I had the good fortune of being able to go home to Saskatchewan for Christmas
this year. These are pictures of some of my family and friends who I got to
visit during my trip home.

One of the first stops I made in Saskatoon was to visit with my grandma Banda. Here she is
opening a framed picture of her when she came to Portland. The picture I framed can be found
here: Grandma's funny picture. . That's my sister Renee laughing with Grandma.

Renee doesn't like her picture taken in her PJs. This is at my parents' house in Prince Albert, SK.

Here is Renee opening her photo album from me. She didn't think it was as funny as I did.

My mom and I walked to the school she teaches at, Turgeon Elementary in PA. This is her classroom.

The rules of my mom's class.

Mom sitting at her teacher's desk.

Renee hanging out at mom and dad's house.

My parents' beautiful Christmas tree. This was the first year that my parents didn't decorate it with
all of the "unique" personal decorations that the kids made. That's Danielle showing it off.

The family (minus Denis and Leah who were in Bermuda for Christmas this year).

Quickly becoming one of my favourite new family traditions of Christmas, my Aunty Eileen
and Uncle Bill invite all of my mom's side of the family to celebrate Christmas at their beautiful home near Leask, SK.
The really great part is getting to skate on the pond and play a little hockey, as well as getting
to visit with family I haven't seen all year.

This is my cousin Leanne, who is currently working in Calgary.

This is my Grandma Banda on the right, and my uncle Ken's mom on the left.

One of the events of the day was a kaiser tournament organized by my cousin Connie. This is round one
where my grandma and I beat my mom and Uncle Bill's sister, Lois. In the second round, I recruited my mom to play
in lieu of my grandma, since she had left. We also won that round. Then, I had to leave, and so my mom,
and Lois wound up winning the tournament. The question is, how much of the big cash prize should I have gotten??
Just kidding Mom, you earned it!

Teddy, Leanne's dog.

After the Banda get together, the family and I went down to Ponteix to visit with my Grandma Perrault
and the Perrault side of the family.

Here is my Grandma Perrault opening her present from me, a copy of Chicken Soup for the Christian Soul .

I love catching my grandma opening presents.

As a joke, my parents bought Grandma a sock, since that's apparently where she stashes all of her
money, dans le bas de laine.

My sister Renee is quite taken with the Asian custom of giving V's in pictures. I still haven't
figured it out either. See some original V's in this shot from a work trip in Singapore: The custom.

My cousin Marc and his fiancee Leah. They will be getting married in May of 2005 in Ponteix, SK.

Grandma and I taking a funny picture.

My Aunty Colette who is currently living in Medicine Hat, AB.

My uncle Dan from Ponteix, SK.

My uncle Dan's wife, my aunty Paulette.

This is my aunty Colette's husband, my uncle Rick.

I also got a chance to visit with my friends Benny and Kristine in Saskatoon.
Benny and Kris have a beautiful daughter, Grace-Lynn, and they are expecting their second
in February.

This is Gracie playing with her letters on the kitchen floor.

Gracie added the 'P' to the message that Kris was writing.

Gracie and mommy Kris.

Gracie and daddy Benny.

Gracie playing with my leg.

My good friend Jeanna Berg also found time in her busy schedule to come join me for a
drink at the Fox and Hounds in Saskatoon. She is now working in Calgary, AB for Nexen Energy.

A few of us got together at a cabin in Candle Lake, SK, to celebrate New Year's. My good buddy Kelly
Reitenbach made the trip in from Calgary, Erik Olson in from Saskatoon, Jeff B from Regina,
my sister Renee and her friend Natalia Lynn from Edmonton, AB.

Here Kelly is giving a tutorial on how to give a wrist shot.

Click this picture for a bit of a darker video clip, but a good explanation from Kel on the physics
of the wrist shot.

Erik Olson enjoying a glass of port in the smoking room.

Renee relaxing in the smoking room. Yes, that is a Knights of Columbus glass.

Renee's friend Natalia Lynn. She turned out to be the game breaker in our
Cranium game, although Renee would argue that it was her.

A bit of a tough picture of Jeff.

Click here Video clip of Erik explaining one of the Cranium cards.

It turns out that Erik has a lot of amazing talents, but it turns out that none of them involve playing

Natalia ponders a question in the game.

Click here Video clip of Kelly, Renee, and Jeff debating the game-winning question.

Of course, the largest denomination of Canadian Tire money is the $2. Good answer Renee.

We wound up playing 3 games of Cranium. Renee went 3 for 3, and here the boy's team poses.

Renee and Natalia decided to go for a late night stroll to the lake. Nice white Sorels Natalia!

Erik had a tough second day at Candle (or Scandal Lake as it's called), and only put on pants
around 6 pm. It turns out that he thought our cabin was a Pants-Free zone.

Of course, Kelly and I, having a background of hard partying from the College of Engineering at the U of S,
had no problem spending our hangover day out running around in the snow.

Kelly and I posing in the snow.

I brought my cross-country skis all the way from Portland to enjoy the great snow conditions in
Saskatchewan. Kelly decided that since he had no X-country skis, he'd haul out his downhills and
make a run at me on Candle Lake. Here he is in the middle of the lake.

Not quite a Swiss mountain paradise, but Kelly (in his 14 pounds of warm clothes) poses here with his
racing skis on. You can really see the huge alpine slopes here in northern Saskatchewan.

Renee and Natalia at the Ship's Lantern, Candle Lake, SK.

Kelly and I at the Ship's.

Natalia Lynn and Jeff B, partying it up. We got tiaras and party favours from the owners of the bar.

The Scandal Lake party team for New Year's 2004.

Nattie and Renee two-stepping their way around the bar.

Erik Olson: "Excuse me Miss, is this seat taken?"

Cutie on the bar: "Uh no, bring it!"

The kids dancing it up.

Apparently, the way to celebrate your 33rd wedding anniversary at Candle is to show off
your nipples.

Kelly Reitenbach: "Excuse me Miss, but are you here with one of your boyfriend, fiancee, or husband?" Bar cutie: "Um, no, I'm not." Kelly: "Well, then, will you join me for a dance?" One of the smoother lines I've heard Kelly deliver.

Renee and Natalia gave some of their time to society by teaching these fifty-somethings how to do the
shower dance.

The girls posing with their protege.

The boys at the Ship's. I love the look on Jeff's face here.

A little nicer picture of the boys with Myrna joining us.

Kelly and a fifty-six year old dancing up a storm.

Erik and Nattie dancing. Of course, Erik stole the hat from someone at the bar, and brought it home
as a souvenir.

Our wedding anniversary man, excited to be shocking us all.

The girls following Erik's lead.

Jeff showing off his dress sweats and his sweet scarf.

Renee and Jeff dancing it up.

Kelly showing off his air guitar. He took over the stage when Eminem came on.

Renee and Erik showing off the ol' fishing rod and fish technique.

Jeff met some very nice early Canadians at the Ship's who were quite persuasive in convincing
him to dance with them. I think it was the dress sweats that really got them excited.

This will make really nice wallpaper on a computer near you. You got 'em shooter. You got 'em!

Kelly commands quite the dance floor when he starts singing. I think this was a country song of some kind.
As I said on this weekend, it's not the quality of Kelly's singing that impresses me (although it is
impressive). It is the breadth of music of which Kelly knows the entire song lyrics that really
impresses me. From Eminem and Will Smith to Shania Twain and AC/DC, Kelly runs the gamut when it
comes to both karaoke and just plain singing.

Erik, Jeff, and some guy in a skidoo suit at the Ship's.

When we started teasing Jeff about dancing with these early Canadians (and believe me, we teased him a LOT!)
his response was, "I only danced with them for one dance!". Of course, this is only true if that one dance
lasted for about 20 songs or so.

This will probably be the picture that Jeff will ask me to remove from this site. Just FYI, Jeff
is a lawyer with a big firm in Regina, SK, so if you see this pic, make sure to let him know
that you approve.

This is probably a close second.

These are my friends Earl and Amy. They are both living in Saskatoon and will both be doctors very
soon. Earl came out to visit me in Oregon along with Erik and Benny, and we went to school together
in Lloydminster, and in Saskatoon. Pictures of Earl in Portland: CLICK HERE
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