Fits and Starts

Well, the settling in to life in Kelowna continues and likely will for some time. I don’t know about you but it has always taken me a while to get fully settled after a move. We have made progress though, and each day we continue to fine tune our home. The ‘stuff’ we have though continues to overwhelm me at times.

I continue to work on the Family Tree, interspersed with tasks around the home and hanging out with Madden and Ivy. Fits and Starts would be a good way to describe it. That said though I have made some good progress and come across more family information. As of yet I have still not made that connection across the pond for the original Sklapsky in North America.

I have, however, made a connection in Maureen’s side of the family, a ‘first wife’ to her Grandfather that (as best I know) was not previously identified. It’s that kind of find that inspires and motivates me.

All good stuff.

Home, Away from Home – Part 3

Part III – Move to the City

After doing what had to be done to prepare for an extended time away from Castlegar we returned back to Kamloops to do some additional searching around the area. I’m a bit saddened to say but the challenges of finding a place I’d be happy to stay at was indeed a challenge. If they were nice they were largely unfurnished, if they were furnished they were largely ‘not nice’. In the end though we finally found what would become my new home for the next few months, a furnished basement suite in the area of Kamloops called “Juniper Ridge”.

My Place

From that point on I began to develop a love for the clear skies and broad vistas of 1300 Finlay.


Over the coming months I’d take hundreds of photos I’m sure. The changing skies and beautiful sunrises and sunsets provided me with lots of enjoyment.

[singlepic id=51 w= h= float=center]

My work days would be a bit limited the first few weeks however as I’d stipulated before I began that some ‘blackout’ days would occur. We had a few trips planned over the next months and I wasn’t going to change that, after all fun is fun and work is work.

It was our delight to take Madden with us again as well.

On our Adventure

After only a few weeks in Kamloops we departed in early August for a driving vacation through Washington, Oregon, and back into BC. The culmination of that trip would be my nephew’s wedding.

July – Let the Adventures Begin, Part II

Part II – Job taken

If you recall my previous post we had just decided to make a quick trip to look at a job I (Dwayne) was offered at Domtar…..

Needless to say my abrupt return to the role of gainfully employed was not without it’s challenges. The first of many was a quick trip to Kamloops to complete the formal interview process. While I essentially had the job I felt it prudent to at least go to site and at least see what I was getting myself into. That and my potential employers could size me up and see what they were going to get for their efforts as well.

Our, Maureen and I, first order of business was to de-camp in Christina Lake, where as I said we were comfortably set up and enjoying our visit with Madden. Did I mention it was his first camping trip? And we were so happy to have him, it blessed us with many memories.

At any rate we left the lake and made a quick trip home with the trailer, to drop it and the truck off and to quickly repack for a brief return trip to Kamloops. Some things had to be taken care of first though, one of which was to go see Dad and tell him of our plans. He could see Madden again too which was always a treat for him. (Forgive the photo, it was taken by one of the Care Aides. I don’t think photography was her niche.)

[singlepic id=46 w= h= float=right]

We soon loaded the car and set out for some more fun and adventure. A road trip was in order and Madden was up to the challenge.

Off on our adventure

Our travels to Kamloops led us back through Kelowna where we Had to stop and say Hi to Ivy, our new Grand-daughter. Couldn’t pass up a chance to connect with her again. After all it may be days before we see her again, and you know how young’uns change.

[singlepic id=47 w= h= float=none]

We started off our visit to Kamloops by finding and setting up shop in a local hotel. We expected to be there a day or two and having left the trailer behind we had no place to stay. Maureen tended to Madden’s needs in the pool or back in the room while I went to the mill for the morning to determine my fate. Madden quickly adapted to the trip and being away from home though, and his behaviour continued to be exceptional throughout the coming week. Bear in mind these are all first times for him as well, and I hope he enjoyed being with us as much as we did with him.

[singlepic id=45 w= h= float=none]

The rest is history as they say. After hearing the offer and understanding that it was only going to be 3 – 6 months (ya right) I chose to take the job. It was a new adventure for us and now additional plans had to be made. We had to return Madden to his folks, travel yet again back to Castlegar, and prepare for a somewhat longer stay in Kamloops. Finding a place to live there would soon prove to be interesting.

Stay tuned for the next phase….

Just Another Day

The morning started as any other, I awoke, stretched, put on my pants, and pondered what lay ahead. What would my day bring?

While this sounds like the intro to a cheesy novel it is in fact how things began, how it always begins. I know the many hours ahead include work, some adventure, some stress. It’s not without it’s positive moments but lately that isn’t enough.

I swapped one pair of boots for another, but now…..

These boots are made for walking
And that’s just what they’ll do
One of these days these boots
Are gonna walk all over you

[singlepic id=37 w= h= float=left]

[singlepic id=38 w= h= float=right]

I started this adventure in July of last year, the ‘adventure’ being my temporary employment at Domtar, in Kamloops. It was to be a temporary gig, 3 to 6 months they said, until they could find someone to replace me. Rather it was until they found someone to replace me… replace my predecessor. That’s fine I said, I look forward to the change, and the challenge.

This is not to say I wasn’t perfectly happy in my retirement mind you, I loved it and I yearn to return. As I tell the story I was happily sitting in my lawn chair, at Christina Lake, with my grandson in my lap when I got the fateful call.


He said, “Dwayne, can you come give us a hand”. Hmmm, what would I be gaining vs what would I be giving up??

Dragon's cape
I'll be back....
Sittin' by the fire

You tell me, what did I gain and what did I give up?

I still put my pants on in the morning, but they’re long, not short. Soon I tell myself, soon.

Busy Summer So Far

Many apologies for the gap between my posts, it’s been an action packed summer and there’s been either little time available, or a diminishing energy in the available time, to sit down and write. I also often feel like all I do is apologize here so I will attempt to change that. So there, I’m not sorry.

So far this summer vacation we’ve either been camping, visiting Kelowna, or out and about gallivanting to other locales. This past week we’ve had some quiet time at home and so far we are relishing it. Our original plan was to go to the GoodGuys car show in Spokane Wash. this weekend but we ran out of steam and said “Hey, let’s do something different and just stay home”. So we did.

There have also been very few calls about Dad this week, or requirements for attention, and that helps. It seemed I was making frequent trips in to see him and either take him to the Doctor or the hospital. Thankfully he is at his home now and let’s hope it stays that way for a while. He is having more and more challenges walking due to a numbness in his right leg. That could be due to a pinched nerve in his back or it’s possible he’s suffered another minor stroke. Whatever the cause it is handicapping him even more and making him prone to stumble and fall, of which he’s done enough lately, thank you very much.

As I mentioned we’ve made a number of trips to Kelowna to see the kids and while I thoroughly enjoy it I also miss the quiet and solitude of home. I think I must be becoming a curmudgeon or something, my old age (joke) is starting to show in my love of just sitting in my rocking chair and smoking my pipe. To be truthful I have neither a rocker nor a pipe but the analogy stands, I like my space and being away limits my options to write, putter in the yard, or read. And I’m not complaining either. I know I have a great life!

Don’t get me wrong, I love being with the fam and after even a week away from them I’m looking at pictures of them and wishing I were there. Ah….., the inconsistencies of life.

We have also been camping, a few times, sometimes alone and once with some friends from Japan. Our friend Yuzo brought his 13 year old daughter Lisa to Canada from Japan. It was her first time here and he brought her to broaden the English skills she’s acquiring in school. Yuzo was once one of our homestay students for a brief time, taking the ESL course (English as a Second Language) at Selkirk College. We tried to fill their visit with some memorable occasions, tours of Mission Hill winery, camping, and of course dinner at the Colander. Lisa loves Justin Bieber and at the Colander we were fortunate to be served by a Justin lookalike.

For camping we were very fortunate to get one of the best sites at Syringa, totally by luck and Maureen’s hard work (I also think Karma). Lisa thought the water in the lake was a bit chilly but it was sure refreshing on the hot days.

Maureen and I certainly had a great week as well and loved spending time with both Yuzo and Lisa. It’s been about 11 years or so since I saw Lisa last, the last time was during my visit to their home in 2001. Lisa was just a toddler then, and as evidenced by the photos below she created a new way to signal “peace”. We used that method numerous times during their trip. Yuzo has come ‘home’ to Castlegar to visit a few times.

So when all is said and done “a good time was had by all”. I look forward to our next visit, perhaps it will be there. Only time will tell.

Camper’s Delight

Here we go again, another tour of duty in the Camper’s Delight, another week at Syringa Creek Park.

This ‘tour’ will encompass staying in 2 separate sites, each had to be reserved using the BC Camping reservation system (much to our dismay) and each site had both positives and negative characteristics. The reason for 2 different sites was our inability to get into a vacant site in the ‘first come, first served’ side. Perhaps if we stayed out here on standby and waited for a vacancy before we pounced we may have been successful but we didn’t. After one attempt to secure a vacancy we fell back to the possibility of finding one through the reservation system. We weren’t able to find a continuous period available but were able to secure 2 sites with availability back to back. They’re in different areas but one move within the campsite was doable.

Being the camping snobs we are we have begun to rate each site and try to determine the pros and cons of each. I could go into the findings here but needless to say regardless of each site’s good and bad features we will soldier on and attempt to have a good time regardless.

This photo below was taken on the beach below our present site, on the water side. We have our own beach don’tcha know. Not much sand (read that as none) but the view is still awesome and it reinforces my ongoing mantra “Sure a good life we lead, isn’t it?”


We’ve gone for a couple dips in the lake to cool off and while the water is still pretty chilly it does refresh one’s spirit if you choose to dive into it. That chore fell to me alone as Maureen is more the ‘creep in slowly’ kinda girl. I find just diving in head first is the most beneficial. Just gitter’ done.

So this post is short and somewhat sweet. We only came to town to take care of some things and then back to the lake we go. Perhaps I’ll see you soon, after this tour of duty is complete.


Blogging on the Road

I’m blogging on the the road, well, not really ON the road but blogging from the road. We are camping, I am attempting to blog.

Given no Internet at our location, or cell service where I could tether my laptop to my phone, I am concerned about creating a post on my phone then losing it before I can send. I’ve had situations similar to this before where I create an award winning post on my phone, perhaps even insert some iphoneography, then go to make a change or two, and WHOOSH, lose the whole damn works. Frustrating to say the least!

This version of WordPress mobile seems more stable though so let’s hope all goes well. First I need to come up with something to write and then get ‘pen to paper’ and ensure whatever I write is saved. Unfortunately I won’t really know whether it worked until after I hit “send”.

As I said we are camping. We only went as far as our local Provincial Park but it’s one of my favourites so I figure how wrong can you go. In a pinch we can zip home for that last minute “need” but with our checklists and some experience under our belts how wrong can you go. So far I think we have all we need, outside of Internet for example. And let’s face it, that’s not a need at all, merely a strongly desired and well supported habit.

It’s beautiful here. I’ve always liked it at Syringa Creek Park and it is certainly one of my top picks. It may not be for everyone however. My wife relates an experience that she had a year or two ago when checking out the available sites prior to moving the trailer out. She saw a couple de-camping and asked if they happen to be moving on. They replied yes, in fact they didn’t like it here and were anxious to get out. As they relayed to my wife, “there’s too many trees”.

Now that is exactly what I like about it here, the trees, the water, the mountains. To me it’s Gods country. Yes I know God is everywhere, and this country of ours epitomizes the varied beauty, the ‘something for everyone’. I feel no shame in saying that this is my beauty, this is the type of terrain I love. If only I had Internet here.