Thursday, August 13, 2009

Sweet Birthday Sweets

After all the talk about wooden spoons yesterday, I kind of feel bad that my wonderful birthday present from my parents arrived on my doorstep today! It had been damaged in the shipping process and another one had to be ordered, hence being a few days post-birthday. She unnecessarily apologized several times for it arriving late (like I'm going to be upset about that when I have a present to open!). I didn't think I could like my Mom any more than presently, but I was oh so wrong. When I opened the box, I squealed in delight! In fact, when John arrived home for lunch just twenty minutes later, I skipped into the room to show him! Skipped, my friends!

My Mom must know me pretty well. She found a book on Amazon that had my name written all over it, and she got an adorable baking apron to match! Those who know me are well-acquainted with my unfortunate love for sweets and baking treats. This book is perfect for that! I had to quit thumbing through the pages because I started to drool. I made a mental inventory of what I have in my pantry that would allow me to make something this very instant! By breezing through the book, I know without a doubt that every single recipe will be attempted and no doubt enjoyed!

Thanks Mom, Merrill, Parker, Kip, and Rosie (yellow labs give presents, too)!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

A Clean Kitchen Equals Happiness

I have not-so-recently come to the conclusion that my Mom was really on to something when we were growing up. She forced us to clean. Can you imagine?! We were responsible throughout the week to wash dishes, sweep kitchen floors, keep our rooms clean, and launder our clothing. Then Saturday morning would roll around and out would come the dreaded multi-colored 3x5 note cards, each listing a chore that needed to be done. Because there were only four kids and over twenty chores, we each ended up with quite the to-do list. We could then trade and barter amongst ourselves to get jobs we enjoyed (OK, that word may have been a stretch back in the day), or to get rid of ones we despised (more accurately describes our feelings to each and every note card).

There was no lolly-gagging about all day, occasionally working on a cleaning project from our note cards. We were not allowed to do anything else until our list was complete. In addition, to help "motivate" us even more, we usually had a time limit. I am sure kids all across this great country love kitchen timers because they insinuate that cookies are done baking, or that their homework study session is finally over. I came to absolutely hate our kitchen timer. If my cleaning list wasn't complete by the time its innocent bells chimed, I was in for a terrible rest of the day.

It was seen as torture then, since we only had one full day of freedom each week to play outside with our friends. She wanted us to waste that precious time vacuuming the stairs and scrubbing the laundry room?! There was an occasional protest and even a time or two of mutiny when we all complained. It never did any good, and we often just found ourselves with more chores and less time to finish (the aforementioned mutiny led to my present distaste of wooden spoons). What a smart lady my Mom is!

As a result of this above-mentioned child abuse, I am quite a clean freak. Some have even accused me of being OCD when it comes to keeping my personal affects in line. I see nothing wrong with having a clean home. In fact, I kinda like it. And a little-known fact is that in most countries, being called OCD is a compliment.

It has been a while since I have had time at home and have felt well enough to complete my ever-building projects list. I have known for months now that I wasn't properly utilizing the space in my kitchen cabinets. Yesterday, I got the chance to remedy that. Four hours of hard manual labor, and this is the result! While I was working, (whistling, too, mind you), I kept having flashbacks of the days of my youth when cleaning wasn't fun at all. My recollection was blurry, since I have such a highly-favored view of cleaning now. It really does make me happy, just like my Mommy said it would twenty years ago! She really was on to something...

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

News Flash

This may come as quite a surprise, but I absolutely love airplanes.

I am rarely picky when it comes to objects made for the sky. I generally like all airplanes. They make me warm and fuzzy inside. I love seeing the passenger door close and the lights start flashing announcing to the world that something exciting is about to happen. I love when the engines begin to whine or the propellers start to turn. I love when the brakes are released, and off they go towards the beginning of the runway...the pathway to freedom in the sky. I love when thrust is added and people are pinned to their seats during takeoff. I love watching as the airplanes accelerate toward liftoff speed. And that wonderful moment when the wheels first leave the ground? It's one of the greatest feelings in the world.

I just love airplanes.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Night Magic

After maintenance finished working on my airplane last week, we took it up for a few turns in the traffic pattern at Williams-Gateway Airport in Mesa. In order to fly with passengers on board at night, pilots need to be "night current," which involves doing three takeoffs and landings at night within the previous ninety days. My night currency had just expired, so we decided to do our post-maintenance flight at night so I could get current once again.

Something incredible happens when the sun goes down. After waiting the necessary one hour after sunset, I performed a very thorough pre-flight (always a good idea in case a mechanic accidentally left a screwdriver somewhere). Terry showed up in time for us to fire up the airplane and do three takeoffs and landings. Everything happens so quickly in a jet, especially when you are compressing three takeoffs and landings in fifteen minutes! It was so much fun. I really love flying!

After our second takeoff, we noticed our right landing light had burnt out. Figures...we just got it out of maintenance! When we completed our final landing and shut down the engines, I went outside to check the light. Now we couldn't get it to retract all the way! Back to maintenance we go!

Changing the right lightbulb the next morning was all the airplane needed. To change the motor that extends the light? $19,000. Owning an airplane isn't easy on a bank account! Luckily, the bulb was just $40 plus some TLC from a few mechanics. It was ready by noon, just in time for Ron to call for a trip at 1:00 PM. Oklahoma, here I come!

Chicks and Geese and Ducks will Scurry

I got to visit the beautiful Plains this week, stopping in Oklahoma City and Tulsa before heading back towards the mountains of Denver. We dodged weather and thunderstorms on almost every flight, but that just makes for some great photos!

In one of the pictures, a grey airplane is seen on the ramp with a guy in a green flight suit walking around. That is designated the T-1 in the military, but look is the same airplane as my Beechjet! The Air Force has a fleet of T-1s because they use them to train tanker pilots. Because of the different flight controls on my airplane (no ailerons, but spoilerons instead), it feels like a much larger airplane is being flown. The responsiveness of the flight controls makes it feel more like a huge Boeing 707 instead of a medium corporate jet. Because of that, they train future tanker pilots so they can save some fuel. Two engines burn much less than four! It took some flights to get used to the controls, but I love the Beechjet. It is a blast to fly!

After spending a few nights in Okie territory, we went to Denver for a few hours for my passengers to work that area. Ron surprised us and let us come home on Thursday evening, which let me spend even more time with my husband. What a treat! Although it was hot when we landed back in Phoenix, we didn't miss the humidity that was felt all week in the Midwest!

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