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Father’s Day

This picture is one of my favorite pictures ever.

I think that the reason I love it so much is that it represents this idea of fatherhood that I want so badly to emulate. I imagine this man and his daughter were just hanging out one day on a camping trip and come across this serene little river and just can’t help themselves but explore it. No second thoughts for this little explorer as she sheepishly enters the water waiting for her dad to object at any moment and it never comes. Instead he embraces this moment to connect with his daughter on a level that is fiction for most of us. She is looking at the river like “this is the best day ever!”, and he is taking her in like he doesn’t want to miss a second. This man gives zero fucks about his wallet, his job, or his sweet ass Adidas shoes. The watermark on his jeans are proof that this is no accident and I love him for that. You can bet she does too!

I want nothing more than to be this father for my girls and yet at times I have so much trouble getting there.Turns out being a parent is a little more complicated than updating your Instagram feed with images of your kids always living their best life. #NOFILTER

I will get there though. This summer I want ALL THE FUN! Bring it. I am surrounded by all the girls and we are going to have ALL THE FUN. I plan on taking it all in. ALL THE LOVING. This year Ashlyn hit the nail on the head with this father’s day card…

Find Shade My Brothers

Oh thank God, and Patron Saint Blythe Hunter, for confirming for us once and for all that we are now seeing a steady decline of sexual allegations against our male role models in Hollywood. So much in fact that Ms. Hunter is inclined to attack Bill Murray for assumptions he confessed toward Selena Gomez before meeting her in person. Pardon me but is it OK to assume the title of Ms. and not Mrs., or Miss, as I would hate to offend and be deemed a part of the problem. I have the privilege of only one title (Mr.) so I need to try harder to be sensitive to these things.

It’s been months since I have heard anything about a high profile man pleasuring himself at a dinner party or making suggestive comments to a female coworker in the workplace. Mind you, I don’t look very hard for this kind of thing but when I do come across an article like “Bill Murray’s Comments About Selena Gomez Are All Kinds of Bad”, I feel sad for rational women all over the world. It’s this kind of recreational outrage that gives women a bad name. That’s just my opinion, but that is what this article is…just an opinion piece.

You can have Bill Cosby, and maybe Louis C.K. but I still think his standup is the best. I am not sure about Franco and Anasari but you can’t have Piven, that lady just wanted money. What I can’t figure out is why Bill Murray?

Ms. Hunter quotes an interview where Murray answers a question about working with costar Selena Gomez who is most known for her work as a singer.

In an interview at the movie’s NYC premiere on June 10, Murray said that he had wrongfully judged Selena before working with her. “I learned that whatever preconception I had about someone that had 55 million, billion followers [or] something… I probably thought she was different than she turned out to be.” Then he said that, “if my mother were alive, I’d bring [Selena] home to her—‘Mother. I want you to meet Selena.’” Excuse me while I gag.

“Excuse me while I gag…” seems a bit harsh. Perhaps if that was Bill Murray’s response to what he thinks about working with Gomez he would take less fire from Ms. Hunter. Murray also made jokes that he would be Selena’s boyfriend if she wanted which Hunter deemed “Cringe Worthy” and assumed a “semi-sexual tone”. But what bothered her the most was how “totally condescending” Murray was being. Hunter wrote…

Okay, but *why* is Bill Murray shocked that Selena Gomez is talented and professional?

Hunter perpetuates the belief that as a Male Bill Murray automatically assumes his dominance over Gomez and assumes she is “vapid and untalented”. Moreso that she pines for his approval. She tries to further her case by reporting that Murray made similar comments towards Miley Cyrus when he worked with her on A Very Murray Christmas.

“…Miley Cyrus is really fu**ing good. She can sing. I thought she was a knucklehead crazy girl that you’d want to go on a road trip with, but she can sing.” – Bill Murray

Wonder what would make him think that after Hannah Montana took off all of her clothes, stuck out her tongue and started humping stuffed animals on stage. Not like she invented twerking or anything. I love Miley too but I arrived there through her music…just like Bill did.

In the end, the message that gets pumped out over and over again in the industry seems to be pretty clear: an older, more established man is pleasantly surprised when he meets a young woman who he judges capable of doing her job well! What a nice guy.

Well Ms. Hunter that is both presumptuous and condescending. Of course Bill Murray was surprised that Gomez could act because he knows her as a pop singer. My wife and I went to see A Star Is Born and both of us were shocked to learn that Bradley Cooper could sing like an angel. We were also pleasantly surprised that Gaga could act! Not because as a man I assumed she was a one trick pony, but I have always related to her as a premier singer. It’s not that I figured she couldn’t act but it still strange to see her on the big screen as someone other than Gaga, sorry. I think that would be the same for anyone, male or female. Sorry not sorry.

There was a time when a man could hold a door open for a woman and not worry about unintentionally insulting her. A time when you could refer to a girl as “the type you could take home to your mother” and it came with an essence of purity and well regarded as a compliment. Today Men are under the magnifying glass and women like Ms. Hunter will do their part to tilt their hand to the sun and burn everything in their path. Even Bill Fucking Murray.

Here is another writers take on Murray and Gomez that seems a little more rational.

All Grows Up

All parents love to let you know that “they grow up so fast”. Just last year we bought Lex a bike off Kijiji because she had physically outgrown hers and passed it down to Ashlyn. It was a nice little orange bike with the words “Daisy Diva” written in really cool urban writing. We dusted the rust off the chrome and tuned it up for her and for about 10 mins it was awesome.

This year, just one spring later I am out biking with her and her friend and I realize that her “Daisy Diva” bike looks really young next to her friend on her mountain bike. I noticed it before she said anything but later she came to me to let me know that she needs a new bike and I had to agree. How did this happen so fast?

We are not a family who just replaces bikes like that, especially after committing to replacing her roller blades that no longer fit. We did however remind her of some birthday money she still had kicking around and if she NEEDED a new bike we could help her find one. She decided this was important enough and we saw a couple before arriving at the beauty in the picture. The seller met us at St. Vital Park so that Lexi could take it for a test ride. She did one quick lap and came back ready ready to bargain! She rolls right up to the guy and offers him $20 less than his asking price! It was awesome, and a done deal!

Penny & Joon

See what we did there? A little Johnny Depp tribute.

So this is Joon, the latest addition to the Peever Zoo…I mean crew. She is a little boxer, sprig terrier cross we adopted from Winnipeg Giant Breed Rescue. She came to us a little bit sick so it was a bit of a rocky start but I was super impressed at how dedicated the rescue was to making sure we had everything we needed for Joon. I highly recommend WGBR to anyone looking for a new dog.

I have to admit I was dreading another puppy. It’s like having another baby in a lot of ways. Eat, sleep, poop, and constant supervision. Double the food, double the hair, double the poop. In fact Timmy D got a puppy last year and specifically told us not to do it. But when Shan sent me a picture of this one there was something telling me she belonged with us and we decided to go and see her.

We were so confident in this that we took the kids with us, which we would never do if we were on the fence. Even still we told them that we were going to look at a new couch! We said we were THINKING about buying a new couch and were just going to LOOK at it. It doesn’t mean we are coming home with it, we are just going to have a look. We went over this a couple times until the kids repeated after us “…just looking”. Curious as to why we were prepping them so hard for this couch they asked if they could see it and I showed them a picture of Joon. She arrived next week.

Except for a little tummy trouble at the beginning it’s been an awesome experience. She seemed to know to bathroom outside (mostly) and goes to the door to let us know. She can sit, shake a paw, and lie down when told. She of course walks on a leash better than Penny (not amazing). Speaking of Penny, she is love. She is so intentionally gentle and accommodating to Joon that you would think they were siblings. Whenever Penny lies down along comes Joon and snuggles right in. Sometimes right on top too!

We are working on independence. We are kennel training during the day but she won’t have it at night. We tried to let her cry it out but it’s relentless. She sleeps on her dog bed at the foot of our bed and knows she is not welcome up unless invited. I was amazed at how quickly she has adjusted to this sleeping arrangement and she is good through most nights.

Oh ya, and don’t get a puppy in the spring if your backyard is a swamp.

   Joon Photos

Sylvia Taylor

Heaven is a better place today…

I met Sylvia when I was 18 years old when I moved out from home and got a job at the North West Company. We worked together in the same department and as I was drawn to her wit and personality it was her heart and love for her family that made me feel close to her and I lovingly referred to her as my work mom.

We spent many a day in the Warehouse ticketing items for “Soft Lines” and I got her hear all about her kids and family. She spoke of them often and it didn’t take long to realize what an important part of her life they were, and how important she was to them.

Soon her daughter Amber was working in the Warehouse too and it was as if I already knew her. Woven from the same cloth some might say. Just like Sylvia she was genuine and someone I became instant friends with.

Amber wasn’t with the Company for very long but Sylvia kept me in the loop on how she was doing. When Erin was born Sylvia was glowing at work like I had never seen her before. She showed me pictures of “the baby”  like crazy and would often suggest I pop in and meet her.

Little did I know that visit would change my life forever.

I fell in love with that baby and have had the absolute pleasure of being a part of her life since she was just over a year old. During that time I was treated like family and Sylvia was a big part of that. Hanging out with Darryl and Amber made me feel like family. I used to stick around after bringing Erin home and Sylvia and I would chat and watch TV. I got to enjoy all the birthdays, the family dinners, and the holidays. I learned a lot about myself, about family, how to catch mice, how to move furniture in a truck, and Sylvia taught me how to build the best lasagna you will ever eat.

One of my favorite memories was hanging out with Erin the night Mackenzie was born. Bringing her singing and dancing to meet her baby sister. Seeing Sylvia glowing like the first time she told me about Erin.

I was lucky enough visit her in the early stages and got to see her in the hospital before she passed. I literally thanked her for my 20’s. For sharing her beautiful family with me, always sharing a laugh,  and helping us all become the people we are today.

Sylvia, you will be missed.

Spotify Stats 2018

Music in our house has changed a lot over the last couple years. We have never really fostered “Kids Music” so both Lexi and Ashlyn have developed their musical tastes based on what we have bestowed upon them. Now that we have Google Home combined with Spotify it’s more common that music is playing in our house than not. They are constantly requesting music from Taylor Swift, Ed Sheeran, Gaga, Adele, and the Greatest Showman Soundtrack, or music from the latest movie they saw. In between their picks Shan and I are asking for The Hip, David Gray, and most recently Queen!

Today I received an email from Spotify letting me know some very interesting data facts about our listening habits and I found it really quite interesting.

Of course The Hip gets the most play at our house!

I would like to know how many songs were cut off on the first 20 seconds and replaced by someone with a different voice while using GOOGLE Home?

PTEC

For those of you who haven’t heard I am now working as an EA in Pembina Trails Early College (PTEC).

After 7 years at General Byng it’s a big, but welcomed change for me. I don’t usually look for change over the summer because I was quite content at Byng but when this posting was sent my way it was like it was meant for me. I was on the beach at Hecla Island when my Admin sent me a text and said I should apply, and I am glad I did!

Pembina Trails Early College (PTEC) is an exciting new four-year program that prepares students for jobs in the Information Technology (IT) industry. Students with a passion for software development, cyber security, coding and more have an opportunity to leave with a high school diploma, a post-secondary certificate and a head start in an exciting career.

The program is just amazing and the only of its kind in Canada. I am working with kids who have a genuine interest in technology and are brought in from a handful of other schools in the Pembina Trails School Division. The hope is to fast track and support their learning so that they can enter into a focused career path straight out of high school. Jobs in which a University Degrees come second to experience and know-how.

What I love most is the idea that we are changing the way kids are allowed to learn. Although technology is the common ground they all walk a different path creatively. Given the time and freedom to expand on the concepts presented students are creating some amazing things and taking their learning to extremes simply because it’s fun and engaging for them.

I think education (in general) and curricular outcomes need to change significantly in the coming years to accommodate this incredible technological shift in the way humans are processing information. I feel as though our kids should have more time and freedom to explore their interests in a school setting where there is adult and peer support. I think programs like this are the first step toward this kind of change.

I have always loved writing. I write a blog, and I have about 3 chapters of a novel I have been writing over the last 7 years. I feel quite often that I have no time to write. The time I do make to write is very limited because of my family and work demands and my ideas feel forced and poorly worked out. I enjoyed writing at school in early years until about grade 7 when creative writing turned to essay writing. In continued to write about what was interesting to me on weekends and after school but very rarely and solely for myself. When I graduated my marks were average and I had very little interest and even less money for University so I went to work right away driving a forklift at the Northwest Company. I also applied for the Creative Communications Course at RRC hoping to pursue my interest in writing but I was denied.

Luckily that was about the same time I took an interest in HTML and creating my own website so that I could blog. Following that interest soon got me off the forklift and onto the Intranet Development Team at the NWC. I feel lucky to have worked so many years doing something that I enjoy so much but there is still a big “WHAT IF?”.

WHAT IF there was a school like PTEC (that I could start in grade nine) where I could get all of my regular credits in the morning and have my afternoons dedicated to learning about writing. All different styles of writing and different authors and publishers would visit the classroom to speak about writing careers and different kinds of publications. There would be ample opportunity to write and develop my own ideas with adult support and seemingly unlimited resources all through my high school career. In grade 11-12 I could fastrack to “CreCom” at RRC. When I graduated I could apply for jobs with industry giants I have already met through school or publish my own works if I haven’t already! This is just my story about writing. What about the dancers, singers, artists, or soccer players that could have been?

For me PTEC represents a glimmer of a better tomorrow. It’s the start of changing education to suit the needs of a person’s interests rather than feeding a need for ongoing education.

I work with an amazing team of forward thinkers and I am super excited to be a part of this team. I can’t wait to see where these kids end up.

Learn more here

JD

Shan says that she always knows when her Dad was on the phone because my voice would suddenly get deeper when I was talking to him. I guess I wanted him to know that she was taken care of in that way. I think he felt like I was putting it on for him just like when we were building stuff and I would measure once and cut twice…sometimes three times!

It didn’t take long for JD to make me feel like a part of his family. It started long before Shannon and I were even dating. Well before any of that, he was “Mike’s Dad” and revered among our group of friends like a God of Thunder, or maybe it was that he was revered at the Thunderbird, I can’t recall…but… “anyhoo” as he would always say.

Back in those days he provided for our group in many ways. He coached us in roller hockey, he provided a safe place for us to gather where we always felt welcome and safe, where bathing suits were optional in the hot tub, and in turn he helped us foster the friendships I hold most dear in my life to this day. Mike’s friends came over because of the welcoming home JD provided, and they stayed for the bacon and eggs at breakfast.

JD was a master sleeper and my admiration for him magnified one day when Mike and I came home for lunch. I thought we were home alone until JD came out of his bedroom, yawning and stretching out in his office clothes (likely from Mens Furnishings at the Bay where he once worked). Told us he was just home for his lunchtime “toes up”, like that was a thing! At the lake we would chat after dinner until JD would nod off in mid sentence and just for sport Shan and the boys would compete to see what kind of things they could dangle from his mouth without waking him up.

JD was a giver. He was true and loyal, and would do anything for his friends. He joked with me that he wouldn’t let himself pass in the summer months or his Royal Lake Gang might not make it in.

JD would do anything for his kids. Mike wrecked the truck, Shan wrecked the truck, and Tim…well he still wears sandals all winter.

He would go so far in fact that this one Christmas, Shannon was away from home all the way in Thailand. JD had asked her in an email what he would like for Christmas and she said “Tom”. He had me over for dinner that week and asked me if I would go. That he would send me there on his dime because that’s what Shannon wanted most for Christmas, and that he wanted to do this for us. Not knowing how I would ever be able to pay him back I joked about having to cut his lawn for the rest of my life…to which he replied without missing a beat…

“I like mine at a 45 degree angle.”

We watched almost every single playoff game together this year and when the Jets were out we watched Ovi raise the Cup for the first time. On October 9th, just a couple weeks ago, we watched what would be our last Jet game together at Jocelyn House. At one point he took my hand and told me that I was everything he could have asked for, for his daughter. I told him that Shan and I fell in love in Thailand and that I didn’t know how I could ever repay him for the life that he helped set in motion. Especially since he had gone so many years without a lawn to cut. He said that he always knew that one day he would need me to take care of his most “special” possession, and I intend to do just that.

It would be cliche to say that JD had a great life and it’s too soon for him to be gone. But I do admire his thirst for living. I don’t know much about heaven but if there is a lake there JD has already set up the tarps and should be out in the boat by now looking for someplace calm to float on his pool noodle.

He did what made him happiest and brought much happiness to those around him. I am so blessed that Lexi and Ashlyn got to have so many great memories of a man who wore his heart on his sleeve and loved his family to the fullest.

Here’s to breakfast JD!

Know What I Did This Summer?

I can’t believe that the summer is over. I am going to do my best here to recap but we did a lot and I am going to miss some of the finer details forsure.

First of all CONGRATULATIONS to my parent’s who celebrated their 50 year anniversary back in July. A huge milestone for any one. Especially these days.

Happy 50th Anniversary!

Then came the “TORNADOES RULE” U9 Soccer Girls Windup. It was an absolute pleasure to coach this group of girls last year. They taught me a lot.

Next we were off to Blue Lake Ontario. Little did we know that this would be the last big trip in our “NEW” trailer. Thing was just too big to move around. I know there are manly men out there with pick-ups who probably love that sort of thing but it was a constant pain in the ass for me.

The end of the trailer started for me when it cost me a tank of gas to get to kenora. It was my plan on this trip to stop at Redden’s for gas just like have so many times before with this rig (1). Only when we arrived there, nearly on empty, Redden’s gas station was no longer there. All that was left were the charred remains so we had to turn back toward Kenora for gas. Re-arriving in town we soon realized we weren’t the only ones looking for gas in Kenora and I had to maneuver the trailer through a maze of cars in the gas station parking lot until a lane finally opened right in front of the building itself. It was a tight fit and upon getting out I realized that the outside of the trailer tires were rubbing on the curb surrounding the pump. That explains the noise I heard pulling in. Regardless I filled up and Shan and I agreed I would have to back up to avoid possibly popping the trailer tires. She guided me from outside and after several moves I was able to barely squeeze through just narily missing the Coke machine and avoiding the jackass who parked in front of the propane tank just to make my life more difficult. The same guy who clapped for me once I was finally clear. It was then as we drove off to Blue Lake for what would be our last time in the trailer, I said to Shan “I think we need to sell this sucker.”.

All that aside, and another couple of maneuvering difficulties, Blue Lake never disappoints. Especially with the Ratte’s and Morrison’s there. It’s one of our once a year places for sure.

Then it was off to Calgary to visit the Dicketts. The girls miss Sydney and Riley all year long and could hardly wait to see them. This time we decided to stop in Swift Current for a nigtht to break up the trip and I have to plug “Uncle Bob’s Diner”. It’s a great little family restaurant in Swift Current where the food is as fine as the service. In fact Uncle Bob himself took care of us personally.

We also made a detour to Drumheller on the way to Calgary. We climbed the Hoodoos and walked the suspension bridge before hitting up the museum itself. It was about $50 to walk through the museum and the girls were done within about 15 mins. It’s worth checking out but if you have kids that aren’t really interested in dinosaurs be prepared to miss out. There is a lot of interesting reading to do there but it’s also easy to lose the kids when your distracted. I would suggest doing the outside stuff and visiting the big Dino Store you pass on the way in. Save you some cash.

Easier up than down!

We hit another really cool restaurant in Drumheller called “Bernie & The Boys” where they have over 50 flavours of milkshakes and they were worth the trip. I had pistachio, Shannon had Chai, Lexi had pineapple, and Ash had blue Raspberry. The food was just ok for me.

After a dusty and exhausting day we drove the last couple of hours to Calgary. A place I can only describe as a living and breathing city. Where the Bow River flows through the city like a breath of fresh air. This time we got to experience Calaway Park where the girls got to experience their first really good roller coaster. We returned to Olympic Park to do the Luge. Bruce and Tonya had us over for a BBQ so it was nice to see them while we were in town. We don’t get to see them enough. We stuffed a lot into the first couple of days and then we were off to Edmonton for some more fun and family.

This time we booked a hotel right across from the mall. The kids had some money to spend so we took care of some shopping almost immediately before going to my Auntie Lorie’s for dinner. Crystal and Damian were staying there with the kids as well so it was nice to have everyone together. Nostalgia was in the air and being there reminded me so much of the old Sunday dinners at Granny Peever’s house. The TV tables and the kids around the TV eating supper. Except we were watching “American Ninja Warrior” instead of “Walt Disney”.

The next day we made a plan to all meet up at the Water Park in West Ed. That’s how cool people refer to the mall. I was really excited for the kids because I think the last time we were there Lexi was 4 and Ashlyn was just a baby. I was also very impressed that auntie Lorie made it out to the slides as well. The wave pool was a highlight until someone’s head smashed me in the side of my face. I honestly wonder how many concussions happen there each year. If it had been Ashlyn or Lexi we would have been hospital bound for sure. I was also impressed that the girls braved the zip line while we were there.

By the time we left Edmonton I am sure we walked the equivalent of half way home. Regardless we decided to take a trip to Banff on the way back to Calgary so that the girls could see the mountains. Shan was quick to point out that I was 27 the first time I had seen the mountains and that this was a real treat for them. Once in town we took in the local tourist shops and farmers market that was in full effect. I even ran into an old friend from my Glenwood days who was selling her art at the market. Of course we bought a really cool print and then took her advice to visit Johnson Lake where the girls and I swam at the base of a mountain. This was by far a highlight of my trip and one day I promise to return to that spot with them and re-take this photo…

Big thanks to Tim, Les, and the kids for putting us up while in Calgary. We had an awesome visit and I still owe you guys some dip. Looking forward to seeing you in Winnipeg very soon.

We made it back home to Penny and stayed in town for a couple of days before heading out to Hecla Island for one more camping trip before Shan had to get back to the grind. Oh yeah, did I mention we sold the camper before we left to Calgary? You are as surprised as the kids were but please do not scream cry at me as it will not change my mind!.

We bought a utility trailer and Hecla would be our first time tenting as a family. Besides the night we spent in the backyard after purchasing the tent. Besides the time we tried it out in the backyard and Lexi puked all over it. Hecla was awesome and it was nice to have our bikes. I did have to drive another 3 hours to replace the pedal that fell off Ashlyn’s bike on the way there but in the end it was worth it. Great campsites but the beach was pretty gross. If I am richer the next time we go I would certainly rent a couple of jet skis and get the girls out on the water a lot more.

Tenting it.

Back home and back to reality. Shan goes back to work and the girls and I spend our days with friends at the pool or playing in the backyard keeping cool. For the last week Shan went to Toronto to see Ed Sheeran and the girls and I did a different activity every day. I love having that last week with them because I really miss them when school starts again. It’s like going from having all the time in the world to having an hour at night to make sure they happy and taken care of.

Can hardly wait until next summer!

Summer Preview

This was a tough year at school and summer could not come fast enough.

Right out of the gates the Tim, Les, and kids are over for a couple days of just hanging out. Water fights, take out, and sleeping on the trampoline; what’s better than that? We even took in the new water park in Transcona on Sunday and it was awesome. I highly recommend it but be sure to bring your thick skin. I think 2 mins there and Ashlyn was being yelled at from across the pool for dipping her toe into the deep end. They have some really good slides for the kids and lots of seats with umbrellas for drying off. I think it was under $15 for the family too.

Took in the Massey Park Fireworks again this year. It never disappoints. It’s also nice to have Al, Larissa, and Haddon in the neighborhood now. They came over and then we just walked over. I love the community of this event. Everyone just hanging out listening to tunes and kids playing with the parents. Fireworks are always stellar and I know they collect all kinds of food and donations for Harvest. Great event.

Monday Joel had his annual Canada Day Swimfest. Always a good time over there and I think Ashlyn and Lexi were in the pool the entire time. Thanks to Joel and Jen for another great day.

Today would be our official first day of holidays. It was spent doing laundry and hanging out with kids who are already bored. Kids who would argue that Tim Hortons has a better grilled cheese than the one I make. It may have been their way of getting me to take them to Tim’s for lunch. Either way, they were sadly mistaken. We have the dentist this week and Lexi’s soccer windup on Saturday. After that it’s off to Blue Lake for a week to start off the summer of travel. We plan on taking in Calgary, Drumheller, Banff, and Edmonton. For camping we only have Blue Lake and Hecla booked so far. Should be another great summer to remember.