Becca Jane St Clair

Personal Blog

Photos Post

Last photos from Manitoba, traveling, and the index of all the albums from my trip:

the 12-seater prop plane I was on!

The snack shop once you go through customs in Winnipeg had a huge mural of US sites….including flying killer whales.

Snoopy is all over the Minneapolis airport. I forgot to take photos of this, but the airport also had a vending machine for Elizabeth Arden perfume and for Sony products (like a PSP and games!).

and one more photo:


Photo Index:
Walking around Winnipeg
VIA Rail Winnipeg to Dauphin
Quincy, Hobbes, and Casper
Lake Dauphin
Camping at Blue Lakes
Vermillon Park and Manitoba Brain Injury Assn. Walk
Flying Home

13 Days until I leave for the UK! The blog might be a little on the light side as I work on unpacking and repacking, but expect regular updates once I’m in the UK! 😀

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Say Goodbye

Tonight was my “going away” of sorts. C invited me over for dinner with her, J, and baby C and also invited over B, L, and their kids. After dinner we had a cake because B & L’s oldest son turns 10 on Tuesday. Imagine how touched I was when L told him he was sharing his cake with two other people – J, who has a birthday this week also, and *me* as a going away cake. It really made me feel fuzzy to know that I was being included. After cake, we played a rousing game of 3 on 3 (girls vs. boys with L and B’s oldest as the extra boy) Canasta. and played, and played. It’s 2AM, and I stumbled into the house about 10-15 minutes ago. But it was loads of fun, and even if I have a lot I still need to do…I’m so glad that I went over and had the chance to see everyone I’ve met here.

I gave L my contact card. They don’t have internet (I know, I was shocked too), but the boys might send me letters :). I’ve been told when I come back they all look forward to seeing me, too.

So it was a really nice send off. I do sort of hope I get to come back someday.

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Coldest Night Yet!

How fitting that on my last weekend in town, it gets down to the coldest it’s been so far!

Or, for those of you in the United States who, like me, struggle with Celsius:

Brr! Glad Sarah told me how to turn on the heat!

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Will I Miss Dauphin?

That’s a very good question.

I want to say that I won’t miss it here – I won’t miss being alone and not having access to the things I’m used to (24 hour stores! a car!)….but I do think I’m going to miss the three little guys I’ve been taking care of for the past seven and a half weeks. These guys have imprinted themselves on my heart…Hobbes in particular. I suppose it’s wrong to pick favourites, but when you have a cat that climbs up and sleeps against your side and cuddles your arm….that one becomes a favourite.

This morning I had Hobbes up against my side, Quincy down at my feet, and Casper against my legs. I wonder if they know my time of taking care of them is coming to a close…my suitcase got placed up ontop of the dresser the other day and I started tossing things into it…I moved all my stuff from other areas of the house so its all in one location…I started cleaning things that I wouldn’t clean on a daily basis…poor kitties.

BUT – They’ll have their “parents” back soon enough, and I’ll go home to my cat, Will. I’ve really missed Will while I’ve been up here because he’s really my companion at home. He’s with me all day and usually follows me around the house!

Perhaps there will be an opportunity in the future to come back and catsit again for Sarah and Joe, or maybe I’ll actually be able to visit WITH Sarah and Joe sometime!

Or at least, I’ll be back to catsit again if Sarah and Joe like the way I took care of the cats and house…I do worry that I might have overlooked something in cleaning up after myself, or didn’t take care of something I should have….but I’m hoping I haven’t.

So….I’ll miss the cats, but I won’t miss being alone here.

Quincy is king of the mountain!

Hobbes, curled up for a nap

Casper, stretching out

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Manitoba Brain Injury Association

On Sunday, C IMed me in the morning and asked me if I had plans for the day. I didn’t have anything planned other than going grocery shopping, so I told her no. She asked me if I wanted to participate in the Umbrella Walk for the Manitoba Brain Injury Association, and I readily agreed.

The walk took place over at Vermillion Park in Dauphin, and the course was about two and a half miles by my pedometer. We were a small group, but all there for one purpose. Most of us had to put down our umbrellas because it was windy out, but we all walked the full course, and then enjoyed some food together and a door prize giveaway, where everyone was a winner!

We were provided with tote bags and water bottles by the Manitoba Nurses’s Association and given mustard yellow coloured wrist bands from the MBIA. My door prize was a T-shirt for the association – it’s going to be funny to wear it around Lancaster!

Taken straight off their website:

Every year, over 6,000 Canadians become permanently disabled by an acquired brain injury. The effects of a brain injury differ from person to person, but have an impact on everyone in that person’s life.

A brain injury can be a devastating diagnosis and because it is not a visible disability, those affected are often misunderstood and lack support.

The Manitoba Brain Injury Association helps individuals and families cope by offering support, education and advocacy. We also work to prevent brain injuries through public awareness initiatives and educational programming.

I realize we don’t all live in Manitoba, and why would you want to support a charity that’s not where you live? So I encourage everyone to do some reasearch, maybe even just using google, and find a similar organization local to you. Here is a list of brain injury associations across the United States, and here is a link to the Brain Injury Association of Canada. Perhaps you’ll find a way you can help someone.

Here’s some photos around Vermillion Park:

Changing leaves

And when I got home and emptied out my bag, Hobbes decided to get comfortable on my new shirt:

To see more photos from the park, check the gallery:

I’ve also completely updated the cat photo album with all the photos I’ve taken while I’ve been here:

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Restaurant Review – Boston Pizza

Today as I was going through the sales fliers figuring out food for the next 9 days a coupon for Pizza Hut fell out, and of course, that made me want pizza.  Pizza is probably my favourite food, and when I was in college I practically lived off of Pizza and Subway.  Since Pizza Hut is a US company, I vetoed the idea, but I looked up a menu for Boston Pizza to see what they offered and to see if I could afford it.  I had about $20 in my paypal account that I was willing to use part of, so I headed across the street to get an individual pizza at Boston Pizza.

I got a few strange looks when I told her I was by myself, but I was seated after a few minutes wait at a very prominent small table for “two” at the front of the restaurant.  I’m used to US restaurants where you get immediately asked what you’d like to drink, so I was surprised when the hostess walked away from me.  I glanced at the menu even though I had checked it out online, and pulled out my book to read.  About five minutes later the waitress came by and took my order. Another five minutes passed before I was brought my beverage, and another ten before I received my pizza. It was about the size of a large dinner plate, larger than a Personal Pan pizza at Pizza Hut (but more than twice as much! My pizza cost $9)…but it was awful. The crust was sickeningly sweet, there was barely any sauce on it, and the cheese tasted funny, but that’s something I’ve actually noticed with all cheese around here – even regular kinds like Mozzarella or Cheddar taste different here. I coated the pizza with fresh Parmesan cheese and dipped the crusts into ketchup to make it tolerable.

I ate two pieces, and figured I’d take the rest and eat it as leftovers once I doctor it up a bit. It took me another 10 minutes, including me starting to read again before the waitress came back to see if I needed anything (like a box?). When I told her I needed a box, she picked up my plate to box it for me and asked me if I needed anything else. I told her no, so she also took my half full glass of iced tea! She quickly returned with my boxed up pizza and bill, and told me she’d “meet me at the front” when I was ready. Problem was, I was ready immediately, and she had gone over to take the order of another table while I walked up to the counter to pay. I had to wait another six or seven minutes before she finally was able to meet me at the front, despite there being several other employees hanging around who saw me. I’m not sure if it’s policy that your server has to be the one to cash you out or if it was just laziness on the other people’s part.

If I was grading Boston Pizza, I think I’d give them a D on food, and perhaps a B- on service. I kind of wish I had just gone to Pizza Hut because now I’m disappointed and still want good pizza! but ‘I won’t go over there, as I really don’t have the money to do it…I’m still trying to figure out how I’m going to stretch my cash to include food for 9 days plus cab fares on the day I leave!

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I am Canadian (apparently)

I went on a walk today to get out of the house….3 days cooped inside and I was ready to just get out! I decided I needed to spend some of the pile of change I was accumulating (They won’t accept coin to convert back to US money), so I headed to Tim Horton’s for a coffee and maybe a bagel. I brought along the book I’m currently reading, Mother Tongue, and my N810 in case I could find wifi.

The person in front of me in line was American, as evident by not only his accent but by his form of payment – US Currency. Tim Horton’s will accept US Currency at the stores near the border and in large cities like Toronto, so I was surprised to see it being accepted this far North and in such a small town, but I suppose it’s a corporate thing. Anyway. I didn’t get a chance to talk to the American as he got his stuff to go, and I was getting mine “for inside” (the Canadian way of saying “for here”). I ordered, and paid with Canadian currency. As I was waiting for my toasted bagel to come up, the ladies behind the counter were talking about how they “knew that guy was American because of his accent” and how paying with US currency only “proved he was American”. So I quietly told the one girl that I was from Pennsylvania. All four girls behind the counter turned to stare at me and told me I couldn’t possibly be from the states. I didn’t act like other Americans, I didn’t talk like an American, and I used Canadian money to pay for my food. I explained that I had been in Canada since the beginning of August, and the one girl suggested that I had “picked up” the Canadian accent from hanging around Canadians….but honestly? I don’t think I have. I think I just tend to be lucky that I have such a nondescript accent (except on certain words and the way I sometimes talk…THEN you can tell I grew up in New Jersey!). I’ve been “accused” before of being Canadian though, and this was before I was living here for two months, so maybe I do just sound Canadian.

I also think I embarrassed the girls behind the counter when I told them I also was American, but at the same time, I’m quite pleased you can’t tell.

Hopefully when I’m in the UK this fall/winter people won’t be able to tell I’m American either!

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The Roof, The Roof, The Roof is on Fire

There apparently was a fire in the vicinity earlier tonight. Well, by earlier, I mean around nine, which is “early” compared to it being just past midnight now.

Anyway. I heard loads of sirens, and one of the sirens was definitely the fire truck type, at least one was an ambulance, and then of course there were the police sirens. Yep. Live in downtown Lancaster for a year and a half within 2 blocks of the police, fire, and a hospital and you really learn what the different sirens sound like.

Anyway, I blog because I actually smelled the smokey, burning smell about an hour before the sirens, but I thought one of the neighbours was either barbecuing or was using their fireplace, as the smell was the familiar smell we sometimes get at home on chilly days when the neighbour uses the fireplace.

Oops. Guess I should have paid attention to the smell and gone outside to look?

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This Town Needs a Bus….

On Friday, I had to go into town for Joe. He asked me to deposit a cheque that came in the mail for him, and his bank is over a mile away. I took the opportunity to also go to the Extra Foods, as the sale flier announced “Dollar Days” and I thought it’d be a good way to stretch my money.

My ankle/foot had been bothering me for several days and so I kept putting off the trip because 2 miles round trip plus whatever other walking I did was going to be hell on my leg….but I told Joe I’d go by Friday for him, so I put on the cheap ankle brace I bought my first week in town and headed out.

And I was in pain within a half a block. This town needs a bus. Even if they just run 2 busses up and down Main Street from the Safeway/Wal-Mart parking lot into town and maybe terminating around the post office, it would be an improvement. I actually gave it some thought. Most of the side streets aren’t deep enough that someone couldn’t walk up to main street to get a bus, so the bus wouldn’t need to divert from main street. A bus over to the greyhound and over to the little airport a few times/day (around the times of departures/arrivals) would probably help out, too. (The train station is off Main, so it’d be covered). I’m sure a bus is the pipe dream of anyone in this town who is car-less or who is a teenager (of course, I don’t know if Canadian teens are “mall rats” the same way US teens are or not). A bus would be most beneficial during the wintertime, when I’ve been told your nose will freeze within a minute of being outside, and the few weeks of Summer they get here (those days when I was complaining I was so hot). It would benefit older Canadians who still drive because they have no other choice, injured people, teenagers, people who don’t drive, and even those who do drive who might not want to drive daily.

One thing I noticed in town was the lack of people out on the streets walking, but a tonne of cars on the street. The town reminds me of places like State College and Ann Arbor – small towns that have a “main drag” where pretty much all the stores/restaurants are. but the main difference between State College, Ann Arbor, and here? The two US towns are car un-friendly, and have a bus system – even some free loops to assist people (Silver Adept and I took the free bus in Ann Arbor several times when it was really cold out and I was visiting him, and when I went to Penn State, we were always on the Loop).

If Dauphin did start up even a small bus loop on Main Street, it would also bring commerce into the town and bring people to jobs – Living over where Sarah and Joe do, the closest stores are the Safeway and Wal-Mart, both across the street,and both US-based companies. But a mile into town, there’s an Extra Foods and a Co-Op, both Canadian owned and even a bit cheaper on prices. Currently, I’ve been walking down to Extra Foods, or going with C to Co-Op, but I think if I was here in the wintertime, I wouldn’t want to walk quite that far. A bus that I only had to walk a few meters to catch that would take me there and back would be favourable! The mall is hiring – many of the shops have “help wanted” signs…and if there was a bus in place, the people who lived in town and needed a job but had no car could take jobs out at the mall. Downtown has a lot of empty store fronts and stores “going out of business”. I wonder if the reason is because people don’t walk around in town to go to those stores. If there was a bus for getting up and down main street, some of the fledgling businesses might see more action. People wouldn’t have to bother with trying to find a rare parking spot on the street if they wanted to check out a store they drove past, just hop off the bus.

Not to mention the environmental impact all those cars are making. How many people who drive everywhere would be willing to ride the bus if one existed? Could a bus really lessen the number of cars on a street? I think so.

This whole thing stemmed from me being in lots of pain, and being unwilling to call for a taxi. Taxi’s are way too expensive, IMHO to use daily, and my money is tight up here, so I didn’t want to have to stretch it any farther, so I stuck it out. And now I’m in pain. I have a bruise right above my ankle on the back of my leg, and I think it’s from the strain I put on my leg because I was being extra careful with my foot.

And of course, like all ideas, there’s the possibility it’s just not feasible or has already been looked into and determined to not work out for the town. I don’t live here, so I don’t know….but I definitely was wishing for a bus while I was walking on Friday!

I’m just hoping I don’t have to walk all the way down to the bank again before I leave!

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Happy Birthday to Me!

Yesterday was my birthday. This wasn’t the first time I’ve not been home on my birthday (I wasn’t while I was in college or the year I turned 27), but this was the first year I wouldn’t have at least been with close friends or a boyfriend for it. Mom was sneaky – She e-mailed Sarah and asked her about getting a cake delivered, and Sarah suggested she contact C (and this was before C and I met). Mom and C conspired for me to have a birthday celebration at C’s house. Mom also contacted a lot of people I know (family, friends, past co-workers) and asked them to send me e-mail for my birthday, so I had e-mails coming in all day from people I haven’t spoken to in a while. My friends on facebook sent me a lot of messages, and several message boards I frequent had threads wishing me a happy birthday!

So far I’ve received cards from my aunt and Tim, though Tim’s package hasn’t arrived, and I know I at least have a few more cards that haven’t yet come through.

The nicest surprise yesterday was a flower delivery from the cats I’m catsitting with a note that they “promise not to try to eat the flowers and then puke”. hehe. Of course, as soon as I put them down they started munching, so I put the flowers in the shower (it has a door) for the weekend.

Over at C’s, she made me my favourite meal – Spaghetti. We even fed some (pureed) to Baby C. C also made a Cheesecake Pie, and B & L came over with their kids and the kids sang for me.

UPS package is “in transit”. The website says rescheduled for 2 September, but the woman I talked to on the phone seems to think it will be delivered today. I won’t be here though, so J is going to stop by and check for a package since he’s not joining us at the campsite until tonight.

Flowers from the cats (Sarah)

The “what did I just eat” look on Baby C.

Okay, we’re off to Blue Lake for some camping! I’ll be back on Monday, hopefully with lots of stories and pictures! I haven’t been camping in years, so this ought to be fun! (and if I get cold, L told me she’d have one of her kids come sleep with me in my tent. hehe)

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Good Food, New Friends, Lots of Fun

Yesterday I attended a Barbecue over at C and J’s. They also invited their friends L and B and their children, who I’ll just refer to as K1-K4. K1 is 7, K4 is 6 weeks old. Later on in the day, R and his wife (another)C showed up. J set up the kiddie pool for the bigger kids (as compared to the babies) to play in and C, L, and I made two fantastic hot dips and a cucumber salad. I don’t know what all goes in the Spinach and Artichoke dip, but I do remember what went into the broccoli dip, since I made part of it-

1 packaged thawed chopped broccoli (we used fresh though)
1/2 cup roasted red peppers (we used fresh red pepper)
1 cup miracle whip
1/2 cup parmesean cheese
1 cup shredded mozzarella

mix it all together and put it in the oven at 350°F until bubbly and melted (15 minutes or so).

So yummy with some whole grain Tostidos. I made some Freezer pickles a few days before with part of the mountain of cucumbers C gave me. I couldn’t remember mom’s recipe, and she wasn’t online for me to ask her, so I looked it up online and sort of combined two recipes into one.


Thinly sliced cucumbers
1 cup sugar (I omitted this and used a few packets of splenda….should have used more!)
1 cup cider vinegar or white vinegar (I used white, and way more than a cup)
Diced onion (I used a leftover red onion Sarah and Joe left)
Dill or celery seed.

Put the cucumbers and onion in a bowl. Add a few tablespoons of water and some salt. Let sit for 2 hours. Drain, but don’t rinse. boil sugar and vinegar until the sugar has dissolved. Add dill (until it tastes the way you want it to) Combine it all into a freezer safe container. Freeze. In two days, you have pickles, or you can keep them in longer and get it out when you’re ready for them!

By omitting the sugar I made *really* tart pickles though, so I don’t really recommend doing that, or if you are going to do that, use more Splenda than just three packets!

We started being attacked by wasps, so we went indoors and the three older boys were watching DVDs. They picked “Enchanted”, which I hadn’t seen yet, so they invited me to watch it with them. I liked it, and the boys were cute in “spoiling me” (the plot was pretty predictable, so I had fun gasping at the appropriate places)

So, here’s some photos from yesterday…or not, because WordPress seems to not want to add photos today. *sigh* Photos later, then.

Okay, photos working now.

Baby C pets the kitten

K4 is only six weeks old. L calls this “burrito baby”.

K1 & K2 were “dissecting” a dead wasp.

C and Baby C

C’s cat, Luka, sitting in the grocery sacks

Hobbes, licking his lips after licking the dill off a chip…he kept begging for one, and Sarah told me if he kept it up to give him one to see what he would do…he just licked off the dill and left the chip on the floor!

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Johnny Appleseed

J IMed me this afternoon and asked me if I wanted to help C pick apples at her grandmother’s. Apparently C went over to pick apples while her grandmother is out of town and there was a whole bunch as well as loads of string beans and cucumbers, so she wanted some help. I agreed, so she came and picked me up.

Her grandmother’s apple tree is HUGE and a ton of apples had already fallen to the ground from the windy storm we had on Friday, but there were still so many left to pick that when we got back to C’s house to cut them up, we filled 2 gallon sized ziplock bags and one quart sized bag before we gave up for the night…and we still had a huge bagful of apples we didn’t cut, AND there was probably the same amount of apples that we picked on the ground around the tree!

The apple tree

Our Haul:

Not pictured: a giant tubfull of cucumbers and a quart sized bag of string beans.

Our hands are stained brown from all the apple cutting we did tonight, too.

Tomorrow is a BBQ over at C and J’s…should be loads of fun! 😀

*edit* I was telling my mom about how chilly it’s been and how all the cats keep sleeping on the bed in such a way that I can’t get in with them, and she asked for a picture:

And last night, Hobbes decided getting stuck ontop of the fridge was a good idea:


Farmer’s Market? Sure, if you’re rich

This afternoon, C and I went to the “Farmer’s Market”. The first weird thing about this market is that it’s only open from 5PM to 8PM on Friday’s, and it’s in the Rotary Club building. But…okay. I figured it was later in the evening so more people could get to it. This is a small town, and probably most people work 9-5, so having market in the evening made sense.

Market, if you could call it that, was a joke. I think there were maybe 8 stands total, and at least three of those had or were baked goods stands, one was crafts, and one was used books (where, ironically, I spotted two Karen Kingsbury books!). The first stand had “Peaches and Cream” (white and yellow kernel) corn…$6/dozen. At home? I think the last time we were at market it was 12/$2.25. So right away, I knew this wasn’t going to be the type of market where I go with $10 and bring back a week’s worth of veggies. C and I did manage to get a bag of tomatoes for $5 that had about 20 small-to-medium tomatoes in it, and I bought some raisin bread and some cheese buns.

The best buy, though, was a Saskatoon Berry pie. C insisted that I had to try saskatoon berries since they are a local berry, so she bought a pie for us to have for dessert tonight. So good! Saskatoon berries sort of taste like a cross between a blueberry and a cranberry…actually, it reminded me a lot of the lingonberry. Apparently there’s a saskatoon berry farm near Dauphin, so C is going to check and see if it’s still saskatoon season and if we can go to get some fresh saskatoons. I’m just sad I won’t be able to bring any home to share with mom, but fruit can’t be taken into the Us :(.

I’m glad the raisin bread was only $2. There’s hardly *any* raisins in the bread at all, so really I might as well have purchased a loaf of white bread. The cheese buns are good though. I had to sample one tonight when I got home along with a slice of tomato on it. The tomatoes are alright, but not as tomatoey as local tomatoes. Being away for the summer, I missed out on my aunt’s “tomato man” (her neighbour) giving her tomatoes that she always passed on to us.

C had never been to market before, either, so we both came away disappointed, but glad we had checked it out.

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City Girl* on the Prairie

I spent this evening outside with the killer mosquitoes, assisting my new friend C with her vegetable garden. I braved the prickly raspberry bushes and picked a pretty decent bowlful of raspberries while she picked carrots, pea pods, and purple string beans. Then, I helped to shell peas. I really don’t think I’ve ever done something like that before, unless it was when I was really small. I had a good time, and I told C i’d help her out more if she wanted. She said she had weeding that needed to be done, and I told her that probably wouldn’t be a good idea, as I might not know what was plant and what was weed!

I came away with some fresh raspberries, cucumbers, apples, and carrots. And I really think the raspberries taste better than even the raspberries I bought at the farmer’s stand…..of course, this may have more to do with the fact that I picked them over anything else.

Oh, and purple string beans? Taste just like green ones. C told me they turn green when you cook them, and I was a little disappointed to find that out. I mean, how cool would it be to serve up a dish of purple beans at your next dinner party?

*I’m not really a city girl. But where I grew up, there wasn’t really room to have a garden. I think my mom had a rose bush for a while, but that’s about it. Oh, and my dad and I planted wildflowers when I was 8 or so. Now that mom and I live in a place where we have our own yard to grow stuff in, neither one of us really knows what to do to start a garden.


Mosquitos that Eat You Alive!

I joined Facebook yesterday morning, because a lot of people I knew were posting their photos on it and I couldn’t see them since I wasn’t a facebook user. Facebook can take your gmail address book and find your friends, so I had it do that, and it added J, Sarah and Joe’s friend who I met the other day. About 15 minutes later, I got a friend request from C, J’s wife. She suggested we get together, and I agreed. She asked me if I brought my bathing suit with me, which I hadn’t, but we decided to go to Wal-Mart to get one for me and then head to the lake with her son, who’s name also starts with a C, so I’ll call him Baby C.

Shopping for a bathing suit in the clearance section was fun. Loads of suits that were 2XL and 3XL and then suits that were size small. Yeah. Not too good for either of us, but in the end after many suits being tried on, we both wound up with the same top! One of the tops I tried on was so low cut, the center of it was below my chest!

By the time we picked out our suits, Baby C was ready for a nap, so we went back to their house to get ready to go out to Dauphin Lake. It was beautiful. C tells me the lake isn’t the cleanest, but compared to some bodies of water I’ve seen, this seemed tame. The lake also had sandbars in the middle of it and so we were able to walk out really far with the water only ever getting up to my hips, then lowering down to my lower legs. After we got out of the lake, Baby C attracted the attention of two ladies who were also at the lake, so we hung around for a little while while they fawned over Baby C (and he really is that cute!).

We returned to their house for dinner, and then some Olympic watching with J, and wine drinking outside.

While we were at the lake, C advised me to coat myself in bug spray. While she was telling me this, a mosquito around an eighth of an inch long landed on her leg and started biting! Those things are vicious! I didn’t spray the back fo my neck, so of course I have a bite where I can’t reach it to scratch. I also got bit right below the edge of my bathing suit. Other than that, no other bites.

C invited me to go camping next weekend. I haven’t been camping in years, and that’s only if sleeping in my friend’s aunt’s pop up tent trailer counts, but I might do it anyway. We had a lot of fun, and I’d really like to experience more of the things to do around here.

The sky is streaking pink with the sunrise. I was going to go outside and take photos of it, but it’s chilly out there, and I discovered how far I’d need to walk to get photos and decided it wasn’t worth it. Maybe if I go camping, I’ll get some pretty photos. I’m not sure why I couldn’t sleep tonight…I was tired enough from being out in the sun, but for some reason I started tossing and turning around 4am and finally gave up around 530. Maybe now that I’ve done something I’ll be able to go back to sleep. I also forgot to shower last night to wash off the bug spray and sunblock, so I feel a little itchy from that, too.

For a few more photos of yesterday, check my gallery:

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The Sun isn’t as Damaging Here?

Yesterday I was out from around noon until 4PM in the sun walking around into town and around town and then back. And I was *hot*. I drained my water bottle well before I even got back near the house, and my pedometer says I walked 5.25 miles. I neglected sunblock so I was sort of expecting to look in the mirror this morning and see sunburn on my forehead, but would you believe there’s nothing? Usually if I’m out in the sun for even a half hour without sunblock I start to get a little crispy. I’m sure the scientific reason is that I’m farther away from the equator, but I always thought sunlight was sunlight? Then again, when I was in the Caribbean, we were warned about the sun being hotter, so I suppose it makes sense the farther north you go, the less hot the sun is?

My latitude here is 51 degrees…am I really as close to the Arctic Circle as I think I am?

I’m using the latitude/longitude calculator here:, and apparently when I’m in the UK, I’ll be at the 0 meridian…so I get to go from the hundredth meridian to the zero…and I realize I am probably a huge geek for pointing this out. (Latitude of where I’ll be in the UK is 53)

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Prarie Storm

It’s starting to storm out there, and despite the fact that thunder makes me jump and I don’t really like looking at lightning, I’m finding the storm pretty. It’s different than a storm would be at home…at home there just isn’t as much sky. I know, that sounds weird, but with the wide open prairies it just makes the sky look bigger for some reason.

Check the gallery for more photos:

Oh, and because I think this photo I took of Hobbes is adorable:

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Rude Canadians?

Wow, I really bought into the old stereotype of “All Canadians are nice and polite” until today. I finally had my experience with a rude Canadian.

Last night, I really wanted a milkshake. I couldn’t remember which A&W Sarah told me was okay to go to, so today I decided to just walk down to the McDonald’s and get a milkshake. There was a family ahead of me – two kids, and two adults, and a teenager, who I wasn’t sure if she was with the family or on her own, since she was significantly older than the other two children. The counter person called “next”, and I hesitated for a minute to try to get the teenager’s attention to see if she was next or part of the family, when the man behind me not only barreled in front of me, but banged into me and practically sent me to the floor in his rush to get to the counter! Wow. I mean, if he had really wanted his Lunch that badly, I might have been nice and let him ahead, but I see no reason to push forward.

My second incident of rude – In order to get to the grocery store from Sarah and Joe’s, you have to cross the “highway” – it’s 4 lanes, but there *is* a crosswalk, and I was told that usually people will stop if they see someone waiting to cross, otherwise, you wait for it to be clear and then walk across like a normal crosswalk. I approached the crosswalk, and the cars on the opposite side of the street both stopped, and the car in the left lane on the side I was on stopped. There was a car coming in the right, but I figured as long as the other cars were stopped, it would stop too, so I started across. That jerk sped up! I had to RUN across the right lane so I could finish crossing. Seriously, what? If all the other cars are stopped for the pedestrian….shouldn’t you?

On the flip side….I talked to the man at the small vegetable stand outside the safeway,and he told me how to find the farmer’s market for next Friday (I’m too pooped right now!) and he sold me a cucumber for CDN$0.25, when he was selling them as “nine for $5”!

Oh, and while we’re on the subject of McDonald’s, I noticed what we would refer to as the “dollar menu” is called the “value menu” and most of the items are CDN$1.39, which when you do the conversion, is US$1.30. So even the fast food is more expensive here! But, they do have a CDN$0.99 Mini Milkshake – it’s the size of the happy meal drink and perfect when you just wanted a little bit of milkshake!

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How Far North Are You?

I keep getting asked how far North I am, and saying 200 miles North of Winnipeg doesn’t really work, unless you know exactly where Winnipeg is, so here’s a nice map for you with a pin where I am:

(click to make it bigger)

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Walking around Dauphin

Today I walked North of Sarah and Joe’s (I think. They can correct me if I’m wrong) to the actual town part of Dauphin. I had a lot of fun walking around and exploring. My pedometer told me I walked over 4 miles, but I can’t believe it was really that much, though I did go on some side streets and backtracked myself at one point, so maybe I did.

The town of Dauphin is small, I think maybe the entire area of “downtown” is about 6 or 7 blocks long. I found three Dollar General type stores, at least two (maybe even three) places that had “pharmacy” in their store name, a few assorted other stores, and three locations where you can mail stuff through Canada Post.

I walked down to the train station and discovered there is a train museum inside the station house. Unfortunately, even though the sign said it should be open, it wasn’t. I sent an e-mail to the address on the sign though to ask when it was open, so hopefully I’ll get to go to it at some point before I go home!

I also learned today that postage is expensive. Letters home are CDN$0.96, and letters to the UK are almost $2!


For more photos, check out my gallery for today:

Did you know you can leave comments on photos as well as posts?

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