Shelter Point Distillery 

Today’s adventure was something I never thought I’d truly enjoy.  It was few steps above brewery tours and a step above a winery tour. I’m talking about delighting in a Distillery tour.

The Shelter Point Distillery is in Campbell River on Vancouver Island. They use barley that they grow themselves as the sugar for the base. It is soaked in hot water after crushed. A ton of grain gives 5000L of Wort. One tank is filled every day. It takes seven days for wort to become wash. All grains are from BC. For single malt, they use their own grain grown on site. Fun fact: Whiskey is distilled beer. But you wouldn’t want to drink distilled beer. It is 10% alcohol.

The Shelter Point Distillery uses pure copper tanks, 1/4″ thick and 18 feet tall which were hand made in Scotland. The tanks were extremely impressive. Turning liquid into steam, back from steam to liquid.

Then it goes into a condenser. Then back to a spirit cell. This creates a purer alcohol. Nothing is wasted. They separate the heart (the good stuff) from the head and tail during this process. Three barrels worth of alcohol are created, then a desicion to make either vodka or whiskey happens.

They distill four times and make a beautiful tasting whiskey. Shelter Point started production seven years ago.  Whiskey barrels stay in warehouse for a minute minimum 3 years or it is not considered whiskey. It takes 5 years to make their gold winning whiskey. Fun fact 2: Their whiskey is 20% faster to reach maturity than in Scotland. Because of the temperatures in BC. Each year 2.5% evaporates from the barrels. This is considered “The Angel’s Share” in old Scottish terms.

For the flavored vodkas: they use only pure natural flavors with no sugar added. It take 3-4 weeks to make vodka compared to almost 3 years for whiskey.

The tour was given to us by an older gentleman named Brian.  It was from him that I was able to parlay all of my whiskey wisdom in today’s blog post. It was a good thing I took notes… He gave us samples of whatever we wanted to try.  After sampling the vodkas and the whiskeys, my wife and I had to make some purchases.

Barrel of Sunshine is one of the best tasting liqueurs I have ever tasted.  It was a tasty mix of orange,chai spice and maple.  It is a perfect dessert sipper to end a beautiful day. Three bottles are coming home with us! Plus a bottle of Red Apple Vodka.

A safe ride after was in order. It was a beautiful day to visit Shelter Point Distillery and sample BC’s only quadruple distilled Whiskey.  And only the second Distillery in Canada that makes quadruple distilled whiskey besides one in Nova Scotia.


I Forget

Holy balls. I completely forgot what I was going to write about today.  I had this thing in my mind.  I created an outline in my head and put the pieces of my ideas into thoughts.  But I didn’t write it down.  

I know I had a thing to write about.  And it was going to be such a great literary piece.  But I didn’t finish -let alone start- today’s blog when the thoughts were current.  I came home from a night shift and promptly crawled into bed.  Ugh.  All those thoughts as I drove home, gone in a nap.

So now, I have forgotten my epic story.  My masterpiece is lost forever in the deluges of the dream world. Dreams which I have also since lost clarity of as each waking moment passes. Today, I underachieved- and that’s ok.

Fix It

I love helping out.  It’s in my nature to promote others to greatness.  Or coming in and fixing problems with a fresh outlook.

I’m not saying everything works out for the better.  But it sure takes the sting off what could’ve been far worse. I’m always ready to lend a helping hand without expecting anything in return.  If it’s at work or with friends, I try to make sure that something positive comes about.  

If you need me- I’ll be there.


It happened suddenly and without warning. It wasn't until I looked at my salary that it actually hit me. After all is said and done, I somehow make six figures a year. No, it's not a brag in this day and age either. It's just an observation really. A fact I never tried to accomplish.

I am far from educated so that never got me very far. Life has always been a push or even a struggle to get up that hill into adulthood. Pinching pennies, spending long hours working, having a plan, sticking to a budget. All of it with goals in mind. Not all of the goals involved money.

I never sought money as a reason to work. Of course money is noice and affords me the lifestyle I want to live. But working for money? Not my thing. I have been enjoying work because of the challenges it presents me. Jobs lose their luster and thrill after a while but my current job has so many avenues available to me, I really don't know where I may end up.

So, I set my goals. Next year? Travel as much as possible. The year after? Put money into upgrading the home. The year after that? Help our oldest with post secondary education. The year after that? More travel. The work I get paid to do helps promote my plans. Sixth year? Seems like it will hit me fast.

Work goals? Learn as much as possible whenever possible. Share my knowledge with others. Help others achieve their goals. Make a difference in how the work environment feels. None of that sounds too lofty. Nor does it feel like a corporate ladder to climb. I figure if something interests me, I'll work towards it.

Super Trooper

My wife was a real trooper yesterday. She got her vision corrected in the morning (read about it here: Fricken Laserbeams). In the afternoon we went shopping and then out for beers.

This is a quick screen shot between Lee-Anne and her friend. Lee-Anne was ready to go have fun and wasn't about to let a little surgery stop her. Lasers cutting into her eyes? No big deal- let's go for beers. We even went out to visit another friend later in the evening. What a champ. Until she went to bed.

She ended up not sleeping much last night. Today she was miserable. Her eyes were upset at her for not keeping them hydrated yesterday afternoon. So she is paying the price. Unfortunately, last night I was as well. I was up with her every time she needed eye drops. I felt bad for her. So I did my best to help out by applying the drops for her.

I couldn't imagine the pain she is going through. I have better than 20/20 vision according to my doctor. Even yesterday when Lee-Anne was asked to read the letters shown to her, I was able to read the smallest line- even with the letters displayed mirrored for me.

Perhaps once she is recovered, her vision will be closer to normal. Today, her doctor was surprised that she was healing so quickly. I personally think she should've taken it easier yesterday, but she wanted to go hard. My wife is a Super Trooper. She won't even cancel our plans for tomorrow afternoon. Like she said moments ago when asked if we should cancel plans, "tell her I f**king don't eat with my eyes either. I'm f**king eating brisket tomorrow. With or without her."

Go Lee-Anne! I think she's blaming the drugs for her swearing too.

Calm, Cool, Collected

Today could have turned out better for everyone. However, in the end, it turned out just fine for me.

I had a bit of a moment where I was in the right and stuck to my guns. But the person who was wrong became more belligerent as the realization was coming that he was wrong and made mistakes. I was waiting for him to figure out the solution to our dilemma. That was proving to be difficult as he tried to muscle his incorrect opinion as the right one.

So I remained calm. I could have blown up. I could have said derogatory words. I could have attacked his character. But I didn't. It's not like me to do that.

I remained cool. I repeated my stance without raising my voice. I explained why it was the right thing to do. But every time I did, all I heard from him was "You're f**king up the parade, José." He was trying to beat me down to a level where I would concede to the wrong decision.

I kept myself collected. It's not easy to know when to pick a battle of wits. Today, I knew the mistakes were his. During his defamatory comments, I figured out a solution. One that he had missed because all he could do was tell me that I was "f**king up the parade" by not taking the easy route. Had he remained calm, he would've seen the same answer. Funny thing was that it was an easy solution as well and got the best results.

Being right felt good. Being both right and staying calm felt great. In the end I was right and my way worked out. I know that one day he and I won't see eye to eye again. Perhaps then he will be right.

Remaining calm is an easier way to find solutions. It always is. I am slowly earning the nickname Superman that has been given to me.

Being Awesome.

I am pretty awesome. I like it. My life is great, my family is great, my friends and coworkers are great. Everything in my life is pretty great. All because of me and my awesomeness.

That's right. I just awesomed all over the place. Every day I do it. Being awesome is a way of life: a mindset. Taking negativity out of my life as much as possible has broadened my perception on pretty much everything. I look for the good in people and situations. I guess I'm an optimist.

I love being awesome. I wrote about being Perfect once as well. I've also shared my many looks in Messed Around With Gender Roles. Awesome is my middle name. Josef Awesome Havelka. I enjoy surrounding myself with awesome people as well.

But right now, what would really be awesome? An awesome evening nap.

Goodnight awesome people!

How To Throw A Good BBQ

Last night we went to a "Backyard Bash". There was a $15/person fee to enter and enjoy. And enjoy we did.

The main food attraction was a spit roasted pig! It smelled and tasted heavenly.

There was a live band echoing some fun and amazing cover tunes.

We played badminton (for fun this time, not like I mentioned in Bad Min Ton). My daughter and I then had a water fight and a few more people joined in.

There was a face painter and a guy who made balloon animals. My daughter learned how to make balloon dogs and is now contemplating a career in it…

Food and drinks and friends and family and music and fun. A perfect Saturday BBQ party. All proceeds going to Stepping Stone Community Services Society.

All-in-all it was a successful mid-summer BBQ.

Pudding Cups

For work I usually pack a lunch.  Mostly due to the fact that I like to save money.  But also because I don’t want to be eating McDonald’s at 3am four days a week.  

My lunches are usually pretty straightforward. My main meal is either a serving of leftovers or a sandwich. I try and have a piece of fruit and homemade cookies or banana bread.  I also take snacks that I steal from my children throughout the school year- such as granola bars. But the one thing that is a constant in my lunch is pudding.

Here’s the thing.  I don’t really like pudding. I have gone for weeks with the same pudding cup packed in my lunch.  I’m not saying I hate pudding- I just don’t tend to eat it.  I usually pack a good sized lunch that I can graze through during my shift. It’s almost as if pudding is the last option and I’m still starving after eating the rest of my lunch.  

Vanilla and butterscotch are my two most liked flavors.  They are simple and easy to enjoy.  Pretty hard for a company to screw up either of those flavors.  Honestly, even the flouride provided by my dentist has these flavors, not to mention it’s virtually the same texture as pudding.

I’ll eat chocolate or the occasional extreme flavor (like lemon meringue) pudding if it’s all that we have.  But I refuse, refuse, to eat tapioca.  It looks and smells gross, like the innards of a caterpillar that’s been squished and it’s guts came out of one end only. The texture of tapioca pudding reminds me of the after effects of waking up from suffering a head cold: The chunky boogers are mixing with the runny snot and you have no choice but to swallow it otherwise you wouldn’t be able to breath.

So ya, pudding cups stay in my lunch for quite a while. I’d rather take some yogurt.  I hear that shit’s good for you.

What’s My Age Again?

I went for breakfast with a coworker this morning.  We are fairly similar in age and are of the same mindset in many ways.  Talking with him we discussed work, people, children, movies, and the 80’s.  He has a similar outlook on life as I did. Where as I saw television as a “third parent”, he called it “the church of tv”.  TV was where we learned our moral compass and how to be decent people in this world.

I often forget how old I am. All it takes is a breakfast with a friend for the realization to creep up on me. We laughed about bad movies and the stupid people we know.  But what gets me is how right he was about our ages.  For some reason we grew up in the vortex of being able to relate to nearly everyone.  We saw the rise of cable tv, video games, portable communication devices, the internet… We are also witnesses to the decline of some of those things as well. And then the rise of nostalgia for it all.

I don’t need to share those lists that float around on Facebook about “growing up in the 80’s” or “being a kid in the 90’s” for me to understand that I did both.  I even survived the 00’s and the tail end of the 1970’s.  I can relate to nearly everyone I meet on some level.  Except for people in their 60’s-70’s.

That is the age group of people who would fit in to my parents’ category.  They are set in their ways.  They feel like they’ve done their share in the world and that they are owed something.  It’s the age of retirement. The idea of “I put in my time, now the world owes me.”  It’s as if that age reverts back to being a two year old that doesn’t need to give a shit about anything but themselves. Which is completely understandable.  When I hit retirement age, I’m pretty sure I won’t want to answer to anyone either.

I don’t ever act my age.  Sometimes I’m immature.  Sometimes I’m extremely serious. It all depends on the situation.  I don’t have a set age to behave like.  So I just enjoy life and being me.  Now get off my lawn!