Dinner With Dad

One of the best ways to get kids who are reluctant eaters (how is it that I end up with a reluctant ester?) to eat is to make bizarre things out of the food. 

Last night I decided to make a low level Jenga game of the potatoes I had chopped into French fry shape. 

While we were eating the object of the game was to extract the baked fries one at a time without making the entire pan collapse. 

They ate the entire pan of potatoes. Mission accomplished. 

Burquitlam Safeway Grand Opening

Friday was the grand opening of the Burquitlam location of the newest Safeway in Metro Vancouver and I have to admit, I was quite impressed with the design and layout of the new store.

Burquitlam Safeway

You enter the new store at ground level where there is a sort of market section; there are bulk boxes of fruits and veggies and a floral department.

I suppose they needed to do something with the ground floor because it is the level where people enter from but it is not the main part of the store. Perhaps this area will be sub-leased once the Burquitlam area becomes more fully developed.

Burquitlam Safeway

Then when you come upstairs into the main floor of the store there is a real “market like” feel. It is almost like many small market stalls inside one store. There is a Starbucks, a Bento Box/Sushi place, a thin crust, made fresh on site pizza place, a sandwich store, a fresh juice stall, and more.

Burquitlam Safeway

The feeling that I got from this new location of Safeway is a combination of Whole Foods and Thrifty’s Food. It has a warm and welcoming feel to the store with lower light levels than the typical surgical room brightness that so many stores still use.

Yes, the “main” part of the store, where the shelves of canned and preserved foods are on display is still brightly lit, but they got the lighting right in the market place.

I have to admit, I spent most of my time wandering around what I call the “market place” where all the ready to take and eat foods and the fresh fruits and veggies are on display.

Burquitlam Safeway

The soup stand.

Burquitlam Safeway

Burquitlam Safeway

The juice bar. Fresh juices made on site. Including with wheat grass – an idea my Bears were completely perplexed by, “People eat grass?”

Burquitlam Safeway

As I said, there is a clear focus on convenience foods in the Burquitlam Safeway. Food s you can take away and quickly re-heat or take away already hot. I assume the designers of the store are counting on the residents of the surrounding residential towers being frequent shoppers.

Burquitlam Safeway

Burquitlam Safeway

There is also an impressive selection of baked goods and seafood in the market place.

Burquitlam Safeway

Burquitlam Safeway

Seafood display including an aquarium of doom. My Bears wanted me to buy all the lobsters and crabs on display and free them. However, they also wanted me to buy some of the scallops that were on display and take them home to cook and eat.

Burquitlam Safeway

Burquitlam Safeway

There is pretty impressive selection of cheeses on display.

Burquitlam Safeway

The deli meats.

Burquitlam Safeway

The specialty deli meats.

Burquitlam Safeway

And the veggies. Very beautifully displayed. Time will tell if these pretty displays last or if they are too “pretty” and not actually practical.

Burquitlam Safeway

The prices, at first glance they seem competitive…although I was not really paying attention to the prices. I was focused on the design and layout of the store.

Burquitlam Safeway

More produce on display.
Burquitlam Safeway

There is also a large of selection of bulk foods in the Burquitlam Safeway. I have to admit that this is basically as far into the main part of the store that I ventured. I will explore more of the store on my next visit – including finding how Safeway has managed to build a liquor store into this location.

Burquitlam Safeway

Burquitlam Safeway

One more thing I did notice; the check-out counters are thoughtfully designed. While there are some “self checkout” counters, there are also checkout counters that are staffed.

The checkouts are far enough apart that people with strollers, wheelchairs, or buggies full of goods are not being squeezed through a chute like cattle. Thoughtful.

My first impressions of the store are quite positive. On my next visit I will be sure to more closely check prices, find the liquor in the store, and get into the main part of the store.


My Big Orange Bike; the Raleigh Retroglide

If you have been following my blog for awhile now you will know that last summer I suffered a strange shoulder injury that basically debilitated me. I was unable to do much of anything; possibly the worst part was that I could not ride my bicycle nor my motorcycle.

I could no longer bear any weight on my arms or shoulders. No more riding my beloved Kona mountain bike. No more riding my motorcycle.

I love riding a bicycle. I love the feeling of rolling along with the wind whistling by me.

Raleigh Retroglide

Seeing as I am still unable to bear any weight on my shoulders, I decided to get a different style of bike than my mountain bike; a bike that I can sit upright on and not have to ride while putting weight on my shoulders.

I bought a cruiser!! I call it my Raleigh Retroglide my Big Orange Cruiser.

Buying a new bike is an interesting experience these days. Of course before I bought a new bike I went online and did a bunch of research. I researched bicycle manufacturers, bicycle shops, and styles of bikes.

The bike manufacturer I settle on was Raleigh. And the style of bike I settled on was Raleigh’s Retroglide 7.

Next, decide which shop to purchase from. I did the thing where you can find a shop from the Raleigh webpage and narrowed it down to a couple shops – North Van, Langley, and East Vancouver.

Raleigh Retroglide

Once I had narrowed my search to three shops I looked at the shops’ Facebook pages. Any shop that allows customers to post comments and reviews on their Facebook page is doing something right in my opinion. And the comments on the Bikes For All FB page were overwhelmingly positive, nay, they were gushing with praise for the shop’s approach to business!

Off I went on a Sunday afternoon to visit Bikes for All on East 7th Ave in Vancouver.

Raleigh Retroglide

When I got to the shop I talked to sales people and discussed my situation. They listened to me and then made suggestions of a couple of other bike styles. They really made sure I was fully aware of what I was talking about!

The fact is, a Cruiser, a bike like the Raleigh Retroglide is a very unique ride. It is nothing like a mountain bike. And the staff at Bikes For All know their bikes and they know that a not everybody is going to like the ride of a Cruiser.

They pulled out a Hybrid bike and let me ride it around the neighbourhood. They pulled out a less-extreme cruiser style bike and let me ride it around the neighbourhood. They pulled out the Raleigh Retroglide 7 and let me ride it around the neighbourhood.

And you know, I liked the feeling of the hybrid. I liked the feeling of the other cruiser style bike. But I LOVED the feeling of the Raleigh Retroglide 7!!

Raleigh Retroglide

So I bought the Raleigh Retroglide 7 – my Big Orange Cruiser!!

And for the record, I have written this blog post with absolutely no compensation of any kind from Bikes For All.






The Dead Raccoon; the Final Chapter

The final chapter in the dead raccoon saga. The raccoon moves on.

On the dead raccoon; after coming home and finding there was still a large dead raccoon in my driveway I realized that it was time for action.

Dead Raccoon
Dead Raccoon

In the morning at 0630hr I called the 24 hour Emergency Services for Water, Sewer and Roads. Ryan was the happy voice of our city who had the pleasure of taking my call.

In a very stern voice I simply said, “Ryan. I justed wanted to let you know there is a large dead raccoon on the side of the road in front of my house. (Notice I did not say “in my driveway”) My address is Blah-Blah-Blah Crescent. There are no outward signs of trauma on the raccoon and he is not bleeding out. But he is definitely dead. Will you let your people know so they can come and get it? Thanks.”

When I got home from work the raccoon had moved on.

However, shortly after that call, I was sitting and looking out the window watching the rain falling and wondering about the raccoon’s life when a teenage male came slouching up the street, head down, hoodie up. He got to within three feet of the raccoon before he saw the dead beast.

Now I have to admit, the raccoon was quite fierce looking. He had all his teeth bared and his little feet with claws exposed were rather ominous. He appeared ready to rip someone or something to shreds.

When the teenager got to within three feet of that coon he made eye contact with it. And once he made eye contact you knew he was not going to make any physical contact. He turned around as quick as a wink and ran, arms flailing, fists pumping, legs taking massive, awkward strides while his coat and hoodie flew off his head. He was more like a cartoon figure than any cartoon figure I have ever seen.

Shit, it was the funniest thing I have ever seen.

The Dead Raccoon

This is one of the most popular blog posts I have ever written. It is actually a three part series, so here is the first part of the dead raccoon saga.

So I have very large and very dead raccoon laying in my driveway and I have no idea what to do about it.

Dead Raccoon
Dead Raccoon

Just for the record, the large rock near the dead raccoon’s head was placed there as a warning to other beasts (and crows) of what might befall them if they come too close. It was in no way involved in his death.

Being the kind of guy who likes to take care of things like this as soon as possible, I raced back in the house and told my Sweetheart to do something about the dead raccoon in our driveway.

My Sweetheart is also the kind of person who likes to take care of things like dead raccoons right away so she phoned the SPCA. When they heard we lived in the suburbs they just said, “We don’t come out there.” They said call someone in your own city.

Sweetheart calls City of Coquitlam Animal Shelter. “We don’t deal with stuff like that. Just put on double rubber gloves and a hazmat suit that is impermeable to claws, in case he comes alive, and double bag him in a garbage bag then put him in your trash can.”

Well I’m not letting my Sweetheart do something as dangerous as that. No way. So I told her to keep calling other agencies while I Googled what to do with dead raccoons in your driveway.

BC Wildlife was the next call. As soon as they heard it was dead they lost all interest. I suppose they didn’t hear me in the background saying, “It’s not dead yet, it’s just sleeping!” They didn’t care. All I heard was a “click.”

Thankfully it is not too warm outside or he might be getting kind of stinky. Tomorrow I will load him into a cardboard box and take him down to Coquitlam City Hall to get the definitive answer of what I am supposed to do with him.

Updates tomorrow I suppose.

Gaining Pinterest Followers

Against my better judgement I have entered a friendly competition with another blogger to see who can gain the most Pinterest followers.

At the start of the competition we both had about 50 Pinterest followers. She-who-I will-not-name now has 70 followers and I have 66 Pinterest followers. Clearly, she has taken an early lead.

My Pinterest feed is primarily about food with some stuff about teaching and some about leather working. But the good stuff…lots on that!!

Can you help a guy out? If you are on Pinterest, give me a follow? If you want to find me, I  am Stacey Robinsmith at Pinterest.