How I Spent My 2019 Summer Vacation 

How I Spent My 2019 Summer Vacation 

Wednesday 29 May

Since my stint as an illegal alien, I knew it would be a hassle with customs to leave Peru. It was.

The stamp — at last

On that note, it is just a good think I endured 53 days and 11 trips to Migraciones to get the stamp as otherwise it would have been a major production.

I left Lima at 02:30. After an additional four hour lay-over in Toronto, I arrived in Edmonton at 20:58. My sister, Shelley, was waiting for me at the airport.


Thursday 30 May – 12:00 – Ethiopian lunch at Langano Skies with Claudia, Ellie, Helen, and Shelley. I got everyone – some reluctantly – to eat with their right hands.

How to eat with your right hand in Edmonton.

18:00 – Dinner with Steph and The G at Shelley and Glenn’s dining room. My brother-in-law is trying to impersonate my sense of style, but can’t quite pull it off.


Shelley, the G, Steph




Remember that immitation is the hightest form of flattery.











Friday 31 May – 12:30 – Lunch with Brad, my one-legged Iroquois Indian photographer friend whom I know from Cambodia.

Brad — the photographer I know from Cambodia.

We have had more than a few adventures together. My Sherwood Park sister was a touch horrified as some of the antics we discussed.

Saturday 1 June – 09:30 – Shelley and I started our seven-hour road trip to Watrous. We stopped in Lloydminster to see nephew Kyle, Randi, and the kids.

Randi, Kyle, and Shelley.

My mother has a tablet so the internet is gone. My office this trip was the stool at Mike’s Beach Bar where I met Laurie.

Monday 3 June -10:00 – coffee with Linda E. at the Peachwood. She had offered to let me use her tricycle while I was in town, but I couldn’t quite get the hang of it and was scared that I would end up like the poster-girl of a domestic violence victim again.

Linda E at the Peachwood.
  • Visited with Clara and Skip at the Manitou Lodge.


Clara — a wonderful woman I have known since I was a horrible teenager.







Skip on his 75th. Clara said he didn’t look that old.







The potluck crowd.





18:00 – Potluck dinner at the United Church. My mother told me I couldn’t go as I wasn’t a member. However, Joanne invited me when I ran into her downtown. Mother reluctantly said I could attend — as long as I behaved myself. Sigh.


Belch. Slight burp. No wonder I gainerd three kgs in SK.








Tuesday 4 June –  Mom dropped off some rhubarb for Stella, her 92-year old friend who lives alone in her house on a farm. It was the first time I had met her.

Mom and Stella.

18:00 – dinner at Kathy’s –my sister-in-law’s cabin at Last Mountain Lake, about an hour and 20 minutes from Watrous.

My sister-in-law, Kathy, is a great cook.










Wednesday 5 June – Lunch with the graduating class of 1971.

The class of 71.

My adopted brother John organized it. Of the 35 of us who graduated, four are dead and others live where-ever. So a turn-out of 12 was impressive.



Adopted brother John — great event organizer.










A beer at Bill’s Garden Bar. He is a 92-year old who gardens and opens the patio to thirsty visitors about 16:00 each day when it is sunny.

Hanging out at Bill’s Garden Bar.

I brought a finger puppet for Tupper, Bill’s dog, but he wasn’t having anything to do with it.

Tuper wouldn’t weaar his finger pupper from Peru. He missed his chance to be the classiest dog in town.











A succulent steak dinner with Iris and Kevin. And Iris makes a mean Long Island Ice Tea.

Fantastic food — Kevin, J, Irisi










Thursday 6 June – lunch with Barry and Zeek at Cohen’s Beer Republic in Saskatoon.

Lunching with Zeke and Barry. We have known each other almost forever from La Ronge days.
  • Then I caught up with Tim, whom I also know from La Ronge.
  • Having a drink with Tim
  • Enjoying a wine with Tim.
  •   Then we drank vodka and talked shit until the wee hours of the morning. Tim went to sleep first. His wife, Sally, is right – he snores. As an insomniac I want to snuff out people who sleep with a pillow.
  • Friday 7 June – overnighted at my aunt Lena’s so we could get an early start on a five-hour drive to Estevan for Joyce and Gerald’s 40th wedding anniversary.
    Lena and J

    Lena was the mohter-of-the-bride and I was the bride’s maid. Hells belles, it has been a while.

Saturday 8 June – I proceeded to get lost in the construction and couldn’t find the road to Regina.

We had lunch with Ron at the India Palace on the way through Regina..




The anniversary was a casual gathering of people coming and going between the house, the back lawn, and the garage.

The cake with the original wedding photo.



Everyone from thel wedding party was there.



Bride to the right, bridesmaid to the left










Another of the highlights was spending time with my cousin Brian as it has been almost forever.

Catching up with cousin Brian was a highlight of the trip to Estevan.

Sunday 9 June – lunch with Peggy and Donna as we drove through Regina.

19:00 – There was a firepit gathering in Shawna’s back yard. She is my sobrina (niece) who forgot to send me the photos she took of the event.

Tuesday 11 June – It was Skip’s 75th birthday. As noted earlier, Clara doesn’t think he looks that old.

Wednesday 12 June – lunch with Murray Gordon.

Murray Gordon — who wants to drive to South America.

We go back to high school days. He is going to retire in October and wanted to drive to visit me in Colombia. Given the Darien Gap — perhaps the most dangerous area on the faceof the planet —  it isn’t a fesible idea.

Popped in to see Clara and push Skip around the lodge.

A Caesar with Shawna on a Wednesday afternoon

An afternoon Caesar with Shawna at her hairdressing shop.









Caught up with Bonnie and Brandon at the Town Bar.

Brandon and Bonnie at the Town Bar.

Thursday 13 June – went shopping with Carol and Lena. It is my annual splurge to buy what I need. And we work from a list.

The annual one-day shoppint spree.

Lunch at Saba’s Restaurant. Highly recommended. Saba – the owner who is from Eretria – joined us. She had opened the restaurant to cook lunch for us.





Enjoyed the Gazebo Gathering at Cecile’s in the evening with the women I have known almost forever.

None of us can remember exactly how long we have been doing this annyal gathering. But it is at least 25 years.

Friday 14 June – Blair – aka Mr Tire – had noticed that the back tires on my aunt’s 1999 car were the originals. He ordered in 15-inch replacements.


Blair — aka Mr. Tire









Sharon drove to Watrous from Regina and we went out for dinner with my mother.

Mom witth her fish and chips at John’s Plate.

Dinner at John’s Plate was courtesy of a gift certificate from Dennis. He lives in Prince George BC and apologised for not being able to make it for lunch at the Peachtree.



Sharon at John’s Plate with the ribs.


J with Malbec at John’s Plate.








Saturday 15 June – We enjoyed burgers and a beer at Mike’s Beach Bar with some class of 71 friends.

Burger an beer at Mike’s.

Sunday 16 June – Father’s Day visit to talk with Daddy and the boys.

The Hanson headstone. Comforting to know where my ashes will end up for eternity.











Next it was lunch at my brother Doug’s and sister-in-law Gloria’s in Wishart an hour and a half from Watrous. Also in attendance were Dan – Gloria’s brother – niece Jamie, husband Michael and three great-nieces.

Lunch for a dozen in Wishart,

Steak dinner on the patio with a fire to keep warm.

Brother Doug hogging the foreground. Mom in the backgroung.

Monday 17 June – Drove another two and a half hours to Neudof, where I lived from the ages of four to 14.

Salivated over a lunch of borsht, perogies and cabbage rolls at Dorothy’s. She doesn’t understand why I want the same menu every year. It is the only time I get to eat these treats. She also packs take aways.

Lunch at Dorothy’s — great spread of food and enternatining conversation.

Stayed at Jeannie’s cabin at the lake. Pat arrived. It is a relaxing space.

Jeannie and Pat

Tuesday 18 June – Sat on the deck at Jeannie’s cabin and listened to the waves lap up on the shore.

Wednesday 19 June – Drove to Wishart to collect my mother and we returned to Watrous. The original plan was to go to Big River – an additional four and a half hours. I would have had to take a detour to the nearest hospital emergency room as I would have collapsed from exhaustion.

Thursday 20 June – Had coffee with Wendy who retired from the Affinity Credit Union and let me stranded. Now I have to figure out my own banking. Stress.

With Wendy, How dare she retire and leave me to figure out my own banking?


Had a Patience Night with my brother, Hank. He claims that I have caused him more angst, stress, and downright trouble than all the other people in the world combined. So, to continue to garner his tolerance I show up with wine and we talk until all hours. Got to keep the boy onside.

Hank and his Harley jacket.








Friday 21 June – Had coffee with Jack, who lives next door.

Jack has lived next door almost forever.

Lunch with Joan at the Oda restaurant at Manitou Beach.

BLT with Joan at Oda.

Stopped to see Clara, Skip, and Gerry and we ended up studying the world map so could show whem where I was going to be living in Colombia.

Checking the world with Skip and Gerry.









Saturday 22 June – Wagner Women Wrap-up at Cohen’s Beer Republic in Saskatoon. Cousin Linda arranged the event and we just had to show up at her son-in-law’s restaurant — 

The Wagner Woman

Sunday 23 June – Had a final visit with Lena and returned her car and the keys.

Monday 24 June – flew out to Santa Marta, Colombia at 06:00. Survived — barely as 33 hours with layovers is taxing.

Future plans

My sort of idea is to stay in Colombia until December 2019,  and then move back to Arequipa and the Hostal Santa Catolina for six months.

Then, it is on to Canada in June 2020. An important event is the Hanson Tribal Gathering in the park in Sheho on 6 June 2020.



On a final note, Bella — a ceramic bird from my greaat-grandmother  — is with me. Chipped in a few places, end of the beak missing, and a few cracks. We figure the bird must be over 100 years old.









Additiona photos — so many happy snaps, so little space.

Laurie at Mike’s Beach Bar.

So here are the ones I couldn’t quite squeeze into the blog. They are of no particuar order.

Ingerra and watt. My fave.
Neudorf — home-town from 4 to 14.
“Our” garden — as in my mother and me –before the rain. Want raspberries? A few pails of apples? Call Jean.
On the patio just before the steak.
Eating well at Saba.
Tim at the Remai Modern Gallery.
Mike’s Beach Bar — my office for the internet.
On the road. Wonderful bonding time with my sister.
Cecile in the kitchen for the Gazebo Gathering