Monday, December 31, 2012

Yummy Food in Soggy Van Nuys


After arriving in a rain storm, we spent a wet night in Van Nuys. It didn’t stop me from enjoying some awesome food, though!

I would never let weather keep me from that!

For dinner, we went back to our old stand-by, the Sherman Oaks Galleria Mall. Lots of eating choices, and they just so happened to have one of the largest Christmas trees that I’ve ever seen.

Done and done.


I’m so glad that El Capitan was willing to try a new place. I love eating somewhere new, and being on the road is the best place to make that happen!

We tried a fairly expensive Mexican place called El Torito Grill.


The menu made it difficult to decide which wonderful piece of Mexican love was going to find its way into my mouth! I really like Mexican food, in case you couldn’t tell.

I decided to get the Steak Nachos from the Small Bites Menu.


The complimentary appetizer was something cool and different, too. Rather than bringing us chips and salsa to completely fill our stomachs munch on while we waited for dinner, we were brought a trio of pepper jellies and honey butter.

I like where this is going.


And to eat with them, these incredible homemade flour tortillas. To be honest, I could have eaten roughly four-dozen of these for my meal. They were that good! But you can probably tell that from the picture, huh?


It’s a beautiful restaurant. We timed it perfectly to be empty since we arrived around 4:00 PM. There wasn’t much people-watching-during-dinner today!


But then the main event arrived, and I forgot all about watching people.

This was El Capitan’s dinner. It looks like the perfect dish for the indecisive, since it comes with a taste of almost everything that they make! This looked incredibly yummy.


And these were my nachos. The taste was awesome, but I guess I would have liked a few more than just nine chips. Perhaps that’s what “Small Bites” means? It was still very good, even though it ended up being about a dollar per chip.


As we left the restaurant, we passed this gorgeous curtained lounge. How fun would it be to grab all of your friends and sip some virgin margaritas in here?! So dreamy!


And, of course, I can’t leave this mall without popping my head into my absolute favorite home store. Urban Home isn’t in Arizona…yet. But I keep holding my breath!


Oh boy. If you’ll just excuse me for a few hours…that’s how long I could spend in this place and still not be bored!

Unfortunately, I wasn’t alone. So I just quickly walked through to the other door while trying to grasp everything within touching distance! I really like this store.


And, had these six pig name card placeholders not been $30, I would have bought two boxes. How wonderful are these?! I need to check back, since they could very well be on clearance now.

Oink oink


I love this look of mixing old with new. Look at those ancient Amish chairs next to the modern nail head-trimmed upholstered chairs. What a pretty look! And the table is very nice, too, if I must say so.


The next morning, I awoke to slightly sunnier skies. But that was only for a few minutes before the next series of rainstorms pushed their way through town.

My poor family! They are two hours south of me enjoying their last day at Disneyland today! Why couldn’t the rain have waited just a little longer?


Well, that wasn’t long enough. Our drive back to the airport was wet and more wet.


We borrowed a crew car to grab a quick lunch before heading home this afternoon. We both decided that after such lovely Mexican food the night before, it only made sense to eat Italian food for lunch today.

Done and done.


So away to Fratelli’s we went! I had never been here before and was a little worried when we were the only ones in the restaurant. But then I checked my watch and realized that it was barely 10:30 AM, and most normal people were still finishing breakfast at this time of day!


Crickets. But the food was delicious!


They shouldn’t have brought this out before the meal, as it was very buttery and hard to resist! I managed to leave one of my pieces to eat with my meal.

But it wasn’t easy, just so you know.


And my meal consisted of a good portion of my calcium content for the day…thanks, Fettuccine Alfredo!

It isn’t something that I order very often, so today was a true treat. And, while it poured outside, this type of comfort food was just what I needed today!


Now we can head back to the airport on happy, full stomachs to wait for our two passengers to arrive. Then it’s heading home and away from these rainstorms!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

A New Design

Paper Airplane Header

We probably should have known that I couldn’t stay away for an entire week!

I’ve had this new design ready to go for a few weeks now, and I was pretty excited to get it loaded up this morning. Who says that I’m not patient?! At least I had something to anticipate after my favorite holiday came to an abrupt end!

I hope that you had a very nice Christmas. See you next week!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Holly Jolly

Hi there! It’s lil’ ol’ me. I just wanted to pop in here to say hello and let you know that I’m taking a short break this week to spend time with loved ones.

I hope that you and yours have a wonderful Christmas season. May your days be merry and bright. I know that mine will be, simply because I get to spend an entire day with Hubby, in our pajamas, eating Wonder Waffles.

Sounds pretty good to me.

Additionally, I want to thank you all for following along on this here blog. It makes me happy to connect with so many people, and I really appreciate it. You certainly make my life brighter, and hopefully you know that it means a lot to me.

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

It Rains In California?


It’s all sunny and blue here at home, but our destination today is getting poured on with wonderful, glorious rain! We are headed to Van Nuys for an overnight trip.

And I happen to like rainy weather, so this is going to be fun. And it’s a pretty rare thing to witness in Van Nuys. Which makes things even better.


Don’t be fooled. The weather just a fifty-minute flight away is nasty! But for now, we can enjoy some beautiful, clear, seventy-five degree weather. Ahhhhhh.


The inside of Gladys is vacuumed and sparkling clean. Let’s go fly! We are flying two passengers to some soggy meetings today.


That’s what this little helicopter did today…go fly! They were probably on a training flight, judging from the abrupt landings.

It’s really tough to learn how to fly a helicopter.

Lots of moving parts, and half of them are trying to kill you.


We taxied past one of the FBOs on the field and saw a Citation Mustang. These tiny things are popular because they are fairly cheap to operate and only require one pilot.

But Gladys costs almost the same to operate per hour! And she is huge and comfortable inside for eight people!

Take that, Mustang.


Soon, it was our turn to be in the air. This is one of my favorite pictures of the day, since I rarely get our home airport in the picture just after takeoff. Isn’t this gorgeous?!

And why are there so many golf courses here?!


We were held at 6,000 feet for a few minutes on our climb to FL340 today. Can you see why?

The airliners are always given priority. So they get to descend into Phoenix instead of us getting to climb out of Phoenix. It makes perfect sense…not!

Wow, I just regressed about thirteen years. It felt great!


Did you know that we have lots of little volcanoes just outside of town? Actually, most of Arizona is dotted with these little guys. To my knowledge, they don’t do much damage any more. I’m sure they are just sitting there, waiting for their prime opportunity to explode!

Hey, it happened with Mount St. Helens, right?


We were finally given a clearance to climb and also turned directly towards ZEPER as part of the departure out of this busy airspace. As we turned, I grabbed a quick picture of Deer Valley Airport beneath us. Busy busy busy!


We have some great camping spots just north of us. Of course, it’s way too cold to go there now. We got below freezing last night here in the Valley! That’s so awful!

Ha! I just checked. It’s three degrees in my old college town, Grand Forks, North Dakota. Maybe I should just shut my big yapper.


This is just a tease of the cloudy weather about to come. Aren’t these hills so pretty? Look at all that texture below!


This giant cold front was heading towards home, but we were slowly flying into it on our way to Van Nuys for the night.


Normally, California is all clear and gorgeous and warm and sunny. Do you know why it isn’t this time?

Because my jacket is hanging up in my closet at home, that’s why.


It’s been too long since you’ve been graced with a picture of Edwards Air Force Base. Here you go. I bet you’ll have a better day because of it!


And if you look really hard, you can see Palm Springs Airport just beneath us. Dang those clouds for getting in the way. It will be pretty cloudy from here on out. We are about to descend into a rainy, yucky mess.

I can’t wait!


Kiss the dry ground goodbye!

Another reason that it is pouring rain down there? My family is at Disneyland this week. Luckily, they only had one day of bad weather. But it wasn’t as much fun being wet even when not riding Splash Mountain.


Can you see the altimeter setting of 30.15 in the right-hand side near the altitude tape? It is pretty high pressure, which just makes this crummy weather even more of a mystery. Usually, rain and gross stuff is associated with low pressure systems, but the pressure is pretty high today!

29.92 inches of mercury is standard pressure, by the way. But I’m sure that you remember that from high school biology…


Now we are in the soup, which is what we call it when we can’t see nothin’. We flew the full Instrument Landing System approach today to Runway 16R. We barely broke out of the clouds in time to see the runway to land! These clouds were low!


Even on the ground and taxiing to the ramp, it doesn’t look much better!

I actually love weather like this…where are my sweatpants and a good book?! In that order!


The visibility was about a quarter mile in some spots. The minimums for the approach are around four-hundred feet for clouds. We broke out just above that…like around 450 feet! Just in time!

It isn’t often that you have a hard time landing because of foggy and cloudy weather. At least, it’s a rare occurrence in southern California!


It was so low that we had to hold at the ILS Critical Line while taxiing to the ramp. This holds our airplane shy of this glideslope box to the right so that we don’t accidentally block the radio signals for incoming airplanes.

They need that glideslope information in order to continue a descent low enough to actually see the airport today!

So we certainly wouldn’t want to mess that up for anyone.

Once they landed, we were cleared to continue our taxi to Pentastar Aviation, our old buddies.


And then this little Aero Commander took off after the other guy landed. Just above us are blue skies, but you have to climb above about seven-thousand feet to actually prove that!

For us, we are on the ground in this rain until tomorrow when we’ll head back home. It’s going to be a short stay, but a fun one!


Pretty little Gladys was soaked from our flight! I’m happy that she gets to rest for the night.

It’s hard work to look this good, as I’m sure she would tell you if she saw you.


This Learjet was next to where we parked, ready to fly out. You can tell they’re about to leave because they have a Ground Power Unit, or GPU, attached to help start the engines.

It takes a lot of battery power to start, so it’s always nice to use someone else’s batteries instead of draining the (very expensive) one on the airplane.


For me, my killer workday is over! Gladys is all buttoned up and ready for a night on the ramp. After getting the passengers on their way, we unloaded our luggage and headed for a late lunch and then to the hotel.

I’ll show you some delicious food tomorrow…you won’t want to miss it!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Changing a Tire with Teenage Girls


For the past few months, I’ve had a new “job” at church. I now work with the Young Women, ages twelve to eighteen. I have really been loving this calling. We’ve had some really fun activities lately, too.

Mingled in with the fun are some educational evenings as well. A few weeks ago, we taught the girls how to check the oil and change a tire on a car.


A helpful guy from church, Steve, was able to help us out with the instruction side of things. This is his adorable son, Max. Isn’t he cute? He is just as sweet in person, too.

Don’t worry. He is probably passing judgment on how badly we changed this tire tonight.


The girls and leaders alike were pretty excited about tonight. Once we got them here, that is. It turned out to be a great evening, where they had fun and learned something useful in the process!


I know that we’re not supposed to have favorites. But I really love this girl.

You can probably see why.


The girls were oh-so excited about their greasy fingers after taking their turn with the iron wrench. One of the leaders allowed her car to be worked on tonight…bless her heart.

To our knowledge, the tire has miraculously stayed on ever since.


This girl is a sweetheart. She can be incredibly shy but has so many talents. We’re working on getting her to see what we all see.

Easier said than done with teenage girls, I’m afraid!


At least we know who did all the work tonight.


This beauty, who thinks that greasy tires aren’t as much fun as they sound. I really love this girl, too. No favorites, right?


In the end, we just needed some loafer-clad muscle to get the tire to finally budge. Steve stepped in to help at the last minute, making sure that each girl had a shot to try it out first.

He also let us use his fancy car jack, since we would probably still be there had we used the car-equipped one. I can still feel the burn…


These are some of my older girls. Both beautiful and brilliant. One is the only member of the church in her entire family. The other has a 4.3 GPA and is applying to lots of Ivy-League schools this very month.

I like them both quite a bit.


Once we got the tire off, it was time to put it back in place. Here is one gal tightening up the screws after the weight of the car is back on the tire.

This was exhausting work! I just watched and took pictures and was pretty tuckered out at the end!


How many teenage girls does it take to open a car hood? None, since they never actually found the hook to release the hood from the car. This picture cracks me up, though, since they tried so hard!


Aaaaaaaaand, still trying. At least they look pretty while they’re doing it!


When the hood finally did come free, we were pretty excited about it. Some more than others, obviously.


I don’t think that a tire change was necessary tonight, but perhaps a car wash couldn’t hurt! The girls actually wrote fun things in the dirt before we left for the night. What a fun way to remember the car owner’s courage by letting them remove her tire!


Soon, it was time to check the oil and find where certain things are located in the engine. We have some pretty hilarious girls, but you can probably get that vibe from this picture.


The girls got to check the dipstick and even found out how to know which type of oil to put in. Half of these girls have their drivers licenses now, and the rest are just around the corner from it. So I hope that tonight taught them some neat things that they will remember when the time comes.


Though feet were dragged initially, I think that these pretty girls really enjoyed themselves. And I think that we all learned a thing or two about car tires in general!

I feel so blessed to get to associate with these gals (and some pretty neat leaders) several times a week. It’s amazing how we end up in places where we truly belong.

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