Monthly Archives: January 2014

Day 165 – Home Sweet Home

Day 165 – Sunday, December 8, 2013

Today was our final push to our home in Grande Prairie after being away since July 10, 2013. After some breakfast and getting my hair styled, we said our goodbyes to Jordan, Alison, and Melodie and headed out. It was another bitter cold day but with bright sunshine for the most part.

Showing off our matching felted slippers all made by our friend Denise. Julie notes “Hmmm I think I should’ve got my hair styled as well.”

Home is within our sights. Julie notes “Right about here Blue Rodeo was asking us ‘Where are you now?’ And this was the answer.”

Scenery from northern Alberta.

Miles of wilderness and boreal forest.

Forestry is a big part of the economy.

Oil and gas exploration and production is also one of the main economic sectors.

…along with agriculture.

Even with my sidekick’s navigation skills, we made it home safe and sound.

Home sweet home!

…over and out, the muleskinner and his sidekick

Julie notes “I had been smelling wafts of fruitiness on our last leg of the journey today. As we unpacked I quickly discovered what that was. Ironically or justifiably or comically or sadly or understandably or absurdly, or any other ‘ly’ word you want to insert, depending on your impression of our adventure, that fruity smell was from the frozen busted bottle of champagne that we had carried with us from Grande Prairie across more borders than even ‘the firewood’ had travelled, to be used to toast our crossing of the equator. We didn’t accomplish that goal, yet, but we did have an adventure that no-one else can (or may want) to replicate. But we own that and as far as I know the first calls we made when arriving home weren’t to a divorce lawyer so that is a good sign that our marriage is still intact. Brad was rereading our earlier blog posts a few weeks ago and said ‘Julie, you should read this. We had a good time!’ I believe him and look forward to reliving it all but in the comfort of my living room, stretched out on my couch in a temperature controlled environment with family and friends nearby. The list of things we have learned is endless but at the top is something Mom and Dad had already told us, Lesson #165, ‘Oh Canada, Our home and native land…is the best place to be from and to return to, even though the snow bank you see in the picture above has doubled in size by the time of this post.”

Here’s to 2014 and the new adventures it may bring!

Day 164 – Melodie’s Bed and Breakfast

Day 164 – Saturday, December 7, 2013

We spent the day with our son Jordan, daughter-in-law Alison, and granddaughter Melodie.  Rhonda and Michel (Alison’s mom and dad) dropped by for coffee and a quick visit.  They had just returned from Phoenix so we got to compare some stories.  Julie and I got to spend a few hours of alone time with Melodie while Jordan and Alison studied for exams and completed papers. Melodie was not feeling very well in the morning but perked up by supper time. She put on quite a show for us.

Melodie having a nap in Alison’s arms.

Melodie and Grandpa.

Jordan and Alison made us a delicious stew. Perfect on a cold day. They also made homemade bread in the breadmaker we gave them because we could never get it to work. They don’t seem to have any problems with it. I think they secretly bought a different model. J Julie notes “They managed to do all of this and get their homework done! Impressive. And as for the ‘brickmaker’ as we affectionately called the breadmaker while we owned it, I am pretty sure Alison snuck to bakery while she was out ‘writing a paper’. That bread was delicious and nothing like the doorstops or airballs we produced in the past.”

After supper, Melodie was feeling much better and treated us to some of her dance moves. Julie notes “She does some great, jumps, lunges, arm waves and bum shakes but no twerking despite the fact that she is dressed like Miley Cyrus.”

A great day of relaxing with family. It is good to be back in Alberta and we are looking forward to getting home.

Julie notes “Yes we had that warm and fuzzy feeling spending the day with Melodie and her handlers. It got especially warm at one point when Melodie was climbing all over me and stops and proclaims ‘I peed on you Grandma’. Nothing a change of clothes couldn’t fix and we were back to reading books, watching ‘the Kitty Movie’ (Puss ‘n Boots) and generally relaxing and mentioning every few minutes ‘I peed on you Grandma’.

…over and out, the muleskinner and his sidekick

Day 163 – Melodie’s House

Day 163 – Friday, December 6, 2013

Today, we left Russell, MB, at sunrise, in the bitter cold and headed to Edmonton to our granddaughter’s house. We fueled up the truck at the Russell Esso and fueled up ourselves at the Tim Horton’s right next door. It was very cold with the wind chill. The temperature was -31C but with the wind, it felt much colder. Julie notes “Brrrrrrr! I was sure while we were sitting on an asphalt parking lot in the Central America’s heat and humidity that I would never wish for a hot weather holiday again, but now I’m having second thoughts.”

Russell is a full service small town in Manitoba close to the Saskatchewan border. We have stopped here many times on our travels across Canada. All of the highway services appear to be very well maintained and well run. I guess that is why they appear to be successful. Julie notes “Yes we like Russell. And both Suze and Danny were correct with their answers to our question yesterday. It is the enthusiastic gold medalist for skeleton, Jon Montgomery, who calls Russell his home. He was the very likeable fellow who wandered around the Olympic village carrying a pitcher of beer, after his gold medal win at the Vancouver Olympics.”

We crossed into Saskatchewan and continued following Highway 16, the Yellowhead, towards Edmonton. Julie notes “Here is a shot for you Suze, one of many grain elevators seen along the way (or as Susan calls them ‘cement factories’).

The road was pretty good compared to the previous few days. It was mostly bare, with some blowing snow. Julie notes “The iTunes reminded us that we were ‘going on a sentimental jour-ur-ney home’.”

We passed many typical prairie farms. Julie notes “We almost ended the trip in Foam Lake, SK, with its town motto ‘Best Place In The World To Live.’ Why would anyone go any further? But we could almost smell Melodie’s feet from here so we kept on truckin’.”

We crossed into our home province of Alberta in the City of Lloydminster. The orange monuments mark the border in the middle of the city. Julie notes “Sunny Alberta welcomed us with open blue skies. I did not get out and kiss the border monuments however as I did not have a cup of warm water to release my lips and tongue from the steel. But it felt good to know we were almost home.”

The days are short and the sun was setting as we traveled through Alberta.

The temperature stayed at a cold -31C pretty much all day.

But we arrived in Edmonton to a very warm welcome. We traveled about 975 kilometres today and arrived at Jordan and Alison and Melodie’s new place just in time for supper. Julie notes “We hit Edmonton right at rush hour with the iTunes singing ‘Slow down, you move too fast’ as we crawled along the Anthony Henday Drive.”

We hadn’t seen their new condo. They gave us a tour and also made us a delicious lasagna and salad and even provided me with a few craft beers. It is really good to be back with family and especially see the changes in our beautiful granddaughter. Oh yeah, it was nice to see Jordan and Alison too.J

Julie notes “‘How sweet it is!”, as Jackie Gleason used to say. Here Melodie is cuddled up with her Grandma Vera blanket and silk piggies. Speaking of Mom, on our journey today Krista’s version of ‘Coat of many colours’ that she recorded for Mom’s funeral played. Which reminded me of cousin Carol’s words of praise for your CD Krista. Aunt Doreen brought the CD over for her daughter, Carol to listen to, which she did over and over again. She played it for her friend and the friend said ‘Oh nice, that’s KD Lang.’ And Carol said ‘No that’s my amazing cousin Krista!’ And her friend said ‘Well I think I like that better than KD Lang’s version.’ So there you go. And we love it too. Also Adam’s piano recording of ‘Imagine’ played and Brad said ‘That was Adam? That was good!'”

…over and out, the muleskinner and his sidekick

Julie notes “So here we are basking in the attention of our 2 ½ year old granddaughter, who warmed right up to us again after so many days of grandma and grandpa being away. She had promised a few days ago on the phone to cook us meat when we came for supper and there was meat in the lasagna so she kept promise. Jordan and Alison have settled in nicely into their new home, routine and being together this year, instead of 500 kilometres apart. This is exam time though so we are looking forward to keeping Melodie busy the next couple days while they study and write papers. Feels good to be back.”