Sunday, October 08, 2006

We flew back from Bahamas on Friday night, which was largely uneventful, with the exception of picking our way through some impressive thunderstorms just off the coast of South Carolina. I took a few little videos and a lot of pics, but I left them on my home pc so I won't be uploading them for a week or so.

On Saturday morning I went on vacation, flying to visit my mom for Thanksgiving. I met up with a fellow blogger along the way and that was a lot of fun. It's a topic for a post and I'll make it soon, but not just now.

I took WestJet, one of their fancy new 737's. Nobody was in my entire row, so I stretched out across the 3 seats and had a good snooze, then watched some "Dog The Bounty Hunter" on the seatback televisions they have. It was perfection - no howling babies, no people with breathing problems or loud coughs, no having to sit next to an obese person who 'flowed' over their armrest into my personal space, just a nice quiet flight.

Mom and I hung out yesterday and caught up, then went for a stroll around town, then ate and caught up some more. It was truly fine.

This morning started off on a slightly unnerving note, as I got a phone call from a fellow employee pilot. "Get up! The shit's hit the fan!" On a sidenote, I should market an alarm clock whose alarm is a variation on that phrase, as it certainly awakens you quickly. He was calling because it appeared that US Customs had snatched one of our pilots who was travelling on a commercial airline to the States to pick up one of our planes for a return flight. I had actually made backup plans for just such an occasion, but in the middle of our contingency plan, our missing pilot called and said he was just fine. He had been pulled out of line and questioned for only a few minutes, then had boarded another flight 5 minutes later and was safe and sound at his destination, ready to fly one of our aircraft back to Toronto later today. I guess they were curious as to why he had a one-way ticket from Toronto southbound, but quickly realized that he was no threat.

After that little adrenaline rush, I relaxed with mom over breakfast and we planned out our day.

Today mom and I are celebrating Thanksgiving, and we just finished preparing our feast and throwing it in the oven so it'll be ready for supper. We have turkey stuffed with garlic, fresh baked bread and herbs from the garden. Representing our vegan kinfolk, we have squash with butter and brown sugar, cranberry sauce made with fresh cranberries, orange juice and Cointreau, steamed carrots, broccoli and brussels sprouts. Lots of white wine, of course, and for dessert, we are gonna split a humungous fudge brownie we got from the local bakery.

I really have a lot to be thankful for.

- I'm healthy, as are my parents and relatives
- I'm loved, and I love
- I am in a good place as far as my career goes
- My living situation in Toronto is easy and stable
- Battlestar Galactica started Season 3 last Friday on the Sci Fi channel
- My car is entirely trouble-free
- My feedback rating on ebay is 100% positive
- I recently bought new shoes and they are really comfortable
- For the last year, my bank account has had a positive balance each and every day, even the Thursdays just before payday Friday.
- I have made new friends and kept old ones
- I beat Call of Duty 2 on 'hard' difficulty on my Xbox 360
- My sense of smell has returned after a 6-month hiatus following some antibiotics I took last Spring
- My current fav band, Tool, released a new CD recently
- I am really enjoying the mental exercise that this blog brings, and the fine people that I have met through it

I wish you all health and prosperity, and I hope that every day you find yourself in situations where you say "Wow, I am so lucky!"

1 comment:

Dave Starr said...

Best Thanksgiving wishes to you and yours. Indeed there are many of us who fail to take the time to think of just how much we have to be thankful for.

Reading your current post I recalled I had forgotten to comment some time back when you told the nice story about eating in the "French-only" restaurant and musing on what the experience of being a French-only speaker in Canada must be like.

For years I worked in Hq. NORAD in Colorado Springs and in the area where I worked .. long-haul communications, there were always quite a number of Canadian Forces officers, exclusively male and exclusively English speakers. Our working relationships were always great and except for getting bitten by a few "Got 2 terns for a $20 scams and listening to the same Newfie jokes over and over again it was a great place to work,

One day, as gender equality finally began to surface in both our military forces and brand new communications engineer Captain, RCAF by the name of Elaine La Fontagne (name disguised but not by much) arrives and announced she had been assigned to work with not (not _for_ me, she emphasised) on a project to redo a literal mess of an old system that no one in authority really wanted touched but which badly needed modernizing.

Elaine was a brilliant person and very dedicated to her job, but her English skills were ... shall we say difficult to understand? She also had not been blessed at all with physical beauty so I assume that's why she was assigned to my section ... misfit to misfit I guess.

Along came a pronouncement from Ottawa that after a certain near-term date no one would reach the rank of Colonel (O-6) in the RCAF without passing a practical French pronunciation exam.

If you ever wanted a lesson in popularity driven by necessity, that was it. As the only French-speaking officer between COS and Ottawa Elaine became the most popular girl in that building, over night. I'd get phone calls time for moments they knew Elaine wouldn't be in asking me to serruptitiously pencil tutoring time in on her calendar. There were times I have to engineer being called to a meeting for myself to just escape the crush of CF uniforms crowed into our tiny two-person cubicle.

I never learned how many passed their exams, and I have lost track with Elaine over the years, but I thought it was a definite break in the monotony of "swivel" servancy.