The way to love someone
is to lightly run your finger over that person's soul
until you find a crack,
and then gently pour your love into that crack.
~Keith Miller

Sunday, January 30, 2011


Today was a very nice day ... the sky was blue and the birds were singing ... two even flew up to inspect last year's nest left in the rose vine ... and a surprise that made me smile ... .

Random thoughts

When he said enjoy your path in to the unknown, I immediately thought of the Challenger disaster. It might be nice to hear someone say I've got your back ... and they might really mean it, but that cliche, like all the others, is subject to interpretation. And, even if someone does have your back, and everyone is on board when it matters, what does that really mean?

I have spent too much time wading in, swimming towards, and finally floating in the deep waters, to be swept away. The truth is, God has my back ... every time ... every little invisible divisible snap of it. And I know that in a place where I won't forget it.

Why can all the truths told be swept away by one lie?
Why does a stack of gold weigh less then a sack of cold?


I've been thinking about what my friend H said when I told her that I didn't really like my church situation. It's a long story; suffice it to say, it is my church situation and the decision for that isn't mine to make. In reference to the quote posted below ... belong (belong is the shadow left by one's shelter) ... Do more then belong, participate. Isn't that really what the take away from last weeks sermon was about? One little bit was an encouragement to "fellowship" ... belong ... participate.
One of my children was naturally quite facetious about his toys ... awesome at sharing, but very careful about how they were put away at the end of playtime. Ninja Turtles in this basket ... Little Tykes in this basket ... Sesame Street figurines in this basket .... He found a lot of pleasure in putting his things where they belonged. I liked that about him (he's still that way and I still like it). I am comfortable with that way myself. That idea of belong has been in my research meanderings of late. One idea is that some of us need to belong. It seems to me to be about community. And as an important point here -> belong with not belong to.

Back to the "God has my back" idea + which "basket" I belong in + how comfortable am I really with resting/participating in the basket(s) that He put me in?

My son was happiest when all his toy pieces were out on the floor playing with each other and being shared among his little buddies ... the more the merrier. Mixing things up was part of the joy. The other part of the joy was in setting things back ... where he thought they belonged (in their little shelters).
"Do more than belong, participate. Do more than care, help. Do more than believe, practice. Do more than be fair, be kind. Do more than forgive, forget. Do more than dream, work." - W. A. Ward"

Thursday, January 27, 2011

$210.00 for a 1.2 rental checkout. Yikes.

I flew it with FI. It was comfortable working with someone I like in a well established pattern. I picked up the key/folder on the plane and took another quick look at the winds ... favoring 18 but moving around flirting with 29. I don't like 29. It is buried in a cul de sac of tall pine trees. On a day like today when the winds are shifting and gusting (15G25) it makes for a potentially squirrelly touch down ... and roll, because the thick screen of trees ends right about where the airplane is transitioning from flight to taxi. It always concerns me when I don't have a field view of the airport. At this uncontrolled field, jets and light twins invariably prefer 18/36 ... the 36 end is totally obscured, and I've seen them land without so much as a call on the local frequency.

Keys and flight bag in hand I started towards FI's office. I was thirty minutes early, but wanted to spend some time alone on pre-flight ... he knows I prefer that.

I hadn't anticipated how seeing all my old CFI buds would affect me. Everyone wanted a hug (we're big on hugs down here in the South and these boys see me as sorta like their own mom, but cooler because I am not their mom and maybe because I am willing to trash talk with them some). Everyone wanted to know how things are going for me, and I hadn't prepared an answer to that. I pretty much lied, telling them that things are going great! I spoke with them mostly one at a time. I think their concern was as genuine as a 20 something guy is capable of ... I was uncomfortable with the attention. One of my favorites guys made it better with his response to my little ground school class going
through the local Parks and Rec.
He drawled, "Yeah, I've seen those brochures ... pet training classes and stuff like that, right?"
"At least I will be able to buy you a cup of coffee ..." I shot back with a wink and a smile.
The new policy out there is the guys have to pay for coffee. As far back as anyone can remember it's been a perk (maybe the only perk unless you want to include the toilet paper that is almost always available in the restrooms) ... they are paying for their coffee with pennies. They take turns swinging by a bank for rolls of pennies.

Finally, through the gauntlet and at the opened door of FI office ... he's on the phone. I hold out the airplane folder showing him the tail number and point in the direction where it is parked. He nods. A couple more look what the cat dragged in type greetings and I am outside again with nothing but fresh cold air between me and the little airplane.

The pre-flight was good ... soothingly familiar. Everything was as it should be with the airplane. I was hopping down from the left wing fuel tank check when FI strolled up ...
"Left or Right?" he asked.
"Right for me ... everything is good to go out here." I came around in time to see him inspecting the floor, up under the seats, here and there ... he is a fiend for FOD ... well, he won't find anything rambling around in my airplane I thought as my lips pulled back in a small involuntary smile. The devil is in the details. I had his seat adjusted all the way down and mine all the way up. Keys waiting in front of the compass ... a creature of habit as far as training goes ... hmmm, kinda like pet training.

As he got in, and situated, he pointed to a plane on the ramp ... 12 o'clock one hundred feet. It was squawked by a renter this morning. The pilot said it tended to roll right and FI asked me what I thought might be causing that and how I would assess it in the air had it been my plane. I told him if I couldn't get straight and level coordinated flight that I would think someone had messed with the rudder trim tab. It is a bendable tab accessible while on the ground only. I've seen students straighten the tab out during preflight. He liked that answer. "What else?" he prodded and I suggested the possibility of a fuel or other weight imbalance ...
"Nah, probably not in this small a plane", he said.
"Maybe he was pulling it without realizing ... I'd have to see it ... Was the ball centered"? We talked about how to trouble shoot it while he did the start up ... everything as it should be except the attitude indicator which was very very slow to spool up ...

"Do we need it?" Ugh ... let the drilling begin I thought.
"Not per 91.205 VFR day, but it is annoying ... the DG is fine" I observed setting and checking it against the Mag Compass. If I have to squawk it I'm going to mess with the desk about renting me an incomplete piece of equipment. Yep, the heading indicator indicated accurately during the taxi ... and the attitude indicator did eventually spool up.

I flew a nice little refresher on crosswind technique ... mine was just a tad rusty for those conditions and I cross loaded just a smidge on the first landing. Do it again made me smile to myself as it was heard right on cue. I was using 18 and on the second takeoff noticed something ... dogs?...coyote? ... on the departure end near the touchdown stripes. "Ummm, we have company," I observed nodding downwards as we climbed out. Two men were walking around on the active runway ... "Roll wings level" he said as I turned an early crosswind and made a heads up call to the traffic departing behind me. I knew he would want to remain in the pattern. With departing traffic position and hold I called low approach only on final and anticipated FIs curiosity/annoyance about the guys putzing around down the way ...

"I have the controls," he said.
"Your controls." He is the safety officer and was quite "perplexed" and vocal about men just standing around on an active runway. We departed out to the NE training area eventually and climbed up above a thick layer of haze trapped below an temperature inversion.

I'm flying ... it never ceases to delight me.

Slow flight ... clean landing stall ... now dirty ... now straight and level constant speed, ball centered of course ... does this one wanna roll? No. He tells me that the mechanic played with the angle on incidence on the squawked plane we were discussing earlier. What?! ... I am surprised ... I didn't realize that was even a possibility on these little airplanes. I've seen small Pipers with their wings off, and can imagine "tweaking" them individually, but I'm still thinking about that for the Cessna 172s. Wonder how much play is in them ... how did he do that? ... was FI pulling my leg? He said he wished he had been flown it before it went to maintenance ... .

We landed out at a little field NE of the departure airport. The tree line makes it a tad tricky on a breezy day like today. The landing on 26 was excellent ... I had broadcast an intent to touch and go but opted to back taxi.
"We've been here before." I said. the memory brushed softly over me ... the first flight with this particular senior pilot ... he wasn't at all sure about working with me, and he sat through that flight growling instructions with his arms folded tightly across his chest. I learned a lot from him. I learned how to teach from him.
"Yes" he replied as softly as the memory. I believe this will most likely be our last flight together ... and that makes me feel sad. This isn't the time for that kind of thinking ... .
"180 here, let's go." I don't like short field climb outs when the winds are gusting.
"Yes sir" was all I said though as I configured the airplane ... and we're off.

Time to take this little bird back to the nest ... ground references were almost lost in the haze and he asked me to slow down a bit as we descended in to the bumpity bump layer ... I knew that, but I let him get ahead of me as I planned a landing on 29 with another pilot broadcasting his intentions for 18 ... I'll take 50 degrees left over 60 degrees right in these conditions even though I dislike landing 29 on most any other day. The crosswind component (24020) would go from 15kts 0n 29 to 17kts on 18 with a maximum demonstrated (but not limiting) crosswind velocity of 15kts. (I hear the voice of an old favorite commercial instructor in my head asking me if I feel like a test pilot today ... smile/sigh). I tell FI that I will be using 20 degrees of flaps with no less then 70kts as my final approach speed and I get her stabilized with that asap ... this will be full stop, and I really want lovely. He had told me earlier to set it down firmly on days like today, and that is exactly what I did. We experienced the expected wobble as the winds shifted at the clearing. Taxi back ... clean up and shut down ... flight over.

I tell him that I was less comfortable coming out here today then I had expected, that it was hard to see everyone, and I thank him for making it seem so normal for me. He said he knew that. You get in a little bitty airplane for several hours with a person and you get to know each other pretty well. We had gossiped a bit earlier and the news he shared was pretty grim. I didn't tell him that students are asking me why he's retiring at the end of the semester ... that's been his plan for several years now I assure them ... and it's true, it just comes at an uneasy time in the day to day operations. Leadership is a wonderful thing to behold. It has been fascinating to see how unassuming he is in general and how gracefully he leads. What a privilege it was for me to train with him.

My husband is doing a great job of reminding me of how well each aspect of the training and every bump in the bumpity bump layer on this journey has gone for me. (Another look at weather 101 there ... and the winds of chance and circumstance.) I appreciate his linear thinking style as he reminds me that this has been an amazing trajectory thus far. He encourages me to enjoy the path in to the unknown. This morning he said "Enjoy this time ... I've got your back."
Today promises to be a great day.

When I awoke this morning I smiled as I remembered my flight today. A few days ago I was feeling kinda grouchy about having to spend the money for a rental check out ... today I am just grateful that I get to fly. That's better. I got the standardized procedures manual out for an early morning review, and I am looking forward to impressing myself ... or maybe not, but, that is what I'm looking forward to!

Also on the early morning getterdone list: What vitamins should I take ... woman age 50 and over. Over seems like a bit of a jab, but that is not only the title given to the PDF I printed off, but also where I am at. My daily vitamin is woefully inadequate in D3, B12, pantothenic acid, calcium, and magnesium. I'll look in to that ... plus, I didn't read the label until this morning, but this is a four tablet a day not a one tablet a day sort of vitamin ... oops.

I had lunch with a new acquaintance early this week. I met her at church ... our teenagers sit together. Several people have said we would really like each other ... that we have a similar perspective. I don't know about that ... her husband is an airline pilot ... that lead to the conclusion that we would automatically have a lot in common. I wasn't very sure of that. So, the sermon was on, among other things, the idea of fellowship (church word for hanging out together), and how important it is to build relationships within the church. I am not a huge fan of ladies groups at church. One leader will ask me to be the guest singer (which I don't like to do because it seems so spotlighted and I never prefer that), I'll do it because I feel guilty saying no, and then some helmet-haired lady will come up afterwards and say something intentionally unkind. I'm thinking group singing is more the thing. I was asked in a very sweet way not to make those kind of observations when asked to share my favorite picture of Jesus ... those who came before me liked Jesus holding the lamb with the children circled around, or the brown background Jesus with a halo, or this one or that one ... it felt like a game of name the renderings. I don't think Jesus was a blue-eyed blond guy. I made the mistake of saying that ... . I might have even said that Rembrandt's Portrait of a Young Jew seemed to me to be a more likely possibility. I didn't say it in a stuck up way, I was just taking my turn. The leader of that Bible Study indicated that I was a buzz kill ... so ... I do my bible studies at home mostly. And, I have a new book titled: a heart that dances. I am looking forward to working through it. The lady everyone said I would probably like ... I do like her ... except she likes to hug goodbye ... I don't like to hug after the first lunch.

uh oh phone pinging wardrobe emergency at the high school. Gotta go.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

It's another very grey day under the low clouds ... I know there is a brilliant sky just beyond. Yeah, weather 101 ... transferable as a life lesson.

I went looking for some blue yesterday after the company was gone and I had a minute to sit still (even with the fresh laundry waiting to be folded). I found a bucket list item. Argentina's Los Glaciares National Park in Patagonia. Wow. Superduper double wow. I haven't been sucessful with linking youtube here, but it is worth a try.

I looked at few of the videos ... talk about other world! They remind me of cathedral spires, rising 200 feet above the waters surface ... and detaching with a roar before sliding down and floating free. I would love to see that ... feel that ... hear that.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Pretty sure these are a couple more "Best Days"

The day I earned my CFI certificate was one of the best days. The day I shake hands with my first private sign off will be another.
500 OVC all around here ... I cancelled my flight this morning, it was to be a rental checkout and stalls and slow flight in IFR is just not the thing ... plus it is raining ... I hate it when the bottoms of my pants are wet.

Yesterday I was thinking that I had really believed that I would be giving rental check outs to people rather then needing one ... it's good that life isn't so predictable, that would get very tedious. On the other hand, the most important things in my life are very consistent. And that makes it possible for anyone of the people in my family to take a risk on a dream. On a rainy day like today it is tempting to entertain the whiner within.

Someone pinged me inviting herself and her pre-schooler over. I thought to decline ... this is shaking out to be a day to catch up on ironning and slow cook something delicious on the stove top ... a quiet day with Enya singing in the background. Then I remembered how it feels to be a young woman who has recently given up a career in favor of child rearing. Suddenly you have to figure out how to make a home on half the income that you've grown accustomed to, you smell like baby goop, and your husband is really counting on a hot meal to be followed by other hotness. I encouraged her to not totally give up her day job, but a lot of families think mom at home is the best of all worlds. She'll come over.

One of my older neighbors is having a recurrence of cancer. I was able to spend a lot of time driving her back and forth to chemo last time, but this time I wish another neighbor might step up. She has been showing up at the front door sad and afraid ... needing a hug and a cup of tea at least.

I am feeling a bit swamped just now with my own five children. It's funny that a woman who was raised with boys and seems to shy away from feminine company is the mother of three girls. A missing sweater is a very noisy event in my house ... no, a different one will not do, she was planning on that particular one and now one of those stinkers is wearing it instead ... big deal. Oh, it is. I just don't get it. I wear a black tee shirt and jeans or khakis ... this pair of black shoes or that pair. Now that I am not in the airplane everyday I spritz on a fragrance ... with almost no thought as to which one.

Four has just pinged me that Two called her a bad name because she is mad still about the sweater. Two left the house this morning in Four's newest shirt ... it is a complicated dance that I do not understand. I think it is a symptom of affluenza.

I am going to start that meal and my ironing and we'll just see how the day gets better.

Monday, January 24, 2011

I am not going on that trip to Reno ... dangit ... the airfare is more than five times what the original information had it at. It went from an affordable fun get away to a potential guilt trip. I cut bait on it.

But I am supposed to be getting dressed up for something fun this evening.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

I really want the stun gun ap.
I really want to not hear the same ole same ole over and over
I really want to hear positive talk ... Or no talk. People talk way too much ... Too many words are in the air.
Someone talking about helping get people shelter is part of what has stirred this particular stew of thought on the topic of shelter. Being at home more has surely lit/stoked that fire of my imaginings ... meanderings. ... and my husband is musing over the possibilities ... buy/build, when/where, etc. for what comes next as far as a home near the coast. I love the sky with it's many personalities and moods ... as you can see, the sky in Texas is full of ambiance ... robust ... less then spirited need not apply. The actual water in the Gulf of Mexico doesn't really stand out as stellar. Texas beaches are clean and the shoreline invites interface (unlike some places in Florida with it's devilish riptides) ... wildlife is plentiful and varied. The sand isn't that gorgeous sugar white found on the eastward Gulf beaches ... my husband is a "friction" guy ... materials ... he has explained that one sand is slate where the other is shell or is it shale, or did he say silica (Which is which ... idk) You can see the shelf area of the Gulf by looking at the placement of the off shore oil derricks ... I'm just guessing that, and from it go on to intuit that the relative depth of the water affects the wave action ... we strongly prefer the water near North Padre Island for goofing off in, the dolphins do too. Texas has a philosophy of ready public access ... meaning, the shoreline is public property, rather then limited to those fortunate few who can buy access. You can actually drive for miles and miles along the barrier islands in Texas ... and there are plenty of places to pitch a tent if you are of a mind to (not me!). South Padre is getting loaded up with Skyscrapers and huge commercial venues and that's fine ... I just don't want to live on an MTV Spring break sound stage ... playpens along the Texas coast are well defined. All that to say ... my husband is watching the real estate trends and making plans. I love my husband very much, but I do not want to build a house from scratch with him. I don't think I do. There are a few things I would really like to have in a house ... everyone has their things, right? I think we could make those things happen in an already built house ... I don't like to see all the already built stuff overlooked in favor of the new flavor. I don't like the waste of empty consumption. I appreciate the notion of re-imagining. Lovelovelove that home in Some Thing's Got To Give ... hope I'm remembering the right title. It appeared to be an older, conservatively, thoughtfully built, traditional, yet updated, comfortable, inviting shelter... all the adjectives I most prefer in houses and in people ... it looked like it could weather the storms. It seems right to put forth the effort to work with what is instead of starting from scratch ... that's part of what an already a shelter expresses to me. I like lofts ... but I sure don't want to live over a fish market!
It was old-fashioned when I was a young woman, but still known, to have a "hope chest". A hope chest is a collection of things that a woman might start putting together for when she starts her own home. I had (and still have) an old pine toy box. When I was about 14 I started filling it with things I thought I would need at college. My bank gave a place setting of dinnerware away with different savings milestones ... like a challenge ... those where my dishes. I loved thinking about that box and what it represented to me. I was very careful with what went in to it. Now, I find that I am doing that again with an eye towards our next home. I can see some of the details but the framework is intentionally fuzzy. I have a sailboat quilt, it is twin bed size. I will make an airplane quilt to be it's buddy. I hope to see grandchildren resting, tousled and toasty-brown, under them someday. I have a drawing in mind to hang in one of the bathrooms ... it is of a child running barefoot along the shore with a beach towel flagging out behind, like superman's cape. It will be a very detailed pencil drawing ... complex, yet simple. I see it clearly in my mind's eye and it reminds me of my childhood and makes me wish to see other littles who might come to visit. I am editing our stuff with the question "Do we want this at the beach" in mind.
That brings me to our books ... well, my books, L will have to sort through his own. I culled out quite a few that I won't read again and that have no sentimental value to me. Buried, behind closed shelving I have found a small stack of favorite (I guess) romance novels. At some point in my younger days I stopped reading romance novels ... yes I have indulged the occasional harlequin romance whose main merit is that if it falls in to my bath water I haven't lost the ending ... it's predictable ... easy to set aside when the water gets too cold! A literary bag of cheetos. I liked Thorn birds ... both the book and the mini series. I like them still. But why did I save theseother three? Yep ... my name is written inside each of them. Belva Plain; Random Winds. Sally Quinn; Happy Endings. Janet Dailey; Heiress ... a peek inside reveals these titles also by: Touch the Wind, Ride the Thunder, Night Way, Silver Wings Santiago Blue, The Glory Came, The Great Alone, and finally Heiress. I don't remember actually reading any of those three books, but I know I did. I have been thinking about romance novels lately ... the leading man is always so male ... a hunter at heart, he has a passion for life ... a bit of a wild streak ... and because these things are written for women by women ... his heart, once healed, is forever true. Uh oh, I feel a pinch of cynicism tightening my lips. And now I remember why I put most of my collection out.
That guy, even if he really did exist, is not my husband. That guy is a lot like the perfectly posed and lit, airbrushed and otherwise enhanced, tasty caricature specifically created to appeal, to scratch some itch that when scratched spreads as surely as a bed of poisonous ivy. Poisonous ivy is so interesting, because the insidious allergic reaction doesn't manifest on the first several exposures ... sometimes the rash doesn't appear until the most inopportune moment ... one assumes they are immune and then those oozy, itchy welts appear and spread. My husband knows he has no immunities to it and still he blithely tromps through the woods ... he has had steroid shots for it ... we keep the special soap and ointment on hand at all times. I'm hoping there is no poisonous ivy at the coast. That stuff scares me.
Well, I am cleaning house today and working on restoring an old table that is looking really really great ... better then I hoped even. And later I will get to hang out with an old friend for a few precious minutes.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

I can't quite shake the idea of "shelter". I am thinking about it within the context of relationships, primarily spousal, but also in the intangible relationship with God. It just seems to linger, bobbing up and down in my consciousness.

We are at that time when we, my brother and I , would like to help our mother prepare for the next stage of her life. My mom does not subscribe to the notion of relationships as shelters, havens, refuges. She sees relationships as more like a credit card ... swipe it to get what you want, instantly ... it's magic and someone else will pay the bill on it ... or not ... it doesn't seem to matter to her because there seems to be another one ready when that one is used up. She is at that point where her line of credit (to continue the analogy) is just about kaput ... and that will be a huge shock to her. She didn't figure out that people are important. She didn't subscribe to the notion of the golden rule. I feel bad for her.

So, shelter. I've been reading about what researcher have to say about our need for relationships. What motivates us to form and maintain relationships with each other? It's been pretty interesting reading. They say we fall into two basic groups. One grouping is that people rely on relationships to help regulate feelings about themselves, in other words ... self esteem. The other is a desire for closeness or belonging.

I've just started reading on this topic this month, so I imagine there will be other theories that seem interesting to think about too, but I definitely see the validity of these two ideas. For me, the self esteem route seems to be the less preferred ... in my heart, I know I believe that no on gets to tell me who I am ... I have to tell myself that. Yes, it feels good to be appreciated or to have someone say they are proud of this or that ... it strikes me as strange to hear someone say "I am proud of you". I never say that to my children or my husband because on one hand it seems manipulative ... here's your cookie ... and on the other hand their accomplishments are their own, supported by the family, but because of their efforts ... I say I am proud for you. We didn't get very much feed back on accomplishments growing up. Maybe that is why I don't get much out of praise from others. It kind of makes me feel uncomfortable to tell the truth. I do like to know if a meal is pleasing to my people, but that's more about repeating the menu or not ... or if my husband notices something I would want to do that again. In flight training I didn't like to hear praise ... FI would say "You get the apple today for that" or "You keep this up and you'll be owing me a bag of apples." ... yeah ... he kept apples. It was like a challenge or maybe a trophy ... I like competing (and against myself is my favorite). I believe our self esteem is supposed to come from doing what we think God wants us to do. I think we will answer to him and I think we may as well get started with that ... it's not like we don't have a few clues about how we are supposed to act (ie ... treat people how you would like to be treated ... love) I do care about what others think ... it's just not a primary button for me.
Desire for closeness or belonging is important for me. This might be the reason why this idea of shelter resonates so clearly with me. And again, I am not thinking strictly of four walls or even a whole country ... I am thinking about a place where you know there will be a soft landing at the end of the day. I am thinking about a place or sense of place ... I am thinking about an emotional space where cows will not bump your walls down ... a place where you can imagine hearing the stars sing. I guess that is why family is so important to me. I want them to be assured of the shelter that my promises to them provide. I think that is a large part of how I see my friendships too ... closeness is what I value. I am learning to distinguish another group called buddy. Buddies are people you look out for and share fun with, but buddies don't get in your heart. Buddies are not that close ... maybe close enough for an umbrella and a shared meal, but if you shelter them, it is as quests only.

My husband thinks these two groupings may be gender specific. I am thinking about that, but I doubt it. I think I have noticed that a man stays a boy until he is able to offer and receive shelter from another. Seems like a lot of guys see shelter as their job ... capital/cash shelters. I think I know less about girls, so I won't make a companion statement there. It is probably too big a risk to stake your shelter on another person ... I counsel my daughters (and sons)towards the ability to earn a living for themselves ... that other, intangible shelter, is even more fragile and fraught with risk ... but life is a lot fuller when it is shared.

Seems like most of us are wired for companionship, whether for closeness, affirmation, or measures of both. I have a new (to me) quote that I remember here and I'll try to find it ... sure, here it is:

"I think we delight to praise what we enjoy because the praise not only expresses but completes the enjoyment; it is the appointed consumation." ~C.S. Lewis

The quote seems to wrap the two ideas together.

Monday, January 17, 2011

I did look at the airport at Sedona and or does look pretty cool. I have never seen a compass rose painted on the asphalt ... Must be a bearing check point ... Pretty and interesting. I have never seen a tetrahedron either, and hadn't thought to google earth it til now... . The town of Sedona seems even more impressive - straddling the ridge lines.

My brother said something today that I want to remember. He said something like: maturity can take you to a place where you just feel feel bad for the people who want to ding you ... He was referring specifically to the mother of his children, his first wife. Even after all these years, she seems to have an agenda with him. I'm not really thinking about their stuff ... I'm thinking about forgiveness. I have always thought I was quick to forgive. Forgiving. Someone who does not nurse a grudge. But, I have come to see that is my exact problem with some of this recent stuff. Looking at some of ML Kings ideas these last couple is days I found the quote about light banishing darkness and love triumphant over hate ... No new ground there, but what I didn't see was the truth that I was letting hatred fester. I don't want to be that person. Everything worked out for me ... If harm was intended, I wasn't harmed. Malice and hatefullness would be where the harm would come from and it is possible for me to let those go.
"If a man hasn't discovered something that he will die for, he isn't fit to live."
~Martin Luther King, Jr., speech, Detroit, Michigan, June 23, 1963.

"Power at its best is love implementing the demands of justice. Justice at its best is love correcting everything that stands against love."
~Martin Luther King, Jr., Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community?, 1967

"Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that."
Martin Luther King, Jr.

"Everything that we see is a shadow cast by that which we do not see."
Martin Luther King, Jr.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Tonight everyone is out, some to dinner, others to movies, others just out and about with friends. I am luxuriating in an evening in - alone. Sometimes it just feels good to not have plans. My guys like to eat at Buffalo Wild Wings ... I just really don't. It's just too much random visual and aural noise for me ... and the wings I choose are too spicy. Better for me to snuggle in with a couple of new books, The Elegant Universe, Brian Greene and Flatland A Romance of Many Dimensions, Edwin A Abbott 1884 and the rest of my new magazine, the January edition of Real Simple. I've been putting off reading Flatland ... it was a gift last Christmas 2009 I think, it looks kinda dorky ... watch it be awesome. Strangely, coincidentally, both books have multidimensional space in common.

One of the visits to the Smithsonian Museum ... past the Hope diamond ... tucked in to a corner, was a rock on which different lights were shone. It was fascinating to see how dramatically my perception of the rock changed in the differing light. I know the human eye is "set" to distinguish information or images within a specific range ... I just think it's cool to imagine what we might "see" or "miss" with just a little tweaking.
I really like flying airplanes for a lot of different reasons ... they are just so cool ... but certainly one of the reasons is the freedom of movement ... and the edges of that freedom. Kind of a perfect marriage of art and science ... magical.
Ever since I was a little kid I've thought there must be a lot more then meets the eye ... my hands can acquire information that refines the perceptions formed visually ... sounds are so universal and tell us things that are hard to put in to words ... and so on. One of my friends is blind and as an experiment I spent the day blinded ... I recommend it. Our eyes shortcut us (like chutes and ladders) in to missing a lot of information. I believe there are layers or places or spaces where our senses preclude entry. We talk about the principles of modern physics as something happening out there in the universe ... or as an event that happened some incomprehensible time ago. What if rather then holding it at a telescopes length we look nearer? That book "Esther" that I have recently finished reading, makes a case for the invisible hand of God. I have friends who believe God is more present, more in the moments then I have believed ... now I am starting to wonder if it is possible that God is more present then I've thought. I'm starting to wonder if there is a switch somewhere ... some little tiny adjustment that might effect my ability to see Him ... nearer, "nower".

"Everything that we see is a shadow cast by that which we do not see."
Martin Luther King, Jr.

Well ... on to some valuable quiet time.

P.S. I heard the new song on my playlist BoB ... Airplanes and liked something about it last time I was in ATL ... remembered to add it to my iPod yesterday and added it here tonight. The other song Watching Airplanes came up on the iTunes search and I liked it too ... seems like representation of opposite ends of the spectrum. Anyway, I thought they might be fun here for a couple of days. I am also liking the soundtrack to TRON for workouts ... and that elliptical workout is going well. I didn't realize how much I missed the cardio. I am in the process of starting Yoga again too.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Tonight, right in the middle of the movie (date night moved to Saturday for this week), my phone "dinged" ... And a quick glance indicated that it was a message from the boss of the DFE. Everybody reports to somebody. I chose not to read it just then ... Maybe I was being a good date or maybe I didn't have my reading glasses. I read it later. It was a nice note. It would be inappropriate for me to say what it said, but it made me feel better about things. I had already realized or accepted that instructing there was going to be a bad situation at best, and as much as I want to instruct it just wasn't the situation for me. I'm done riding that horse ... It was just nice to know that someone somewhere was noticing and not liking it. I'm not feeling vindictive. More like vindicated. Interesting words. I'll look at them more closely later. Anyway, it was nice to get the note. I really do think things go the way they are supposed to. I'm happy (most days) to paddle as well as I can and embrace the ride, whether rapids or calmer waters. Yeah, I say that now. I know. Sometimes I spit and shriek at a face full of cold water ... I fret when my little boat doesn't seem to be moving fast enough ... I know.

Okay, so the note was a surprisingly touching thing. I appreciate it.

Next, I started making arrangements for a trip for late in February. The dermatologist wants to do some magic on my face on the 14th. The last time I saw him he froze a little scratchy spot of skin off ... It looked like a huge bee sting and then became a scab. Boy did it smart! I was afraid it was something bad, but it was no big deal and now it's totally healed. Anyway, while I was there he was able sell me on some more services ... The guy is like a genius ... He was able to imply that I look terrible and that he could fix that without hurting my feelings. And that was after I let him freeze dry a non cancerous blemish about an inch under my eye. I'm rethinking this tonight because I'm not sure I want to travel with whatever kind of spots the next visit will produce. I get to go somewhere on a commercial airline. I like big airports and big airplanes a lot. I was looking at route options today. Do I want to fly non-stop or not. Not, I think. There are a lot of airports that I haven't seen ... And they are not all the same. I love take offs and landings in big planes ... Yes, in little planes too.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Here are a few CS Lewis quotes that I particularly like and may be thinking about ...

I think we delight to praise what we enjoy because the praise not only expresses but completes the enjoyment; it is the appointed consumation.

Miracles are a retelling in small letters of the same story which is written across the whole world in letters too large for some of us to see.

In coming to understand anything we are rejecting the facts as they are to us in favour of the facts as they are.

God will look to every soul like its first love because He is its first love.

Everyone feels benevolent if nothing happens to be annoying him at the moment.

Stinky and me probably from 1963

This picture seems so sweet to me. I loved that dog ... . I remember that the photo was not taken by my momma, and I remember that I was worried a little about having my picture taken because I had already let my hair down out of the braids my mom had sent me out of the house in ... how 'bout those starched play clothes and little hard soled shoes. Kids now days have it made in their Teva's and Sofie shorts. My mom is appalled by how they dress! I can see the tension in my hand in this photo, and see that tightening in all the posed shots from my childhood. We ran as wild and wide open as we could but we sure understood there would be consequences if we were found out ... those were the days when any body's mother could scold you, and if she did you could count on trouble as soon as you arrived back home ... those moms stuck together! On this particular day all the bigger kids were at school and I had been swinging as high as I could on someone else's swing set. That line in the dirt behind me is most likely the trench I made as I hit the ground and slide to a stop. I did that all the time ... I loved to swing as high as possible then jump out at the top of the arc. I see that little scraped up knee ... usual for me. My mother would doctor it up with "monkey blood"* as soon as she saw it ...
* merbromin (murbrō´min),
n a mercury-bromine compound used as a germicide for disinfection of the skin, mucous membrane, and wounds. Used in 10% alcoholic
solution (Scott-Wilson reagent) in the treatment of moniliasis.

... I had totally forgotten about that stuff! My mom would spray it on the back of our throats as a remedy for your basic sore throat. It tasted horrible ... I remember. I'm laughing. Those fifties moms were pretty tough ole girls ... in their Jackie O pill box hats and gloves ... how did society get from there to here?

My husband is out doing some consulting gigs ... away from home this week, so I have gotten everyone up and out on my own these past few days. Everyone sets their own alarm and knows the drill so, no big deal ... then I go work out for a while and run errands with the hair at the base of my neck still moist, workout clothes not those cute sets ... no make up or hair obviously ... I have never ever ever seen my mom with out full makeup on. Daddy used to deliver her morning coffee to her and we didn't see her 'til she was presentable. I have an old pair of little white gloves in my top drawer to remember those days by ... I can see from the glimmer in my eye here that I made the most of those childhood days.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

13 January 2011 Cake and ice cream

Where alpha is coffee and beta is ice cream we are able to triangulate to a point of bliss ... coffee flavored ice cream in my favorite cup.

My brother called this morning and asked me what my plans are for today ... I told him I was super cleaning a bathroom two days ago and fell in to a bit of a black hole ... sounds nasty doesn't it?! I thought I was "going in" on a surreptitious dusty looking mildew run ... seek and destroy ... in and out and on to the stairwell closet. Yesterday I found myself painting the walls and installing a new lighting fixture over the sink. Now the main overhead fixture doesn't "match" ... and the replacement is waiting for me in the hall. That bathroom and I go way back ... . This all started with the floor in that bathroom. It is made from smooth brown pebbles laid in about four inches of concrete ... weird, I know. Because the terrain here is so hilly (is that a word?) part of our home is built on a concrete slab, or pad if you prefer, while the rest is constructed pier and beam style with a brick veneered "crawlspace" ... which is no less then four feet high and a good bit more at other points. Very different then the residential construction that I was familiar with, and handy for running cable etc. I was not raised to be "handy". Raised with boys, I did admire their games and from time to time opted to play, but was more likely to be on the sidelines, cheering. If I were near enough for high school reunions, I am certain that no one would believe that I am a commercial pilot. Lucky me ... I moved out of the box and got to grow towards me.

Back to that floor ... I don't like it. I lifted the air vent cover and discovered that it is really thick ... it would take a jack hammer to remove it, and then what? It seems structural! It abutts wooden floors throughout the rest of the house. Five years ago, I saw very cool cork flooring ... I liked it and I thought it might just work over the rocks (rocks, like an old pool deck). My husband said okay but ... I hired a flooring contractor who said he'd do both downstairs bathrooms for a additional 100 bucks while he was here refinishing the hardwood floors. I ordered the cork from Lowe's, and started prepping the bathroom, ie, remove toilet, bleach floor, tape down heavy plastic barrier. The guys came in a laid the floor in about 15 minutes ... it was gorgeous. Then, I didn't have a clue as to how to finish the edges ... where cork meets tub or tile. During the year that I was thinking about it, shower water seeped under it, eventually leaving water stains and possibly eek ... mildew. So ... one day, I pulled it all out. It's not an expensive flooring option, but has to be properly sealed. I am able to measure accurately and snap pieces together ... and unscrew toilets from the floor ... I am certain that I will be able to do it myself. DIY. It's all that HGTV stuff ... this Old House and Design Star.
So, my brother called and asked me "What are you doing today." and I told him, "I am installing an overhead light fixture and then I think I am going to go get a manicure." He laughed because he is amazed that I turned out to be a girl who knows how to do stuff like that, and would rather just DIY then nagwaitget my sweetheart to do it. My brother said he'd heard that some percentage of men can not do basic household tasks like change a light bulb. Seriously. Who changes their light bulbs for them? I thought my brother must be pulling my leg, but stopped short of liar liar pants on fire when he assured me he wasn't just making that up ... I did google it though:

I stopped watching HGTV several years ago. I know too much. I do not like to do sheet rock work. I can not believe the going rate for skilled craftsmen ... I get it ... but I don't like it. So, I hit the breaker, pre cut stripes of electrical tape, carefully balance screw driver and pliers ... and the whole time I worry about whether or not this is making me less feminine (cause that's important to me too ...).

That's what I'm doing on this big day.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011


If A is success in life, then A equals x plus y plus z. Work is x; y is play; and z is keeping your mouth shut.
Albert Einstein (1879 - 1955), Observer, Jan. 15, 1950

It is possible to fail in many ways...while to succeed is possible only in one way.
Aristotle (384 BC - 322 BC)

Real success is finding your lifework in the work that you love.
David McCullough (1933 - ) historian/author

We succeed only as we identify in life, or in war, or in anything else, a single overriding objective, and make all other considerations bend to that one objective.
Dwight D. Eisenhower (1890 - 1969)

Sometimes in life you don't always feel like a winner, but that doesn't mean you're not a winner.
Lady Gaga, Ellen Degeneres Show, 09-08-09 ... well there you go

All you need in this life is ignorance and confidence; then success is sure.
Mark Twain (1835 - 1910) makes me laugh : )

Success is not the result of spontaneous combustion. You must set yourself on fire.
Reggie Leach (1950-) Canadian professional ice hockey ... fire and ice = skating fast on thin ice?

Eighty percent of success is showing up.
Woody Allen (1935 - )

To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of leave the world a better know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.” Ralph Waldo Emerson a favorite, worth repeating...

Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” and
"Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.” Winston Churchill (1874-1965)

"If one dream should fall and break into a thousand pieces, never be afraid to pick one of those pieces up and begin again." and
"Some people come into our lives and quickly go. Some people move our souls to dance. They awaken us to a new understanding with the passing whisper of their wisdom. Some people make the sky more beautiful to gaze upon. They stay in our lives for awhile, leave footprints on our hearts, and we are never, ever the same."
~Flavia Weedn, Flavia and the Dream Maker ... artist and inspirational poet

"There is no telling how many miles you will have to run while chasing a dream." ~Author Unknown

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The recently stated fact that everything grows like crazy here in the deep south took me on a inspection tour of the boys bathroom in my house. "Rut Ro"! Even windows that are never used are collection sites for the insidious mold that proliferates here! And what is the deal with the grout at the seam where bathtub meets tile? I had to get on a step ladder in the laundry closet to reach the bin with the deep cleaning grout cleaner ... to not enough avail! I like to clean with an industrial strength cleaning product ... something that makes good on the threat to disintegrate the cleaning brush as I go along ... I like competitive cleaning ... ultimate sparkle. Clorox clean ... it's a bit much really.

Today I am battling more then twisted toothpaste tubes and rusty razor cartridges lurking not quite in the waste basket. I said I wasn't going to do this ... I really should have promised myself. Tonight is the first night of the ground school class that I loved to teach ... someone else will be teaching it tonight. Everything I've said here about being glad that I'm not in that mess is true ... but I so wish it weren't a mess. It was smart of me to set up a community ground school ... that's not off the shelf yet ... won't start til March ... and who are those guys going to be ... sport pilots ?!?. I am doing what I can but ... well, today I am just feeling sorry for myself. So.
So ... I went looking for trouble in the boy's bathroom. All the walls are bleached. I am so glad that blue stuff that showed up in the toilets has been flushed away ... I do not like the tidy bowl guy boating in my tank. I installed that toilet all by myself and I found some comfort in that fact today. I have skills. The exact nature of my thinking doesn't need to be spelled out for posterity, but it is nice to realize that s*** happens and it is advisable to flush.

I thought I had. Then I woke up this morning ... after sleeping well and late ... and I felt malice. I told myself to get up and shower that silliness away, but I didn't. I lay there thinking mean thoughts ... thinking to circle back and inflict some damage. Then I thought, "Well, it's good that you are not there. It's good to not wallow in hatefulness ... and that was the next stop on that particular adventure." Then my phone rang and it was H's little cheerful voice and I quickly raised the shields on my ugliness because some stuff you just don't want your friends to know you're capable of ... . She would tell me that God is looking out for me, and she'd be right. She would remind me that everything is looking peachy for me to start instructing very soon. Why did she have to call right when I was really getting my badword on?
So, I did get up and make some stupid coffee and two loaves of stupid banana nut bread ... and then I started going through baskets of stuff on the shelves in the laundry closet ... busy busy all day ... 'til now as I sit here trying to recover from the Clorox fumes. My hands feel quite clean.
I asked my husband to take me out for awhile tonight ... something that requires walking. I don't want to waste any of myself on this issue. I don't like that it's been on my mind today. I decided how I was going to handle it ... I had the luxury of deciding how to handle it ... I would be impressed with someone else handling it as I did. Why ... what is this urge to turn around and run at it again ... angry ... pissed, in fact.

I gotta find some let it go. If this were some one else's problem I'd encourage them to forgive. Even with the smell of clorox lingering I'm thinking Forgive is for sissys. I obviously have some work to do here. I'll hit that closet under the stairs tomorrow ... I put it off because I bump my head in there everytime I try to tidy it up ... head bumping may be just the thing.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Shelter is a basic structure or building that provides cover

shel·ter (shltr)
a. Something that provides cover or protection, as from the weather.
b. A refuge; a haven.
c. An establishment that provides temporary housing for homeless people.
2. The state of being covered or protected.



retreat, asylum, sanctuary, shield, haven, harbor, cover, harbor, house, guard, safeguard, shield, defend.

Shelter n. - 1. something beneath, behind, or within which a person, animal, or thing is protected from storms, missiles, adverse conditions, etc.; refuge.

I have been thinking about shelter for awhile now ... At some point last year our pastor talked about the prophet who was hidden in the cleft of the rock ... how he was sheltered, but probably afraid. I am thinking about actual shelter ... like a house or a hut ... or a quilt. I am thinking about how shelter makes us feel ... the comfort that comes with feeling protected. I am thinking about the shelter that significant relationships might provide ... a haven or a sanctuary ... and how it feels to be exposed. Safe and not safe.

I'm thinking about protected and not protected. How we may look to others for protection ... how we might protect ourselves.

I know that exposure to the elements creates different veneers then protection from would create.

Some people think they should take care of themselves. Those same people are frequently the people looking out for other people. Some people expect to be cared for or sheltered.

The idea of shelter is so basic.

In the garden after sin entered, the people knew they were "uncovered" ... in need of protection. When I lay out on the trampoline at night I feel so small ... and vulnerable. Most nights I am inside ... I don't even think about how fragile everything possibly really is when I am inside near the warmth of the fire ... safe.

How would that feel to know nothing other then shelter? Never blown about or burned ... no frame of reference for being vulnerable or exposed. Fear would be absent ... no need for fear within the safety of that kind of shelter.

Somewhere in the Bible I have read about how a hen gathers her little chicks up to the safety of her wings. Sometimes I think about how it would feel to not live in houses ... or within shelters. Not like homeless people, more like birds or any wild animals ... they instinctually seek shelter, or devise their own. And shelter is not just a structure ... it is intangibles like how I feel about myself. And like ideas that I believe are true ... I shelter there. Family is shelter, isn't it? There is a lot to the idea of shelter. We need to feel safe with some of our each others.

God has a lot to say about shelter. I'm thinking about that a lot now.
The way to love someone is to lightly run your finger over that person's soul until you find a crack, and then gently pour your love into that crack. ~Keith Miller

I like that quote.

I like the light touch ... It reminds me of the story about a woman ever so lightly touching the robe that Christ wore. Under how many layers is my soul? Yes, I believe Christ is able to easily penetrate the layers ... Soothing, sealing the cracks. Gently, He pours His love.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

I am tightly seatbelted in the middle back seat with a stack of pillows and a road weary down comforter piled about ... and ( this is the high point ) a watered down Mountain Dew in the cup holder. I do adore Mountain Dew, especially the blue kind found only at Taco Bell ... this one is yellow. Caffeine camouflaged as Koolaid ... The heartburn factor is high back here in the back seat. My husband just texted a picture of grilled steaks to me ... I do not have a picture to answer nicely with. All I have is a half gnawed dried out Arby's something lying in limp faux foil. TAFs around the area agree ( same source data helps a lot with that! ) that the very scary freezing rain is several hours after our worse case ETA. I didn't want to be on icey roads after dark. We have just now made the turn to the North and may see the forecasted snow and ice pellets ... Or maybe not.

Our mission was accomplished. And we had a nice, albeit short, visit with family. I keep on hoping that someone will update on the handful of blogs I read ... .

It's been a long day ... Tonight I am going to enjoy a hot Epsom salt soak bath and then I'm hoping for a roaring fire in the den ... Nice cozy daydreams to while away these last few hours worth of asphalt.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Scratch the scenic route. Cafe du Monde will have to wait. We will head back on the most expeditious route possible. I have looked at the weather and it is not ideal for travel. Hopefully it will stay above freezing at the surface. I'll do better with sharing the driving (maybe) and will stop enroute if it seems advisable (definitely). We're looking at 16 hours plus for traffic and or weather delays. Time for sleeping. Last night I had a great dream. I dreamed that I was running ... Like jogging for fun. It was a really nice dream ... I was running in shallow water. I think the fan in this room made my skin think it was running. Tomorrow we will be driving in the rain. I'll have to make myself drive slower then I like to go. I am looking forward to cooking some delicious chicken soup when I get home. It will be nice to be in my own home ... Probably about 24 hours from now.

Sunday morning:

We departed at 4:00 in the pitch dark, windshield wipers on high. I wonder if the wiper motor is substantial enough to work continuously for the next sixteen, seventeen hours. I know I'm not! I drove the first leg while my travel buds slept. I was humming Enya tunes and scanning the dark wet sky for little county airport beacon lights. My tummy is already suggesting water will be preferred over coffee today. Hope the grey matter is down with that! Now it is what will most likely be daylight - I have several major weather reporting station plugged in to my aeroweather app. I want to compare barometric pressure along the route and look at the TAFs. There is a low skud layer dragging just above the tree line and I've seen several little tight flocks of birds headed due north. I'm glad to see that the birds think this is flying weather ... It is somehow reassuring. OAT has been steady at 44F all morning. Maybe we can stay ahead of the worst of this all the way home. I'm mostly concerned about traffic accidents due to the poor weather ( huge one detoured us in Houston ). I'm also thinking about conditions deteriorating late in the day as we head NE Towards Atlanta. We'll know more about that later in the day. This is my nap leg so I better get with the plan.

Well I found out this morning that something important is missing from Mr. Webster's definition of "fun". My brother and sister-in-law (I would really like a more friendly term for sister-in-law ... it sounds a little cold and legalistic ... something like the sister my brother chose for me, but just wrapped in to one word would be better) treated me to a typical Saturday morning in their life. We drove to the small town nearby where their grandchildren are growing up and watched them play basketball. The boys were really proud of being members of the black team ... one of several coed teams comprised of 4, 5 and 6 year old athletes. It's a town of about 1200 where the school is K through 12 ... never seen that before! The movie True Grit was recently filmed there. It's a place where the men might wear Western style belt with their name worked in to the leather ... but they sure don't need to because everybody seems to be on a first name basis with everyone else. The gym was perfect with it's old oak floor gleaming and a vaulted roof lite up with those high voltage lights. It's the kind of place where everyone shows up to watch the big Saturday morning game. I love basketball ... and I loved the fun of holding little sister while the boys ran back and forth on the court. The refs were easy on the whistle and there was a lot of joy bouncing around the room.

It was a fun morning.

Later we drove in to Austin, Texas for a quick look around at the campus and just to get a feel for the city. Austin hasn't changed at all as far as I could see ... yes, more buildings, but it is still the granola and earth shoes capital of Texas. I like Austin, but it is not my favorite big town in Texas.

Tomorrow morning we will depart for New Orleans via College Station. It will be a long drive. And probably fun. I am just saying that ... the truth is, it will be a long drive. I haven't mapped it out yet because I would prefer not to add a stop in New Orleans to the trip back home, but my travel buddies haven't seen enough of The Big Easy ... they think authentic French donuts are worth the extra effort. I tell them those can be found only in France, but they do not believe me. I have also been putting off looking at the weather ... but I can feel it brewing up something possibly epic. I will look at it just a bit later. I really can't wait to get home and post a few pictures with these last few entries ... I know y'all think I am exaggerating (a characteristic frequently attributed to the citizens of this great state) about the amazing sunsets over here ... but I don't think I am. You can be the judge of that!

It's wonderful to be back where I can see the sky. We live in a heavily forested area ... Everything grows like crazy over there ... Drop a number two pencil in the yard today and when you swing back by tomorrow you'll have a tree there. I like to work in my yard , so the area has made me feel like I can do no wrong. Southern Living magazine is headquartered over that way for a reason ... photo ops abound. Sometimes I think of it as unrelenting green. Most days I am more appreciative of the evergreen canopy. But here, in the land of the big sky, I feel good. Things feel right. It's like I'm living in a snow dome on God's table. A star dome.
As we drove in last night I noticed that the clouds look like a big cold front is pushing in from the West. The sky was amazing. Ablaze and then turquoise near the ground washed in golden light. I loved seeing it ... wowsome.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

We had a little car trouble on the way. This car is paid for. It has been for a while. I attribute its longevity to very frequent oil changes and high end oil. The engine is solid. The plastic parts like the window switches are getting cranky. Extended ops in excess of 85mph ( probably due to a tail wind) must have notified the metal parts to begin working loose. I was driving the fourth leg when I heard a harmonic ping ding a ling followed by a phoo. "Hmmm", I thought. " Well, that wasn't a rock ... Well, hmmm." The Texas welcome center was a welcome sight. I pulled in and found an open area to maneuver with the door open so I could listen. Pretty much no problem ... 360 right 360 left ... " Well okay..." I think eyes narrowing slightly as I am certain that I did not see any debris in the road, but I
definitely heard something metallic skip across the undercarriage. I park and we go inside. Boy is it a nice welcome center ... Noses powdered, greetings with fellow Texans exchanged, obligatory photo for fifteen year old in front of sculptural element. I decide that I am still driving ... Probably some head scratching yet to do ... Seat belts secured and I put it in reverse. There's a problem. I ease up to a clear area ... the lot reserved for the big trucks. My son takes a turn at looking at the front wheel while I s l o w l y back up. He thinks it's an alignment problem. "Hmmm", I think. Now he takes the driver's seat and I get out to look. Blond child gets out too ... She totally agrees with her big brother as always. A big ole Ford pick up truck rolls up and rolls down the window. Couple of LSU fans headed to the big game ... We've been taking turns running the front end of a high speed informal caravan heading west. "Y'all heading to Arizona?" one asks ... Those boys have some happy face on ... I bet they're breaking more then just the sped limit law! My plates made 'em guess bowl game bound ... My daughter is a little freaked out, she's definitely not used to strangers offering assistance. I assure them that "We got this ... Car just doesn't want to back up!". We chitchat for just a bit more ... They suggest we drive only forward ... "Y''all better drive careful" I say implying that theirs aren't the only longnecks speeding along the interstate. They laugh and leave. I call my bother and he has me tell him exactly what happenned and exactly how it sounded. "ping ding a ling phoo" I repeat several times. He's enjoying getting me to say it over and over again. "Hmmm," he says, " sounds
like the bolt on the brake caliper worked loose". He tells me to drive slowly to the nearest mechanic ... Which I do.

"Luis" looks like a guy who knows what he's doing ... He directs my family to the waiting room and tells me I can go with him to the jack to sort this out. I like hydraulics. It's cool to watch that car go up. He tells me this is a lot better then how he first started out mechanic-ing. He has it up in no time flat and identifies that a the bolt has come loose from the break caliper ... He says if I am a very lucky lady he just may have a bolt like that in his parts box ... He removes the bolt from the other brake assembly to use it to compare. First bolt he digs out looks very promising. Just a tad too small though. I say pequeto mas grande por favor" like some one blowing on dice. Second try is perfect! You wouldn't believe how fast he had that all back together. "What else can I do for you?" he asks. "I think you got me squared away." I answer ... "What do I owe you?" "Nada ~ happy to do it." he says. I fold up a bill and hand it to him saying, "Thank you so much ... At least let me pay for a cold one." The whole deal took maybe twenty minutes.

We arrive at the destination around 6:30. Get situated in the room, work out for an hour, hunt down some dinner and a little quick tour of the area ... Shower and bed is looking pretty good. I don't know how people fly several long days back to back ... That has to feel a little like today times three or four. At least I have some sweet company!

We departed early this morning snuggled up under a pervasive blanket of fog. I took the first leg and didn't see more then four white stripes at one time 'til after the first coffee stop. A few truckers and deer were the only things moving other then us ... I was worried about sudden deer induced deployment of the air bags. Several roadside carcasses attest to the fact that deer have no street sense.
The mighty Mississippi found us mid morning, under a cloudless baby blue sky and the leafless trees on either side of the road created a stately brownish grey screen ... shadow dancing with the yellow grass and this long piece of asphalt that leads towards home. The Southern portion of the country is truly beautiful. A roadside sign for the Natchez Trace prompted me to smile across time with those indigenous people and the earliest settlers. Paradise couldn't be much lovelier. It is really something to see from the ground.

My brother has called twice already. He wants to know what everyone wants for dinner on Saturday night. I tell him his niece has been longing for the kind of fajitas that only he can produce ... Frankly, I do my best to reproduce his recipe, but it passes only as a tease for the real deal. My brother is able to infuse some intangible element into his Bar-B-Que. More "sass", less sauce ... something like that. Sounds like he plans on cooking up the whole cow and part of a pig. My brother's idea of vegetables for this feast will be corn tortillas and hand chopped pico de gallo. I miss him. He is the warmest, most out going person I've ever met. He is a year younger then I am ... When we were little kids riding the school bus, the high school girls would compete with one another for whose lap he would be sitting on. He probably was winking at the nurses in the delivery room the day he was born. He finally settled down with a wonderful woman a few years ago. She came with a family he loves, including two little grandsons who call him Papa. My little brother is a granddad ... It's great to see them so happy.

I'm estimating another five hours in the car ... Coming up on a fuel stop now and everyone is thinking a real meal would be a nice break.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

I am reminded again this morning ... how fortunate I am. I am listening to Sade "Pearls" number five on my play list below. I am having a conversation with a new acquaintance about ...well, what are we talking about? The atrocities that hatred wrecks upon the world ... our broken world ... how hard it is to connect across cultures and maybe even over backyard fences (Did you know if a kid hops over my fence and enjoys my awesome tree house and falls out of it and breaks his arm that I will, not might, be sued ... by his health care provider if no one else ... backyard pools are for bravehearts).

So ... I get to sit here sipping delicious sweet light hot coffee, while leisurely contemplating my navel and blogging about it. I am trying to work on fun. I think it would be very nice to laugh more often. What a great life! No bombs will be dropped near here today ... it's raining, but my roof doesn't leak. One of my loves just walked in and asked me why I have the thermostat set so low ... no problem, just set it where ever is comfortable for you I say. Living large and taking it for granted ... .

On other fronts ... School is back in session. My kids were secretly happy to get back ... I could tell. I am happy for them. I will remove the Christmas tree and sweep up the glitter. It'll be a busy day of setting things right and then the trip to Texas. I am happy with everything right now, I like my housework. I like the sound of the washing machine swishing ... Yankee candles burning ... fun songs playing (Baby don't worry about a thing ... Bob Marley and his steel drums make me smile).

Oh ... and another fun thing. My amazing phone has notified me that the syllabus will most likely be delivered today. Things just keep on getting better and better. I am seriously superexcited about how all this flying stuff I get to do is going to workout. I feel like a big surprise present is on the way ... I feel buoyant with optimism. Today I am just going to enjoy how lovely the possibilities are. Last year I completed something that was hugely important to me. Yesterday the executive assistant called me to irritate me with something ridiculous ... it almost didn't bother me at all ... then it just make me laugh ... I was so happy not to have my chain yanked ... I was so happy not to be wearing that chain! Before long I will be working with a few students ... that is the thing that I have wanted to do for a while now. That's the fun I choose.

Life rocks.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Some naughty how I am three big glasses of wine into this evening.

My ears are humming and I recognize that as two glasses too many. I am at home. I will not fly or drive any time soon ... I am another few glass behind giggly but right on top of amusing swear words. I think occasional cussing is funny. Well, that is shameful but true.

Today, my syllabus is en route. Some underpaid commercial pilot is unknowingly expediting it's delivery! Today has been busy ... Productive in that anonymous way of days ... "Stinky" is being developed for pick up on Monday unless the big game intrudes. Yeah, Harley shirt guy says Tuesday will be assured. He flirts as blantantly as a behind the counter guy possibly can ... I'm thinking Navy 'cause those guys are over the top - unsurpassed as flirters ... And I ask ... He says Army. What's army I wonder ... Tanks? I think it is nice of those guys to make the effort... I am an old girl and even less interested in flirting then anyone would believe, if possible. My flirt switch has rusted ... encrusted with rust in the off position - it is actually placarded "in-op".

Tomorrow night - heading west. Storing up sleep would be appropriate tonight.
Okay ... I'm going to fuss a little here, so if you have enough of that in your own life ... skip ahead a few paragraphs! Maybe this will be fun (for me) ... yeah, that's the ticket ... it's an experiment on fun*.
*just a little note here ... I am going to bold print fun for a while just to make sure I'm thinking about it ... fun is at the top of my discretionary to do list (as opposed to the other two MUST DO and Really SHOULD DO).

I really wanted to spend several days in Atlanta aimlessly wandering (kinda ... I did already have a to do list in the developmental stages with items like ... sit at Starbucks sipping coffee and reading a real newspaper while time sharing with people watching ... and arrive at museum early (find out if lunch reservations are preferred) see Dali : The Late Work ... ) ... important goofy stuff like that. I had this trip out there as a consolation trip to the DC trip being torpedoed ... which is disappointing, but I get it ... I'm not even fussing about DC. All through the holiday magic that mommas whip up out of thin air, I promised myself selfishness (on these specific dates - on the calendar) ... high octane selfishness on which to re-fuel. Instead, I will be pumping gas at pit stops between here and there ... there being the trip in support of someone else's goals. Which is entirely my pleasure, just ... see, now I am running out of steam on this because I feel guilty giving full vent to my disappointment. I truly do want to be there for my son ... and this is when that be there needs to be there. I particularly like this son of mine (I particularly like all of them). He is the ultimate travel buddy. He will have interesting things pre-loaded on his iTunes, things that he knows I will be especially interested in. We both prefer to leave on this trip at night and we know we can trust each other's driving (well, Interstate driving ... he does some wildass street driving in my opinion), we both like coffee ... we both know he will pay for the upgrade and never ever complain about the extra effort in acquiring other then clown coffee. He will speed. He will not glance at the gauges while I am driving ... he will scan for "potential interruptions" to our progress.
Okay ... I feel better ... fussing was fun.

When I woke up this morning, one of my first thoughts was "What's on for fun today?" My mind rejected that nonsense before the fun neurons could fire. I defaulted immediately to the Really SHOULD DO list then forced myself back to identifying some fun. I decided to read a favorite blog in bed ... until my ten year old (who thinks it's fun to sleep in my bed while her daddy is away) wakes up and/or gets up. Pretty fun. So, I am reading the blog from my phone and I realize that this phone is all about some fun. Well, largely so. My husband started sending me pictures from the field ... he has never done that before ... I like it. In a couple of minutes I'm going to go back to checking items off my RSD list, and I am going to listen to some tunes ... that's fun. And later I'm going to work out with a couple of my daughters ... while listening to some work out tunes ... and that will be a lot of fun.

Writing here is fun ... turns out I am having a lot more fun then I fully appreciated.

Monday, January 3, 2011

My daughter is going through my old photos and getting them ready to scan into the computer. She has shown me several stacks of them today, and it's been great seeing them. I don't feel sad about this, but the photos reminded me of how much fun everyday things can be. I've gotten more serious then I need to be. Maybe that is a life with alot of responsibilities in it, but this year I am going to start thinking about ways to put a little more fun in to the day. I think I may have the ponytail just a little bit too tight. This year I am going to make every effort to have "more fun", and create more fun for my loves.
Flying, for me, is some serious fun ... and that would be the fun I would choose if I could choose just one. But - that's not the case. I'm not having or bringing as much fun as I can.

1. something that provides mirth or amusement: A picnic would be fun.
2. enjoyment or playfulness: She's full of fun.

Playfulness ... I've forgotten how to do that, but I am going to make an effort to remember.

"....maybe fear is God's way of saying, "Pay attention, this could be fun."
— Craig Ferguson (American on Purpose)
I like that quote ... and I think it's good to have fun.

Also, I have noticed that I want to be a little more specific about what I like.
That may sound a little odd. What I'm saying is this: we all know specific things that we do not like. We react strongly, moving away from what we don't like. There is a finality to what we don't like. I don't wonder "What could I do to make that something likeable?" I don't expect to like everything. This is what I want to do ... I want to feel as strongly about what I do like as I do about what I do not like. I want to love a few things ... I want to run wide open towards those things ... there are a few things that really should get the full on embrace. I don't mind the "this could be improved by that" approach to a lot of things, but this year I want to acknowledge a few things that are IT and go there ... often.

This is a little silly example, but, I liked the fabric I bought for my kitchen windows. I really really liked it ... it wasn't just good enough for now, pretty good ... it is exactly great. I want to put the time or effort ... what every that is to put more exactly great in my life and in to the lives that live within hugging distances.

There is a picture of a little girl on a kodak slide. Tomorrow, I am going to take it to the camera guys and get it turned into a picture which I will try to put with this post. It totally cracks me up ... I was sitting in the dirt with some very spiffy (starched) play clothes on ... my hair was untidy and I am snuggled up to my dog. The dog's name was "Stinky". Stinky was a stinky little dog ... what a great dog she was ... awesome enough to make the stink okay. Who names their dog "Stinky"? Who stands out on the front porch and whistles and calls out "H e r e Stinky"?
Some one with a huge grin on her face ... that's who. I want to remember that girl.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Along with my new book "Astronomy for Dummies" (I would actually enjoy more books in that series if they would take the insult out of the title ... we are at least trying! ... and could they tweak that hideous black and yellow cover - that's it ! ... I am absolutely going to recover mine and rename ... problems solved), I am reading an excellent book titled Ester A woman of strength and Dignity. What a great book. Here is a bit from the back cover: It is a thought provoking study of God's invisible hand, writing silently and unseen across the pages of human history. I have really benefited from this book at this time.

Towards the end of the book there is a note on self-control. It is defined by Richard Walters as:
... managing our attitudes, feelings, and actions so they serve our long term best interests and those of others. ... self-control means inner strength. And somewhere around there it talks about retaliation and revenge.

To seek or not seek revenge is a little bit of what I've written about between the lines here ... not just recently, but even before when I felt so bruised by my actions. People are still calling me, encouraging me to not hold back. I am so done with the whole thing though. It feels really good to just let it go ... like a compacted cube floating away ... jettisoned. I have re-read just a tad about that episode and it is funny ... like I laugh out loud ... at how unbelievable it was for me. I'm going to keep an eye on myself in that area, because I've noticed from my writing here that I make my mind up about something and it's pretty hard to see it differently ... I just couldn't wrap my head around the idea that things weren't going to go the way I thought they would. In flying I expect to adapt to a changing set of circumstances. My other job ... wife/mom ... probably a little more routine is expected, but things can turn on a dime in a family the size of ours. It surprises me that I was so surprised. It surprises me that it took me so long to wrap my head around it!

I think I will be significantly happier with freelance flight instructing. Everything sure does seem to be falling in place ... and I am embarrassed to admit that the ease of it scares me a little.
If just three people sign up for my ground class, I will make the same amount of money as I did teaching up to 25 at a time in my other situation. And it will cost the student less. I'm getting pretty excited about it. Still haven't met the owner of the plane ... he flies freight for one of the big guys and has been busy or weathered in these last few weeks. It appears to be a done deal, but I would like to look the guy in the eye (President Bush kinda ruined that particular expression in a way....)
I ordered a syllabus from Sporty's - hope it'll be here tomorrow. The class won't start until March, but I'd enjoy organizing the material around a new syllabus. I am also learning about CFI, student, and airplane insurance... pretty complicated.

I have never had very much exposure to maintenance supervision for an airplane either, so that will be an education for me as well. The owner is covering the maintenance costs, but he is several states away ... just keeping an eye on that 100 hour stuff is what I'm really talking about. After seeing how this goes, I will be in a lot better position to decide on whether of not I want to invest in my own plane.

Some of the guys are calling saying that there are going to be openings at the flight school. This morning as drank coffee and ate breakfast with my husband I told him that I feel really good about not having the aggravation of working there. I felt really bad about dipping in to the family coffers to cover my bill ... especially at Christmas time, but everything went okay ... no coal in the stockings this year. Tomorrow I have to go to the dermatologist for a little spot under my eye, and then I'm going to go order some business cards.

My husband is out working on Andrew Ellicot's mound line for a few days ... kids still out for Christmas break. Still pretty busy ... good busy.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Car mischief temporarily on hold

Plan B on the trip to Atlanta. My son, One, is looking at a couple of Law Schools in Texas. Those would also be strong candidates for undergrad school for Four. Those trips overlap and we have decided that me headed west on I20 would be more helpful ... . It's all good. And I get to see my brother and sister-in-law in Texas. Atlanta will have to wait for another time.

So - 1 January 2011. I barely made it to the fireworks last night! After dinner (ham, greens, black eyed peas) we all put together a puzzle. I say we all ... the older three were out doing things with their friends ... so we had Five, Four, and friend of Four (they left us later to go two doors up where Friend's parents were celebrating ... teenagers graze ... I told CC yes, but definitely wake me up when she gets back home ... that wake up kiss was my first kiss of the New Year). Puzzle complete and husband excuses self for continuing research or eyelid inspection ... not sure which. Five and I began playing SIMS ... wow, what a cool game! Well,I say what a cool game ... what I actually really like about it is the ability to build a house from the lot up choosing from among seemingly unlimited building supplies and furnishings ... next gen dollhouse. I sometimes build my own creations, and sometimes copy floor plans from magazines. Too much fun. In the game, you create a person (from seemingly limitless physical possibilities) and "put" them in the house tending to their computer generated everyday needs and interacting with your own inputs ... I don't play that aspect of the game, but I think it's a great game and certainly worth a look if you're not familiar with the SIMS craze. She coached me through building a house ... to her annoyance I copied a beach house that is comprised of two three story towers with a patio between ... she surprised me with a helicopter pad on the lot and a beautiful helicopter which the Sims can fly ... whoohoo! She did all the landscaping and it was fun to watch her create what would be a paradise to me ... citrus and papaya trees near a little green house and flowers bordering a swimming pool with an infinity edge looking out toward the ocean. Five is looking out for her Sim Momma for sure.

It's very quiet in my house this late morning ... everyone is either already out for the morning or still in snooze mode (supported by a very late night and sweet soft rain this morning). Husband was rousted from his late night musings at 11:45 to make good on his promise to Five that they would make homemade potato chips with my mandolin and the newest addition to our kitchen ... a fry baby. I slipped out giving full rein to whatever havoc a fry baby might bring ... very crispy delicious potato chips were forth coming. Five was smiling really big when she presented a small tasting (as she likes to call them) Two bites later I conked out without sending a text to my other three children as I had planned. I'm remembering so old joke about can't wait for my 20th ... enjoying my 30th ... downhill from my 40th ... made it to my 50th ... hanging on for my 60th ... something like that. I made it to the ball drop last night, but not without thinking it's already midnight 2011 somewhere!