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Sunday, January 31, 2010

10 Years Ago Today

Alaska Airlines Flight #261 -- Ten Years Ago Today

LoverBoy and I had a 3-leg day together....PDX to SEA to SFO to PDX. We were with our good friend Kelly. It was the last leg back home when a passenger came to the back galley and actually pulled the fabric curtain across the entry way. She looked at us and said, "I'm not sure if I should tell you this or not but one of your airplanes has crashed." And that began our horrible day. We had to finish our flight not knowing exactly what had happened. With pleasantries and such, we continued our duties. We made the decision to notify our pilot crew as well as a deadheading crew on board. We landed in Portland without incident a short time later and were met by my brother-in-law (customer service agent for our company) with a stone-faced look on his face that I will always remember as I pushed open our forward L1 door. "Are you all aware of what has happened," he asked? "Make sure you call your families to tell them you are safe," he continued. You see, when an airplane crashed, families and friends immediately set to wondering whether it was you that was working that particular flight -- their son, daughter, mother, father, friend, neighbor, brother or sister. And that was the very first time that our two mothers had actually spoken in person to one another on the telephone -- both of them worried that we were working that flight as they made frantic phone calls to each other.

So, we gathered with other crew members for a while as we watched news footage from just off Point Magu near Anacapa Island in California. People staring at us, passengers watching, many crying...even in the airport. We had worked that particular aircraft several times in the weeks prior -- it had a broken forward galley coffee pot that was still broken on January 31, 2000. It would never need to be fixed. We finally ventured home, just the two of us, to a "message machine" (as they used to be called) filled with 27 voice messages: "Call us if you're safe," "Are you okay," "Are you flying today?," "Where are you guys?" Many of them crying, shaken quivering voices.

Flight #261 was operating from Puerto Vallarta nonstop to San Francisco. It encountered trouble off the southern California coast and never made it to SFO. It had 88 fantastic people on board including more than 30 of what we call "non revs" (those airline employees, friends, parents, children who pay little or nothing to fly). They were our friends and coworkers. It has mostly stopped now, but for several years afterwards I played the role of flight attendant over and over in my mind -- wondering what they were doing, were they standing or sitting, were in their jumpseats or not, were they injured even before the crash, did they scream or yell or cuss. I never have had an resolve on answering those questions.

It's me, you know. And LoverBoy too. That's what we do for a living along with many thousands of others who you may know. Just a quick Denver turn, or Phoenix. Or a four-day SEA/DEN/ORD like I'll start tomorrow. It's so routine. We love our jobs and wouldn't trade it for anything. But today, I remember. And wonder.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

You've Got a Friend

On this day in 1971, Carole King's Tapestry album came out which included You've Got a Friend. Be sure you listen to it.....and pay attention to that part about If the sky above you Should turn dark and full of clouds And that old north wind should begin to blow Keep your head together and call my name out loud. Wow. Timeless, I say. (Thanks to Jim's Stuff for reminding me...)

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Set Your Intention

Set Your Intention. Maybe it's balance. Maybe it's strength. Maybe it's flexibility. Each time yoga begins, the room quiets, the lights are typically off, and the first chords of music emit from the speakers. The room is floor-to-ceiling glass windows on three sides which gives me ample opportunity to stare into the sky .... something that is definitely on my Top 10. We are always reminded that whatever intention we set for our yoga practice that day is to be taken into the rest of our lives -- to home, work, into relationships and into our jobs. Okay, yeah, I'll work on that -- again.

Tomorrow begins (one of my very few) Bachelor Weekends....just me at the pooch for the entire weekend. Horribly rare. I'm looking for peace, quiet.....along with doing the unusual, the atypical. Who knows what will happen.

MIL is not in good shape. We were there yesterday with a home health nurse and an Occupational Therapist. We arrived shortly after MIL had told the OT to get out, that she didn't need her there and had no interest in her little tests and mental scoring systems. They are really concerned that she is living by herself. Her color is terrible and she gets winded simply by standing up and moving around a little. MIL is dangerously close to being moved into a long-term care facility. (A good place to reference my first paragraph in this post above....about setting an intention.)

Next week I have another long four-day trip which will place me in Seattle, Denver, and Chicago for overnights. I can't wait. I haven't stayed in Denver in years and have never ventured out of the hotel in Chicago. And, as you well know, February is a perfect time of year to be in those two cities (ahem).

Sister is flying over to PDX to visit for a few nights with us before we all drive from PDX-BOI with the Pooch for a visit with my family in Boise. It's a long overdue trip to see my family and is usually overshadowed by drama and created-situations here surrounding MIL. We'll see. Good news, though....we're hosting a LOVE-IN on Valentine's Day afternoon. A time of kisses, loving, feeling good and then passing it along. God knows we all need more of that smooching crap.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Flowers and Sweat

I'm thankful today. It hit me as I was on the treadmill, the tail end of my workout. I was thinking about my good friend who has decided it's time to begin a blog with regard to being grateful -- something I totally concur with. You'll want to stop by The Grateful Bunny when you have the chance. Simple, grateful, thankful, a perfect reminder. I mean, if you're into that sort of thing... and I am.

So, back to today. I spotted four different forsythia bushes in bloom today -- bright and yellow against the stark gray of concrete walls. Umm hum. Very very nice to see this time of year. I'm thankful for that.

And the gym. I'm so thankful that I have arms and legs that operate -- many don't. I'm thankful for the financial ability to be able to afford paying for the gym each month. I'm thankful that my body screams only for a short time before it gives it up and kicks into workout mode. The sweat that pours out feels so good -- like the toxins are going away, like the oxygen is moving, everything functioning the way it should. It's warm inside. Great music. The energy of being around people actually doing something with their lives, putting forth some effort toward making something of themselves when many choose not to. It feels so good. And I'm grateful for all of it.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Winter Whee!

Holy smokes, Batman! An entire week without posting. Umm yeah, that's not good. At. All. My apologies. I mean, not that there are any die hard readers anyway but nonetheless --

MIL has chosen again to go down the "Piss Us Off Trail." She's good at that. You'll remember that she fell in October and has taken a very long time to heal. But over the last few weeks it's been a mess with her losing keys, medications, address books, etc. My honey fills up her medication box weekly so all she has to do it take out the AM and PM pills at the right time. But in a recent scan of her apartment, there were Vicodin pills laying helter skelter all over the place. There has been a stove burner left on high with nothing on it. She has broken a glass and was unable to get to the floor to clean it up. She can't take out her dog to crap any longer so he goes upwards of 12 hours without going out. It's not pretty. So, another cry for attention because she loves it so well, she calls 9-1-1 in the middle of the night for a trip to the ER. She is there around an hour before she screams that "she's going home and not staying any longer." Huh? Why did you come here in the first place? She treats the nurses and doctors like crap. She tells people off. She is rude and inappropriate. Until someone outside the family comes to visit....then she is all peaches and cream, smiling, happy, talks about her Bible studies and such. We can't figure out if this is Doctor Jekyll or Mr. Hyde. To his giant credit, my lover boy has done his best to be diplomatic and still point out that her behavior cannot continue. Whee! Around we go again! She's supposedly headed home today. To live alone. To not be able to take care of herself. I think I'm going to steal one of those aforementioned Vicodin ASAP. And one of my new favorite cocktails.....crushed ice, Canadian Club, a squeeze of fresh OJ right from the fruit, and Diet Spring/7up. Delicious. It goes well with Vicodin, doesn't it? I have this sinking feeling that my upcoming bachelor weekend is in jeopardy.

January 31 will mark the 10th anniversary since our company's airline disaster off the southern California coast. I remember the day quite well. We knew several folks on board. We had worked that particular aircraft numerous times including only a week or so before it buried its head into the Pacific Ocean. I am thankful for my life today and will do my best to continue to strive for better things in life.

We discovered dried blood inside Mason's left ear. A trip to the vet (because the hospital with MIL wasn't quite enough in one day) confirmed a giant yeast infection in his ear. Cleaned it out and sent us home with antibiotic gel twice a day. He is much better but, for some reason, doesn't like to have clear liquids squirted into his ear. I discovered a few spring bulbs trying to poke their heads out of the ground while I was on a walk with Mason the other day -- a very good sign indeed.

I'm on day two of six in this stretch of flying. Appears to be 10,824 miles this week. It looks like this: PDX-SAN-SJD-SAN-PDX-SAN-PDX-SAN-SJD-SAN-PDX-PHX-PDX.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Mid Winter Comings and Goings

After last season, I vowed I would not watch American Idol this year. I'm just having a difficult time coming up with justifying sitting in front of the television for such lackluster entertainment. So far, I watched part of the audition shows from this week. I must be stopped before I get into this season.....

I have jumped right back into the gym routine over the last month. Our gym added a 3rd floor to it and it is so nice to have more space to spread out and enjoy the workout. It's sort of a kick to sweat.

Our sweet, lovable, non-aggressive Mason has taken to growling and trying to nip a person or two and another pooch. They are people that are not particularly enamoured with him and the other pooch is a dog that does not behave well in public and has been aggressive in the past with other dogs. I do not allow Mason to have bad behavior -- and he always gets into serious trouble with me when he misbehaves. It's just odd that it has just now cropped up. It must be curbed.

We have played Bingo for two months in a row with the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence. I had no idea playing games with boys could be so much fun and can see this being a regular event for us.

My lover boy will be absent from the nest for an entire weekend later this month while he disappears with who knows who do to who knows what. The Pooch and I will be home alone. I am trying to decide what exciting activities I will be including in my bachelor weekend. It is very seldom that I'm home alone and I want to make the most of it -- I want to do things I typically don't do and see people that I don't often see. I have thought about taking Mason somewhere for the weekend. And I've considered having someone come and visit us for the weekend too. I just don't want to do the same old things and really want to make it count. Ideas??

February will bring me to 15 years at my company. I can't believe that my air mattress-air hostess-trolley dolley-stewardess career has been that long. February will also see us spending a week in Idaho with my family....a visit that is long overdue.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

A Song In My Heart

Momma was the singer. The one who taught us to first appreciate singing and music. I was thinking today about the very earliest of songs that I remember. My mother would teach us the words, the melodies, and -- way more cool -- how to harmonize. We would journey down the road in our 1967 blue Chevy station wagon during the late 1960s and early 1970s with the three kids piled in the back and my mother doing her best to tell us how to harmonize. And these are the songs I can most well remember at a very early age:

Oh Come All Ye Faithful had (and still has) that very cool harmonic part in it during the "Come and behold him, born the king of angels......oh come let us adore him, oh come let us adore him.." part. I still sing it today, mostly at Christmas time.

First she would sing the harmony while we all sang the melody. And then we'd switch to learn the other part. I loved it. And still do. Harmony is the thing I most often identify with in a song when I hear it. Music has always been an important part of my life, thanks to my mother. She MADE me take violin lessons for a year or two and piano for eight years or so. I went on to travel as a bass vocalist with a contemporary Christian music group called The Continental Singers for twelve years -- a very long story that you may remember from my distant blogging past if you've been reading my site for a long while now.

But it all started with my mom. Her lightheartedness, her smile, her spirit and energy to teach us, mold us, and help us learn new things in our lives.

Sunday, January 03, 2010


For everything there is a season,
And a time for every matter under heaven:
A time to be born, and a time to die;
A time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
A time to kill, and a time to heal;
A time to break down, and a time to build up;
A time to weep, and a time to laugh;
A time to mourn, and a time to dance;
A time to throw away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
A time to embrace, And a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to seek, and a time to lose;
A time to keep, and a time to throw away;
A time to tear, and a time to sew;
A time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
A time to love, and a time to hate,
A time for war, and a time for peace.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

Did you know all of that stuff above? Wow. I've got a fairly tall order in front of me for the coming year....well, for the rest of my life, in all reality. Lots to do internally. Plenty to keep working on. I hope you'll join me.

UPDATE: And here's how The Byrds would beautifully spell out what I was trying to say above. Thanks to my friend Stephen at Post Apocalyptic Bohemian for the musical reminder!