December 25, 2007

Flight Across America

Fliker photo
Remember the trip I took last fall to the West Coast, and the promise to write a story called, “Flight Across America”? I recently found the little notebook where I had jotted my notes for that story; and this quiet Christmas night is a good time to share something I’m sure will never happen to me again.

Due to severe claustrophobia, I always sit on the isle seat when I fly, and I beg for more air the entire flight! The last thing I want is to be stuffed next to the window with solid body mass blocking the three-inches of escape space while I press my nose against an unbreakable six-inch pane of glass that sucks up what little oxygen comes my way.

Imagine my unexpected surprise on this Delta flight when I noticed two unoccupied exit seats after the captain said we were free to move about the cabin. Thinking that my lack of oxygen was playing tricks on me, I figured the people sitting there must be invisible to my oxygen-starved brain. I stood up and walked past the unusual double seats brushing my hand through the air. “Empty!”

Positive that there was a good reason why no one was sitting in those golden cubicles of free space, but desperate enough to take the chance, I asked the flight attendant if I could sit there.

“Sure” she said without hesitation. She didn’t even ask if I could throw large objects to the back of the plane in case of emergency.

I’m completely convinced that my old Dusty Angels hid those seats from view when everyone was boarding the jet in Salt Lake City, Utah. They were prize seats on a full plane.

Dropping my purse and jacket into the empty isle seat, I felt giddy with relief as I sank into the chair with a window view, lots of leg space and more than enough free air! Grabbing my always-handy notebook, I spent the next three hours recording everything I saw below me from Salt Lake City to Columbus, Ohio.

The first thing I noticed was that the Salt Lake City International Airport sits deep inside a large earthen bowl surrounded by very tall hills - so high the tops are engulfed with fog and clouds. I wondered just how our tightly-packed sardine box with wings would escape the high walls of stone. I took note of the jets ahead of us that seemed to make a quick turn to the left and head straight up.

The scene reminded me of a story I heard during the catastrophic events of 9/11 when Air Force One, with President Bush aboard became a virtual rocket spiraling straight up into the safety of higher altitude. I hoped that the government had shared some of its secrets with our pilot as we taxied straight toward the edge of the Grand Teton Mountains! I observed that the sides of the mountains were mostly bare of timber leaving a mixture of browns and clay-red earth exposed to the elements.

Here is where I must interject that I witnessed a UFO moving like a streak through the air straight up the side of the mountain. The date was September 7, 2007 at 7:22 p.m. EST as our plane coasted in line for take-off. Outside of my little window at that moment, we passed a small runway sign that says H2 16L-34R, and beyond that sign about a mile or two from our plane, I noticed the strange movement near the edge of the steep hills.

As we slowly rolled across two squares of the runway, I watched in amazement as a large round white object floating upward at increasing super speed along-side the mountain. Within five seconds, the unidentified object had cleared the entire mountain, and in an instant, disappeared from view into the clouds.

After we got airborne, I saw many military aircraft parked in a separate area near the airport. A military base? A weather balloon? Yeah, that’s what they all say! For sure, it was moving faster than anything leaving OUR airport!

As clouds close in at the end of the runway, our lumbering jet makes three circles getting us out of the airport bowl. Wispy clouds below make way for me to enjoy the scenic trail of murky ponds of water connected by small roads. More land than water. I question the purpose of a strangely shaped building set secluded on a mountain top. The two white domes remind me of the bright decorative light bulbs in our bathroom. A riverbed snakes along a road dotted with miniature houses, and then the thin pale clouds become a lake of pure white creating shadows under shadows and obstructing my once-in-a-lifetime view.

The pilot announces we are moving up from 24,000 feet to 36,000 and we are going to make the 1,300-mile trip in 2 hours and 50 minutes. The flight attendant offers me a drink and peanuts. “Two packs, please. This is fun!” We are flying due east with the sun setting behind us, casting longer and longer shadows on the sandy-colored mountaintops below. I hope the daylight will last longer!

Imperceptibly, the mountains began to resemble small ridges set close together like many railroad tracks going in the same direction. Then, the land becomes covered with small swirls like feather trails or chicken scratches (for those who have seen chicken scratches). I assume these indentations must have been riverbeds long ago? Soon, the plateau changes to Indian arrowhead shapes surrounded by dark green vegetation that slopes to the earth.

As I sip my cold drink, the lady behind me treks unsteadily to the ladies room. Glued to my tiny window, I’m delighted to see small villages below me sparkle like tiny golden jewels in the setting sun. The landscape has changed from scratch-like markings to tiny rivets like thousands of small moles working their way underground.

Slowly the markings on the ground change to large squares of land alternating with circles of crops making quilted designs as far as the eye can see. Sometimes I see large bubble-like formations that look as if something large has ejected straight up from the earth! Further along, it looks like the farmers are using their farmland to play checkers with each other.

Finally, it appears the farmers have grown weary of checkers, and they have created flags of every size using white windmills as the stars in their homegrown USA flags. Then, not to be outdone, the farmers suddenly resort to geometric signs and symbols in laying out their crops! My algebra teacher would be proud of the perfect Algebraic pie with 1/3 part green and 2/3 brown. Or, two circles inside a square. One is solid dark green and the other circle is swirled light and dark green. The next farmer has planted a set of three circles; one green, one dark brown and the last one swirled brown with his farmhouse sitting in the middle. This is repeated in as many ways as there are geometric symbols. I might not have failed algebra if I’d had this study guide!

Suddenly I spot another plane speeding past us in the opposite direction slightly below our “sky lane”. It is a streak of silver headed straight into the setting sun. I wonder if the pilots have acknowledged each other in some way.

Now the clouds are speaking to me as they have obscured the land below. Below us are numerous tiffs of light gray with bits of creamy white reminding me of ‘rabbit fur’ in the sky. Then, instantly we are bumping around in the air. Little kids cry out and mothers murmur comfortingly. Ahead of us against the horizon, I see ‘night-time’ clouds.

The cabin becomes dark, and our reading lights shine like little suns on our books and magazines. The earth below fades in and out as I strain to see outlines of long highways with rolling beads of lights and the dark ribbon of a rambling river.

I lean away from my window on the world as the plane banks to avoid a large thundercloud that flashes bundles of light pink every few seconds. The pilot has provided me with a heavenly view of an evening rainstorm cloud – something I’m deathly afraid of on earth.

Another plane streaks by much closer to our plane. He has already avoided the storm. I imagine people over there looking out and waving at us. I give a small wave back, and they are gone.

The thundercloud is shaped like a sea lion. Its head lights up with the bright life of lightening. It has small feet and a long body that reaches all the way to the horizon ahead of us. Electric flippers reach out and glow with multicolored balls of lightning. A mystic streak of bright pink drops jaggedly to earth catches my breath, but there is none of the usual trembling fear.

Soon the sea lion has disappeared into the darkness behind us. All is quiet and still. It seems we have stopped in mid-air as I peer into the darkness. There's an instant of colorful stroblights outside my window, but they disappear behind us before I can wave again. The sky is getting thinner. Jet engines are straining and my began ears pop. Small trails of moving lights appear below like slow moving snails. Buildings and sub-divisions are shaped like animal crackers. Glowing back yard swimming pools make faces at me. Clusters of city lights spread out like constellations of stars.

Ding-Dong. “Please fasten your seatbelt for landing.”

Hubby waits smiling at the passenger pick-up area. My dog wags her tail and leans out the window to splash kisses on my face!

Welcome back to earth!

I hope your travels are always this wonderful.

Take Care on the Journey,

December 24, 2007

Christmas Eve At Our House

'Not a creature was stirring, not even - the dog....' (click for close-up)

It's quiet and romantic at our home tonight. Jim is reading. Sheba-dog is napping. I'm preparing some of tomorrow's dinner.

I called my mom but got her answering machine. I already called my sister and my boys. I tried to call Floyd & Tania but got the wrong number? I should like to call my friend, Olive but I think she might be busy at church. Others, I may call later if no one calls us.

For once, I'm NOT working on Christmas. Maxim Professional Staffing does NOT pay extra to work the holiday, by the way. But I already informed them that if I work, it must be with a baby who doesn't have to be picked up (because of my hurt arm) - which rules out any child that I ever heard of.

So, if you've stopped by my website just now, I have to suppose you are 1) Slightly bored. 2) Thinking of me. 3) You accidentally came upon this website.

No matter how or why you got here, I'm glad you stopped by.

Take Care on the Journey,

December 21, 2007

A Little Holiday Greeting

glitter graphics
Take Care on the Journey

Thinking of you...Merry Christmas

glitter graphics

It's still very uncomfortable typing with a cast on, so for now enjoy my sparkling message. I'll try to write up something wonderful later this weekend. (Smile)

Take Care on the Journey,

December 16, 2007

FREE - On Craig's List

It’s late and I’m tired, but I thought I’d share a story that happened this evening. All was quiet. The dogs were sleeping next to the little drafts by the window and front door. Hubby was napping in his blue chair with the blanket over his face. I was slightly bored even though there was plenty of work I could be doing.

One thing on my list was to post some things on Craig’s List. Most importantly, FREE Christmas Decorations! We have six of the largest plastic containers full from “after Christmas” deals I couldn’t refuse over the years! Jim had to use the van to bring them all in from storage and back again when it was time to decorate, because livning in a much smaller place now, I only used a few things.

I also posted a second ad for FREE nursing books I won’t be using, and another for our nice Kenmore stove and refrigerator we have in storage.

Within two minutes my cell phone started ringing. One call on top of another! I quickly started writing phone numbers on a large box of gifts my sister sent us that was sitting on the table and within minutes the top of the box was covered with phone numbers. And, voice mail indicated I had many more messages there. (Later, checking my email, I had many messages there too!) All kinds of people requesting the free things.

It quickly became “first come, first served” and people were on their way with directions to meet at the mailbox because I didn’t want people knowing where we live. One man drove over 60 miles (RT) for ‘free Christmas decorations”.

Hubby was roused to go out in the bitter cold and hold my casted arm so I wouldn’t slip on the icy sidewalks. He had to pull out all the containers from the back of the garage and “be nice’ to everyone. (He was.)

The nursing books went to a young man named Philip who is a dispatcher for an ambulance company and wants to become a RN. (People are still calling for those books.)

I’ve deleted those two ads, but still posting for our electric stove and matching refrigerator. Only one call on those so far, but it’s a steal for $750.

Anyway, a surefire way to light up an evening is to post something FREE on Craig’s list!

Take Care on the Journey,

December 13, 2007

More Red, Please

I’m celebrating the holiday with a little more RED than anticipated. While my hand doesn’t need corrective surgery, the thumb has to be immobile for at least a month. No more cheating by taking off the brace to straighten out the curls or type with two hands on the computer. (Have no fear, I’ll figure out a way!)

The biggest challenge was totally unexpected. When the cast was being pressed and molded, the suffocation of claustrophobia hit me with a vengeance. It started with the little question, “What if I get an itch and can’t scratch it?” and that quickly became a full-grown monster. “You’re encased in a tomb!”

I’m using the mind games I invented for flying to get over it. Can you believe that?

I had such a nice posting almost ready to post and suddenly it was gone. Typing with an excess of 20 fingers on one hand, I figure I must have hit the keys in a magical sort of way to delete my almost perfect story!!!! Now, it’s impossible to bring it all back. Besides my right hand has this urge to just KONK the keys.

Sheba went to her new vet today to get her eyes checked. The wonderful lady talked with me for over an hour. (Her staff started opening and closing the door as a hint.) She says there are no cataracts. (We didn’t think so.) She thinks it is SARDS. (Click for info).

We already know Sheba has Cushing’s and perhaps about a year to live if we don’t treat that. But with the cost of treating a blind dog a couple thousand dollars and weekly visits to the vet which upsets her so badly that she pees on the table, we’re respecting Sheba’s request to just keep her comfortable and spoiled the rest of her faithful, loving life.

That’s the update on all the medical news from here. I got the biggest packages out today and making good progress on all the rest. Soon I’ll be curled up with that book and this time I have a good weapon if anybody tries to distract me.

By the way, I didn't have the patience for reading, “Little Women”, but “One More Day” by Mitch Albom is a nice short story I've enjoyed reading. I’ve reserved his other book, “Tuesdays With Morrie”.

Here's a Teddy Bear for you (Click and select your favorite).

Extra hugs for my sister, Sandy and more bears for my good friend Olive.

Here's a very big "Mr. Hugs" Teddy Bear for my special friend Ginger!

Hope you have time to relax a few minutes and click on all the links.

Take Care on the Journey,

December 9, 2007

Hey Grandma, I'm reading, "Little Women"

Sheba as my test subject. I thought you might enjoy a picture of Sheba posing for me. (It's called, "SIT".)

Who of us isn’t just a tad edgy these days? Or, are you having so much fun shopping and getting ready for the big holiday that you just can’t stop smiling? I wish!

I offer that this weekend has been up and down for me although sweet hubby has tried to be there to pick up on every little complaint and ignore the grumpiness on my part.

“I know it’s frustrating, darling, when your hand hurts and you can’t do the things you’re used to doing.”

So, my letter today isn’t intended to be negative, but it sure does help to vent a little on these pages and pretend that only about three people will read it anyway.

During the drug testing at the doctor’s office the other day (drug testing required when you get hurt on the job), the tech and I got to talking about the rampant use of ‘pot’
and why it isn’t legal. He said booze is what should be illegal because it causes so much trouble and deaths from drinking and driving. When I mentioned this conversation to my hubby, he informed me that it had been tried and failed already!

“It was called Prohibition.”

“But I don’t know what Prohibition is", I said, and he gently patted my knee and commented, “That’s right.”

He loves to give me little history lessons…and geography lessons…and math instruction. Knowing that my formal education was limited, he isn’t offended or ashamed as I sometimes felt my ex was when I didn’t measure up to the usual educational standards.

I didn't know there was an Eighteenth Amendment from 1920 -1933 which was aimed at creating alcohol abstinence through legal means.

I used to think that if I smiled enough people wouldn’t know how naive I was. (Or, maybe they wouldn’t care.) Now, I always have my ear to the ground and try to pay attention. I sometimes learn along things I should have been taught at an early age.

Today small toddlers are learning geometry and Spanish on TV before they are three-years old! When I was three years old I had already learned how to feed my baby sister and pack a suitcase, but I didn’t know my A-B-C’s.

We didn’t have a TV in the house until after I was married. (Some say that is good.) We didn’t read fiction – unless you count Ellen G. White’s book fiction. (Some do.) I didn’t wear make-up until I was over 40 years old and never wore a bathing suit until after I had kids.

So now, I wonder what this book, “Little Women” is all about and I’m free to check it out without retribution. The woman at the library tells me there are many books in this series. I’m sure most of you know that, but I did not and it makes me feel very odd - and old. Maybe I won't even like the book, but at least I can make the choice.

In other areas, (as my editor used to add to my stories for the paper), we finally got my closet back together. During the week, hubby worked hard re-installing rods and shelves. All the boxes and clothing (and secret Christmas presents that had been well hidden) were taken out and organized. Today, I’m very happy with the new digs! We even put up a 6-foot shelf for all my teddy bears to look down and smile at me when I’m puttering around in there. (Ginger would enjoy something like that!) It’s better than before although my injured hand is screaming at me to pushing the broken bones to the limit. (Thank goodness for Motrin.)

Sheba seems to be adjusting to her faded eyesight very well. We will be taking her to (another) vet this week and try to find out what is wrong and if it’s treatable. Our regular vet said she doesn’t do eyes. I’m beginning to wonder what she does do except charge a lot! Sometimes Sheba will be anxious when she can’t figure out where I am or if Ching-Ching takes her sleeping spot in front of the door, but I’m glad she isn’t as upset about her eyesight as I am. During the night when she finally makes her way to the foot of the bed, she wiggles all over with happiness and lies down on top of my feet as she takes a very deep sigh.

Like most of you, I still have a few cards to send out and gifts to pick out. Every year at this time I’m kicking myself for not planning during the year! I get so many good ideas but not enough time and never enough money! (Another thing to be grumpy about.)

For those few who do get a gift from me, please be understanding about and perhaps enjoy the unusual wrapping. Unlike my little sister, I can’t cut paper with my left hand and the right one is in a big brace!

I hope I’ve not sounded too down today. I could have mentioned that my boys won’t be home for Christmas and the lighted Santa in the window has already fallen down. The second opinion on my hand is that the fracture is worse than they thought and I might have to get surgery on it. But, I'll pass lightly on that.

Honestly, we have mutual love and a warm, cozy home. We cherish our friends who care about us (and we care about them), children who love us and family togetherness in one way or another. We are more fortunate than many we know personally and thousands upon thousands that we don't know about. I'm thankful for peace in my heart - and YOU.

Take Care on the Journey,

December 4, 2007

Waiting For Number 3

(Flikr photo)
They say bad things come in sets of three. While I won't go so far as to say any real bad things have happened, I am sitting at my keyboard encoumbered with a large black brace on my left hand after a hard fall. (I tripped over a little child trying to hug my knees from the back.) X-Rays show some bone fragments in the left thumb but nothing that won't heal. The good part is that hubby has to assist with some parts of dressing...

Night before last all the shelves in my closet came tumbling down. 40 years of family photos that were sorted by years all in a jumble! All my clothes mixed up in a big heap. The good news is that Billy's guitars were protected by large containers of Christmas decorations!

I'm waiting for number 3 and trying to type faster than 5ive words a minute! Bear with me as I recooperate. This computer won't spell check and it keeps mysteriou sly rebooting evert few minutes!!!

Take Care on the Journey,