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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!