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Last Updated 4 December 2023

Old news updates - your guaranteed cure for insomnia!

Feb 14, 2023

I apologize to all three of my regular readers - it has been almost 4 months since I’ve update the site. As I usually do each January (ok, February this year) I have updated the design, colours, and content and done some reorganizing.

So what’s new here? Although life just seems to chug along from season to season, there are highlights. Last time I mentioned how unusually warm the fall was. We had about 150 trick-or-treaters here at Hallowe’en with some really great costumes.

Winter finally arrived with a vengance in late November and we had lots of snow and some really cold temperatures near -40 plus windchill. We started to thing of warmer places (pretty much everywhere else in the world) and on the spur of the moment, booked a week at an all-inclusive resort near Puerto Vallarta, Mexico for the first week in February.

So naturally, two days later our furnace decided to die!

We ran the gas fireplace, ceiling fans and a couple of electric heaters in the basement and happily, the insulation and weatherstripping did their jobs until a replacement furnace was installed the next day.

We had great service and a competitive price from Buffalo Heating & Air Conditioning Inc. Highly recommended local company.

Between furnace day and Mexico day we had lots going on. Isla and I made a gingerbread house,

she had her first ever piano recital, Mark cooked us Christmas dinner (I hope this becomes a new family tradition), and in mid-January Isla was part of the winter songfest at her school.

On January 1st, Isla turned 9 and there was a party at her house. Wall-to-wall kids, parents, and lots of noise. To make up for all that, there was cake. I like cake.

With all the travel chaos caused by weather, poor airline management, non-existant communications with passengers and so on, we were worried about our trip. Especially because we had booked it with Sunwing Vacations which did very poorly over the holidays.

Sunwing’s communications with us were good, the check-in process worked well, and our departure was only delayed a few minutes because of the backlog at the plane de-icing station.

We flew on a newer Boeing 737-800 which is a mid-size single aisle, and fast plane. We held 920kph for the 5.5 hour trip arriving in Puerto Vallarta on time. It was dark as we left the terminal to find our bus. Sunwing staff did a good job of herding hundreds of people onto their correct buses and 40 minutes later we arrived at Riu Jalisco resort in Riviera Nyarit.


As soon as we stepped off the bus we were served a welcome to Mexico tequila as we checked in. This is a large resort with about 1,200 rooms. There are 3 pools, 5 restaurants, many bars, a great beach, and lots more.

The air conditioning worked properly, there was plenty of hot water, the free minibar was restocked every second day, and housekeeping made us a new towel animal each day just like a cruise ship.

Coincidentally, our Edmonton friends Joanne and Dave were also there so we spend a couple of meals with them and a couple of days on the beach.

There were coconut palms, lots of sand, warm ocean water, iguanas, pretty little birds, pelicans and more. The food and entertainment were first rate and they never ran out of interesting drink to try.

We took a taxi into Busarias a couple of times to buy souvenires, tequila and vanilla from the market. And to check out the little local casino. Tess won, I lost, same as home.

On Tuesday, the day before we came home, I started losing my voice. By Thursday morning when I got up in my own bed, we were both very sick. I thought I was sicker than I would be with covid after 5 shots against it and teh rapid test said we do not have covid. Low grade fever, constant coughing, every muscle and joint aches. This is not fun.

Today I started feeling a little better so hopefully Tess will too tomorrow. Joanne & Dave have the same symptoms (not covid) as us so who knows.

All in all, would we fly Sunwing again? Yes, probably. Would we go back to Riu Jalisco? Absolutely!

Greg, Tess & Camper

Some photos of our snow to sun to snow adventure.

Mar 28, 2023

Happy Spring! While it still snows every once in a while, days are often well above freezing now so the piles of snow are steadily shrinking, Another week or two and we will be able to see at least parts of our lawn.

We even saw the first Canada Geese of the season yesterday. They were wandering around in a snowy field but at least they are here!

We are getting the itch to go camping again but of course, it is still too cold and besides, 7 doesn’t have snow tires and couldn’t even get out of the storage lot. Hopefully we will get out near the end of April or for sure in May.

I have updated most of the documents in the RVing section. If you are at all interested in RVing, they are worth a read.

Our wonderful granddaughter Isla was here for the weekend earlier this month. We always enjoy her sleepovers as we can spoil her with snacks and staying up late.

Our son and his very sweet girlfriend Megan have moved in together in Mark’s condo. They are clearly very happy and we are excited for them.

Our little dog Camper is getting on in years. He is deaf as a rock and his vision is failing. He doesn’t have many teeth left and on top of that, he sometimes doesn’t make it outside to go potty. But we still love him to death and hope to have him with us for a few more years.

On December 7th we had our furnace replaced. The installation company gave us a good price and good installation service. There was supposed to be a $600 rebate from Carrier, the furnace manufacturer when the warranty was activated.

10 weeks later we haven’t seen the rebate and I just registered the furnace for warranty. Because the installer didn’t register it in a timely manner, our warranty has been reduced from 10 years to 5 years.

I am not happy and have asked the installation company to fix this. I’ll report back next update and name names if I am not happy.

Greg, Tess & Camper

News - May 31, 2023

Last update I mentioned that I hoped to have pictures of fresh rainbow trout to post. You can see them on the 2023 RV Trips page. Yummy!

Tess has been busy with her gardening planting all sorts of colourful flowers and even a few veggies. One of our apple trees suffered a lot of damage over the winter so we will have few, if any, apples this year.

I was happy to pick Isla up from school last week and then take her to swimming lessons. We got to spend some quality time together over french fries and ice cream at McDonalds. She is a great kid and makes me proud.

Last weekend Mark, Megan, Isla, and Penelope and Betty (Mark & Megan’s dogs) came over for dinner. It was great to see them, of course, and we enjoyed having 4 legged fur babies around again.

We had the worst air quality in the world earlier this month due to a couple of hundred wildfires burning around Alberta. The satellite maps showed the smoke reached down to Mexico! Thanks to to the hard work of local and imported fire fighters from as far away as Australia, and to our military.  

There has been a little rain but there are still lots of folks evacuated from their homes.

Last week I started my one day per week volunteer driving for the Canadian Cancer Society. I pick up cancer patients and deliver them to the Cross Cancer Institute for

their radiation, chemo, or other appointments. I then return them home. I have met some interesting people and feel good about helping others in their battle against this killer disease.

I have been taking Ozempic for 4 months now in an attempt to lose some (a lot) weight. It is going well and I have now lost 30lbs. I am one third of the way to my goal.

We hope to get out camping once or twice in June before the kids are out of school and the campgrounds get even busier.

That’s it for this update. Take care and stay in touch!

Greg & Tess

News - Apr 24, 2023

First off, to get the bad news out of the way, our dog Camper died last month from congestive heart failure. He was 15 and in our lives for 13 years after we adopted him as a rescue. We miss him, particularly when he isn’t there to greet us when we get home. Thank you to everyone who understood and sent condolences.

Our little family is otherwise doing well. I got to help Mark with some suspension work on his new-to-him older BMW 540 sedan. Having a hoist in a clean and dry shop is the way to go! Megan is hitting home runs with her University courses. Isla is growing like a weed and turning into a very nice, caring young lasy. We are proud of her.

Now that spring is here the geese have returned, the ice is gone from our little lake, and we are getting excited about going camping again. We hope to get out for Tess’ birthday on May 12th. It takes about 8 hours to get ready for the first trip of the year: instaling batteries, cleaning, sanitizing the water system, load everything I don’t leave in it over the winter, and so on. At least this year I won’t have to worry about stolen catalytic converters since I replaced them with a straight pipe!

Last month I talked about our issues with our furnace replacement contractor. I am happy to report that it was a communications problem, not a “sorry, we forgot to do that” problem. Our rebate check was delivered within 48 hours of the contractor receiving the funds from Carrier.  We are happy.

This shows me that the good reviews for Buffalo Heating and Air Conditioning are accurate. I recommend them too.

I have been working away at the family trees and each (my paternal tree, my maternal tree, and Tess’ tree) is coming along. There is always lots to do like data cleanup, photo editing, combining duplicates, and loping off branches too remote to pursue. Remote like 12th cousins remote.

I hope to have photos of fresh caught rainbow trout in the next update!

Greg & Tess

I went to a pinball tournament yesterday in nearby Sherwood Park. There were tournaments, exhibitors, machines for sale, and the admission fee gives you unlimited play on about 300 different pinball machines.

I spent over 4 hours playing almost every machine in the place, reliving a piece of my mis-spent youth. Today my wrists are sore! The machines have sure changed a lot since the old days nearly 50 years ago. Pricing too; it used to be 3 games for a quarter and now it is a dollar per game minimum.

That’s it for this update. Take care and stay in touch!

Greg & Tess

The forest fire situation remains dire here in western Canada. Some days there is enough smoke in the air that you can easily stare straight at the noon day sun. The smell doesn’t seem as bad but I suspect that’s because we are all getting used to it.

We had a huge thunderstorm last night with strong winds and probably 2” of rain in a half hour! It was very noisy and there was water as high as the curbs on the street. And we live in the highest elevation in the town. Our storm pond rose almost 2 feet.

We got out camping again, this time to Kananaskis Country which is a collection of Provincial Parks between Calgary and Banff, but 40 kms south. Excellent roads, huge mountains, critters, fish, lots of campsites - it was great! You can check out my write up and pictures here.

News - July 23, 2023

Lots going on in our lives but I’m not sure how much of it is of interesting to regular readers.

My quest to lose weight continuse with the help of Ozempic. I am now down over 40 lbs so nearly half way there. Unlike dieting, I don’t feel hungry at all. It is expensive though at $240 per month. The government drug plan doesn’t cover it because even though a prescription is required, I am not taking it for an officially approved purpose so I have to pay for it all. Kind of like cosmetic surgery vs medically required surgery. Seems to me I will save the health care system more money if I lose the weight. Oh well.

Last update I mentioned I had started driving cancer patients to the hospital for retment on Fridays. I am enjoying meeting these courageous people and am happy to help out.

News - Oct 5, 2023

Well, lots has been going on around here over the 2+ months since I last typed at you.

In August we got out camping again although only for 3 days at the nearby Wabamun Lake Provincial park. It turned out to be the last trip of the season. You can see some photos and read my camping journal here.

If you were paying attention one the main page, you saw a photo of Spike. He is the new canine addition to our family.

We bought him from a breeder is Saskatchewan and picked him up last week. Spike is a 9lb Maltese-Yorkshire Terrier cross. He is coming up on his first birthday next week.

We named him after the big, mean bulldog in the Looney Tunes cartoon. Our Spike is just like him after the little dog named Chester put him in his place.

Tomorrow he goes to the vet to get neutered (sorry Spike) and once he has recovered, we expect him to be even more laid back than he is now.

He is very cute, loves walks and cuddles and barely makes a sound. He is already pretty well house trained too which is a bonus.

My weight loss journey continues and I am now down nearly 55lbs. Thanks, Ozempic! There is a shortage of the stuff here in Canada so starting next month only people that actually need it to treat their diabetes will be able to get it.

I’ll chat with my family doctor to see what he recommends, if anything.

I am still enjoying driving cancer patients to the hospital on Fridays. Most days I get two patients to transport.

The other big news is the project car which we picked up this past weekend. A big thank you to my brother Todd for using his truck and trailer to transport it from Genelle in outhern British Columbia to the shop in St. Albert.

I’ll post photos and progress reports on the new page here.

That’s it for this update. Take care and stay in touch!

Greg & Tess