Posts Tagged ‘Canada’

Past Perks of a Pilot’s Wife

August 6, 2010

Years back, my husband was stationed WAY up north in Alberta, Canada, flying Cessna 206s and a Britten Norman Islander in and out of remote Indian reservations along the Peace River.  Back in the good ol’ days, I was allowed to go flying with him if there was an empty seat in the plane.  I flew as much as possible and relished almost every minute of it.  One such enjoyable day started with a call from my pilot down at the airport, “I’m flying the chief and councilmen into Margaret Lake fishing lodge in the Islander.  Get our fishing poles and we can fish all day while they are in meetings.”  He flew for a Native Indian band and flying the chief was a big deal… fishing just made it that much more sweet!  With poles in hand, I met him on the ramp. 

I flew right seat and was happily viewing the extremely flat scenery on the 40 minute flight when I noticed something odd.  My pilot was not moving his head, but his eyes were roving to and fro…. searching for something.  In my mic I asked, “What are you doing?”  Not that the men could hear a word he said with the roar of the engines, but he quietly answered, “Look for two lakes next to each other.  I can’t find them.”  Ah.  Lost… with the chief in the back. Being a bit sarcastic, I suggested, “Ask them where it is.  They’ll know!”  No response from Mr. Roving Eye.  We eventually spotted the lakes and landed somewhat without incident.  The strip was usually 2,000 feet of solid dirt with a few grass patches, but for this occassion it was 2,000 feet of solid mud and a few grass patches.  Several moccasins had to have  mud wiped off of them after de-planing.

Being a supreme fishing queen, the anticipation of the day made my little casting heart beat with glee.  I assumed we would fish for several hours alone where the river ran into the lake.  How romantic!  Just me and my pilot.  Not so.  Seems the chief and his posse were supremely into fishing as well.  Their “meetings” were all hooked up and reeled in after the first hour.  They joined us on the banks in amongst the pine trees.  Unbeknownst to me, it turned out to be one of the best fishing days of my life.  I couldn’t throw the hook in without snagging a pike or a trout.  My pilot was genuinely happy for me…. in the beginning.  He was not experiencing the best fishing day of his life.  In fact, he couldn’t catch anything!  He snagged trees, lost hooks and finally just stood near me to take the hooks out of the mouths of the fish I kept pulling from the cool water.

The chief and councilmen noticed my supreme fishing ability (and probably my pilot’s too!)  They casually cast closer and closer to where I stood next to my haul on the bank at my feet.  The chief asked what I was using for bait.  Another wanted to see my lure.  Was I using weights?  Was I reeling quickly?  Where were the blinking fish hiding?

Wanting to keep his place of employment with these men, my pilot started giving my fish to them.  One at a time.  Two at a time.  Saving face is what I summed it up to be.  The brave Indians would now be returning home with booty from the fishing lodge…. and my pilot would still be their pilot

When we were all snug back in the plane, right before take-off, I heard one of the men comment under his breath, “Next time I’m bringing my woman.”  HAHA!  We dropped off each of them at their reservations with my fish in their hands and we returned to the hangar.  One of the other pilots asked if we had trouble finding the lakes.  “Nope!” I replied, making no eye contact with Mr. Roving Eye.  Then he asked how the fishing was.  “Not bad!  Want to see my fish?” and I proudly held up the one fish my pilot let me bring home for dinner. 

The moral of the story is: Give a man a fish and you’ll feed him for a day.  Give many men many fish and you’ll be able to keep feeding yourself.

Hep A + Hep B = Sore Arm

November 6, 2009

I hate shots.  Really hate them.  Needles just aren’t my deal.  At all.  The IV before giving birth was worse than giving birth in my books!

health-australia-vaccine-hepatitis-justice-41346

So today, I’m not feeling well, so I go to the doctor.  Low grade fever, pounding headache…. “seems there’s an infection so here’s your prescription… and let’s do the 2nd Hep A/B shot while you’re in the office.”  I wanted to cry and yell, “NO! I already don’t feel good!  Why poke my arm with the big, scary needle?”  But I just sat there and tried not to cry.  Low grade fevers, pounding headaches and the thought of getting a needle make me want to cry.  Really bad.  But I was brave and sucked it up.

Getting a needle is called “getting a needle” in Canada, but in America it’s called “getting a shot.”  Just some cultural trivia for you… for free.

Ten hours later, I can barely lift my left arm.  Is it supposed to hurt this much?  Am I just wimpy?  Say it isn’t so.  The first Hep A/B hurt, but I thought it was because I got tetanus the same day…. in the same arm.  I did cry that day.  But, I can barely lift my left arm.  I think I need some ice cream.  Pistachio Almond.  Yep, that will make me not think about my left arm that I can’t lift without experiencing pain.  Maybe the nurse hit a nerve or a bone or a muscle or something else that she wasn’t supposed to poke the needle into.

I did spend my evening with the girlfriends around the fire pit.  Good times.  I didn’t lift my left arm and I had a really nice time.  Now I’m home and whiney.  Time for beddy-bye.  Hopefully I’ll feel better in the morning.  Good night.

A Tribute to Our Homeland, Canada!

July 1, 2009

Happy Canada Day, eh!  Yes, July 1st is once again upon us… without much fanfare, sadly, down here in Arizona.  Not a Canada Day goes by in the Crosby household, however, without singing the national anthem, waving the maple leaf and using out Canadian table runner.  Yes, we actually do.  We’ll probably even listen to Bob and Doug’s Great White North song as well as the I Am Canadian song.  All true heartfelt melodies to our rich Canadian blood. 

In memory of our time in the Great White North (take off, eh!) here, for you, on this Canada Day, a photo tribute to the land in which we met, schooled, froze, birthed two children, played hockey, made lasting friends and of course, spent 10 year and had AWESOME gardens!

Rick and I met at Trinity Western University in Langley, BC., barely over the border.  I could literally run back to America in an afternoon, if need be.  Here is an enhanced photo of our campus.  The glittery blue water is more commonly known as “the swamp”.  But the greenness in the landscape is true as well as that train track on the lower right that ran FAR too close to our dorms in the middle of the night.

During college, we also lived in Fort Langley, a sleepy little historical town just north of the campus.  Again, we somehow gravitated to the train tracks…. unfortunately, much closer that time.  We lived in a basement suite at about 11:00 in the following picture, this side of the island. 

When we finished school, Rick accepted his first flying job in Fort Vermilion, Alberta, a dinky northern town nestled on the Peace River.

This is what we looked like when we took off our hoods:

Larisa was born while we lived in the North country, but we quickly moved south to the little town of Spruce Grove, Alberta, just outside of Edmonton, Rick’s birthplace.  It was an eight hour drive from the Fort… AND there was Taco Bell.  We had returned to civilization!  Whew.

We were only 15 minutes from West Edmonton Mall, known simply as “West Ed”, the largest mall in Canada.  It was sublime.  We spent many a day there shopping (obviously), seeing movies at the $2 theater, watching the dolphins, steering clear of Hooters and buying material at Fanny’s Fabrics.  There is even a gigantic water park to make it seem like you are really in some warmer climate in a balmier part of the earth.

It was in Edmonton that Austin was born and from the Edmonton area that we made our departure to my homeland, the United States of America, known in Canada simply as “The States“.  We have been in AZ for 12.5 years and we still miss Canada… from late May to early October.  Happy Canada Day, eh!

The Twelve Days ’til Christmas

December 13, 2008

Yes, it’s true.  Today is the day my true love gave me a partridge in a pear tree.  It reminds me of living in Northern Alberta and seeing plump prairie chickens running in the snow.  Long ago my husband tasted this festive bird at some feast on his reserve in Northern Quebec.  The fondly remembered mouth-watering taste prompted Rick to throw the car in park, grab the 2 foot long ice scraper and jump from the vehicle in pursuit of din-din.  Like I was going to pluck and cook the thing.  Gaahh…

prairie-chick

It happened yet again in Ministikwin Lake, Saskatchewan, but the second occurrence consisted of three Indians in hot pursuit of the flavor-filled bird.  Rick, his mom and his brother Terry all spotted the white and brown spotted bird, who had simultaneously spotted all of us… with at least 5 or 6 of our children adding to the noise and color in the silent white landscape of a Saskatchewan winter.  Rocks were thrown.  A sneaky sneak-around-the-back plan was enacted.  Much yelling and waving of arms occurred.  All was captured on video tape for posterity as the Native Canadian Indians were outsmarted by a bird.

I still haven’t tasted prairie chicken, but I have heartwarming memories of them in winter, brought on by the partridge in the pear tree.

Happy Thanksgiving to Fellow Canadians!

October 13, 2008

One of the many blessings of being dual citizens in being thankful twice a year on Thanksgiving!  Yes, the second Monday in October is Canadian Thanksgiving and is celebrated much like here in the States…. even with football.  The turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie are not always eaten on the Monday, but can be consumed (followed by turkey-stuffed comas on the couch) on Saturday, Sunday or Monday.  We Americans are a bit picky about our hallowed Thursday for Turkey and the such.

We have much to be thankful for: our loving God, our family far and near, our home, our health, our church family and most of the members of my family would add hockey to that sentimental list.  So to the Canadians in the crowd, Happy Thanksgiving!  Enjoy the holiday and be thankful. :o).  If you need a movie suggestion, I’d recommend The Ultimate Gift.  There is even a touching Thanksgiving scene to bring us all back to reality.  It is a MUST WATCH!

I think we’ll have some turkey dogs to celebrate with our countymen.  Here Here!

?#15 from My Sister’s Jar – Ministikwin Lake

August 18, 2008

OK, I realize this blog is called My Sister’s Jar… and I haven’t pulled a question from the jar in three months.  Either I had to go in WordPress and figure out how to change the name of the blog OR open the jar and get with the program.  Even though I’m reading the book Do Hard Things, I chose the easy route this morning.

Tell about a time you accepted change and how it impacted your life.

It was the Christmas season of 2004 and my sister’s family had arrived from Washington to spend three weeks in Phoenix with the rest of our extended family.  They only come every other year, so we were all looking forward to games and food and fun, especially the nine grandkids.  About a week before Christmas, my dear husband told me that he had a Boxing Day surprise for me.  (That is a Canadian holiday on Dec. 26th.)  Anticipation and glee filled my heart, as I LOVE surprises.  Not knowing makes my mind go WILD with wonder and it simply causes life to be extra exciting.  That was all blown to bits when he told me that my surprise was a family road trip to Ministikwin Lake, Saskatchewan…. an 1890 mile ONE-WAY trip straight north from Phoenix to Canada’s frozen tundra.  Rick’s parents rented a teeny log-cabin on the frozen-solid lake and his brother’s family was also going.  Now, Crosby family get togethers are filled with fun, laughter and frivolity, but keep in mind it was December…. AND MY SISTER’S FAMILY WAS VISITING.

I’d like to report that I smiled and said, “Sure, honey!” but it didn’t go down that smoothly between us.  In fact there were several lively discussion behind closed doors.  With tears in my eyes, I found my carefully prepared Christmas list in Rick’s wallet.  I crossed out everything on the list, wrote PARKA in big letters and handed it back to him.   (This was the ‘accepting change’ part of the story.)

Anyway, we drove for three days through rain and sleet and even snow to a 700 square foot cabin where 13 of us stayed for a week.  It was cozy, to say the absolute least.  Did I mention that it was MINUS FIFTY DEGREES? An “arena” was cleared on the lake and the men and kids were captivated with hockey the entire week.  I did a puzzle.  Pictured below are five cousins from three families and Jennie, my sister-in-law, the black scary-looking-bank-robberish one from www.bagsforzaza.blogspot.com   NEW BAGS up TODAY!

There are about 27 blogs that will eventually be written from our time on Ministikwin Lake (a claustrophobic attack at 3 am, the Canadian candy bar taste test, the faiwwies, THE trek to the remains of the EP club, the missing tooth, the frozen blanket stuck to the wall, the tip jar, the garage sale on top bunk #2, just to name a few), but onto the second part of the question: how did it impact my life?  Well, we’re still married.  The forced trek north did go down in the family history books as “the maddest I’ve ever been” but, like I said, we’re still happily married.  Sometimes you just have to give in and do what you DON’T want to do to keep the peace. It’s like my momma used to say, “Do something you don’t want to do every day.  It makes you a better person.”

This is Aus right before frostbite set in.  His face was frozen like this.  (kidding)  The moral of the story is “when life hands you snow, make snowballs with rocks in them and annihilate your opponent.” (It really does make you feel better.)  Great family memories were made… and I have a really nice parka out of the deal.

The Life of a Pilot’s Wife

August 12, 2008

Fort Vermilion Air Strip c. 1991

The life of a pilot’s wife seems to invoke visions of grandeur in the minds of those who have never been a pilot’s wife.  I’m here today to disprove inaccurate information and lay the truth out for all to witness.  First of all, just have a looksie at the harsh weather conditions we were faced with for three years!  I’m a California girl and that’s a parka with fox fur trim, moose hide mitts (made by Rick’s grandma, Googum) and Sorels!  I’d never tried on boots that came in two parts until we moved to Fort Vermilion, Alberta.  Luckily they came in hot pink!  I guess that the weather was not due to being a pilot’s wife… it was due to a newbie pilot putting in his ‘time’ in the North before heading to bluer skies in warmer climates. 

Just a few glimpses into the strange happenings of a pilot’s family are indeed overdue. 

Glimpse #1.  We were driving our 1971 Toyota Corona Deluxe late at night when the dash lights cut out.  Rick yelled, “The instrument panel is offline!”  I yelled back, “Luckily we’re safe on the ground!”  Made me wonder if he thought he was flying a plane…. they don’t have to pay quite as close attention when they’re up in the air… hmmmmm.

Glimpse #2.  It was the middle of the night and I was stirred from blissful sleep as Rick sat up in bed and yelled, “More left power!”  I replied, “Roger that,” and he laid back down having never woken up at all.  :o)  I wonder what would have happened if I yelled, “Man overboard?”

Glimpse #3.  Anytime you call a pilot for an address or a name they always spell it in the phonetic alphabet.  Over the years I’ve gotten used to it, but it was a surprise for others when Rick said we lived on Yankee Uniform Charlie Charlie Alpha Street.  I’ve still not figured out the numbers… niner, niner… whatever.  I just add er to the end of all of them.   Oner, Twoer, Threeer.  (mockful, I realize.)

Glimpse #4.  We needed a new washing machine and were sitting together, husband and wife, reading washer reviews online.  I would suggest a model.  He would say, “18 cycles!  How many did our old washer have?”  “12”  “Why do we need 6 more?  Our clothes were clean with 12.”  I explained that the new and improved cycles were for specific washing cycles that would be useful.  He didn’t get it.  This went on and on for about an hour.  Finally I lovingly explained, “When you buy an airplane, do you want me sitting there saying, ‘Ailerons?  How many ailerons did your last plane have?  Did you use both of them?’ ”  And he let me pick out my washing machine all by myself.  You gotta talk to a pilot in pilot smack.

Glimpse #5.  I asked Rick to put in a load of laundry.  We have a new fangled LG frontloader that lights up like a cockpit when you hit the magic button.  I heard the laundry basket hit the floor.  The door opened.  Loading.  Door closed.  And then there was silence for about four minutes.  He eventually hollered, “I’m not checked out on this machine.”  WHAT?  There’s only 5 buttons on the washer.  How many are in the cockpit?  Laundry Flight Training followed.

Glimpse #6.  Important Terms to Know:  Gas is for cars.  Fuel is for planes.  We saw a bumper sticker that said, “I love the smell of Jet A early in the morning.”  Rick chuckled.  I didn’t get it.  Jet fuel stinks.  My pilot tried to explain that it is such a familiar smell that means good times are coming.  I guess it’s like the smell of the glue gun??  The sunscreen???  The movie popcorn????

And no, I don’t get to fly with him in his current job, something to do with insurance.  No frequent flyer miles here.  No jump seat privileges.  It’s a glamorous life, for sure!

Happy Canada Day!

July 1, 2008

Yes, July 1st is Canada’s Birthday as opposed to Independence Day here in the States.  They don’t call it Independence Day because they didn’t become totally dependent in their own right with all ties severed from England until 1982.  No, not a typo.  Who wants to celebrate partial independence?  Not me.  Hey, let’s call it a birthday so we can still have a national holiday!  Good idea, eh.

A slight Canadian history lesson is indeed needed, appropriately offered by a dual American-Canadian citizen…. ME.  The only reason I know anything about the history of Canada is because I went to college in British Columbia and took HIST 101: Canadian History for Dummies.  There I not only learned of the beaver’s importance to the nation, but I learned that Canada was actually going to be called a kingdom (you know, like Narnia, with lampposts and snow and beavers)….. but the rulers at the time didn’t desire to antagonize the US having just been through the Civil War, so settled on the title ‘Dominion.’   

It was July 1, 1867 when three British colonies joined forces into a federation following the 91-year-old bright idea of the settlers south of the border.  At that time the colonies were New Brunswick and Nova Scotia (home of the Crosbys), which are still provinces today, and the Province of Canada which split and became Ontario and Quebec. Voila!  The birth of a nation kingdom dominion.

Nuff said.  (I think I’ll have my kids read this.)

Hey, new bags are up at www.bagsforzaza.blogspot.com.  Check ’em out, eh.  Good day.

?#1 from My Sister’s Jar – Fav Holiday

February 2, 2008

Tell about a favorite holiday tradition you had growing up.

Who doesn’t love Christmas? Well, you know, other than Orthodox Jewish people.  There are so many little gems wrapped up in my mind involving traditions, tastes, sights, smells, feelings and songs.

Spritz.  Mom would make those darling, dainty pressed-cookies each year that melted in your mouth as sugar-buttery goodness.  Yum!

Carolling.  Not that we participated much, but I loved the few successful times we did.  One was in Fort Vermilion, Alberta when Dad, Mom and Christy came up for a -40 degree Christmas.  We sang four part harmony to the Hepburns on a crystal clear, freezing night under the moonlight.  It was delightful.

Candlelight Church Services.  I’ve only been to 3 or 4, but there is something holy about candle light in Jesus’ house on his birthday.  Of course, not a single candle-lit service passed without me visualizing Michael Jackson’s hair bursting into flames on that Coke commercial.

Nanaimo Bars.  Many Canadian mothers made ’em.  Only mine cut the custard layer and hand-spread the chocolate on each one.  You know, those chocolated-then-cut bars always tasted a little cheap to me.

Christmas Lights.  Sparkling lights on houses and in yards are so beautiful ~ especially in snow. I think that is the lone happy memory I have about living in Northern Canada in the wintertime – OK, that’s two, counting the four part carolling aforementioned.  One year when we lived in Spruce Grove, we drove into Edmonton with all the Crosby’s in our party van.  We went to Candy Cane Lane and drove with the windows down and the sliding door open.  OK, freezing but fun.

Fire in the Fireplace.  Crackling.  Popping.  Hissing.  Spitting.  There’s something LIVE in a fire.  I also am secretly addicted to staying warm – so a toasty hearth draws me like a fly to fly paper.

The Empty Ornament Box.  It was 1992… or was it ’93? We were stuck in Fort Vermilion for Christmas so my family sent a box of gifts to us.  I don’t remember any other contents of that box – but a single small package addressed to Rick.  It was an empty box that was supposed to have a Hallmark ornament in it.  Mom never checked if it was actually in there when she bought it… and well… it wasn’t… mailed 2,000 miles to the frozen tundra…empty.  Still makes me smile.

Drift Wood Angel.  Dad’s cousin Jo painted an angel on a large piece of driftwood that hung near our entry all the days of my childhood.  When tole-painted angels on driftwood finally went out of style ~ I inherited it… in 2005.  I have proudly hung the slab in our entry ever since.  Long live driftwood angels!  Noel.