I’m Always Surprised When I Find Stuff in Assiniboia

Shopping options in Assiniboia are rather dismal. I never plan on being able to find anything I’m looking for, but sometimes I get surprised. So when I went to town today to run a bunch of errands, I did have at the back of my mind four things that I wish I’d worked harder at getting for my trip, but I wasn’t going to make an effort to look for. I came home with three of the four!

Shopper’s Drugmart had the most unexpected item, a set of luggage locks, and they are better quality for less than the cheapest ones I’d found on Amazon. I’ve been going back and forth on whether or not to get some since they seem rather useless, but I thought I might sleep better on public transportation if there’s a minuscule added layer of security to my bags.

The Bargain!Shop had the second item, I decent pair of earbuds with an inline mic. They’re nowhere as sturdy feeling as the pair I’m using now, but they were super inexpensive and will mean I have a backup. The sound quality appears comparable.

Finally, Slice Athletic Wear is going out of business. I’d never been in the store and rarely go to that end of town, but I passed it on my way down 13 to take the 36 to Willow Bunch and thought they might have a fleece jacket since I’m not 100% satisfied with either one of my current options. Nope, but I did find a much better pair of black leggings than the ones I was about to leave with, which I knew I’d curse my whole time away, for a fraction of what I would have paid for decent leggings online, especially including shipping.

It was a very fruitful run to town. I also dealt with insurance matters for my truck, got my equity cheque from the Co-Op ($41), and had lunch. Then, I drove to Willow Bunch for an event at the museum that will be the subject of its own post later. Now, I have to get back to work!

A Worthwhile Muddy Drive

Today was the Willow Bunch Community Garage Sale. I don’t know if it’s the population dwindling or if it was the weather, but not very many people participated. As I drove through town looking for balloons and signs around 9:30, I thought my outing would be a bust. Ha!

I drove past the first home that had stuff for sale because it seemed too small to be worth my time. Silly Rae! I went back, thankfully, and found something I have been looking for for ages:


It’s a small good quality dry erase monthly calendar. I’ve been using a dry erase board for years to track my transcription load, but there was only room to write out a week at a time. You might be surprised that I don’t use an app for that, but I haven’t found a calendar or task app that can let me manage my queue in an effective manner. I can just glance at the board, with each of my clients being colour-coded, and easily move things around. This will get a lot of use!

I also found these:


They are real leather and are brand new. I will be really happy next time I head to Mexico to have so many good pairs of sandals at the ready!

Then, I went to the library as they were advertising books and magazines for very little. With my line of work, I’m often too brain dead to read anything substantial in the evening, but magazine articles are just the right length. Well, the library took advantage of me:


The sign said to fill a bag for 25 cents so I was trying to not be greedy and just grabbed a few of whatever titles that interested me, like Our Canada, Canadian Living, and Canadian Geographic. One of the library ladies said, “Oh, someone wants magazines! Yay! What are you interested in?” I told her and she put all the rest of the aforementioned magazines in my bag, a couple of National Geographics, and a bunch of Tastes of Home (good recipes). She would have kept going with more, but that was enough! I paid 50 cents for this whole stack. I can’t wait for the next nice afternoon that I can knock off around 4:00 and go sit in my swing with some of these and my last cold beer!

Next stop was the thrift store. I got a nice tee-shirt and a not-so-nice (pilly and a bit worn) maxi skirt that will be great for just wearing around the house when I’ve got projects on the go and don’t want to have to worry about stains. I also found:


These are heavy duty appliance casters (wheels) that should work well for my plan to build a rolling platform for my table saw.

And then, for nostalgia’s sake, I picked this up:


These are the exact kinds of locks we used when I was in high school. Twenty years later, I still remembered how to spin it. The combination is on the back so, yes, I was able to test it. And, yes, I need to memorise said combination and remove the sticker! 🙂

Next stop was a house advertising a bunch of tools. I showed up late and all the good stuff had been picked through, but I got an Allen key set, a mallet, and two tape measures. The guy had so many tape measures he said he’d just give me the second one, so I grabbed it! Now, I can keep one in each out building and one in the RV!

It was still a bit too early for lunch at this point (BBQ at the seniors’ centre), so I decided to mosey on over to the Willow Bunch Museum to see the new Métis room (I have an invitation to attend the official opening on June 21st). I caught up with Nichole at the front desk and then she said to pick out anything I wanted in the gift shop, like a jacket, as a thank you for all the translation I do for them! I was shocked! I tried on a few different ones and this was a winner:


The shimmery olive colour doesn’t translate well to the screen, but it’s really luxe and will go with everything. The inside is fleece and the outside is apparently water repellent (according to the tag), although I’m not holding my breath about that.


Can you imagine how much use I’m going to get out of it?! It’s going to be a great hiking jacket. It’s going to Bulgaria with me if I end up deciding to stay up in the mountains.

It does break one of my rules not to wear things with logos and place names:


But I can live with it. 😉 I’m still reeling from shock at what a nice gift this is!

I then did a blip through the museum, making a note of some of the signs that I need to translate. The new Métis room is really impressive and I’ll make a point to go with my camera next time so I can do a blog write-up.

My next to last stop was the seniors’ centre for the BBB. $5 gave you a choice of a hamburger with a really skinny patty or two hot dogs, plus either water, pop, coffee, or ice cream. I went for two hot dogs with water since I was really hungry and I knew the burger would not be enough. My neighbour Caroline, two of her houseguests, and another neighbour were there, so I joined them. They’d gone for the hamburgers and ice cream. Thankfully, there was only vanilla or strawberry, so I wasn’t tempted. Plus, it was damp and cold, not ice cream weather at all! My hot dogs were good (Mexico spoiled me in that regard!), with the bun being cold but the dogs themselves perfectly BBQed (I expressly asked for the ones that were set aside for being a little too charred). We were all happy with our lunch and happy to support the seniors’ centre.

Finally, we all went to the food store to pick up a few sundries. I just wanted Chinese-style soy sauce for a pork roast marinade and it was on mega sale, yay! I also got a tub of my favourite plain Greek yoghurt for half off, woohoo!

Not counting the food store stop, my budget today was $20, $15 for shopping and $5 for lunch. I came in $2 under budget. 😀

The drive home sucked, though. It was pouring rain and the gravel road was very muddy and slick. I was slipping and sliding all over the place, even at a crawl, and really glad to get home!

A Perfect Saturday At Haven

I awoke early to a pretty cold rig and turned on my mattress warmer, then dozed as my furnace kicked on and started to warm the rig to a more acceptable temperature. I had a warm spot that was just right and so no motivation at all to get up.  I read for ages and eventually got up around 7:30.

Then, I got right to work. I had my first assignment for a new client, so I spent the morning focused on that. Once I was satisfied with the file, I sent it off then went to Willow Bunch to visit the thrift store. There, I picked up good rain boots and a pair of barely used shoes for just $5, totally worth the drive down! I also visited the new food store, getting a really good deal on cereal. I’m glad Willow Bunch has a food store again after the Co-Op shut down the old one.

I got home around three and started to work on some translation for the Willow Bunch Museum (volunteer work) when the phone rang. It was my neighbour Caroline requesting assistance with their new-to-them fiver. I went over and showed them how to light the oven and stove (there had been air in the propane lines), work the fridge, and start the furnace. I’ll help with the water system next week when they dewinterize.

That earned me a glass of wine (okay, I stopped counting at three) and an invitation to stay for dinner! Caroline’s been curing meat, so she needed a test subject for her ham! We had that with apple sauce, Brussels sprouts (complete with a bread crumb topping), corn (complete with feta), and scalloped potatoes with cheese. Yum! Good thing I don’t eat like that every night!

I also got in loads of cuddling with their dog Brutus and one of their cats. I got lots of that yesterday, too, since Caroline and Charles were gone all day and they’d asked me to go in and try to coax Brutus out sometime in the afternoon. He was distraught that his humans were gone and it was only by sitting in a chair in the living room and cuddling with him for a long while that I was able to get him to go out — several hours later. He’s a stereotypical sweet old man stuck in his routine. I just adore him!

Today was also the first sunny day we’ve had since the weather turned on Tuesday. It’s been chilly, but since these are more seasonal temps, I can’t complain.

Perfect days at Haven are mundane and I wouldn’t have them any other way!

Great Plains Concert in Willow Bunch

Tonight, I had the great pleasure of attending a Great Plains concert for the second time. Great Plains are Saskia and Darrel, who happen to be good friends of C&C as well as lovely people and very talented folk singers. They play both their original songs and covers of famous songs, like Jolene and The Boxer. My favourite is My Father’s Land and I bought their Celtic CD, which has that song on it.

I left my hearth and home when I was barely grown
Set my eyes on foreign skies and distant roads
I wandered aimlessly without a care or plan
I always thought I’d once more walk my father’s land


I’ve been a sailing, I crossed the ocean blue
And I’ve seen old Mexico, I’ve walked those desert sands
There’s just one thing more in this life I have to do
That’s to walk those green hills of my father’s land

The event was a fundraiser for the Willow Bunch Museum. There were goodies at intermission where, after getting a brief glimpse of the eclipse and the blood moon (two shows in one night!), I enjoyed a glass of crisp white wine and some cheese, and perhaps a Nanaimo bar or two, before listening to the second half of the show.

Saskia and Darrel are wonderful performers, very lively and funny. Their music made me sob one second (Porchlight) and laugh the next (Cabin Fever, where the bit about the propane freezing during a practically brutal cold spell is when I started to cry mirthful tears at the memories of my one SK winter in my RV).

What an unusual treat for a Sunday night to go listen to some live music! I am so fortunate that arts and culture are valued in this area and that events like these just 10 minutes from Haven aren’t unusual. I really should take better advantage of them!

Beautiful Saturday

I’m slowly adjusting to having regular weekends and surprised by how long the days seem sometime. Take today, it’s not even 3:00 yet as I start this post and it’s been quite full!

I woke up around 6:00ish and read for about an hour in bed before getting up and making a particularly good cup of coffee, then breakfast. Then, I spent some time online reading fun blogs and catching up on emails. I caught up on some bookkeeping tasks before getting up to go do a deep clean of the kitchen proper in anticipation of leaving next month.

Around 11:00, I headed to C&C’s. I’d asked Charles, our local pest control officer, to prepare some mouse poison for me since I have active ones in the RV and the cabin and Caroline told me last night, over an impromptu glass of wine, to come by today at some point to get tomatoes. I came home just shy of noon and distributed the poison, then went in to turn the very ripe tomatoes into a fresh sauce, glad that I had remembered to buy both a ‘new’ garlic press from the Salvation Army and some dried basil at the grocery store when I was in town Thursday.

It was 1:00 by the time lunch was done and I decided to head to the thrift store in Willow Bunch. It was just too lovely a day not to go for a drive! I checked the oil in the truck before going out, then headed east.

The store was quite busy today, but there wasn’t much new stuff. I did a circuit and was about to leave empty-handed when something told me to check the coats again. There, I finally found a nice raincoat! It’s a tad big on me, but a definite improvement over my now humongous orange raincoat that I’d bought for the Chilkoot. It was only $3!

Coming out, I decided to see if the grocery store was still open as I was told it’s closing at the end of this month. Indeed, but they were having a going out of business sale with everything but meat and milk being 50% off. I was torn between being excited at the deals and sad at the loss of this vital Willow Bunch business.

Mindful that I’m leaving in a month, I still came out of there with $60 worth of groceries for $30, including two tins of coffee. They actually had the bigger containers of the dark roast that are better value than the little ones, but I’d rather pay a little more and not open up a huge amount of coffee at one time to keep it somewhat fresh. I also caved and bought some flour and a giant bag of chocolate chips to use up the rest of my bananas since we are heading out of frozen dessert weather… but I also couldn’t resist a $4 tub of Breyer’s cookies and cream ice cream! My favourite Hawaiian pizzas were available, too, so I got a couple, and I had fun fitting them and the ice cream in the freezer when I got home! I may also have come home with three jars of ‘hot dog relish’ (mustard mixed with relish) to bring down to Mexico with me… 🙂

I’m not sure what I’ll do with the rest of my day. But with it being so sunny and lovely and warm, I think there’s a swing and a good book in my future!