June 4, 2004

weekend adventures: part deux.

See! I told you I’d be back!

Just a note further about my previous blog, I also went out to dinner on the Sunday night before my parents left, at the Moose Factory (picture large forest-dwelling creatures wearing hardhats) for Buffet. It’s actually a pretty classy joint. In any case, stuffed myself that night…
…fast forward to next weekend, and we plopped ourselves down in the natural habitat of the Moose… well, more so the Elk where we were: Jasper National Park, Whistler’s campground. What do you get when you take three tents, Four Edmontonians, and two Texans, and a dog? A small but dedicated group of campers, determined to sit around a fire and do nothing but eat and/ or drink even though it was supposed to rain all weekend.
Suzanne and I arrived first, setting up an overhead tarp to protect us from the rain, and then the tent underneath that. Shortly after, Neil, Erin, Melissa and Michael showed up to make camp. By then the rain had stopped, and the ground had already sucked up the water (and that was basically all the rain we saw all weekend… unlike them city folk back in Edmonton, getting drenched… hee hee hee). We settled in for some grub: burgers cooked over an open flame… okay, it was a brand new camps stove that was borrowed from friends, but you get the picture. And the burgers were pan-fried. Whatever. We brought out the butter to grease up the pan.
“Suzanne, could you please get the butter so we can grease the pan a bit”
“Sure… ewww, there’s dirt on it.”
Now, at this juncture, most would logically assess the situation, get a knife, and scrape the offending foreign object off the surface of the butter. Not Suzanne… she noted the speck of whateveritwas, and proceeded to turn the butter dish upside down to shake off the speck. Needless to say, our weekend’s supply of butter was now in an intimate relationship with the dirt at our feet.
Nice girl. Not too bright, but a nice girl 
Despite rocky beginnings, the rest of the meal worked out well enough. From there, the weekend was nice and relaxed, sitting around the fire partaking in a beverage or two, doing a bit of hiking at local lakes, wandering through the town of Jasper, and trying to stay away from the calving elk that spotted the campgrounds.
The nights were reasonably warm, and though the rain held up, it was overcast. The sun did break through on occasion to bathe us though, so that was nice. Especially for the Texans.
“Y’all, its 90 degrees back home. And you wonder why I’m wearing my wooly hat and three pairs of socks?” ( I admit, I wore sweats to bed… It’s just comfy, dagnabit!)
“Uhhh, we call that a toque. And that drink in your hand? That’s real beer, with real alcoholic content. Those things there? Those are mountains.”
So, by Sunday midday we all smelled sufficiently of campfire smoke and the great outdoors, and we’d all had our fill of R&R and plenty of food. Suzanne and I were the last to leave, we had a big chicken salad at Jasper Pizza on our way out; Neil and his entourage had left earlier. They had another family barbecue / drinking engagement to attend back in the city.

Little tip for long car rides… play a game called “top three”, where you come up with questions like “what are your top three movies of all time?” or, “what are the top three car games to play on a long drive?”  It’s a good way to kill off time, and you learn some interesting stuff about the people strapped in next to you ;)

June 3, 2004

weekend adventures: part one

Once again I have failed to update my blog in any reasonable amount of time. I think I should just stop making promises to myself and others that I’ll be good about this, and just do whatever I damn well please!

A few weeks have gone by now since I last wrote. My parents were up for the Victoria day long weekend (Victoria being our long-dead Queen from a time of monarchy in Canada also long since passed…but hey, it’s a day off work!) We had a chance to tour around to some of the unique Edmonton sites that I have lived amongst for nearly two years now. And the tour took about thirty seconds, since there is so little that is actually uniquely Edmonton. Okay, I exaggerate. There is West Edmonton Mall, after all, and Fort Edmonton Park, both of which we did.

The May long weekend marked the last day of Howard the Dolphins’ final checkout from his stay as the Mall’s largest living-in-captivity attraction. He got sent down south to live in a real park. I’d say just release him into the wild, but he’d probably end up as flakes in my tuna before long.
So, we traipsed around the mall for a while, noting the empty dolphin tank, and took in Shrek 2 while we were there at the silver city. As good if not better than the original, if I do say so myself! Earlier in the day, we had been to the Strathcona farmer’s market, where my parents were generous enough to by me a crap load of veggies to fill my fridge! We had made an attempt at Fort Edmonton Park on the Saturday, only to discover that it was not open for the season until Sunday. This was a problem easily enough avoided, as dear Suzanne pointed out--who was along with us all weekend--had I only called ahead to find out the park hours. Oops.
So the Park was open the next day, and we reconvened at its entrance, this time, with the ability to actually pass through it. We spent several hours in there, my mother flexing her school teacher knowledge in the old Hudson’s Bay trading post, and Dad reminiscing about his youth as we stepped aboard an old Toronto Transit street car for a tour through ‘town’. There is one house within Fort Edmonton with a Ghost story attached to it—the spirit of a young boy is said to inhabit one of his childhood dolls (saw it on a CTV special…Creepy Canada…). The restless spirit is not much of an issue, apparently, unless someone tries to move the doll from the boy’s room. Then ‘things’ start to happen. Suzanne and I got into the habit of asking the workers if they knew anything about it. Finally, a guy dressed up like Mr. Rutherford… a famous local guy from the 1900’s, I won’t bore you with the details… gave us the scoop. It was the house right next to his.
So, we piled in, and went up the stairs to the bedrooms. And lemmee tell ya, there were some creepy dolls up there, inhabited by ghosts and otherwise. You know those kind with the eyes that roll? Shudder… I'm sure chucky would be right into this set up. as for the rest of us... just creepy.
Anyway, we managed to scare some other tourists by telling them the story, and the second floor was quickly vacated. Nothing moved through the air on it’s own or grabbed our legs or appeared as a vision before us… maybe if I go again I’ll reach over the ropes and start messing with the dolls. Stir things up a little 
Okay, ‘nuff typing for today. I’ll come back tomorrow and talk about the camping trip I had last weekend!