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Back From The Shadows Again

:: Last Friday, July 16th, I spent time visiting with my friend, Jason Pascoe, who lives in Kitchener-Waterloo ON. I had not seen him for some years, and we had a good time catching up and eating diner food at C Kelekis’ Restaurant, a legendary greasy spoon on Main Street in Winnipeg. Chris Kelekis began operating his food business from a pushcart in 1918, and opened the restaurant in 1946. He was decades ahead of McDonald’s with his shoe-string french fries. For many years through to present day, his daughter, Mary, has managed the operation. As usual, I had my hot dog with bacon and cheese, shoestring fries with gravy, and a Coke. Diet out the window!

On Friday evening, I attended a pool party with my high school cohorts from the 1971 Windsor Park Collegiate class. Held at the Oystryk home in Southdale, about 15 of us had a blast, eating Chinese food, swimming, and ending the evening with a rousing Beatles singalong in the tv room, with me on guitar. The members of this group were not close friends of mine when I was in high school, but that doesn’t matter. They were responsible for organizing the 2003 reunion, the year our class turned 50, a hugely successful event. Now, we are developing strong friendships as a result of the reunion and subsequent parties, and all future trips to Winnipeg will include my WPC homeys. They are fantastic people.

The same day, I visited my mother in the St Boniface Hospital, after her surgery. She was in the hospital until today, and is slowly recovering from what the doctors determined to be bacteria destroying the ligaments and tissue in her left shoulder! I was so annoyed and angry when I learned this. Before I went to St John’s, the week before, I had returned home one evening to find my mother in tears from the pain in her shoulder. I felt so damn useless at that moment. My dad and I were left wondering why the doctors couldn’t determine what was happening until she was six weeks into the pain. I cannot imagine how hopeless she felt, and how intense the pain was. However, better late than never, I suppose, and the operation was performed by one of the top orthopedic surgeons in Winnipeg.

In any event, she is recuperating slowly, and now has a PICC line inserted through a vein in her arm. A PICC line, or Peripherally Inserted Central Catheter, is placed through the skin and inserted into a vein in the arm, and moved through the vein until it reaches the large vein that enters the heart. Through the PICC line, intravenous medication is delivered directly to the heart.

On Saturday, I drove for 14 hours back to Edmonton in scorching heat. With each successive trip, I find the drive slightly less tolerable and a bit more annoying. When I drive to Winnipeg from Edmonton, I take the Yellowhead Highway (now considered to be the “northern route” of the Trans-Canada Highway) all the way to Portage la Prairie, where it connects with Highway 1, some 45 minutes from Winnipeg. I drive back Edmonton on Highway 1 to Regina, then up to Saskatoon on Highway 11. The Regina-Saskatoon run could quite possibly be the most boring 2.5 hours of anyone’s life, but at least it is a divided highway. Between Regina and Winnipeg, there remains ~162 kms of two-lane highway (west of Virden MB to east of Sintaluta SK), one of the many National Embarrassments of the southern route of the Trans-Canada Highway.

While in Winnipeg, I noticed what a good selection of FM stations is available there, especially compared to Edmonton. In addition to the usual classic rock and lite rock crap (which defines all the pop stations in Edmonton), one can find stations playing modern rock, jazz, even a nostalgia/standards station. Three college stations are available (U Man, U Wpg, Red River CC). In Edmonton, if the classic rock dinosaur stations don’t work for you, the alternatives are CBC Radio 2, and CKUA. They are good stations, but I’m bored with both of them, which in certain circles, is a sacrilegious and blasphemous admission.

CKUA, surviving on donations from its listeners, tries too hard to please all of them at once, attempting to reach some kind of crunchy granola happy medium, with roots music up the wazoo. CBC Radio 2‘s jockeys hit the top of the annoying meter – collectively they talk too fast, or their voices modulate so badly from high to low and back again that I find myself unable to decipher what they are saying. Thankfully, Edmonton will soon be getting a jazz and modern rock radio stations. It won’t happen soon enough.

I spent Sunday and Monday laying about the house in Edmonton, having as much energy as a sack of wet mice, as Foghorn might say. I’m back at work, uninspired and somewhat listless. My mother is out of the hospital this evening, and glad to be home in Winnipeg.

The trip to Winnipeg, then St John’s, and then Winnipeg again, was a good one, despite being exhausting and physically draining. I can’t really recommend taking a vacation while you are on vacation, only to return to your first vacation. Nonetheless, I really enjoyed the two weeks, seeing family and friends, and meeting many nice, interesting new people in Newfoundland.

I mentioned previously the incident where I “stepped” into the ocean while trying to stop myself from slipping on some wet rocks on the shore. Kenton has uploaded his photos, which include this one of me making my way down to the shore (pre-slippage, in a Tai Chi moment of some sort), and “after the fall“, as I signal to Kenton and Susan that I am ok, not aware just yet that I’ve badly bruised the inside of my right knee and pulled a muscle to the left of my stomach while falling. Seeing the shoreline from Kenton’s perspective in this picture really makes me wonder why I thought I could actually get to the edge of the ocean without sliding in. D’oh!

The good news is, eventually, I did touch the ocean without falling down, here at Middle Cove Provincial Park. While we were there, we searched for small rocks with more than one white stripe on them, which meant we would have good luck, especially if we found rocks with two white stripes or lines on them. I returned to Winnipeg with 7 or 8 of them. The following day, the last of our trip, Susan, Kenton and I did the 3.5 km hike around Signal Hill. The views during the hike were incredible. A few examples are here, here, here, here, here, and here. So there. This one’s nice too. Oh, and here’s a shot of me playing and singing at Kim’s and Geoff’s wedding on July 9th in St John’s.

Kenton took all the photos linked from this post.

3 Responses to “Back From The Shadows Again”

  1. Murph Says:

    Looks very much like Scotland, based on the pix you linked to. I’ve only been to Gander, when I was 14. Definitely have to go someday, as I also want to do the western part of the island.


  2. sharon Says:

    i hope your mom gets better soon. It sounds like a painful ordeal for her (and your family too).
    Take care!

  3. Lenny Says:

    Neat trip- I hope to get to Newfoundland next summer.
    Hope your mom is doing better.

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