Burgers, Bats and Monkey Bars

May 28, 2023

Around this time last year, when the flowers were in bloom, the sun-kissed sky was consistently warm, and the splash pads began to open up, I had set out a few Spring/Summer-centric goals.  Included in them were things like taking in a Jays game with the girls, making our own ice cream, and exploring at least 10 new trails and/or conservation areas.  I am proud to reflect back on each of those goals and not just say I crossed them off the list, but that I remember the experiences of each rather vividly.  Given that those goals provided memories of joy and happiness, it only seemed suiting to carve out a few more for this year; some of them repeating (we already have our Canada Day Jays tickets locked down), and some of them new.  So, here then are the Phil Bean Spring and Summer 2023 bucket list items in all their glory.

Something New

As tough as it is for me in the moment sometimes, I actually enjoy stepping out of my comfort zone.  For one thing, stepping out is happening likely a result of me learning or trying something new, which is always exciting; but it also pushes me to not just rest on my laurels and hang out in the comfort zone, watching the world pass by as I complain about how bored I might be.  So, this year, in addition to continuing my Ultimate frisbee career, I am joining a baseball team.  I’m very excited about this, though have quickly realized that, even though I’ve touted to my children since they day were born that I was once a super-star baseball player with an arm like a cannon, the legs of a road-runner, and had no trouble putting one over the fences, it’s a sport that I haven’t formally played in roughly 25 years.  It would seem that a lot about my body has changed in that time, and, though I am excited, I am in equal parts preparing myself that I may need Tommy John’s early on in the second wind of my slugging career.

Perhaps the biggest highlight of this whole endeavour for me, however, is that, with their somewhat limited exposure and understanding of the sport, for the girls – my playing baseball is equivalent to me playing in front of tens of thousands of people and they are excited to see me on TV.  Though the responsible side of me knows that I should tell them truth and reset their expectations, the 11-year old version of myself who was one day standing on the mound with dreams of pitching and playing alongside the likes of Joe Carter, John Olerud and Tom Henke, can’t seem to bring myself to do it.  (the other 11-year old version of myself is still trying to rock a moustache like Dave Stieb,..yet, even after 30+ years of not shaving, I can’t seem to pull it off.  sigh.)

The Outdoors

Last year, as mentioned, we tackled trails and conservations areas galore.  This year, we’re taking on the local playgrounds; all 27 of them (by my most recent count) located in Centre Wellington.  I’m not sure when, or how this will be accomplished, but it’s happening.

From splash pads to swing sets, parks these days offer so much for all of us kids, and it’s great to watch as my littles push themselves to climb, balance, spin and imagine their way through a wide array of opportunities.  We have our regular go-to locations nearby, but I am looking forward to making some new discoveries.


It is grilling and smoking season, so you can rest-assured that I’ll be taking full advantage of putting to extreme work my Big Green Egg and my trusted BBQ.  That said, I want to tackle something slightly different this year; not one to typically toot my own horn, I will confidently state that when it comes to preparing the perfect steak, pork shoulder or any other cut of meat, I don’t even feel challenged anymore.  I enjoy it all, but I want to master something different, and so I’m setting out this summer to perfect my own blend of cuts to create the perfect, masterful hamburger.

A staple of any backyard shindig, nothing screams summer louder than a juicy, grilled burger with all the fix-ins.  I’ve done all sorts of blends of pork and beef, mixed with every combination of seasonings you can name (really there’s nothing better than just ground beef, salt and pepper…there’s NO need to add egg, bread crumbs, or anything else for that matter to you burger).   Having said that, I’ve never before played with making my own ground, and so this year I will seek out the chuck, the brisket, the short ribs, the waygu, you name it!  I will pass them through my trusty meat grinder and I will create the perfect, umami-infused hamburger before the season is over.


Just Chillin’

The last, and perhaps most difficult to achieve goal on my list this summer is to just relax.  I’d like to reserve at least a couple of weekends or days off to not really do anything planned or scheduled.  I am certain this will steer my better half into an area of deep concern, as my ‘days off’ tend to cause me to enter a bit of a state.  I’m good with doing nothing until about 8:15am, at which point I begin to hover, get a little antsy, and, eventually, the part she dreads most: I putter.  I find projects that didn’t exists, which usually lead to costs we hadn’t planned for and acquiring tools I never knew I needed!  Yes, I recognize that my version of relaxing is a bit outside of the norm, but it brings me joy to build a ‘thing’ where the ‘thing’ didn’t exist before.  In fact, as I type this on the back porch, enjoying the morning quiet, I’m suddenly realizing that we would do well to have a shade pavilion on the deck.  Yeah, that seems like something we need.  So…yeah – I want to spend some time chililn’.

However you set your goals, plans and dates over these next several months, I hope they bring you just as much joy as I see on my own horizon.  Enjoy it, love it, take it all in.  Now then, where’s my drill?



Leave a Reply

A long overdue apology

A Chill Day

To Mom, one year later

Do You See What I See?

A Matter of Perspective

When I was your age

The Price of Everything Has Increased

We’re not done yet!

The Final Days of Summer

Just so darn proud

Because girls, I am your father

A Wedding To Remember



%d bloggers like this: