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.



Sober Seventeenth

Today is St. Patrick’s Day. I plan on spending it sober. What???

It may surprise some of my friends. I do enjoy a drink (or five) from time to time. But tonight, I just don’t want to. No reason. I’m just not in the mood to be out there with a bunch of people getting drunk and rowdy.

Those of you who do want to enjoy in St. Patrick’s Day celebrations- stay safe. Make sure you and your friends have a ride home. Having fun doesn’t mean you have to be irresponsible.

So whatever green beer or Irish kissing you do tonight- enjoy yourselves.

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.

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.

The Women Who Matter Most To Me

Today is International Women’s Day so I felt it was important to write about it and what it means to me from a male point of view.

First of all, I have a mother. She gave me life. She did her best to raise my sister and I- all while working towards her own career goals. This was done through the 80’s/90’s and was not an easy task by any means. Kudos to you mom!

Secondly, I have a wife. She has been a partner to me and a great friend for nearly two decades. She gave up working outside of our home in order to focus on raising our children and starting her own business. Throughout our partnership, we have shared responsibilities and I have never expected her to give up on her dreams or do my bidding in any form. A mutual respect has been formed between us. I’m lucky that she is in my life.

Thirdly, my wife and I have two intelligent and strong willed daughters. I don’t want to describe them as “beautiful” because most people tend to use that statement as a way to describe looks instead of skills. Our daughters are kind and caring towards most everyone and everything. They are extremely smart and will become successful in whatever avenues they pursue. I can’t limit the future of their lives to how they look by any means.

As much as I’d like to think I’ve been supportive of women’s rights- there is so much more I could be doing. I share chores and raising of our children. I never look at it as “babysitting” or “women’s work”. It’s how to make a successful household. Outside the home, sometimes all it takes is telling my friends that a sexist joke really isn’t funny. I don’t participate in marches, but I also don’t ignore problems. Having a healthy dialogue about the Me Too Movement goes a long way in acknowledgement and prevention as well.

So a big shout out to all the women out there making a difference- be it big or small. To my wife and daughters and all the other women I know- I’m lucky you are a part of my life.

Happy International Women’s Day!

I Excel

I’m getting tremendously prepared for our trip to Tokyo. I’ve done a ton of research of things to do and see over the past few months. I bought advanced tickets online for some attractions as well. I even waited at my computer refreshing a website to open up ticket sales in order for me to jump on and get them. (Studio Ghibli Museum better be worth the headache!!!) Needless to say, I am a planning machine.

For the past week or so I have brought some ideas from work home with me to use for our vacation. No, I’m not taking work with me- I’m using my knowledge base of Excel spreadsheets! I’m making cue cards and an itinerary using Excel. I’m such a dork. But it’s working for me. We have so many things we want to do and see, that planning it out in advance is great. I understand that there may be travel times or waits at certain places and I’ve taken that into consideration. I have been careful to make sure that our big plans are staggered out each day and that we can enjoy some wandering time as well. I don’t want to rush the experience of a foreign country.

Incorporating places and sights that interest the kids is high up on the list. As I mentioned before, even our 11 year old is helping to plan the trip. Our 13 year old daughter also has a notebook with details about which part of Tokyo has the stuff she wants to see. Putting it all into spreadsheet form makes sense to me.

All I have left to do is fill in the last three days of our trip, format the cells and font to make it pretty. I’m really going to excel at making this trip worthwhile.

Dad joke.

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.

The Big Speed Skating Competition.

Today is day one of BC Short Track Championships. Our 11 year old son is competing. This is the set of races that he has been working towards all year. This is also his first year representing Langley Blades. His name was even in print. That means a lot to a young man.

This is the big event for kids and teens across our Province. Our son will compete against many of his friends from other clubs. Healthy competition and fun rivalries are abundant this weekend.

With the National Anthem finished being sung, it will soon be time to start the races. Two long days ahead of us. For our son, the other skaters and all of the audience members cheering on family and friends- it’s time to focus, stretch, and get mentally ready. Maybe one day, some of these skaters will represent our country in the Olympics. Encouraging them at a young age is paramount to their development. Time to cheer them on.

Go Skaters!

Go Langley!

Go Theory!

Winter Wash

I don’t like the winter at this moment. It means my car is dirty more often than it is clean. It feels like I’m neglecting Rogue One because I don’t wash it. But there isn’t any point to washing it.

First of all- it’s cold outside. So I don’t want to stand out there with a bucket of water and a hose.

Secondly- the sun is only out for a brief moment or two. That means cold nights and a possibility of rain or snow again. Which means dirty roads causing dirty car.

Thirdly- I’m not the only one driving around in a muck-colored vehicle. So I shouldn’t show off my bravery/stupidity of a washed car.

However, it is a gorgeous vehicle when clean. Maybe I could survive some frostbite and freeze my garden hose for another evening of joy until it gets dirty tomorrow morning driving to work…

It’d be totally worth it.