Monthly Archives: August 2015

All around Saskatchewan!

Oh man, I'm like five days behind on this. I'll keep this short with lots of pictures, and I'm only going to cover Saskatchewan in this post, I think.

So, Thursday, we packed up the condo and left Regina. We drove through Wadena but didn't stop; we were going straight to Kelvington. We arrived at Aunt Leona's house to find her sitting on the front step! She greeted us with smiles and hugs and welcomed Ali and Eden to the family (or “the club”, as she put it). Turns out she had forgotten we were coming that day and was just outside doing some gardening!

Meeting great-great-aunt Leona

We went inside for a bit of a chat, and Aunt Leona promptly got down on her hands and knees to play with Eden! She assured us that she could get up no problem, because she exercises every day, and then demonstrated that she could touch her toes!

I had to act fast to get this picture!

After she got herself ready to go out, we got gas, went for supper in Archerwill, ate, and drove back, with Aunt Leona giving us directions and talking up a storm the entire time. We learned that she didn't think I was “the marrying type” but always thought I was good-looking; that she thinks Pamela maybe looks like grandma (she wasn't sure about that though); that she remembers us being out for a party (their anniversary?) and Lisa announced “I'm hungry!”; and a million other things besides, including which farm belongs to Wendell Clark's dad, and that Wendell ruined his life with too much fighting. All told we had a very enjoyable visit with her and it was clear that she was happy we came out to visit.

Driving Mrs. Ladubec!

We made it to Wadena around 9:00, and since we had told Aunt Joyce 8:30, she was getting worried…but she didn't have my phone number so she couldn't call! We had tea and baking and a bit of a chat; Eden was too tired to be friendly though. It had been a busy day and we were happy to get to bed (we picked the downstairs bedroom; Uncle Eddie watched me set up the pack-and-play and thought it was pretty nifty).

In the morning, Eden and I got up and Ali slept in, and Aunt Joyce and Uncle Eddie played with Eden. They loved her and she had fun with them. Eventually Ali got up and Aunt Joyce could serve the breakfast she had planned for us. Afterwards I spent some time showing Uncle Eddie some of the old family pictures that I have on my iPad, and then we went out for a drive!

Meeting her great-aunt Joyce...

...and her great-uncle Eddie...

...and the family dog!

On our drive, our first stop was Kelvingrove cemetery (where grandma, grandpa, and Uncle Clarence are buried), and then we went to Uncle Eddie's old farm. His first tractor is still in a field there — he bought it when he was 16 with 10,000 feet of lumber. We also drove past the farms where grandma and grandpa grew up.

Getting in trouble before the drive.

Kelvingrove cemetery has carefully-trimmed trees.

Uncle Eddie's old tractor. I took a lot of pictures of it.

Impromptu mushroom-picking lessons

Then we drove to Grandpa's old homestead, where my dad and the rest of his family lived. The house is collapsing but still there. We hiked across the field for a visit, even though there were a lot of mosquitoes, and we got our legs scratched up. I found a doorknob in the house's door that I pointed out to Ali; of course, she wants it now as a souvenir and for decoration, but we couldn't get it safely.

In the field in front of the old house (it's hidden in the trees)

The house has seen better days.

It looks a bit better from the other side.

The inside doesn't look safe.

The next stop was High Tor church and cemetery, where my great-grandparents (my dad's mom's parents) are buried, along with their daughter Catherine (my great-aunt). Uncle Eddie's brother is buried there as well, so relatives of mine make up a significant percentage of the very small cemetery (I didn't count but I'd guess about 20 headstones).

High Tor Sacred Heart cemetery

We stopped for lunch there, but ended up eating in the van because there were an incredible number of mosquitoes! Then Uncle Eddie put flowers on the graves, and we went and checked out the church. It was unlocked, so we went inside to explore a bit. It's a tiny church that recently had some repairs done; it's in better shape than it was the last time I visited.

The Ukrainian Catholic Church. The domes, towers, and roof have been restored recently.

Inside the church. The pews do not look comfortable!

We kept driving, with Uncle Eddie pointing out where their old church was, where old dance halls were, which farms are owned by which people and how big they are, where post offices and towns used to be, where old roads ran, what routes people took to get places… He had a constant stream of stories and information, and I kind of wish I had a recorder or something to capture it because there's no way I'll remember it all. Every road or corner or place triggered a different memory, it seems…this is where Uncle Orville lost part of his thumb when his mom slammed the car door on it, this is where someone got stuck, this is where he was biking downhill at night as a kid and ran into a herd of cows that were crossing the road…it didn't stop!

Eventually we made it to Porcupine Plain, where grandpa lived after he retired, and we stopped for ice cream, and then we drove to Archerwill for supper. Yes, the same restaurant we'd been to the night before with Aunt Leona…but apparently there aren't really any other decent places to eat around, and it's a very good restaurant so we didn't mind!

Ukrainian stop sign in Porcupine Plain. I'm pretty sure I know what it says...

At the Archerwill General Store

Supper time

Playing games with 'grandpa' and 'grandma'

Finally we drove out to Rose Valley, to visit Uncle Bill's and Aunt Elsie's graves at the cemetery there, and drive past their old house (which I definitely recognized). Then one last stop at Wadena to visit Robbie and Rachel's graves, and back “home” for the evening.

As a kid, I loved this grain elevator.

The next morning we got on the road just before 9:00 for the longest drive of our trip: Wadena to Edmonton. We stopped a couple of times (in Humboldt for gas and the Farmer's Market; in Saskatoon for lunch), just outside Lloydminster for gas again (I was hoping to make Lloydminster but the car had different ideas)…and right around Lloydminster Eden decided that she had had enough of this whole “riding in the car” thing, and we took about a 90 minute break for a walk around town and a little bit of shopping. The last thing we did was stop at Safeway for a snack, and ended up buying the best donuts I've ever eaten…we got there just as freshly-baked trays were being put out, and they were amazing.

And, since Lloydminster is right on the Alberta border, I'll end the post there!

In Lloydminster there are trees MADE OF YARN!



A quick update

Just a quick note from my phone to say we had a fun visit with Aunt Leona last night, and a very nice day with Aunt Joyce and Uncle Eddie today, driving all round the family sites and chatting over tea and coffee and staying up later than we intended! 🙂

I’ll try to write something more substantial later… Tomorrow we hope to be on the road around 8:00 AM to arrive in St. Albert for supper!

Relaxing in Regina

Yesterday was our first “real” full day of vacation. So we slept in until 10:30…hahaha no, we have Eden along, who am I kidding? We got up pretty much at the normal time, but took things slow. Eden had a bath in the giant tub (well, in a Rubbermaid container, in the giant tub), and we went to the farmer's market, which conveniently operates Wednesday mornings less than a block from our condo!

Why don't we use the WHOLE tub?

We walked around, bought corn and potatoes for supper, had lunch from a food truck, picked up some fruit, and I took my camera out at last.

At the market


The grass is delicious.

Then we went shopping…to a thrift store (among other things, I found Tintin and Choose Your Own Adventure books!), and a used book store that I saw earlier (bought nothing; after the thrift store it seemed so expensive!), and a paper store (which Ali and I wanted to buy most of, but we restrained ourselves). Then it was back home for supper (the corn was fantastic), and then it was Eden's bedtime.

Yep, the corn's fresh.

Eden disagreed, though, so we went for a walk…through the mall. In the middle of the mall there's an old stone façade from the Canadian Bank of Commerce. For no particular reason I went and read the plaque on it, and learned that it came from Winnipeg! Apparently it was originally on a bank in Winnipeg and then they moved the whole thing to Regina to put on a bank there. Seems like a lot of work, but I guess it's cheaper than making a new one?

All the way from Winnipeg.

We started cleaning the condo and packing our bags last night, because we're leaving today. This morning we went out for breakfast to a place that a coworker recommended: “Fresh & Sweet”. Apparently it's been on the Food Network, on “You Gotta Eat Here”. It was within walking distance, but it turns out that their big breakfast menu with features like the Caramel Apple Pie Waffle is only available on weekends. Oh well. It was pretty good anyway — the toasted cinnamon bun is worth a repeat visit sometime.

The stuffed dog is not actually a family member.

Fresh & Sweet. It got a lot busier while we were there.

This is where the farmer's market was yesterday.

And now we're getting ready to pack up and drive out to Kelvington and Wadena. I probably won't blog at all while we're there…maybe a really short post or two from my phone, but I'm not going to have wifi for my laptop or iPad. We hope to be in Edmonton on Saturday evening, and I'll have Internet access again then!

Scarth Street, where we've been living.

Our condo is the third floor of The Northern Bank.


A slow start to a vacation

We're in Regina!

Actually we've been here since Saturday, but it's only really now that I feel like I can say we're on vacation. See, it's sort of a drawn-out affair. Saturday was my almost-annual trip to Regina for a Riders game. We (that's me, Ali, and Eden) drove out Saturday morning, about 45 minutes ahead of my parents, Heather, and Pamela. After driving through a LOT of rain (at its worst, we only had about 300-400 meters of visibility) we met up in Moosomin for lunch at The Red Barn, and continued on to Regina just behind them (long story involving a new waitress who couldn't figure out how to separate and combine bills properly). All told we had rain from just outside Winnipeg until just outside Regina…except for in Moosomin.

Come on, let's get going!

(Yes, that's a phone photo. I've hardly had my camera out yet. That will change.)

But when we got to Regina, the rain was gone. And Eden was a great traveler, sleeping most of the way and really only being fussy when she was hungry. Good thing too, because with the rain we didn't really have a lot of options for getting out of the car with her.

I had managed to book the company condo for a few days — the company has a Regina office, and owns a condo for people to use while visiting — so we headed into central Regina to find it, on a nice pedestrian street in the heart of downtown. We headed up the elevator and were very surprised to find the elevator opening not into a hallway, but straight into a living room! I looked around a bit to convince myself that this was the right place, and then left Ali and Eden and headed back down.

See, I had the condo booked, but due to a miscommunication, I didn't have the condo garage booked. And the closest parking spot I could find was about three blocks away. And we needed just about all our luggage. And the game was starting in about an hour. And Ali couldn't help me unload, because someone had to watch Eden. So I made five or six rushed trips to the car (which was parked in a giant puddle) and hauled all our stuff upstairs (Ali says it was only about four trips but it felt like more to me!), and then we drove to the hotel where everyone else was, so that we could drive back to where the game was…and get to our seats just as the game was starting.

Oh, and it was about 10° C and windy, and I had forgotten my hoodie. But even if I was cold, and even if the Riders lost, it was fun, like football games in Regina always are.

A selfie with my sisters

Afterwards we all visited for a bit at mom and dad's hotel, and then Ali and I parked our car in the parkade of a downtown shopping mall (free parking on weekends!) and walked back to the condo to bed.

The condo is the best hotel I've ever stayed in, I think. Three bedrooms, three bathrooms, a big kitchen, a jet tub, and about the same square footage as my house. We feel pretty spoiled at being able to stay here. Eden has a ton of space to crawl around in, and since nobody lives here full-time there's not even a lot of stuff for her to pull off of tables or anything.

Our temporary home

So we set up the pack and play in the master bedroom (king-sized bed!) and went to sleep, having more or less settled in.

The days since have been simpler. Sunday we slept in (church is at 11:00 here!), went to church, had the others at the condo for lunch, said goodbye, and…relaxed! We went for a walk, I think, but mostly just hung out. I put on that night's football game on the projection TV, and we didn't do anything much.

Just hanging out

Monday and Tuesday (today) I actually worked. The office is walking distance from the condo, and officially I haven't been on vacation yet! This is partly why I got the condo…I'm combining a business trip with a personal trip. (Don't worry, I'm not cheating anyone, this is all above board!) So I took my laptop to the office, had meetings with some of the Regina people, gave a presentation, and did other boring work things, while Ali and Eden explored, on foot and by car.

Heading out for a day of exploring!

Why sit when you can stand?

But now…now I am officially on vacation! Today was my last day of work before my actual vacation time, and I'm looking forward to it!