Board much??

I did something last night that I haven’t done in quite some time and that was play a board game, I didn’t need batteries, there were no wires, and I certainly didn’t need to be in WiFi range, just some old school board gaming fun.  Gaming consoles, computers, and hand-held devices usually take precedent over more tradition forms of family leisure that we’ve forgotten how much fun a simple board game can be.  That said, I do know of friends and family members who still make board games a staple in their entertainment arsenal but I bet there are more that don’t.  Growing up I would always have a few board games scribbled down on my list for Santa, they usually would come as a secondary gift or maybe that gift from an aunt or uncle, but like a lot of things over time, I just grew out of playing them on a consistent basis.

Whether you still play board games or not, they do have a certain appeal to them, they are nostalgic, reminiscent of Saturday night battles with your parents for household dominance, and of course the bragging rights that usually lasted a couple of days were the icing on the cake.  Although it takes a lot sometimes to dig them out of the inner bowels of the dingy part of the basement, or maybe the cobwebbed corners of the attic, but once dusted off and all pieces are accounted for, they can create some of the most fun filled nights with the people you enjoy spending time with.  The occasions in which I have spent time playing board games have always been a pleasant experience with friends becoming foes and couples taking jabs at each other all in good fun.  Some games require little to no prior experience as they are familiar to most of us but then there are other newer games that may need a dry run or two, each and all with their own degree of challenge.

Board games are great ways to reconnect with friends and/or family that you haven’t spent time with in awhile, there’s no “what time do we show up?”, there’s no perfect outfit to wear, there’s no “what do I need to bring for food?” none of those typical internal debate type scenarios that come with planning a fun night.   No, you just need everyone sitting around the kitchen table or claiming a spot on the couch in the living room and once you Google pizza, scratch food off the list.  It is that easy, and they make for some of the best nights out and easier on the pocketbook I might add.  Because we have so much going on in our everyday lives that a night out is welcomed in most cases, but like I have said, sometimes a night out can also be stressful as to where to go and what to do.  Unfortunately, an option that rarely makes that list is to simply stay in, that’s right, pick up a good bottle of wine, make sure you have plenty of snacks and oh yeah, don’t block the scoreboard.  My cousin, a game connoisseur, actually makes a point to collect games and from time to time he invites us over for an evening of board game bliss.  He picks the titles at random, once situated he helps us with few turns around the board, but then that’s it, we are now supposedly ready to defend, capture or quiz, all on our own.

Yes, some games are simple in concept but there are others that require intellect, strategy and know how.  If you are a pop culture fanatic, well that’s huge with some genres, patience is a vital asset when determining when to strike or when to make that game changing move that shakes things up.  Consider yourself a trivia buff?  Well, you will definitely be a hot commodity in the team picking stage.  It’s fun watching as couples use their partners as allies or completely throw them under the bus because they didn’t pay attention to the board and now the other has the upper hand, too bad, now it’s their turn, “no do over’s”.

The contents of the games themselves are for me a fun part of the experience, those little pieces are so cool to play with, your inner child just screaming inside.  Elements of the game make the game stand out like play money, meticulously carved game pieces, and the dice, they all give the game character and create that certain type of atmosphere each time you play.  Many games are very educational and are best shared with your children, for them leaning becomes fun, and for you a great bonding experience that lasts forever.

The next time you’re scratching your head and racking your brain for something to do, or you just need an excuse to get together, break out the board games.  Keeping it simple sometimes can allow for some memorable moments with the people you love, and the people you love to beat.  Make sure to stop on the way back from work or school, grab that beverage of choice, leave the wings on the counter to defrost and prepare for a night of “go back two spaces” or “who was Robin Hood’s girlfriend for $400.00”.

Game on!!

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Just stop and smell the ocean…

Just a couple days ago, while completing a task on behalf of my employer I had the pleasure of taking an extended drive to a community by the name of Conception Harbour, Newfoundland.  I had never been to this place before, but I was elated that I had the opportunity to visit this small town because it left me with so much inspiration.  This little hamlet was absolutely gorgeous, being that it is now the fall of the year gave my early morning drive that much more character.  The trees painted in oranges, reds and greens stretched along the harborside, the perfect morning for such a delightful cruise.  The homes both new and old were nestled amongst the ever growing assortment of trees with an ascent of wood smoke that scattered the tree line and dissipated as it lazily rose to the sky.

I had completed the task at hand concerning my job, so I took five paces, crossed the small street before me and stood there to enjoy the panoramic bliss.  I took a big deep breath, the salty air filling my lungs brought me right back to the days I would venture down to the shoreline and visit my grandfather as he was salting the daily catch of cod fish and mending his nets.  As I perused the coastline I could hear my own heart beat, the sound of the tide rushing in and out was therapeutic; in the foreground seagulls were quietly sitting atop of a weathered bait shed that seemed as if it was paused in time, rich with history.

It seemed virtually void of any time, quiet, peaceful and not a soul was around to disturb my moment of reflect.  I thought about being a young boy again, scavenging the shore for whatever treasures the tide would bestow upon it.  I thought of the yarns that were spun as my grandfather and his buddies would sit all day and talk about what is and what was.  I looked across the harbour, the trees were several shades of October, and every home that I saw was a place I would love to call my own.  For a moment I felt like I could just stand there forever, it was so calming, and made me instantly homesick.

We take our lives for granted most of the time; we are way too busy to sometimes appreciate where we live.  For me time goes too fast, everyday a monotonous, robotic ritual that tends to consume my ability to enjoy the small things in life.  We move at such a pace that before we know it so much of our lives have passed by, technology has taken our attention away from the beauty that is before us when all we really need to do is look up.

I read all the time how we slowly lose touch of reality, handheld devices have turned a lot of us into electronic zombies.  Nobody really talks to each other anymore and when we do we always take that quick peek at our phones because somebody just took a “selfie”.  I had a conversation yesterday with a good friend of mine and that’s what we spoke of, we talked about what we did before we had these distractions. “How did we get by?”  The answer to that question is simply this, we just enjoyed each other, we enjoyed places, and we just enjoyed “life”.  Like I said before, my grandfather would stand on the side of the road where all his peers came religiously every morning and they would talk all day, to each other, face to face, it wasn’t much but it was genuine.

As I stood there in that brief moment of time I was lost in my thoughts, completely in awe of the sight before me, I smiled and began to walk to my car.  As I mentioned earlier, I became instantly inspired, I was itching right away to tell people about my excursion, I couldn’t wait to write about it, I literally could have stayed there for the rest of my life and just wrote, it was so good for the soul.

People fly all over the world for an experience that I had virtually in my backyard, I mean a forty minute drive from town can have that much of an impression on me, well, it certainly did.  I’m a small town guy, I grew up in a community much like this one and I guess that is purely what it was for me that morning, it’s in my DNA, I lived this laid back life for much of my youth, a part of me still misses that.

In closing, I thought that I would share this with you; I hope you too can take a moment to enjoy what you have around you.  Enjoy your family, your friends, take time for yourself and reflect on where you are in your life, how far you have come, and even where you are going.  We have so many other distractions in our lives on a daily basis that we fail to give ourselves a much needed break from the hustle and bustle of the real world.  Never take what you have for granted, we only get a short time on this planet of ours, so every now and again we just need to stop and smell the ocean.

Candy,candy,…candy!

Well, Halloween is just around the corner, pumpkins are being snatched up left and right, blow up decorations are popping up on lawns all over the place, and last minute costume ideas are being googled right now at this very second.  I have always enjoyed Halloween, as a kid, as an adult, no matter if I did anything or not.  I just love the buzz that day creates, the joy that is brings.  People all over the world are gearing up for another night of fending off ghosts and ghouls for the big sugar rush.

The fall colours allow for the perfect backdrop for such a holiday, pumpkins pop with shades of orange as leaves turn a deep red.  There’s a chill in the air for character and the wind tends to whistle, all keys assets in creating the perfect eerie atmosphere, and yeah, it’s a different kind of dark out.

By now most kids are planning their routes meticulously making sure not to fall victim to the door knocking hordes that only affect your candy bottom line.  Nope, it has to be perfect, each home studied in years past and marked with its own payload of tooth aching loot.  I know for me mobility was everything so an actual Halloween night costume had to be a stark contrast to the school dance one, it was all about the candy tonight baby.

Halloween night has a feel to it, it was and is still is a night you just know is different from the rest.  The anticipation of the looks on people’s faces as they caught a glimpse of the costume you were wearing, and if you were wearing a legit winner, then all the more satisfying.  We all lose our minds coming up with ideas and spend tanks of gas gathering up the parts we need across town, and mind you, you still need to put it all together.  Opting for one of the store bought costumes will save you years off your life but there’s no better feeling when you had everything to do with the costume you are wearing.

Kids are no different, when they have a super sick costume on, they beam with happiness, they want to stay like that forever, or at least go to bed wearing it.  Being a kid is what Halloween is all about, the mystery and excitement of living out your fantasies with friends.  Picking that perfect costume and having the benefit of changing your mind every year thereafter, it’s about imagination, sometimes teamwork and most of all creativity.   Then there’s the candy, the candy is the best part, pouring your exploits out on the living room floor and beginning to allocate the treats to their designated tastiness was a sense of accomplishment mixed with sugar highs.  The candy acted like a timeline of matching treat to house and rating the house on whether or not we would return next time around.  The following week I would have pockets of goodies to please my sweet tooth and enough to use as currency on the schoolyard, I was in a good place.

I was more of a two bag guy; I know there were some who would spend all night collecting treats trying to break their old distance records and padding their house count totals.  They would plan ahead and stuff an extra pillow case under the heavy sweater they were wearing and bring that extra mask for the deceptive maneuver of retrying a house wearing a new identity, bold move.  Halloween has so many good memories like that for me growing up, some of the best times to be a kid, a lot of fun.

As an adult we still get to enjoy Halloween, its actually encouraged, we too can make believe and have fun with the annual spooky night.  Some of the best parties that I have attended were Halloween parties, people put a lot effort in pulling one of those off, and it was fun to be a part of.  Some places that I have worked took part in costume contests, I once earned a day off because of the costume I was wearing was voted the best.  Pumpkin spice is the new orange, hands are hanging out of trunks, and your spook meter has gone up a few notches, Halloween is all around us so we may as well have a good time with it.  Everybody loves a good scare, right?

No matter what your age, Halloween is a great escape from our normal lives, as kids we loved dressing up and getting to see our own kids or grandkids play those same parts are great memories in the making.  Be a kid again, it’s ok, “trick or treat” resonates with all of us and when we think of Halloween the next thing that should come to all of our minds is candy, candy…..candy.

Happy Halloween

I think I’ll take a walk…

Tonight I got the urge to walk to the corner store, the foggy mist was low and sky was getting dark, a beautiful night for a brisk wet stroll.  I grew up without a car in my family, both my grandparents, who raised me, were relatively old and never had a need for a vehicle.  So for me, that meant anywhere that I needed to go I had to walk, I didn’t complain either it was no big deal.

Anyway, usually when I resort to walking these days it has a tendency to bring back old memories of my ventures when I was a young boy.  My walks to a friends house, those nights coming home from a school dance,  and my adventures to the wooded areas behind my house are some of the memories that would come flashing back.

It’s funny how familiar we get with the paths we choose to get us to where we have to go,  the rickety old fence, that big crooked tree that looks like its about to fall to the ground with the slightest touch, or maybe it’s an annoying barking dog that just wouldn’t shut up.  If you paid close attention I’m sure there are things to this day that you remember from your own journeys.  I sometimes would have to hop fences, stopping by the blueberry bushes would almost always distract me for a moment or two, and oh yeah, passing through the broken street light section definitely put a lump in my throat.  I knew those paths like the back of my hand, I bet I could still do some of them with my eyes close, well ok, maybe not.  The twists and turns I took felt like they were my own, I’m sure many people traversed the same route everyday as well, but I bet they are not writing about them today like I am, hehe.

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Walks allow me to clear my head, for that short time you forget about everything,  no technology craving your attention, void of all traffic aside from the odd fellow passerby with their dog whose usually in a manic sniff leads the way.  Tonight was just me and the sound of my own steps, the air was clean, the leaves sparkled orange as they change with the season, the mist was refreshing with my mind free of any ill thoughts.

Sure, I could of gotten into my car out of the rain, driven to my destination in less than a couple minutes but no, not tonight, why make it so easy and deprive myself of such an experience.  I enjoyed that walk, I felt like a young boy again, tempted by the puddles of water, curious of what was glimmering at the trailside just ahead of me, don’t get excited it was only a pop can sticking out from the ground.  But a walk can do that, its always an adventure, you never know what you will see or who you will meet.

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The next time that you need to clear your head, collect your thoughts, or seek inspiration much like I did, hence this post, take a walk, go on you will thank yourself for it, trust me.  A lot like me something like a walk to the convenience store doesn’t really have to be such an inconvenience.

Bullies…can’t beat ’em, don’t join ’em

A few weekends ago I was dropping my fiancé off to a coworkers cabin for a retirement party with several of her colleagues.  In doing so I had to take an off-road which lead essentially to a crescent of cabins, a beautiful area just outside of the city of St. John’s but the road was a little worse for wear.  Once we made it to the cabin I gave my fiancé a kiss goodbye and began my trek back home, instead of backtracking  I decided to continue on around the crescent not truly knowing when I would meet the main road again, but I had lots of time, I was in no hurry.

The scenery was absolutely gorgeous, the cabins all seemed like they belonged where they were built, nestled in quaint locations  and right next to the water.  Such a calming atmosphere, definitely a great place to get away from the city to enjoy some peace and quiet.  So there I was, taking it all in and making my way down the winding road, passing by people who were walking, some were driving all terrain vehicles and others just out and about enjoying their property.

As I trudged along I did pass by these two gentlemen that seemed like they were doing some site work on a newly built property, now that’s not something out of the norm but one of the gentleman I noticed seemed to be finishing up for the day.  He began to start following me in his big truck as we both traversed the off road dodging potholes and taking our time.  Well, at least I was taking my time, I was in a car so my floor was much more lower to the ground than his truck so I needed to be more delicate with my speed, the gentleman behind me wasn’t fazed at all by the rugged terrain but nonetheless he had to respect the fact that I was being more careful.

Respect was the theory at least, for the longest time since he had started out behind me we weaved back and forth getting that much closer to the main road without fault.  Then out of nowhere came this one point in the road where for a short moment he had the opportunity to pass due to the road being a little wider, he suddenly without warning opts to pass me, actually, he flew pass me and in doing so he blasted the driver’s side of my car with water, rocks and debris from the unforgiving cabin road. It certainly gave me quite the shock, I was both surprised and angry at the same time that he had made such a bold maneuver, so I blew my horn in disgust.

As I blew my horn I noticed he was stopping his truck, then in the middle of the road, in the middle of nowhere he exits his truck and gestures to me, he postures up in way that could have been interpreted as a challenge to a fight.  Mouthing the words through my windshield as best I could, I questioned him, trying to make sense as to why he chose to pass me the way he did, why did he feel the need to take advantage of the opportunity with only a short distance to go to the highway.  I mean, he had already spent most of the time behind me without an issue.  I chose not exit my car because that would of escalated things and I was not in the mood to debate the rules of the road in the middle of the country with no one around to witness this Neanderthal beating his chest.  So after he realizes that I’m not another peacock flashing my big feathers in retort, he gets in his truck and speeds off violently.

I was so bothered by that afterward that it ate at me all night and well into the next day.  I was replaying the incident over and over in mind, thinking in hind sight of alternative outcomes to that confrontation. I asked myself, “was he really going to get physical over something like that?” “Did he not see any fault in what he had done?”  “Zero to bully just like that?”.

After I cooled down and swallowed my pride I chalked the whole thing up to the fact that yes, this guy was just another bully, they come in all forms and they show up no matter the scenario.  I did the right thing by turning the cheek, nothing that petty was worth any personal victory won by using force, and stooping to that guys level only proved I’m just as bad.

Look, be the bigger person, just walk away, don’t give these bullies the satisfaction that they control you in any way.  Let them be the dumb jerks that they choose to be because there has to be something lacking in their lives.  Most of us are respectable people who are kindhearted and courteous to others, but some will unfortunately be that guy or girl who cuts you off, steals your recess money or badmouths you to the boss, just remember, they hate their lives not yours.

Christmas already, wasn’t summer just yesterday?

I was out running some errands last night and I have already seen glimpses of Christmas prominently being displayed at certain department stores.  It seems like every year it shows up earlier than the last, I mean even my colleagues have already began discussing the amount of pay periods to the holidays.

It’s funny because every year as usual, once Christmas has come and gone I always state, that for next holiday, I will be “ready” and I will get a head start on what I need to pull Christmas off.  Yeah, well that never happens, I never go into the holidays prepared as it were, I always stress out just like everyone else I guess.

The way things are nowadays the world doesn’t slow down for anyone and their’s always someone wanting to be the first out of the gate.  So I guess you really need to be all in, you need to push your products and merchandise or unfortunately be left at the starting line.

From a customer perspective it makes time fly for me, I start seeing Halloween merchandise in late August, that for me means October is already here.  I see Christmas displays in September then Christmas slips into my subconscious and I then need to start thinking about the dreaded “lists”.

Commercialism is shoved down our throats so much as it is, even on a year round basis, when the holidays are upon us all that goes into hyper drive and we are put on full blast to buy the newest, the best and the most expensive.  They have us right where they want us because as a parent there is no escaping this, our kids do the ground work for the big companies, they are the ones that want what they are selling.   We live in the technology era and new only last for a day, then its on to bigger, better, and faster, it’s a vicious cycle.

I know things won’t change, if anything they will probably get worst, but to see the things I did on my errand run last night was just depressing to thing that not too long ago I was having a drink by the pool side, now I need to start thinking about when to dig the tree out from storage.

This is a first….

Well, some time ago my blog website advised that they were pulling the plug on their website so I had to immediately search for another host for my blog, I came to WordPress.

I have been blogging for some time now and I find that it allows me to get my thoughts on paper, I will eventually be posting a lot of my former work to this site as I feel it’s worthy of sharing.

My name is Ash and I live on the east coast of Canada in the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador and I like to blog about how I feel, think and react to the world around me.  Just my thought’s, just my words of advice or opinion and I hope that whomever choices to read my blog will do so because they feel that it has some interesting characteristics and may even enjoy what I write for pure leisure.

I don’t claim to be a good writer, I like to write, I write what comes to me and I hope that what I do write is of some quality which will garner me some followers which for me is the ultimate goal.  I like to know that what I write is of value to those out there, I hope some may take what I sometimes blog as information that they can use to form their own beliefs, opinions, points of view, and who knows my words may even help.

So please join me, feel free to comment, follow if you may and I hope that what I have to write will be something that you look forward to reading.

Regards