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A day with my grandfather in Waskesiu

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All sorts of family were out this week(end) with my Aunt Pat and cousin (second cousin? I am not sure how that works) Michelle came up to Saskatoon and we met them at The Berry Barn last Saturday.  I really hoped someone used The Corner Gas joke and asked where they were this weekend.  According to Hank and Brent, “They are in a better place.  Saskatoon.”

On Monday my grandpa came up to visit dad and we went to

  • Fatburger
  • The Park Cafe
  • Waskesiu
  • KartTrack (see Mom’s post for some photos)
  • Ricky’s
  • Jordon and Lloyd also seemed to foil someone who might have broken into our house.  Either that or tried to crush my head with a chunk of landscaping stone.  By the way, if you are missing a piece of landscaping stone, I put it in the trash.  Mom later called the Saskatoon Police Service and they said they would pick up the women.  According to dad and mom (she comes by all of the time), she needs some help.

So yeah, it was a fun two days.  Above are some family photos and as you can see, I am have not mastered the art of the paparazzi and running ahead and getting the shot.  I am not going to get much from TMZ for these photos.  I also am doubting dad’s claim that he is “huge in Europe and Japan”.

I also realize the above photos make it look like I am being left behind.  “Hey guys! Wait up!”

Surprise from Dad

Last night was Dad’s birthday.  We gave him his gifts and then went out dinner at Boston Pizza.  As we sat down, there was a cloth bag of stuff and I through Mom had something she was going to surprise him with.  Inside was two packages and Dad gave me one.  It was a grip for my Pentax K-5 II.  I had wanted one since I got the camera but couldn’t afford it.  Then Pentax stopped making them so they got more expensive.  Don’s Photo didn’t have any old ones in stock so I had hoped to get one used this summer or fall.  Dad found a replica one that had good reviews and ordered it for me.  He gave it to me last night.

The other weekend, Oliver was in Don’s Photo at the end of the day and was telling me about this incredible Canon camcorder.  It costs $2500 new and ever since then Oliver has been shoveling snow like a madmen.  He gets paid $2 a snowfall.  He wanted the Canon Vixia HF R700 camcorder which just cost $200.  I think in his mind if he could just produce a few Hollywood blockbusters, he can get the Canon XF 100.  Makes sense to me.

Dad had a Canon HF Vixia R200 camcorder at home that we rarely used.  He preferred some other gear.  He bought Oliver this adorable Lowepro Adventura SH 110 II case, some SD cards, and gave it to him.  Oliver did even want to eat supper, he wanted to leave right then and film an epic adventure.  Since that camcorder (all camcorders?!) aren’t great with batteries, Dad ordered him in some extras.

Speaking of batteries, I will pick up a few extra batteries for my grip but it also came with a AA battery holder so I can use some AA batteries if all else fails.

Christmas Eve

As much as I like working at Safeway, it is nice to be home with family tonight.

Mom got up early and made us a great breakfast of Farmer’s Sausage Quiche (real men may not eat quiche but I did today) and then it was off to take Marley to the Pierre Radisson Dog Park before I had to get to work.  I may be the low man on the totem pole in terms of seniority but it is always nice to get some extra hours over the holidays.

I am told that other Safeway’s get quiet on Christmas Eve but not the one on 33rd Street.  We have a lot of working class customers and they have to work on Christmas Eve which means we are busy right up to closing time.

Swan Pizza in SaskatoonCanada Dry Cranberry Ginger AleOn the night of the Civic Election, Dad was in The StarPhoenix’s newsroom and they ordered in Swan Pizza.  We had never ordered it or heard of it but it’s pretty amazing.  If you are looking for great pizza, it’s up there with Panago and Santa Lucia pizza as the best in Saskatoon.  So we ordered a perogy pizza and a pepperoni pizza for dinner tonight, had some festive drinks (Canada Dry’s Cranberry Ginger Ale) and some fun dessert (the awkwardly named Sex in a Pan) before opening presents.

Dad then sat down in front of the Christmas Tree and handed out all of our gifts. 

Oliver

A friend of dad and mom’s gave Oliver a snowboard and bindings.  They went to Larry’s Sports Exchange and got him a pair of snowboard boots so he can use them.  I gave Oliver a pair of Nintendo DS games and a Huskies Athletics hoodie.  Marley gave him some ski goggles. 

Dad gave him some warm snowboarding gloves while Mom also gave him the fourth Jedi Academy book. 

They also gave him a Acer Iconia One 7” Tablet for Christmas.  The same that I have.  Dad is installing Google Hangouts and Google Duo on it so we can chat in real time.  I put it on my phone as well tonight.  Along with it was a case so he can start learning to type.

Acer Iconia One 7" Tablet

Oliver also was given a new pair of binoculars and a Bluetooth speaker.  It was a pretty big day for him and he was really excited.

In his Christmas stocking, there was a model of a helicopter, a wooden Yoyo, and a monthly daytimer so he can keep track of his life which is kind of hectic for a kid in Grade 3.


Mom

Dad gave Mom a new 10” tablet with keyboard. 

10" Android Tablet for Wendy

I knew Dad was getting her one so I ordered in a tablet bag that is made from goat leather and was imported from India.  I also got her a Moleskine journal, a nice set of Sharpie pens and a new thumb drive.

Woods Cypress KettleOliver got her some camping gear.  He gave her a tea pot and a 2l pot for cooking.  Marley gave her a camping frying pan with the expectation that any bacon that is fried up on there, goes to her.  I can’t see that happening.

Sriracha2Go containerIn mom’s stocking was a Sriracha2Go keychain. It’s a little Sriracha container that fits on your keychain.  It’s a pretty funny gift.   Santa got her some new wooden spoons because someone (looks over at the dog) chewed up her old ones as well as some candy.


Dad

Mom gave Dad the same kind of tablet we got for Oliver and I have.  Marley gave him a keyboard case to carry it in. 

Oliver gave dad a new backpack for travelling and hiking.  It had a new Bear Grylls Gerber knife in it as well as a notebook and some pens.

BEAR GRYLLS SURVIVAL SERIES SCOUT

I gave dad a pair of hiking poles for this summer and a new Rode VideoMicro for his Olympus OM-D E-M5 II.

Mom also gave him a Joby Gorillapod Focus tripod.

Marley and Hutch

We all went together and got the dogs two winter jackets.  Marley’s is an old school varsity jacket while Hutch is looking dapper in his dog parka.

Marley’s favorite toy is her rope so we got her another one of those and some boots to go with the jacket.  She hates the boots, loves the rope and is learning to accept the jacket.


Me

Head SnowboardDad and Mom gave me a new Head snowboard and Oliver gave me some snowboard boots.

Marley gave me some new Ryder sunglasses and some Head snowboard gloves.

Dad and Mom also gave me a book called Grand Adventures by Alastair Humphreys while Dad gave me a travel duffel bag so when I want to have an epic adventure, I will be prepared.

Grand Adventures by Alastair Humphreys

Grand Adventures explores the hurdles that prevent us all having as many adventures as we would like to do. Using Alastair’s experience of 15 years of adventures, plus interviews with around 100 different adventurers, Grand Adventures offers encouragement, advice and a polite kick up the backside to overcome a lack of Time or Money and life’s Commitments and Relationships. It will help you choose which sort of adventure appeals to you. And then the second half of the book dissects many of the different types of journey you might choose, whether that is by Bicycle, Foot, Animal, Water, Motor, Climbing, Travelling, living in a treehouse, or something even grander such as blasting into Space.

Consider this: if you saved up £20 a week for a year, you’d have £1000 which is more than enough money to cycle all the way to Japan… Dream Big, Plan Quick, Go Explore.

Oliver also gave me a GSI Outdoors Javapress mug so I can enjoy some coffee in the backcountry.

Finally in my stocking were two Promaster protective filters for my Pentax 50mm f1.8 and 35mm f2.4 lenses. 

My summer in review

I worked all summer long at Safeway on 33rd.  I guess this means I passed my probationary period and they intend to keep me.

  • I used the money to buy a lot of t-shirts in Banff and Moraine Lake, a new lens for my camera, a great looking Timex Expedition watch, and all of my Christmas shopping.
  • Who was done his Christmas shopping in August?  This guy.
  • We went to Banff and Yoho National Parks despite dad being really sick. 
    • Dad pulled it together and still was a lot of fun on the trip.
    • We hiked in the backcountry.
    • Oliver and I got lost in the woods.
    • Dad was almost eaten by a bear.
    • We discovered Montreal Smoked Meat Crepes.
    • I found out that Lake Louise is just minutes away from British Columbia.
  • We went to Fort Carlton and I learned a bunch of Treaty 6 history with Oliver, Mom and Dad.  I enjoyed it a lot.  Dad and I walked around outside the fort (and were eaten alive by bugs) while Mom and Oliver made bannock.  Oddly enough there were no bugs inside the fort the day we were there.
  • I wasn’t going to play football after the trainwreck of a season I had last year but I had a lot of long talks with Dad about it who reminded me that everyone gets knocked down, it’s how you get up is what is important.  So when football started a week ago, I was out there.  It felt good.

Sigma 70-300mm lens for Pentax

I babysit Oliver all summer long.  Well technically the dog is in charge but if there is something she can’t do because of a lack of opposable thumbs, I have to do it.

I don’t really babysit Oliver anymore, he is pretty chill but Dad cut me a deal and said that if I take care of him and the dog, I could pick out a lens I want.

The first couple of lenses I wanted are only made for Canon and Nikon.  After suggesting them both Dad and I cried a little bit.  I then asked for a 70-300 lens so I can shoot some outside sports.  Dad was cool with that and tonight on the first day of school, he gave me a Sigma 70-300mm f/4-5.6 DG Macro Telephoto Zoom Lens.

Sigma 70-300mm f/4-5.6 DG Macro Telephoto Zoom Lens for Pentax DSLRs

I am taking yearbook for credit this year and this means that I can get some better shots of activities and sports around Bedford Road Collegiate Institute and the city.

Tamron 18-200mm f/3.5-6.3 XR Di-II Macro Lens

Dad and Mom suprised me today with a new lens as a gift for taking care of Oliver.  It’s a Tamron 18-200mm f/3.5-6.3 XR Di-II Macro Lens for my Pentax K-30. 

Tamron 18-200mm f/3.5-6.3 XR Di-II Macro Lens for Pentax

It’s not the best lens in the world, no all around lens really is but it’s good for heading out and exploring the city or going on hikes when weight is at a premium.

I was suprised to get it.  I enjoy taking care of Oliver and I am not really a guy who enjoys wandering the mall so chilling out with Ollie is cool and he has been really good.

If you want to see what else I carry in my camera bag, here it is.

Christmas Day

I got up this morning and took Marley for a long walk through Caswell, Mayfair, and Hudson Bay Park.  It was really, really quiet.  Normally I am out the door at 7:00 a.m. and there aren’t a lot of people out but there are cars being warmed up, people scraping windshields and people going to work.  None of that today.  The entire westside of Saskatoon was sleeping in.

Dad had to get up early and go to City Hospital for treatment on his leg.  When they got home, they started making breakfast.  There was scrambled eggs on salmon and toasted croissants and some eggs benedict.  Eggtastic (yes I went there).  They were served with some fresh squeezed juice and fresh ground coffee.

After breakfast Dad pointed out that Oliver and I had forgotten to open a gift from the night before.  I was like, “What? How could that have happened?”  We opened the gift and inside it was a BB-8 robot and four tickets to Star Wars: The Force Awakens for this afternoon.  How cool is that?

So after breakfast, Oliver and I chilled out in front of my television while Dad updated his computer.  Then we headed downtown with some hot coffee and took some photos of downtown.  As we got closer to the movie time, we headed back home, dropped off our gear and then went down to watch Star Wars.  It was everything that you would expect from the biggest movie of the year and a lot of fun.

Mom had preparing a roast for dinner in the slow cooker. I thought it was because that is what she wanted to make for dinner but now I realize it was something she could cook while we were at the movie.  Well played Wendy.

When we got home, the roast was ready and we had French Dip sandwiches on fresh rolls.  It was excellent.  Later on Christmas evening, Mom brought out a chocolate fondue for dessert.  Then Mom and Dad called it a night while Oliver and I went downstairs and watched some television.  As soon as I hit “publish”, we are calling it a night.  Oliver is crashing in my bunk bed tonight.  With him and I high on chocolate, it could be a short night and a long day tomorrow.