-shirt or dressed in Steampunk. I can understand this, however, I was also bringing my wife along. She is equally as concerned about “Keeping up appearances.” So we searched our wardrobes to find an outfit in order to blend in to a crowd without standing out.


I’d like to say we succeeded in “Sunday Horse Show with the Elite” look. Maybe my idea of how things go at these shows is out to left field. I am about to find out, and I’m taking my wife on the journey. A hot date in a location we normally wouldn’t think about attending. We entered “The View Winery Rosé Party” and we sat at a table and felt like we belonged. We talked with other spectators and began to enjoy our afternoon.

Stay tuned tomorrow to see how our afternoon turned out.

Never Give Up On Your Goals

On Tuesday I set a goal.  The goal was immediately mocked by my wife and two of our kids. 

Taunts were said of 

“You’ll never make it.”

“It’s too far.”

“You’ll turn around.”

A part of me began to think they were right. Perhaps my goal would be unachievable. I wasn’t about to give up before setting out. And yes, the goal wasn’t metaphorical- it was an actual thing. I wanted to paddle across the lake to a small island. In a cheap inflatable raft. This was totally doable, right? But it was so far away…


Our middle child decided she wanted to go with me. She was the only one who thought we could make it. I was glad to have the company.  Plus if we failed- I’d have someone to fail with (or read that as “blame” if we turned back).


We started off weak. My daughter didn’t have the co-ordation to paddle. She struggled and fought with the water. It took me a lot of explaining to just take it slow and steady while paddling. About a quarter of the way there and it seemed like we had hardly gone anywhere.


At the halfway point was the “make it or break it” decision.  We could feel the burn starting in our arms, but it wasn’t enough to deter our progress. We had been paddling for almost an hour at this point. (Mostly because of the slow start.) We then began a percentage countdown together. 

“Only 40% left to go.”

“I’d say we are at 25% now.”

“Last push for the final 10%. Let’s sprint.”


Finally we arrived. Sore and thrilled to have made it. We got off the inflated boats and climbed up to our victory. It wasn’t crossing the ocean in a kayak with media hubbub, but to us it was HUGE.


The payoff was euphoric. The views made it all worthwhile. For a small little island, we explored every inch of it. Everywhere we looked, it seemed like a different location; as if we had visited numerous islands. My daughter decided to swim around the island back to the boats. I climbed back up and around, glad to have done what was set out to do.


Our goal accomplished, we left the island behind us.  The journey back to our camp went much more quickly. In a little under an hour, we could see my wife and son on the shoreline waiting to greet us with surprise and congratulations.


With my story comes the motivational “After school special” lesson:

Life is full of difficult challenges. Setting your personal goals are exactly that. No one else should deter you from accomplishing these goals. The naysayers will hurt your ego. Some will even love to watch you fail. Screw ’em. Do your damned best. 

Make it to your island. Look back to where you started from. The views may surprise you.

Earth, Water, Wind, Fire- A Week of Camping

We just finished our second family camping trip ever. We returned to 20 Mile Bay at the north end of Harrison Lake. We came up on Monday and left earlier today. It was great to say the least.


Our first day up there was mostly navigating the 33km dirt logging road for a little over an hour. Followed by setting up camp. The smoke from forest fires on the opposite side of the lake sat heavy in the air. But our camp view was breathtaking to say the least. ($15/day to enjoy it? Going to double our stay next year thank you!)


The next day my daughter and I decided to paddle in our inflated rafts to a small island in the lake. A little over an hour of rowing, complaining, floating, and more rowing got us to our goal.  We wandered the island and then we relaxed in the water before trekking back. When we returned, I needed to take a couple of Advil for the muscle pain , followed by a nap.


Later that afternoon it began to get a bit windy.  So the kids pulled out their dollarstore kites and were entertained for a couple of hours. It seems that they now want better kites for future use.


On Wednesday morning, my son wanted to go out on the inflated boats with me.  We decided to stay close to the shoreline and went around the campgrounds for a couple of hours.  I was still pretty sore from all the paddling the day prior, so this one was more leisurely.

A couple of friends were going to come up and meet us at noon.  Last year we had no cell service, so I didn’t turn on my phone this time around. By three o’clock I decided to try and turn on my cellphone. The service in our spot was spotty and intermittent.  But better than anywhere else on the campgrounds (no, I am not telling you the site number- my secret). Unfortunately the text messages that came through meant our friends were not going to make it.  So I took a nap. Naps are the best.


After my nap I decided to get “Girl Drink Drunk”  (old “Kids in the Hall” reference) on Growers cider that we were going to share with our friends. I suffered so much heartburn followed by a decent headache before bed to regret my poor choice.  I’ll stick to my casual beers from now on.


Over night was a pretty good windstorm.  The side of our tent was blowing over onto my wife.  We giggled at 2am for at least an hour while my wife cackled about “Tenty is trying to eat me!” Thursday morning the water was choppy and it was still extra windy.  My wife and I wandered around the camp on a hike and just admired the views and each other’s company. We enjoyed all of our days there.


We enjoyed the nights as well. Our evenings were spent around a propane campfire pit.  We also had music from an old iPod on shuffle playing through a Bluetooth speaker. These were the two “luxuries” that we afforded ourselves. No DVD players or internet. (Cameras and camp stoves were a necessity for reasons). The kids sang along and danced to music that they once made fun of me for enjoying.


Every free moment was spent reading.  We all brought books and just lounged lakeside and read. These five days were the best $75 I have ever spent on a vacation.

A True Man Cave

Last weekend we visited my sister in Powell River. Besides my sister having an amazing view all year round of the ocean, her husband has something equally as impressive. He built the most masculine garage I have ever been in.


When he is in town, his buddies love to stop by.  Some gorgeous cars and Harleys show up.  Inside the garage is a work space and diamond plates used as door frames and along the back of his counters. A grey, silver and black paint job cleans the place up.


He also has a tv, stereo, classic beer fridge, a large round table with “Corona” burned into it and bar stools.  Never need a reason to leave this room.

A couple of quads, a couple of his own bikes, and his black Super Sport are often seen inside.  

One of his bikes has gorgeous red imagery painted on the tank and fenders. He fired it up and you could feel the rumble just standing nearby.


I’m not mechanical in any way except doing an oil change. But I do appreciate the necessity of a Man Cave to promote your hobby.  His garage is pretty fantastic and well built. I hope he gets years of use out of it.

Vegetables and Herbs

Every year we grow our own food.  Something about the taste of a freshly picked vegetable really makes a meal.


Every evening my wife goes out to water and cover the plants. Every morning she goes to check on the progress.  It’s always a slow start at the beginning of the season as the seeds begin to take root.  Patience in gardening is required.


In the past, we have purchased some plants that were already begun at a nursery.  This year was mostly seeds.  We also tried something new by putting everything up higher on tables.  This was to keep the wild rabbits out.  It seemed to work.


We have moved everything closer to our house now so that they don’t wither up in the sun.  This should also slow the growing process a bit as well to spread out the vegetables over the next couple of weeks as they finish ripening. 

I can’t wait to dive into some of the peppers my omelettes will be devine.

Touring Breweries

Since last Wednesday, I stopped at a few breweries for a couple of Growler fills and to try something new.

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First we stopped at Mount Arrowsmith Brewing Company for a fill of a blonde and grabbed a couple of bombers.

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Before making it to my mother’s, we stopped at Gladstone and got a fill of a Cream Ale.

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The next day we stopped at Shelter Point Distillery.  I shared that adventure here. Followed by a stop at Beach Fire Brewing Company for a flight and a fill of a Raspberry Beer.

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We headed to Powell River the following day and stopped at Townsite Brewing.  I was here in the spring and enjoyed a flight. We picked up a fill of a Blackberry beer since Powell River was celebrating Blackberry Days Festival.

My wife and I enjoyed the brews we sampled and have some remaining to enjoy at home.