Kara and Dave eat snacks.

Trip Start May 31, 2012
Trip End Aug 08, 2013

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Where I stayed

Flag of Canada  , Alberta,
Monday, June 18, 2012


    I am here with my very good friend Kara Powell, and she's here with her very good friend, David Combden, to tell you all a little about our stay in Slave Lake. We've been living at the Holiday Inn Express for the past 2 weeks, and it's been very pleasant. I've been enjoying the fitness centre, watching Corner Gas and Seinfeld while running on the treadmill makes for a fun run! The first full day here we scoped out the Sobey's across the way and picked up some easy to prepare meals in our room so we wouldn't have to eat out every night. We also went to the dollar store next to Sobey's for some cheap bowls and supplies. Our plans worked out remarkably well and we've only gone out for dinner one night since we've been here! Every other night we've eaten meals we've prepared/created using the microwave and/or the iron. Since we got here, I've learned how to make a pretty decent grilled cheese sandwich with the iron, as well as roasting peppers and having hotdogs using the iron as well.

    We've also become quite the experts on microwavable frozen dinners, so I've prepared a list in order to share the fruits of our labours. These are in descending order of goodness;
1) Swanson Skillet Meals (Garlic Chicken) - This was fairly big, very flavourful, and the ratio of pasta and vegetables to chicken was very good. This was probably our favourite dish.
2) Lean Cuisine (Ginger Beef Stir Fry) - Kara had this for lunch one day, so I'm only reporting on her review of it, not having tried it myself. She said it was pretty good.
3) Chicken Korma - I can't recall the brand, we had it the first night we were here. It was huge, with quite a bit of chicken in it and we've been using the container it came in since, so it's really paid for itself. It was also the most expensive at about 13 bucks.
4) Weight Watcher's Smart One's (Pepperoni Stone-Fried Crust Pizza) - We both really enjoyed this, although it was essentially a personal size pizza so we were still hungry afterwards. If you've been noticing all of the weight Watchers and Lean Cuisine references and are concerned, I just picked up the ones that were on sale. Rest assured, we haven't become crazy dieters in the last 12 days.
5) Michelina's Lean Gourmet (Chicken Pesto Flatbread Sandwich) - Again, Kara had this for lunch and so I didn't try it myself. She said it was alright.
6) Lean Cuisine (Chicken Teriyaki) - Now we're getting to the dregs. It's not that this was terrible, it's just that there wasn't very much chicken in it. But then again, it was on sale for a buck.
7) Lean Cuisine (Glazed Chicken) - Another one of Kara's lunches, she wasn't too impressed. Also, if you're wondering what I was eating when she had all these fantastic lunches, I was cleaning up the leftovers at home, or eating something even more terrible (A Taste of Thai - Peanut Noodles, I'm looking at you).
8) Stouffer's (Turkey Dinner) - Barely any turkey, just disgraceful. Again, 1 dollar, and it wasn't even worth that.
9) A Taste of Thai (Peanut Noodles) - I can't even..., I mean, I don't even know what to say. On a scale of 1-10, it gets a shut up.
Along with most of our meals, we also ate lots of bags o' salad. It really makes it a complete meal!

    So, now that all that important stuff is out of the way, let me tell you about our time in Slave Lake. Kara has been working quite a bit, so I've been keeping busy trying to keep things interesting at dinner time, and then coming up with a complex rating system for our meals. I also try to have a bottle of wine or some beers here for her when she comes home, because she's been working some long days and a drink is well deserved at the end of the day. For the both of us! She's been entertaining me with stories of some of the people she works with and some of the people she's coming across at the clinic. There seems to be some pretty colourful characters in town here!

    I've actually kept myself very busy working on the book that I'm writing (this may actually be news to some of you), and I finally completed my very first draft last Friday! This was pretty exciting, as I've been working on writing pretty steadily since I got laid off just before Christmas and so the first big hurdle has just been jumped. Now I have something to shop around to editors and agents and whatnot. This week I've been busy proofreading, revising and filling in the gaps here and there. The book is all about personality change in adulthood and the idea of possessing multiple sides of one's own self that can be accessed throughout life. If you're interested in hearing more about it then email me and I can talk your ear off about it!

    We went to the North Country Fair last weekend, affectionately known as Hippie-Fest here in town. It's held about an hour west of here, just south of a place called Driftpile. We just went for the Saturday, as we didn't really feel like spending the whole weekend at Hippie-Fest. We saw some pretty great acts though and had a thoroughly enjoyable day there! Some of the acts we saw included; an Aussie fellow named Tom Richardson who did some great work with a loop pedal (and we've seen some pretty awful acts with a loop pedal in the past), Romi Mayes, Big Machine, Johnnie Ninety-Nine, Kytami and the Phonograff, Scott Cook (who I called early on as a fan of Roger Miller, and then he finished his set with 'King of the Road'), Marco Calliari (from Montreal), and a duo called 'even cowgirls'. I'd really suggest looking up any one of these acts on Youtube, they were all really good and very diverse. We especially liked Big Machine, Scott Cook, Tom Richardson and Marco Calliari, although Kytami was something to watch as well (jumping around in a pink fluffy dress playing the hell out of the violin with a dj backing her up).

    What made the weekend for me though were seeing some old friends of mine and Laura's from Peterborough up there too, the Weber Brothers. These guys are just the nicest guys and extremely talented. Kara and I missed their actual performance because it was on Friday night, and then they were playing another smaller stage Saturday night but not until 1 am and we had an hour drive to get back home. We did see them perform in a workshop along with Romi Mayes and some other great musicians, and they seemed to steal every song out from under the other performers (in my opinion at least). They were there with their very dynamic and enthusiastic keyboard player Shai Peer and drummer Emmet VanEtten. I picked up a double album by the Weber Bros called 'Left Right Left Right' and we've been enjoying it in our hotel room all week!

    Another bonus about spending the day at Hippie-Fest are the hippies themselves! Hippies are so funny, sometimes intentionally and sometimes not, but you've got to admire their free-ness, as well as their freakiness. We've attached some pictures of some of the more amusing/weird/amazing people we saw there. Descriptions defy most of these people. One poor girl even seemed to have misplaced her pants. I know how she feels, I've done that myself.

    Surprisingly, there seems to be little evidence of the fires here from last year. I'm sure some areas of town that we just haven't seen were greatly affected, as Kara says pretty much everyone she talks to at work had lost something in the fire. I wasn't sure what to expect, but on our way here I was thinking about volunteering to help with rebuilding or clearing stuff away or something to help, but I haven't come across any such opportunities. Which is good I guess, that they have everything under control and life is back to normal it seems for most people. We went out to the shores of Slave Lake a few nights ago and walked along the beach. It was really beautiful and we watched the sunset, played a bit of crib at a picnic table and just enjoyed the evening together. On the way out to the beach though we noticed some charred trees, cleared land and a new housing development just on the east side of town, so perhaps that is where the fires did the most damage? We're not really sure, but it looked like things were well under way for rebuilding which is nice.

    This is turning into a very long post, but I have just one more thing to say regarding our trip to Australia. We've heard back from the Australian Visa Officer and we've only got a few more small and easy details to send them before we're accepted! So we went ahead and booked a flight to Vietnam for July 13th, with the hope that we'll get to Australia by the end of July. That's right folks, we're leaving the country on the 13th, and then you can expect some pretty cool travel stories with cultural significance instead of a listing of frozen dinners and pictures of hippies. But until then, expect more of the same.

    We're going camping again this weekend, to Beaver Lake this time. I'll let you know how that goes in much shorter post on Monday.

Happy early Canada Day everyone! Have a great long weekend.


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My Review Of The Place I Stayed

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