On the May long weekend, my nephew who is 20 went camping with his friends . Now we’re nestled in the mountains of the Okanagan Valley but these are pretty much city kids that he went camping with.  By the description of where they ended up I don’t think they were very far out of city limits.  My nephew has his tent, sub-zero sleeping bag,hatchet, first aid kit etc. he’s kitted out on the basics picking up more things each year.  Now his friends are woefully not campers but seem more the bush party mentality type. They bring their booze, weenies and marshmallows, seriously some only brought a blanket to sleep with.   One kid had picked out a place on a map on the internet but my nephew showed me where it was and told him nice, but it was on the Penticton Indian Band and they don’t let random people camp on their property. My nephew went on google and picked out one of small lakes that dot the mountains of the Okanagan and tried to convince them that this was the place to go, but nooo…the bush leaguers just drove up the road and pulled over.  One of the citified kids didn’t even want to get out of the car, because he was afraid of deer! I wonder how someone can be brought up here and not have it register that the wildlife we share this beautiful valley are everywhere!  I would have liked to have seen his face, when they reminded him about the bears, black, cinnamon and the odd grizzly.  Not to mention the cougars.  I think seeing a moose might have really done him in.

Once when they heard a rustling in the trees some started to freak out, until out the trees came a little terrier with its owner close behind, they were that close to town that they were near a trail where people walked their dogs.  So I hope next year my Nephew has a new group of friends to go camping with, ones who are a little more adventurous and want to go and enjoy nature and are just not posers.

Camping is about getting away from it all, maybe do some fishing, exploring new trails and sharing good times with family and friends but you have to be prepared.  My nephew took an extra day off so they could have this great time and planned on staying 3 nights, but I kept saying,naw those woeful junior woodchucks that you’re going with won’t last that long.  Sometimes I hate it when I’m right, they left Friday afternoon and was back early Sunday morning.   So dear nephew for your birthday next week, I’m getting you some back country maps for British Columbia, but you’ll have to find yourself some friends who don’t think squirrels sound like Billy Connelly.

As I mentioned we share this valley with a lot of critters, the deer especially make themselves right at home.  We currently have in our townhouse complex a resident doe, she has made herself  Queen of Tiffany Gardens.  She also has recently given birth to twins.  I keep telling the caretaker to call the wildlife branch because we’re not doing the three of them any favours.  The fawns will be too imprinted by humans and won’t be afraid.  They’re just going to cause an accident, not to mention all the foliage that they’re eating. They love flowers also, I think the flowers are addicting for them, like some people are addicted to junk food. We have beautiful landscaping in this complex so I’m surprised more people haven’t taken action to have her and her family removed.   It’s always fun until someone pokes an eye out or steps in deer poop.

The Queen of Tiffany Gardens also seems to have an infatuation with the neighbours motorcycle, she hangs around it every morning.  She must think he is the quiet moody type, doesn’t talk  much.  She loves all the paparazzi that stop and take pictures of her, I hope they don’t learn about her thing with the motorcycle we could have a Angie, Brad, Jennifer scandal here, except it would a Queen,Brad and Harley(Brad just happens to be the bike owner’s name).  Better keep our eyes out for Billy Bush or Harvey Levin and the gang from TMZ.

So along with the ducks, quail, marmots, geese and deer and seniors on scooters…Good Evening from the petting Zoo..Azpen

Hi Mr. Hamilton…

Ahh, rainy June day, this was the kind of day it was when we first moved here from Regina.  The  exotic fragrance from the cherry blossoms was intoxicating to four little kids from the prairies.  Even though “Peaches and Beaches” was smaller than the capital city of Saskatchewan in the 70’s, then and now it seemed so much more that summer.  We could walk to a bona fide beach  that had  sand and not rocks ,a warm lake  that didn’t have a drop off after a couple of feet, it was awesome.  My brothers in their little red and white swim trunks and skinny scary white bods, my little sis giggling and not caring what she went in the water in. and I in a borrowed bathing suit from the girl next door.  We shared a couple of ratty towels but who cared, we were in paradise. 

Our mom had sold all our furniture back in Regina because it was cheaper than paying to move it.  Dad had already been here since April and had gotten a job and the house.  So we had two beds, the boys slept on the mattress of one and our little sister and I slept on the box springs.  The people dad bought the house off of, left an old couch and chair,old fridge and hot plate.  No TV just a radio.  We sat on the porch in the evenings and watched our neighbours, the five little chinese girls from up the street who would walk  single file down the other side of the street which had a sidewalk and shyly say” Hi Mr. Hamilton” one at time, he got such a kick out of that . The teenage boy who lived beside the Chinese family who flirted with me that summer and renamed my little sister “Sally” because he never knew anyone named Sally.  As people say, we were poor but we didn’t know it that summer. 

Now in 2010, there isn’ t the same smell in the air, there are fewer orchards and people have cut down the fruit trees in their  yards because of the codling moth and it’s too expensive to pay for the mandatory spraying. They’re planting more vineyards now and these wines are for a different palate than our parents generation with their jug of Calona or Casabello wine.  We have more than enough  TV’s and nobody is sleeping on a box spring, but the other day it was a nice day at the beach and I could  smell that familiar intoxicating smell.  I closed my eyes and could see two gangly blonde boys in red and white swimming trunks and a little poppet of girl having the time of their life and smiled.

Good day from paradise… Azpen


Whoo-ho I made the jump yesterday and published my first page of the blog that I was going to start last year.  I just wasn’t in the right frame of mind I guess.  I’ve lost all the notes that I scribbled down with the cute antidotes, inspirational thoughts and acute insights.  Now jumping in without a safety net or a plan is par for the course for me. So how to  segue  from one topic to another had me in a panic last night.  It was one of those silly things that kept me awake last night for a while and for ideas I drew a blank,  I got nada.

I phoned my niece this morning to see if I could get any creative juices happening by having a chat with her, she wasn’t any darn help.  When I mentioned that I wasn’t comfortable about my ability to segue from subject to subject, she says”What you bought a Segway?”  Now she is 25 years old , so I had to give her grief .  She’s my Gracie Burns, my mother used to have that title but it seems its been passed down a generation to her grand-daughter.

Now having no further help from my niece after discussing how cool it would be to have a Segway,her son wanted to talk to me.  He’s going to be five in a few days.  Our discussion included neighbourhood politics and bees. He was worried about their being so many bees in his backyard and I told him not to worry that they just wanted to smell the flowers and won’t bother him.  He told me to shush, and why was he shushing me!  He didn’t want the bees to know we were talking about them because they could hear us and might come back.  He then went on to inform me that bees can hear really good and they can hear you from up to 1600 kilometers away.  Uh huh, that’s true they can hear really well with their antennas.  Then I asked him about a little situation that happened in the neighbourhood with another little boy.  He said he didn’t want to talk about it, the other little  guy popped my nephew.  Actually my nephew apparently told the little boy that he was going to slug him and before my nephew knew it the other kid popped him first …. I wouldn’t want to talk about it either.  So on that note he was done talking and as he was saying good-bye I could hear him ask his mum “What’s a Segway, can we get one!”

Keep smiling… Azpen

P.S. My nephew did get a time-out for telling the little kid that he was going to slug him. Also a bruise on his cheek, lets see if he walks away with a lesson from his first dust up.



I have had a lot of time to think of late…the career that I have had for over 25 years seems to be going the way of the vinyl record. I was  a travel consultant and the company that I worked for closed their travel departments in all their store fronts and then even their on the line booking department didn’t last long at all.    So for the last year I’ve had a lot of time to reflect while trying to convince new employers that my skills and energy are transferable to other endeavours.  So here I am on the evil empire that sidelined my career.

I’m lucky that I live in the beautiful Okanagan Valley and I can go to one of our lakes and contemplate life…my life.  On one of these comtemplative days just hanging out and watching kids play  at the beach I actually remembered a quote from Freud.  “What distressing contrast there is between the radiant intelligence of the child and the feeble mentality of the average adult.”

My dad passed away at the same time that I lost my job, so double whammy from the universe, so yes I’ve really been reflecting backwards and thinking about my childhood and the roads I’ve taken along the way to get here. I think I’ve always kept my link to the child in me, and wondered why other people can’t still see life through their childhood eyes when needed. When you speak to a 5 year old and they can see things so clearly and they give an adult that baffled look that says “but your the big person , sheesh why don’t  you get it! ”    So here on this forum I will try to keep the child in me seeing clearly.

So I’ll relate my reflections all things childish according to me…in the days and weeks to come and when I need courage I always sing the song “Put one foot in front of the other” from Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer and sung by that elf and the toys on Misfits Island and hope I don’t get “bazingad!”