Category - Yada, Yada, Yada

Yikes It’s August

This summer is flying by and it’s our own fault. We started right out of the gates with a trip to Thunder Bay to see the Rattes. We camped at Blue Lake on the way and I have to say it certainly lived up to the hype. The campsites were awesome, the facilities were awesome, the water was awesome, and the sunsets left us speechless (well some of us). Besides Lexi busting up her face on a giant candy necklace and the cost of camping these days it is certainly on our list of places to visit again!


Once we arrived in Thunder Bay it really hit me how much I was missing Vegas on this trip. Bella and Simba (Ratte dogs) made it clear how much I was missing the dog love this summer. As always we had an amazing (too short) visit with Paul and Melissa. Paul and I got to play some hockey together and our families got to do a little camping out at Sleeping Giant Provincial Park. Big thanks to Simba for protecting us from that skunk and taking a huge ass blast of spray for the team. Driving you home and cleaning you up at 2am was the least we could do! We spent our last day visiting at Kakabeka Falls where we got some great family shots of all the kids. It was so nice to get all of the kids together this summer. they have all grown so much, and so fast. Big thanks to Paul and Melissa for being such great hosts, we had an absolute blast.


On the way home we stopped by the cottage in Sioux Narrows to break up the trip. Luckily we got to spend some time with family up there and just relax for a couple days. Josie and Ella left a big impression on our girls and Shan and I got to spend some quality time with Heather, Troy, and Auntie Barb. A great couple days at the lake but even though I had lot’s of fun with the girls in the water I sure missed chasing Vegas off that dock!

When we got home it was time for Ashlyn to have another small eye surgery. Nothing worse for a parent than seeing their child in pain. She was amazing through all of it and recovered beautifully. Who would have thought 10 days with no swimming could be so tough on a child! Thanks to everyone who wished her well.

We talked a little more about getting a dog this summer and it wasn’t long before we were reaching out to a rescue in Brandon. We took the girls on a day trip to see the pups and instantly fell in love. You can expect a new addition to this family before the summer wraps.

Speaking of new additions…HUGE congrats to Joel and Jen who welcome Kevin William Grant to their family. I could not be happier for them and look forward to sharing this new chapter with them. Hard to believe Joel and I have been friends since we were five years old. Now we are both married with kids and still close as ever. Seems like only yesterday we were jumping ramps on the front sidewalk on Handyside. Now this…


This week we just got back from our second visit to Sioux Narrows. This time was more of a Ramsay reunion to celebrate the life of Shan’s grandparents. In what might have been the most beautiful ceremony I have ever witnessed the family said goodbye in the middle of the lake on a barge. To see all of Ramsay siblings and generations of children that grew up spending summers at that cottage all together for this moment really put a lump in my throat. So glad to be a part of it.

In between painting the house and everything else Shan and I are off again this weekend to Fargo for a couple nights just the two of us. It will be nice to catch up with my wife. The following weeks when we get home will be filled with painting, birthdays, camping trips, and potty training!

Positive Approach

I feel like I have been carrying so much weight these past few months. No, it’s not that Five Guys kind of weight (well that too) it’s life weight. Things revolving around work, money, the kids, my wife, my family, and the future. Lot’s of things that I feel like I can’t control…things that are controlling me. I’m working hard to take some of those things back and it’s really started with being more positive about things and distributing that life weight.

One article I read that really made sense to me was The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck by blogger and author Mark Manson.

In my life, I have given a fuck about many people and many things. I have also not given a fuck about many people and many things. And those fucks I have not given have made all the difference.

The more I read, the more it made sense. As a parent I am constantly doing my best to ensure that my kids give less fucks.

What we don’t realize is that there is a fine art of non-fuck-giving. People aren’t just born not giving a fuck. In fact, we’re born giving way too many fucks. Ever watch a kid cry his eyes out because his hat is the wrong shade of blue? Exactly.

Someone took away your toy? Not what you wanted for dinner? Other kids not sharing? You got called a bad name? It seems from birth we start building or should I say tearing down the emotional intelligence to D.G.A.F.

If you are offended by the word “fuck” you may not enjoy this article. I sure did.

OSD – Over Sensitive Disorder

Normally I stay away from the news because I find it depressing to be thinking negative things all the time. It’s not the murders and the tragedies in the world or even in my community that impact me most. What depresses me about the news is more what people deem newsworthy. It’s depressing to read and hear about what people are concerning themselves with in this day and age. Instead of focusing in on relevant issues I find myself responding to most “news” with “who cares about this?”.

OSD – Over Sensitive Disorder is a choice. People who choose to suffer from this disease often find conflict where there is none.

This week I have found that Sexism is a big newsworthy item among those suffering from OSD. Apparently sexism is still a big problem in our society and (without even looking) I found 3 examples this week to illustrate my point. The first is the offensive poster that was removed from “The Pint” here in Winnipeg. The second was a posting on Facebook of a man in jeans with chiseled abs. The third offensive thing found most rationally sexist this week was a set of toddler pajamas in Target. Hopefully this last one has nothing to do with Target pulling out of Canada but once again I read this and thought…”who gives a shit?”.


It wasn’t the beer that put a bad taste in Ben Wickstrom‘s mouth at “The Pint” here in Winnipeg. It was the offensive poster on the wall of a scantily clad female reaching for a beer. The ad reads “Why guys always keep their beer on the bottom shelf”. Ben was so offended, and got so much support on Twitter that the Pint made an apology and removed the poster.

Now I’m not going to hate on Ben because of his OSD but I certainly don’t see anything offensive here. For one, the girl depicted here is wearing more clothes than most women you see at the beach. The hard nipples are not a stereotype created by men for men – it’s just a natural human reaction to the cold.

Secondly Ben’s argument is also based solely on his interpretation and assumption of the poster. Ben said…

“When you see that on the wall, what does it say to women? It says to them, ‘You’re a sex object. That’s your purpose in our society. You’re there to go fetch beer for men.”

No, that’s what it says to YOU Ben. I look at the same poster and see a woman getting herself a beer. Is it not sexist to think that a woman can’t come home from hard day at work, strip down to her undies, and enjoy cold beer? The poster doesn’t suggest in any way that beer is for her man? It suggests he may have bought the beer and knows his girls daily routine. Good for them. Cause I don’t know any guys who walk around the house in their underwear. It would be stereotypical of me think that I wasn’t the only one. I’m in my gitch right now.

This doesn’t mean I agree with The Pint either. The poster is insulting to men which I assume is 70-80% of their customer base. Another sexist opinion I am throwing out there. It’s based on people I know who are men who go out and drink beer at the pub compared to women I know who do the same. My life experience programs me to think that way and I hope it’s not hurtful to hear that. Regardless, I also envision some marketing executive (male or female) sitting down to create this ad with the mindset that men are stupid animals. That their penis antennae will pick up the signal this poster is throwing and seek out this beer like hypnotized cattle.

I’m appalled. But I also don’t think of myself as one of those cattle. In fact I could visit “The Pint” 100 times and never even see that poster. Maybe it’s because I’m more focused on the people I am there with or even distracted enough by my phone. Or maybe it’s because I don’t look for stupid things to get offended about. Ben Wickstrom is wiping Winnipeg clean of sexism one brand at a time, because he has time. He is also getting so much female attention on his Twitter as a result that I think he should change his aspirations from law to marketing.


Which brings me to the argument I read on Facebook calling out Hooters. Why is there no place like that where women can go and be served by shirtless modern day cowboys with chiseled abs? The sexist answer might be that women are smarter than men. The politically correct answer might be that MOST women are smarter than MOST men. The scientific reasoning behind this is that the biological and genetic makeup of the female genome will not allow them to tip a sexy man like a man needs to tip a sexy woman. The female libido just doesn’t sustain the same economic principles required for an establishment such as this to remain viable. Therefore less male strip clubs, less male prostitutes, and ultimately less male servers. This is not a gender stereotype, it’s scientific reasoning.

Once again it’s all about perception. If a place called Pythons existed where men made the kind of tips Hooters girls make I would quit my job today and go out and buy that Jeep I’ve been wanting. The sexist thing is that they wouldn’t have me. My abs are hiding under layers of marriage, Slurpees, Five Guys, and other such happiness. I know this about myself enough not to hate on my other Python brothers who work on their bodies all in the name of better health, and healthier tips. No such thing as a dumb Hooters girl.


Now the pajamas. Aimee Morrison was shopping at Target posted a picture on Twitter of these toddler pajamas. The blue pair has the Superman logo and reads “Future Man Of Steel” and the pink pair with the same logo reads “I Only Date Heroes”.

Aimee feels like the pajamas are sexist and sexualize baby girls. We caught up to few toddlers on location and asked for their thoughts on this – “Potato!” one girl said, and “Chica Chica Boom Boom!” went the other.

Since we are gender stereotyping here, who says that pink pajamas are for girls and blue pajamas are for boys? If the pajamas had no writing and just the logos would they not be just as stereotypical? Is it maybe because over the years when humans were more distracted with things like survival these colors adhered themselves and now carry some gender specific connotation? Is it hard to fathom that in this day and age, after all the progress we have made with human rights, that some people still hold enough hate in their hearts to outwardly state that pink is for girls and blue is for boys? These people are in our schools, our communities, and our bedrooms. Some of them even make pajamas.

The point is simple…who gives a shit. You want your daughter to walk around in pajamas that say “I only date the homeless” that is your call. You like her in periwinkle blue? Cool buy those ones! Not buying into all that Disney Princess propaganda? Then hide her under a rock! Don’t like it, don’t buy it! When Shan and I found out we were having girls we said out loud, “no pink”. It didn’t stop everyone who knew us from buying something pink and dropping it off. I didn’t think to Tweet “more shitty pink stuff came to the house today…”. My daughter likes “Monster High” right now and I would much rather she was dating a Superhero. Does it mean she’s going to grow up with green skin thinking that stitches on her face are attractive? Not likely, but I give her extra hugs at night just to make sure.


I have a painting in my basement of Carrie Fisher in an R2D2 bathing suit. It’s occurred to me that someone coming into my basement for the first time (who has never seen Star Wars) might perceive it as sexist or racy. Someone who knows me better (who has never seen Star Wars) might still find the picture racy but see my wife’s tolerance of it as progressive. Now someone who has seen Star Wars might see this as art that depicts arguably (depending on your perception) the most influential female character in science fiction history. What I am trying to illustrate here is that any opinions you have coming into my house are based on your own life perceptions. We can both be looking at the same poster and derive completely different opinions of it’s worth. One might describe this poster as “sexist” and another would describe it as “powerful”.

It’s all about perception and each person chooses to perceive things a certain way. Positive or negative. Our perception of the world is ours to sculpt and sometimes our perceptions need a little reinforcement to add strength and security. Twitter and Social Media are the glue that moulds that perception into an opinion and that is the danger. Nothing strengthens a perception more than unloading it on Twitter and watching the skyscrapers rise.

The good news is there is treatment for people suffering from OSD. It’s called CTFO (chill the fuck out). There are real problems in the world that could benefit from your attention to detail.

Now please excuse me while I Tweet this…

Happy New Year!

It’s 2015 and we are all healthy…today. It was a rough break as far as being sick goes. First Lexi almost 2 weeks straight leading up to the break, then Ashlyn picked up an ear infection. Right after Christmas day it started with Shan and I and we are just starting to feel human again. It was the first time Shan and I have been down at the same time and I can tell you it wasn’t easy with the kids. Pretty sure on the first day they watched 6 movies and everytime they needed something Shan and I just looked at each other like I don’t think I can make it.

We didn’t let that get us down. Christmas was awesome.

It started with – Lexi wasn’t feeling great that day but stepped up to help us deliver all the brushes and paste we collected for Agape Table. It was a truly humbling experience for me and I am sure as the tradition continues the girls will get more and more involved. Watching Lexi walk around with her Santa sack asking people if they wanted their own toothbrush for Christmas warmed my heart. Can hardly wait to do this again next year.

Christmas morning the kids were up bright and early for rip fest. Santa brought Lexi her Pogo Stick and Ashlyn got her baby and her very own copy of “Emma’s Wings”. Lego was also a big hit with Lexi this year so I am excited to see her interested in that. We also go the girls balaclava’s to wear under their hockey helmets and when Ashlyn opened hers up Lexi said “oh look another ninja mask!”.

Christmas Day we all went up to see Grandma before coming back to our place for Christmas Dinner. Just before dinner we had a visit from a group of Christmas Carolers which I thought was a really neat touch. The girls were awe watching them sing. They were raising money for kids in the Philippines so we tipped well hoping they will be back next year!


Celebrated New Years with an extra Nolan’s Hockey on Christmas Eve and some Chinese Food with the Barthel’s. Good times. Big thanks to Nolan for the fireworks on the front street. I am sure my neighbours were impressed. We made it until almost 9pm before putting the girls to bed and then Shan and I almost saw 11:30pm before calling it! So close this year.

Lot’s of love in 2015, I think it’s going to be a doozie.


This Christmas

This Christmas is coming fast and it’s always a time that seems to hit me hard. Not sure what it is about this time of year but I really seem to put a lot of thoughts together. They’re not bad thoughts per say just thoughts, and lot’s of them. It’s a time where I want the people I care about to know how much I care about them.


Shan and I are lucky to have 2 weeks at Christmas to appreciate our girls and celebrate another year. We have always talked about something we can do to teach our girls about what Christmas is all about. We are not God fearing people so I don’t mean the whole bedtime story that the Church delivers on Christmas Eve. Nor do I want to focus too much on Santa, his list, or his “Elf On The Shelf”. I don’t really want to teach the kids about Christmas at all…I want them to FEEL what Christmas is all about.

This year was born. Nolan has been talking to me for years about all of the things he does for Agape Table and I have always wanted to help out too. I was looking at their website and noticed that other people are helping out where they can too. I was really inspired by the campaign Great West Life did. They wanted to “knock the socks” of Agape’s list of most needed items. So I checked the list this year and noticed that Toothbrushes and toothpaste were topping the list. I figured it would be super cool to ask people for extra toothbrushes they had around the house and then go to Agape on Christmas Break with the girls and hand them out to people who need them. The girls loved this idea and they have been counting and sorting them as they come in. So far we are well over 1000 brushes and nearing the same amount of paste! The response has been overwhelming.

Don’t get me wrong, my girls will still be spoiled at Christmas but they will also get to meet some people more excited to see a little girl with a toothbrush than sweet Santa himself. They will also spend lot’s of time with family, see their friends, and feel a rush of deja vu as they sit down for another Christmas dinner.

Visiting Grandma

My Grandma suffers from dementia and has been placed in an constant care facility. I have been up to visit a few times but it doesn’t feel like I am visiting someone I know. She seems to know who I am by the way she waves at me when I come in. She may be waving at me or the guy she knows that brings her strawberry Menchies. She never says my name anymore but she talks about people in the family. Lexi came with me today and Grandma talked about Marcy being outside and cousin Tracy was in the attic. She couldn’t remember Lexi’s name but introduced her as her granddaughter. In between mouthfuls of frozen yogurt she told us stories about the baby in the office and how she was going home today.

I love seeing her and I know our visits are limited but I feel so depressed in that building I can hardly stand to be in there. It’s a scene out of the Walking Dead with Zombies wandering about, slowly and sure footed, staring blankly ahead. Contained only by and elevator they can’t manipulate on their own. It’s down button covered by a piece of plexi-glass with a small hole drilled in and lined up with the button. Lexi watched a nurse use a straw in the hole to call the elevator and summoned it herself on our way out but to it’s residents a complex puzzle.

I sit amazed just watching. Today they gathered around a TV to watch some vintage Barbara Streisand movie. It was just like when Rick was stuck in the tank and zombies all zeroed in on him. Then when the elevator opened and we stepped out a few heads tuned into us and one was Grandma. From our table I watched as some walked patterns and others slept in chairs not even waking up to cough. One came to us immediately, drawn to Lexi like a poppy in a field of grass. One who walked a pattern yelled from the hallway “SHUT UP!” and then just hobbled around keeping to herself, not saying a word. It looked difficult for her to get around but she didn’t stop moving the entire time we were there. Eventually she passed our table closely and as she passed whispered softly and without looking at me “your child is beautiful”. Her back was already to me as I said “thank you…”. She went on walking aimlessly as if all these bodies were empty just bumping off one another completely unaware of each other.

Another lady with a walker came over and sat down right beside me. She said “It looks like your little girl likes this movie.” “Yes”, I said. Then she said “I’m just going to sit here next to you and when this is over you can get me outta here!”

Not long after that a lady in a wheelchair came over and couldn’t get by the walker. When she went to move my grandma became agitated and yelled at her that it wasn’t her walker and to leave it alone. She seemed really annoyed. I wondered how often she was in these conflicts. Another lady who really seemed to have her wits about her wheeled over another really agitated lady who pointed a finger sort of in my direction and asked me if I was her brother. I was confused at first and just shook my head NO and he asked the lady pushing her what I looked like but before she could answer she said “it’s not him, he would be hugging me right now if it was him…it’s not him…” – I had no idea what to say but my heart broke for her. I hoped he was coming.

When it was time to leave I put on Lexi’s jacket and told Grandma we were heading out and she said “OK let me grab my coat”. I explained she couldn’t come and Lexi pushed her back in front of the tank with the others. I pulled her up in her chair again to straighten her up and we hugged and kissed her goodbye. Lexi called the elevator with the straw like magic and as the door closed in front of us she waved again with Lexi’s paper gold medal in her hand.

A woman who worked there stopped me on the way out and asked my relation to my grandma and I told her. She said to me “she’s the best! Has she always been so funny?” – “More than you know…” I told her, “more than you know!”.

I looked for her in the window on the way out because she used to like watching the people come and go but I don’t think she could get there on her own. I wondered if she was in there today, I mean really in there.

Happy Thanksgiving All

Man where did that long weekend go? I had a really short week too but it flew by.

Last Sunday when I got back from hockey Lexi on the couch with her leg elevated so I knew something was up. I didn’t have to get much closer to see one of her toes veering off to her right. It was clearly broken. It happened on my parents watch too and I felt so bad for them because that stuff is going to happen no matter what but they felt so bad about it. Apparently Lexi was goofing off on my exercise ball and went feet over tea kettle and smashed her foot on the TV stand. This was after being told several times not to touch that ball. Karma has no age limit obviously.


So I took her to the walk-in Monday morning and after some x-rays (and a second opinion) they sent us to Pan-Am to see a “specialist”. They suggested Children’s but I don’t want to sit in emergency with that respiratory thing going around. Just my luck we would be sitting in there waiting to have a toe looked at and we pick up something worse. We chose Pan-Am and it wasn’t too bad. Lexi would not give up the toe for freezing so with my help and one other nurse the doctor chose to “set it” without. I will never forget the sound of that scream but it was over quick and I was so proud at that moment. She calmed right down and walked out of that place on her own. It was awesome. We went to visit Nolan at work (where she always gets spoiled) and then out for a nice lunch. I would have done anything for her that day and it was nice to just have some Lexi time. That happened on Monday and Tuesday when I came to pick her up at daycare she was wearing her boot and running around the gym like a nut.

Saturday night was Vanessa’s social so we were out for a late on. I think we got home close to 2am and I was up with the kids around 7:30am. I didn’t drink a thing (thank God) but I am still feeling the affects. Just can’t do that anymore. The social was good and being at the TYC (Tijuana Yacht Club) brought back some doozie memories. Like the night Mike’s sister seduced me on the dance floor there. Good times. If that wasn’t nostalgic enough I ran into Juan Portilo there who I haven’t seen since the “Boogie Nights” era. He still has the moves he’s just a little more reluctant to let them out. Joel met me there and we mostly watched the Jets get spanked by the Sharks and a couple of girls spanking each other on the dance floor. It was a great night and I think Vanessa and Tristan did good on the night. I know they got my PS4 money.

Sunday night we went to JD and Linda’s for an impromptu Thanksgiving Dinner. I met Shan and the girls after hockey and then Mike, Tara, and the kids arrived shortly after. It was a nice visit and I was very thankful for getting in a turkey dinner Gladys would have been proud of…ketchup and all. What I really wanted was a hot turkey sandwich but figured I should class it up some.

Today we tested Ashlyn again at the movies. We went to see “BoxTrolls” and I was surprised at how well she did considering it wasn’t a great movie for her age. It was a bit dark. She said she liked it but I think she feels compliant because I gave her such a hard time the last time we went to the movies and she was intolerable. She fell asleep near the end of the movie and I can’t say I blame her. Overall she was awesome.

Last Week People

What a summer! Probably one of the best ever. We did whatever we wanted to this summer and it meant that sometimes we got home from the lake just in time to pack up and do it all again. No complaints from these lake girls!

The summer went like this: Rushing River, Sioux Narrows, Grand Beach, Vegas, The Rattes, Epic 40th Bday, Great Woods Park, and one last stint at Grand Beach because we liked it so much. We tried to stuff the 2nd last week with as much camping as possible. GWP is one of those spots we hit every summer. The water was really low but we set up in the river and the girls played in the water for hours. Eryn and the kids came out on the Wednesday so Lexi and Ashlyn were thrilled to have their friends out there. Mike and the kids also came later in the day for a quick swim and a campfire so that was awesome too.


We were back on Thursday for Shan’s Norwex Party and then Al and I headed back out Friday with Ashlyn and Haddon. We set up camp and hit the sack after a campfire with the kids. At about 4am we wake up to our camp being trashed by a bear. It takes off as soon as we scramble but the dining tent is trashed and I have to go out and retrieve the cooler and put it in the van. He came back a couple more times looking around for more and we just kept trying to get a visual on him and he would just keep vanishing. It was a little unnerving with the kids in trailer. The girls came up on Saturday and despite the rain we hit the beach and made another fire. Joel, Jen, and Mike came up for the fire and stayed pretty late despite the downpour. It was epic. Packing up the next day in the rain…not so much.


Shan and I went out last night for our 8th anniversary and we were talking about how much we have done over the last couple of months and how lucky we are to have this time with the girls. I wonder what they will remember most? Going back to work next week will uncover all that I have taken for granted this summer forsure!