Friday, May 25, 2012

All My Bags Are Packed


This was my bedroom Thursday morning at 7:30 AM. My goal was to be out of the house by eight so I could stop at Target to grab some drinks and snacks for the airplane.

With five male passengers and one male Captain with me this week, I am severely outnumbered. And they like to eat, as most men do. So lots of grub on board was a must!


With my suitcase and laptop carrying case in addition to all the edible goodies, it was enough to warrant pulling up next to Gladys to unload. In this air-conditioned car.


There are always lots of big, beautiful airplanes randomly hanging out at Scottsdale. Like Falcons and Challengers. I love the bright, happy colors on these two particular airplanes. Airplanes make me happy.


I love this shot of Scottsdale from the sky! What a great airport.


We passed Phoenix’s Sky Harbor Airport at 12,000 feet on our way to the Stanfield VOR. I used to be based here in a Beechjet. Though it’s closer to my house for my commute, I don’t mind that I am now flying elsewhere.


We ended up going all the way up to Flight Level 450. And with this head cold that I’ve been battling (yes, I’m sick again. No, I don’t know why or how), this brought on a very painful descent. I hate not being able to keep ahead of popping my ears, and I therefore can’t hear a stinkin’ thing at this very moment.


This is the Suburban fold-down movie screen that I mentioned yesterday. I don’t know what was playing on this particular day, but it was funny and got lots of laughs from the passengers. They have wireless headsets, so it keeps the noise down for us fliers up front.

In case you’re wondering, all of the cool people hang out up front.


After flying over the Gulf of Mexico, this was my first glance of Florida’s west coast. Doesn’t it look tropical? Maybe this is what makes all those people living in Florida stay, despite the constant fear of hurricane season drawing nearer.


Hello, Sarasota, Florida! Amazingly enough, I am meeting you for the first time today. In my best Adam Sandler Hanukkah Song voice, “Nice to meet ya.”


These guys at APP were truly a quick fuel turn. We were done and able to be on our way in just fifteen minutes. Of course, I just so happened to have pizzas waiting for my passengers. Growing boys and all, you know? They even shared a piece or two with me while I was in and out from watching the fueling and paying for 581 gallons of jet fuel.

That fuel amount isn’t a typo. Holy gravy!


It was hot and sticky in Sarasota, but we weren’t there to enjoy it long.


I had places to go, people to see. I needed to be on my way. Gladys and I needed to move on. We needed to get on with our lives.

With five grown men in the back, and lots of scuba diving gear. We were on our way.


Goodbye, Sarasota! Thank you for not being as geriatric as your reputation implies.


After dodging some impressive thunderstorms just off the west coast, we headed southeast towards the Miami area.


Isn’t Miami beautiful from the sky? You can buy a condo here for about thirteen dollars, if you’re in the market. But it is prettier from the sky. Just keep that in mind.


But enough small talk. I’m going somewhere that shows up on this high-altitude chart. And it rhymes with “Faint Pompous.” Well, kinda rhymes.

Do you see it?


No looking back! Well, just back a little to see a beautiful sunset in the making. I just think that Gladys has the prettiest winglets, don’t you?


So the bad news about this trip? Hubby was this close to getting to come with me. And when we found out on Tuesday that it wasn’t going to happen, I cried and cried. I personally think a week-long trip for free with my husband would be very nice. There were lots of reasons that it would be nice to have him here with me.

When I saw some ice forming on my window, I wrote his name so I would stop missing him. The stopping-missing didn’t work, but I did feel like I had a tiny piece of him with me. And that helped.

He really should be here with me right now. In Faint Pompous.


We left early this morning and landed way after dark. That is weird! But this is the view from my hotel room.  I hate to bring it up, but I am actually get paid for this, people.


And I plan to spend a lot of time out here this week on my upgraded-for-free ocean-view  patio. I swear, being nice to the hotel peeps gets me everything good in life.

I can’t wait to see everything tomorrow when it’s light and bright. I plan to bring you along for the journey. Do you mind? Want to explore Faint Pompous with me?

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Gone But Not Forgotten

St. Thomas

Just a short post today. I’ve been running around like a chicken with its head cut off, and not in a good way.

The past several days have been swamped making all of the final preparations for my girls to be ready for Girls Camp. Yep. I’m the Girls Camp Director this year. And I’m missing camp next week. Because I am working.

I actually do feel really guilty about it, but I am hoping that the infinity pool helps wash away the guilt over the next seven days.

It’s been a busy week getting ready for this trip, too. Customs, catering, ground transportation, ordering pizzas for our fuel stop, etc. I think I have everything done, but we shall find out today!

And I’m on my way.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Flying to Call-Ee-Phone-Yaw


Have I mentioned lately how much I love my job? I really do. Some ice got loaded onto the airplane for the short flight over to Los Angeles, but it all melted in the 108-degree heat!


I always wipe down the inside and outside of the airplane to make the proper presentation for Glady’s owners. I want them to know that she has good personal hygiene skills. Also, this particular cleaner is great on the wood, metal, glass, and every other surface. And it smells amazing, so the airplane is nice and fresh when my passengers climb on board.


Here I am in back folding the seat belts and placing the newspapers for easy access. I try to make the flight as comfortable for them as possible. Being pampered is always a good thing. If I knew how to give pedicures, I would be a triple-threat.


This is the airshow that shows up on the Rosen displays in back. We have two of these screens near the seats, and one screen that can flip down from the ceiling up by the cockpit. Sometimes I feel like I am flying a Suburban! My passengers can and have also watched movies on this system. As I am sure they will tomorrow on two long flights.

I love that they can see our progress of the flight, though I also love when they tap us on the shoulder to talk to us to see how things are up front, too. They know how fast we are going and how long until we land with this airshow. Who needs a flight attendant?!


Holding short Runway 21, ready for takeoff. With traffic flow into the Los Angeles area, we had to wait a few minutes for our IFR release from Phoenix Departure. Even in the air, there are simply too many people in California for them to handle!


Goodbye, Phoenix! Can you see that haze? We have a fire north of us that is burning, and the smoke it just hanging out just north of town. It’s not normally this hazy.


Well, looky here. We flew right over the fire! It’s a really big one. I feel bad for the guys fighting it. It’s going to be a very long fire fighting season for them if they are already starting.


With some smooth talking, we got cleared to Palmdale for the LYNXX 8 Arrival into Los Angeles. Even though we are not landing at the main airport, they have to line up all the incoming traffic to prevent being the main story on the evening news.


Hi, Palmdale! Cute little city. You can’t quite see it (just to the right of my winglet), but Edwards Air Force Base is in the far distance with its 12,000-foot runways and the possibility to double that into a dry lake bed. They land the shuttle here when Texas has bad weather. That was in the good ol’ days when we had a space program. Do you remember?


This is on our turn to line up for the ILS to Runway 16R. We always fly over this mine. I can’t believe they allow mining operations here! Maybe it’s tucked away in the hills and nobody knows it’s there? We are on about a fifteen-mile final for the runway at this point.


We landed at Van Nuys today. Hi, Tower!


Once again, we were treated like royalty by Pentastar Aviation. These guys are great, and I am always relieved when we come here because I know everything will be done well for us.

The only downside was that a Gulfstream V parked just as we were trying to leave, and we had to squeeze past him with the help of the line guys walking both wings.

We made it. No scratches anywhere. Phew!


Since the ramp was a little slow when we first landed, I grabbed fuel from them so I could be ready for our flight home later on. We landed at 11:00 AM and were to be here for about ten hours. Not enough time to run to Disneyland for the day, dangit. I checked.


Gladys is looking fine and fit. I think she has been working out, and you can really tell it from the side view.


This wasn’t even the Gulfstream that blocked our way out! This place was hopping all day long, and it amazes me what big airplanes are in and out of this tiny ramp. Shockingly, we were one of the smaller planes on the ramp today. We can’t compete with these big guys, who can seat eighteen people in huge recliners!

They probably have golden sinks in the lavatory, too. And bowling alleys down the aisle.


This is a turboprop mades by EADS Socata called the TBM700. Very pretty airplane. It would be a great option when Hubby and I are ready to buy our own. They start at around $3 million. Pocket change, right?


We were surprised with a call at 7:00 that our passengers were on their way back! Good thing I wasn’t waiting in line for the Matterhorn, huh? After a nice lunch and some shopping, I worked on my laptop until the call came.

It was fun to sit outside while working to watch the airplanes. I never tire of watching airplanes come in and out of a place. I’m glad I like airplanes as much as I do, since I kinda end up being around them a lot in my work situation.


Goodbye, Los Angeles! Goodbye, Cheesecake Factory! Goodbye, sweet Urban Home!


Pollution always makes the prettiest sunsets! This is the earliest I’ve ever left LA, so it was fun to see it all in the daylight hours on departure.


By the time we landed at home, it was about 8:30 PM and dark. Once on frequency with Albuquerque Center, I was able to get a shortcut to fly away from the ARLIN3 Arrival into Phoenix. If I’m nice to the controllers, they are usually pretty nice to me!


It was still 95 degrees when we landed, and the pitot tubes never cooled enough to put on the covers. That’s OK, since we are flying in a just a few days anyway. I am just glad that my drive home was in a car with air conditioning!

The day trip was nice. We have a big trip coming up tomorrow, so today will be busy getting ready for it. I do indeed love my job.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

A New Favorite Store


So there I was. Walking along peacefully in California. I was there yesterday for work and required sustenance for the return trip. Luckily for me, a Cheesecake Factory was just six miles from the airport. Which, in California traffic, only took three hours and twelve minutes to reach!


It was worth the drive. We arrived at a neat little mall called the Sherman Oaks Galleria. I got all excited thinking it was related to the Galleria malls of Texas, which I love. If this IS a real Galleria, I think it is a distant cousin. Or they forgot to build the rest of it. Or they couldn’t afford the California rent. It was a nice little mall, but very small. No real stores.


Of course, they had this. Which is really all that matters.


I ate bread. Of course. Their bread is insane, and I can never decide if the honey wheat is better, or if I like the sourdough best. So I slather on more butter for another debating bite.


I tried something new! So unlike me in a place like this! This is the BBQ Ranch Chicken Salad. I watched my brother-in-law try this a few months back and knew it was something that I could love. While it was good, I wouldn’t get it again. The Factory Chopped Salad is still my favorite salad there, and maybe I shouldn’t mess with a good thing!

Urban Home

But my new discovery was this. An affordable home store that decorates just like I dream of decorating? I was stunned. Really! It had great stuff for incredible prices!


Welcome to Urban Home. And I kinda went crazy, for the whole twenty minutes that I had to spend here. Luckily for Hubby, this chain of stores doesn’t exist in Arizona. I’m heartbroken by this news, since I would be in here all the time.


Isn’t this table centerpiece beautiful? Just some glass apothecary jars with looks-real fake fruit. I love this idea but would house it in shorter containers so people don’t have to crane their necks around apples to have a decent conversation during dinner.

So natural and fruity and organic. Fruit is a great way to add color and texture.


I’ve been looking for an ottoman that is transportable from room to room, depending on where I want to read. We have a reading nook in the office by a bright window, and I love reading in there. We also have a reading nook down by the fireplace in the dining room, but we all know that it’s next to impossible to read without feet properly propped up.

$50 seems to be the starting point for small ottomans. I didn’t want to drop that kind of change on something that I would use all the time. So when I found this bright, fun, happy green guy for just $19.99…I didn’t even think twice.


I love when stores organize things according to color. It makes finding what my brain is imagining so much easier! I love this group of happy yellow accessories. I wanted one (or two…or six) of each but refrained.

Why, oh why, isn’t there an Urban Home near my house?


I would say half of their store was decorated in my colors…blue and green. Any idea why I would possibly be in love with this place?!


I don’t know what happened here, but it fits. So I guess I will take it home.


In fact, it looks like I could have gotten a few more things. Dang you, self-control! I hate when you chime in at all the wrong times!


At least you had the sense to buy something at your new favorite place. Consider this just a giant fridge magnet memento. I prefer to remember my trips in weird ways.

In this particular case, an ottoman.

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