My blog

A little bit about me and a lot about the things we do.

Saturday, 30 November 2013

The Tree

I have learned a lot coming to Saskatchewan, for example....
  • all vehicles in Saskatchewan come with a block heater.  It's standard.  In Ontario, it is something additional that you pay to have put in your vehicle.  Once you have lived through a winter here, you know why.
  • when you have a motorcycle and want to go for a little ride....you go out of the city on the one paved road and return the same way.  In Ontario, we lived in the city of Quinte West where the mayor at the time made it his campaign to make every  road in his jurisdiction paved.  That included many country roads.  We could drive in all directions for many miles all on paved roads and never use the same road twice.
  • Saskatchewan people are friendly!  When you walk down the street and say hi.  If you don't, they may think you are from Ontario.  Sorry Ontario people but I have noticed a real difference in this province.  It might be that there are just over 1,000,000 people reside in this province or it could be that they are just friendly people. Whatever it is, I like it.
  • If you are not a football fan you really feel left out during that season and if you happen to be a fan and not a Roughriders fan...run!  We actually did flash backs to see the score for the Grey Cup game...is that what it is called?
The province (like all provinces) has its own lingo and if you are going to live here you need to learn a few new words.
  • Bunny hug: A hooded fleece top that is either a pull over or has a front zipper. Elsewhere it's a hoodie.  This is my personal favourite.
  • Grid Road: A dirt road that has a gravel top. It is so named because the roads were developed in a grid pattern.  We call these country roads, back roads, or gravel roads.
  • P.A.: The short form of the city of Prince Albert.  I always thought it stood for Pennsylvania.
  • Speedy Creek: A nickname for the city of Swift Current.
  • Supper: The evening meal. Dinner refers to lunch or the meal served at noon hour.  Good thing to remember if you are inviting someone for dinner....it means noon time.  We call this lunch.
  • Semi:  a transport truck....we can them transports????
  • Quad:  An all-terrain vehicle, 4 wheel recreational vehicle.  We call them 4-wheelers.  I guess this could apply to most vehicles.
  • Coulee:  small valley.  We call it a valley.
  • Slough:  an area of soft, muddy ground.  In other words a swamp.
It becomes very interesting listening and learning and sometimes even using the terminology.  The best though is the tree.  While living in Swift Current a common landmark was the tree.  Ron might get called out to an accident and the directions would be just a mile or so past the tree.  On our way to Swift this past weekend I took pictures of the tree.
 



You might notice why the tree is a recognizable landmark....not too many trees around.  So the tradition is honk as you go by.  Saskatchewan is growing on me much more than the trees are growing in the south.  I think I will grab my bunny hug and do my school work.

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Home is....

Where your heart is.
Where I hang my hat.
Where my furniture is.
 
Where is home?  When we travel to Ontario to see our family and where we were raised and lived for most of our lives we say that we are going home.  After our time there we pack up and tell people we are going back home to Saskatchewan.
 
This past weekend we had another "going home" experience.  We left Deschambault Lake early Friday morning.
-35 degrees Celsius
Beautiful snow covered trees

 It was so cold out that the windows would hardly stay defrosted.  We watched the sun come up and we continued to drive.

When we got to Saskatoon the ice crystals in the air made rainbows in the sky.  We continued to drive until we put 8 hours behind us to arrive in Swift Current where we lived for only 4 years and had moved from there in June of this year.  It was so strange....it felt like we were coming home.

On Friday night we were anxious to meet with some great friends and so we set up a coffee date at McDonalds with Nelda, John, Bruce, Lynne, Casey and Brad.  It was so great to hear about their last few months and for us to share about our life now.  Nelda, who is the sweetest person blessed me with a Christmas gift but I already feel blessed just to have her as my friend.

On Saturday we packed as much visiting as we could get into one day.  First a quick stop at my hairdressers for an overdue appointment, coffee with one of Ron's young partners, lunch with 2 of his partners and one of their families and then an afternoon visit to Bruce & Lynne's to see their renovations....very nice.  Our main reason for making the trip was to go to a retirement dinner for an executive that I had worked with/for.  Again, it was so nice to see people that I worked with and to especially enjoy visiting with Kevin & Roxane, another couple of great friends that we met while living there.  I not only worked with Roxane but we went to the same church and so spent quite a bit of time together.  She is another one of those special people.

On Sunday I got up early in anticipation for a tea date with my tea partner from work.  Catherine of cornerofcatsmind became a very special friend.  We shared a lot on our tea walks especially when it was nice and the weather demanded us to go through the park or take one more block.  We have kept in contact since and I was so thrilled that it worked out that we could have this visit.  We only had about one hour so we did a bit of speed talking and she was so sweet to buy a set of new mugs for me to enjoy my tea...and she bought matching ones for herself so it is kind of like having tea together.  She also mentioned that it was nice for me to be "home."

One more stop....our great church.  It was indeed like going home.  Since moving we are not always able to get to church on Sunday and often I listen to Pastor Paul's sermons via webcast but it was great to be there in person.  He mentioned that it was great to have us home.  I also got my baby fix through the service by being able to hold the newest member of Family Community Church.
Baby Morgan

So home is...where you feel welcome and loved.  I guess Swift Current is another home for us.

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Yukon Trip - Conclusion

All good things must come to an end.  We got to see and do so many things:
  • spend time with my boy and his girl
  • trip to Liard Hot Springs to soak in the relaxing water
  • saw a Yukon Wolf, a couple of foxes, Mountain Goat, Reindeer (Caribou), buffalo and deer all in the wild
  • walked through the Yukon Wildlife Area....beautiful scenery and lots more great animal stops
  • trip to Carcross and Skagway
  • got to see sled dogs, lots of them!
  • went for nice walks, played lots of games, enjoyed a great dinner that Stephen made
  • had our late Thanksgiving/early Christmas dinner together
  • watched the cat and dog interact
but now...Tuesday morning has arrived.  We got up before 5:00 a.m.  Stephen dropped us off at the
small airport at 5:30 a.m.  Our flight was due to leave at 6:15 a.m.  We walked in the door and up to the desk only to be reprimanded for being late.  The flight was leaving at 5:50 a.m.  I had gotten emails a month earlier about the change but knowing that we would not have internet at Stephen's I ran off the first itinerary when I booked the flight.  It was so frustrating.  The airport was small.  The plane was right there and they refused to let us on.  Well, for those who know me you know what happened next.  They tried to send us back home to figure out our plans but with tears in my eyes I refused to go.  We needed to figure it out now.  She finally gave me a 1-800 number and directed me to a pay phone....the plane is still there!!! 
Over in a dark corner (3 out of 4 lights were burned out) I explained my situation to a very unresponsive individual.  Finally Ron went and asked the woman that had turned us away to come and talk to the person on the phone to help us find a way home.  When she got off the phone she was much more compassionate to our situation because of how confusing "our help desk" man was.  Finally with three people  putting their heads together they were able to find us a way home the next day on the 5:50 a.m. flight....not to mention it cost us an additional $1300.00.


Ron and I decided not to waste the day with the what ifs.   We missed the flight and we had an extra day in Whitehorse.  It was hard to let it go but off we went to check out the city a little more, buy a few things and plan another supper.

Next morning we were out of the house by 4:20 a.m.  We checked our bags and then had to sit and wait to go through security clearance.  As we waited to board the plane frustration picked up once again.  At 5:35 a.m. when we could have gotten through security clearance the day before everyone was sitting waiting to board the plane.  At 5:50 a.m. when the plane was scheduled to leave they began to board.  The plane taxied out at 6:13 a.m.  Wait, that is the time that I thought the plane was to leave the day before. 


Moral of the story....be prepared to wait for the airlines schedule BUT don't keep them waiting or so I thought. 

Waiting in Vancouver
Our flight from Whitehorse took us to Vancouver where we had to wait a few hours to board a plane to Saskatoon. 
Our plane is grounded
The plane was due to leave at 1:10 p.m.  We boarded about that time only to have the pilot announce that there was a mechanical issue and that he was calling a mechanic to come and look at it.  Once the mechanic arrived we were asked to leave the plane and take everything with us.  A new time for leaving was scheduled a few minutes later for 2:50 p.m. 
View from Vancouver Airport - green grass here.
At 3:00 p.m. we began to board and then waited an additional 15 minutes for a missing passenger....WHAT!  They waited for a passenger!  How cool is that?  Let it go, Penny.... I said that I was over it....
We arrived safely back to Saskatoon where we found true customer service.  We checked into the Best Western and they upgraded our room to a suite....love it!  After a relaxing night we drove to PA (1 1/2 hours) and replenished our groceries and drove the additional 3.5 hours home with snow all around us.

It always nice to go away but it is relaxing to get home....wherever home is.
P.S. I did write a letter to the airlines....will I get a response????
 

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Yukon Trip - Part V - Final Days in the Yukon

Sunday and Monday were days for Ron and I to explore the area as Stephen was back to being a working man and Rachael was working nights.  We went to the early service on Sunday  so that we could take the rest of the day to sightsee around Whitehorse.  The church is within walking distance from Stephen's place.  Also close to Stephen's house is his work and we took some pictures so family in Ontario could see where Stephen hangs out and the view that he has from there.





 
Whitehorse looks every bit the part of what you would expect a Frontier City to look like.  It has so much history packed into the streets.


First thing Monday morning I got up to make homemade cinnamon buns, something I have learned to do in our faraway from groceries posting. 
Once Stephen went to work we took a drive just north of the city down the most gorgeous road.  The pictures do not really show how "spec" the view was but you felt like you were on the top of the mountain.


At the end of the road we found Sky High Wilderness Ranch.  It was located in the most beautiful spot and they did horseback and dog sled adventures.  People from all over the world come here to have that experience.  They had 160 dogs and were busy taking care of them which takes a long time to feed and clean up after that many animals.
One of the puppies



In the afternoon I met two RCMP spouses for tea.  It was interesting to hear about their experiences and the different postings that they have had.
On Monday night we packed up our suitcases for an early departure the next morning (more about that tomorrow).


Monday, 18 November 2013

Yukon Trip Part IV - ALASKA!

Friday took us on another road trip and this time it was to an area that was a little familiar.  In May for our 30th Anniversary Ron and I did the Alaskan Cruise but unfortunately I lost my camera at the end of the trip so this gave us time to gain some pictures to add to our memories.  It was hard to believe that we were already in the Yukon and now in a couple of hours going to be in Alaska.  I only wish that my Dad would be able to make this trip with me.  It was always his dream to see Alaska.  I will make sure and share all my pictures with him.

First stop Carcross, Yukon.  We had taken an excursion to Carcross from the cruise where we toured the area, found the Mountie's house, saw some totem poles  and a recreation of a ship but one of the most amazing areas is the Carcross Desert.  If you watched the Amazing Race Canada you would have seen this destination as one of the legs of race. 



As we were driving along the highway Ron spotted a Mountain Goat way up on the side of the mountain.  After stopping and taking a look we noticed that he wasn't alone.

 And Stephen & Rachael thought they would join them but they were way up there!

The scenery was spectacular and as we travelled over the pass we encountered a bit of snow and then the sun peaked out.


I had to take a quick picture at Fraser, B.C.  This was were we had boarded the White Pass & Yukon Railway in May to ride the train through the mountains into Skagway.
We arrived in Skagway around 11:00 a.m. and had a big brunch and set out to see the sights.  There were not many stores open and the town was a bit of a ghost town.  It was quite different in May with a cruise ship at port and many eager venders wanting to part with their wares.


This is where our cruise ship was.
Overlooking Skagway
 We then went to check out Dyea.  It included winding roads, beautiful scenery, a cemetery for avalanche victims and we did see a few sea lions.





 It was another beautiful day and very early we saw the sun hide behind a mountain.
 

Stephen and Rachael were excellent tour guides and still more to come.