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…”
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.
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 can’t live without technology. Over the past 15+ years, I also can’t live without access to the internet!
Ya I know I could “live” without it. But it has become an integral part of my daily life. In fact, once I got a smartphone- I have been unable to remain offline for extended periods. I’ve come to terms with this. I do however know when not to go online or use my smartphone; for example- driving.
Since the world is connected and Google is everywhere- I figured that our trip out of the country to Japan would require some sort of access to the World Wide Web. After speaking to some people at work who have been to Japan recently, I came to the conclusion that access to Google would be a necessity.
I’ve been using Google Maps on my computer and my iPhone for the past few months studying up on Tokyo. I’ve been trying to get my bearings of where we are staying in relation to the various sights. I’ve already printed directions and train times for each day. But I know that I will also need access to a live map periodically.
Having access to “Google Translate” also seems like a great idea. Since none of us speak Japanese- nor can we read it- having quick translations both written and in speech will be handy. Knowing my personal limitations when it comes to other languages and cultures is humbling to say the least.
It all comes down to the question, “How am I going to access the Internet abroad while on the go?” I had a couple of options:
The first was to fork over $12/day on my personal cellphone to “Roam Like Home“. The second option was to get a SIM card or a “Burner Phone” and pay as I go for the twelve days we are there. But the option I liked best was “Pocket WiFi“. This is $7/day and I can connect up to 10 devices. This will also allow my wife and children unlimited access to the internet as we travel around Tokyo.
This option seemed like a no-brainer. I pre-ordered the Pocket WiFi from Econnect and it will be delivered to our hotel the day we arrive. I had the option to pick up at the airport, but it was on the far side of the airport at the Domestic Terminal. I have decided that we will try and manage a 15 minute train ride from the airport to our hotel without use of technology. This may end up being the longest 15 minutes of my life as I stress about what stop we are getting off at and which way to walk afterwards.
The benefits of having WiFi in a foreign country won’t make me feel so nervous. It’s a common ground that most of the civilized world understands. Who knows, after this trip I may try and venture further out of my comfort zone.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I remember the coffee in the 80’s that my parents drank:
To make a coffee for my parents was simple. Pour hot water over two scoops freeze dried coffee, two scoops sugar and milk. Easy to make and the best part- it was unpleasant tasting. So I never drank coffee as a kid.
In my late teens and early twenties I never made coffee at home. I only drank the crap from Denny’s late at night or when hung over. Once I married my wife, we would brew our own coffee in a coffee maker. On occasion we would even buy beans and grind them ourselves.
I was making a coffee to-go today and realized that I have a collection of travel mugs. All of which I could probably throw out now since they aren’t exactly super clean anymore. Back in the 80’s- if my father took a coffee in the car, he used a regular mug.
One time he forgot his mug on the roof of the car. On the first turn, the mug slide off the roof and exploded onto the sidewalk. I was entertained… he was mad. Probably because he broke his favorite mug.
I would’ve been mad because the coffee tasted like ass. That’s the difference between me and my father and our tastes in coffees.
Sometimes a song just flows you into life. Or a momentary experience brings forth a lyric or two that just seem to fit the mood. This was my afternoon drive to get the kids from school in Fort Langley.
“They were all in love with dying they were drinkin’ from a fountain
That was pouring like an avalanche coming down the mountain.”
“I don’t mind the sun sometimes- the images it shows.
I can taste you on my lips and smell you in my clothes.”
The jacket I was wearing had a faint odor of chemical cleaner. The strange thing was it reminded me of a life twenty-five years ago. A time when girls wore scented lipgloss and fruity perfumes.
“Cinnamon and sugary and softly spoken lies.
You never know just how you look through other people’s eyes.”
Sharing my life and these moments are the best I can do to show the world who I am.
Song lyrics courtesy of
“Pepper” By Butthole Surfers