Spring Has Sprung

First days of spring. Time for more sunshiny days and a new lease on life. Green grass and baby animals. Ah, spring. So I’m going to share a favorite childhood poem of mine. And a fun photo.

Spring has sprung

The grass is riz.

I wonder where the birdies is?

Oh lord ok there’s one up in the sky.

Oh no! It whitewashed in my eye.

But I’m a big boy- I don’t cry.

I thank god that cows don’t fly.



Treat Yo’ Self

On Friday I decided to buy a new iPhone for myself. I was really bad with my last phone. The 6+ was too big. I broke the screen 3 times (four if you count the pixel lines that appeared down the side). It pissed me off one time that I had to write about how stupid I was: Aw Dang. I never broke my iPhone 4! I treated that thing like gold. I took some Parks & Rec advice:

Since we are going on a trip I don’t want a piece of poop iPhone with a broken screen or dying battery to try and make memories with. I wanted something that works. Convincing my wife was easy… I had to buy her one as well.

This time around I bought the phone in white. Last year I mentioned how I associate white cars with Luxury so I figured, maybe I should do the same with my iPhone. I should be able to treat it better now. It’s smaller and easier to see. It feels slick and clean as I type today’s blog post. I had to spoil myself for my birthday…

I’m also excited to utilize some of the new features available for video and photos. I’m going to force my children to participate in some fun while we are gone!

I love my new phone.

The Great Question

The answer to the Great Question… of Life,the Universe and Everything… is…


Today I turn Forty Two. My life has been pretty darned good so far. This year I am planning on making the most of my 42. First is my bucket list trip to Tokyo. I’ve always wanted to travel there since my childhood for many different reasons.

Next will be to meet a couple of my childhood icons at the Calgary Expo at the end of April: Paul Reubens and Wil Wheaton. I dressed as Pee-Wee one Halloween and I loved it. I almost had the opportunity to meet Wil Wheaton, but I chickened out. Not this time! I even wrote about it two years ago: One Day.

I’m also blessed with extra vacation time off this year. I am going to try and make the most of my time by relaxing and traveling. There is so much beauty to see and experience in the world. I may even venture off on my own without the family. Just because.

Here I am, age 42. It’s an important year to me. Not 40 or 45 just because they end in a five or zero. No midlife crisis planned either. Just enjoying 42 years of the earth’s rotation. Especially the last 17 years. Life has been full of off-set plans, like being married on a Tuesday just because. Or naming our first born daughter Random from “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” series.

42 years of just trying to make my world a better place.

“Forty Two!”

“Is that all you’ve got to show for seven and a half million years’ work?”

I guess so.

Pi Day

I love fake celebratory dates. “Star Wars Day” is the best one. (May the 4th). But today is also a perfect example of made up celebration days.

It’s “National Pi Day” or “Pie Day”. Whichever dad joke you want to use to share 3.14 is ok with me. I like pie.

Time to go out and spread some silly joy and plaster social media all about pie and Pi. Math and dessert go hand in hand.

I’m going to get me an apple pie later on. That’s my favorite pie. What’s your go-to pie for celebrating today?

Walk It Off

For the past five days or so, I’ve decided to start taking walks around my neighborhood. Usually my wife walks with me, sometimes a child or two joins us, but I always take the dog along. The weather has been exceptional lately. I’ve been taking the walks in the afternoon most of the time to clear my mind.

Driving home, listening to the news radio after my shift last night I heard it was going to rain later today. This would put a damper (hahaha I made a funny) on my afternoon walk before work today. With the time change last weekend and a beautiful morning, I got home grabbed a quick coffee and took off with the dog. The clouds and sun caused a beautiful pink hue over the countryside. It reminded me of summer mornings from my childhood in Edmonton.

Lex has also enjoyed the past few days. His excitement shows every time I head to the door. He’s a wonderful dog who walks next to us without a leash. He sniffs the air and genuinely looks like he’s smiling while we are out. Even though we have an acre for him to run around in, he still loves smelling the air of the neighborhood.

Besides clearing my thoughts, there is more to the reason for my walks. My wife got me into Carrot Rewards a while back. I use the points earned for free movies. Download the app and you can enter my User Code: josefh8436 to get me some bonus points! Besides my wife getting me into walking, I’ve been inspired by a coworker who rides his bike to and from work. My step goal is low so it makes it easy to achieve. Lastly, I want to be able to walk around Tokyo without much issue, so getting some practice walks in are good for my muscles.

These walks are healthy for me both physically and mentally. The fresh air and the small bit of exercise are great. I’m hoping to keep it up for the foreseeable future. I forgot how much I missed walking.

Standardized Automation

I was driving home from my night shift and just wanted to get home. I was fairly tired and zoned out for a bit. This was because my car isn’t a manual transmission. I kind of miss it.

My old 2003 Honda Element is a five speed manual transmission. The gear shift is in the middle of the console at the perfect height. I always enjoyed driving my box on wheels. I stayed alert and felt like I had more control over what the engine did. I think I shall take this SUV out of storage for the summer! It’ll be great for camping as well.

My 2016 Rogue is an automatic. But it has buttons. Buttons on the side to “ACTIVATE SPORT MODE” or lesser cool, but completely practical “ECONOMIC MODE“. I usually use the second one since gas prices are skyrocketing and my commute one way is 55km (round trip is 110- GO math genius Josef). But once in a while I like to pretend to be sporty.

I wish I could’ve bought the higher end model of my car in standard, but alas it was not to be. Maybe the next car we get will have a gear shift again. That makes driving a bit more fun.

Hang On ‘Till Tomorrow- Come What May

A good night sleep was really needed. As tough as it is dealing with one’s own emotions, it can be even more difficult dealing with your family’s as well. Thursday and Friday were stressing the limits in our home. But we made it through somehow- without hurt feelings, anger or cruelty. It took strength and time.

I knew yesterday that I would just need to be patient and wait for tomorrow (which is now today). Things are better. Not the best- but better. It makes me able to see an end in sight. The inspiration I get to push through these tough times often comes from movies or songs. Someone, somewhere, shared their heartache with the world through art. It encourages me to know that the struggles aren’t limited to just my life. Last night, the song “Tomorrow” from Annie was going through my mind.

And it worked. The sun is out, I’m alive and awake, and people in the house are smiling a bit more than yesterday.

Cheesy? Maybe. Hopeful? Definitely.

1982’s Annie was an integral part of my life growing up since I saw it in the theater at age 6. Being able to get through the sadness and tribulations of life- all the while remaining positive- is a strong characteristic of mine because of this film. I never thought that over 35 years later it would help me in raising our teenager. But it did.

I just stick out my chin and grin and say…”

What To Give…

The last 24 hours has been a bit emotionally rough in our household. There’s something going on with our teenager and she isn’t willing to share. She is creating a struggle in our home with no right way to resolve things. So I’m feeling pretty beat down- and so is my wife. I’m being left with a choice:

I can give up.

I can give in.

Or I can give it all I have.

I’m not sure where I am at currently. My mood is full of curse words and frustration. I’m trying to keep a positive attitude towards life. But at this moment, I feel like I can only think about myself and nobody else. I’m not playing “good cop bad cop” with my wife- that won’t work this time around. I’m also not wanting to say something to our daughter about how she is acting that I may end up regretting later.

So here is today’s Friday blog post- a crappy feeling shared on the World Wide Web. Parenting is tough. Not much more to say about it. I’ll just wait and see how things are tomorrow.

After all- tomorrow is another day.

Steam Train

The best trip I ever took on the railroad was being the conductor moving a steam train from Squamish to North Vancouver. This was on December 7th/2010 in the early morning. I briefly mentioned my adventure in Proud of Where I Work. The Royal Hudson was a majestic machine.

Being canvased to take this train in the wee hours of the morning didn’t bother me at all. When the crew caller told me it was as for a steam train- I bolted out of bed like a kid on Christmas morning and accepted the call. I arrived at the yard office an hour early waiting to get on board.

My engineer and I were taken in a taxi to the West Coast Railway Heritage Park where the engine was housed. We were called more as “pilots” to help the crew as they travelled on CN’s tracks. In the coach cars behind us were media and some higher management types. Once we got going, the trip south was smooth. Mostly I was in charge of lining switches and talking on the radio.

We stopped once on the side of the highway. This was to perform a quick inspection to make sure the wheels weren’t running hot. This allowed for a ton of photos as well. My boss had given me permission to use my camera while on duty- otherwise we generally aren’t supposed to. The public also stopped alongside us numerous times to get a quick photo of the famed Royal Hudson locomotive and coach cars.

When we arrived at our destination- we parked next to a diesel locomotive getting fuel in order for our engine to get filled with more water. Even though my journey as conductor ended here only three hours after it began, I stayed longer to ask questions of the volunteers who take care of the engine.

Yes, volunteerstake care of this engine. There is not a lot of money allocated from any railroad in order to preserve these machines. The museum brings in a bit, but it’s the train buffs who volunteer time and effort to keep these things running.

Alas, two days later, the engine returned to Squamish and has not been brought out on the main line since then. When I retire from CN Rail, I think I may put forth some of my time towards keeping these beauties around for future generations.

Center Of The Universe

I am not a spiritual man, nor am I religious. But I do have a desire to understand what it is that people find significant in the world. I have an open mind and respect those who differ from me. I also want to learn from mankind’s past. Visiting castles, museums, or places of worship help me to understand this world we live in.

Back in April of 2011- I travelled to the The Center Of The Universe. According to the Tibetan monks- this spiritual place is located in Vidette Lake, BC. Of course, I had to visit this spiritual location for myself. Thus it became a last minute trip that only my son and I went on.

To get there, we first had to drive from our home to Kamloops. Once there, we had to travel down a dirt road on the outskirts of Kamloops, BC. It felt like we were going to get lost. This was a time before GPS but I had a printed Google Map. Eventually we found the spot. No tourist signs. No kitschy souvenir shops. Not much of anything to signify a Spiritual Center. Here it was, just peaceful and serene.

I can understand why the monks feel it is a significant place. Nature sprawled out, no sounds of humanity, nothing but peace. My son and I have been to the “Spiritual Center Of The Universe”. That’s not something many people can say. It’s also not a place many know about. I hope it remains untouched and clean for others to be able to trek to for years to come.

Humanity’s Spiritual Journeys are an important aspect for discovering oneself.