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Wednesday, November 23, 2011

My next adventure

It's official: I'll be beginning my second full-time jouralism adventure this winter. I'm starting 2012 with a new job, new town, and a new start.

I've accepted the position of Senior Reporter/Photographer for The Bonnyville Nouvelle, in Bonnyville, Alberta. Yes, still in Alberta, but about 10 hours south of here (still technically in northern Alberta though) and just inside the Saskatchewant border. Here's the link to their very impressive website:

I accepted the job a few days ago and officially gave my notice late last week. My last official day at The Northern Pioneer will be Dec. 19, when I finish up for deadline day, before we fly home for Christmas on Dec. 20. When we fly back on Jan. 3, we will drive to La Crete, gather up our things, and head to Bonnyville.

Well, at least I will. It's likely that Chris will be staying in La Crete until late January, or early February. Not ideal to be apart for the first part of the move, but doable. It will give me time to adjust and focus on my job.

I'll be working with the editor and assistant publisher. Some of my articles may appear online and in the interview, we also discussed some video footage. It will be fun to play around with some of the multimedia tools I learned at Guelph-Humber.

I'm excited and nervous all at the same time. We're not sure what the community has to offer, but hope we will enjoy the new location and make friends easily. Of course, deciding to leave was hard, having so many great friends here in La Crete now, but we decided we have to do what's best for our careers and future.

In Bonnyville, we will be about 20-30 mins to Cold Lake, a small city with a military base, and about two hours to Edmonton. You know what that means, fellow Ontarians: you have no excuse not to fly to Edmonton to come visit me!

I'll keep you all updated on my transition to Bonnyville. So far, we haven't found an appartment or made any other arrangements aside from accept the job. It's a little scary, not know yet where we will live or how things will work out, but we're confident it will all work out.

See you soon, Ontarians! One month from today I'll be home!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Remedies for the winter blahs

It's coming and it's coming fast: winter.

It's been nearly two months since I've written in my blog. I can try to blame a lot of things: pretend by saying I've been too busy, or blame pure laziness, but I think I'll stick to the easiest: the winter blahs.

Though we've only had a few snowfalls in La Crete yet this year (as opposed to have about a foot of snow by this time last year. We got snow Oct 25 that lasted until April) it's still getting darker, slower and definitely colder. My poor sunfire (yep - it's still kicking!) isn't liking the -18 nights we've had lately.

Last year about this time I took a part time job at the La Crete & Area Chamber of Commerce to keep me busy and try to help me out of the winter blahs. However, this year I've decided that taking a part time job may be too difficult, as my schedule is all over the place, so I've decided to stick to one full time job. However, the problem still lies: how will I keep myself busy during the cold, short days of winter?

I've decided to take up a few hobbies. When mom came out in the summer, I asked her to bring my scrapbooking things along. Though I've only used them once or twice so far, I plan to make all my Christmas cards this year and do some fun picture things to brighten the place up this winter.

As well, I've started reading again, something that I never really got into doing too much of. I've been reading The Help (I got too busy and had to put it down for a few weeks but have picked it back up again and am loving it) and reading Macleans and more online news.

However, when reading and scrapbooking isn't enough, I've decided I may do something I though was only for highschoolers and seniors: volunteer.

I've put in an application to become a Victim Support Advocate for the Fort Vermilion unit. This will be nice because it's in Fort, instead of La Crete, so it will get me out of the town a little and into the community for non-news-related reasons, which will allow me to meet more people on a more personal level - I hope. However, this application process can take months.

So in the meantime, I will read. And scrapbook. And I've been debating buying a sewing machine so I can sew, but until then, my friend Julie (yep - I even have a few more friends if you can believe it!) bought one, so I may need to sneak into her giant house to use hers while she teaches. Shh, don't tell Julie.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

A glimpse of Mennonite history

Recently, I've had the opportunity to participate in some of the celebrations for the 75th Jubilee - marking 75 years since Mennonites pioneered La Crete and surrounding area. This has included a boat tour to Cacajou Landing, as well as a horse and buggy ride to the La Crete Landing.

Both of these events have been jam-packed with history, traditional Mennonite foods, and story telling from seniors about the hardships in pioneering Northern Alberta.

At Carcajou, I even had the opportunity to go up in a helicopter - that's right, a helicopter - to view the settlement area. There were a number of buildings still standing that we were able to fly over and take pictures of, and then later go into on a horse and buggy ride. I was even able to meet a man who once lived at Carcajou as a child, and he told me of some of his memories of the area before it became the 'hopping town' of La Crete today.

Recently at the La Crete landing, I was seated on a buggy with a man who knew a lot of the history of the area, and remembered visiting the landing as a child. He told me that at that time, Fort Vermilion, the smallest northern community today, was the 'big city'. Even High Level only had a few buildings. He said it would take them five hours to ride to Fort from La Crete. Today, it takes me about 25 minutes to drive.

I also was able to learn a lot about the naming of La Crete - once the article is published with my findings, I will publish it here. In short, a few French-Canadian brothers, from Quebec, was running from the war and fled to Northern Albert between 1914 and 1917. The ridge where they were hiding, near La Crete Landing, looked like a rooster's comb to them, so they named it 'la crete,' meaning 'rooster's comb' in French. The name stuck and today, the predominantly Mennonite and German speaking town is still referred to as La Crete, under French naming.

There is one more jubilee celebration coming up - an old fashioned dinner and slide show. Also included will be an art exhibit. I am most looking forward to seeing old photographs and art from the pioneer days and hearing more stories from seniors about their hardships moving from Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and even Mexico and Bolivia, to northern Alberta.

Friday, August 26, 2011

A year and counting...

So it's been just over a year that I've been living and reporting in Mackenzie County, in northern Alberta. Although some of the thrill of newness is gone, there is still a lot to learn and improve upon, so here I am! Still reporting for The Northern Pioneer.

Of course, now things are starting to become routine; more of a pattern, or repeat, if you will. The same supplements to prepare, the same annual events, the same busy and slow season. It makes preparing holidays far more easier and planning for work weeks more efficient.

This summer, I covered quite a few bike rodeos, kids programs and fundraisers that I also covered last year. Of course, along with the smaller, less "exciting" events came the bigger, more thrilling ones as well, such as the La Crete Pro Rodeo and local mud bogs. Last year, I was able to convince the president of the La Crete Mud Bog Committee to take me through the mud bog in his truck, but this year it broke down before my ride. However, there is still the Fort Vermilion Mud Bog to look forward to! I can only hope our, I mean, their truck is fixed in time.

I worried that things would slow down after a year working in Mackenzie County; however, I couldn't have been more further from the truth. I'm busier than ever! I now am following ongoing event in municipal government, which I was not doing fully before, and have been able to do more investigative journalism since I've been able to create some great contacts in the communities.

I guess what I'm trying to say is ... I'm not going anywhere. So Mackenzie County, you're stuck with me for now!

(Below are some photos from this year's La Crete Mud Bog)

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Mom's visit to La Crete: Northwest Territories and Edmonton

In case you're wondering why I haven't been updating my blog lately, it's because I've been quite busy. Mom came to visit for about 10 days, and aunt Heather and Josie also came along for part of the trip. I had a great time but it's sure made me homesick for Ontario!

When Mom, Aunt Heather and Josie first arrived in La Crete after a long drive from Edmonton, they were exhausted and ready for bed. However, I had other plans: a tri-birthday party to celebrate all three of their birthdays that I had missed. I brought out a chocolate two-tier cake, cards for all, and birthday gifts.

After that Heather and Jo scooted off to their hotel, while mom and I caught up before bed. The next day we mostly sat around outside and talked, drank wine, and enjoyed a small tour of La Crete. That evening, once Chris was off work, we headed north for the Northwest Territories.

We stopped at the 60th Parallel / NWT sign, which probably was the highlight of the trip. We arrived in Hay River, NWT, at about 10:30 p.m. on Friday, planning to stay until Sunday. We played games in the hotel until about 2:00 a.m. when we decided to go to sleep. Wrong. Aunt Heather pulled back the sheets to find two bugs. Bedbugs - she called them. No, more like screamed. I initially thought they looked more like beetles than bedbugs, but I had no idea what bedbugs looked like. Chris took some photos and looked it up and we got out of there within minutes. I was throwing everything into the closest bag I could find. When we got in the car, Chris's dirty socks and wallet were in Mom's purse! (We were later informed that these were not bedbugs, but instead Strawberry Root Weevils - still gross!)

So now it was nearly 2:30 a.m. and we're driving around Hay River wondering what to do. None of the hotels/motels were open, being a small town, and there were drunks roaming about that were scaring us. We decided we ought to sleep in the truck until morning, when some of the stores and motels would be open. The safest place we could think of was the RCMP station, so off we went. However, Heather figured that 3:30 a.m. crammed in a truck was a good time to play on her iPad and sing, so none of us slept. Just before 4:30 a.m. we decided to just head home.

We stopped at some waterfalls along the way home, a very tiresome and ugly drive. Thanks to Chris for driving to and back from Hay River! We stopped in High Level for breakfast and were home in bed by 11 a.m.

So, change of plans. We enjoyed some home-cooked meals and a picnic at the Blue Hills Tower before Heather and Josie left on Monday morning. Then mom and I hung out for the week, while I worked some. Mom came with me to a council meeting, among other events, which mom found to be a little less exciting than I did. We also went to the Mennonite Heritage Museum, the Trapper Shack restaurant in Fort Vermilion, and the famous Pizza Place in La Crete!

Friday morning after one of my events we all headed south for the West Edmonton Mall - a much longer drive than the Hay River one. About 850kms one way; actually, I out 1780kms on my car driving there and back. We left around 10:30a.m. and arrived at the mall around 7:00 p.m. for "cocktail hour" and met up with Heather and Josie in the hotel room.

We spent the next couple of days at the mall: enjoying shopping, the underwater sea world, animal shows, the water park, water massages, movies, sushi, wine, and more shopping! It was a ton of fun and we even met up with Karen and Ralph, mom's best friend growing up, for dinner and drinks.

Sadly, mom, Heather and Josie left on Sunday for Ontario. Chris and I drove with them to the airport and said our goodbyes after some lovely Tim Hortons coffee and lunch (a luxury in the north). Chris and I decided to stay in Edmonton another night before heading north again.

It was a fabulous time, now I am just looking forward to my trip home for Christmas!ev

Thursday, July 14, 2011


Before moving to Alberta I had attended 59 country concernts. That's right, 59. And that doesn't count the other music concerts and festivals I've been to.

One would think that moving to Alberta, a province known for agriculture and country living, and having the Calgary Stampede and Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame, that I would be able to uphold this lifestyle. However, living in the north definitely puts a damper on my country concert going.

Therefore, when I heard about Peacefest, in Peace River, Alberta, I just couldn't refuse. Even though my bank account said otherwise, I bought the tickets on visa with a buy now pay later attitude. I had to see a concert! Besides, my cityslicker boyfriend, Chris, had never been to a concert before and I wanted to show him how we hicks get down at a country concert.

However, come Friday, it appeared that Mother Nature decided to put a 'damper' on our first weekend getaway since Christmas holidays. And 'damper' doesn't even begin to describe it. It was pouring, with flood warnings in Peace River. But did that stop us? You bet it didn't. I went out to buy Chris and I rubber boots and we braved the storm for the 3.5 hour drive south.

Friday night we watch Chad Brownlee and Blue Rodeo. I had seen Blue Rodeo before and love them; however, Chris didn't know either of the performers. Kristin and her boyfriend Cody also came Friday night but left shortly after Blue Rodeo came on. She was wearing flats in inches of mud and water - I don't blame her.

After Blue Rodeo we all went to Cody's for the night. The next day the four of us went to the movies (something Chris and I hadn't done together since Christmas Eve) before getting ready for our second night of country music. Saturday night we watched High Valley, local artists from La Crete, and Doc Walker.

I've seen Doc Walker before, who are great performers. I know almost all of their songs; however, Chris didn't again. But we both really enjoyed High Valley. Chris and I both know all their songs and they were great entertainers. My mom and Dad have seen them about three times, so now that we've finally seen them perform live that's one thing mom and dad can't hold over my head anymore! I've met Curtis from High Valley a few times, and seen Bryan and talked to Brad on the phone, but it was great to finally see them perform and introduce myself to Brad and Bryan. Hopefully now that we've all met in person I can convince them to stop by for a fire when Mom is visiting me later this month! Ha!

We had wanted to go to the Calgary Stampede this year, but I guess since that was out of the question Peace Fest filled the country music void my heart. Stampede, watch out next year!

Monday, June 27, 2011


Check this out!

Here's a link to a photo MCC (Mennonite Central Committee) Alberta put up on their blog and website about me interviewing Adam and John before they left on their bike-a-thon to Edmonton. They did this to raise money and awareness for HIV AIDS and to spread peace.


Monday, June 20, 2011

Dad visits La Crete

Just recently my Dad came to visit me in La Crete, and his presence alone sure made this remote location feel a lot like home.

He first arrived on Wednesday, June 15, around noon. He had landed at midnight and planned to take Highway 88, but with some difficulties and set backs, he eventually found himself backtracking to Peace River and up Highway 697. Eventually, he made it here and we headed off for lunch with Chris, all day breakfast at the Country Grill.

After that I took Dad on a tour of La Crete: Duck-Shit-Lake, the old ferry landing (Atlas Landing), my office, and "hot spots" in La Crete, such as the Co-op and Bargain Shop -- yes, these are the places we look forward to here in the north.

We had wanted to head out to meet up with Councillor Dicky Driedger to get a tour of his farm, but we were both pretty tired and just wanted to catch up. Dad had just come from Los Vegas and has lots of stories to tell, so we headed home and waited for Chris. After a nice pan of homemade lasagna we introduced Dad to two Mennonite games: Settlers and Beans.

Most mornings Dad and I didn't move too quickly. We'd sleep in until 9 or 10am, have coffee and chit-chat until Chris joined us for lunch (or brunch for us!) at noon.

On Thursday, we headed off to the Mennonite Heritage Museum in La Crete. We had a lot of fun touring the old pioneer buildings and talking to locals about the history of La Crete. Then we headed in to the Heritage Centre to check out the animals on display for the Fish and Game Club awards night that evening. That evening, the weather cooperated so we had a BBQ and bonfire with s'mores (of course!). The weather was pretty wet throughout his trip, so we were lucky we decided to have a fire on Thursday.

Friday Dad and I went to Fort Vermilion in the afternoon and went to their museum. We toured around, read about the Irish Potato Famine (where we Foley's came to Canada) and learned about the Peace River and native settlement in the north. We toured a couple old houses and a quick tour of the hamlet before heading home for coffee at the UFA and board games.

We celebrated Father's Day on his final day in town, Saturday. First we headed out of town to check out the new Zip-line in La Crete. It was both exciting and terrifying. I've been zip-lining in BC, and although I'm terrified of heights I did enjoy the adventure, but here there are pegs in the post for people to climb to the top before zipping. If I ever made it to the top, I'm sure the zip line would be great, but there is NO way I would ever make it up that post!

Then we headed to Fort Vermilion to watch the York boat come in and take part in those festivities. Dad met the Hon. Frank Oberle, our MLA, a few councillors, and some of the York boat crew. We then toured the Old Bay House in Fort before heading to our favourite local restaurant: The Trapper Shack.

We had planned to go to the Mud Bog in High Level or Penner's Speedway in La Crete that evening, but we were all tired so came home to watch a movie, play a few rounds of Settler's and head to bed. Dad had to get to bed early in order to be up at 2:40am to be on the road just before 3 to head to Edmonton.

Now I'll just have to wait for Mom's visit in July. And then for my visit home at Christmas!

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

La Crete Highlights: Introducing Greg to Cool

Last night we met our friend Greg at the Pizza Place (famous La Crete pizza store - the best pizza I've ever had!) for ice cream. After that, it was still so sunny and nice out at 9:30 pm that we decided to go for a drive in our new, sexy truck, called McSexy.

We soon realized that Greg had never been to La Crete's "lake" (*note: the lake is a glorified pond to you Ontarians who live on the Great Lakes). The lake is famously called "Duck-Shit-Lake" so you can imagine the beauty of it. :P

Anyways, we drove him out there to show him his students' party place. It's really nice if you're not standing down wind of the stench smell. It's a small pond/lake so the water is still, which makes it smell a bit swampy and duck-shit like, but aside from that, it's pretty nice! haha. There were people tubing and when one fell off Greg pleaded for them to get back into the boat quietly to himself. He's quite the city boy and had a problem with the smell and water with with he called "green guck" in it.

(This photo was taken at "Duck Shit Lake" last September when Chris first moved to La Crete)

We went to sit on one of the picnic tables, wanting to start a fire but without a lighter or matches, but were soon chased away by an army of mosquitoes. That didn't seem to bother all the people down at the lake, but we were starting to overdo it with Greg. Poor city boy :P (sorry Greg, if you're reading this!)

So then, of course, we had to do a couple small donuts in the truck so Greg could tell his students that he was reliving his teenage years in La Crete: going to the Pizza Place, Duck Shit Lake, and even being reckless by doing donuts.

After that, Greg wanted to turn the music up really high and go "cruising" as his students do, and he said his vehicle just wasn't cool enough. We agreed. So we cruised around La Crete for a little while, circling the post office and fire hall a couple times and then came to the conclusion that cruising is both non economical, environmental and is just plain stupid.

We drove Greg to his vehicle, but he still refused to get out. He said he wanted to do something else. Then we realized he had never been the the old La Crete Ferry landing, out by the river.

"What have you been doing in La Crete for the last year?" I asked him. Apparently nothing. He apparently doesn't go for these random drives like Chris and I like to do to discover new parts of the area. So we drove him about 20 minutes to the river, walked for about 4 or 5 minutes before being chased away by an even larger army of mosquitoes, and then drove home.

by this time, it was after 10:30 pm and Greg had lots of stories to tell his students: he'd been cruising with loud music, been to two of their party areas; the river and the lake, and ate at their favourite restaurant.

We agreed that that night alone made Greg the cool teacher. If he wasn't already.

Visits from family

Well I've almost been in La Crete a year. It's hard to believe it's been that long, but what's even harder to believe is that I made it though nine months of snow!

But enough about that, now I have 24-hours of daylight to look forward to. And my parents visit!! Unfortunately, they won't be coming together. Thanks, Ongwanada. But fortunately, they will be coming.

My Dad will only be here a few days in June, after his Vegas trip with the guys. Even though it will be a short visit and I have approximately 20913829038 events to cover while he's here, we'll have a great visit. He leaves the day before Father's Day, so it will be bitter-sweet, but at least we'll get to celebrate Father's day together the day before.

As for Mom, she's coming for a bit longer in July so we'll have a bit more time to relax. We're hoping to go to NWT for a night or two, up to Hay River. My Aunt Heather and cousin Josie are also planning to come for a couple of days with mom, before heading on a road trip through the Rockies.

I can't wait for the two of them to come. It will sure make the wait to my visit home at Christmas easier. But I guess I can't really complain .. I did just get back from Ecuador just a few weeks ago! But that doesn't change the fact that I still miss my family.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Bradley Bear

For those of you who actually know me reading this blog, you know all about my brother Bradley and the crazy things he does! You also know that he's autistic, which makes being so far away even more difficult.

You see, I call home about everyday ... okay, multiple times a day sometimes (hey, if you've got free long distance you may as well put it to good use!) and I always talk to my mom and dad whenever they're around, but only sometimes do I get a good conversation in with Brad. But when we do, it's so worth the wait.

Bradley's mood swings are worst than any PMS anyone has ever experienced. He can go from happy to mad in seconds. So whenever he's in a good mood, I try to talk to him.

Mom or Dad will put me on speakerphone so he can hear me and he usually holds the phone, playing "stop sign" with it or using it as a car while we talk. The other day we had a good, long conversation for about 40 minutes. We probably could have talked longer, but I had to get to work. One of the few times I hated my job because I wanted to talk all day!

Bradley sat in my room at Mom and Dads and looked out the windows, telling me about all the flowers he could see: yellow, red and orange, he told me. Then he told me about the rain and the sun and the rainbow (okay, so I'm not sure if all of these were true, but that's besides the point!). The rainbow had "all the colours" he said "all six!" He's so smart :)

Then he told me about all the people who came down to visit him during the May long weekend. Aunt Dale, Uncle Waaaaaaaaaleter, and "everybody" he said. Even his worker, Al, came by. When I asked what he said to Brad, he said "Al was smoking" *cough cough* haha, caught you again Al! Brad's a good taddle tale.

We also played the "Ashley eat this" game, where he makes me pretend to eat bumble bees, fire trucks and even Alberta. This game is hilarious for him, annoying for me. But he loves it so I do it!

Finally I told him it wasn't raining in Alberta like it was in Frankford. He stopped for a few minutes and thought about that. Then he said.. "Ashley come to Frankford?" It just about broke my heart! When I told him I wouldn't be home until Christmas he sighed and sadly said "Oh .. okay."

I sure miss seeing him and talking to him about the weather, race cars and everything else. We'll have to have a special brother-sister day once I get back to Ontario at Christmas to make up for all the days we've missed.

xo B-Rad aka Brother Bear.
Love Sister Bear.

The Truck Club

It's official. We're part of The Truck Club.

Chris and I recently traded in our 2007 Dodge Caliber for a 2008 Dodge Dakota truck. I know, we hadn't had the caliber long, but it was proving to be a pain and besides, how can one live in La Crete and NOT own a truck?

There she is. And I'm in love with it. We still haven't named it. I'm thinking McSexy, so it has some Grey's Anatomy in it as well. It sure is beautiful though. It's black...and that's about all I know about trucks. Hey, I know the type of truck it was, so that's pretty good for me! It came with a cover for the bed and steps (important for me to have) and everything is automatic. Unfortunately, we lost our sunroof which I miss dearly, but I'm sure I'll appreciate having command start this winter!

And it's already proved to be amazing. Remember those Buffalo Head Hills we tried to get to last fall with Kristin but my sunfire couldn't make it? Well, McSexy got us up there last night. However, after three tries trying to locate and get up the hills, we were a little disappointed once we got to the top. Albertans just don't know hills like we Ontarians. They weren't nearly as large as I had thought, but the views were pretty nice. Max, the dog we're taking care of while living in La Crete for our landlords, also enjoyed the walk and drive.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Photos of Ecuador

The internet is quite slow up here in the north pole, so uploading is proving to be quite a challenge. Therefore, this might take a while, but here's a few to keep you busy.



I know it's been over a month since I've written, but hey, who wants to write in their blog while they're enjoying 35 degree weather on a beach? ..That's what I thought.

Ecuador was purely amazing. We had a great time...when we actaully got there. Our flights got all messed up, which meant five flights there and five flights back, and over 30 hours of travelling each way. It was awful! But the trip made up for it.

On the way down we had an 8 hour layover in Costa Rica. Since we'd been flying since 4:30 p.m. the day before, and it was now about 9 a.m., we decided to head out into the community to get a hotel and shower. Bad idea. We got the worst, creepiest, sketchiest hotel ever. I wouldn't even use the bathroom (which only had a curtain, I might add!). We were there about half an hour, to shower, and get out! I was even afraid to sit on the beds!

So we headed back to the airport because we had no idea what was safe in Costa Rica and it appeared that we were in the wrong area. Since I had tourist written all over me, we decided to go back. So there we were, in the Costa Rica San Jose airport for about 8 hour with no internet. Thank you, airport.

Off we were to Peru and then finally to Ecuador!

We got in really late (or early, depending on how you look at it) just a few minutes in to my birthday (April 21). As soon as we walked out of the airport, my lungs filled with what felt like glue. The air was so hard to breath for the first few days, it was so humid. Especially coming from the north pole and all. It took a few days of getting used to, and then it was pure, joyous warmth.

We were busy just about every day, and thankfully spanish people use a lot of enthousiasm and body language so communication wasn't that bad with the language barrior. I went shopping one day with Chris's aunt July and his friend, which was interesting with knowing little to no Spanish and them little to no English, but it was definitely one of the best days! Chris spent the day with his mom, grandma, and siblings.

We did just about everything: horseback riding on the beach, pub crawls, climbing all 444 stairs on the cerro santa ana: a bunch of houses, pubs and restaurants on the side of a hill with stairs to the top), swimming in the ocean (lots of that!), shopping, zoos, fruit markets, etc. etc. the list goes on. It was amazing! There were so many fresh fruits (which I soon learned were my enemy, especially juice). However, I sure missed Canadian food after about 4 days of banana.

The triffic, however, was terrible. And to make matters worse, seatbelts are not even an option in the back seat. And there were usually about 7 of us stuffed inside this jeep/SUV thing as we were weaving in and out of traffic, forcing six lanes into four lanes of traffic. And they don't even stop at stop signs! They just honk and keep going, so whoever honks first (or I guess has the bigger vehicle..) gets to go.

There is so much more but I will have to post pictures for you, as my lunch hour is jsut about over.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

A little catch up

Hello fellow blog readers,

I am sorry this blog post is so long overdue. Things have been crazy busy here in the north, preparing for my vacation to Ecuador with Chris, wrapping up my employment with the Chamber of Commerce, and just trying to get through the dark, cold, winter... which actually includes spring.

It's definitely been a tough winter. It's been extremely cold, so cold that both of our cars have had their fair share of time in the shop, and it's been dark, which had definitely taken a toll of my regularly giddy self. But this morning, when I got up around 7:30am, the sun was already shinning brightly. The weather sure has an impact on your day. Usually, I would feel tired in the morning when the sun wasn't up, making me tired and grumpy all day, but today I woke up energized, even with fewer hours of sleep than usual.

Yesterday I took both of our cats (Lilly is now Willy, as we have discovered she is not a she, but a he) and Mimi to the vet yesterday to get fixed. I go today to pick them up. I hope they're not too scared without us!

This summer I have a couple of things to look forward to. My parents wanted to come visit, but couldn't get any respite for Bradley. So now Mom, her sister Heather, and my cousin Josie are coming July 21 to 29, which should be a ton of fun. We plan to go to the North-West Territories for a night or two with Chris.

I was sad that my Dad couldn't make it, but was glad to hear that he was going to Vegas for a few days with a friend for a vacation. And to my surprise, he is going to come visit me after his trip! June 15to 19 Dad is going to come see me in La Crete. He won't get to stay very long, but the visit will be great! I can't wait to see him!

Dylan had thought about coming out this summer but then decided to stay home and work for our cousin, Shawn. So I guess I'll be seeing my brothers at Christmas! :(

Hmm, what else is new in the life if Ashley?

I have been busy getting all these vaccines to go to Ecuador next week that I have been brutally and violently ill for the last few weeks. I've been spending weeks being sick so I don't get sick in Ecuador, and I'll bet I still get sick! But, Yellowfeaver, Malaria, Hep A, Hep B, MMR, and everything else, will be worth it. Or so they tell me. But as of right now, it's causing a huge itchy patch on my arm, soreness, and an upset stomach.

We fly out Tuesday, April 19 for my birthday and easter. So if you don't hear from me for a while, it's because I'm enjoying pina-colodas on a beach in Ecuador, soaking up the sun!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Old MacDonald had a Farm...

Last week, I had the most wonderful time outside on a cold day in La Crete.

I know, it sounds crazy, right? Well I spent the afternoon visiting La Crete's Farm Family of the Year.

They live just outside of La Crete on a beautiful piece of land, where Mr. Farmer grew up. Mr. Farmer’s Dad used to be a wheat farmer, with a few cattle, but when Mr. Farmer and his wife bought the farm, they turned it into a cattle farm.

But not just cattle, as if 370 wasn’t enough. They have 6 horses, a rabbit, 15 cats, 3 dogs, chickens, ducks, and in the summer they also have goats, pigs and sheet. For the kids, says Mr. Farmer. Because apparently the kids don’t have enough animals to play with!

Mr. Farmer also said he was expecting over 100 more calves in the next few weeks. He said last year his record was 20 calves in one day. Absolute craziness!

Back home, it’s dairy farms galore, so this cattle farming and wheat farming stuff was all new to me.

Mr. and Mrs. Farmer, and their lovely daughter and son took me on an entire tour of their farm, inside and out. Their daughter even showed me her rabbit.

It was a really welcoming place and I loved spending the afternoon there, even with having so many articles on the go and so much to do at the office. It was nice to just spend the afternoon on a farm and decompress.

Mr. and Mrs. Farmer, who had just met me, referred to me as Auntie to their kids, probably just so they would know I was a friend and someone they could trust going through their barns and house. It was nice, though, to feel like a piece of someone’s family out here. I feel like people do that a lot here, call friends Auntie to their kids, and I really like it.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

I'm leaving on a jet plane...

...and I really hope I'll make it back again!

Chris and I have decided to go to Ecuador, his home country, in April. And if you're anyone who knows me, you know I'm very excited but also very nervous.

To say I have a "fear" of flying would be an understatement. I don't know very many people who need a tranquilizer to give them the courage to get on an airplace. No one except for me.

The first time I flew, which was to Florida with my Mom, Dad, and brother Dylan when I was 17, was an absolute disaster. The trip was amazing, but the way there and back...I would have traded anything not to get on that plane. I remember at one point telling my parents to go without me... to go to Florida and have fun on Daytona Beach, Disney World, Universal Studios, Daytona Races, etc. without me. I fainted about 11 times and had consumed 8 gravol and one glass of wine. It was awful.

So the next time I flew, to Thunderbay when I was 18, my doctor perscribed me this wonderous pill, to which I have named my "plane drugs". A tiny white pill makes everything a little more loopy, a little more happy and a little more fun. Some require liquid courage, I require powder. Legal powder. My wonderful plane pills!

So the other day I called my Ontario doctor to get more, because I only have two left and lets get real here, Ecuador is a million miles away. I mean, if it's not a million, it's got to be pretty close.

We fly from Grande Prairie to Calgary, Calgary to LA, LA to San Jose Juan Santamaria (Costa Rica), Coasta Rica to Guayaquil, Ecuador. We leave April 19th at 4:20 PM and arrive on April 20th at 3:00PM. That's over 24 hours of flights with four flight changes. If I survive, it will be a miracle.

I am really excited to go to Ecuador, though. Regardless of the fact that I won't be able to communicate with anyone except for Christofer. Chris has me totally freaked out about all the weird foods there that are going to make me sick, and the bad water and how I am going to stick out like a sore thumb. Which is why when he told me to try to "blend in" I proceeded to go out and find the biggest sunhat I could find. It screams tourist. I love it.

We plan to stay with his aunt, who lives in Guayaquil (you know, just a city I can hardly pronounce) and will visit his mom and grandma once or twice. They live in the country.

My birthday is April 21st, so somehow, I managed to squeeze myself on to another Spanish beach for my birthday. Last year, my parents took my brother and I to the Dominican in the spring, which also landed on my birthday. I told Chris I don't care what we do down there, as long as I am on a sand beach for my birthday! :)

We will also be celebrating one and a half years together while we're there, so we'll likely go to one of his favourite restaurants. He keeps talking about this boat/ship cruise that goes along the harbour, a party boat, so we might go on that for a night of dancing.

...If I don't get off the plane in Calgary and give up, that is.

Thursday, March 3, 2011


A song that I just can't get out of my head, that makes me think of all the people along the way (and in my life currently) that have NOT helped me get to where I am now. Or, if those people you may not really even know, but you know they're just not very nice. Mean. No grudges, it's just a great 'angry' song. Makes me think of one person in particular...

Taylor Swift -- Mean

You, with your words like knives and swords and weapons that you use against me
You have knocked me off my feet again got me feeling like I'm nothing
You, with your voice like nails on a chalkboard, calling me out when I'm wounded
You, pickin' on the weaker man

Well, you can take me down with just one single blow
But you don't know what you don't know

Someday I'll be living in a big old city
And all you're ever gonna be is mean

Someday I'll be big enough so you can't hit me
And all you're ever gonna be is mean

Why you gotta be so mean?

You, with your switching sides and your walk-by lies and your humiliation
You, have pointed out my flaws again as if I don't already see them
I'll walk with my head down trying to block you out 'cause I'll never impress you
I just wanna feel okay again

I'll bet you got pushed around, somebody made you cold
But the cycle ends right now 'cause you can't lead me down that road
And you don't know what you don't know

Someday I'll be living in a big old city
And all you're ever gonna be is mean
Someday I'll be big enough so you can't hit me
And all you're ever gonna be is mean

Why you gotta be so mean?

And I can see you years from now in a bar, talking over a football game
With that same big loud opinion but nobody's listening
Washed up and ranting about the same old bitter things
Drunk and grumbling on about how I can't Write

But all you are is mean
All you are is mean and a liar and pathetic and alone in life
And mean, and mean, and mean, and mean

But someday I'll be living in a big old city
And all you're ever gonna be is mean, yeah
Someday, I'll be big enough so you can't hit me
And all you're ever gonna be is mean

Why you gotta be so mean?

Someday, I'll be, living in a big old city
(Why you gotta be so mean?)
And all you're ever gonna be is mean
(Why you gotta be so mean?)
Someday, I'll be big enough so you can't hit me
(Why you gotta be so mean?)
And all you're ever gonna be is mean

Why you gotta be so mean?

Wednesday, February 23, 2011


Last weekend I drove down to Grimshaw to visit Kristin, a friend of mine from University who works for our sister paper there. It's about 3 and a half hours south of me.

I was surprised to see that most of their snow is gone. We just got another seven inches on the weekend. Totally not fair!

It was nice to get a little WalMart time in, and a Tim Hortons lunch. And just to see some civilization! We went to a huge provincial pond hockey event, and for two non-sports fans, we actually had a lot of fun!

The world's largest pond hockey game was held, and we also watched a bunch of kids play against retired Oiler players. There was a really amazing band, that unfortunately we didn't have the time to stay to watch, but sounded like they were going to put on an amazing show.

Aside from my car breaking down and having to be left in Peace River, I'd say it was a pretty solid weekend. Now, we're still trying to figure out how and when to get the car back to La Crete.

Did I mention it's at Ford, which has the WORST customer service I have ever experienced? If you want to pay out your nose AND get treated like dirt all in one day, go to Ford.

Grimshaw is a beautiful town though, Kristin is pretty lucky to live there. I feel like it doesn't quite have the community aspect that La Crete does, but it's a wonderful little community. And it was sure nice to get some girl gossip in! It's been far too long that I've gone without girl time!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Valentine's Day

Christofer and I shared a much different Valentine's Day than last year.

Last year, dressed up and went for dinner at Moxie's and then went for a walk in downtown Toronto. He also brought me a dozen white roses.

This year, Moxies was certainly out of the questions, as well as any sort of romantic walk due to the -30 weather we've been having.

We considered going to Grande Prairie or Peace River for a night, but then decided it was too much driving for a movie and dinner. So we decided that we would enjoy a candlelit dinner at La Mexicana in La Crete (since Fort Vermilion and High Level were out of the question with a snow storm).

At noon, Chris brought me a beautiful pink rose arrangement. He, and most of the other men in La Crete, were in a panic because the La Crete flower store was out of the both red and white roses. At noon! On Valentine's Day!

After lunch, we got pulled over for our windows being too tinted. After a stare down with a new RCMP officer who I had just interviewed weeks ago, he decided to let us go with a warning. We went to Quality Motors to get the windows fixed.

After work, I went to pick up more chocolates to make a cute basket arrangement for Chris with wine, chocolates, strawberries and other Valentines Day yummies. It was at this point when we realized there was something wrong with the Sunfire.

It smelled like burning, was shaking, had smoke coming out of it, and was constantly shutting down. We somehow managed to make it to QM and at that point, both our Sunfire and Calibre were in the shop. Great.

Apparently there was nothing wrong with our Sunfire, says the mechanic, so we took the Sunfire home. That, of course, is when it started acting funny again. It has once again shut off and will not move, so really it's just taking up space in our shed. Awesome.

On the bright side, we had a lovely dinner. And Christofer surprised me with the most wonderful Valentine's Day present.

A white gold, Canadian Diamond promise ring. It's a heart with a diamond in the middle. Absolutely gorgeous!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Debates, Kids & Cheese

A few weeks ago, A Mackenzie County Councillor asked me to come out to Blue Hills School for an event he would be hosting. He was going to be speaking to a grade three class about leadership and what it was like to serve as a Councillor. He was then going to run one to two debates in the classroom, and asked me to come along to cover the event and help the kids along, if they needed it.

It was a lot of fun. It really made me feel important to have a Councillor ask me to help the kids with his debate. Plus, I had never been to Blue Hills School before, so I was excited.

The first debate was on the proposed Ski Hill that Mackenzie County is pushing to implement in Blue Hills. However, most of the grade threes had never been skiing (go figure… living on the prairies!) so they weren’t too interested. Therefore, the second debate was custom made to their liking: building a hockey arena in Blue Hills.
Hockey. That’s all you need and these kids go wild. They love their skating, hockey, ice. Everything cold, it seems. Hence why I’m having a hard time fitting in!

Anyway after the debate the kids had all prepared a bunch of questions for the Councillor, as to be expected. What I didn’t expect, however, was to have the kids ask me questions. Their teacher asked me to come to the front after the Councillor’s questions for an introduction and Q&A period.

After the most lovely introduction by the Councillor (who even said my job was very important – meaning a lot coming from a Councillor!) the kids started asking some pretty tough questions. Apparently they were excited to meet a real reporter. They asked questions such as when did I know I wanted to be a reporter, have I ever written anything that caused a lot of phone calls, what the most important article I’d ever written was, etc. They had prepared some very interesting questions! It was a TON of fun.

As I was leaving, the teacher asked me if I could do my weekly Question of the Week in the classroom. He said he had been showing the newspaper to the kids in the class and they were all really interested in the Question of the Week section. I was excited a) because the kids were reading the newspaper AND enjoying it, and b) because the Question of the Week is always the part of each week that I don’t look forward to doing, so I was excited to have some volunteers.

I asked three separate questions, because there were 11 kids in the class and only 4 kids can go in each question. This way, they all will have a chance to see their face in the newspaper. It was great to see how excited they all got!

After the event, the Councillor and his wife invited me out to lunch. I had the most lovely afternoon. It’s not very often that people care to listen about my Ontario stories, and they were more than willing to listen to all the stories about my family and how I ended up in the North Pole, I mean, La Crete.

We talked cheese, of course. Being a Foley means loving cheese. My Grandpa Foley once co-owned a cheese factory, and my Dad and his two brothers all work at local cheese factories. In Ontario, cheese factories and dairy farms are like weeds: they’re everywhere. I sure miss driving past dairy farms out here, and the delicious, fresh, cheese. And inexpensive cheese. You almost have to take out a loan to buy some decent cheese up here. The Councillor is very interested in a cheese factory in the north, so we talked a lot about that, though I’m not sure I answered many of his questions. I just enjoy the cheese, I don’t know a whole lot about it like my family. My dad and his brothers and Dad could go on for hours just talking about cheese.

I even brought the Councillor and his wife some local cheese from Ontario to try: some smoked cheese from my Dad’s factory (Saputo) and some old cheddar from Ivanhoe where my uncles work. It was the last of my Ontario cheese, so I sure hope they enjoyed it!

Monday, February 7, 2011

High Valley

I've lived in La Crete for nearly 7 months now, and have done one phone interview with Brad from High Valley, but surprisingly hadn't met them in person.

I'd met their mother, who lives just across the street from me. And of course my parents met them, at a concert in Belleville, Ontario. But not I.

Not until this weekend, that is.

I was at La Crete Public School Friday night covering their annual basketball tournament, Hoop Classic. Lisa had text me saying Curtis from High Valley was there and was going to try to stop by the office to see me.

I wouldn't have recognised him at Hoop Classic if my friend and LCPS teacher, Greg Ferris, hadn't pointed him out to me. Curtis must have seen me standing on a chair, trying to get some decent photos over all the tall people infront of me, and waved to me from a few seats away.

Of course, me being the country music crazed human being I am, didn't have the guts to go over and say hello to the oh so dreamy country music star. So I stood on the chair, like an idiotic child, and missed my opportunity to say hello.

I wasnted to talk to him a) because hello, he's High Valley! I love country music, therefore, I love High Valley, and I must make those boys make me their new friend. b) I secretly want High Valley to bring their friend and producer Paul Brandt (my altime favourite person ever, well, close tie with Kurt Browning) to La Crete; and c) I wanted to interview him about their trip to India.

Okay, I left option a) and b) out and just asked him about India.

Curtis ended up going to the office after I had left for Fort Vermilion. He was looking for me. Great, country music star is looking for ME and I'm gone. Good one, Ashley. So we set up an interview date for Monday. Which was today.

The interview was great. I tried desperatly to pull off the 'I'm from La Crete so High Valley isn't a big deal' thing, but I'm pretty sure Curtis saw right through it. On the inside I was like 'I LOVE HIGH VALLEY, I CAN'T BELIEVE CURTIS IS IN MY OFFICE..TALKING TO ME!"

We're basically best friends now. I mean, he gave his email so I could get photos from their trip to India. That's got to mean something. That's totally grounds for friendship.

After the India interview we talked a bit about their music. They're playing in Peace River this summer and I desperately want to go see them. I haven't even seen them perform yet! (hint hint, High Valley, if you're reading this)

Their brother, Brad, lives in Nashville. Curtis mentions this like its no big deal. Um, Nashville is the centre of the world, I wanted to tell him, it's kind of a big deal! I asked him who some of Brad's neighbours are, and he, being humble, wouldn't say. I'm pretty sure looking up my celeb neighbours would be first on my to do list. #1. find out where Tim and Faith live, #2. find out where Taylor Swift lives, #3. find out where Brad Paisley lives..... #198. unpack.

Okay, being interviewed by the Northern Pioneer may not have made their bucket list, but interviewing them has sure made mine!

Monday, January 31, 2011

Rest in Paradise, Grandma

A little over a week ago, I lost my dear Grandmother, Denelda Foley.

She died on January 22nd, just six days short of her and my grandfather, Ted Foley’s, 61st wedding anniversary.

The weekend prior to her death, she had been in the hospital for about a week with failing kidneys, among other things, and we started to realize she getting worse and likely wouldn’t be coming out the hospital.

It was January 16th, when I really lost it. That’s when Mom told me she didn’t think Grandma would be coming out of the Hospital. I completely broke down. I started to accept that she would be leaving us, so when I heard the news on an early 7:30AM Saturday morning phone call from mom, I was surprised. Or sad. Honestly, I was relieved.

I knew she was hurting and I was glad she wouldn’t be in pain anymore. And more importantly, Grandpa would get to rest. Though I would never wish it upon someone to lose a loved one, it was certainly taking a toll on my Grandpa. He was tired and worn. And though I know he is lonely and misses Grandma now, he knows she’s in a better place now.

I called Grandpa on the 23rd. Grandma, like most Foley’s, was quite stubborn, so there wasn’t a funeral or a wake. She was cremated and there will be a small graveside gathering the in the spring. But that didn’t stop the Foley’s from getting together to celebrate her life on earth, and to comfort Grandpa.

Grandpa said there was about 100 people there that day, and many on the following days as well. I didn’t actually get to talk to him on the 23rd. Dad picked up, and then passed me to Mom, my cousin Paula, my cousin Tanya, my brother Dylan... but I never actually made it to Grandpa. He was busy mingling, and, just being busy in general, which is good for him.

Among the chaos and crowdedness of 100 Foleys in a tiny building, everyone said Grandma’s chair was empty the entire time. People would rather stand than sit in her spot. They probably fear that Grandma would tell them to get out of her chair, even from the grave. Bradley attempted the chair a few times, I’m told, and eventually sat on the edge of the chair, very uneasy. He knew it wasn’t right. It was Grandma’s chair. It was her space. No one else was supposed to be there except for Grandma.

When I finally did get talking with Grandpa, he talked very quickly. He told me then entire process of her sickness and death, and the arrangements that had been made, and then passed the phone off to Dad again. I think that explaining it all to me was his way of understanding it all for himself. And for accepting that it was really happening. And did happen.

I’ve talked to Grandpa a lot of the phone since then. A lot more than I used to call. In the beginning, there were lots of people around and he was busy, but now he’s usually just watching TV when I call. He’s lonely, he admits, being home all by himself, but he sounds good now. I called him last Friday, on what would have been his and Grandmas anniversary, but Dad and Aunt Dale had taken him out visiting and to the casino: exactly what Grandma would have liked to do.

It’s sure going to take some getting used to. Just the other day, Dylan text me asking for “Grandma’s” number. I text him back saying “Grandpa’s number is...” He messaged back saying “whoa, that’s going to take some getting to used to.” And he’s right.

It will take some getting used to. For all of us.
Rest in Paradise, Grandma.

I love you.

Here's a picture of Grandma and Grandpa Foley, celebrating their 60th wedding anniversary, last year.

Sports are not my forte

Column submitted for the January 26, 2011 edition of the Northern Pioneer about sports. And me. And our (not so great) relationship.

Insider Reflections with Ashley Foley
He shoots … he scores?
You’d thinking growing up across from an arena, and working a couple of jobs at the there would have paid off.
Well, it didn’t.
When I moved to Mackenzie County in the summer I had a number people ask me which hockey team I cheered for.
“I’m more of a figuring skating, Kurt Browning fan,” I would tell them with a smile. They would nod, partly in disgust and confusion I’m sure, and probably partly wondering whether I was truly Canadian.
Since coming back to Mackenzie County after the Christmas holiday, I have made it my goal to include more sports in the paper.
Okay, I’ll admit it, to include sports in the paper at all. It’s certainly not my forte, but I’m working on it.
I’ve spent the last couple of weeks at high school gymnasiums and arenas in Fort Vermilion and La Crete, pretending I know exactly what’s going on.
Pretending to understand what “icing” means, and why basketball players all of a sudden stop what they’re doing and throw the ball from the sidelines.
Perhaps I should have spent less time at the mall, in fashion class and doing my nails and more time at the local sports games.
Sports are my Achilles Heel.
And I’ve learned that admitting that in communities built on sports, especially hockey, has not exactly gained me any friends or popularity.
One afternoon I was at the La Crete arena covering a game, standing against the glass taking photos beside Philip Doerksen, Arena Manager.
“I’ll be the first one to admit that I don’t know much about hockey,” I told him, hoping for a little slack.
He’s been a saint in helping me figure out everything sports in the area, but not before giving me a pitiful smile: not that his smile was pitiful, but that he felt pity for me.
As if he knew that it was almost blasphemy in Mackenzie County to not know about hockey.

The Ice Bridge (column for the Northern Pioneer)

Here's a column I wrote for the January 10, 2011 edition of the Northern Pioneer, I thought you might enjoy it.

Insider Reflections With Ashley Foley
My first time across the Ice Bridge
After an almost tropical holiday back to Ontario, where I celebrated a green Christmas at ten degrees celcius, I began my 23 hour trek home to La Crete at 3:30AM: a two hour drive, 4.5 flight, a 45 minute flight, a 9 hour drive and a whole lot of waiting.
The last part of my journey home involved my first crossing of the ice bridge.
It was about 11:00PM when we got to the Peace River La Crete Ferry Crossing, which I am thankful for. I fear the crossing may be a little more terrifying if I could see it fully.
Surprisingly, it was nothing what I thought it might be. It wasn’t like driving on Beaver Lake in my hometown and asking Dad to do doughnuts around the ice fishing huts while mom frets with white nuckles: one hand on the door and the other pulling her hair.
My mother doesn’t enjoy driving on ice and as a child, I never understood why. But as we were approaching the ice bridge, I realized I had inherited a little of that fear from my mother.
We slowly approached the river and exchanged an uneasy smile and laugh. I sat up high in my seat, and it made me a little less anxious; as if it were a safer way to be seated in case the ice broke.
I was surprised it was sanded and in just looking straight ahead, I might not have known I was on the river. Aside from the three-foot jagged ice on each side of the cleared bridge.
We saw a sign that read 10 km/hr, we debated whether driving 10km and making it across in two minutes would be wiser than driving 100 and getting off as fast as possible.
We stuck with the safer route, 10km/hr. I think I held my breath the whole time.
We bumped along at one point, wasn’t sure whether we were still on the river or across yet. Until we nearly bottomed out on a large pot hole (if pot holes are even possible on an ice bridge).
I was riding passanger and my friend who was driving my car had never driven on ice before. Luckily, I did not learn that information until after the crossing.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

All moved in .. again!

Just before the Christmas break, Chris and I moved upstairs in the house we're renting from Abe and Martha. They've moved to Redearth for Abe to become a Pastor at a church there.

So now Chris and I are in the Master Bedroom there (with jacuzzi bathroom and walk-in closet!), and we have the downstairs living room. We decided to rent out the two rooms upstairs, so we now have two roommates: John Klassen (from Ontario) and Keith Klassen. I know, three boy roomies. I miss my girl time!

Just yesterday, we rented out the apartment downstairs that Chris and I used to live in. We rented it to two younger ladies, about my age, named Valerie and Alana. I'm excited, I hope we can watch some chick flicks or something sometime so I can get some girl gossip in. I think Chris is getting sick of being my "girlfriend" with no gals my age to gossip with out here in La Crete.

Valerie and Alana move in tomorrow, so we'll have a full house (and driveway!). We'll see how things go with all six of us living there. It's a pretty big house, but let's face it, there's hardly enough hot water for Keith and I to have decent showers in the morning before work and now we'll have two more girls downstairs fighting for hot water. Looks like I'll have to start getting up extra early!

When we moved upstairs, from the fully-furnished apartment to the empty house, we had.. well, nothing. There was a 27 inch tube TV left, so we've been using that, and some odd furnature. We ended up buying a new mattress from Sears, and Abe built us a frame for it. We also went shopping and got a bunch of things at the second hand store in La Crete: two couches, two chairs (one for our roomie's living room upstiars), kitchen supplies such as pots, pans, microwave, grill/toaster, etc. And of course, after my visit home for Christmas, I brought back bedding, pots and pans, a crock pot, and DVD player. And with our recent 55 inch TV purchase, I'd say we're just about set!

Now, if we could only get on that trip to Jamaca...

A new TV!

For the last few weeks, I've been telling Chris that I've wanted to book an all-inclusive vacation where we can enjoy food and drinks on a beach somewhere, WARM! No, not warm, HOT! And Chris has been wanting a big screen TV.

Well, this time Christofer won.

Today we bought a 55 inch flat screen LED TV from the Source here in town. It was down $600 and the last one in the store, so we called to reserve it yesterday. He's like a 4 year old at Christmas, it's kind of cute.

I didn't really care for a bigger TV, but Christofer is a little blind. He can't see the TV from the other side of the room, where our couches are, so he always has to sit on the floor when we watch movies/TV. So the big screen TV isn't just a want, technically, it's a need! So there's me justfying my spending.

We dropped it off today at lunch. It didn't fit in the calibre, or Keith's SUV (our roommate who works at the Source) so we took it in Keith's boss's truck. Thank goodness for La Crete and it's large trucks and friendly people!

We haven't set it up yet, Chris is at work and I'm not even going to try to tackle it on my own. It's his toy! But I can't WAIT to start watching Grey's Anatomy on the big screen! McDreamy, here I come!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Piles of snow in the middle of the road?

Okay, I'm not sure if this is an Alberta thing, or a Northern thing, but it's weird and it almost killed me!

A few evenings ago, after a large snowfall (such as everyday..) Chris and I were heading out for a late dinner in La Crete. I was at the stop light and went to turn left, by the post office, when all of a sudden there was a giant snowbank in the middle of the road, almost at eye level to me in my Sunfire. I almost hit it! It was right down the middle of all the side roads in La Crete, and well over 3 feet high.

Apparently, in La Crete (or maybe all of Alberta?), instead of plowing the snow into the side ditches, they plow it into the middle of the road and then take it away and make giant mountains of snow in various places in the town. It's great because then you don't have huge ditches and you're able to see farther, but they should have signs up or something when they've got snow piled up in the middle of the roads!

A surprise kitty!

Over the holidays, Chris flew back to Alberta on Boxing Day, whereas I stayed in Ontario until January 2nd. When he got back to La Crete, he didn't mention anything unusual. Which is why it was a complete surprise when I came home to see my lovely boyfriend and kitty..and this!

Another Kitty! Chris had adopted her when he got back to La Crete and kept it a surprise until I got home. Her name is Mimi, and she's Lilly's biological sister. So, they play and fight like siblings, too. I find chunks of cat hair on the floor where they were fighting, but also find them cuddling in a box together, cleaning one another, or just sleeping.

They're pretty cute! This way Lilly won't be so bored while Chris and I are away all day working. They can play together and keep one another warm and happy! That is, if they don't break us first. Two cats are a lot more expensive than one! And do they ever poo a lot! Don't even get me started on the little box situation. But, they are both potty trained and on solid foods, my babies are growing up! :)

Here's a few more photos of my little family in La Crete!

Lilly and Mimi playing with some toys I brought them from my trip to Ontario!

Here's one of Chris, Lilly and Mimi playing outside. The cats are such sissies! They won't even walk on the snow. They just get on top of one of us and sit there. I guess it was too cold for them!

Me and my babies!

Memories of home

I haven't written in a while, so I thought I'd update you with a few photos. Here are a few from my holiday in Ontario. However, the photos do not do the trip justice. My camera was acting funny, so they're kind of blurry. But here they are!

Here's one of my parents and brothers opening gifts on Christmas morning.

Here's one of me being "Santa" on Christmas morning, giving a gift to Mom.

Here's one of my brother Dylan's pet rat named Tyrone. Bonding time with Chris. Disgusting!

Here's one of my cousin James's little girl, Emmye, with her Great Grammy, Norma (my "almost" Grandma!)

Family night out bowling! Mom, Dad, Bradley, myself, Aunt Doris, Uncle Bill, Leslie, Heather & Matt, Kristina, Uncle Matt, Aunt Debbie, and James.

Here's my favourite one, of Bradley and Dad bowling. They're both trying to steer the almost-completely-stopped bowling ball that Bradley threw. Hilarious!