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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!