I’m Baaaack

Like the prodigal son I’ve returned home. I brought Mom back from Edmonton yesterday and because my sister Brenda is doing so much better we felt now was the time.

Brenda woke up on Friday and while she is still a long way from ‘good’ she is doing much better, and actually improved over what the doctors had expected by this time. She was off all machines and could communicate a little through hoarse whispers and raised eyebrows. Funny, attitude can be found at all times and in all places.

While she is recuperating to the next stage of wellness we thought a reprieve would be in order for us. Mom certainly needed a break from the daily visits to Brenda’s bedside and I’ll admit I was yearning for one myself.

Mom, Me, Auntie Muriel, Linda, Lloyd
Mom, Me, Auntie Muriel, Linda, Lloyd

We came home in two days, leaving Edmonton on Saturday morning and stopping for a short time in Carstairs to visit my Auntie Muriel. At the same time we also had a brief visit with my cousin Linda and her husband Lloyd. I was really glad to be able to see them. Sometimes I feel like we don’t do that enough.

After our visit we got back on the road and headed south again to Okotoks, where we stayed overnight with my niece and family. It was one of their many busy weekends, with many sports events for their kids and my great-nephew Dryden’s First Communion on Sunday. We weren’t able to take part in any of the events but were with them in spirit.

Sophia, Me, and Bretlyn
Sophia, Me, and Bretlyn

The morning we left I was able to get my photo with a couple of my great-nieces though. Unfortunately I missed a photo with my great-niece Sawyer as she was already out in the morning, off to one of her ball games, but I did snag a couple pix with Sophia and Bretlyn. The boys were not really interested and were playing hockey downstairs.

Something about being with the younger ones makes me yearn to see my own family (I’ll admit it, I’m really thinking Madden), and I suspect a road trip is in order very shortly. It’s a strange power they have over us, it’s almost like I’m going through withdrawal. That being said I made my request known to the powers that be that I’d like frequent photos sent to me while I was in Edmonton.

Madden and Ayron
Madden and Ayron

The almost daily pictures and videos helped boost my spirits and recharged me somewhat. They also reminded me of the good things in our lives, something we too often forget. It inspired me and once I get my feet back on the ground at home I’ll be planning my next road trip to Kelowna. You can never go too long without a hug from your grandchildren, or that’s my experience anyway.

First I have a few things to put to bed. I’m waaay behind in posting the pages from the Reeves memoir, and I haven’t really even begun to scan all the photos Noreen F. was kind enough to lend me. It’s another mystery to me why I find it all so interesting, the history of our families. I’m not even talking just the Sklapsky side, there’s all facets of ‘family’, my parent’s families, their parents, my wife’s family, their parents, the list goes on. Ultimately I’d like to have a bit of it all here, on sklapsky.ca. Kinda like one stop shopping.

Reeves-Sklapsky family
Reeves-Sklapsky family

On that note I’ll post one more photo. I know many of the folks in this picture, some I’m not sure of. Eventually this picture will be in the gallery and I’ll have most/all identified. If not I’d sure appreciate any help. As always an email or comment would be greatly appreciated.

Janna Olsen-Spratt – the Author

Janna Olsen-Spratt, the author.

After I re-read my previous post I think I may have been a bit remiss in not mentioning much about Mom’s books, particularly the one she was in Tucson for. That book signing was for A Path Through.

She writes under her name Janna Olsen-Spratt.  To date she’s written 3 books with more on the way, and she has a blog as well. Her books are published by Xlibris, the link to her author’s information page is here.

The books she has written so far are:

Quiet Reflections – a book on Poetry

BILLY GOAT AND THE RED NECKERCHIEF – a Children’s story, based on a tale her Uncle told her.

A PATH THROUGH – her autobiography

A PATH THROUGH , Janna Olsen-Spratt
A Path Through

You can check out all of the books here on the Amazon site:


Tucson Festival of Books

I just returned from Phoenix yesterday, where I went with my Mom to support her during her book signing duties at the University of Tucson. The University was the location of the Tucson Festival of Books where many vendors and authors, including my Mom, were present to cater to the reading public’s desires. Writers of all description were present at the Festival, and potential readers both young and old were studying their wares.

We flew down to Phoenix on Friday and stayed with family while there. They tended to our needs and drove us to the event in Tucson. They also stayed with us during the signing, took us back to their home and maintained the ‘excellent host’ badge they so deserved.

Festival of Books, authors, writers, signing, book signing
Mom at her station

Here’s Mom, settling in to her post at the Tucson Festival of Books where she’ll stay for an hour or until all the books have been signed and passed out. Diane, the girl in the photo, was her Assistant during the event.

book signing, Tuscon Festival of Books
Line formed at book signing

Once she settled in to her station Diane began handing out flyers to people passing by. Very quickly a line formed at Mom’s table and never at any point did it disappear until all books were gone. She appeared to be in her glory and she said she couldn’t believe how quickly the time went.

At one point during the signing she was surprised by my niece who also flew down to Phoenix. Mom was totally unaware of the planned surprise and leapt up with glee when Elizabeth approached her and asked to have her book signed. Mission accomplished, her elation was obvious.

If there was any downside to the trip it was that the rain came and stayed almost right through the weekend. This is apparently quite unusual for Phoenix and area whose typical rainfall is about 5″ per year. Saturday morning the temperature was about 12 degrees C, lower than normal and about the same temperature as at home.

The weather, and the fast pace of the visit, also prevented my from getting out with my camera. I had high hopes I would be able to take pictures of some of the flora and fauna but such was not to be. Any photographic opportunities would have to be done on another trip. Too bad too, I was told the Sonora desert would blossom after the rains and provide beauty and color not seen many other places. I look forward to taking advantage of that some day.

At any rate we had a great time, both during the Festival and signing and during our stay with Gayle and Steven. Hopefully they will have us again some time, I’d love to continue the visit.

Happy Birthday Madden

The last couple days have been pretty busy and the buildup to the party and subsequent “Happy Birthday Madden” was not without some stress. I guess such is the often the case when you want something to go well and you hope your planning will be for naught. We are spending some time in Kelowna so we can help wherever we can.

birthday cake, birthday, cake, 1st birthday, Happy Birthday Madden
Madden’s 1st birthday cake

The cake making and decorating went well with Ayron’s friend Ashley taking on the decorator role. The ever present “Thomas the Train” theme was the inspiration and she did an awesome job here. Watching her do her magic was enlightening, and it confirmed my thought that decorating is best left to those with steady hand and some kind of artistic ability, neither of which I have in great abundance.

I will post a few photos here for now and the majority will be put in the Gallery once I get home. I may attempt doing so from Kelowna but I’m thinking it may not go as well as hoped. Time will tell.

Here’s Madden after his first cupcake solo, no assistance required. There was some initial prompting needed to get him started but once he tasted the icing and cake he was smitten. I think he must’ve thought ‘I’ve died and gone to heaven’, or whatever a 1 year old thinks.

cupcake, cake smash, Madden, 1st birthday, Happy Birthday Madden
I’m done, gimme more

Of course the story wouldn’t be complete without a picture of me with my lil buddy.

madden, Dwayne, cupcake, Happy Birthday Madden
I feel full

I believe a good time was had by all and I do have pictures to prove it. As I said, all (or most) of the photos taken will be posted in the gallery.

Being that Madden’s ‘real’ birthday is Mar. 10th this party was set up as an occasion that I could attend. I feel blessed Ayron changed the date for me, at least in part, as I will be out of town on the actual day and wouldn’t be able to attend if it was on the weekend of the 10th. I will be coming back from Tuscon, a trip I’m taking with my Mom so she can take in a book signing at the University. I’m sure proud of her, 3 books under her belt and more to come.

hugs, Madden, Mom, birthday
Madden and Mom

Here’s one of her with Madden. Whenever she would hug him her hearing aid would ‘squeal’ and he would put his ear to hers and listen to the sound. Cute, of course.