Category: personal

19 Years

Jordon and I have been married 19 years today.  We are both off work this week and are kicking back and enjoying the day.  Well not exactly kicking back, we are up early this morning and going out for coffee and then heading to Indigo! where if Hilary is correct, the dayplanner of our dreams is awaiting us.  And on sale.

Then the bad part of the day, we are off to climb some hills to get some power back in our legs.  I think we are going to walk the Meewasin Trail north of Circle Drive Bridge along the eastside of the river.  If you don’t hear from me soon, you will find my body somewhere on a hill.

The rumor is that Zach Jeffries is going to be on CFCR tonight.  4 years ago I spent our anniversary in an auditorium with Darren Hill and Robin Bellamey debating Ward 1 issues.  Not we have Zach talking Ward 10 issues with Jordon, Hilary, and Lenore.  What the heck happened to my life.

Then I think we are heading to Starbucks for coffee afterwards.  Nothing like a strong coffee after the age of 40 to keep you up all night.  We may actually have to have a conversation with each other.  Or just lay in bed and vibrate from the caffeine.

As for gifts, I gave him a 16×22 print of the Holstee Manifesto.  Since that is a bizarre size to frame, I will have it mounted at Don’s Photo on a plaque mount. 

The Holstee Manifesto

I also gave him a Rode Video Mic Me for his phone.  Like most phone users, the video is great but the audio is horrible.  This will give much better audio.

Jordon gave me a Roots 73 camera bag from the Flannel Collection.  How Canadian is that?

Roots 73 camera bag

He also stocked up my tea pantry with a fall collection of teas from Davids Tea.

A year from now, we will be celebrating 20 years in Banff.  Hard to believe we have been married for 19 years.  How is that possible if we aren’t getting any older?  Well I am not getting any older.  He seems to have a lot less hair than he did 19 years ago.

Creamed Peas on Toast Recipe

This is an old Cooper/Jenner family favorite.  According to Jordon, his grandfather used to make this on special occasions as back during the Great Depression, it was a family favorite and delicacy.   Jordon’s mom used to make around Christmas time and we have as well. It’s actually a dessert and from what I read, Jordon’s family isn’t the only one that saw it as that.  Many people have written about how this was a treat for their families growing up and they would have it after the family dinner was done.  We do the same thing to keep the tradition alive.

It’s easy to make, takes good and brings back good memories for Jordon having it with his family.

Creamed Peas on Toast Recipe

Creamed Peas on Toast Recipe


  • 1 can green peas
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • buttered toast
  • salt
  • pepper


  1. On stove in small pot melt butter and add flour slowly to thicken it.
  2. When it is almost like a paste add the milk and stir.
  3. Continue stirring on low heat until the mixture thickens.
  4. Add the drained can of peas and stir for a few more minutes.
  5. Pour hot mixture over a buttered slice of toasted bread, add salt & pepper to taste.
  6. Use a knife and fork to slice and eat your meal and enjoy.
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Fort Carlton Provincial Park (and a campfire bannock recipe)

Jordon and I took Mark and Oliver to Fort Carlton Provincial Park today.  It is also a National Historic Site today.  There are some hiking trails around there and of course the replica of the Hudson’s Bay Company trading fort that used to be there.  It was rebuilt in 1967 as part of Canada’s centennial celebrations.  It is also the place where Treaty Six was signed.

Fort Carlton Provincial Park

As kids most of Saskatoon seemed to go out there as part of a school field trip in Grade 5 or 6.  For some reason Mark’s classes never went out there which is weird considering it’s place in Canadian history and the emphasis that every single Social Studies teacher placed on teaching him about Louis Riel.

After a quick lunch on the way out of town at Costco, we drove out to Duck Lake and hung a left.  Eventually we got to the North Saskatchewan River Valley and Fort Carlton Provincial Park.  We had thought of going to both Batoche National Historic Site and Fort Carlton as part of the same trip but we are doing Batoche as part of a project we are doing later this fall.  Also Jordon wants to take the kids to the sites of all of the  battles of the Northwest Rebellion which mean more time on the eastern part of the river.

We got into the park at about 12:55 p.m. and I paid for our entrance.  The staff at the main centre told me that there would be tea and bannock served from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.  As we walked out there, a wonderful staff member named Serina had the first batch of bannock ready to be cooked over the fire and a large pot of Saskatoon Berry tea warming up in a kettle.

Fort Carlton Provincial Park

Oliver and I decided to cook up the bannock while Jordon and Mark went for a walk around the outside of the fort.  They came back just as the bannock was being done, having been repelled in their attempt to breach the walls and enter the fort.

Oliver and Wendy cooking bannock over a fire at Fort Carlton Provincial Park

Serina was the staff member who made the bannock mix up for us about 8 others.  If case you are wondering how to make bannock over and open fire, here it is.

Campfire Bannock Recipe

Campfire Bannock Recipe


  • 3 cups of flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 3 teaspoons of sugar
  • 3 teaspoons of baking powder
  • 3 tablespoons of lard/butter
  • 1 1/2 cups of water


  1. Mix dry ingredients together and then add lard and butter.  Mix well.
  2. Use about a quarter cup of bannock mix and use a spoon to wind it around a wooden stick to roast over the coals of the fire until golden brown on the outside.


Once cooked, serve with your favorite jam.

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Wendy and Oliver cooking bannock over a fire at Fort Carlton Provincial Park

She used about a quarter cup of bannock mix and used a spoon to wind it around a wooden stick to then roast over the coals of the fire.  After we had cooked the bannock there was some blueberry jam to spread over it.


So while we were all cooking our bannock and enjoying some Saskatoon Berry tea, she told us some great stories of a couple from Japan who had come to visit the Fort.  They asked her if they could roll in the grass as they weren’t allowed to do that in Japan and they had a great time.  She also said that people from all over the world come to Fort Carlton and tell her where they are from.  Then they ask her and she goes, “Just up the hill”.

After tea and bannock, we went inside the stockade and were given tours of all of the open buildings.

Fort Carlton Provincial Park near Duck Lake, SaskatchewanFort Carlton Provincial Park near Duck Lake, SaskatchewanFort Carlton Provincial Park near Duck Lake, SaskatchewanFort Carlton Provincial Park near Duck Lake, SaskatchewanFort Carlton Provincial Park near Duck Lake, Saskatchewan

Oliver then lead up the stairs and along the top of the Fort.  We took the tour of the last building and as we went upstairs, Jordon disappeared.  So as we went to find him, the boys called him, “Aunt Beth” who was Jordon’s great aunt and was known for wandering off while in a mall all of the time.  It was always Jordon’s job to keep track of her.  He didn’t appreciate the comparison but the boys did.

Fort Carlton Provincial Park near Duck Lake, SaskatchewanFort Carlton Provincial Park near Duck Lake, SaskatchewanFort Carlton Provincial Park near Duck Lake, SaskatchewanFort Carlton Provincial Park near Duck Lake, Saskatchewan

From there we walked from the stockade to the river.  With all of the rain in Alberta, the North Saskatchewan was flowing fast and was expected to rise greatly.  As we were walking, I couldn’t help to notice the bear scat all over the pathway.  We eventually ran into a “You are in Bear Country” sign but we had gotten the idea already.

Fort Carlton Provincial Park near Duck Lake, Saskatchewan

Fort Carlton Provincial Park near Duck Lake, Saskatchewan

It took us about an hour to cook bannock, drink some tea, get the tour and then walk the 1/2 kilometer trail to the North Saskatchewan River and back.  We also explored the camp group which was empty but nice.  I wouldn’t mind exploring it some weekend next summer.

The Weekend

For a quiet weekend, it sure was busy.

  • We went out for drinks at O’Shea’s Irish Pub with Pat Lorje and her husband Tom.  It’s always a fun time.  For those of you who wonder what gets talked about, it’s a bunch of “Donald Trump did what?  I stop paying attention to CNN for and hour and he did what?”  I don’t know who the cooks are at O’Shea’s but they were only going through the motions Friday night.  Maybe I am asking too much but I want good food at a local pub and O’Shea’s has never seemed to understand that.
  • Then on Sunday we got up early and drove to Prince Albert National Park and the village of Waskesiu with Oliver.  We did some shopping, went for a bit of a swim in the lake, had pizza at Pete’s Terrance and then drove out to the Narrows Campground.  We are planning to spend Thanksgiving Weekend out there this year.  We have been to Paighton Beach (see last Thanksgiving’s post) but had never been to the campground.  We check out some spots and then drove back into town where we got Oliver an ice cream cone the size of his head.
  • We got back into the city in time to head back to O’Shea’s for a drink with some friends.

For Thanksgiving, we will bring up Mark and Oliver’s three season tent and also bring up a summer four person tent.  We will have lots of blankets, our warm sleeping bags, and stuff for warm food.  With warm clothes, hot chocolate, and a dog to cuddle with, we will be fine for two nights.  Now to train Marley to cuddle with me rather than Jordon when she is cold.   The entire park is so quiet that time of year and I am really looking forward to spending that time together.

Day trip to Waskesiu

Realizing we are running out of summer weekends, we decided to head to Waskesiu today.  Mark had to work so we took Oliver and spent the day wandering around the town.Oliver at Waskesiu in Prince Albert National ParkDowntown Waskesiu in Prince Albert National ParkDowntown Waskesiu in Prince Albert National ParkDowntown Waskesiu in Prince Albert National ParkDowntown Waskesiu in Prince Albert National ParkDowntown Waskesiu in Prince Albert National ParkDowntown Waskesiu in Prince Albert National ParkDowntown Waskesiu in Prince Albert National ParkDowntown Waskesiu in Prince Albert National ParkDowntown Waskesiu in Prince Albert National ParkThis is just after Oliver splashed me and I ran him down in the water.  In his attempt to get away, he fell in and got himself soaked.Downtown Waskesiu in Prince Albert National ParkJust a friendly arm wrestling match as we check out some of Parks Canada famed red chairs.Downtown Waskesiu in Prince Albert National Park

We did a bit of shopping.  Got some ice cream and then headed up the Narrows Road to check out the Marina and the Narrows Campground which I had never gone in.  We picked out a couple of good spots for when we go up there for Thanksgiving and camp for the long weekend as a family.

Next year

Jordon, Mark, and I have been working on plans for next year in the mountains.

The trip was split into two because:

  1. We can’t take the dog on the bus to Lake O’Hara.  Also, she hates heights and some of the rock ledges make me nervous, I don’t want to fight a dog on those staircases carved into mountains.  We are going to try to hike the Lake O’Hara circuit as a family.
  2. The trip was going to be too long and too jam packed to do it in one extended trip.

So the plan is to pick up Mark on his last day of school and drive out to Calgary and then Lake Louise for the night.  Camp and then head to Lake O’Hara for the first bus at 8:00 a.m.  We will camp up there and spend two nights and get in three solid days of hiking up there.  Jordon and I really want to complete the Lake O’Hara Circuit.

Then in August we will be a little more comfortable and start at Lake Louise again as a base camp and spend some time hiking around Lake Louise and Yoho before heading towards Jasper, hiking as we go.

That didn’t work out at all

So today was supposed to be a fun trip up to Waskesiu and Prince Albert National ParkMark had to work and so it was just going to be Oliver, Jordon and I.  We got to just past Rosthern and Jordon goes, “Umm, did you grab the Parks Canada pass?”  Doh!  No I had forgotten.  I did grab my camera strap though.  I’m not saying forgetting the Parks Canada pass was my fault but I am the one that has a special spot for it in a special envelope and always says, “I’m responsible for the Park pass.”   So let’s blame Jordon for this one.

So we turned around and headed back and then debated do we wait until Mark is done at 3:30 p.m. and then go for dinner or go next Sunday.  Since the Angry Taco is now closed and for sale, we just decided to get up early next Sunday and then the four of us go then.   Also, after reading several reviews that say that the Angry Taco is a horrible place to eat, I am starting to think I idealized in my memories how good it was.

For those of you who don’t know, Jordon and I vacationed in Waskesiu a year after I we were married.  This is when Jordon told me the big lie.  He told me that Lake Waskesiu is warm like a tropical lake and to jump right in.  It’s not.  It is a northern lake that is deep and cold and did I mention it is cold.  I almost killed him.

Last Thanksgiving when we had an amazing picnic on a secluded beach in Waskesiu, we all waded into the water.  It was beyond cold and brought back all sorts of cold memories.  Hopefully it is nice next weekend and if it is, I’ll brave it.

Also Jordon one time told Mark that he had an older brother Dad who was eaten by the Loch Ness Monster’s Canadian cousin, “Lockie” while on the breakwater at Waskesiu.  Mark didn’t buy it but when he came home and asked his Uncle Lee if had an older brother who had been eaten by a monster and Lee said, “Dan.  We miss him a lot.”  So Dan is kind of like Kenny from South Park.  He has died a lot of different ways on a lot of family trips.  The guys are so weird.

So with some suddenly free time, we came home and finalized our Christmas gifts.  The bad news is with Mark reading this blog daily (Hi Mark!) and Oliver being able to read, I can’t blog about what I am going to get them.  Well bad for Mark and Oliver that is.

Marley at Lake Louise

Marley at Lake Louise.  Photo by Mark Cooper

This is Marley just after she decided to join Jordon on a rock that was just off the path in Lake Louise.  She found out that her often useful claws don’t work on slick rocks and fell right in.  As she tried to extract herself from the water, she fell in again and for good measure, one more time.  The other tourists loved it and the entire episode was well covered by everyone else other than ourselves.  Credit to Mark for the great photo.

The weekend

  • Dinner tonight is Beer Can Chicken.  I haven’t made it in a while.
  • Today’s project was to prime some exterior windows and my front door.  Mission Accomplished.
  • I also found some time to get a new watch battery for Jordon’s Invicta but no luck on a new watch strap for his Casio that Marley chewed.  To the internet for that.   Changing the battery took soooooooooo loooooooooong.  Jordon was at work so I was texting him to waste time.  So glad I have an unlimited texting plan.
  • The boulevard that a city contractor tore up last year but didn’t reseed is coming along nicely but I had to Killex it today.  It is a bright green and looks good but the rest of the boulevard looks like crap even when fertilized, watered, and mowed.  That is part of the master plan.  The city planted really poor grass seed on the westside compared to what they planted on the eastside for decades.  Along the side of the house, we had to reseed much of it over the first few years and the new grass has spread a little each year.  That is the plan along the front of the house.  In 20 years or so it should look great for some other owner.
  • We are redecorating our living room.  We replaced the sailing photos and art that had been there for years with some vintage Canadian Pacific Railways travel posters.  We had them mounted on Gatorfoam and then on the walls.  Along with that, we have had some amazing travel photos printed at Don’s Photo from over the years that we are framing and mounting.  It’s a fun job and it is always nice to see some photos by you and of you mounted on the walls.
  • We are heading to Prince Albert National Park and Waskesiu tomorrow.  No real agenda.  After a long week around here, just looking to get away.   I plan to walk into the warm healing waters of Waskesiu Lake.  Wait?  It’s cold and freezing?  Maybe I’ll just ice cream.

Around here…

  • Jordon and I started talking about our 2017 holidays with Mark while in Banff.  Jordon posted the early version of what is up here.
  • Our sleeping bags weren’t warm enough so we picked up some 4 pound bags for next year.  The ground is cold in the mountains even if the air is warm.  Some nights the air was cool as well.
  • We are upgrading our towels to microfibre camp towels.  They take up far less space.
  • I suggested to Jordon that instead of getting a coffee press, he uses one of my travel tea presses.  Big mistake.  He was chewing on coffee grounds.  He went and bought himself a GSI Outdoors Coffee Press.  Finer filter, no grounds. 
  • We have a new sofa and loveseat.  Marley is struggling with the concept that she isn’t allowed up.
  • I like this photo Mark took of Jordon.

Jordon Cooper walks along the Lake Louise shore

  • We are heading up to Waskesiu for Thanksgiving.  If it is nice we will camp up there in there in the solitude.
  • Some tips I will need as I am getting older, how to age better.