Gratitude day 55

I am grateful we’re making progress on clearing out the basement before an impending renovation down there. Holy smokin’ Toledo! I wish stuff management was easier for us. I am also grateful that I’m in the property I feel is my final destination. I am amazed at the things I thought I’d better hold on to until I had a house to put them in. Guess what! I have the house now, but I still don’t really want the things. Nice to know I can turf them now, but I wish I had the wisdom to turf them a year or decade or however long ago. If I had, apartment living might have been a bit more comfortable.

I am grateful for the quiet in my household after the boys go to bed. I am grateful for any quiet that comes before that too, but it’s pretty scarce around here these days.

I am grateful for the 9 years and counting of service from this old laptop I’m typing this blog post on. It’s not good for much other than word processing and internet surfing, but for those things, it’s a champ. While it isn’t the fastest machine in the house, it has the clackiest, most satisfying keys to type on, hands down.

Gratitude day 55






I am grateful for Julie’s idea to go to Goldstream provincial park for a weenie roast for lunch. It was all kinds of a great way to spend the day. Having a fire is fun. Eating hot dogs is fun. Being outside is almost always more fun than being inside. The natural beauty of that place, from the majesty of a great big waterfall, to the microcosm of the moss on the side of any given tree is amazing. It makes me realize my gratitude for living near this particularly amazing place on this particularly amazing planet. What are the chances?

I am grateful for the brotherly love that exists between my boys. They can fight like cats and dogs; perhaps just dogs; perhaps actually particularly violent dingoes… But I digress. Often they fight, but sooner or later they make up, and you can see how much they prefer to be together than apart. That photo of them holding hands – that’s all them, and just how they were this afternoon. If that’s not nice, I don’t know what is.

On that note, I am grateful to Kurt Vonnegut, whose novels I love, but in this case I am grateful for this quote about his uncle Alex, from whom I borrow that phrase A LOT in this blog :

One of the things [Uncle Alex] found objectionable about human beings was that they so rarely noticed it when they were happy. He himself did his best to acknowledge it when times were sweet. We could be drinking lemonade in the shade of an apple tree in the summertime, and Uncle Alex would interrupt the conversation to say, “If this isn’t nice, what is?”

So I hope that you will do the same for the rest of your lives. When things are going sweetly and peacefully, please pause a moment, and then say out loud, “If this isn’t nice, what is?”

My late grandfather, Steve Lathrop Sr. had a quotable phrase he often uttered to me and many other family members on many occasions, from backyard barbecues to fancy dinners. It was similar and went like this:

“It doesn’t get much better than this.”

[pause for effect]

“And this is pretty good!”

Gratitude day 54


I am grateful for Firehall open houses. This year it was in Esquimault. Farley is particularly enthused with firetrucks these days and he loved it!

I am grateful for our daycare provider. She commented on the above photo on Facebook because she knows and likes my kid. Both kids. She took care of Coop, too, and still sees him socially on occasion, and when we’re dropping Farley off sometimes. She’s got an amazing respect for kids that I wish I saw in more grown ups, myself included. She sets a great example for the children, but also for their parents. At this point she feels like is a member of our family. For the record, I’m not writing this because she told me she reads my blog recently, although that is flattering. When she mentioned the blog she said she was glad to get a glimpse of Farley’s world. Cussing awesome reason! If you are ever in need of a recommendation for daycare in Victoria, hit me up via email and I’ll provide contact info.

I am grateful for the immediate comfort that comes with the presence of old friends, in town and over for the full sacrificial turkey ritual this at Thanksgiving. Remember when I said I made some great friends as a scout? I’ve known my pal Ryan since I was 12 and he was 10. Now I also get to hang out with his spouse and 2 kids, similarly aged to Coop and Farl. If that’s not nice, I don’t know what is.

Gratitude day 53

I am grateful for this exercise. Some days it’s hard to be grateful. This, right here, gives me reason to take the time and make the effort for gratitude.

I am grateful for my relationship. The truth is that it’s a lot of hard work. Things that are worth it in this life are rarely easy. My relationship with Julie is no exception. This year marks the point when I’ve been with Julie for as long as I was alive without her before. At times, we take each other for granted, but that can’t be sustainable over a long time. Still, it’s nice to know we’re really committed to be in it together; to do what we have to to keep us both happy, and that we fully intend to be together until death do us part, or even longer, of possible.

I am grateful for roasted seaweed from Costco. I just can’t get enough of that stuff.

Gratitude day 52

I am grateful for the picnic Coop and I had on the boulevard in behind his school next to our car. We had a tight timeline to get to Beavers, so I packed a few sandwiches and bananas to eat in the 45 minute period between picking up Coop at school and getting him to the scout hall. The sun was setting at the end of a clear day. Coop was happy and excited about beavers. Some of his friends at school were wandering by, and they and their parents stopped to say hi. It was nice.

I am grateful for scouting. I had a long and decorated career as a Scout.
Many of the best friends I still have today I met as a scout when I was a kid or teenager. Coop had his first Beaver
Scout meeting tonight. He had a fun time and made a swell thanksgiving centrepiece.

I am grateful for my grandpa’s Buick. I inherited it recently. I’d been having thoughts of selling it. It had a brake issue I couldn’t find the time to fix myself. It’s about as big and impractical as 1970s American cars ever got. Seeing the un-drivable, insured car parked in front of my house day after day was getting me down. I finally took it in to have it fixed and got it back today. It was great to drive it again. Grandpa bought it the summer I was born. I remember sitting in its backseat with him and my grandma as a little kid. It hasn’t changed much since then, having been in storage for decades. Taking it out for the brief bit of driving I did tonight reminded me how lucky I am to have it, at least for the time being.

Gratitude day 51


I am grateful for the Mexican House of Spice on Douglas Street and the nice lady therein. I was waiting for a ride and realized I had time to walk in. I asked if they had tomatillo salsa in a jar. They didn’t, but she did have encouraging words, a recipe, and tomatillos. Tonight was taco night at our house, and let me tell you, there was freshly made tomatillo salsa!

I am grateful for my new-to-me scrappy bike! I made it from leftover bike bits and a few new parts. It will be great to have a non-cargo bike to put on the car rack when having kid passengers isn’t anticipated. It was a lot of fun figuring out how all that stuff works and how it’s put together.

I am grateful for my spouse, who was kind enough to see how much fun I was having putting together said bike, and left me to do that while she was putting away leftovers and making lunches for the kids.

Gratitude day 50


I am grateful I am in bed. I’m tired, but I will be asleep soon.

I am grateful I have a space to tinker in. Tonight I made most of a bicycle from bits laying around.

I am grateful for my family. For a brief period we were all on the floor playing with lego. Coop made a great table and chairs, complete with coffee mugs, iPhone and cookies. If that isn’t nice, I don’t know what is.

Gratitude day 49

I am grateful for my new office. Had my first day there. Coming in for the first time a few days after everyone else had set up was great. As soon as I walked in I felt good about it, and then even more so after I set up my desk and started coding.

I am grateful for my apparent recovery . Today marks the first day back on the bike in more than 2 weeks. It felt great! Hopefully this weather holds up a while longer.

I am grateful the tent trailer is packed up for the winter. It got wet in places it shouldn’t have last winter, and its future is at this point uncertain. We’ll see how it does in the rain this year, and if it’s worth it, perhaps I’ll fix it up next season. If it’s not, it might become a utility trailer, or perhaps I will realize my dream of building a DIY teardrop trailer. Either way, i spent an hour or two schlepping stuff out of it tonight and getting it all packed away. Now, I can remove it from the “stuff I have to think about soon” column, and that’s always a relief.

Gratitude day 48

I am grateful for mushrooms. They class up the joint, and they were delicious in the omelettes I made for breakfast this morning.

I am grateful for progress on a few home projects. That and the realization that if I can just wrap a few of them up, I will be much less stressed out.

And I am grateful for my health, mental and physical. Today, I learned about several ordeals a friend has been through over the past few months. Family issues and depression leading to near-cardiac arrests, laparoscopic heart surgery, and post traumatic stress. It’s sobering. He’s of similar age and build to me, he’s a father, and he’s had several events over the past while that were too close to his mortality for comfort. On that note, I am grateful for his health too, there have been near misses, but he’s still with us, and working towards getting better. Heavy stuff.