So it’s been awhile since I wrote on here. That’s because I got ate by a bear and am in the hospital. Okay no, its because FSC (my employer), agreed to fly me back to YK for Brianne and my anniversary, and to complete moving in to our place amoung other things. So thanks FSC. I didn’t tell Brianne that I was coming home, it had been raining here for a week and so I wasn’t getting much work done anyways and it was just postponing the complettion of the project. So I emailed Cindy and asked if she could pick me up at the airport and surprise Brianne. She did, and when I showed up where Brianne was watching tennis she was very surprised. We celebrated our anniversary pretty low key but it was still great. Neither of us had to work for a few days so we got lots done at our place. We both really love it. Then after a week of being home I flew back to the Dempster to catch up on the work that was done while I was gone. It was a bit of a mess but I got it all straightened out after a long 18 hr day, till 1:30 am! So here I am, once again, stuck at the dempster with very little to do because while I was gone the two guys that were doing some of the work for me quit…or really just took off and no one knows where they are….hopefully they didn’t get eaten by a grizzly…

Also while I was home Brianne and I bought a snowmobile. I’m so pumped. I got a great deal on it, its hardly even been used, its only got 400 kms on the machine so its hardly even broken in…and it was a lady that bought it new and then sold it to me, so you know it hasn’t been driven hard at all! So now I was thinking that the ashby/foster family should go on a snowmobile excursion. Dough & Cindy on theirs, Joel & Darla on theirs, Arlen & Brianne on theirs, and Kurtis & Kaleigh on…the old 440 sitting out back! Perfect couples. It’ll work! Now I just have to convince Kurtis and Kaleigh that you don’t have to be couple to go…

Oh on another note, a guy “fell asleep” on a packer today and drove off the side of the road and rolled the packer! Crazy, its all twisted and smashed. woops.

**this part is from me (brianne). I was going to post a picture of our sled that arlen took but i don’t know how so he’ll have to do that when he gets home. I was also going to post a pic of our place but he has our camera on the dempster so I cant even take a picture!  On another note, i do have the best husband ever… Not only did he come home and suprise me which was the best part… but before he knew he was coming home he had put an order in for flowers to be delivered to me on our anniversary. THEN he came home and it was too late – the flowers were already ordered and I got them anyway! ta-da.  Now only like 3 weeks before he comes home… I’m going camping with a bunch of teenagers this weekend. Should be a blast!

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so… last night our great friends Mark and Amy had a beautiful baby girl and named her Lauren. While they were at the hospital i was having a sleepover with their little girl Maddie. When I got the call last night that she’d been born I sent arlen an email to let him know she was here and that Amy was amazing and that Mark was so calm and cool and that I’d had an amazing night with Maddie… He’s still up on the dempster and had been working like 16 hour days for about a week straight… and then it started to rain. they can’t work when it rains so he spent a LOT of time sitting alone. and this is the email i got back from him last night…

girl, cool, i love girls, but i kinda wanted a boy that i could wrestle with…i mean not for a few days or so…

mark is sooo cool. always, and stylish and steazy at the same time, but not in a bad way, in a very comfortable and afordable way, sorta how donald brashear did it. extremely well. dang i wish i could do some things that well. like behave, or shave, or shower, i haven’t done that in while. as maddie says “PEE YOU”. ha, pee me. not in bed though. i also wish i could fly fighter jets i think that would be neat, sexy and full of mystery. no misery though, unless misery signals was on tour, that would be cool. yep, and also i want to fight james bond some day…. you know what i should do, i should make bucket list, that would be so fun/cool/romantic/startling/forbidden/forclosure… don’t know wehre that last word came from. oh i have a better idea, i should design other peoples bucket lists and charge them a pile of money for them to complete it. dang, that would be awesome, i bet i’d make a fortune, catering to the rich and famous like that. gee wizz, i’m a wizz kid and a wizard all at the same time. it startels me sometimes. you know what else. i;ve never been to the looney bin. but i lvoe the looney tunes, there funny. also i like itunes and just normal tunes as well. but don’t tune me out or i’ll have to tune you up. that should be quote. put it on my blog, labelled “arlen’s ranting, ravings, ravagings, and reapings.” actually maybe put this whole thing on my blog, it’ll show everyone how living in a dump will make you crazy and write/say/think things that are unbelievably amazing to ones self but completly and utterly useless to everyone else. you know what they say, “one mans junk is another mans treasure”, ha if you think of that as “junk, like a mans no no parts, it sounds really really bad. ha, now i’m laughing hysterically reading that. oh jeez, i gotta go to bed, i gotta get up in  a few hours to work.

sorry for the inappropriate parts… he seriously needs to come home. some of it makes more sense to me because it comes from bits and pieces of other conversations and emails.. but most of it is entirely random. also i’m pretty sure he didnt actually want me to post this on our blog… oh well.

I’m extremely bored sitting in my truck on the Dempster Highway just 14 kms north of the Yukon border. Bored, but surprisingly happy with the neat experience of living in a camp of 80 people in the middle of absolutely nowhere. It’s pretty dumpy accommodations; it’s really like the trailer park on My Name Is Earl, or any trailer park for that matter.

The surrounding scenery is a different story; it’s absolutely amazing. I’m situated right amongst the mountains, running +400 ft on either side of our camp and the Dempster. The first morning at camp a herd of caribou went by and about a kilometre behind them was a grizzly, probably thinking of how much he’d like to munch on one of their hind legs. Just the other morning a momma grizzly and her extremely large three cubs were rummaging around our camp and then travelled along the Dempster when we were coming back from work at 10 pm. It’s quite something to see these things in the wild like that. They still look so friendly like I should go wrestle them or something, or at least give them a high-five and slap their buttocks.

Each day we start the morning with a safety meeting at 7:50, which to me doesn’t seem to make many things any safer. A packer operator fell asleep and drove off the end of a curve into a swamp and got stuck. It made me laugh, and then the guy got fired so I didn’t laugh around him…much. Another guy driving one of the semi’s was out of it and drove off the side into a culvert and then overcorrected putting the truck in one side of the ditch and the trailer in the other. Takes major talent to do that you know.

We drive about an hr to and from camp and the construction site between rolling hills and mountains. The road is terrible, if I had my own truck I’d probably only be going 60 kph…but with a rental its usually 100 kph, I mean it’s a big diesel 1-ton, if it can’t handle it then maybe Chevrolet should go out of business. The dust is a major issue here since it stopped raining about a week ago. We try to water but it’s still so bad with the 30 or so trucks each evening going back to camp at once. The work is starting to slow down and so many of the drivers/trucks have left including all of the night crew. We arrive back at camp around 10 pm every night where I then do my calculations for the day and recording/reporting. My job during the day is pretty slow, counting the trucks that go by and taking quick measurements of the height of material in each truck. Each truck usually takes about an hr to do a round trip so there is a lot of down time. This is when I do about 10 sudoku’s a day, listen to music, drive in circles, drive myself mad, do jumping jacks, pee from all the water I drink even though I’m not thirsty, read a book a day, eat lots of junk food, throw rocks at random stuff…not passing vehicles though and have contests to see who can stand on an extension ladder the longest, guess who the next truck will be, and hold our breath till we pass out. Oh and when I say “we”, that means myself and a young kid from the area who helps me measure and really just keeps me sane. During the day I also do some surveying of the grades of the road and calculate roughly how much more material we need for each section of the road to bring it up to grade. By the time I go to bed from doing all the work its around 11 or 12 pm. and I’m exhausted even though I hardly did anything all day! But hey its good money, lots of overtime!

Amidst all the new things I’m seeing and doing I miss being home in Yellowknife with Brianne, I miss pizza night and waffle night, I miss supper at 6 instead of 10, I miss football…ALOT… I miss friends/family…except Darla she’s a zoot-zoot!

I’m excited to get home and spend all this money on a skidoo…I mean on Brianne…

p.s. Arlen just called me and wanted me to add that he got back to the camp tonight and the grizzly bears were back so they ran outside and the camp dog was chasing them away so they jumped in a truck and chased them so they could get pictures…who chases Grizzly bears?! that was the one thing I told him NOT to do. DANGER!

since the last time we put anything here lots has happened and changed. but full sentences are not necessary so i’m not going to use them after this one.

-wrote exams

-graduated from university/college

-luca rose friesen was born and i love her so much

-both of our parents came to visit us in regina for my grad.

-we spent three and a half weeks in dauphin doing farm things: shooting beavers, birds, and gophers, riding tractors, planting grass and landscaping, digging our car out of 2 feet of snow (after planting and landscaping), hanging out with jonathan, watching play off hockey, playing games, eating lots of good treats, having bonfires, riding horses, branding cows, cutting down ginormous trees, quadding, hanging out with becky and bryan and tori and sharon, and of course getting in lots of quality time with arlen’s parents. plus much more.

-heading back to grampa’s to pack up and say bye to all of our friends. that part sucked the most since our last update for sure. even worse than exams and those were awful.

-hanging out with friends at tim and krista’s wedding

-luca’s baby shower (i miss her a lot)

-saying bye to friends for the last time before we headed out, which included one last indian feast at wilf and laura’s, complete with lemon cream pie!

-i forgot to say that arlen bought me a sweet bicycle in dauphin

-a sweet roadtrip to davidson with a broken truck hauling a heavy trailer followed by my car. Arlen and nic were in the truck, i was in the car. we seriously went like 70 the whole way. except up big hills… then we only went 40. but in davidson we found some hicks to fix our truck. we left arlen with them and nic and i went ahead to meet tara for lunch in s’toon.

-a more successful roadtrip to edmonton where we picked up leann at the airport and unfortunately saw detroit beat chicago. bummer.

-a sleepover at arlen’s aunt and uncles followed by an epic roadtrip to yellowknife. we saw bears, wolves, buffalos, and other more regular things. most giganticist porcupine ever.

-had a stellar surprise 50th birthday party for my mom

-lived at my parents house for more than a month (still there) and ate great great great things and had lots of fun. pizza night is the best thing. for real.

-got jobs. me at yellowknife church of christ as the sstudent ministries director. arlen at FSC architects and engineers. he’s in iqaluit for work right now

-went to my grampa’s wedding. it was a great time. hopefully we’ll get to spend more time with grampa and joan before too long.

-went to the cabin for aboriginal day and burnt ourselves worse than ever. (except for that one time in france).

-got a new place. painted it. got new floors in it. moved our stuff up all the stairs. unpacked it. will start living in it on wednesday.

-watched some fantastically awesome tennis… a few times.

-have met some great new friends (tori calls them replacement friends). but we really like them.

-still miss all of our old friends from other places.

-liking being here. and hoping summer will come eventually. sooner than later would be better.

-have a spare bedroom for anyone that wants to come visit. and you should. i’m going to buy a dingy boat soon so we can take it out when you come.

I’m sure everyone is getting pumped for the playoffs and this is a video we found on utube. Gotta love Iginla!

On Monday afternoon arlen’s grandma, Millie Foster, passed away. And we miss her so much! She was so loving, gentle, caring and inspiring.

The first time I met her we were having a family Easter dinner at the farm. Arlen took me over to her and introduced us and she gave me a great big squeeze and a kiss on the cheek and said “well hello dear!” Just about every greeting between the two of us after that time went the same way. This was the first weekend I had met all of Arlen’s family. I hadn’t known any of them (other than arlen obviously) before then and they all made me feel so welcome – Grandma was no exception. She was interested in my life and where I had come from and where I planned to go.

Arlen has always been full of stories and memories about his grandma. I’ve heard so many of them over the years (I guess only 4 since that’s how long we’ve known each other). But this week I’ve gotten to hear even more as he reflects on his precious moments with her from the time he was a little boy up until the last visit we had with her. Last night he was writing up something little to be read at her celebration of life on Saturday and he talked about how when he was little, he knew that if he was sick at school he would get to go to his Grandma’s for the afternoon. That meant cuddles, cookies, and sometimes tv shows. And so he took advantage of that more often than when he was actually sick. In more recent visits with her he would enjoy walking into her room and seeing the look on her face and the light gasp she let out when she saw his mountain man appearance. One time she told him he looked as though he’d just rode out of the Australian Outback. I tend to think he took that as more of a compliment than it was maybe meant to be. Later in the visit she told him he should clean up for his wife! ha… but then by the end of the visit she would always tell him how handsome he looked. It didn’t matter what he looked like, he could really do no wrong in her eyes. If only she could see his recent grad pictures….I have no doubt that would bring about one of her classic gasps. And then she would hang it proudly on her closet door with all of her other beauties.

One of my favourite memories with Grandma Foster was visiting her in the hospital after she broke her hip last Christmas (07). It was a few weeks later and Arlen and I were in Dauphin for the weekend. We took a couple of hours to go up and visit her and I will always remember that time. I did not ever have the pleasure of meeting Grandpa Foster as he passed away before Arlen found me. I hear from his kids and his grandkids about what a great man he was and I know it’s true. But sitting there that day and talking to Grandma about the “old” days (she is 93, so they were a while ago) I could see a love in her eyes that could not be denied. We were blessed with stories right back from when they met, to their wedding, and their cold ride back to the farm after their honeymoon, wrapped in a buffalo skin blanket to keep warm in the passenger seat. She had funny stories of their early days together, and stories of raising their 10 children on the farm. Can you imagine? I certainly cannot! The sparkle in her eyes as she shared these memories was inspiring to me. She had such amazing love for her husband and kids and beyond that to their spouses and kids and grandkids. I thought my family was gigantic! And she had room in her heart for all of them, plus me.

As we remember her life I am also reminded of the life of my grandma. Arlen and I were sooooo blessed to have been loved by two such amazing ladies and I feel extremely blessed to be able to look to their lives as examples and models of how I want to live and love. Their faith, their love, their smiles and their sparkly eyes will never be forgotten. Their hugs and kisses and kind words and stories will always be missed!

this isn’t actually about my hope for the future or anything like that if you got that impression from the title.

instead it is about my dream that i had a couple of nights ago.

It was the best dream I’ve had in a long time. I got to hang out with gramma. We were in a huge place watching curling. That might not seem very exciting but it was because Gramma loved curling so watching it with her was always a blast. And in my dream I could even understand what was happening as we were watching (which is pretty different from real life… i dont usually know much of what is happening. I always ask grampa, “is that what he meant to do!?!”). But then after the curling ended we picked up the figure skates that were sitting on the ground beside us and put them on and laced them up. Then we headed down to the ice and started figure skating to Abba music. I can’t even skate in figure skates, and I know that you aren’t supposed to skate on curling ice, but it worked perfect and we had a blast. We laughed and danced and skated all around. I’m pretty sure by this time the huge crowd of people was gone. AND all the curling ices were attached, so we didnt just have to skate up and down one strip. It was so much fun.

And then I woke up.