Money sense


Counting up his money

When I was little, I had a piggy bank. I loved hearing coins clinking each other when I put money in it. I remember my parents calling me an “iron chicken”–you can’t pluck a feather off of me. I have hidden all my money and gave none away.

Josh has a piggy bank too. He is a lot more generous than me. He has offered all of his money to me so we can buy a backyard. Too bad that we still can’t afford a backyard in Vancouver with all of his savings.

Anyway, Josh is in Grade 1 now. We figured it’s time to give him an allowance and teach him about money. We broke open his piggy bank that had just over $97 in it, and set up 4 jars for him:

  • Save
  • Spend
  • Give away
  • Invest

We explained that “save” is to save up for something big like a motorcycle. (Did you see how I slipped that in there? Yeah, teach them while they’re young that bikes are cool.)  “Spend” is money he gets to spend on anything he wanted, “give away” is to give away or buy food someone who doesn’t have food, and “invest” is putting money away and mommy+daddy gives you 10% interest on anything in that jar. I can’t take credit for this idea. It was stolen off the internet from some genius dad.

There is one rule: Something always has to go in the “give away” jar.

He will get $5 a week allowance to split up among his jars. It’s completely up to him how he wants to split up the money and how he wants to use it.

Then, I held my breath.

I was afraid he’s going to realize how many Pokemon cards he can get for $97 and head straight down to London Drugs to lose himself in aisle 12.

To my pleasant surprise, he put some money in each jar. When he put money in the “invest” jar, we added the equivalent of 10% in that jar for him. His eyes lit up. He realized that his money grows. He allocated more money in that jar than any other jar. He found a quarter under his bed and quickly threw that into the “invest” jar too.

The next day, Cliff took the kids to London Drugs. Josh used his money from the “spend” jar to buy some Pokemon cards, and also bought Savanna a toy. He was so happy with his new Pokemon cards. I was so happy that he felt independent, and didn’t forget to share his fortune with Savanna.





Josh also worked (taking the recycling bin to the garbage room and sorting through stuff to recycle) to make a quarter. FYI: The black and blue stuff on his face is face paint that he applied to himself. We did not beat him and make him work.

Camping with a transformer

Camping at the Paradise Valley Campground has long been a summer tradition since Cliff and I were still university students. This year is the 20th year that we’ve been camping here. The place holds a lot of great memories of hanging out with friends in the summer, even when it rained.

Since Josh was a baby, we’ve been taking him camping here. I also used to take him here a couple of times a year, and the two of us would camp. This weekend, the weather and my schedule finally cooperated together so we were able to go again.

We built a couple of awesome fires, burnt some sausage over the fire, ate junk food, and played by the river.

I loved my one-on-one time with Josh. He is naturally a positive kid with a kind heart. I can’t say I am looking forward to him growing any bigger, but he informs me that he can’t help it.



Broken angels

I was actually hoping to read more than just 2 books in August, but work has just been too busy. I read the Yellow Crocus pretty fast as it was a short book. I started the second book right away, but just haven’t gotten back to it until we took a couple of vacation days to go to Whistler with the kids. One night after the kids went to bed, I started reading. It was so good that I couldn’t put it down. By the time I finished the book, it was almost 3:30 am!

The second book I read in August is called Broken Angels. It’s a story about these heartbreaking things that happen during WWII in Poland with the Jews.

I don’t enjoy reading about war. But I do enjoy reading about the resilience of people and culture in the setting. This book is set in the same timeframe as Finding Rebecca, which I enjoyed.

As a side note, I have long ago decided that books take up too much space. As much as I enjoy reading, I don’t enjoy figuring out how to house books in our small apartment. So a few years ago I bought a Kindle. Buying a book now takes less than a minute–I click “order” on Amazon, and then press the synch button on the Kindle to download the book which is less than 30 seconds. It has been a good space saving solution for me. I also love how I can take multiple books on a trip in a small device. The display works beautifully even in sunlight. I can also set the font to large for my old

Itchy fat

I used to hate running. Every time I ran, I got the itchy fat–all the fat bits on me get super itchy–under arm, belly, the back rolls, thighs, and the butt. I would scratch my thighs and under arm so much that the red scratch marks would last for days.

But last year I endured the itchy fat so I could win a Fitbit competition with a co-worker. Then one day, I realized–I enjoyed running. Weird. I ran enough that eventually the itchy fat went away. For the past year, I ran 3 or 4 times a week. Just 5 km at a time, but I was consistent.

Then back in July, in a dumb freak incident in a swimming pool, I ripped my left big toe nail right off the nail bed. I have been living in gauze and bandages and flipflops ever since, and unable to run.

Now 6 weeks later, the nail has healed enough that I can actually wear proper shoes again. Last night, I put on my runners for the first time in a long time, and went for a short run. Oh my, the itchy fat came back with a vengeance! My entire mid section from the chest to the knees was itching so much that it felt like I was burning. I gritted my teeth and endure the itch for a very slow 4.5 km run.

Damn you, itchy fat!

hurt toe

Hobbled out of the pool after bleeding everywhere


First run in 6 weeks

To Calgary and back

A few weeks ago, I had a meeting in Kelowna, a meeting a Calgary, then another meeting in Kelowna. Rather than flying, I decided to take the motorcycle given that we’re in the middle of beautiful riding weather.

On Friday, I set off for Kelowna. The ride from Vancouver to Kelowna was uneventful. I have done the most boring Hwy 1 and the beautiful Coquihalla a number of times.

On Saturday, I left Kelowna and headed south towards Osoyoos, then east towards the Nelson. I got to Nelson around 5 pm, so I figured I had enough daylight left to cram in a bit more mileage. I went up to Belfour to catch the ferry across Kootenay Lake. By the time I got across the lake, daylight was starting to fade and I was getting pretty tired. There was nothing to stop for south bound along the lake. The road was amazing–in fact, it was hands down one of the best roads I have ever been on. I eventually rolled into Creston, and picked a motel off the highway to stay at.

Leaving Creston on Sunday, I rode through Cranbrook and Fernie, turning up north just before Lundbrek to aim at Calgary. I mean, I have always thought BC is freaking amazing, but man, I have never seen how beautiful the interior is! After living in BC for 24 years, this was my first time in the interior. I feel like I found my new favorite motorcycle roads along Kootenay Lake, and my new favorite town of Fernie with the gorgeous mountains.

Two days later, I left Calgary, riding on Hwy 1 back west. So far, I have had nothing but amazing weather. But by the time I hit Sicamous, my luck had run out. Standing in the McDonalds parking lot (to steal wifi signal), I can see the dark rain clouds ahead. From Sicamous to Vernon, heavy rain pounded on my faceshield, thunder rolled, and lightning struck. The rain water pooled in the tire grooves on the pavement, making it a bit of a scary ride along Mare Lake. I probably could have made it to Kelowna that night, but I threw in my towel in Vernon and stayed the night.

I have never seen rain in Kelowna, until this trip. The next day, after my last of the meetings in Kelowna, I rode home with rain and hail on the Coquihalla.

In total, it was 2,413 km of solo riding through some of the best roads I’ve been on, and some of the best scenery in the world.


My route tracker

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Full of dead bugs

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Beautiful Okanagan

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Kootenay Lake ferry

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Advertised as “the biggest truck in the world” in Sparwood

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The fading light in Creston, BC

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A vintage Customs office in Grand Forks

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This weather forecast gave me chills down my back. Luckily, I was a step behind the storm and avoided all of it on my way to Calgary.

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I thought I was going to get punished by the rain clouds on Hwy 22 in Alberta. Thankfully the rain held off.

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Baby tooth

Josh first tooth Aug 2

Josh lost his first baby tooth this week. He was more excited about the tooth fairy bringing him money, he was not at all bothered by the sight of blood and the gap in this teeth.

His mom, on the other hand, shed a few tears for another sign of losing her little baby to a growing boy. How can the baby phase be over so quickly? It has probably been over for a while now, but you know, she’s in denial.