Friday, March 22, 2013

Disneyland…Here We Come

Disneyland Castle

It all started harmlessly enough. I requested a book from the digital library to enjoy while working so much these past few weeks. I thought that it would be rather enjoyable to read up on what I certainly consider The Happiest Place on Earth.

I had no idea the damage that would come as a result

While sitting in Van Nuys last Saturday, mostly minding my own business with my tablet in hand, I was reading the book and occasionally gazing out the window with glazed over eyes. When will I get there to enjoy all of these wonders again? I can honestly say that the two days that I got to spend there with my Mama last year were some of the best two days of my life! When can I rinse, later, and repeat?!

And then it hit me. I happen to have a week in April when I know that we won’t be flying. El Capitan has taken some time off officially, and the airplane won’t go far without him. So I know that I have that week off as well.

Oh my goodness. Could I really do it?!


So I called Mama to see if she was game. Of course she was! And, even better, my little fourteen year-old brother was going to come along for the ride, too! He was bitten by the Disneyland bug even more after their visit this past November as a family.

I am just amazed at how everything has fallen into place for this trip…once we decided to just make it happen. I was able to use some special bonus hotel points for free rooms, so we are only paying for one night out of our five! And the hotel, which is just two miles away, ranks fourth in a list of over a hundred in quality, right behind a few of the fancy Disneyland hotels! Not too shabby for free, huh?

I ordered tickets for the Art Shuttle to take us to Disneyland each morning (crazy early, of course). And then I scheduled Super Shuttle (my credit card information got stolen the next morning, and I’m guessing it was from this phone call. Creepy, huh?) for a ride to and from LAX. Mama used their credit card points to practically buy both airline tickets for them! And my flights on Southwest were very affordable! We land within an hour of each other and will even be able to spend most of our first day in town at the parks!


An investment that I’ve always wanted to make was an annual pass, and my wishes came true for this trip. Besides, I have some very serious plans to return to do this all again in September, so an annual pass was a wise decision indeed. Mama has an annual pass, too, and Kip’s ticket will be cheap with the help of a local friend of mine who offered some Disney points that are about to expire! How awesome can friends get?!

Do you see how all of these stars are aligning? I think it’s meant to be!

Best of all, that week in April is one of the best times to go. Because of school, most normal people won’t be able to attend Disneyland for an entire week. We will have short lines but will be far enough into Spring that the weather will be gorgeous. Seventy-five degrees, in fact.

So it’s all set. And now we are just enjoying emails and phone calls back and forth, talking about what we are most anticipating!

Is it the songs of Splash Mountain?
Is it a breakfast burrito in California Adventure?
Is it the fast-paced lunacy of Indiana Jones?
Is it the nostalgia of The Jungle Cruise (since it was closed on my last visit)?
Is it the Dole Whip Float outside of the Tiki Tiki Tiki Tiki Tiki Room?
Is it the ghost hitchhikers in The Haunted Mansion?
Is it Soarin’ Over California, or Screamin’ there instead?
Is it a sourdough bread bowl lunch of heaven at the Pacific Wharf?
Is it the cannon blasts of Pirates of the Caribbean?
Is it the abominable snowman in the Matterhorn?
Or is it Peter Pan, which is always our first ride of the day and certainly a favorite?

I guess the answer to those age-old questions is…yes. It’s all of them. I love it all and can’t wait!


After working so much these past two months and being gone almost constantly, it will be a fun way to recover from my busy winter. And I can’t think of anyone else who I could possibly enjoy such a trip with other than my Mama and Kippy. We had such a nice time in our crash two-day course there last July. It will be wonderful to have five days there to really enjoy the place!

Eek! Come on, April!

Have you been to The Happiest Place on Earth lately? Apparently, I’m not the only one who loves it there…

Thursday, March 21, 2013

A Homemade Caramelized Onion Tomato Tart


On a drizzly day in Vancouver, I watched a neat Food Network only-in-Canada show called Chef Michael’s Kitchen. I’ve enjoyed watching his laid-back-but-informative style previously on trips to Canada, so I was excited to see one of his episodes.

And then he made this. And I couldn’t wait to get home to try it!


I felt uber fancy when making this tart because I even made the dough from scratch! I rolled it into a ball and wrapped it tight before letting it rest in the fridge for half an hour.

While it was thinking about future life decisions in the refrigerator, I got to work cooking down some caramelized onions, one of my favorite things in the world, and slicing some tomatoes.

When the dough was rested enough, I rolled it out and placed it into my removable-bottom tart pan. Ha, it’s kind of fun to say removable bottom!


We enjoyed it with dinner of grilled chicken and salad, and it was so good! I highly recommend giving the recipe a try. Especially if you’re feeling fancy enough to make a dough from scratch, which ended up being really easy!

What I really want to do it buy tiny removable-bottom tart pans and make one for each guest when we have a dinner party. Wouldn’t that be fun for a little personal tart to arrive on each plate for dinner?

Man, I need to get out more.

Even Hubby liked it, and that is saying something for how many vegetables were involved!

Let me know how much you like it!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Adios, Seattle…Hello, Home!


We very briefly stopped at Boeing Field in Seattle to clear Customs after spending the weekend in Vancouver. Once we were OKed to head home, we did just that!

From here, it was 2.5 hours until we landed at home. It’s been nine non-stop wonderful (and way too cold) days on the road.

I love this picture of the main airline airport in Seattle, SEATAC. It’s so close to the water!


With parting views of one of my favorite cities, it felt good to climb at 3,500 feet-per-minute to be on our way. In nice, cool weather like this, Gladys climbs like a champ!


In just a few weeks, I’ll be back to explore this part of the world on-foot when we again return for work. We will be in the area for three-and-a-half days instead of just long enough to make sure we’re safe to reenter our own country.

Can’t wait!


I really love this picture of a mountain peeking through the cloudy layer. I only wish that I remembered where we were so I could tell you which mountain! I’ll say Rainier, just to be cool.


We climbed the last few thousand feet at about 550 feet-per-minute. But already, our groundspeed was 417. And we had a nice little crosswind that helped to push us from behind. Can you see that at 253 degrees and 38 knots?


Being February, it wasn’t a total surprise to see so much of this white stuff from the sky. Like always, we get the best views from up here.

I love the stark contrast between the rivers and the snow in this shot.


At this point, we were still flying Direct to BERYL. As soon as we were past some military airspace near northern Nevada, they gave us Direct to home. We were later put on an arrival into Phoenix’s busy airspace when we were talking to Albuquerque Center, which controls Phoenix.

But these little shortcuts so far away cut out lots of time. I am always trying to get these folks somewhere faster, but especially after they’ve been on the road for over a week nonstop!


This is my favorite picture of the day…flying over the Grand Canyon. Isn’t that gorgeous?!


As you can see, it was a pretty hazy afternoon when we arrived into the Valley of the Sun. But these pretty mountains in the foreground caught my attention. Even this close to home, they still had a dusting of snow on them!

I’m pretty sure that this was the week that Hubby sent me pictures of ice and snow on his windshield after they got a big, cold storm! Yuck!


Ah, that’s better. Green golf courses and a serious lack of snow.

This is how I prefer things. Well, I don’t care so much about the golf courses, but the lack of snow is right up my alley!


Look at all that airplane traffic in the pattern at our home base! Can you see the little map in the bottom left-hand corner? All of those little white diamonds represent another airplane with a transponder. The number underneath says how far above or below they are from us in Gladys.

A few are 800 feet below us, one is 2,500 feet below, one is 2,700 feet below, and the last one is 1,800 feet below. If they were above us, the altitude number would be preceded by a plus sign instead of a minus.

The moral of that long explanation is that there were lots of little airplanes to avoid as we came in for a landing today!


But, when looking out the windscreen at the airport, it’s a little harder to see them in person.

Hi, Home! You look great!


After getting some passengers and a whole lotta luggage on their way, it was time to prep Gladys to spend the night in her home hangar.

I have an entire day home before being gone again.

Can we all say it together…LAUNDRY DAY!


But this little lady worked like a champ. I sure do love my job. And this piece of pretty metal.


And, if we’re focusing on good things here, we might as well include a picture of the left winglet. Isn’t this lovely?

Those little sticks sticking off the back are called static wicks. As on every airplane on every flight, static electricity builds on the airframe. These static wicks help to channel the electricity to exit the airplane.

It’s a good thing for all of us, really. If these weren’t in place and an airplane was touched just after flight, you could get the shock of your lifetime…literally!

We have sixteen static wicks on Gladys, for those numbers folks. Next time you’re flying along in an airplane, peek out the window to see if you can find any static wicks! Then tell your flight buddy all about them, and prepare to watch their opinion of you rise even more.

Everyone likes talking airplanes while sitting on an airplane. Am I right?


This pretty Challenger landed while we were buttoning things up. Can you see that the thrust reversers aren’t clam-shell buckets but are cascading? Southwest Boeing 737s are like this, too, so maybe you’ve seen it before?

This will be another good thing to mention to your flying buddy, next time you go…


A few other hangar friends were on the ramp today. It just feels great to be home for a whole night! What a wonderful nine days on the road!

I guess someone has to restock Hubby’s freezer with Digiorno Pizza before leaving again…

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Short Hop to Customs at Boeing Field


It was a wonderful, (though cold, soggy, and windy), weekend in Vancouver. I had a lovely view from my hotel room, and a mall right across the street. What more could a girl possibly want?!


But soon, it was time to be on our way. After nine full days on the road, visiting cities like Miami, Washington DC, Philadelphia, and Vancouver, it’s time to finally see the face of my sweet hubby again.

But not before I admire this pretty Challenger 300. Wowsas!


This FBO was excellent, and we would certainly return again.


I wish that I could say that we were heading home non-stop, but for some reason, Customs at our home airport is closed every Tuesday and Wednesday. How is that even legal?!

So, we needed to stop along the way to clear Customs before heading home for real.


We opted to stop at Boeing Field in Seattle. We’ve visited their Customs shack before. They were quick and professional, and we were hoping for the same treatment today so that we could be on our way again!

Goodbye, Vancouver Tower!



Leaving Vancouver, we ran into  a layer of clouds and a little icing.

It’s February, so that makes sense.


We fired up our awesome anti-icing equipment to make it through the clouds until we broke out on top.


And when we finally did get beyond the icing clouds, we enjoyed gorgeous views for the entire half-hour flight to Seattle.

You know, the Seattle that is one of my favorite places in the whole wide world?


The mountains are just incredible up here. I am always blown away at how tall they truly are! I forget that other places have giant Rockies as well!


Holy cow. Look at those beauties!


And I love how you can see the Puget Sound sneaking in from the Pacific Ocean. With the low-laying clouds, it almost looks like something from a dream, huh?

Or an awesome view outside my office window.


This is probably my favorite picture from the short flight.


Way far in the distance is one of my favorite places, too. Can you hear me, Bremerton? I love you!


We finally had a cloudy Seattle in sight. It’s hard to see, but that doesn’t matter to me. I still love this place.

I just found out that we’re going back in a few weeks. Yippeeeee!


We descended down to enter our final approach for Boeing Field in Seattle.


And we flew right past downtown on our way to landing today. You can even see Boeing Field in the far right-hand side. And, because I’ve been there about sixty times, I can even figure out where Renton Field is located on the southern tip of that lake in the distance.

They finish Boeing 737s there before delivering them at Boeing Field. This whole area screams Boeing!


There were so many pretty peninsulas on our way to the airport today. So much to see out these windows!

A view from the air is always the best view.


Seattle is a major shipping port, and we passed several loading docks that proved that.


Add a winglet, and the view gets even better!


Hello, Boeing Field! We had to keep an eye out for a tiny airplane on his final approach for the parallel runway to the left. That tiny runway is hard to see, let alone a tiny airplane hidden in the hills of Seattle.

Our Traffic Collision and Avoidance System (TCAS) comes in really handy in situations like this!


And soon we were on the ground and taxiing to the Customs ramp. We planned ahead with fuel and loaded on enough in Vancouver to just continue on our way after being cleared for Customs. No fuel needed here!

Just twenty minutes later, after all of our passports checked out to be authentic, we were heading out again!


I didn’t dare take a picture of the Customs officer who came to our airplane. He was really nice and polite, but you just don’t want to risk any bad decisions with these guys. They have the ability to make our lives miserable by unloading all of our luggage and keeping us for hours.

Do you have any idea how much luggage we had after being on the road for nine days?!

We we were all really nice to him, and he fell for our charm.


After he finished with us inside the airplane and did his walk-around with the drug-detecting machine, we fired up the engines and headed to the same runway that we had just landed about fifteen minutes previously. Awesome!


And there was no shortage of neat airplanes to see as we headed to the runway.


And here is the Boeing facility on the field! I have been here before. In fact, I sat in a Boeing 787 Dreamliner here! Eek! But I couldn’t take any pictures, so no one ever believes me…


We were so fast in getting out of here that the same little guy that we were looking for when we landed was still in the traffic pattern practicing his landings!

This was the first little private airplane that I ever flew in…a Diamond Katana. My Mama bought a day camp for me at a local university’s flight program. And then I got a whole half-hour flight in one of these little guys.

It was magical.

But Gladys is so much cooler than a little Katana. Man, I’m blessed!


And, as a parting gift from Seattle’s Boeing Field today, we got to see this monstrous wonder! Please don’t ask me what it is…or what it does. I have no idea! But it was so fun to see. It even looked like it had a rotating nose like the old Concordes!

What a great stop in my beloved Seattle.

Now we can head home!

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