Tag Archives: Linda

12-11-10 to 12-11-12 It’s RRR Second Birthday

Reid Dickie

It was two years ago today that I first proffered my blogishness online, a rather clueless beginner with massive curiosity and a tad of talent with words. My intent had been to find my audience which I accomplished in the first year. In my second year, I managed to retain and build my audience. The blog has attracted an average of 240 hits a day for the past year. Amazing! Thank you for coming back to review my latest meanderings time and again.

Tee heeIn my second year 185 new posts appeared on my blog, significantly fewer than my first year. I have found a nice pace for posting that doesn’t create stress, only enjoyment and a sense of accomplishment.


If there is a fly in my blog life, it is WordPress, which hosts both my blogs (www.shoallakehistory.com is the other blog) and millions of others. When I started with WordPress two years ago it was a simple and straight-forward blog builder where most everything worked every time I needed it. Today I have come to dislike WordPress greatly. Every week there is some new wrinkle they introduce that makes something more complicated, more time-consuming and much less enjoyable. The tall foreheads whoTee hee  administer WordPress can’t seem to leave anything alone.

The latest annoying feature is a spell check WP introduced when you compose posts right on the blog. I am certain Monty Python designed this spell check. It gives the most outrageously complicated and/or irrelevant suggestions to simple errors making it useful less than half the time. I can’t figure out how to stop the damn thing.

Regular readers will have noticed how sometimes pictures and text don’t format well together, leaving large white spaces in the middle of paragraphs. This is a recent thing due to some mysterious change to WordPress and again I am at a loss on how to fix it. Bottom line is, if you want to start a blog, don’t use WordPress. Shop for a simpler and easier blog maker.

That said, I still enjoy having a blog or two. I need the outlet and I am enormously grateful to everyone who has visited RRR in the past year. Thank you.

Buzz Buzz Buzz

What’s ahead for RRR, you ask?

The tradition of the Twelve Days of Christmas that Linda and I started back in 2005 continues, beginning this Friday, December 14. This year, alternating daily, there will be six heritage churches and six heritage houses featured, all in Manitoba, of course. Something new this year: nine of the heritage buildings will have short videos along with pictures and descriptive write-ups!

On the last day of the year, I’ll post my year-end review, another tradition and one I particularly enjoy writing because I get to reflect on my life using the blog as a filter. What a year it has been! So much to report.

Starting January 1st, watch for a new feature called Sorry Notes to the Future. It’s a series of original videos which I created over the past few months combining collage, sound and story. All are very short (under a minute) and quite absurd. I’ll be posting one a day, every day during the month of January.

The past and the future are both experiences in the present moment. Thanks for being here now.


The future?


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Filed under birthday, Blog Life, DickToolery, Humour, Linda

World Collage Week – Day Six

Reid Dickie

The traditional Saturday morning Rock Paper Scissors Parade kicks off today’s collagic festivities. Four thousand floats are entered in this year’s parade; most are mere inches high, made of paper with paper motors and will likely be stepped on and crushed. Parade tip: listen for the pitiful thrashing of the broken floats’ near-spent springs, their limbs shredding away against unforgiving concrete. In the afternoon, watch a paper-making demonstration using lard, chard and Right Guard in the Cataclysmic Centre’s FU Fate Room. It’s amazing! Saturday night is the all-night street dance. The exact street has yet to be decided but Fido’s Dog Bowl, Fiddle and Ligament Band (non-housebroken line-up) will perform, as promised on the poster. Oh, we forgot to do a poster. Anyway, they are an all-dog band, a must see! The Shagging Feral Inbreds were booked. I hear they are spectacular too, dog upon dog upon dog. Elsewise, see this now!


Cassius thought he recognized the waitress. She smelled familiar when she bent toward him clearing away the drugged imps that sometimes come unglued from the bottoms of the tables. Her name tag said Veronica in fake rhinestones.


Television works so well due to its predictability. Television says money supplants skills. Television delivers people. Television is a tranquilizer that evens things out. Television allows us to be happily stupid.

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Filed under Art Actions, BEAUTY, Blog Life, dicktool co, Humour, Linda, Love

World Collage Week – Day Five

Reid Dickie

It’s a big day! Keep your energy up, collagers!! Extinct hunting will happen this afternoon, despite it being controversial and all over the Big Head’s face gobs. The hunters vote on which extinct specie they’d like to kill most, a simple majority of votes decides the beast and off they go, an afternoon of complete futility, chasing something they know is non-existent, armed with weapons ranging from slingshots, bows and arrows and atlatls to submachine guns, grenade launchers and small nuclear tasers that zipline a custom hole in anything or anybody of desire. After a few hopeless, vain, senseless hours, many hunters will weep for the first time in their lives. And isn’t that what it’s all about? Tonight is the elegant ball in the elegant ballroom of the Bally Theme Hotel, Inn, Suites, Closets and Crawlspaces. The ball’s theme is Balls. “No yellow” is the ball’s only law. If you wear yellow, you’ll get kicked in the balls and/or equivalent. Should be a ball! Party on, specie!


After sitting through a long dinner with adults, little Whispa was glad to be off to her room. With her rubber stamp set, scissors and glue she assembled this poster of her daddy. She presented the little gift to her father at the table, much to the delight of the dinner guests. Whispa blushed as Daddy pulled her close to his warm smooth suit that smelled like cinnamon and exotic wind.


Umber Aja swims next to his dolphin brother, Climie, through the Gulf of Boredom as they try for the world title in tandem flexing at 8:30 every time it comes around which for the boys is just about often enough as they catch their combined breaths gulping the sewage-spoiled water. Climie almost swallowed an eyeball about an hour ago but spit it out at the last second.

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Filed under Art Actions, Blog Life, dicktool co, Family, Humour, Linda

World Collage Week – Day Four

Reid Dickie

I know, I know, we’re all hungover and edgy after the Shred-A-Thon but we need to focus, keep pretending we are actually in control of something/anything and move on. Are you with me on that? Good. It’s more or less a relaxing day today except for those who have opted for the voluntary public flogging which starts at noon at The Forks. I have a low tolerance for paper cuts so shant be attending. Instead I’m spending the afternoon at the forum of people who’ve been struck by lightning more than ten times. The things they say…and wear! It’s an entertainment you won’t soon forget, bluntly said. I haven’t been struck by lightning yet. Have you? Suck up these images, will ya! 


Groober wasn’t sure what happened to the previous drummer in the band but he had his suspicions.


“Time for your DTaP-IPV baby. This’ll keep you healthy and happy with never a disease capsizing your future aromas,” said nurse Guido while injecting Little Ricky with the wrong vaccine. Within minutes Little Ricky saw his whole little life flash before his little eyes: biting grandma’s foot, the hydrogen filled inflatable pool and Glufus, the maniacally-jealous family dog, trying to drown him in the lake.

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Filed under Art Actions, BEAUTY, Blog Life, dicktool co, Humour, Linda

Dusk in Val Marie, Saskatchewan

The Antonioni cottonwoods (watch Blow-Up!) nuzzle the prairie breezes leaving symphonic rustles hanging in the late afternoon air. Nuance consumes nuance. I am mostly naked, cooled by the day as I am heated by the wine. The second floor balcony of The Convent is close to heaven. Linda occurs! I am a blessed being, lucky times infinity, living that same dream in the middle of now here, an exclamation point on the endless prairie! This is what dusk in Val Marie looked like that night.

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Filed under Accommodations, BEAUTY, Heritage Buildings, Linda, Prairie People, Saskatchewan

Out There It’s Summertime

Reid Dickie

I’m just back from a eight-day ramble on the prairies, mostly in the Missouri Coteau and Cypress Hills areas of southern Saskatchewan. I visited half a dozen new sites, revisited some familiar ones, shot almost 2 hours of video (expect plenty of reports from afar as a result), met wonderful new people and spent time with some old favourites. My intuition quickened, Spirit whispered through the trees in Pine Cree Park and Old Souls aided and abetted me along the way. My reward for the 2800 kms and ensuing events is serenity, a renewed sense of purpose and a bolstering of my humanity. You get what you intend.

The trip began with a perfect Saturday at the Regina Folk Festival with Linda’s cousin, Mike Panko and his beautiful partner, Brenda. Mike’s an Old Soul and a ton of fun. Here’s Mike and me at the fest.

A day of great music culminated with an energetic set from k.d. lang and the Siss Boom Bang closing the evening concert which also featured Taj Mahal. k.d. is in fine form these days with a new band, high energy, great new songs from her Sing It Loud CD (buy it if you haven’t already) and a back catalogue that would be the envy of any singer with perfect pitch. The show began with the lead-off track from the CD called I Confess, to my ears a Roy Orbison homage of high order. (That was one of the Tunes of the Tour as was Moonglow because Wendy Thomson performed it beautifully with the moon rising above her on the second floor balcony at The Convent in Val Marie. Both tunes sift through the inattentive spaces in my mind as the miles go by.) k.d. covers two songs on the CD and performed both of them: Heaven “by that great country band, Talking Heads,” as she introduced it, led eerily, perfectly into a new arrangement of Hallelujah; and she swung the Little River Band hit Reminiscing. She sang Miss Chatelaine, Western Skies, ending the show with a rockin’ version of her now-evergreen Constant Craving. To end the encores and evening she sang Neil Young’s Helpless.

After a restful night on Mike’s futon and a long, leisurely breakfast with him and Brenda, I was westbound onto the Missouri Coteau. The Coteau stretches from the northwest in central Saskatchewan south between Moose Jaw and Swift Current into South Dakota. It’s the next step up on the prairies after the Manitoba Escarpment and features lots of hills and gullies, some of Saskatchewan’s best scenery and worst highways, friendly people and endlessly changing vistas that surprise and enchant the curious seeker. It’s one of my favourite places to drive. The highways are lonesome and long, the sky runs ahead of me just as far as it extends behind me and there’s enough room to think, to evolve, to expand my awareness and discover what’s there. I head south from Moose Jaw to Assiniboia then west toward Pine Cree Park, my camping destination for the night.

Located in the foothills to the Cypress Hills between Shaunavon and Eastend, over the years Pine Cree Park has sheltered my little tent more than any other campground on the praires. This is a shot of the South Fork of Swift Current Creek, which runs right through Pine Cree Park; its pleasant burble can be heard from most campsites in the park.

Set in a deep mysterious coulee on a Continental Divide, Pine Cree Park is a truly rustic camping experience. There is no other like it in southern Saskatchewan. Soft-shell camping is encouraged, the park is non-electric, the width of the road and bridges prevents any unit longer than 28 feet from using the park and weight restrictions on the bridges apply. It gets extremely dark. Great for stargazing. Here’s another shot of the little stream through the park.

The little park has custodians this year, something new. Joan Hodgins and her nephew Darcy tend the park and live in two trailers just at the entrance. Both wonderful helpful people. I bought a generous tailgate load of firewood for $5 delivered. Joan offers outdoor programs at the park and both her and the lad demonstrated a great love for and understanding of this sacred place. Joan helped me understand the significance of a gift Spirit gave me just after I arrived in the park. I will have a video report on the gift soon.

The next night I moved from soft shell camping to luxury on the prairie, staying at The Convent Country Inn in Val Marie. A former convent saved from demolition by Robert and Mette Ducan about 15 years ago, this is my favourite bed and breakfast out there.  Other guests included Wendy and Eldon Thomson from Saskatoon who’d also attended the Regina Folk Festival and were out for a drive on the Coteau. Up on the second floor balcony, Wendy serenaded us with her lovely singing and guitar playing until way past dark. The balcony affords a wide view of the Frenchman River valley, Grasslands National Park beyond and the star-filled night sky. The Convent is for sale, a bargain at $525,000. Video coming soon. UPDATE: Watch my video tour. Here is a picture of me in front of The Convent.

Two more shots of The Convent: the first floor breakfast room and the second floor sitting room.

The next day I took the eco-driving tour of Grasslands National Park. There is some development occurring in the park. A small, primitive campground has been set up at the Belza Place which has a vast view of the Frenchman River valley, and closer to the prairie dog Dogtown, another development is being built. Spend a couple of minutes with the prairie dogs in GNP. Here’s a shot of the vista from the Belza campsite.

After a night at the Stage Coach Motel in Willow Bunch, I took a private tour of the Big Muddy Badlands offered through Coronach Tourism. Tillie Duncan, who’d lived in the area her whole life and knew it like the back of her hand, was my guide. She took me through the Sam Kelly Caves where outlaws like Dutch Henry and Butch Cassidy hid the horses and cattle they rustled back in the late 1800s and early 1900s. We also visited two sacred sites that were new to me: a ceremonial circle and a turtle effigy, both high atop a butte on the Giles Ranch which is private property and accessible only through guided tours. Though elderly, Tillie was spry and full of vigour, offering countless entertaining anecdotes about the area. She still farms 13 quarters, growing durum and lentils this year! I recommend her highly for the Big Muddy tour. Here’s a shot of me taken near the turtle effigy.

A night in the Country Boy Motel then I re-explored a couple of the accessible sites Tillie had shown me, like the 1902 Big Muddy North West Mounted Police barracks and the family cemetery of an early pioneer, James Marshall, all with magnificent vistas of the huge Big Muddy valley. I revisited Castle Butte and took some great video of the place. Again coming soon to a blog near you. The only rain of my eight-day journey occurred Friday morning when I awoke in Weyburn. By the time I got to Manitoba, the sun was shining again. I was thrilled to discover Hwy #5 through Spruce Woods Park is now open and the park is slowly getting back on its feet. This is my report on the park’s current status.

I arrived home feeling rejuvenated and fully in touch with my humanity. The mighty Avenger and I will travel the prairies for another month. There is always room in the virtual passenger seat for you. Hope you are up to the drive all the way “out there” and back. Come on along.


Filed under Accommodations, Ancient Wisdom, Natural Places, Parks, Pioneers, Prairie People, PRAIRIES, Sacred Places, Saskatchewan, Spirit, spirit sands, Video

Spruce Woods Provincial Park Flood Update – June 24, 2011

Reid Dickie

There has been little change in the status of Spruce Woods Provincial Park since my last update. Most of the park’s amenities remain closed and inaccessible due to flooding, including Spirit Sands and Punchbowl, Ispuitinaw Trail, Marsh Lake, the lower area of Kiche Manitou Campground, concession stand and canoe campground.

The upper campground and yurts at Kiche Manitou Campground are open and accessible with the parks call centre taking reservations. Access to these campground sites is only via Hwy #2 from the south, but not the Trans Canada Highway. This map shows the detour. By the way, for the third year in a row, there is no entry fee to visit Manitoba’s provincial parks. They are free! Great deal! Camping fees still apply.

There’s not much to do this year at Spruce Woods but a few of the trails are open or partially open. Using Carberry and TCH access from the north, Epinette Creek is partially open, that is to cabin #2 and Juniper Loop but the trail is closed at start of Tamarack Loop. Arriving from the south, the Hogs Back Trail is open, Spring Ridge Trail is partially open with some flooded sections. This trail has been expanded. Warning signs are posted. The Trans Canada Trail east of upper campground is open, equestrian trails are open with some sections flooded and the main equestrian campground is open.

The prognosis for the park reopening is not good. Ominously, the Souris River joins the Assiniboine just upstream from Spruce Woods and, with the volume of water rolling down the Souris today, it is conceivable Highway #5 through the park will remain closed for the summer, and, depending on the extent of damage, possibly for the year. Though the bridge is still holding, there is massive wash-out of the highway on either side.

As one who hikes Spirit Sands at least a dozen times every summer, I’m having hiker withdrawal this year not being able to walk the land. Linda’s beautiful photographs of the sands in this post will have to do for now. The Assiniboine has probably inundated the low-lying Punchbowl but the sands themselves are at a much higher elevation and escape flooding. I’m imagining how pristine and pure the untrodden dunes must be, how delicately the rivulets of water have drawn their paths down the sloping trails and how the log ladders are buried from disuse.

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Filed under Ancient Wisdom, BEAUTY, Carberry, Family, Flood, Linda, Natural Places, Parks, Sacred Places, Spirit, spirit sands

Linda In the Pool

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Filed under BEAUTY, Linda, Love

My Fixer-Upper – Nine Years Ago Today

Reid Dickie

Nine years ago today my body was opened and a man held my heart in his hands. Good Dr. Singh, with whom I had established an immediate positive pre-op rapport, sawed my sternum in half, separated my ribs and changed the landscape of my heart. Specifically he performed a double coronary artery bypass graft (CABG or double cabbage) by taking a vein from my lower right leg and connecting it to my heart so blood bypassed a blockage. He did the same thing with an existing artery behind my heart. During this procedure, my heart was stopped, a machine kept me vital while the reconstruction occurred. Then the team wired my sternum back together, closed me up and sent me to ICU where I remained all night until gaining the step-down room in the morning. That first day, one day after the surgery, they had me up and walking even though I was thoroughly attached to various medical devices. Four days later I was released from hospital and into Linda’s amazing care. I couldn’t have survived it without her constant loving presence and compassion.

The surgery was a real fixer-upper for me. I was given a new life! The two grafts remain open and functioning to their maximum as shown by an angiogram in January. On this anniversary I have great gratitude. Thank you Dr. Singh and your skilful hands. Thank you Linda for your sweet bedside manner and thank you to my friends who prayed for me and partook of the prayer circle that held me firmly in warm security.

Another post about my heart surgery is called Nothing Virtual About It.

You can read my account of a dream I had my first night home after the double CABG surgery on my About page.

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Filed under BEAUTY, Family, Hope, Life and Life Only, Linda, Momentous Day, Spirit

Linda’s Garden Photographs

Linda and I loved to garden together. We found it restorative and invigorating. Linda was always taking pictures of our flowers, plants and garden views. She had an amazing eye! I have just posted 39 photographs she took of various gardens in recent years on Flickr. Here are three samples and the right-hand sidebar has ten more. Click to enlarge.

The rest of Linda’s Garden Pictures are here.

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Filed under BEAUTY, Linda, Love

Mid-Century Winnipeg – 1958 Visitors Guide

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Filed under 1950s, PRAIRIES, Winnipeg

Summer Mobility

Reid Dickie

On the road again!

I picked up the summer car from Enterprise Car Rental on Monday and the tradition of the Mighty Avenger continues. Last summer I rented Avengers from ECR and drove 27,000 kms between the two of them. This year, due to the fine efforts of manager Brayden, I have the new generation of Avengers to accompany me – a 2011 SXT in a ghostly silver colour with less than 6000 kms on it, just a baby really. We’ll be getting to know each other well over the next few months.

My wanderlust isn’t as powerful or compelling as it was last summer. I am well into the acceptance phase of my grief for Linda. I feel incrementally more peaceful everyday, more comfortable with my new life. I’m not sure exactly what adventures the Mighty Avenger and I will have this summer. A few sacred places are beckoning me back.

I do know my first road trip will be this Friday to attend the funeral of a well-respected friend from Shoal Lake, Joe Fikkert. I grew up with his sons, worked in his bakery and always enjoyed the company of this jovial intelligent man and his lovely and talented wife, Joan. I proudly own one of Joan’s wonderful paintings. Without stint, Joe served his community long and well and will be missed by many. So long Joe, it was great to know you.

Be assured that wherever my travels take me, I will always return here, to ReadReidRead to report what happened.

On the way out and back on Friday, I’ll cover some of the flooded areas so will have pictures and first-hand information here upon my return.


Filed under Blog Life, Day Tripping, Roadside Attractions