October 8th, 2011

I had a setting enabled that allowed anyone to register and immediately post a blog entry. Sorry about that to those of you who checked back here. I have since deleted all 300+ crap messages! And will continue to go through the user list and delete erroneous names.



September 16th, 2008

Hello from a former Ft. Smith/Fort Fitzgerald Northern Girl!  Read about your family travels in the SRJ!  I applaud you on your life lessons travels!!!  What a wonderful adventure for your family! The trip truly is an education that school would never have offered your children!!!!!  And to spend it as a family is even better!!!!  What great parents and what lucky children!

Sincerely Alana (Stevenson) McKenzie


Wow! I’m finally on!!!

July 28th, 2008

Hello my family. Congrats on a fantastic trip! Welcome home.  where do we go from here?

Uncle Stephen’s Surgery

July 5th, 2008

The rotator cuff surgery went well, the waking up phase – not so well.  Uncle Stephen has a bit of a reaction to the anesthesia and was flailing when waking up.  As a result he was given some heavy duty drugs to settle hime down.  This caused him to take longer than expected to wake up enough to be released.  His surgery took place at noon (delayed one hour) and I was not able to bring him home until after 10:00 PM.  Uncle Stephen is up and moble this morning with the help of a sling and some really good pain pills.  A follow-up appointment is scheduled for Tuesday where we will get more information on what he should and should not be doing with respect to mobility at this time.  Hope all is well with you and that you are having good weather on this leg of your travels.  (Auntie)

Message from Pete

June 23rd, 2008

Attached is a picture of me, freshly trimmed, nicely groomed, teeth brushed, toenails clipped and I even had a bath (click on my picture for a bigger me).
This was in preparation of meeting up with my family in Lethbridge last Saturday – a surprise for Alex and Luke.  Originally, Grandma Vi was going to take me to Kelowna at the end of June but Rick and Claudette wanted them to see me sooner so Grandpa and Grandma James took me to Lethbridge as they were planning to meet them there.  All I knew was that I was going for a ride in a car and I couldn’t get in fast enough.  Those who feed me, walk me and take me in their car are at the top of my list.  When Alex and Luke arrived and saw me, they were very excited and so was I, having not seen them since last August.  Grandma Vi doesn’t realize it but she will really miss me – after all, I am the BEST! 

It all happened so fast that I didn’t get a chance to say goodbye to Uncle Dennis, Auntie Debbie, Elizabeth and Jacob because they really care about me too. Even when Grandma Vi is in town, they invite me for sleepovers – one time it was for a whole week.  I’ll see everyone again when I get back to Edmonton. 

Love from Pete

P.S. They love me at Petcetera and even give me treats!


Pete during a thunder storm

June 23rd, 2008

Here is a cute picture of Pete during a thunder storm.



June 2nd, 2008

WOW!!! You get to spend your birthday in CANADA.
Hope you have a wonderful day and a great birthday dinner.
Wish I were there!
Please ask your dad to put a picture of your birthday dinner on jamesworld.ca.
Love from Grandma Vi

That sinking feeling…

May 12th, 2008

It’s been a very long time since I posted, so I guess I had better start with some apologies. Sorry, gang! Since we last met here, you guys have travelled through Egypt and Jordan, through Italy and France, into Spain and back into France again. It has been great to get the phone calls from you as you roved throughout western Europe.

By the way, I must pause at this point to give  a big (though belated) shout out to Alex: HAPPY BIRTHDAY, ALEX!

The big news from these parts is that we are falling to pieces without you guys. Early this morning, a massive sinkhole opened up beside Highway five, shutting the road to any heavy traffic. Smith is cut off from any freight right now, but they are letting light vehicle go by. However, DOT is advising that no one travel the highway as the sinkhole is still active. It is currently 25 feet deep and growing.

Here is our new crevasse:


This comes just before the big grocery trucks get into town, so we may be shy of some essentials by the end of the week. DOT expects to have a alternate route cut into the forest in a day or two, but a lot depends on what happens with the sinkhole. Exciting stuff!

Aside from that, the news is pretty minor. Mikey is almost finished his barn and will be transporting his alpacas and llamas back up North in the next month. His barn is a sweet pad for the animals, with a large interior and two large screened-in spaces on both sides. The animals should be much, much happier this time around.

We went to the French Beer-Tasting Night last Saturday and had a very good time. We had to leave early (about 10) because Jo was catching the Sunday morning sked to Edmonton, but the Keizers stayed till the wee hours and had a great time. The beers were fantastic (I would recommend Hoegaarden “white” beer – Belgian brew, and a Montreal-made concoction call St. Ambroise Oatmeal, a beer so dark some people pour Guiness into it to lighten it up).

We made a trip out to Pine Lake to check on the cabin and it weathered the winter very well. We have an 11-foot sailboat at the lake now. It belongs to Stu and Tracy but they have “given it to us for unlimited use, and asked if they could keep it at our cabin. Naturally, I said yes. I look forward to getting that up and running this summer, but I think there is going to be a bit of a learning curve in using it. Here’s hoping my learning muscles haven’t atrophied entirely.

As I noted earlier, Joanne is out of town all this week so I am batching it. Tracy Hutton and Dan Kearley’s spouses are away too, so we’re having a single parent dinner at my place tomorrow night. Jo is in Calgary for a conference, but really, she just needed to get the hell out of otwn for a few days. He credit card has been vibrating for the past week in anticipation of a mall-related orgy of consumerisim.  Oh well, it’s not like she hasn’t earned it. She just finished two straight weeks of being on call during which she put in 84 hours of overtime. It was insane. We’ve seen more of you guys than her lately.

I know you guys are living it up in London right now, and I hope you are having a great time and that fickle British weather is cooperating. I was just talking to Marc and he is gearing up for your arrival. I know you will have a good time, and it will be great to have you back on home soil. I will give you guys a call when you get to Marc and Wendy’s. Until then, take care gang!

A Day in Paris

April 27th, 2008

Saturday was a very early morning to catch the Eurostar from London to Paris – even earlier than I needed because I forgot to change my watch by an hour so I was up at 3:15 instead of 4:15 am. We had to meet at the train station at 5:30am even though the train didn’t leave until around 6:30 – a very tasty breakfast was served on the train. It was a great view of the city from my seat on the top of the double-decker bus. First stop was the Eiffel Tower – we were able to go to the 2nd storey – pretty overwhelming!!! The city of Paris seems to stretch for miles and miles in all directions as I did a 360 around the Tower. Next was an hour cruise on the River Seine – very relaxing – then off to the Louvre – our time was very limited so I didn’t go into the galleries – thus I missed seeing the Mona Lisa – mostly just walked around outside, took pictures and had a bite of lunch – then off to Notre Dame – another spectacular sight!!! Next we drove around the D’Orsay Museum, the Lafayette Opera, the Arc de Triomphe and the Trocadero. Back to the train for the return ride to London – another great meal aboard the train. All in all, it was a great day!
I took the Tube to Harrod’s this afternoon – after all – can’t be in London without going to Harrod’s.
Pretty expensive and I was in awe – TOTALLY – didn’t buy a thing, not even lunch – just looked around – the store is mighty huge – I didn’t even cover the whole store.
I certainly wish I had a couple more days here but…
Thanks to Rick and Claudette for persuading me to take the day trip to Paris yesterday and the day trip of London tomorrow.

Happy birthday alex

April 20th, 2008

dear alex

               enjoy your birthday dinner and have another piece of cake for me . sure wish I was there with all of you.

check your email

love great aunty florence

Hi from OZ

April 12th, 2008

Hi happy travellers,
Sounds like your still having a great time!
Missed your call by seconds the morning the message was not clear and no number displayed. So I have caught up with you on the wall! Often think about where you guys might be in this big wide world, now I can trace you step by step.
One thing I must share with you, Home is wonderful.
Ron and I are going gold detecting in June, this is a definate destination on our Grey Nomad Caravan Journey around this Island.
Still have a ring in mind!

Keep on enjoying your travels, take care, and look after each other.

Cheers Jenine and Ron

Uncle Den’s Pete Update

April 10th, 2008

Pete in Snow

Pete After A Haircut.

April 1st, 2008

In preparation for Pete going to spend a month with Uncle Den, Auntie Deb, Elizabeth & Jacob while I run around Europe. He also got his nails clipped and was very happy until he realized I was leaving him again. Luckily the family takes him for lots of walks and he quickly gets over missing me…

Don’t He Look Good?!?!?

I Look Good!

Handsome Pete

Mrs. Grundy gets a new dog!

March 30th, 2008

Hey you will be happy to know … there is another Jack Russell terrier in town that sort of resembles Pete.

“She” is a small dog (just like Pete) and her name is Chloe.  Her bark sounds JUST like Pete!  (small dog with a BIG bark!)

Instead of black patches, Chloe has reddish brown markings (I said to match her owner!)

I think Chloe and Pete would like each other.

Note:  Mrs. Grundy unfortunately lost her two dogs this winter due to illness and old age (which was very sad ….)  BUT, a miracle came through when Chloe (who is a rescued dog from BC) was brought up by the Harrold family at Easter time.

By the way Madie and Jasper are still alive and kicking.  Madie has joined Jasper in the sport of barking at people walking, biking, etc. on the sidewalk in front.  (I still grumble at both of them when they do this!!)

Well, I am still hungry and still tired … so I best get myself off to bed.

Recipes from around the world …

March 30th, 2008

I should have told you this when you first LEFT on your vacation … but I hope you have been keeping notes on good foods your are eating from around the world.

This way when you get home … we can plan for an “Around the World Cuisine” evening and try new and interesting meals.

I am hungry.

Good night.

from me ……… Ann the Good

Hey … here is an update ….

March 30th, 2008

Tim and Joanne got a brand new beauuuuuuuuutifulllllllllll (and very pretty) barbeque.  We had curry burgers and pepper burgers with grilled vegetables for supper on Saturday night.

Tim and Jo have finally joined the big world in “Grillin Time”    🙂

News Canadian Travellers can Use IV – News for Luke edition

March 19th, 2008

I feel guilty about poor Luke’s plaintive plea for news in the previous post. I have not been keeping up with the blogging lately due to a once again insane schedule. But who cares about excuses right? You want news not justification, am I right? Right! Then let’s begin…

First of all, on the mail front, we received an avalanche of parcels from our favourtie world travellers, including three bundles of newspapers and a box containing objects packed in straw.  We were not sure what these objects are so we left them packed, assuming you were shipping stuff for yourselves back home. However, what was fascinating was the packaging itself. The box was mailed from India, and was wrapped in a light canvas that was sealed not with tape, but with sealing wax, a funny 19th-century touch the kids found highly amusing. Then there were the fragile stickers which read “Marble with Care”. We all scratched our heads trying to figure out that one. The internal packaging was also very idiosyncratic, wrapped as it was in shredded paper and twine. To our western eyes it was like a parcel out of the past. Funky packaging aside, though, all arrived in good shape.

We have some pretty wild fluctuations in weather lately, hitting a high of seven above a couple of weeks ago before plunging briefly back to 30 below. We are just a few degrees below zero right now and it is getting warmer. it seems like winter might actually end someday.

Oh, on the real news front, Ann the Good had a highway mishap in the government truck. I will leave it to her to post the details, but the important part is that she is perfectly fine – not much more than a seatbelt bruise and some aches and pains. She hit some black ice on her way out of town on business and the truck rolled, smashing the windshield and filling the truck with snow as it skidded through the ditch on its roof. She was picked up immediately and brought back to town. But again, let me stress: she is perfectly fine.

Easter is upon us here, so we will be doing our usual dinner thing at our house this coming Sunday, and will be joined by the Keizers, Chris DeWolf and Mikey and Helena. There was some thought given to inviting others but everyone agreed to keep it to the core group this time (minus a certain globetrotting clan, of course!). Anyway, we will all be at our place on Sunday by three o’clock our time, so if you want to skype my computer will be on.

I am taking my Cubs on a little field trip tonight to Sonny MacDonald’s house. Sonny is quite looking forward to having a bunch of curious little faces crowded into his workshop. I have no doubt the kids will love him, as he is such a charming and talkative character. I look forward to hearing what sort of questions they have for him. With the addition of Callista and Aurora I have 16 Cubs now. The pack grows…Aroooooooo!

Spring break just ended here. Jo and I had to work through most of it, so Ian went the Kearley’s place for three days while I took the last two days off and took care of Ian and the Kearley boys at my place. Let’s just say that three days of Ian does not in any way match two days with Mitchell and Josh. It’s like taking care of a koala bear for three days and then switching to a pair of rambunctious Tasmanian devils. Dan owes me, big time. 🙂

The Keizer family (minus Johnathan) went to Edmonton to shop for Michelle’s grad dress. The mission was successful, and a dress was purchased for what I am told is a reasonable $250. Any article of clothing of mine would need to have $200 in its pocket before it was worth that much, but then, I am not a 17-year-old girl. From what I am told, they have a different attitude toward clothing than 45-year-old males. Go figure. Johnathan decided to avoid grad dress shopping and spent a week in French Camp at the Arctic Winter Games in Yellowknife. He overcame that whole “I don’t actually speak French” thing quite well, and enjoyed his week.

That’s it for the boring little details of our lives that you might consider “news”. Everything else is business and usual. We still miss you guys, and my kids look forward to your arrival home to an almost embrassing degree (especially Ian). everytime we talk aobut doing something or going someplace, Ian asks “Will the Jameses be back then?” It’s like they’re suffering reverse homesickness. They’re “friendsick” or something.

Buyt let us once again look out into the wider world as well. When those bundles of newspapers arrived I realized just how much access to world news you guys have. The papers in these Asian and African countries are of extremely high quality. I love reading them. Anyway, on to our own dyfunctional media.

 The American economy is heading into a crapper perhaps not seen since the 1930s, and of course they are going to pull us down with them. Lovely, they turn their economy into a hollowed-out ponzi scheme and we suffer the consequences. Of course, all the former American billionaires are expecting a government bail out.

And that’s all I have time for right now. I hope all continues to go well for you folks. It was great to talk to you guys over the weekend. It’s always reassuring to hear your voices. Take care, and we’ll talk to you soon.

What news from home !!

March 15th, 2008

Hi everybody. What”s happening at home? You could all post some more news even if it is the tiniest news that is happening. To the Keizer’s, you could submit stories called “The Adventure’s of Jasper and Matty” every know and then. On these blogs you can write funny stories about your dogs.

Brendan and Wendee got married

March 12th, 2008

Saturday, March 8, 2008.  Wonderful wedding – a great time was had by all.  Pictures 1, 2 and 3 are, of course Brendan and Wendee.  Picture 4 – Bride and father.  Picture 5 – Steve, Vern and Ron.  Picture 6 – Alanna.  Picture 7 – Leah singing.  Picture 8 – Alymer and Cheryl’s grandchildren.

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March 11th, 2008

I know how interested everyone is to know what is new in Saskatchewan, so here goes:

The temp. is +3, short wearing weather….. finally!

That’s it



March 6th, 2008

A few housekeeping notes regarding the blog. As you will no doubt have noticed, I changed the template of the blog to match the James’s travel blog. As this is the companion blog to their travel blog, I liked the common theme, with the colour to differentiate between them. If anyone prefers the old theme, we could fight it out amongst the registered users and the majority opinion can rule the day. Until I hear protests, this one will stay up. This is what happens when you give me any sort of power at all. I abuse it.

Also, I noticed two new user registrations to the blog: Marc and Wendy in Nova Scotia and Claire-Ann and Brian in Hay River. Now that you folks are registered we will expect updates from the Old Country and from beautiful downtown Hay Riviera. Rick’s handy how-to tabs at the top of the sidebar make blogging so easy a Fort Smither could do it!

News Canadian Travellers Can Use III – Job Loss Edition

March 5th, 2008

Hi gang – it was great to talk to you guys yesterday. I hope your trip to the Great Pyramid at Giza went well. Joanne and I happened to catch a special on Discovery Channel last night about pyramids, and this episode focused on the Great Pyramid, so we had sort of virtual tour with you guys. Can’t wait to read your account of your trip.

Back here at home, we are in the deep freeze again, with the temperatures hovering around -32. Depressing, but a fact of life given where we live. However, it is supposed to be up to 2 above this weekend, so we are finally in for some really nice weather.

March Break starts today so Ian is spending his days at the Kearlys this week. I will take some time off next week to hang out with the kids at home.

The big news on the home front is the job cuts that come with the GNWT budget reductions. They are pretty brutal so far. In Inuvik, they have lost 31 positions at various departments so even the Premier’s home town isn’t being spared. Needless to say, local people are unhappy.

Even the hometown of Northwest Territories Premier Floyd Roland is not immune to sweeping territorial job cuts, Inuvik Mayor Derek Lindsay said.

Lindsay said Inuvik is set to lose 31 government workers as part of 135 proposed job cuts, which are part of Roland’s plan to slash $135 million from the territorial budget over the next two years.

Most of the job losses would come from the Arctic Tern Young Offender Facility, which the government wants to close down. Such cuts could cost Inuvik up to $3 million a year, Lindsay said.

“That’s a horrendous economic impact on the town of Inuvik,” he said Monday. “Inuvik’s economy is very soft right now, and this was really a bad time to get hit with something like this.”

MLAs will get to debate the proposed budget cuts and job losses, as well as the closure of the Arctic Tern facility, when they debate the draft budget in June.

But before that, Lindsay said, he wants to see the territorial government consult with the town on the closure of the correctional centre.

One Inuvik-based government employee, who did not want to be named, said Roland — who was acclaimed to his fourth term as MLA for Inuvik Boot Lake in last year’s territorial election — has “sold us down the river” with his proposed cuts.

Other communities still haven’t heard, but Smith got our news last week, and it is fairly painful, but so far not on the scale Inuvik suffered. Here’s the scoop:

The big casualty was Justice, where they amalgamated the adminsitration of the Territorial Women’s Correctional Centre and River Ridge, resulting in 5.5 jobs being lost. I don’t know exactly who is losing their jobs, although I know Grant Paziak is one of them. Kind of tough given that he and Nikita have a new baby.

At the airport, Bill Hval and Freda Schumann are laid off, and the airport will be administrated from Yellowknife.

One position is gone from Public Works, and one from ENR. I don’t know who. ITI was spared any cuts locally.

The job losses look less severe for Smith right now, but that is because all schools in the NWT and the College have been spared in this round of cuts. We are on the block next year, so Smith will get more bad news then.

That’s all the news so far on the job cutback front for now.

In other Canadian news, in a shocking development, the PCs won a huge majority in the Alberta provincial election. Dazed Albertans welcomed the return of their corporate overlords as they participated in their four year parody of democracy. Everyone predicted that the PCs would lose seats under white bread leader Ed Stelmach, but he beat the predictions and won ten more seats than Ralph Klein did in his last election.

Speaking of elections, apparently there is an election going on in the banana republic to the south. John McCain clinched the Republican nomination last night, while Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton continue to slug it out. The Democratic primary is going to be long and brutal as both candidates are basically tied at this point.

And that is it for this edition of NCTCU. Get those Africa pictures up soon! I am sure I am not the only one waiting for them. Have fun and travel safe, folks.


March 2nd, 2008

I have written up instructions for various components of the Blog. By reading through these short FAQ’s you can “interact” with the blog by posting a new entry for us to read, making a comment on someone else’s blog post. Just click on any of the links listed below, or look at the top of the Friends Blog for the permanent links.

GNWT Job Cuts

March 1st, 2008

As sad and devastating as they are, I sure would appreciate hearing my favorite redneck’s presumably ecstatic commentary. Unfortunately NNSL charges for their online subscription and I don’t have the time to read frequently enough to quite justify that expense. If some of you could keep Cece’s columns from the last few weeks, and any other future mention of said job cuts by her, I’d REALLY appreciate it. Thanks!

More pictures – Beavers, Cubs and Scouts this time

February 25th, 2008

Let us take a little break from the wall-to-wall skating coverage here and show Luke what awaits him when he gets back home. There is pack of very keen Cubs, Scouts and Beavers who are looking forward to adding him to their number. These pictures are actually a few weeks old now and our troop has grown by four more since these were taken.

Let’s start off with our Beavers. This is Scouts Canada’s program for five to seven year olds.


And here is the Fort Smith Wolf Cub Pack, the program for eight to ten year olds.


And finally, here are our Scouts, who range from 11 to 14 years old.


As I noted, we have since enlarged our group. We have a new scout, a new cub and two new Beavers. The troop has gotten a lot of press attention lately, and I expect our memeebership will be growing even more now that skating has ended for the year. Anyway, my son Ian wanted me to the post these pictures for everyone to see, expecially Luke. Enjoy!

Photo time!

February 25th, 2008

All right, folks. Here is my first foray in posting photos on this blog. I see that Vi has bravely led the way, so I figure if I can’t do it she deserves to make fun of me until the end of time. And if she doesn’t, I am sure Rick will. Anyway, here it goes.

These pics are from the Fort Smith Figure Skating Club Carnival, which took place February 23 and 24, and was a production of “Mary Poppins” this year. You have already heard a couple of viewpoints on the show, so let’s get to some images. For those non-Fort Smith friends who are wondering why this is getting such attention, I should explain the signficance of the carnival to the James Family. Alex and Luke are both regular (and keen) particpants in the show, as is Claudette as part of the Fort Smith Fury hockey club, which does a humourous little number each year. Rick is the behind-the-scenes-guy, building props, painting scenery and carrying out other elements of production design. With that quick explanation, let’s look at some pics. Apologies for quality beforehand.

At the start of the show we had the singing of O Canada and the colour guard. On day two it was Josh, David and Ian.


Here we have the full cast of the show in front of the backdrop.


In this photo, the main cast is about to do their bow at the end of the second show.


Here is, right to left, Carolyn Gill, as Mary Poppins, Jillaine Cummings as Mr. Banks, Larissa Korol as Mrs. Banks and Kathleen Gill as Jane Banks.


Here is a close up of the farm animals, with (shameless paternal plug warning!) my Gracie-girl front and centre.


Here is Kathleen leading a very tired Gracie off the ice. It was long weekend for a four-year old, but she held up well right until the end.


And now, the pic you have been waiting for: the incomparable Fort Smith Fury, playing the bankers from “Mary Poppins.”


And that’s it! My camera didn’t allow me to get any good action shots, but once I get some I will post those as well.

Redundant Skating News or “Why can’t I ever post faster than Ann?”

February 25th, 2008

I see that Speedy McKeizer has already been on line to give you an update on the skating carnival production of “Mary Poppins.”. Yes, all went very well indeed. Michelle and Carolyn were great as Bert and Mary, and Kathleen and Megan Walsh were a very adorable Jane and Michael Banks.

Gracie was part of the farm animals group, which you may remember from the animated sequence of the film. She played one of three little pigs. As a group they were short on skill but long on extreme cuteness, which ultimately carried the day. The crowd loved them.

Because one of the parents who was in charge of the colour guard forgot to contact the RCMP, my Cubs and Scouts were asked to step in to hold the flags during the opening ceremonies and national anthem. Matthew, David and Josh Bird and Ian did their duty quite well, and they enjoyed showing off their uniforms in front of the whole town.

The backdrop looked great (we had a super crew working on it – lots of volunteers) but thank heavens the props were kept to a minimum. I was on prop duty and I couldn’t have done them without Rick.

Because of the Arctic Winter Games, we had a month less time to do the carnival this year. We also lost a week of practices because the cold was so extreme the arena was shut down. Yet looking at the final product, you would never had known it. Everything went really well.

Pictures will follow shortly.

… and yet another successful Carnival year!!

February 24th, 2008

Although you are out and about in the middle of Africa checking out the wildlife; we have just completed yet another skating carnival year.

Mary Poppins was an enlightening skating event that was surprisingly easy to pull together in such a short time frame. The props were light and the outfits were easy (some thanks to the Internet and Ebay!). The back drop was the BIG winner (thanks to Mr. TimmyG and friends) and made you think you were literally stepping into a chalk drawing.

Clean up was … none other than QUICK and the whole lot of us were out of the arena by 5:30 pm! (I think a record yet do date!!)

Now, it is one week left of figure skating (test dates) and we can say, “that’s a wrap” for yet another year. Hockey on the other hand will continue to the bitter end! <evil grin> or until we are no longer allowed to physically skate on the ice for the season!

The temperatures were CRAZY warm this weekend causing the abnormal thawing of the arena ceiling (as what happens during our regular scheduled carnival in the March months) .. but only in February. I think we say the highs of minus 3 this weekend! *sweeeeeeeeeeeeet* Yes, a perfect weekend for snow machining … IF we weren’t involved with carnival.

The Fury ladies are gearing up for the Hazardous Hockey weekend in Hay River! We have a teams of 14 skaters and one goalie heading over to have some fun. This year HR wanted to do a split two tier system because of the number of teams and skating levels, however I am not sure if this will come together as they hoped. We have put in for the “Level B” section as opposed to the “Level A”. (We just want to play and have fun!!!) *s*

It looks like we will be doing the “drive” down to Edmonton to go “grad dress shopping” *groan*. However, it is needed (I suppose). I did try the “buy a grad dress on Ebay” but I just couldn’t see one coming from China … looking like the picture it was portraying!!! (and ensuring it would fit properly). So, the Keizer Klan will be cruising in the van in the next 2 weeks. We are hoping to stop by and see the Mawdsley family while we are there. Apparently Alice will be moving over to Glen Rose so she can do her daily physiotherapy to help her get stronger and stronger.

Oh ?! (listening for sounds in the back ground …) … the washer has finally stopped. I best send this and put another load in so we can have clean clothes for this coming work week.

Hugs to everyone and I hope the flu (or whatever got to Alex and Luke) didn’t stick around too long. Keep healthy and stay strong.


Ann (The Good) *smile*

One week to Skating Carnival!!

February 17th, 2008

Well, it is crunch time up here! Costumes are madly being sewn and put together and the back drop was created (by Mr. Timmy G and friends) on Saturday. I wasn’t there but everyone tells me it is spectacular!

The theme this year is Mary Poppins. Michelle will be playing “Bert” (yes .. another male character!) This is her last Carnival … and it comes as a bitter – sweet event. It is hard to believe that she has been in this club for 13 years! (that is 13 years worth of costumes!!!) I should sell them on Ebay! *L*

The Kearly’s house good bye party on Saturday night was a blast! The “band” was back together and the good tunes were being sung by one and all! (Ask Tim!! <grin>)

Well Johnathon comes back from winter camp tomorrow and I am curious to see how he fared! The temps were in the minus 40’s (that is including wind chill) at the beginning of the week. Good news we have warmed up to the minus 20’s and 30’s during daytime now. His ride home should be better than it was going there!

I best get going … I find I ramble on and on on this blog “thingie” *LOL* <gotcha Rick on that one> I just had to use the word thingie at least ONCE!

hugs to everyone!

from me Ann (THE GOOD) 🙂


February 16th, 2008

Pete misses his family very much. This morning Luke said “Hi” to him on the phone and Pete’s ears really perked up when he heard Luke’s voice. Uncle Dennis and Auntie Debbie bought Pete this Christmas hat and collar as well as his very own Advent Calendar.

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February 16th, 2008

Hey James’

Thank you for doing a phenomenal job at keeping us up to date on your travels.. I hope I can do half as well! Yup, my day is coming soon.. 3 weeks and two sleeps until I leave Smith and 32 days until I start my grand adventure! Dixie and Larry are booked and I think I may have another friend convinced to meet me somewhere along the way.

My only update for you is it is damn cold here…. damn cold!

I wish you safe travels for the rest of your trip. Keep keeping us informed!

Shari O

Hey :)

February 16th, 2008

Well guess you have only been gone now for a few months so figured I should register and write a note. Thanks for calling this morning, whis we could of chatted for longer. Will look into getting skype fixed or authorized or whatever… So school is going well, 1 week left, with exams everyday. Pretty interesting. Level 2 will be sometime before September, and hopefully level 3 will be sometime this year as well.

Otherwise we are all good. Been doing some skiing and Maddie is loving it.

Take it easy at the beach – don’t get a kink in your neck eh 🙂 Looking forward to seeing you in a few months. Love to all, Jeff

ahem … “tap-tap-tap” .. is this mic on?!

February 13th, 2008

Well hello James family! Look what that Mr. Timmy G. did, he got me to use “The Friends Blog”. Wow, I must say, it looks pretty clean and spiffy in here (*turning head in all directions to check out the new space*)

I have been busy lately with travels to HR for Territorial skating AND getting our Johnny K ready for winter camp. Nothing like riding sleds and camping out in the snow with wind chills of minus 34 and lower! Brrr!. He is gone for a week up to Piers Lake. It took three people and many maps later to show me where that is! (basically … not too far north from our Germaine Lake!).

He is out there with Eileen Beaver, Roger Vail, a volunteer by the name of Peter and a pile of maniac PWK students from Grade 10, 11 and 12. Michelle did not go on this one because it over lapped with skating.

Hey!! Did you hear the news? Harv and Shirley (Melanie’s parents … Dan’s in-laws) .. who moved to High Level last summer …. WEllllll, they are moving to Cold Lake, Alberta very soon. 🙁

We are all going to miss them very much. It was nothing for them to hop, skip and jump up to Smith for the weekend .. or for us to stay over night at their place in High Level on our way down to GP or Edm. Now, they will be moving. Dan is having a big shin-dig this Saturday night at their house and Harv and Shirley will be there. Lots of food, music and drink with many friends. I think it will be a great time (as usual).

If you are back early enough … we will have ONE HELL OF A GRAND TIME! I will keep it a secret in case you can make it back. *L*

It is Joanne’s birthday soon too. We are supposed to be celebrating her big day soon. I have a gift I think she will TRULY enjoy. (I can’t say any more than that .. because she may be reading this Blog from her house! *L*)

Well, I am rambling so that is my cue to exit … stage left.

Hang tight, enjoy the sights and sounds of everything and enjoy your new Tilley tailored shorts with the secret pocket! (pretty cheap for $17 bucks!) That is a GREAT score!

hugs to everyone

Ann (Mike is in Ottawa this week … but returns soon)

News Canadian Travellers can Use! II

February 13th, 2008

Hi guys – it has been a crazy time around here lately. Between skating carnivals, skating territorials, cubs, Aurora College Week and so on, there hasn’t been much downtime.

Let me first mention that we waded through all your pictures, at last. They are absolutely gorgeous! The Red Fort and the Taj Mahal were our favourites, and the kids especially were very taken with them (and the elephants – you’ve turned our kids into elephant junkies!). Some of the urban shots look depressingly crowded and not terribly clean. I can see North Americans having to deal with the “ewww” factor every now and then. We loved the shot of Rick and Luke and the snake charmer. I had to explain to the kids what was going on, and then we had to endure Gracie practicing her snake charming on the Chinese flute you guys sent back home. Ian also loved the pictures of Luke getting smooched by those two Indian women. Luke’s expression really cracked him up.

We can see that Alex is getting a lot of mileage out of that underwater camera of hers. To look at the pictures, you’d think you guys have become semi-aquatic.

Now, on to the local news.

Roy Scott is leaving Fort Smith to take a new job working for the Town of Peace River. He is leaving for a six-month assignment, but he has the option of taking the job full-time or returning to his job in Fort Smith. (Pretty sweet arrangement if you can get, really.) Louise and Brittany are staying in Smith for now, but will move if the job becomes permanent.

Skating territorials just took place in Hay River. Our kids did fairly well this time around. Michelle took a bronze in creative, and Megan Walsh won a couple of golds. Kathleen Gill took home a couple of medals, and got invited to attend the STARskate Program after placing second in the STARskate event. She will attend the program in Rocky Mountain House at the end of March. According to Ann who attended the event, our kids did very well, and YK did not dominate as they have in years past.

I am working on getting Ann up and running on the firends blog. In fact, I am on the phone with her right now, and she says “Hello!” I will give her a brief wokrshop on it and she will have no excuse to not blog in the near future.

If you are keeping up with Alice’s care page, you will know that she wrote the words “Thank you.” a couple of days ago. This represents the first communication from her and a real sign that her cognitiive abilities may well fully recover. Everyone is hopeful for her. The town has gone crazy with fundraisng for the Mawdsleys. in addition to the usual bake sales, there has been a “Swim for Alice”, a “Ski for Alice” and all the ticket money from this year’s skating carnival is being donated to them. Phyllis actually just arrived in town yesterday for the first time since the accident to take care of some housekeeping things at work and home. She had a chat with Joanne, and said how overwhelmed the family is by the town’s support. She and Bill are using up all of their sick leave and will be off until June. Beyond that, they haven’t made any concrete plans.

It is Joanne’s birthday next week, so I am hosting a dinner for her this Saturday night at our place. Just the usual gang (minus you guys!). The Keizers, Kearlys and Chris Dewolf are coming so it will be a nice little group. If you can phone during that time you can talk to the gang and wish her a Happy Birthday. Everyone is due to be here by five o’clock our time. God knows when that is wherever you are now. (Somewhere in Tanzania, I think.) If you want and are able to, we can do a chat on Skype. Let me know in the comments what your Internet situation is.

More charges have been laid against Emra Bulatci, the man accused of killing the young Mountie in Hay River. In addition to the first degree murder charge, he also faces three counts of obstruction of justice. Apparently, the guy found it impossible to get a lawyer in the NWT as no one wanted to defend him. Some lawyer from Alberta was finally retained to represent him. This guy is going away for a long time.

And that is about it from the home front. Let’s take a little look at the national scene.

There was the stink of a federal election in the air, but it seems to have passed now that Harper and Dion are making compromising noises on the Afghanistan mission thing. Frankl,y I have been parying for an election. The chance to get little George Bush out of 22 Sussex can’t come soon enough. Everyone seems to have backed away from the precipice for now, but the situation remains fluid.

In other shocking news, Canada is cold in the winter!

Albertans are heading to the polls, and the Tories are expected to lose a few seats to voters shfiting both to the right and to the left. Calgary – of all places! – seems poised for a breakthrough by the Liberals, while the NDP have their eye on a couple of Edmonton seats. The right wing Wildrose Alliance Party is expected to nab a few rural seats from the Tories, but the Big Blue Machine is sitll expected to hold on to power. If these projected losses come through though, I can’t See Ed Stelmach staying as Premier for very long. Here is a link to a good Alberta election news page.

And out in the rest of the world…

Everyone wants to buy Yahoo! Microsoft’s initial bid of $44 billion was rejected by Yahoo! They are now in talks with News Corp. (owners of Fox News, 20th Century Fox, the New York Post, Wall Street journal, etc. – a truly evil right wing corporation) to create soem sort of partnership that would protect them from being bought by Microsoft (a slightly less right wing truly evil corporation). Yeah, yeah, billions here, billions there, but how will it affect my download time?

In the United States, all signs are that Americans will elect their first African-American president in November. Barack Obama is on his way to beating Clinton for the nomination, but she is not giving up easily. Insane war monkey John McCain has already wrapped up the Republican nomination, but nobody cares because the Reps are going to get their backsides handed to them in this election. And rightly so after the lawless disgrace known as the Bush regime.

And that’s it for this edition, gang! As always, I will try to be more diligent with my posts, but some of us aren’t on permanent vacation (he says enviously). Take care, enjoy the sights in Africa, and we’ll talk to you soon.

Hi Luke and Alex, from Ian and Gracie

February 10th, 2008

Hi guys – Another note from Gracie first:

Hi Alex and Luke – I got my hair cut short. I went to my new dance class yesterday. It was fun. We go to the rec centre and Karen [Zaiden] is my teacher.

My friends Neva and Eleanor came over to play with me yesterday. We had to play inside because it is still cold. It has been too cold to go skating at the arena. The arena is closed [was closed last week – Tim].

There was a chicken in the tree in our yard last week. I was very close to it.

I miss you very much.

Love Gracie

And here’s a quick note from Ian:

Hi Luke and Alex:

I hope you are having a great time on your trip. I saw some of the pictures of you in the temples and the Red Fort and the Taj Mahal. I like the picture with you holding the Taj Mahal in your hand. India looks very neat. I wish I could see it with you. It looks hot, but here it is cold.

I am really playing Lego a lot these days because it is so cold outside. In the Lego magazine I saw an Indiana Jones Lego set. It’s the boulder scene from the first movie. There are other sets too. It was really cool.

I am having lots of fun at school I just did a project on Scotland, and now I have to do one on my favourite fairy tale. I am doing a diorama on Jack and the Beanstalk. I am making it out of this stuff called model magic. It’s kind of like clay. We are playing soccer in gym now. I am on the Green Team.

We couldn’t go to cubs last week because my dad got stuck trying to drive to the armoury parking lot [About a foot of snow! Took me an hour to get the Suzuki out. – Tim]. My dad says we have to find a new place for cubs to meet. He is trying to find a place.

I miss you very much.

Love, Ian.

New Users???

January 31st, 2008

This is of course great so far, Tim is doing a stand-up Job. BUT… we are still looking for infrequent (but steady) news reports for the following areas:

  • between Penguin St & McDougal Road in Fort Smith
  • Hay Rivierra
  • Yellowknife, specifically in offices on Old Airport Road and from the residential area of Burwash Road.
  • Edmonton
  • Sherwood Park
  • Calgary, and the residential area of Airdrie
  • Kelowna
  • Naniamo & Lower Mainland area family news is covered (I think, unless I really upset her teasing about giving my Aunt & Uncle some grandkids already)
  • South Eastern portion of BC (M&M???)
  • Brisbane Australia
  • or any where else!

News Canadian Travellers Can Use!

January 30th, 2008

All right, my globetrotting friends. It’s time for another update to keep you folks in the loop on what’s going on in local, national and world news. We’re going to start with the NWT and go outward from there, but first, a little note in regards to our last post.

Luke, Ian read your comment this morning and was very excited to hear from you. He wasn’t very clear on the whole blog concept when he wrote his post, but now he understands that you guys can “chat” as it were over the internet and write each other messages. He has said he would like to write more in the future. I will hold him to that.

Gracie was happy to hear from Luke, but a bit peeved that Alex didn’t write to her. I’m sure Alex will take of that little oversight soon…;-)

Anyway, great to hear from you, Luke. The kids will write again after we go through the India photos this weekend.

And now…the News!

Here in the NWT, the news is all about the cold. How cold is it? So cold, the planes aren’t flying. Not that Northwestern Air is having any issues. Those guys seem to fly no matter what is going on – extreme cold, earthquakes, alien attacks. But the wicked winter is not limited to the NWT by any means. It has hit the country from coast to coast in various forms: bitter cold, snowstorms, and so on. As we are all shivering in the painful cold, we hope you guys get a mild but uncomfortable case of prickly heat or something. We need to know there are downsides to being in warm climates.

In Fort Smith news, Frieda Martselos is back in as Salt River Chief, and the Band council is mighty peeved at the judge who put her back in. They are appealing the court decision, saying the judge had no right to overturn a band council resolution by using standards lower than those set by the First nation in question. Here is the SRJ story on it. You have to create an account to read the SRJ on line, but it is free and easy to do so.

Also, Alice Mawdsley is doing ever-so-slightly better. She is breathing on her own, and apparently responding to stimuli. It is hard to tell just how much is a desperate desire on the part of the family to see progress, but overall, the news seems to be on the postive side. Here is an SRJ story that includes some quotes from the Mawdsleys.

The Fort Smith Fury won the Chicks with Sticks Hockey Tournament in Fort Simpson Jan. 18-20. I’m sure Ann already gave you a rundown on this, Claudette, but here is an excerpt from the News/North story about the event:

The Fort Smith Fury have come a long way in four short years.

When the team first took to the ice, many of the players could not skate.

This year, the team dominated the Chicks with Sticks Tournament in Fort Simpson Jan. 18 to 20.

The team defeated the Hay River Hazard 3-2 on Jan. 20 in a final game that proved you are never too old to start playing the game. since their debut as a team in 2005, player Jessica Cox said the team improved a lot.

“We had a few core people who had played the game before,” she said. “Eighty per cent of our players had never played hockey before, and about 60 per cent couldn’t skate.”

Four seasons later, Cox can hardly believe how the team has changed.

“It’s been amazing how quickly their game has improved and developed,” she said. “How quickly everyone has picked it up is just phenomenal.”

The Fury had defeated the Fort Simpson Moosehide Mamas in the semifinals before facing Hay River.

“We went into it thinking it was going to be a tougher game than the day before,” she said.

Cox said the team was unsure going in to their final game against the Hazard, considering they had tied them twice the day before the final.

“I think the game against Simpson benefited us because it warmed us up a bit,” said Cox.

Cox said the final proved intense, especially in the thrid period when the Fury fought to keep their 3-2 lead.

“That last five minutes, the Hazard did everything they could to put the puck in our net,” said Cox. “In the end, our goaltender was outstanding and our defense played really strong and we held on for the win.”

Spinning outward from the NWT, let’s take a look at the national picture.

In Canada, this news story is getting a lot of play. It seems an Air Canada co-pilot had a nervous breakdown on a trans-Atlantic flight, forcing the plane to divert from London to Ireland. At least it is not only Air Canada passengers being driven crazy anymore. Enjoy your next flight!

If you have any Canadian currency you want to exchange, especially for the greenback, I’d do it now. The loonie is trading over 1USD right now, but this rate cut from the U.S. federal reserve could send it down sharply.

And now, a look at some new from the wider world.

Being a techno-geek, Rick, you’ll enjoy this little item about consumers fighting back against Apple’s exclusive iPhone deal with AT&T. Seems customers are finding ways to unlock their phone and use any carrier they want. Apple is combatting it with various software fixes, but there are an awful lot of iPhone’s missing from AT&T’s accounts. Techno revolutionaries – to arms!

Be very, very glad you decided to forego Kenya as a travel destination. The place is spiraling downward very quickly. Any country that is engaging in “ethnic cleansing” is not a place to be a tourist.

And that’s it for now. Hope you guys are enjoying these little missives. Please feel free to let me know what specifically you would like to be kept updated on and I will do my best to find out some news in those areas. until next time, travel safe and have fun!

And now a word from Ian and Gracie…

January 29th, 2008

With parental transcription, here comes a note directly from Gracie…

I miss you Alex. I remember when me and you watched popcorn pop out of the kernels.

I liked the baby elephant. I liked your hair when it was with the beads and braided.

I will be in the skating carnival. I am a piggy. I am in Mary Poppins.

I am in Beavers too. I got my uniform and a book about Beavers. I miss you.

Love Gracie

And now, From Ian:

Dear Luke – I miss you very much. We have been seeing pictures of you at the places you have been. I would like to ride an elephant.

I saw you on the beach too. That was the biggest sand castle I ever saw. The temples were really cool too. They look likes the ones from Indiana Jones.

I got my cub uniform. It looks really cool. You should join cubs when you come home.

It is very cold here. It is -40.

We got a Nintendo Wii for Christmas. I have a Star Wars game for it and Wii sports. Do you want to play it when you come back?

I just can’t wait until you come back.

From Ian

 And now, from us. We hope all is well with you guys. We finally plowed through most of your photos, but we haven’t seen the ones from India yet. Are they online?

It is painfully cold here, and will be for the next week or so. We are looking at -40 pretty steady for the next little while. I am sure you guys miss home a little less right now.

We howled at the Public Health poster from Laos. The kids got a big kick out of the little boy pooping, and Joanne took a printout of it to take to the Public Health Nurses at the Health Centre. I think we should have a local version of that made up.

We had a poker game the other night. We seem to have settled into a regular group with Dan Kearly, Stu MacMillan, Lou, Mikey, Blaine and me. With six semi-regulars, we still get to play if one of us bails out. We are trying to play every two weeks or so. Last time we played at Blaine’s, and I was up about 30 bucks. Mikey’s had quite a few winning nights lately. You need to come home and put him in his place. Of course, there will be a spot for you when you come home!

Not too much has changed since the last post. Joanne is off meeting with the director of Richard Van Camp’s movie. She is introducing her to some teenagers in care so she can get a feel for what troubled youth are like. Like there’s a shortage of them in town…

We just bought a new TV. I was planning a week-long campaign to convince Joanne that we need this very nice 42-inch Olevia LCD that was on sale at The Source for $1299. I mentioned it to her and the next thing I know we were at the store buuying it. I managed to get it down to $1199. I am thrilled with it, frankly. It high-def, and though we don’t have a high def satellite receiver, DVDs look fantastic on it! We donated our old TV to the Mary Kaeser Library, so the whole thing was a strange mix of ugly consumerism and charitable generosity.

 Anyway, I have to put the kids to bed, now. Love from us, and I will write again before the weekend with some more News Canadian Travellers Can Use! (TM)


A little less serious than the last post…

January 24th, 2008

In reviewing my first, post, I see that most of the items I included for links are actually major downers, so I thought I would give you guys some more folksy good news items from home to let you know that, despite the best efforts of George Bush and Stephen Harper, the apocalypse is not yet upon us.

Comings and goings – I think you are probably already aware, but Coco and Bryan Steed are moving to Airdrie for Coco’s new job with Parks Canada in Calgary. Natalie Campbell is hosting a going away party for her tonight. If you want to drop her a message, her e-mail will remain the same no matter where she is: corinne_steed@pc.gc.ca.

Hollywood of the North – Richard Van Camp’s book The Lesser Blessed is being made into a movie, and the director is in Fort Smith this weekend to scout locations and interview locals. She is going to interview Joanne to get some perspective on the struggles Northern youth deal with and so on. Richard actually recommended Joanne as the person to be interviewed, so she was quite pleased by that. The movie is still in very early development, but one promising thing: the producers wanted to film in Yellowknife in order to take advantage of the amenities there, but Richard refused, saying the story has to be filmed in Fort Smith. Cool.

Figure Skating Carnival News – I miss you guys all the time, but I have to say I really miss my prop partner for the figure skating carnival, which is happening February 23 and 24. The show this year is Mary Poppins, and Gracie is one of the farm animals encountered during the animated sequence through the English countryside. I am in charge of the backdrop and the props, but Mike and Clyde are supposed to help – if they have the time. I could sure use your creative energy with this, Rick. I sometimes suspect you planned this whole around-the-world thing as part of a long-range plan to get out of doing the carnival. Clever. Very clever.

Scouting News – The Scout/Cub/Beaver Troop moves into its new home at the Armoury next week. Thanks heavens, because the museum was not big enough to house 17 energetic kids in the wintertime. At the Armoury, we have the big indoor space as well as the sliding hill and field right next to it. Our uniforms arrived this week as well, and our whole gang is quite excited about that. Now, we are finally going to look like cubs, scouts and beavers! Ian is keen to get Luke involved in the program when he comes home, so get ready to be drafted, Luke!

Anyway, that’s it for now. Hopefully, you will be able to access this post before you leave for your cheaper internet-free hotel. The kids will post this weekend, but I wanted to go through all the latest pics with them before they write to you.

All the best on the next leg of your journey, and stay in touch.

Hello James Family

January 24th, 2008

Hello James Family,

Glad to hear all of you are healthy and enjoying yourselves!!! Claudette, effective today Avis has joined the “40″ club. Take care and enjoy your travels.

Be Safe in ‘08.

Keeping up with the Jameses

January 23rd, 2008

Rick quite rightly gave me a “write-or-the-blog-dies” ultimatum during a recent chat, so I thought I had best post some content on this darn thing before he recycles it into some new format.

The purpose of this blog is to let friends drop a line to the James Family and to provide our globetrotting friends with a one-stop place to drop by for news about friends and family or any other bits of information that folks might think Claudette and Rick and the kids would want to know. It is not surprising that it is hard to keep in touch with majro world events when you are travelling through third world countries.

For example, the Jameses contacted me on Skype yesterday and we had a great talk. They were taking advantage of the wireless internet connection they had at their hotel in Kovalam, India and I was home having a sick day, so we spent an hour talking about the latest events. Incredibly, they were unaware that the world economy is going in the tank and that we are headed inexorably towards a recession. But i really shouldn’t have been surprised that they didn’t know about it. Here in Canada, we are all blasted by the news media everyday, but when you are travelling, you have to work to stay informed. Think of how out-of-touch you feel when you’ve had a two-week vacation. Now multiply that by 10 and you have some indication of how isolated from the news the Jameses can get depending on which countries they are in.

So, this blog will not only serve as a place to write to Claudette and Rick and the kids, it is also a place to help them stay in touch with things their friends and family think are important or to post items that the Jameses might find of interest.

Having said that, I am going to provide them with a few links to bring them back to 21st century Canada.

Here’s some info on that bad economic news and the stock market meltdown.

For some scary economic news closer to home, here is a tidbit on the $135 million cutbacks coming from the NWT government.

Here is a great link to the Tanzania Tourist Board’s offical website. Lots of information and a very sophisticated site. (Side note: The Jameses had been planning to go to Kenya as a major part of their swing through Africa, but given the recent political unrest there, they have chosen to switch venues to Tanzania. Speaking on behalf of their concerned friends, we couldn’t be more relieved at their prudence!)

And now, for a bit of celebrity gossip news: actor Heath Ledger was found dead in his New York apartment yesterday. Suicide? Accident? Who knows?

Those who wish to have access to this blog to write their own messages can contact me at gauthiers@northwestel.net to get an account set up. It is very easy to do, and very easy to use.