A tribute comes full circle



Our little guy has become a huge Michael Jackson fan. I admire him for that as he is learning dance moves I never had and is getting quite good. Every evening he has a new step, new move, new expression he tries out on us. It is really entertaining.

XBOX has a Michael Jackson, sing and dance, with Connect and microphone the entire show is there waiting to be watched.

Something New This Way Comes

So, it has been a while since posting last. My family is doing great as we are residing in Northern Alberta. The Fall laves and weather has been nothing but beautiful (please visit my Facebook site for pictures: https://www.facebook.com/jason.barnes.9400). We are ready for winter and look forward to all that the cold weather has to offer. The area turns into a playground for skiing, sledding, cross-country skiing, and tubing. So, let the snow fall and the fun begin.

Family Matters

I recall in the early nineties when my grandmother approached me with a newspaper article of a guy making news for starting a rock band. He left university and formed a band: NIN or Nine Inch Nails. My grandmother mentioned I was related to Danny Lohner. “How could that be?” I asked.

My grandmother, Marie Louise Barnes earned her music degree in 1932 from the Schools of the Sacred Heart in Grand Coteau, Louisiana. She played and taught piano for all of her life; very talented. So, I knew music was part of our family.

After conducting research, Ruth Hall Barnes (my granddad’s mother) had two children: Chester F. Barnes, Sr. (my Granddad) and Daphne Barnes Pitman.

Daphne Barnes Pitman was married to Omhar Pitman. My great uncle Omhar Pitman, Jr. and his sister Nancy, who live in Corpus Christy, Texas. When I was really young my family visited Omhar and his family. I use to call him “uncle lawnmower” as I could not say Omhar. Omhar Pitman’s mother (Daphne Barnes Pitman) is sister to my grandfather Chester Franklin Barnes, Sr. Daphne was married to Omar Pitman, Sr.

Last I know, Omar Pitman, Sr. moved to McAllen, Texas and is Danny Lohner’s uncle. While Omar Pitman, Jr. lives in San Antonio and his sister is Danny Lohner’s Mom.

Let The Memories Begin – Barnes Family Disney 2013

Let The Memories Begin as Disney says, “Time with loved ones is precious. And since moments like these are only available for so long before they quickly become the past, there’s no better time than the present to make some memories that will last a lifetime.” Quotes like this justify our visits to Disney year after year.

The Mickey Not So Scary Halloween party was a great success this year. We decided to attend twice. One time for the candy and trick or treating and the other to ride rides. We are glad we did. A couple of notes on the “Boo to You” parade: settle between Frontier Land and Liberty Square because Woody, Jessie, and Bullseye characters have a dance party with great songs. Make sure to bring PhotoPass as photographers are ready to take photos of the fun.

Our recent trip to Disney World was a real growth moment for our son. He has graduated from Big Thunder Mountain roller coaster to Rock N’ Roll roller coaster. A great time had by all with more than over coming fear of the unknown and creating memories lasting a lifetime.

Rock N Roll Roller Coaster 2013

Family Journey

A Journey into the past: Drumheller, AB

Our journey started in the early morning when the cab pulled up to take us to the airport. Half a sleep we made it to the airport thirty to forty minutes before our flight. After security and settling into our seats we were ready to begin our adventure.

Arriving in Calgary we rented an SUV to get us to Drumheller, AB.

Drumheller, AB

Drumheller, AB

The terrain was unlike any place we have ever seen. Once the largest coal producer and now second largest gas deposit in Alberta, Drumheller is around 110 square kilometers with a population of about 8,000 people.

Climbing up the stairs inside of an 86 foot tall T-rex was exciting. The view from the mouth of this huge dino was incredible.

Drumheller T-Rex

Drumheller T-Rex

The Royal Tyrrell Museum is a must see for any explorer with paleontology interests. The museum is modern and has many interactive features for kids (adults too). The gift shop has reasonably priced items with a large selection. However, don’t forget the retailers in the area who also sell a wide variety of fossils and minerals. Our little guy enjoyed the Fossil World Dinosaur Discovery Centre with the fossil dig and climbing wall. Two other places to see in Drumheller are the Hoodoos and Alta Mine. The Hoodoos are naturally occurring rock formations as seen here Hoodoo. The Alta Mine and suspension bridge as also fun to see.

The next day we drove down into Montana, USA and toured through Glacier National Park. An amazing park where wildlife is all around. Upon entering into the park we spotted a fox carrying a meal for the evening (squirrel) in his mouth. We also saw a couple of white mountain goats. The Going-to-the-sun road was very interesting and a challenge at times to navigate. Another place we visited while in the area was Whitefish mountain for some zip-lining fun. Also, make sure you check out Pescado Blanco for good mexican food.

Back in Canada! The route took us up Piegan / Carway – US Hwy 89 / AB Hwy 2 to take us back to Canmore. We toured through Banff National Park A couple of fun things we did was take the Banff Gondola up to the top to check out the observation decks on top of Sulphur Mountain.

Sulphur Mountain

Sulphur Mountain

A top of the Sulphur Mountain Cosmic Ray Station. Close to the Magnetic Pole, the station was built to monitor solar-flare generated cosmic rays. (2,451 meters high). BTW, 6,000 golden eagles migrate per year. Lake Louise was also an incredible site to see. Six glaciers feed the lake with water temp of 10c/50f. The glaciers grind the rock and silt bottom of lake absorb the colour except aqua blue.
Lake Louise Gondola

Lake Louise Gondola

The Wildlife Interpretive Centre was amazing and detailed many of the areas wildlife. Plan to have a quick snack at the Great Divide Lodge and watch the ground squirrels run around the grounds.

While in Banff are we did eat at two different restaurants we thought worth mentioning: Aroma Mexican Restaurant in Banff, AB and Luna Blue Resturant in Canmore, AB.

The final leg of our tour ended with an incredible horseback ride though the mountains. Rafter Six Ranch has one of the worlds largest log lodges with three stories and eighteen rooms. The guide took our little guy up front with her and helped him with his first horse ride.

Horse Ride

Horse Ride

Happy Trails Ya’ll!

One of my favorite adventures that took place last year included a plane ride over Fort McMurray, oil sands sites, and Mac Island. Not shown in this photo is the new Shell Place expansion. Below is a link to this expansion:


Sustainability and Collaboration

A photo I took while touring the oil sands 2012.

“We have a bright future” are the words heard often in rapid growing communities. I believe the key to allowing smart growth to occur are practices around “Sustainability” and “Collaboration.”

Someone once said, “Children are phenomenal change agents” and must add we are all phenomenal change agents. As we change within our community take time to discover all of the abundant resources available.