Category Archives: Travels

I didn’t see that coming.

I just got back from camping with Madeline and Luke.  More about that later.

For the record: we went to a campground, with appointed sites and a picnic table and a barbecue/fire pit thingy built in.  Some of you who read this are purists and will say that isn’t camping; that a person is only truly camping if he or she has hiked five hours into the forest somewhere remote and cooks everything on an open fire.  Poppycock.  Who decided on that line?  May as well make it that camping is really only when you hike into the middle of nowhere with no supplies whatsoever, kill, skin and eat your food right on the spot, build a shelter with your bare hands and then manage to live to tell the tale.  I don’t buy it.  My definition of camping: in a tent in the woods with a fire.  That is all.

It’s interesting how being away for even one day can seem like a big deal.  I phoned Dixie last night from Candle Lake and we talked and the kids talked to her as if we were away for a really long time in some distant location, instead of staying one night at a campground an hour away from home.  When I drove onto our street after our return to Prince Albert, I noticed the For Sale sign that has been on a house on our street for several months, and I thought to myself, That house is still for sale? I guess it didn’t sell in the last 30 hours just like it hadn’t sold in the last 3 months.  You go away for a day or two and you come back tired and dirty and the whole place seems different—like it went on a siesta while you were gone and it’s trying to shake itself out of its slumber because you’ve returned unexpectedly.

But I digress.

Today the kids and I drove to a different part of the campground to find a place to fish.  I had left the car to walk out to the lake to see what was what.  When I returned, there was a boy, maybe 10 or 11 years old, on a mountainbike.   The confidence and sense of ownership it implied made it clear he belonged to a family of “seasonal campers” who stayed there for much of the summer.  The following conversation ensued:

Boy: It’s wavey today.

Me: Yes it is.

Boy: So you like coming to Minuwakaw, too?

Me: Yes, it’s nice here.  See you later.

I get in the car and drive off.  I park the car a ways away near a gated road that might lead to the dam, which is what I’m looking for.  When I get out of the car, the boy rides up on his bike.

Boy: This is the dam.

Me: Is it?

Boy: But you’re not allowed to fish on it.

Me: No?

Boy: No.  There’s a sign, see?

Me: Ah.

Boy: You know what you do on a mountain bike? You put it in sixth gear and you drive straight down a hill—like, straight down—and then at the bottom you go on a jump and you do a wheelie with your front wheel and both wheels in the air.

Me: Oh yes?

Boy: Do you have a mountain bike?

Me: Yes I do.

Boy: First gear is the bestest gear for riding all-terrain.  This isn’t my mountain bike, it’s my dad’s.

We arrive back at the car, where the kids have been waiting.

Me: Well, see you later then.

Boy: I’m usually on patrol.

Me: On patrol?

Boy: Yes, looking for people having sex in the campground.

Significant pause as I try to process his words.

Me: . . . You’re not allowed to have sex here?

Boy: No.

Me: Oh.  Well, good luck.

The Vandersluys Back Roads of Saskatchewan Tour: Day 4

(Days 1 & 2; Day 3)

First “normal” night after a couple of weeks of craziness.  Lets get back on the Vandertrail.

Day 4 was a marathon.  We drove more than 500 kilometres and it took us ALL DAY.  Wow.  That was a tiring one.  Luckily the following day involved relatively little driving.

Day 4’s route:


View Larger Map

Day 4 started out with a delicious home-made breakfast at the Country Flavor Bed & Breakfast.  After breakfast I wandered around the farmyard in though for a good half hour and then I took the the kids to look at the horses and cattle in a nearby pasture.  Then it was time to start driving.

Part of the fun of these trips is taking our time and stopping for pictures.  Madeline had a fit at the beginning of that day’s drive because she had wanted to take pictures of the horses at the farm, but we had driven off without doing so.  Luckily Typically, we found some more horses soon.

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As many of you know, we gave Madeline our old camera, which she took along on the trip. And every so often she would come out of the van to take pictures with me, or ask that we stop so that she could take some.

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Chris (Maryanne’s husband) had shown us a way to get to a good vantage point to watch the drag-lines at a mine near Coronach.  The lady at the bed and breakfast warned us that we probably wouldn’t be able to get close.  She was right, though we tried.

So we took a roundabout route to Willow Bunch, where we saw the Willow Bunch Giant (he was 8’2″!) at the local museum.  This was interesting but was sort of mucked up because  a) none of these museums are made for children, b) we had our children with us, and c) EVERYTHING had a “DO NOT TOUCH” sign on it.  Actually, the museum tour guide was kind enough to babysit our kids for half an hour while we walked around on our own.

After this we drove up and over to St. Victor to see the petroglyphs.  The petroglyphs were, in the end, a little disappointing.  This was for a couple of reasons.  First, we learned soon after we arrived in the middle of the day that the best time to see the petroglyphs is near sunrise or sunset.  This is because the petroglyphs are so worn with time that it’s difficult to see them without the defining effect of early morning or evening shadows.  We drove into the hills anyway, but I was the only one to get out of the car to check them out.  The petroglyphs are fenced off to prevent further erosion from human traffic.  The petroglyphs are on a rocky outcrop, and this is what it looks like from the fence:

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Signs on the way had warned us of the difficulty of seeing the petroglyphs in the middle of the day and I wasn’t quiet sure what I was looking for, so I examined the hills across the valley for signs of aboriginal art. In fact, the petroglyphs were small pictures carved into the rock at my feet. It took me a while to see anything:

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Here are a couple of crops:

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I was also disappointed to learn that the age of the petroglyphs is estimated at several hundred years.  I had expected them to date from somewhere like 1,000 years before the arrival of Europeans.  They’re still interesting, but 1,000 years is more interesting than 400.  Plus, they were small and difficult to see.

After this we started the longest stretch of the trip.

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We had planned on driving straight to Val Marie by the main roads, but Val Marie is on the other side of Grasslands National Park—our actual destination for this leg of the day’s drive—and we’d have to do quite a bit of backtracking to get into the park proper.  So at the last minute, Dixie suggested we take a back route through the country, up through Grasslands National Park and then to Val Marie.

Now our guidebook for both this year’s and last year’s Back Roads of Saskatchewan tours, Saskatchewan Scenic Drives, specifically said that we should not take this route if it has recently rained, or is raining OR EVEN IF IT LOOKS LIKE IT MIGHT RAIN. It looked like it might rain when we made our decision.  20 minutes south of Mankota we started seeing drops on the windshield and rain falling in the distance.  I had wanted to quote the guidebook, but I can’t find it.  Following their warning about driving this road on a rainy day, they decide to elaborate by pointing out that if you have car trouble on this road, it’s a LONG walk for help.  In this area there really is nothing in terms of shelter or civilization.  Immediately I imagine myself trudging through hot, crunchy prairie while my wife and little ones huddle alone in the van on the side of some road somewhere nowhere.

Begin hour’s worth of driving anxiety.

As it happens, the back route was stony or gravelly all the way through, so it wouldn’t be a real driving concern in anything but torrential downpours.

Halfway through our route, we came upon this somewhat creepy stone house falling apart in the middle of nowhere:

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This was at the narrowest, harrowiest portion of the road.

It may be of interest to some of you, incidentally, that we spotted The Marc (Marcos Vandersluysus Photographis) several times on Day 4.  It seems its range is much larger than originally thought.

Here is one at the side of a grid road south of St. Victor:

The Marc in hiding

Can you see him? How about now?

The Marc in hiding, but more visible

Wait! THERE HE IS!

The Marc shoots an observer

Here is one in Grasslands National Park, taking a pensive leak:

The Marc takes a thoughtful leak

And here is one taking a photograph of a rainbow north of Morse:

The Marc shoots a rainbow

It seems that its range covers much of southern and western Saskatchewan. But I digress.

Quite frankly, in the hour between turning south of Mankota and crossing the Frenchman River, we didn’t know where the hell we were, and it was a bit unnerving.  Would we unwittingly turn up somewhere in Montana?  What if the road gets washed out along the way and we get stranded?  And so on.

Eventually we reoriented ourselves and realized that we were driving through the flats of the Frenchman Valley.  We were in the Frenchman Valley, driving along the Frenchman River and nary a Frenchman to be seen.  Nyuk nyuk nyuk.

It is beautiful country around Grasslands National Park.  I had expected it to be as flat as flat can be, but the area is made up of gently rolling hills. This is just before we hit the valley:

The Road into Grasslands National Park

The Frenchman Valley, on the other hand, is flat, hot and silent.

Tree

Near the main entrance to the park, on the Val Marie side, the road is flanked by a large prairie dog colony.

Prairie Dog Colony

I had collected myself enough by this time to stop the van, turn off the ignition and get out. I wanted to hear the silence. Aside from the occasional warning “bark” (more of a chirp, really) from a prairie dog, and the echo of white noise throbbing in my ears, it was absolutely still there. I wondered how long it would take to adjust, for the buzz in my ear to die down so that I could truly enjoy the silence.  Alas, I did not have the time to find out.

Dixie was reluctant to exit the van in this part of the country.  She was worried about rattlesnakes.  I assured her that in 15 years of wandering the grasslands of southern Saskatchewan I had not once encountered a rattlesnake.  Still she refused.

And now we come to the potential breaking point for all of us.  Dixie had looked into staying in a B&B in Val Marie, but the recommended one there required us to book 2 nights, which we did not want to do.  Because of this, our intended destination for the night was on Lake Diefenbaker, 2 hours northwest of Val Marie.  It was 5:00p.m. and we were tired and needed to eat supper.  We considered staying in a hotel in Swift Current, the midway point.  When we got there, we had supper in a Burger King with a giant play . . . Thing, where the kids blew off steam for an hour.  This was just what they needed.  We decided to push through to Riverhurst.

North of Morse, Saskatchewan, with the sun on the western horizon, we came across a beautiful rainbow.

Rainbow

Lousy photo stitch, I know.  I was standing in more or less the same spot for both exposures, but was thinking only of the rainbow, rather than the whole scene stitching together.  (The harsh vignetting in the cheap kit lens didn’t help.)

After that, it was straight on to Riverhurst, Lake Diefenbaker and the Mainstay Inn.

Stay tuned for Day 5 of the Vandersluys Back Roads of Saskatchewan Tour 2008.

Great form.

Jyl just emailed a picture she took of me diving into Little Bear Lake a month or so ago.  Look at that form-and-by-form-I-mean-my-pike-position!:

Great Form

I got a 9.7 for that one. I lost a couple 10ths of a point for my gut and uneven tan.

Incidentally, the lake is very shallow right off of the dock.  Had I continued on that tajectory, I may have broken my neck.  At the last second I had to turn it into a very shallow dive/belly flop to save my spine.

The Vandersluys Back Roads Tour 2008: Day 3

Day 3 of the vacation was a full day—not too much driving, but quite a bit to see.  We started the day with a trip to the Saskatchewan Science Centre in Regina.  The main reason we went to the Science Centre was because right now there is a Magic School Bus (children’s educational television show) exhibit, which we thought would be interesting for the kids.  The kids went through it and seemed to enjoy themselves for the most part, but it proved to be underwhelming; I’m guessing this was the tail-end of the exhibit’s tour, as some displays were not functioning properly or altogether broken.

Luke poses.  For once.

The science centre hasn’t changed much since I went there as a child.  The kids enjoyed it.

After wandering in alone, Madeline ran screaming from the room below.Mangy Zombie Bear with Gimp Eye

Behind Luke and I is what I have dubbed “Mangy Gimp-Eyed Zombie Bear”.   There is a motion sensor somewhere in the room; when you enter, the bear’s head starts moving and it starts pawing and growling.

It’s an unnerving sight, mostly because the bear looks like taxidermied road-kill.  Its stiff movements, mangy hair and dead right eye belied the fact that this bear had been dead on the side of the road for several days before being picked up, stuffed and making the rounds of science centres and roadshows across the continent before settling at the Saskatchewan Science Centre.  The bear, it appears, had been undead prior to said demise.  This is all conjecture of course.  Scary stuff.

After the science centre, I took Madeline and Luke to the Kramer Imax Theatre, which adjoins the science centre, while Dixie and Olivia went off to do some shopping.  The choice for the kids was between exclamatory titles: Dinosaurs Alive! or Sharks! It’s too late now, but had I noticed the punctuation in those titles at the time, I would have exclaimed them each time they were spoken, like so:

“Well, which film should we see, kids—Dinosaurs ALIVE! or SHARKS!! ? What do you think?  It’s up to you.  I think I’d prefer SHARKS!, but it’s more likely that you’d enjoy Dinosaurs ALIVE!

But I digress . . .

We did choose Dinosaurs Alive! because we thought the kids would enjoy it more.  In retrospect, Sharks! may have been a better choice, because Dinosaurs Alive! was 80% documentary about palientology and discoveries of new dinosaurs and maybe 20% subpar computer animation of those dinosaurs.  This was enjoyable to me, maybe not so much for the kids.  But they got (free! day old! they were out of kernels!) popcorn and (not free!) candy and saw some dinosaurs on a really big screen.  They said they liked it.  Kids are probably easier to please than parents-on-behalf-of-kids.

After the IMAX theatre, we all drove to the University of Regina, our alma-mater, which is just south of the science centre.  From the outside the university looks the same, but once on the grounds inside the circle of main buildings the place is nearly unrecognizable.  I spent 4.5 years there and nearly got lost.

We visited our favourite buildings, which are actually Luther College and Campion College and looked up the offices of our favourite professors.  Of course, being summer, no one was around.  Then it was off to the Ad-Hum building, where Maryanne and friends would hang out in the pit.

This is me at the writing centre, where I choose to work for my one semester of graduate studies:

The Writing Centre

Exciting stuff, isn’t it?  There’s a more interesting story I can attach, however: one of my other options available to me for student work was to work with Jeanne Shami, who is a world-renowned John Donne expert (she’s referenced, incidentally, in Wikipedia’s article on John Donne).  What a chicken I was!  It was probably a good thing for Dr. Shami that I chose not to work with her, because I left the program temporarily (and then permanently) after one semester.  Had I stuck with it, however, I would have made a very poor choice.

The Writing Centre was a frustrating job, by the way, because I spent most of my time tutoring a) dim-witted jocks who were just filling their English requirement, and b) English As a Second Language Students who somehow managed to get into 200+ level English courses without having English as even a 3rd or 4th language.  But it paid the bills.

And here’s me at the other end of the hall in front of what was my shared office that one semester:

My office The professor in the office next to mine was also a tea lover.  He would give me tea samples.  He’s one of the people I missed after I left.

After the university and a quick lunch, we left the city in search of the Big Muddy Badlands.  After I read about the Big Muddy Badlands in a CAA magazine a couple of years ago I intended to take a solo road trip to the area.  That turned into a road trip with Madeline.  That didn’t happen.  Then last year’s travels of the back roads of Saskatchewan were a hit, so Dixie planned this year’s trip around the Big Muddy Badlands.

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On the way there we found the highway completely blocked by someone moving a Quonset in one piece.

Quonset being moved, near Coronach, SK

Quonset being moved, near Coronach, SK

You won’t see that on the main highways.

The Big Muddy Badlands are the head of the Outlaw Trail, where outlaws such as the Sundance Kid would hide out.  Immediate appeal there.  Plus, “Big Muddy” sounds like the perfect name for a town in a western film (it’s probably the similarity to Unforgiven‘s “Big Whiskey” that makes it appealing).

Here’s the thing: the Big Muddy Valley looks exactly like something from a Clint Eastwood western:

Big Muddy Valley

Bug Muddy Valley

It was hot, dry, solitary—just what I was looking for.  I wouldn’t have been surprised to see a shoot-out on horseback in the distance.  Davey could very well have been shot by William Munny in them hills yonder.

Our goal was Castle Butte, a 90-metre high clay monolith in the Big Muddy Valley (approximately at the green dot on the map above).  It was about 20 kilometres down a gravel road.  Here it is, folks:

Castle Butte

It was quite a sight and bigger than it looked.  We drove up to the base of Castle Butte and go out planning on first doing a little spelunking in a cave Maryanne’s husband, Chris, told us about and then climbing the Butte itself.

The cave wasn’t hard to find.  The entrance was a little low and even though I’m not claustrophic (that I’m aware of), I was reluctant to go into the cave.  Madeline had been talking about exploring the cave since before we left.  We even packed some flashlights.  We did finally go in.  It goes back into the Butte about 50 feet, before the cave jumps up into a smaller passage clearly carved by water.  The cave was very cool (in both senses of the term). Someone more brave and skilled than I could possibly have gone further into that smaller passage, but that wasn’t for me or the kids.

At the entrance to the Castle Butte cave

After we left the cave, Madeline, Luke and I started climbing Castle Butte, but it quickly became clear that it was too steep for the kids to climb.  After some yelling and some tears, I headed up alone while everyone else waited in the van.

A picture of me at the top and one of the van from the top:

Me near the top of Castle Butte The Van from the top of Castle Butte

After this, we drove to Coronach and had a nice meal at At Touch of Class (which looked far from it on the outside), where I had possibly the most refreshing Pilsner ever.  That southern Saskatchewan sun was hot!  It was like we spent the afternoon in a Sergio Leone film.  After that we drove to the B&B on a farm 10 minutes out.

More pictures in my vacation set.  And check out the map.

The Vandersluys Back Roads Tour 2008: Days 1 & 2

Day 1

Day_1_Map

We left Saturday morning just before lunch and drove straight through to Regina, with a couple of stops along the way for pictures.  The canola fields are yellow as can be right now, so we saw a lot of this:

Canola

Not much to tell about day 1.  We arrived in Regina late in the afternoon, ate supper and visited with Dixie’s aunt and uncle, with whom we stayed, and then watched Under the Tuscan Sun, which was pretty good.  It’s hard to go wrong with Tuscany as your setting.

Of note: I believe it was on this first night that we saw My Morning Jacket on Austin City Limits.  I immediately regretted suspending my emusic.com account, which I had done the night before we left.  I reactivated the account today and downloaded My Morning Jacket’s double-album Okonokos: LiveGood so far.

Day 2

Day_2_Map

Day 2 is when the adventures began.  We decided to drive down to Rouleau in the morning.  Rouleau is a typical small prairie town about 20 minutes south of Regina, but it has the distinction of being the set (and setting, under the name “Dog River”) for the successful Canadian sitcom Corner Gas.  Strangely, the Google satellite image does not include Corner Gas and the Ruby, which have both been there for six years now:


View Larger Map

Corner Gas and the Ruby

It was a bit surreal to see the set.  I’ve been a fan of the show since the first episode and it was strange to walk where Brett and his friends walked, talked.  Many “jackass!”s have been uttered on that gravelly lot.  The place felt completely familiar—I mean, it’s a typical Saskatchewan town and I grew up in a typical Saskatchewan town, at least in terms of size and location.  In fact, it felt weird to be a tourist in a place that was like home.

Corner Gas

The gas station set is authentic, by which I mean scenes are shot right inside the building.  It looks authentic inside, with a counter, cash registers and products for sale.  The positioning of everything seemed a bit off, but I suspect that has more to do with forced perspective on TV than anything else.  I also wondered if the back of the store was different than on the show, but we happened to catch a bit of an episode the night we returned and it looks right.

Inside Corner Gas

The Ruby, on the other hand, is just a facade.  It is a complete building, but inside there is no restaurant, but storage space and what looks to be, judging by the sign on the door with a picture of “Mr. Butt” (that’s what the sign says), Brent Butt’s dressing room.

The Ruby

Too bad.  Maybe I shouldn’t have looked through the windows of The Ruby.  Everything else looks to authentic, so used and useable, it’s a shame that the same couldn’t have been done for the restaurant.

There are security people on site 24/7.  They are very friendly and helpful (and carry around guest books for visitors to sign).  I asked them where we could go and they said pretty much anywhere, except behind the building.  Also, no pictures behind the building.

Behind the Corner Gas/Ruby building is a small trailer park for cast and crew.  The idea, I guess, is to preserve the authenticity of the site, except that a postcard available in the gift shop shows an aerial photograph of the site, trailers and all.

On the main street in Rouleau we also found the police station (actually a gift shop), the “Foo  Mar  t” (not a real grocery store), the hotel/bar (authentic, as far as I could tell, though it was closed), town hall and the office of the Dog River Howler.  Oscar and Emma’s house was in town somewhere.

The Ruby from Corner Gas

For some reason, I was reluctant to leave.  I wanted to hang around for a while, take it all in.  Perhaps subconsciously I thought I might actually see Brent or Oscar or Lacy.  I don’t know.  It felt a little Mecca-ish for me.

On the way back to Regina, I stopped for a couple of pictures in places I had noted on the way.

Flax, Canola and the Sky

Barns

The rest of Day 2 was spent in Regina. It was hot, so the kids played in a kiddie pool in the back yard, then we took them to a water park a couple of blocks away: you know the kind with spraying trees and water guns and other things to run through and get wet. The children were inexplicably afraid to do any running through anything unless I went with them. The kids were in bathing suits. I was in my civvies. Oh well.

I’ve created a Vacation 2008 Flickr set, where you will find more pictures (and more will be added as I post).

Also, I will be mapping my photographs on Flickr, so if you’re interested in that sort of thing, here is my map of the trip photograph locations (eventually it will be more than the trip, but for now…).

And we’re back

We returned late this afternoon from the Vandersluys Back Roads of Saskatchewan Tour 2008.  It was a good time, though just as it felt like we were really on vacation, it was over.

We just spent the last half hour or so looking through our pictures.  There are many.  Where to begin?  I remember now why I never did blog through last year’s holiday (well, I posted about the days leading up to it and then by October Dixie had had enough of waiting and did her own post.) This year I do plan on posting on each day of the trip, but for now (’cause it’s late), here’s a picture of me prancing on the cliffs overlooking Lake Diefenbaker:

Marc Prancing on Cliffs

(Click on the picture for a larger view, if you dare.)

By the way, don’t let anyone tell you there are no scenic vistas in Saskatchewan; there are plenty.  But you will see and hear more about that later.

Snow daze

(pictures below)

Well, the weekend went well. It finally occurred to me on the drive back, in another one of those “I’m an adult now” moments, that I had been responsible for 5 teenagers—none of whom were mine and to whose parents I would have to answer—for a whole weekend. We came through unscathed (except for one illness)! Huzzah!

The weekend seemed a bit too short in terms of getting to know people. I tend to be a little anti-social in the company of strangers and will take a while to warm up. Usually someone needs to approach me before that happens. Plus I wasn’t sure what my role was for the weekend. I kept telling people, “I’m from P.A., but I’m not the youth pastor, but I’m in charge of these kids, so I’m responsible if they do something stupid,” and yet I still didn’t know exactly what that meant.

So I spent a good chunk of Friday night and Saturday wandering around the church on my own, listening to my mp3 player, reading, relaxing and checking on the kids every now and then to make sure they were alive and, if so, that they were enjoying themselves. I also spent a lot of time on the toilet.

That said, I did hang out with our youth on Friday and Saturday and played some games with them and I also participated in most of the activities: “bump” and floor hockey when we arrived on Friday; king of the hill and some other full-contact in-the-snow basketbally kind of game and then tobogganing* on Saturday afternoon.

Saturday night we drove down to Yorkton to go swimming. Gavin, from the Winnipeg church, drove down with us. Gavin is originally from our church, but that was before our time there, so, while I probably shook his hand at some point when he was at church visiting, I’ve never really “met” him. We talked most of the way to and from Yorkton. We have strikingly similar tastes in books, music and movies, which was a pleasant discovery. It was cool to get to know him a little—this kind similarity doesn’t happen all that often (the last time I can remember this happening was at my friend’s wedding 5 years ago).

The trip home was quiet and quick. One sick youth; a lot of sleeping; and I dj-ed the music for most of the trip (without complaints or groans, but maybe that was because they were asleep).

The kids were very well behaved and were very nice to me and willingly included me in their free time activities. I probably have parental threats to at least partially thank for that. Or maybe I underestimate my appeal to that crowd. Maybe I am “cool” after all.

Nobody was home when I returned. I knew where everyone was and figured they’d be home soon, so I jumped in the shower and then got into bed. After an hour or so I awoke with a start, confused for a moment where I was and a bit worried that Dixie and the kids weren’t home yet, but they arrived shortly after.

Maybe it was the fatigue, maybe it was the prospect of returning to “normal” life after an unusual weekend away, maybe it was a subconscious recognition that I enjoyed myself and the youth more than I was aware of, maybe it was my percolating intestines and colon—maybe it was a mixture of all of that or maybe it was something else entirely—but I felt down after my nap, and it wasn’t just the I’ve-just-woken-from-a-deep-sleep gloominess. In fact, I felt downright weepy, though I kept my composure. Strangely, I feel, at the same time, remarkably refreshed and energized. I can’t really explain either emotional/physical response to the weekend. It was weird.

Anyway, the needle on the ol’ Motivation-O-Meter approached 0 at work today.**

Here is a Flickr set of pictures from the weekend (or click on the picture below).

Here are two 15 second video clips from the weekend. Just to give you a feel for the bleak winter cold. This was filmed at the top of the tobogganing hill:

And here is the Spoons Round Table:

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*When did they start calling it “sliding”? That’s the term the youth used, which seems appropriate, but I’ve never heard it called anything other than “tobogganing” or “sledding”.
**It’s a rather inconvenient contraption, incidentally. It’s ugly and large and sits right in front of my desk. It is a foreboding presence. The wires leading from my body to it get in my way all the time. But it’s company policy, so there’s not much I can do about it, if I want to work there.

Saturday cemetery

Early Saturday afternoon upon returning from some errands, Dixie announced that “we have to go somewhere and go for a walk, it’s such a beautiful day.” It was indeed a gorgeous day—warm, with a little of the approaching Autumn must in the air. I suggested we drive out to Weldon, by way of the Weldon ferry (our old standby trip), which crosses the South Saskatchewan River, and then to her paternal grandparents’ grave site, and so we did.
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