Are neckties still relevant?

Father’s day is coming up and I saw a poster at work advertising some charitable campaign event to purchase a tie for your father.

Mike rocking the Christmas tie.

It got me thinking about ties in general.  I had a bunch of ties over the years and a few years ago, I had my good friend Nat put those ties on a weight loss program so now I have a bunch of skinny ties.  I preferred the look of them compared to the fatter ties.

The flask tie is always a hit at Christmas service in church.

In the past year, I’ve decided to not wear a tie at all because…no one is wearing them!  I roam the halls and I don’t see any ties in sight…it’s even rare to see them on a ‘higher up’.  I almost felt like I was the person who was out of place with his choice of neckwear.

The ‘It looks cooler this way’ tie.

Today’s blog post asks fashion expert Nat the question: Are neckties still a thing?

Ties still a thing…in the fashion world some would say yes, others no. For example, if you look at pictures from the latest celebrity fashion events of the year, MET Gala, Tony Awards, Oscars, the men are either in bowties, or skinny ties.  Paris Fashion Week had an assortment of fall 2017 trends, anywhere from oversized coats, clothing in shades of red and burnt orange, fur, etc…not so much suits and ties (some had a few more formal preppy looks such as Stella McCartney’s collection, yes we are talking about Paul McCartney’s daughter!). 

The classic bowtie.  The unicorn of ties?

I personally don’t think it’s a question as to whether ties are still a thing. I think it’s more of a “if you like wearing ties, wear ties!”. I think it’s important that everyone brings their own sense of style into the way they dress, and more importantly, feels great wearing it! For example, I hate wearing dress pants to work (jeans on Friday is my only exception to the rule) so over the last few years, I began to only wear skirts and dresses. Does everyone do that at work? No, but I love it so that’s how I roll!

The moustache, the tie and the smoking hot wife by his side…James makes that tie pop!

Now with that out of the way, I would say if you’re looking for a skinny tie, regular tie or bow tie, all depends on where you are going, your personality and your ultimate look.   Now if you’re looking for specific examples of what’s “in” right now, checking out fashion bloggers is one stop you can make on your quest. Many of them are on Instagram (one I follow is Adam Gallagher – and can perhaps give you some insight into a style you’d like to try out for yourself or incorporate into your everyday attire.

Kids with ties…always cute!

In the end, the tie will always have my vote! 🙂

Thanks for your input Nat!  Nat can be currently found planning out the launch of her own Etsy clothing enterprise!

Sierra getting some fashion tips from Aunt Nat.

First heat wave of the year!

Sunday and Monday were the greatest days we have ever known in the year 2017.  With temperatures around 40 degrees Celcius with the humidity, it was time to have some fun in the sun!

Luckily, I had been procrastinating the seasonal hot tub cleaning.  What better way to do it then outside in a scorching hot day?

With the goal of a pool in my mind’s eye, I scrubbed that hot tub and started filling it up.  I even put a second hose into it as it wasn’t filling up fast enough for my liking!  I was literally losing daylight as I watched the 4,000litres of water slowly fill this awesome vessel which provides fun and entertainment for all.

While I filled the hot tub, Sierra was having fun with Tante Andréane who showed up for a few days before she heads out to Portugal with her parents.  Sierra got to open a few gifts from Tante Anne-Marie and Andréane and one of the was a sprinkler with little grubs sticking out of them.  I find it ironic that I went to war with some grubs on my lawn earlier this month and now they are back in sprinkler form!

Sierra didn’t really know what to make of the sprinkler.  While we think she enjoyed it, she also wasn’t screaming in laughter.  Maybe the water was too cold?

Either way, it just paved the way to the main event….the cool tub was ready for the summer!

It was 78 degrees when the cool tub finally finished filling up but I put the temperature up for Sierra to hang out in.

I’m glad I remembered the rubber ducky that Maureen had brought us!  It was time to put this thing in action!  I was winded after blowing it up but it was totally worth it.  Sierra loved it!

Seeing that Monday was also going to be a scorcher, some last minutes plans to go to Calyspo Water Park took shape.  Vero and I both got the afternoon off thanks to our super accomodating managers and we met up with Andréane who thought she was a loser for going alone to the water park.  I think the only losers are the people who didn’t bother going!  It was a fantastic day….40 degrees, no lineups at all, plenty of space to swim in the wave pool….I even managed to surf on my flutter board in the lazy river for pretty much the entire length!  I have to say that I’m glad Vero convinced me to go on some rides…I had gone before with Evan, Anne-Marie and Vero and I was scared for my life, but we found some less scary ones that were great fun!

Greatest two days of the summer!







Bad batch of beer

After years of successful brewing, I finally encountered a bad batch of beer.

I managed to finally get off my ass and build the new keg fridge as the only fridge has died.  I’m hoping this one lasts more than two years!

I hooked up some beers that have been sitting in the storage room since the winter…a scotch ale and a Christmas concoction of cinnamon, nutmeg and other assorted goodies.

Unfortunately, the scotch ale had gone bad.  Like…really bad.  But while I sipped on a pint on Saturday night, I told myself “You know, it just tastes sour…maybe I stumbled onto how to make a sour beer.”  I searched the internet about drinking a bad batch and all signs pointed to the fact that I wouldn’t die from it.  The beer was super cloudy.

It wasn’t until the end of the pint that I told Vero “Yeah…I’m not going to drink this anymore.”  I switched over to the Christmas batch which surprisingly tasted pretty good!

The next morning, I awoke and I felt like I had a sunburn over my body.  I started to wonder where I got some sun yesterday…sure, we were out at a garage sale, but that was about it.

I had a giant rash over spots of my body…my inner arms, my face, my thighs, my feet and my hands.  Vero said that the left side of my face looked puffy and abnormal.

I’ll have to monitor the situation but at this point, with limited knowledge, I’m assuming that maybe this is an allergy to the yeast in the sour batch.  Or I could be allergic to the Christmas batch.  I dumped the bad batch and I’ll wait awhile before diving back into the Christmas batch.

Note: If the beer tastes pretty sour…don’t bother with the entire pint thinking you stumbled upon something magical!

Broken Tooth

I’m officially an old man.

No, I’m not talking about Sierra’s old man, I’m talking about a man of age and wisdom!

I was eating crackers while walking around on break yesterday and I felt a cracker stuck in between my teeth.  Like every other human being on the planet, I used my tongue to try and get it out.  It just wasn’t budging.

It wasn’t until five minutes later that I realized that a cracker wasn’t stuck between my teeth….part of my back molar had chipped off and left a jagged edge!

What the heck?!  What is going on here?

Luckily there was no pain and it didn’t get any worse throughout the day.  The dentist tells me these things happen sometime.  Is this true?  Do people have pieces of their teeth just chip off when eating crackers?  I need some feedback on this one!

As it stands, I got it polished up so it doesn’t slice my tongue and I’ll get it filled in next week.

Welcome to old age my young friend.  It’s been a good ride until now.  Your body is essentially like an eight year old Mazda3…rusting from the inside!

Sierra’s First Birthday


Killer smile!

Sierra’s first birthday was a resounding success (that’s what she reported).

The formula to a successful birthday is calculated as such:

  • Sleep in an hour later
  • Have a killer breakfast
  • Have a party where you are the center of attention
  • Have some icing
  • Open some gifts
  • Go for a three hour nap in the afternoon
  • Live like a queen for the rest of the night
  • Don’t get bit by a mosquito while sleeping

Vero spent the past two weeks planning Sierra’s birthday and it paid off in spades.  The only thing I felt bad for was how she spent so much time trying to figure out how to make a cake that doesn’t contain milk or soy…and then Sierra just ate the icing and none of the cake!  Ah well, she looked like she was enjoying the icing.

Super special thanks to everyone who showed up for the party.  It was a fantastic afternoon to hang outside (other than the million mosquitoes) and I’m glad that everyone seemed well fed.  I have to say it’s a lot harder to make sure everyone is well fed at a one year old’s birthday party compared to the Christmas party where it’s basically a potluck.

Some highlights:

  • When a kid comes upstairs and says that something is broken downstairs, you know it’s going to be bad.  Turns out it was Uncle Greg’s record player.  The hinge broke off while the kids were playing around there.  I’ll have to fix that up.  At least it wasn’t the TV!
  • Ethan, who generally is the go-to drummer in the gang of kids, comes upstairs and declares “It’s much too loud downstairs!”.  It definitely was.  I’m pretty sure we’ve created a new kids band.
  • Sierra loved the cake icing!  I was quite surprised at how much she was into it.
  • Rob pressure washing my lawnchairs (aka, getting around to something I needed to do) was a good sight to behold.

Onto the photos, taken mostly by our resident photohound Mike!

It’s pretty lonely waiting for your party to start.

She wasn’t eating too much lunch as she was eyeing up the feast about to come her way.

Sierra was super lucky to have a lot of friend visit and shower her with gifts.  Please note that the shirt I’m wearing was the same I wore a year ago when she was born!

The main event!

Keep the eye on the prize kid.

I’m surprised she hasn’t dug into that cake yet!

I made a comment about all the people who wandered in behind Sierra during the photoshoot.  Then I realize I was as guilty as the rest.  Ah well, focus on the happy girl!


Has there ever been a happier birthday girl?  Nope.

At one point Sierra threw the cake off the side of her tray and Vero caught it.  Vero thought it would be funny if she smeared icing on my face.  It wasn’t funny.

This is the point of the day where we are wondering when she is going to dig into the actual cake.  Spoiler: she doesn’t.

One year old!

Ok, enough photos of Sierra, let’s take a look at who else was around…

Grace, who was clearly happy about being here.

This photo probably has a limited life on this site as Ferda will email me and say “For Pete’s sake, take the photo of Kaya picking his nose off of your site!”  Get it while it lasts folks!  Let’s also remember how Cora was in behind Ferda and somehow managed to make her mom fall down on the floor, head over heels.

Ben, showing us all how it’s done with Ellie.

Killer birthday card!

I love Krista’s face in this one.

Every party always has the child possessed by a demon.  Hey, yet another photo that will probably need to come down after Chantal asks for it down.

Here’s a better shot.

Here’s an even better shot!

Jenna hanging out next to the doll that was called Jenna on the package.


Killer time with the trooper helmet!

Sierra hanging out in the lawn away from the party.

Vero and I are super excited for the upcoming year of Sierra’s life and we had a fantastic time with her in the past year.  Bonne fete Sierra!

Sierra at eleven months

I swear I have messed up on the counting along the way…oh well, here is Sierra’s final month before her birthday!

Sierra was helping me put up some safety locks on the doors.  Little did she know that she was an instrument in her own unhappiness.

We kept telling her it was too early in the year to go into the hot tub with her new toy but she wouldn’t hear it!

Look at those chompers!

We’ve had a lot of fun carrying around Sierra on our front.  However, she was getting a little too heavy to make it a fun activity so we found this backpack that Anne-Marie hd given us.  Two thumbs up for this thing!  We’ve brought her up a few times and she LOVES it.

Here is a photo of the Ottawa river.  In the distance you can see how high the water was getting.  It was nearly touching the bottom of the Chaudiere bridge!  That is quite ridiculously high…there’s usually a 100 foot drop to the water!

Etienne and I went down to get a closer view of the action.  Look at that pipe swaying back and forth!  Shortly after this, they had blocked off access to this stairwell.  I can see why!

Etienne and I scoping out the damage.

Almost a year later, Sierra finally gets to take her new wheels out for a spin!  Mom and Dad bought this at the Vars garage sale a year ago.

Etienne and I had a good vantage point of our colleague Claudia’s going away party.

I’m not sure how doing the same thing day in and day out can be…but she always loves putting this stuff on the floor!

I love how it looks like she is taking out her tooth!

*cue the maniacal laughter*

All aboard the SS Toybox!

Multiply this by 1,000 times and this is basically Vero’s typical day.

Fun at the playground!

I may or may not have had a hand in giving Sierra a new hairstyle.  I call it ‘finger in the electrical socket’

I finally picked up a Raspberry Pi!  Pretty amazing how small this thing is…the size of a credit card!

I went to the Ottawa ComicCon with Trish.  We vowed not to go back unless something amazing was happening and then John Cusack swooped in and won Trish’s heart.  However, the coolest panel was a retrospective on the show ‘You can’t do that on television!’.  I had no idea it was filmed in Ottawa until many years later.  Turns out that these kids had this acting gig just like you and I have a part time job at Wal-Mart.  Some of their classmates didn’t even know the show they were on!  Very neat to see some of the cast get together and share their stories.

Shopping date!


I love the dinosaur jacket that Nicki got for Sierra!

Here’s a pro tip for all you Dads out there.  If you are going to head out for a hike in the woods near the cemetery with your daughter on your back, make sure you take a close look at the forecast.  We were deep in the woods when this massive downpour hit us!  We hoofed it back home in the pouring rain.  Poor Sierra’s hands were freezing but once I got her home, I found that she wasn’t wet under her dinosaur jacket so at least she wasn’t cold all over.  I warmed her up with a blanket and we were fast friends again!

Doing some gardening.

Ruining some pictures and having some fun at Tulip Festival with Etienne, Emilie, Andree and Nat.

Speaking about tulips, this is how my front yard turned out with those Canada 150 bulbs…Mom, how do yours look?

You’ve seen one tulip, you’ve seen them all.  Time to take a break.

I don’t know what this tree is in our yard, but it blooms for a few days in the spring.  Here’s a lovely shot of my wife.

I mean, HERE is the lovely shot of my wife.

Here’s how my brain works.  I look at something (like my driveway) and say “Psh, there’s no maintenance needed!” and I leave it for years.  Then I notice neighbours getting their driveway sprayed and I think “Ah, I don’t need that.  Even if I did, I can do it myself.”  Then a few years go by and I actually do research and realize that maybe it’s a good thing to seal my driveway every few years to make it last longer.  So I spend a few years thinking “Yeah, I should look into how much it costs and what’s the best way to do it myself etc etc etc.”

Fast forward to seeing some guys doing all my neighbours driveways.  I walk over, ask if they can do my driveway and then slap $500 in their pocket.  Sometimes procrastination is ridiculous and you just need to go for it.  Plus, if all your neighbours are getting it done, you’re not the only one getting screwed if something goes wrong!

I had a good laugh at this sign in the washroom at Pele Mele.









Sierra at ten months (continued)

Wow, I don’t think I’ve ever seen Sierra happier!

Check out that huge plate of food for her!

Sierra sure loves the swing set.

It’s been an interesting month here in Ottawa.  Many houses were flooded on the Gatineau and Ottawa side.  It’s quite crazy to think of how powerful water can be when it wants to be.  Here’s a picture of the walking path near the river.  To give it some context, I generally sit on the rocks near the river and let my legs hang over.  To give some further context, a week after this photo was taken, the water had risen so much that I had to blaze a trail through the woods because it was impossible to walk on the path.  Weeks later, my office building was closed for a few days so I helped out with filling sandbags in Rockland.  My body ached for days afterwards!

Sierra getting ready to rock out!

Sierra having fun outside after a long winter.

THIS is why we had a child!

Sierra is SUPER happy that Danny and Mike came for a visit.


Speaking about visitors, Abbey, Maureen and John dropped for a few days as well!


Hanging out down at the playground.

I’m pretty sure they were creating some device to snatch cookies from the cupboard.

Oh Google Photo collage, how I love thee.

Fun times with times with Uncle Ryan.

Abbey and Sierra playing!

Sierra has seen more tunnel action than the Ninja Turtles!

As the Spring arrives, the goatee tends to leave the building.  I wanted Sierra to see what was going on so she wouldn’t be too freaked out with a clean shaven Dad.

Not sure if she likes it…

I got the approval!

These chip bags are hilarious!

That was a successful month!  Onto the next!



Memory: Happy 40th Birthday Star Wars

First off…let’s take a look at where I was ten years ago:

Happy Birthday Star Wars

Man, those fish and chips from the Blackburn Arms sound amazing.

I was trying to see if I had already written a blog post about my introduction to Star Wars, but it doesn’t look like it!

This is still my greatest pumpkin accomplishment!

I have memories of sitting in the guest room in the basement and there was a television set up there.  I remember watching MCTV and there was a movie on.  I had no idea what this movie was but it involved a giant snow planet and some dudes riding on some kind of creatures.  I remember watching the entire thing and not really understanding a whole lot of what was going on, but hey, as a kid, how much do you REALLY understand of a movie?  Not much.  You just understand awesome visuals and action sequences and good guys kicking ass.  The Empire Strikes Back has all of that and more!  Of course, I wouldn’t even know the title of that movie until later.

I always love how Mike dressed up as George Lucas for Halloween!

Fast forward to an evening over at my parents friends place…Ernie and Gloria (I believe?).  What are you going to do when you bring your kids to an evening of fun?  Set them up in front of the television with some movies of course!  This was a big deal.  I remember us renting a VCR from time to time, but these folks actually owned one.  “I can watch movies on demand?”  “You sure can kid, why don’t you watch these films called Star Wars.”

Star Wars brothers in arms.

I remember being mesmerized by Star Wars and then we popped the other movie in and it turned out to be the same movie that I had seen on that Sunday afternoon in my basement!  I have no idea what time frame elapsed between the two events…it could have been a week, it could have been years.  Either way, I finally knew the name of the film I had seen and it was time to watch it again.

A new fan in the making!

That’s my introduction to Star Wars.  The Empire Strikes Back still has a spot in my heart as the best Star Wars film, although I have to say Rogue One is pretty darn close to it.  Benoit and I always debate which is better (his favourite is A New Hope) and I’ve realized that maybe everyone’s favourite is always their first.  Because your first experience of something you love will always leave an impressionable mark on a young boy.

Strong with the smiles, this one is!

It’s an exciting time to be a Star Wars fan, let alone be a geek.  Sierra is already becoming a fan through osmosis.  I can’t wait to see what the next forty years brings in the land we call a galaxy far, far away.

I can’t stop laughing at this one of Sierra!

This was from the Star Wars in Concert event in Ottawa.  They had some cool props.




Dropping Sierra off at daycare for the first (Vero did a few times last week but this was my first) is an interesting experience.

When I leave her in the arms of a stranger and she looks at me and starts crying, my brain says “Hey, this is what we all signed up for.  Just leave the kid and walk out the door.” but my heart goes “WHAT AM I DOING?!  MY BABY IS CRYING AND I JUST HANDED HER TO A STRANGER AND AM LEAVING HER THERE!  I NEED TO QUIT MY JOB!”

So…it was an interesting experience.  I’m sure it gets better for everyone eventually!