Friday, April 27, 2012

A Day for Government Paperwork


If I have a pen that I love, one of my favorite things to do is fill out forms. NERD ALERT! No doubt, my killer social life is to blame for this. It’s weird admitting it in writing, but sometimes the truth can be harsh. The good news is that if you ever need a form filled out, you now have a gal to do it!


One form that I am filling out today (happily!) is the Federal Aviation Administration 8710 form to add a new rating or license to my current pilot certificate. Since we have some international trips coming up in May, I need to have my Second-In-Command type rating in the Phenom 300 added to my pilot license.


No one wants to spend time in jail for improper flight documents. But especially if a white-sand beach is just a few feet outside the barred window. I kind of go crazy if there is a hammock within a five-mile radius and I’m not in it, so I thought I would knock documentation out beforehand to prevent any risk when traveling in May.


A pilot’s logbook is like a Bible and is sacred. It records everything one wants to know about a flight, such as flight time, departure and destination points, instrument time, cross-country time, night time, landings, simulator time, etc. And when applying for a new rating or license from the FAA, they want to know all of that information to keep for their records.


Yes, these forms can all be done online. But I tried to use that method last month and got shot down. Since the Captain who signed off my SIC type rating in the Phenom 300 isn’t a Certified Flight Instructor, the computer system wouldn’t allow him to endorse my submission. Which meant that the FAA wouldn’t help me add an additional type rating to my certificate when I arrived in person at the Flight Standards District Office. So I left empty-handed, worried about how I was going to get this done!


The regulations allow for a qualified and type-rated Captain to sign off a Second-In-Command, so I am taking paper versions today with hopes that they will approve. Working with any government entity is like walking on eggshells, and the FAA can be no different at times. Am I saying this all correctly, Jacob?

Wow. Why is everyone asleep?

I shall summarize. I am filling out forms (yay!) to give to the FAA this afternoon to get a Second-In-Command type rating in the Phenom 300 added to my Airline Transport Certificate. I want to be legal for all impending out-of-the-country flights. Legal is always a good thing.


Airplane stuff is my favorite topic, but I tend to lose some readers when I mention too much. But it matters a lot to me, so there is bound to be some airplane stuff mentioned on this here blog. I hope you’re still with me. Airplanes are pretty cool, and I’m sure that is one of the first things that we will be told when we die. I’m just glad I already know it…and I will probably be the one saying to you, “I told you so.”

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Recipe – Sweet and Salty Cookies


When I lived in Grand Forks, North Dakota, a small mom-and-pop chocolate store existed in downtown.


I know you might be surprised that Grand Forks has a downtown. It’s the part of town that was washed away in the Red River Flood of 1997.


You can still see the water lines on the exterior of buildings. It’s a crazy reminder that Mother Nature always wins.


Inside this mom-and-pop chocolate store, lovingly called Widman’s Candy Shop, you can also see the 8-foot water lines on the interior walls. They left them there as a reminder of what had happened.


The water marks being present does not affect this shop’s ability to pump out some incredible treats. Their most-famous being chocolate-dipped wavy potato chips, Chippers.


I’ll let that sink in for a moment.


Those little monsters were practically the best of everything. Salty crunch dipped in delicious milk chocolate. It was divine.


So when I discovered a chocolate chip cookie recipe that called for potato chips crushed inside, I knew that I had struck gold. Eureka!


The original recipe came from Krissy’s Creations. She had me at “potato chip.” I only added half a teaspoon of the salt called for in the cookie dough. I’m glad I did, since the chips add lots of salt to the mix!


I recommend avoiding her site if you are diabetic, trying not to become diabetic, or playing The Biggest Loser with your cousins. Yet one more thing to derail those weigh-in efforts of mine…


These cookies also have pretzels inside. I’ve always been under the impression that pretzels are a health food. Am I wrong?


Give these cookies a try to find out.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Airflow is a Wonderful Thing


Today is dreary and overcast, and we got down to 61 degrees last night. Days like this only come about a few times a year, and I am usually out of town when they happen. I love weather like this! Just a few days ago, I was complaining about the heat in our bedroom.  With the windows open and all the fans in the house going full-speed, it meant a lovely night of sleeping in a cool house last night.


This guy certainly helped. Meet our new bedroom ceiling fan, Gus.

Usually, when we wander the aisles of Home Depot, all I hear from Hubby is that awful word, “No.” Sometimes he follows it up with something supposedly to make me feel better, like “We don’t need that,” or “We don’t need a front porch bistro set because we don’t use the furniture we have in the backyard.”

In my defense, I would love to be outside more often. I’m not blaming anyone here, but we need to face the facts, folks. My husband is made up of 100% mosquito food, and he can’t be outside for more than a minute on any evening before he has thirty bites all over him. They don’t bother me in the least. I am going to attribute being outside 24/7 as a kid. I’m just sayin’…the reason we aren’t outside enough (“using our outdoor furniture”) is because the mosquitos like him. It feels awkward to leave him behind protected walls while I head outside to enjoy the evening. However, if it will help him realize that our outdoor furniture is necessary, I will do it. Team player, remember?


Anyway, on a recent trip to Home Depot, and while preparing myself for that awful word, “No,” I steered Hubby down the ceiling fan aisle.

Here was my reasoning. Our bedroom ceiling fan is builders-grade and certainly does us no favors. When I researched it once, I found it to be around 2,700 CFMs, which is how they measure fan circulation. While perusing the fourteen-thousand options in the fan aisle in Home Depot, we were able to find a white ceiling fan-and-light combination with a CFM of 5,486. Heck, yes. I’m all about double.


My further trick tool to convince Hubby that this might be a pretty good idea was that one of the dining room ceiling fans went kaput late last year. We didn’t care too much since we were coming into the cooler winter months. However, with temperatures already in the triple digits, we need all the air circulation going on that we can muster. So I suggested that we get a new, higher-power fan for our bedroom and use that old fan to replace the broken one in the dining room.


I crouched behind some chandelier boxes, waiting to be told that awful word that makes me cringe. I closed my eyes and started to rock back and forth while humming. For some unknown reason, it caught quite the stares from other Home Depot patrons.

But he agreed. To my great astonishment. We looked at fans together and compared the best options. And then we put one in our cart and brought it home. I guess it helped that the day’s temperature was a record-breaking one-hundred and five.


While I was at work on Monday, Hubby surprised me with installing the new fan in our bedroom. Oh sweet, sweet Gus. You are awesome. And I can actually feel your airflow! You’ve helped us sleep better the past few nights. Bless you.


Maybe tonight we can swap out the old broken dining room fan for the old bedroom fan. Airflow moving on that side of the house is critical in keeping this place habitable. It’s amazing how hot it has gotten already! Gus is helping in every way he can, and that makes me very, very happy.

Home Depot victories like these are rare indeed and need to be fully savored.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

FarmingTON of Fun


I went to work yesterday.


We simply dropped off some passengers at Farmington, New Mexico’s Four Corners Regional Airport and came home.


Considering that it was 74 degrees in Farmington, I really regretted not staying for the entire week. I’ve heard lovely things about Farmington, after all.


Everyone who knew that I was coming here (hi, Dad!) said to visit Durango a few hours away. Does that mean nothing in Farmington is worth my time? That I should just leave town as soon as I can?


It was hard to climb back into that airplane, knowing that next time I opened that beautiful air door was going to be to triple digits. It’s literally a hot, dry slap in the face.


Really, Mother Nature? You saw fit to completely skip the 80s and 90s this year? Sheesh. I’m already dying.


Luckily, we are getting both the house air conditioning fixed and (hopefully) my car air conditioning fixed this very morning. It’s only going to get worse from here. We need to be prepared. And we also need to not be sweaty.


And I’m writing this late Monday night because I can’t sleep in a house that is stubbornly staying at 87 degrees. Good grief, it’s impossible!


Anyway, enough whining! If I lived somewhere cold, you know that I would whine about scraping ice off my windshield, too.


I would much rather be hot than cold, so please forgive the pertinent ranting and raving of a rather warm person on this fine summer mid-spring evening.


The flight was awesome. We landed less than fifty minutes after taking off out of Scottsdale. The weather was beautiful, and only a few bumps were felt leaving the Valley.


This airplane has a much lower wing-loading than my previous Beechjet, so the bumps are way more obvious. The best thing about the Beechjet was that it felt like flying a much larger airplane…and the bumps felt that way, too. In the Phenom, I notice every little current in the air. It’s the only downside to this new (practically-perfect-in-every-way) airplane, that I’ve found.


We wondered if it was the busiest the airport has been all day. We landed just after a medical King Air touched down (an ambulance pulled up to his airplane just as we were taxiing in). Shortly after us, a Pilatus took off. Then, two helicopters landed on the ramp not too far from Gladys. They are in town filming a Johnny Depp movie, apparently.


Who knew people made motion pictures in Farmington, New Mexico?!


I had called ahead with our credit card so we could pay for the ramp fee. FBOs charge a ramp fee if you don’t buy fuel. We usually need fuel and thus get to bypass paying this silly ramp fee. In this case, it was much cheaper to pay the $130 fee rather than purchase their required 150-gallon minimum at $7.59 a gallon. We get it at home for less than $4, so it made perfect sense to just tanker fuel and make it home without paying an arm and two legs for their gas.


I hate being ripped off for fuel prices. But it isn’t always avoidable.


We let the hefty brakes cool down while we loaded bags into the awaiting car. Then we watched as the helicopters made their noisy arrival. I love helicopters. I think I’m too chicken to fly them, but they are always fascinating to watch.


Then I got our clearance from Ground Control back to Scottsdale while El Capitan did the Before Engine Start checklist. Before long, we were taxiing on our way to Runway 25 and cleared on course after takeoff.


I can sweet-talk shortcuts like no other. I really love talking on the radio. This may come as a surprise to everyone, but it’s true.


Rather than flying our assigned routing all the way up to Flagstaff for the Jacobs Two Arrival, I got Albuquerque Center to give me direct to SWIRL intersection. That is just north of Scottsdale and not out of the way at all! We crossed SWIRL at 11,000 feet and 250 knots, as assigned.


Soon we were touching down back at home.


And it was evening, so the heat wasn’t as bad as I was expecting when that door was opened.


It’s nice to be home for the week to work on so many projects. A return trip to get our passengers will take place on Saturday. Maybe I can stay longer than just ten minutes this time? I think it looks like a beautiful place!


Most places are beautiful from the air, though…

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