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Saturday, March 31, 2012

At 50 an Old Jewish Woman Arises

I just need a bowl of soup.  Chicken soup with broth.  Kosher chicken.  Kosher broth.  And a shawl, parasol and poodle.  Oh, wait, I've already got the poodle.  So, yeah, this will be easier than I had thought.  I just need a shawl and parasol.  And then I can be the old Jewish woman that I think I'm becoming.  Mouthy, opinionated and wanting to stay within my comfort zone. 

In spite of thinking that I harbor an adventurous spirit, the older I get, I'm not so sure.  I'd like to think that I'm the backpacking type.  The kind that could travel through Europe with just me, a backpack, and a crapload of Euros.  That's a lot of Euros, in case you're wondering.  My alter ego would like to be open to sleeping in hostels instead of fancy 2 1/2 star hotels with thin towels and coffee stains on the drapes.  I'd like to believe that I'm open minded and up for anything.  Available.  Looking for new opportunities and chances to take.  But I'm not so sure. 

Chatting over Indian food with a good friend last night, this topic of conversation came up.  I'm not sure how it turned to me but it did.  I don't know if it's age.  Or even my job.  The more I fly, the more I want to be home.  Settled.  Comfortable.  I like a schedule and routine.  I want to do tasks one time.  Not two.  Doing things right the first time.  I'd like to think that I'm flexible and always say "Yes" to change and whatever others ask of me. 

But the truth is that I think I'm quite the opposite.  Or am I?  I'm not sure.  Who knows.  Is it a middle-age sort of quandary?  I find that being flexible and willing to negotiate or do things that I don't want to do is getting harder and harder.  I'd be more than happy with my iPad, a recliner, and my coffee.  Oh, and the poodle. 

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Tallinn, Estonia -- Reflections on the Old and New

The summer of 1986 found me in Tallinn, Estonia, which was part of the U.S.S.R. at that particular time.  I wrote about my encounters with the KGB and smuggling Bibles and other items into the former Iron Curtain city several years ago and being followed by the local police.   You know, just normal everyday things!  I'd go back and read this former article if you haven't already.  It has so much to do with this current, particular post.

A few days back, I opened the New York Times travel article to discover that it was calling Tallinn "A European capital of culture....a sense of optimism in the air.....it's citizens are among the continent's most cheerful people."  Holy smokes.  That's just something else.  Who would have ever thought.  The article continues on to describe a scant 36 hour whirlwind tour through Tallinn.  Eating, touring, visiting, browsing, fashion and, of course, the past.  The dark past riddled with watch towers, KGB, underground activities and such.  Those are the days I remember.  These new days that the New York Times is describing I'm not familiar with.

I decided to check out the hotel that we stayed in while we were there.  (Again, read the above article first...)  It was the only hotel where tourists could stay at the time.  Operated by Intourist, the government agency who oversaw every single person coming into the USSR for tourism purposes.  We were only permitted to be in certain places, at certain times, with our assigned tour guide.  What I didn't know until today, was that the Viru Hotel actually housed the areas KGB listening post.  They used a secured area on the 23rd floor of this hotel for their purposes.  I can't remember which floor my room was on.  But I remember the warnings about telephones being bugged, two-way mirrors, housekeeping staff who weren't really "housekeeping staff."  Check out this article.  I was so happy to find it.  I also discovered that one of the churches we sang in housed a KGB listening tower in its spire.  Fascinating! 

I'd love to make a trip back there someday.  To reflect and remember.  And to enjoy the newfound fortune of fashion and food as well.   Oh, and I could even go and stay at the newly refurbished Hotel Viru.  I'm assuming that they have removed the listening devices from the lamps and vases.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

My Ignorance Is Just As Great As Your Knowledge

"The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant threat winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that my ignorance is just as great as your knowledge."  -- Isaac Asimov

Do you realize that there are people who will read the above quote and not even get it?  Not even be able to comprehend it or understand what it means?  And then I read that "In Mississippi, 52% of GOP respondents say Obama is Muslim...12% believe he is a Christian and 36% are unsure.  In Alabama, 45% of Republicans say Obama is Muslim....14% believe he is a Christian and 41% are unsure."  Dare I say that Alabama is smarter than Mississippi?  And what about all of the others -- Louisiana, Idaho, Tennessee, Georgia, Utah....shall I go on?  

We live in a nation who no longer forms opinions based on fact, the truth.  We no longer think.  We feel.  We believe our ignorance, our sources!, are more important than actual knowledge.  And that will be our demise.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Six Degrees of Separation

They say there are six.  Degrees of separation, that is.  Sometimes I don't think there are that many.  And other days, I think there are about a thousand.  Today, the degrees of separation were not even in existence. 

I was working a San Francisco to Seattle 9:20am departure.  I was at the L1 forward boarding door welcoming 124 lovely folks on board.  (And their numerous oversized bags as well....did I mention "numerous"?)  When what to my wondering eye should appear but a miniature sleigh and eight tiny reindeer.  No, wait, that's not right.  I'm thinking something else......  But what was coming through the door was a very nice gentleman smiling at me and pointing.  "Hey, I know you!"  He went on with "I was wondering if I was ever going to be on one of your flights......I read your blog!"  He was as excited as I was.  And I think we were both quite surprised.  Irony.  Out of the blue.  Complete happenstance. 

And the story is made even more random because neither of us live in the Bay Area nor in Seattle.  He lives way out in the Northeast United States.  Visiting family.  Working.  But, wow, what a morning.  I was able to feed and water Bill.  A Bailey's Irish Cream and a snack.  It's the least I could do.  Bill, I loved meeting you.  You made my day!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

March Madness

I've taken the plunge. I needed just one more Apple product. That's the way they operate, you know....."You just have to have it."  And on that note, I will be getting it -- my very first iPad.  The New iPad Third Generation arrives at my house this next Friday.  I'm hoping it's the right choice.  For traveling.  I'll leave my laptop at home.  But the lack of a full-size keyboard on the iPad is concerning me a little.  We'll see.  I am very excited, though.  And I've done a nice job of tempting LoverBoy as well.  He's all of a twitter and going down the "Well, I can't find a decent cover for my iPad 1 so maybe I should sell my old one and get a new one so that I can find a cover for it" trail.  Because all of that makes perfect sense.  In the Apple world it does. 

My new glasses have arrived.  My first progressives -- yeah yeah yeah, I know it takes some time to get used to them.  Btu I'n huving a ibt of a difiucullt tyme seying throussh thenm.  I think they look pretty good but you'll have to be the judge of that.  It is my first online glasses ordering.  I used a company called Lookmatic.  Great customer service.  More than happy to do whatever it takes to make it right.  I'd recommend them.  The top half for distance is great....especially at night....much more crisp and clear.  But the bottom reading half is a mess....I'm not sure if it's a matter of me getting used to them or not.  But my older straight reading specs were much better. 

The Flight Path Debrief program for flight attendants is on a roller coaster ride at this particular point.  You remember...the program the took me to Seattle for 69 nights last year.  That I devoted hundreds of hours to helping design.  Along with 23 others.  Thousands of hours and dollars to develop a top-notch grade A program is now in flux.  Do we want it?  Should we revise it?  Let's just say that I'm tired of corporate politics.  Let's just say that I'm tired of non-flight attendants thinking that they know what's best for flight attendants.  I know, I know....be flexible, nimble, open minded.  I'm trying.  But I'm more than definitely happy to be back flying full time.  Away from the office.  Away from the fray of office and corporate life. 

There's a new girl in town....and she's sitting on top of our condominium...up on the roof.  She's a Davis Vantage Vue weather system.  You can now see the weather for our area...our building!....right on the internet.  You'll see the new badge on my blog...upper right-hand side.  That's the weather for our building.  Sort of fun.  And the internet link to it is here:  http://www.wunderground.com/weatherstation/WXDailyHistory.asp?ID=KORPORTL191.

We're putting together details of our upcoming trip to Ogunquit, Maine, at the end of April.  We'll be staying in a B&B in Ogunquit and then visiting our friends Wil and Fritz for a couple of nights.  We're also working on details for Bear Week in Provincetown in July.....year four!  And I see a road trip maybe next week to Boise for just me and Mason....to see the parents and sister.  And maybe help sis get a new laptop up and running.   We saw The Descendents last night.  Great movie.  I had no clue what it was about or even who was in it.  That's the third Academy Award nominee that we've seen -- in addition to The Help and The Iron Lady.  Sounds like all movies have to begin with the word "The" nowadays.