Saturday, December 31, 2011

Ring Out The Old; Ring In The New

I don't know about you, but I always look forward to the first day of January. I really couldn't care less about New Years Eve and I find that the usual festivities of the New Year celebrations are generally ridiculous and, for me at least, contradictory to the general purpose of the celebration. The thought of going out and drinking obscene amounts of alcohol, waking up with a headache and pictures of any stupid behavior circulating on the Internet, just makes my head swirl...

OK, so I'm a bit of a party pooper I guess. For me, celebrating the New Year is representative of how I hope to spend the New Year. I have a habit of perusing my new, clean, empty this case, the calendar for 2012. I love to see which days of the week certain dates fall on and as I turn from month to month, I visualize the anticipated events of each block of days. I see flowers peeking their tiny heads out of snow covered ground welcoming a new season. I see the excitement in the eyes of my *precious* grandchildren as they turn one year older, start school, learn to ride bikes, swim, skate and consume every new second with excitement and wonder. I also see anniversaries; some joyful, some sad. I feel the beloved sun warming my face, visualize amazing vacations, then the leaves filling in on the branches of the old willows in my yard, and then the leaves falling, creating a huge mess on my lawn and the eventual return to the excitement and anticipation of yet another season of the get the point.

Each time that I look at all of these blank squares, the starkness of the emptiness hits me and I realize what a HUGE blessing my new calendar is. Each day is blank, clean, fresh and waiting for me fill it up! I have the choice, each day, to fill it with goodness, excitement, growth and progression, happiness, joy, peace, service and love OR, I have the choice to squander each precious moment wallowing in my own self-pity, wasting precious time filling it with useless, senseless things. Every year, I am faced with these becomes a sort of responsibility to me.

Those of you who know me, know that I don't set your typical New Years Resolutions. I do set goals, but I have found that disappointment and let-down often accompany my ever well intentioned resolutions. So, instead, I have adopted one Word that I try to center on as a focus for all that I do. For every decision I make and every action that I take. This is something that I seriously contemplate and ponder because it will be my companion for 365 days and will hold me accountable for my entire life experience in 2012...

So after much thought and prayer, my word is: BALANCE

Life offers so many changes. As I fill in my 2012 calendar with the known plans, I also realize that in an instant those plans can (and usually will) be changed. Each square represents a day in my life that hasn't yet been lived and if, God willing, I am still around to live that particular square, I want it to count. I have struggled with Balance in 2011. My life took some huge detours; some were anticipated, others were complete shockers. As a commuter trying to balance life in two different states, its only fitting that this is my new word. I have faltered in this area and hope to improve immensely.

So as I ring out the old and lay it to rest, I look forward to ringing in the new and anticipating the challenges, joys, triumphs and even sorrows that are waiting for me to embrace. Through it all, I hope to emerge stronger and more vibrant. I hope to fill each day with uplifting, inspirational material that will hold my hand as I walk with Balance through my journeys and to my destinations of life.

I pray that we all have a 2012 filled with Peace, Love, Happiness, Endurance, Prosperity, Health and Total Joy. It's inevitable that we will all be tried and tested, but may we all rise triumphant and emerge stronger, wiser and more fulfilled than ever! God Bless...

Tuesday, December 27, 2011


Christmas has come and gone but the spirit of Christmas still permeates the air. I was scheduled to fly over the holidays which I was TOTALLY OK with because I worked it out to be home on the 26th for three days. As someone who has been in the airline industry for many many years, working on Christmas had become the norm. But boy, this year things changed in an instant...

As mentioned in my previous post, I was injured on the 16th of December while working a flight. This resulted in several doctors appointments and so far, three physical therapy sessions. While it was very nice to be home for Christmas, it was very different to say the least. I've decided that a back injury is different from any other kind of injury. I've never experienced pain like this before. One moment I feel fine, the next moment I have a searing, burning pain that shoots up and down my back, absolutely leveling me for at least an hour. I am happy to report that physical therapy has made a HUGE difference in the way I feel. The first doctor tht I saw in San Francisco gave me ibuprofen 600 and told me to come back in a week. Fortunately, I didn't wait a week but instead, as soon as I got back to Utah, went to my own doctor who had the foresight to send me to PT. I am doing much better and hope to get back to work this weekend...but it's up to my doc.

Christmas was very nice. It was difficult without my daddy and his absence was truly felt, but I have a wonderful family and it was great to be with them. I love them all. We didn't see all of our family members and they were missed. I'm glad to have the "Firsts" almost over dad's first birthday, first Thanksgiving and now the first Christmas. Someone said that the only anecdote for pain is never having loved. As painful as it is to lose a loved one, how very thankful I am to feel the pain of loss...

I am looking forward to the new year, as I always do. It's always good to feel like I have a clean slate. I'm still thinking about my "word" for 2012...there are a few that I am tossing around. More about that later...

2011 has been a strange year. It has been good but not without it's challenges. Maybe that's just how life is. Maybe that's a good thing.

So that's it. Life is strange, but it's good and it's worth it. Challenges come and go. I'm trying to learn patience and endurance. A great man once said, "I'm grateful for the challenges I've not yet received." (Hugh B. Brown) I wish I could feel the same way.


Saturday, December 17, 2011

Christmas is Coming!

With the Holidays Season in full swing, so much has been running through my mind. First and foremost, I have been concerned about how I will get all of the shopping done for my loved ones being based in Portland and flying back and forth on full flights, space available. Of course I love to bake and my concern has been how to get that accomplished. Finally, I have been wondering if I could even feel the spirit of Christmas as I am forced to be away from my family and friends during the best time of the year.

Yesterday, I was was working a flight from Portland to San Francisco. Everything was going smoothly and I was looking forward to deadheading back to Portland--which means, I only worked one leg then was a passenger going back. As we were descending into San Francisco, I was securing the galley and putting the beverage cart away. Our galley is super small and the cart is super heavy. I have done this particular thing thousands of times over my career with Delta and now biggie...until yesterday!

Just as I was pushing it and turning it into its slot, one of the wheels locked up and apparently I was putting my weight into it at the same time. I felt a "pop" in my back on the left side. It was mildly uncomfortable but I thought nothing of it...that is, until I sat in my jump seat (which is NOT comfortable to begin with). All of a sudden this "mild" pain became a sharp, piercing, hot pain shooting down my back into my left hip. Of course we landed and sat on the tarmac for what seemed like was an unusually long time because we arrived early. As I was facing ALL of my passengers, I maintained a Nothing-Is-Wrong-With-My-Back-Smile...I was dying!!

I spoke with my Chief Flight Attendant who promptly sent me to an on-site clinic at the SFO airport. I waited for my turn (writhing in pain at this point) for what seemed to be an eternity, then was escorted into an exam room that felt more like a 52° meat locker and literally waited 1 hour and 10 minutes to be seen...

The doctor, who looked like an American Geisha Girl with soft, supple girlie hands, pink lips, rosy cheeks and luscious eyelashes looks at my back, has me twist and bend a few times, tells me this kind of an injury is slow to heal and then gives me a bottle of Ibuprofen 600! He tells me no lifting, pushing or pulling for at least 1 week until he can see me again and no flying. As he walks out of our 42 second exam, he says "I'll see you next Friday!" Uh, NOT...I'll follow up with my sweet Dr. Pitts, in Heber City, Utah thank you very much...

So I'm home. At least until next Friday and more than likely longer than that. I am SO FRUSTRATED!! Argh...!!

This means an OJI (on the job injury) with NO pay to my already minuscule paycheck. Great timing, right before Christmas...on the upside, I will more than likely be home for Christmas Eve/Day, but I was scheduled to be home on the 26th-28th as it was, so not a huge deal.

I will probably be home for the remainder of the Christmas holiday. My back is better this morning but Dr. Geisha Girl said it will flare up and to stop what I'm doing when this happens and lay down immediately.

On another note: A few Random things...

I am doing well with the passing of my daddy, but I have had a few days where I become completely teary at anything and everything. Days where I miss him more than I ever could have imagined and just long for him to take his poor little gnarly hand in mine, look me in the eyes with his cock-eyed baby blues and tell me how wonderful I am...because that's how he was! I miss the sound of his voice, his cute southern expressions and his oh-so-wise counsel. I just want to hear his voice one more time! You can never tell someone you love that you love them enough! He died with the absolute assurance that we all loved and adored him. Nothing more could have been said. It's like I told my mother, you can say "good-by" over and over but eventually, someone has to "hang up the phone". That's how it was for us with my dad. How blessed we all are to have had such an amazing father and patriarch of our home! His legacy of love and leadership will live on and I will forever be thankful and can never thank my Heavenly Father enough for sending me such great parents...

Another random event: My daughter is a single mother. She lives 4 houses away from me and raises 3 perfectly beautiful *little* ones as a single mother who is putting herself through school full-time. She struggles with her health and struggles with making ends meet. The other day she called to tell me that she had spent the morning so worried about how to get through the month (financially) with Christmas coming. She had agonized over how to pay certain bills and where to find money to buy groceries. She was totally stressed. She went outside to get her mail. About an hour later, she saw the mail lady stop by again and felt concern that maybe she was getting served or something. So she tentatively went out to her mailbox, picked up another stack of mail and went inside. She opened a few Christmas cards, had a few advertising fliers and saw one more envelope with no return address, only a postmark from our local town. The handwriting was not familiar but was pretty like a woman had written it. She opened it...inside was a cashiers check made out to her for...$500.00!!

She was so shocked, that she immediately took it over to my hubs to make sure that it was a real check! He assured her that it was. She was/is completely humbled and touched that someone would be so generous and kind to a struggling single mother with 3 precious little ones during the season of giving! As she was relaying this story to me, tears filled my eyes. What a sweet gesture that changed her month completely! Her biggest thing was that she was driving herself crazy with who could have possibly done this. She felt like she HAD to know or she would go nuts. I gently reprimanded her and told her to be gracious in her acceptance of this "manna from an angel/s". To do them honor by using the money wisely and share her thankful heart by passing it forward...not by giving $500.00, but by living her life as the Savior would want her to. By serving others and loving everyone. By helping out however she can.

It really doesn't matter the size of the check. In this case it was phenomenal, but the thought that someone gave generously of their substance to someone in need is touching and captures the real spirit of Christmas. I pray that the person/s responsible will know how grateful we all are at their selfless expressions of care, concern and love for a poor single mother with little mouths to feed. God Bless Them!

And Finally...
My neighbor called my hubs last Thursday evening as he was getting ready to attend a dinner for our local Boosters committee (we're both on the committee). She was panicked as her husband  (who was recovering from a recent hip surgery) was ill and hallucinating. Brad immediately dropped everything, ran over and helped get him to the hospital. Then he stayed into the late hours of the night just to be there to help with whatever needed to be done. His gift of time was every bit as valuable as any check and his willingness to give up a nice evening with dear friends, was evidence of who he is as a man and a great neighbor. I love him so much and am so thankful that he is the generous man that he is.

There is so much to be thankful for. My back is not in the best of shape, but this too shall pass. I have a head cold on top of my back, but that is temporary and I'm already beginning to feel a bit better. Christmas is here! It's not just on the 24th and 25th. It's right now! It's the sharing of not only gifts, but of love and care and concern and unselfish gestures.

 I pray that all of you have a wonderful Christmas, Hanukkah or whatever holiday you choose to celebrate. I hope that your hearts are open to not only the giving but to the receiving of gifts. May God bless you all...

Friday, December 9, 2011

I Surrender!!

OK, so I'm a pretty positive person and I really try to see the good in all things. Having said that, I have struggled with being based in Portland and away from my hubs, children and my *Littles*. I miss my mother, my sister and all my family, friends and associates in my small town. But...

I am trying to see the blessings, and there are many. I have a great job. I will one day get my transfer and be based in SLC. I have a family who loves and supports me. I have a safe place to stay in Portland. Rent in PDX is very reasonable. I have my health. I love my Crash pad mates. I have a beautiful, comfortable home in Utah. And on and on and on...

Having said all of that, it is still difficult to leave and head back to Portland each week. Sometimes I cry and always, I am depressed about leaving home. My hubs has been amazingly supportive and has listened ad nauseum to me whine about being away from home, wanting my transfer and contemplating weekly, about packing up and staying home. He's a trooper!

I just finished adding a book called, "The Glass Castle" by Jeanette Walls (one good thing, I have plenty of time to read and have blasted through 4 books in three weeks!) anyway, it's her true story of her childhood. She and her siblings endured more hardships and unbelievable situations due to the incredible distfuncttion of her alcoholic father and less than stable mother. It made me stop and think...

Life is unpredictable. This is not a new fact. It's full of ups and downs, uncharted paths, bumpy roads, mountains to climb and valleys to climb out of. As I get older, I guess I expected to settle and live a more leisurely life of stability and relative comfort. Silly me!!

Most of us have been taught all of our lives to love one another, endure to the end and basically, come what may and love it. But sometimes life and love doesn't comp packed the way we want or expect it to come. Sometimes fear sets in and has to be set aside to make room for faith in order to help us grow and achieve or maybe even claim the blessings that are inevitably waiting for us at the end of each trial. That's easily written in this simple little blog, hard to do.


What a great word, don't you think? I used to look at this word as a word indicating weakness. I thought of it as giving up or I think it's exactly the opposite. Bear with me...

For me personally, I've had to learn to surrender to facts.
#1 I am based in Portland until my company decides to open Salt Lake back up. There's NOTHING I can do to change that.
#2 I have no control of the trips that I am assigned or even if I am assigned a trip or not.
#3 No amount of whining, crying or complaining is going to change #1 and #2...

Now granted, I can choose to eliminate this HUGE stressed in my life by resigning and going home, but would that ultimately give me what want or need? My only altnative is to surrender and accept things as they are. Accept that I am doing what's ultimately right for my family and that enduring these trials will build backbone and character. Even at my age, I still have room to grow and areas that need massive reinforcement.

My mother finds blessings in everything because she searches for them. She is grateful and eternally optimistic, always looking at the bigger picture. What a great example. At the times when I have been confronted with the most doubts, it has felt like flies swarming in my head. I have had to swat them away with prayer. I have had to surrender. After all, if I don't decide for myself what I want for my life, someone else will. And just because I have made certain decisions, doesn't make them easy or without challenges...especially when I know that they are right decisions.

I have learned that it's a good thing that God isn't limited by what we have in mind for ourselves. His plans are much bigger, we just tend to throw in road blocks and detours on our journey. Again, surrender...

I will get through this. I LOVE my job, I'm just struggling with the present circumstances. I can see the future and it's great, maybe that's why the here and now is so hard. I am surrendering. All things must pass and I will be triumphant!


Saturday, November 19, 2011

Oh! The Places You'll Go!

As I have been reflecting over this past year, I have been absolutely amazed at the number of changes that have taken place in such a seemingly short time. I have started a new job which required me to be away from my family for one month during a training period, I subsequently was forced to make an immediate move to another state. Then I lost my sweet father whom had been my anchor, strength or rock, if you will, for over half a century. The one thing that I am absolutely certain of is that change is inevitable!

The past two weeks have been a real test for me. I have been off work and able to be home but have faced a few health challenges...nothing huge, but definitely significant and potentially life-altering if not attended to. Thankfully, all is well. My doctors have done their jobs, proper meds have been prescribed and I am feeling great. But, during this "off" time, I have had cause to reflect on the Path my life is on and to really see if this is according to the "Script" that I wrote for myself. At times, I have seriously considered resigning from my job. Questions have arisen..."is it worth it to be away from the most important people in my life?"

That's HUGE!!

Discouragement has set in at times. Frustration, Consternation, Doubt and even Sadness has replaced, Hope, Excitement and Successes. Then I ran across a sweet children's book that put perspective back into my life. Perhaps you've heard of it...(WARNING...this is long, but worth the read!)

Oh! The Places You’ll Go!
by the incomparable Dr. Seuss

Today is your day.
You’re off to Great Places!
You’re off and away!

You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself any direction you choose.
You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the guy who’ll decide where to go.

You’ll look up and down streets. Look’em over with care. About some you will say, “I don’t choose to go there.” With your head full of brains and your shoes full of feet, you’re too smart to go down a not-so-good street.

And you may not find any you’ll want to go down. In that case, of course, you’ll head straight out of town. It’s opener there in the wide open air.

Out there things can happen and frequently do to people as brainy and footsy as you.

And when things start to happen, don’t worry. Don’t stew. Just go right along. You’ll start happening too.

Oh! The Places You’ll Go!

You’ll be on your way up!
You’ll be seeing great sights!
You’ll join the high fliers who soar to high heights.

You won’t lag behind, because you’ll have the speed. You’ll pass the whole gang and you’ll soon take the lead. Wherever you fly, you’ll be best of the best. Wherever you go, you will top all the rest.

Except when you don’t.
Because, sometimes, you won’t.

I’m sorry to say so but, sadly, it’s true that Bang-ups and Hang-ups can happen to you.

You can get all hung up in a prickle-ly perch. And your gang will fly on. You’ll be left in a Lurch.

You’ll come down from the Lurch with an unpleasant bump. And the chances are, then, that you’ll be in a Slump.

And when you’re in a Slump, you’re not in for much fun. Un-slumping yourself is not easily done.

You will come to a place where the streets are not marked. Some windows are lighted. But mostly they’re darked. A place you could sprain both your elbow and chin! Do you dare to stay out? Do you dare to go in? How much can you lose? How much can you win?

And if you go in, should you turn left or right…or right-and-three-quarters? Or, maybe, not quite? Or go around back and sneak in from behind? Simple it’s not, I’m afraid you will find, for a mind-maker-upper to make up his mind.

You can get so confused that you’ll start in to race down long wiggled roads at a break-necking pace and grind on for miles across weirdish wild space, headed, I fear, toward a most useless place.

The Waiting Place…for people just waiting.

Waiting for a train to go or a bus to come, or a plane to go or the mail to come, or the rain to go or the phone to ring, or the snow to snow or waiting around for a Yes or No or waiting for their hair to grow. Everyone is just waiting.

Waiting for the fish to bite or waiting for wind to fly a kite or waiting around for Friday night or waiting, perhaps, for their Uncle Jake or a pot to boil, or a Better Break or a string of pearls, or a pair of pants or a wig with curls, or Another Chance. Everyone is just waiting.

No! That’s not for you!
Somehow you’ll escape all that waiting and staying. You’ll find the bright places where Boom Bands are playing. With banner flip-flapping, once more you’ll ride high! Ready for anything under the sky. Ready because you’re that kind of a guy!

Oh, the places you’ll go! There is fun to be done! There are points to be scored. There are games to be won. And the magical things you can do with that ball will make you the winning-est winner of all. Fame! You’ll be famous as famous can be, with the whole wide world watching you win on TV.

Except when they don’t. Because, sometimes, they won’t.

I’m afraid that some times you’ll play lonely games too. Games you can’t win ‘cause you’ll play against you.

All Alone!
Whether you like it or not, Alone will be something you’ll be quite a lot.

And when you’re alone, there’s a very good chance you’ll meet things that scare you right out of your pants. There are some, down the road between hither and yon, that can scare you so much you won’t want to go on.

But on you will go though the weather be foul. On you will go though your enemies prowl. On you will go though the Hakken-Kraks howl. Onward up many a frightening creek, though your arms may get sore and your sneakers may leak. On and on you will hike. And I know you’ll hike far and face up to your problems whatever they are.

You’ll get mixed up, of course, as you already know. You’ll get mixed up with many strange birds as you go. So be sure when you step. Step with care and great tact and remember that Life’s a Great Balancing Act. Just never forget to be dexterous and deft. And never mix up your right foot with your left.

And will you succeed?
Yes! You will, indeed!
(98 and ¾ percent guaranteed.)

Kid, you’ll move mountains!
So…be your name Buxbaum or Bixby or Bray or Mordecai Ale Van Allen O’Shea, you’re off to Great Places!
Today is your day!
Your mountain is waiting.
So…get on your way!

So as I progress on my own personal journey, a simple children's book had lighted my way. I'm not sure what I'll do, but I am proud to say that I'll be sure when I step and I'll step with care and great tact, remembering always, that "Life's a Great Balancing Act!"


Thursday, November 10, 2011

Thanksgiving; Where Are You?

As many of you know, my life has been turned upside down lately as I am literally juggling life from two different states. When I am home, those few precious days are usually spent catching up with dust mites, mopping sticky floors and reigning in other various household duties, not to mention spending time with my precious family...

I got back to Utah this past Monday morning at 2:00 AM. Yes, that's right, after a 12 hour duty day, I caught a flight out of San Francisco that delayed, delayed, delayed. No worries though, I got home and that's what ultimately matters. I promptly made a doctors appointment to check out my ticker that was acting up (hence the reason for coming home so early) only to discover that, although my heart is relatively healthy, it most definitely marches to the "beat" of it's own drum and I WILL have to have another heart procedure in the near future (ugh). But, thank goodness for modern medicine and modern surgeries that can ensure a better quality of life!

As I stopped by the pharmacy to pick up my newest meds, I was overwhelmed as I entered through the sliding doors of our friendly neighborhood market only to be overcome with the sweetest smells of my favorite holiday...yes, Christmas. I was bombarded by the sweet melodies of favorite Carols and my eyes beheld the sparkling hues of every tint of red and green imaginable. It was beautiful...but wait, it was only Nov. 7th...where are all the gorgeous Fall leaves, scarecrows and gourds? Where is the homey aroma of Pumpkin Spice, Cinnamon and Clove? Did I miss this entirely?

As much as I adore Christmas, I am willing to wait a mere 4 weeks until breaking out the stockings, trees, garlands and mistletoe. I think Thanksgiving is vital and extremely important. In fact, I even think that it is necessary to ensure a GREAT Christmas...

You see, I believe we live in a world of "Gimme". I see it in adults, teenagers and little children. I am appalled as I hear about rambling lists of requested items from one person to another regarding "what you CAN GET ME"...are you kidding me?

My personal feelings about Thanksgiving transcends way beyond the usual obscene, copious amounts of food injested in one sitting. I believe that it is a precursor to the celebration of one of the most beautiful holidays of the year..the celebration of our Savior's birth. Thanksgiving should be a time of pure reflection for the bounteous blessings we have all been granted during the year from the obvious to the sublime. It should set the tone for the holiday of "giving". It should be a time of verbal expressions of gratitude that would no doubt set the tone of thankfulness through the end of the year and hopefully into the New Year which could easily be carried through each month, day and minute if we truly allowed it it's place in November.

I am personally sickened at the gaudy display of commercialism that is creeping into our lives earlier and earlier. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE the beautiful sights, smells and sounds of Christmas, but firmly believe that "to every thing there is a season". Our weak economy dictates which celebrations we can begin to focus on and ultimately overlooks the precious, non-commercial holidays that seem to somehow "interfere" with projected revenues for ailing businesses. How sad...

Shouldn't we be embracing a holiday that brings to the forefront, gratitude, thankfulness, giving and most importantly, humility? Wouldn't this ensure a better Christmas and foster a feeling and attitude of love and gratitude rather than entitlement and greed? Is it really necessary to provide lists of requested "items" in order to have a Happy Christmas? My sweet mother talks of her pure joy and excitement of receiving an Orange in her stocking on Christmas see, during the depression where she lived, oranges were not plentiful and considered a luxury item...It is one of her favorite gift memories, in fact, I have never heard her speak of another favorite gift.

What has happened to our society that we have allowed the most sacred holiday to lose it's pure and simple meaning? Maybe if we allowed Thanksgiving its rightful place and time, gave it the respect and dignity that it rightfully deserves, just maybe we would all have a more peaceful, enjoyable and precious Christmas. Maybe people would focus on the "Giving" of ones self and not just of giving tangible gifts that often leave us with a trail of debt. How many of us stress over finding something that someone has requested thinking that if we don't find it, WE will somehow be responsible for ruining THEIR Christmas? Has our culture really become that selfish and shallow that the success of a holiday depends on how much we spend on someone?

My favorite gifts are neighbor gifts. They are generally homemade and unsolicited. They usually are accompanied by a thoughtful poem or story that evokes a warm feeling within my heart. My *Littles* draw me pictures...sometimes scribbles and I have EVERY ONE that they have ever given me. They are created with pure love and joy and I see them with my heart as it is busy melting as I cherish each one...My dad used to to say, "Let's enjoy Christmas this year and NOT give any gifts!!" (By the way, he LOVED buying gifts for each of us) but I totally get what he meant. This should NOT be a time of stress and anxiety. Would our dear Lord and Savior want His birthday celebrated this way?

I personally am thankful for so many amazing blessings that have bounteously been bestowed on myself and my family. There is no room in one humble blog to list ALL of the tender mercies that we have experienced during this past year. I will most likely be flying November 24th and who know where I'll eat dinner...if I even get to get dinner that day. But it doesn't matter because I am just thankful that my family is healthy, happy and prosperous. Welcome are entitled to your day!


Sunday, October 23, 2011

Impossible Possibilities

**WARNING** Lots of Acronyms in this post...Welcome to the Airline Industry!

For the past 4 months, I have been living away from my sweet home. It all started in June when I entered Flight Attendant training and was required to stay in a hotel in Salt Lake City (SLC) near the airport. I was one of the lucky ones because I was only 1 hour from my home and was able to see my hubs, kids and grandchildren periodically. Most of the people in my class were hundreds, even thousands of miles from their loved ones...

As soon as training was over, I was immediately assigned to the Portland (PDX) domicile. I finished my initial flight and was sent to PDX the very next day. Again, I was blessed to be sent with several of my friends whom I had grown to love during our 29 day training in SLC. We each had 3 nights in a hotel so we combined our nights, stayed together and stretched our hotel stay into 9 days. During that time, we found a crash pad not far from the city train fondly called the Max which meant that we could leave our cars home and have readily available, affordable transportation to the airport. (More on the crash pad in a later post...after I get back to SLC for good...!!)

So now it is October. I am still in PDX and I am still living in a crash pad with anywhere from 5-15 people in a small 2 bedroom/1 bath apartment, depending on the particular month. It's a challenge to say the least.

I have been very fortunate during the month of Oct to have been awarded a Reserve Line with Sunday/Monday/Tuesdays off. Reserve is simply being available at your domicile in the event that you are called to fly. That means that I HAVE to be in PDX available for a possible assignment from 9:00 AM to 9:00 PM on my duty days= a LOT of down time=a LOT of sitting around=potential boredom=precious time away from my family and home.

With my Oct. schedule, I was able to usually get back to SLC Saturday evening and able to get back to Portland Wednesday morning before 9:00...not bad at all. Nov is a different story! I was assigned Mon/Tues with only two weeks of Mon/Tues/Wed more Sundays, no more church! I'm bummed!

So yesterday, I finished a 2 day trip to Burbank, which by the way, was incredibly beautiful with very blue skies, clean air and 78° weather. It was a long layover and so nice for a change. But the problem that I had was that we would get in to PDX AFTER the last flight left for SLC on ANY airline out of PDX. That meant that I would miss church and seeing 2 of my precious *Littles* in Primary (Sunday School). One gave a talk about the power of prayer and the other gave a scripture found in John. It's a big deal to a 4 and 5 year old. I listed myself on the 6:00 AM flight this morning from PDX-SLC but it was pretty full and since we fly "Space Available", I was concerned. After all, it is UEA (Utah Educators Association) convention in Utah and since kids are out of school, many families take a mini vacation, thus filling up the flights in and out of SLC...Ugh!!

I am forever amazed at the tender mercies of the Lord. I prayed that I would be able to get back to SLC this weekend and the way things were looking yesterday, there was no way that I could get back until Sunday night at the earliest...if then...and more than likely not until Monday afternoon...if then!! As my crew and I arrived to the Burbank (BUR) airport yesterday to work our last leg back to PDX, my First Officer (FO) informed me that if I was willing to fly to Redmond/Bend, OR (RDM) on the 10:10 PM flight, I would be able to get on the 6:10 AM flight from RDM to SLC. This meant staying overnight in a hotel...I called our crew hotel in RDM, secured a room for $42 and bolted to RDM.

Yes, I arrived home this morning at 8:30 and my sweet hubs picked me up, dropped me off at home so I could change into appropriate church attire and I made it in time to see my *beauties* give their talk/scripture!

Again, the Lord blessed me and cleared a path for me to get to my precious family. This has happened to me over and over and over again. Impossible options mysteriously appear at just the right moment.

When my sweet father passed away, I was in Burbank, working a trip, scheduled to fly one leg back to PDX then was going to try to get on an oversold flight back to SLC. Unbelievably, a SLC based flight attendant rode to the airport with my crew and we were able to swap trips. She flew to Portland and I flew to Salt Lake in time to be with my family and have a few priceless moments with my dad before the mortuary took his body out of the home. Coincidence?!? Absolutely not. I believe that it was a well laid plan by the Good Lord above who knew my needs and provided a path for me.

So today, I am home with my family. I ended up getting about 3 hours of sleep last night and I am TOTALLY exhausted but sleeping in my own bed, eating a home cooked meal and attending my own ward (church) with my family is more precious than anything. The Lord once again provided a way for me to find my way back. That is the most amazing thing about God. He knows each of us and loves all of us no matter who we are or how we live our lives. He is always available to bless us with tremendous abundance if we will but ask and have faith that He has all power to make the impossible possible. That's all we have to do!!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Salad Dressing Moment

I'm sitting at the Oakland Airport waiting for a flight to Portland so I can go back to my base to sit Reserve tomorrow before I do my trip on Friday. It's not the most glamorous part of my job, by any means...anyway, as I am sitting here waiting, I have been thinking a lot about my sweet dad. I am absolutely amazed that he has been gone for over 3 weeks now. Time moves on so quickly sometimes and as the late great George Harrison so eloquently stated, "Life flows on within you and without you." What a whirlwind these past 22 days have been. Watching him die and sitting by his bedside day and night to having a beautiful funeral to honor his life to burying him and saying our final "goodbyes"...well, at least for now!

Anyway, I have had plenty of time to reflect and remember. After all, reflecting and remembering is all we have after we lose someone we love. I have been very calm, haven't really had a breakdown and feel an amazing amount of peace and comfort from above. I can't deny that the Comforter has been very near and has done a beautiful job in comforting my whole family.

So I have been wondering. Am I going to breakdown? My husband lost his sweet mother a few
years ago and did very well considering she was all he had for a parent. One day we were at the grocery store...he had gone to another aisle to pick up a forgotten item. When he joined
me at the checkout, he was teary. He proceeded to tell me that he had seen bottle of Catalina
Dressing and it almost brought him to his knees because his mother loved it; it was her favorite.
We have kind of chuckled about that incident, but now that I am in the same situation, I'm wondering what MY Catalina Dressing will be?? I have avoided listening to certain songs, watching cetain football games and the Western & Food channels because I know that I will
possibly lose it. Silly, I know, but I'm not sure that I am ready to face the earthly finality of his passing.

I was talking to some dear friends who have lost loved ones and asked them if I was some sort of freak because I haven't "lost it". They shared very familiar feelings and we came to agree that maybe we are "OK" because everything that could be said has been said and our respective relationships with those that we lost was in the best place possible. You see, I had a GREAT relationship with my father. Don't get me wrong, we had our differences over the years...probably because we were more alike than we realized at the time, but there was NOTHING left undone.

Along with the assurance that my sweet daddy is in a better place, free from the bonds of his broken down body, how grateful I am that he left this world knowing that I, along with his other 3 children and devoted wife, had nothing negative between us. We were all there at the end taking care of him, whispering our redundant "I Love You's" and expressing seemingly endless, "Thank You's". That is a blesssing and through the inevitable pain of loss, it serves as the most sincere kind of comfort possible.

Take time to mend broken relationships. Express your sincere love and gratitude to those you love every day. Put aside petty differences and focus on the blessings of the relationships that you have with those you love. Life is SO short. Regrets are more painful than swallowing your pride, eating a little crow and offering a humble apology. Do what you have to do, say what you have to say, but DO IT. Relationships are precious and fragile...handle them with care and do whatever you can to make things right...

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Just Count the Good Strokes

My sweet daddy, J (Jay) Ronald Swint, passed away on September 19, 2011 at home. He suffered terribly for many years with ill health but did so with grace and integrity.

I don't remember hearing my dad complain about feeling bad, ever. But I did hear him try to joke and make things better. If he bust out into song with a rousing rendition of "I feel good..." we knew he was in extreme pain. He tried to keep a positive outlook on life and he tried to be happy and joyful all while enduring faithfully to the end.

I love my daddy with all my heart. He was a great man! He had an exciting, even glamorous life through his work with Capitol Records in the "hey-day" of great music. He knew and worked with the greats. I'm talking Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole, The Beach Boys, even The Beatles. He was great at his job, but that is not what defined him. He wanted to be remembered as a man of integrity and principle; a man who loved his God, his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ; a man who loved his family and adored his wife more than he could express.

I happened to have the privilege of spending some of his last few precious days with him. He went downhill pretty fast. He struggled for each breath and we had to keep him doped up on pain meds just to keep him comfortable. It was the most difficult thing I have ever witnessed in my entire life! I shed many silent tears, expressed innumerable words of love and appreciation and I often just sat in silence absorbing the pure goodness of his spirit. I will ALWAYS treasure that sweet time we were afforded together.

My dad and I had great times together. He was one of the funniest people I have ever known and he was a blast to be around. We often golfed together. In fact, we used to golf 3 times a week. On the course, we would talk about life. Don't get me wrong, we laughed a lot, but we also had some of our best talks on the golf course. I always kept score for both of us. As I would inevitably lose my ball in the drink or in the rough, I would be counting up my strokes, including the penalty stroke, and he would say, "Oh babe, don't take a penalty...losing your ball was penalty enough!". Then he would go on to say, "Just count the good strokes, the bad ones just mess with your head and mess up the rest of your game!" and sometimes he would simply say, "Let's enjoy the game and NOT keep score today." (He was the sweetest cheater I ever knew...he always cheated in MY favor!)

As I have traveled through life, I have come to really appreciate the wisdom in what seemed to be simply a friendly game of golf. How many times do we focus on the negative or bad things that have happened to us and forget to celebrate the good? Focusing on the "bad strokes" tends to throw us off a rhythm and oft times throws us into a tailspin, leading to possible self-destruction...I tend to beat myself up over my mistakes and forget that I am deserving of my own forgiveness.

So to my precious and ever wise father, I say this; Thank you for reminding me that I have worth and that I am deserving of all the good things in life. I will always remember you and take great joy and comfort in knowing that I had the best father I could have ever imagined!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Common Sense??

I was visiting with a few of my husband's cousins the other night while I was home in Utah. As we were sitting outside enjoying what very well could be the last of a handful of beautiful summer nights, I shared some of the silly things that I have observed as a Flight Attendant regarding passenger behavior. Brad's cousin made the most profound and Oh-So-Truthful statement that I have heard in a long time. She simply said, "Common Sense is not all that Common."

We shared a few laughs over that statement, but as I have become cognisant of the behavior of the masses, I am more and more convinced of the magnitude of that simple statement! I ran across a great tribute to our old friend and just had to share (I only wish I had come up with this!)

Obituary of Mr. Common Sense
By Rick Archer

Today we mourn the passing of a beloved old friend, Common Sense, who has been with us for many years. No one knows for sure how old he was, since his birth records were long ago lost in bureaucratic red tape. He will be remembered as having cultivated such valuable lessons as:

1.Knowing when to come in out of the rain

2.Why the early bird gets the worm

3.Life isn’t always fair

4.Maybe it was my fault after all

Common Sense lived by simple, sound financial policies (don’t spend more than you can earn) and reliable strategies (adults, not children, are in charge).The health of Common Sense began to deteriorate rapidly when well-intentioned but overbearing regulations were set in place. Reports of a 6 -year- old boy charged with sexual harassment for kissing a classmate; teens suspended from school for using mouthwash after lunch; and a teacher fired for reprimanding an unruly student, only worsened his condition.

Common Sense lost ground when parents attacked teachers for doing the job that they themselves had failed to do in disciplining their unruly children. It declined even further when schools were required to get parental consent to administer Tylenol, sun lotion or a band-aid to a student; but could not inform parents when a student became pregnant and wanted to have an abortion.

Common Sense lost the will to live as the Ten Commandments became contraband; churches became businesses; and criminals received better treatment than their victims.

Common Sense took a beating when you couldn’t defend yourself from a burglar in your own home and the burglar could sue you for assault.

Common Sense finally gave up the will to live, after a woman failed to realize that a steaming cup of coffee was hot. She spilled a little in her lap, and was promptly awarded a huge settlement. Common Sense was preceded in death by his parents, Truth and Trust; his wife, Discretion; his daughter, Responsibility; and his son, Reason.

He is survived by his 3 stepbrothers; I Know My Rights, Someone Else Is To Blame, and I’m A Victim.

Not many attended his funeral because so few realized he was gone. If you still remember him, pass this on. If not, join the majority and do nothing.


Monday, August 22, 2011

Update on My Life

Have you ever gotten up one morning and felt like your life has slipped away from you in the blink of an eye? Such is the story of my life these days. Perhaps it's because I have severely altered my life-style due to a new job that I took just a few months ago. At any rate, this is my attempt to recap the past two months and see if I can catch myself up!

Most of you know that I have a background in the aviation industry. This is an industry rife with change, adventure, exhaustion, exhilaration but mostly inconsistencies. I used to love to say, "The only consistency in the airline industry is IN consistency"...and that's the absolute truth! Having said that, let me attempt to bring you up-to-date on a few things.
  1. I am now flying for SkyWest Airlines which is a large commuter airline with contractual agreements with Delta, United, Alaska and soon, US Airways. Bottom-line, we fly their "puddle jumpers" to their smaller routes.
  2. I am based in Portland, OR (PDX is their city code).
  3. I live in a hoarder house with I-don't-know-how-many-other-commuters, but the important thing is that I share a CLEAN and ORDERLY room/bathroom with two other women whom I have grown to love adore.
  4. My family is still in Utah...away from me:'(
  5. I love my job, HATE the commute.
OK, now you are up-to-date.

Living in Portland has been an adventure in and of itself. I have become a master at navigating train routes around this beautiful city. The people are...well, let's just say, diverse (to say the least). The geographical terrain is spectacular and overall, the people are very nice and accommodating...but it's not home...

The base itself is fine. I am now trained to fly on the jets as well as our beloved prop plane (Brasillia EMB-120 turbo prop) whom we affectionately call, "The Bro". The Bro is the smallest plane in our fleet and by far the loudest, bumpiest aircraft I have ever flown on...having said that, I ADORE this plane! Crazy?? probably, but I feel in total command and every flight is an adventure. This little workhorse is amazing. Apparently it is very fuel efficient and highly effective on our smallest routes of around 250 miles or less. It's a funny little guy with it's very own personality. When we take off, the aft of the aircraft seems to rebel a bit and sway back and forth until it eventually gives in to the fact that it MUST follow the forward of the aircraft. It is fact, it's so loud that I wear earplugs while working it.

Just the other day, I was boarding in Klamath Falls, OR (yes, we fly to ALL of the hotspots in the world with this little guy...) anyway, I was boarding when a gentleman walked onboard with his head completely down...I'm talking his chin was almost touching his belly button...not because of shame or embarassment, it was out of necessity. This man was 6' 8" tall and he was entering a metal tube of about 5' 9" in height for a fun 1 hour experience. I promptly moved him to the exit row (where there was extra leg room for his giraffe-like legs) to which he was extremely grateful.

But here's one of my favorite features of The Bro that I just had to share:

It's true, there's a window in the lav!! Awesome?? Yes, when you're in the air, but when you're on the ground...not so much!

Why?? No one knows unless it was engineered by someone with a sick sense of humor and somehow slipped through the Brazillian gaps of design. It's a great conversation piece and seriously, there's no other feeling like when you're peeing at 28,000 ft...try it sometime...!!

In all seriousness, I love, even adore my job. My co-workers are great, the company is great and my passengers are great, but there's no place like home. I have had my transfer in to SLC since the nano-second after we graduated training. Who know when it will actually happen, but it will and when it does, I will be jumping up-and-down like no the meantime, I will continue to ride the MAX (PDX rapid transit system) live in my clean room in the hoarder house and love my sweet roomies to death. Life is too short to worry about the details of the things that we have no control over. My family is fine, my *Littles* are thriving and life is great!

Friday, August 12, 2011

You Is Kind, You Is Smart, You Is Important

It's not often that I recommend a fact, I try to avoid doing so because I am all too keenly aware that tastes vastly vary and, quite honestly, there really haven't been that many movies lately that I have really liked. With that being said, I do want to talk about a new film that was released this past Wednesday called, "The Help".

You have probably seen the book around. As a Flight Attendant, I see numerous passengers perusing the pages of this Best Seller and decided to pick up a copy after several glowing reviews. Boy oh boy am I glad I did! I am only half way through the book, but have devoured every word as I read.

This past Wed. was my 7th wedding anniversary and since I was stuck in Portland without my beloved Hubs, some of my sweet housemates and I ventured downtown for lunch and a movie. We had all been excited about seeing The Help (well, not so sure that Ryan the 26 year old hottie pilot was excited, but he was a good sport!) so that's exactly what we did. We all LOVED the show. I adore this movie.

I took my Hubs today to see it (yep, that's twice for me) and it was even better the second time! Without giving too much away (I HATE when people do that...just sayin') I wanted to share a few things that touched me.

The story is about the lives of black maids, circa the early 1960's, in Jackson, Mississippi and how they raise numerous white children while someone else has to raise their children while they work. Abileen is one of the main characters. In the show, she is the maid for a young mother who has very little attachment to her pudgy yet adorable and sweet toddler named Mae Mobley (such a darling name, in my opinion). As oppressed and overworked as Abileen is, she is totally resigned to her position in life. She knows that this is all she can really hope to be and she takes her job very seriously.

But most of all, she LOVES and adores Mae Mobley and is genuinely concerned that the little one grows up to be a good girl and NOT become emotionally detached, even devoid like her mother. Several times throughout the movie, Abileen gets right on down to Mae Mobley's level, takes her pudgy little cheeks in her hands and tells her the following (as the little girl repeates her words): "You is kind, You is smart, You is important".

I was absolutely touched at the simplicity of those words and how important they had become to this innocent little girl. I got teary when she repeated them back. It melted my heart.

After the credits, those words played over and over in my mind. I thought of the sheer power a mantra like that can have in someone's life if they truly believe and trust in the words. We live in a world rife with so much negativity and I truly believe that the majority of problems with people are the result of a low self-esteem. I have suffered with that very issue throughout my life and battle esteem issues regularly.

Don't get me wrong, I have wonderful, amazing parents who did their best and instilled in us values, morals and helped us with our self-esteem, but I can't help but wonder how much I would have benefited and how different my life would have been if I had had someone look me in the eye and have me repeat, "I is kind, I is smart, I is important" everyday of my early childhood.

I see a huge lack of good self esteem in so  many teens. Many are searching for their "identies" and most rebel against any kind of authority. Many hate themselves and many hate the world. It's so sad as I see many who are "bought" by their parents when all the kids really and truly want is time and even discipline with their parents (though they would never admit it). They have all the latest electronic gadgets, the hottest designer jeans, shoes and whatever else, but they have very little on the inside reminding them of their innate goodness. It breaks my heart.

So now I have a new resolve to really remind all of my *Littles* how special they really are. They are and will be facing challenges that I never could have imagined at their tender ages and the better they think of themselves, the stronger they will be. And like my *Littles*, I need to be reminded that I too is kind, smart and important...

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Opposition In All Things

**I apologize in advance for the disjointed nature of this post...but it is from the heart.

In Asian philosophy, the concept of Yin Yang is used to describe how polar opposites or seemingly contrary forces are interconnected and interdependent in the natural world and how they give rise to each other. There are many nautral dualities that we witness everyday: light and dark, black and white, male and female, hot and cold and on and on. In the western world, we have a much less eloquent term of simply, "Opposites" or "Opposition".

Whatever you want to call it, it's the very same concept which simply stated, is that Yin Yang are complementary opposites that interact within a greater whole as part of a dynamic system. Basically, everything has an opposite! Most opposites represent a positive and a negative and whatever the case, they ebb and flow at their own pace over time.

Recently, I embarked on a new journey during what are supposed to be my "Golden Years". I went back to the world of aviation and began flying again as a Flight Attendant for a large Regional Carrier. The aircraft are completely different from the huge "Jumbo Jets" (Wow, that term is a blast from the they even use that term anymore??) that I used to work for. I work jets with 70 or less passengers each. I even work a Brasilia EMB120 Turbo Prop that is noisy and naturally bumpy even during the calmest of air patterns. At any rate, I love it! I have embraced the job. I know that time is a benefit and am waiting for the day when I can transfer back to the base that is only 45 min from my home and actually sleep in my own bed when I'm not working. But for now, I am in beautiful Portland, OR sharing a house with about 15 people!

So what does this have to do with opposites? Just about everything!
  1. I am living about 780 miles from where I WANT to live.
  2. I am working during what should have been my retirement years.
  3. I am NOT with the most important people in my life aka, my family.
  4. I have had to relinquish my seats on several committees (temporarily) that I simply LOVE serving on.
BUT, there are countless blessings and "positives" (or....wait for it...OPPOSITES) that make things bearable.
  1. I live with some amazing women who have become life-long, even eternal friends.
  2. I appreciate my husband and children SO much more.
  3. I am doing what I love, and since I need to work at this juncture in my life, who could ask for anything more?
  4. I am providing medical/dental benefits for my family that have been extremely costly up to this point.
  5. I am providing amazing travel benefits for my family and I am able to see parts of the country that I have never even thought of visiting before!
  6. I am safe, healthy and happy.
Life throws opposition at us each and every day. I was on a flight today commuting back to my base city. During the flight, the Flight Attendant made an announcement and asked the entire plane to give a round of applause to the men and women serving in our armed forces. I was reading my book and felt kind of bugged that they disturbed me with any kind of announcement during a most intense and gripping part of my book! I obliged and added my applause to the rest of the crowd.

We landed in Boise. For those of us continuing on to Portland, we were asked to stay on the plane but told that we could spread out and get a more comfortable seat if we wanted to. I moved from the center to an aisle seat, started up with my book again, and out of the corner of my eye, I noticed the undeniable fatigues of a young soldier who moved up to a seat just in front of me. I felt humbled.

I started thinking of how blessed I am to be able to "hop" on a plane every 4 or 5 days and within two hours, be home with my sweet family. How flying into the Salt Lake valley and seeing the majestic Wasatch Range of mountains causes my heart to leap and immediately, the comfort of "home" engulfs me.

Opposites are abundant everywhere. They serve their purpose and they help us remember how incredibly blessed we are. Seeing that stoic young man in his desert fatigues anxious to see his precious family for just a short leave, reminded me of all that I have.

So as I live in a new place which seems to be opposite of what I love and know, in many ways, I am thankful for the opposites that give my life meaning and color it with purpose and inspiration.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Painful Lessons

When I was 8 years old, I had a shiny pink stingray bike sporting a groovy banana seat, white basket with several mod colorful flowers and tassels streaming from the handlebars. I loved this bike! I rode it in the sun or the rain, it didn't matter, I was an 8 year old kid.

As is typical with kids of this age group, we had the brilliant idea to make a bicycle jump in the only vacant lot in the entire neighborhood which happened to be across the street from my house. We all contributed to the construction of our latest entertainment of the day and then took turns trying it out. Now I'm sure it was only about a foot off the ground even though it seemed to be five feet high in our young idealistic minds. But either way, we were thrilled and ready to try it out.

We all lined up and waited with eager anticipation. One after another...each excited neighborhood kid conquered the "daring" jump followed by squeals of delight and success. My turn finally came and I remember the excitement coursing through my petite body as I walked my precious bike into position and waited for the "all clear" sign. It came...I was on my way.

As I rolled down the slight hill gaining the necessary momentum for catching "big air", I saw the coveted platform getting closer and as I carefully lined up for the jump, at the last possible moment, my little sister stepped in the path. In a split second, all of my reflexes jumped into action and I veered off course, steered my stingray handlebars to the right and missed the "sweet spot" causing me to hit the edge of the jump, fly over my handle bars and skid on the pavement chin first.

I clearly remember the searing pain that immediately shot through my head. I had laid out my face on the asphalt leaving a trail of blood in my wake. Everyone ran to my side. Kids fled to find an available parent and I lay there bleeding, holding the side of my head as my chin pain immediately transferred to severe ear pain.

The rest is a bit of a blur, but I do remember being in the doctor's office getting stitched up and remember hearing him tell my mother that my wound was clear to the bone requiring internal as well as external stitches. I remember crying and I remember hurting. AND, I remember the sheer thrill of the ride!

Thirty six stitches later, I walked out of the office with a brand new scar that would last for the remainder of my life. It's a jagged, somewhat faded scar that has sparked many conversations over the years and each time I re-tell the story, the intensity of the pain returns, if only for a fleeting few moments.

Just like my accident, life is just like going off a bike jump. No matter how well you plan, things come up at the last moment that can cause us to veer off course and end up with results that are the polar opposite of our best laid plans. In a split second, things can happen and produce a completely different outcome.

Not always is the end result "painful" but it is usually unexpected and it always throws us off course. In my life, I have come to see that the majority of my best laid plans have ended up not as I had originally anticipated. Most of the time it's OK and I have learned to adapt. I have, many times, even ended up happier with the "new " result in many cases. The trick is, to hang on to the handle bars until you come to a complete stop, take the lumps and remember the consequences of the outcome so as to never repeat or endure it again.

I love the movie "The Lion King". There is a great scene where the wise shaministic baboon Rafiki is walking along with the young Simba. Suddenly Rafiki wacks Simba over the head with his walking stick to which Simba cries outs, "Ow, why did you do that?" Rafiki responds with, "Get over it, it's in the past." As they continue to walk, Rafiki takes yet another swing at Simba to which this time, Simba cleaverly ducks out of the way. Rafiki proudly tells him, "See, you've already learned!"

Like my 8 year old bicycle accident, I learned that day that life is full of unanticipated obstacles. Things come up at the last possible moment and if we aren't prepared, we will hurt. But we get over it, the pains and scars fade, but the lessons will remain and life moves on.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Am I Just Plain Crazy?!?

As I have been busy in Portland trying to find a place to live, finding the crew lounge and figuring out where to shop, eat and whatever else we need to do to survive, I have hardly had a chance to think...BUT, I have had a chance to read a few of my favorite blogs and that, my friends, has returned me to my reality...well, whatever my reality is these days...before I go on, I want to share this blog address with you. Check it out, you won't be sorry .

Since I have undertaken this HUGE life-changing career at this late stage of my life, I have found that I have, on occasion, found myself questioning myself with expressions like, "What on earth were you thinking?" and "Seriously, did you undergo a lobotomy and just not remember the procedure?" OK, just to set the record straight, I am THRILLED to be back in this crazy industry and anxious to get things going...BUT...

A lot has happened. If not for the companionship of two sweet new friends, things would be very different for me right now. These two amazing women and I have ridden the MAX (light rail), tromped in the rain looking for shoes to work in and found a crash pad to live in. They are my sanity right now and I am ever grateful for them!

While I was in training, one of our instructors was totally into inspirational thoughts. He shared one with us from the famous German writer, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. I was cleaning out my flight bag this morning when I ran across couldn't have come at a better time:

“I have come to the frightening conclusion that I am the decisive element. It is my personal approach that creates a climate. It is my daily mood that makes the weather. I possess tremendous power to make a life miserable or joyous. I can be a tool of fortune or an instrument of inspiration. I can humiliate or humor, hurt or heal in all situations. It is my response that decides whether a crisis will be escalated or de-escalated and a person humanized or de-humanized. If we treat people as they are, we make them worse. If we treat people as they ought to be, we help them become what they are capable of becoming.” ~Goethe

What more can I say?

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The Perfect Time

Well here I am in beautiful Portland, Oregon. Yes, this is my new domicile with SkyWest Airlines! Of course I want to be based in Salt Lake City because that is home, but I'm here until my transfer comes through and that's that!

I have blessed to be here with a dear friend, Jen. We met in training and somehow, we just clicked. We are sisters at heart and together we have found a crash pad, conquered the MAX (light rail system) and found our crew lounge, gates and other necessary info in order to become functioning Flight Attendants in PDX (that's Portland!)
I read a great thought on Facebook by a darling gal whom I have known for years....and yes, she's a Flight Attendant too (but for another company). This thought resonated with me:

"There is no such thing as the perfect time or the perfect situation. It is through our efforts that we try to make the perfect situation and through the time it takes to get there that we learn and grow and are refined into people who a little closer to being perfect."
I have found that way too many people wait for "the perfect time" to find peace and happiness. Life is ever changing and I personally feel that the only way to get through it with any sense of success, is to find happiness and joy in each moment. Now is the time to be happy because in one second, "now" will be gone and it will be wasted if it's not spent in joy...easy to say, harder to do. I'm a work in progress, but, as an eternal optimist, I choose to make the most of my time here. I've lived long enough to know that "right now" fades into "a long time ago" in the blink of an eye!

So as I have embarked on this new adventure in what are supposed to be my "Golden Years"...(REALLY?!?) ...I am trying to make this the perfect situation and, at the very least, make the very best of it. It's beautiful up here...I have a safe place to live...I have a great job...I have a wonderful family waiting back home for me...and I fly FREE!!


Monday, July 18, 2011

Stitches and Smiles

So it finally happened. My littlest *Little* fell off a chair and gashed his forehead open Friday night. I was sitting in a cold, lonely airport in San Francisco when I received a picture text of the little guy's wound. Aja was a real trooper! She realized that this is probably the first of many visits to the ER with this little fella whom I so affectionately call "Bam Bam" (for all you who remember the Flintstones...) He is the roughest, toughest little man and his escapades have finally caught up to him.

What impressed me the most was the smile on his precious little face as he waited to be stitched up (they ended up gluing his wound back together.) Here he just gashed open his head, bled profusely, and most assuredly had some sort of a headache, but he managed to eek out a sweet smile and even said "cheese" to his mommy when he saw her hold up her phone to take his picture.

See, he has no concept of the future. I'm sure that in his little mind, he knew he would be just fine because nothing can impede his concept of life as a 20 month old. As I mentioned above, I was stuck in the SFO airport with air conditioning blasting like it was 110° outside ( it was 58° F outside) and I was SO cold that I actually bought a blanked while I was at the airport...I was tired and I was cranky. I had just come off of a 3 day trip from hell rife with extreme weather delays, flight cancellations, reflows (reroutes) and even survived a hail storm that took our plane out of commission! All I wanted to do was GET HOME! I was miserable and yes, I wanted to throw myself down in the middle of the concourse and start crying.
(Glued back together!)
So when I received the pictures of my smiling *Little* with his "before and after" shots, I realized that I too would be just fine. I WOULD get home and I would eventually get some sleep. A sweet little 20 month old taught me that our futures are in our hands. No, we can't control everything that comes our way, but we can smile while we wait for our "stitches".

Saturday, July 16, 2011

My New Chapter

I'm Baaaacccckkkk! And now I am officially a SkyWest Airlines Flight Attendant!

It has been a grueling 30 days of training and I SURVIVED! You would think that being a Flight Attendant for a major airline would have been advantageous for me when going to a regional carrier...and in some cases it was, but seriously...I got my butt kicked!

Training was intense, long and tiring. BUT, the payoff is so great. I finished my IOE (Initial Operating Experience-the airline world is rife with's their own language) which was another complete blog post in and of itself! (Seriously, it was the trip from hell...but I survived and I passed!) I feel ready to get back into the aviation world and anxious to really begin my career. All in all, I'm glad I embarked on this new journey. I have made some amazing new friends who will be in my life forever! THAT is a blessing!

So I head to PDX (Portland, OR) tomorrow, my new domicile. Hopefully my transfer to SLC will come through and my time in the beautiful Pacific Northwest will be short-lived. If not, then at least I am "stuck" in a beautiful state that is rich in culture, diversity and great seafood! Life is full of changes and even though there is a bit of trepidation on my part and maybe even a little fear of the unknown, I did survive NYC when I came out of Delta's training many years ago...

So please keep checking back. I will post more as I can. My schedule is guaranteed to be a bit crazy, but I have missed the blogging world and look forward to sharing some of my adventures with all of you.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

New Adventures

I am out of town until July 13th. I'm only in SLC, but am currently in a training class with SkyWest Airlines and they have put me up in a hotel. I didn't say much to anyone because anything can happen and I am not hired until I successfully pass all of the required training.

As most of you know, I was once a Flight Attendant for Delta Air Lines. I had a very lucrative career with them and will always be grateful for the amazing things that experience taught me. In many ways it has served to be advantageous while undergoing this training...but in other ways, it's a bit of a disadvantage. Only in the sense that I have to learn the "SkyWest way" of doing things. As each day passes, I am more and more impressed with this company.

The instructors are all great! They are knowledgeable and very friendly. All of them have less than 10 years experience in this industry but that hasn't slowed them down one little bit! It is actually encouraging to me because it shows that growth within the company is very attainable.

I am completely impressed with the professionalism and seriousness they take their jobs. Seriously, Flight Attendants are SO much more than Pretzle Princesses! The extensive knowledge they need to know in order to provide the best safety, security and customer service is unbelievable.

I feel so blessed to have this opportunity. I will not have much time to write (if any) for the next 3 weeks. Please check back after July 15th and hopefully I will be able to get back to speed with my blogging!

Friday, June 10, 2011


As most of you know, my hubs and I are self-proclaimed Beatles Geeks!

We just got back from Las Vegas where we attended our 19th viewing of Cirque Du Soleil's Beatles LOVE at the fabulous Mirage Hotel. This time was was the 5 year anniversary of the show and there was a red carpet event which included many celebrities.

The Red Carpet event was scheduled at 6:00 PM on Wednesday, June 8th. We arrived at the hotel around 4:00 planning to have dinner at "Cravings" Buffet on the premises. When we saw the people gathering for photos, I decided to forego dinner and save our place in the crowd. I was starving, but I figured I could eat anytime...see a Beatle? Priceless!

When the event finally arrived, it became crazy. People were pretty respectful, for the most part, but two ladies just in front of us became annoyed when we would "press" up against them. Now remember, we are being pushed forward in the crowd by the myriad of people behind us. One woman whipped some attitude and turned to Natalie and said, "You're pushing us and it's really annoying!" Natalie told her that we too were being pushed forward...woman rolls eyes and says something else pretty snotty and I finally said, "Have you ever heard of Beatlemania?" SERIOUSLY?!?

They were just really bugged the whole time..finally, they decided to leave and we found ourselves right in was well worth the wait!

Brad, Me, Aja & Natalie
 Gayle King, Oprah's BFF
 Carrot Top
 Sir George & Giles Martin (George was the Beatles producer) These two did all of the music for the show
 The Killers
 Patricia & Rosanna Arquette
 Joan Osbourne

Dhani & Olivia Harrison (George's son & wife)
 Sir Paul McCartney
 Paul & his fiancee, Nancy
 Marcia Gay Harden & her kids
 Yoko Ono
 Yoko & Sean Lennon
 Criss Angel
 Mark McGrath

Elijah Wood

After the show, they brought up Paul, Yoko & Olivia Harrison ...

The show was FABulous (as always) and we were thrilled that we were able to be a part of the 5 year celebration.