Lani's household consists of Steve, the long-suffering coding genius and computer security guru; Jim, Lani's tall, red-headed and handsome son, currently finishing his second year of college; Hunter, Jasmine, Himari, Chenault, the miraculous Onyx and the even more miraculous Resk, undisputed feline rulers of the house; and Jesse, the man-hating green-cheeked conure.
Ann's household consists of Don, who is not just a computer genius but a pilot, a builder, and a damn good father; their son Steve, the marathon-running, college-bound, funniest teenager I know; and wonder dog Tater.
Other family members are Laurie, Lani's beautiful daughter who teaches at elementary levels; her handsome son Alex, aka Alexander the Great; Mary and Bo, a/k/a Mom and Dad, and Bud and Ann, Steve's patient and wonderful parents.
You guys were so in the Christmas spirit! Your house looks fabulous, and the picture with Don and the dogs is priceless. And speaking of Don ... either Don, Steve, or Gene Ann (or possibly all three?) must be psychic. How hysterical that they got you a swift and I got you a ball winder! And how perfect, even if they DID ruin my planned next-birthday-gift for you. My Steve and I haven't even opened Christmas presents yet, and have no plans to do so until after dinner tonight. We didn't decorate or put up a tree this year; it seemed pointless, since I wasn't going to be home. Now I rather regret that decision, actually; next year I'll have pretty pictures too, I swear it!
I'm recovering from a loooong day flying yesterday; yes, I did fly on Christmas day, and I look forward with great anticipation to being a total slug today and for the next couple of days. Flying on the days preceding Christmas is, well, the less said about that the better. You've seen it on the news. But flying on Christmas -- the passengers are happy, loads are generally light, the airport is festive, and it's just not a bad experience in general.
Unfortunately, yesterday wasn't really "in general", if you know what I mean. The first part of the day was great; easy flights, happy passengers, and the powers-that-be in Philly provided us with a Christmas meal in the airport. Sadly our last turn of the day turned out to be, um, Not So Great. It had moments of greatness; at one point we actually had the children onboard singing Christmas carols to us over while we sat at the gate (for almost 3 hours) with a broken airplane. It had moments of hilarity, like when our FO was making an announcement warning about turbulance just as we hit a nice little pocket of it and his announcement went something like this: "Ladies and gentlemen, we've turned the seatbelt sign back on because we do anticipate that we may hit some pockets of turbuWHOOOOAA!" (cue sound of captain cracking up). And it had moments of not-at-all-greatness, like when the turbulance, which really did get pretty bad, caused an epidemic of airsickness among the poor passengers. Fortunately our passengers were very understanding about things like broken airplanes and missing international paperwork and turbulance, the day did eventually end even if it was hours and hours and hours late, Steve came to pick me up in Newport News after I wasn't able to make the last Norfolk flight out, and at 1:30 this morning I was finally home.
So, what have I been doing since I last posted here many, many moons ago? Well, let's see. I've flown -- since my last post I've been to DAY, YUL, RDU, ISP, ILM, ATL, BGR, GSO, and YYZ (Mom, that's Dayton, Montreal, Raleigh-Durham, Islip, Wilmington, Atlanta, Bangor, Greensboro and Toronto), several of those multiple times, and with of course many stops in Philly in between those trips and a couple of trips back home to Norfolk. I've discovered why everyone says Wilmington is our best overnight; it's because it is, and I'm going back there and taking Mom and we're going to hit all the fabulous shops along the Riverwalk and you should come. I got all my Christmas shopping done and everything wrapped and mailed out except *sigh* Mom's present, which will be delayed. I've gotten most of my stuff moved back from Philly to Norfolk. And I've slept. One thing this job has taught me is that sleep is not overrated, and you can never get enough of it.
My plans for my next three days off? I'm making our "Christmas" dinner tonight; we're having a beautiful prime rib roast with all the trimmings, even Yorkshire pudding. After dinner we'll open a bottle of champagne and then our presents. I'm going to putter in the yard, I'm going to finish the plans for my January-in-New-York trip with Laurie (and you? are you coming?) and I'm going to sleep. And on Thursday I'll go back to Philly for the final time. YAY!
I know, I know, nothing for two weeks and then two in two days. What can I say?
You know about Tater and the squirrels, right? How he's so wild about chasing them that he jumped out of the car at 45 miles per hour to get one? Well, here's why.
This guy is so cheeky that he won't back off when you have a flash going off about a foot from his face. Tater goes nuts when he sees him, and tries to jump through the window to get at him.
And here's what I really wanted to show you - I don't know how this happened, but you know the ball winder you sent me for Christmas, Lani? What a great gift, by the way. Just take a look what Don and Steve got me that goes with it perfectly . . . I can't believe it - complimentary presents, and they weren't even coordinated! Turns out the guys went to the local yarn store and Gene Ann directed them toward a swift for me. Look at my neat little center pull ball out of the Khroma DK Clementine. It's lovely yarn, 50% baby alpaca and 50% merino. Just lovely. I'm on to swatching between watching Christmas movies and cooking.
We're having a great Christmas. Don is happy because we found a new gadget for his airplane that will allow him to use his cell phone on the ground to get flight clearance, Steve's got a lot of money, a new crash, and a whole box of Frango mints all to himself. I have a crystal pitcher from Mom, and the nicest surprise from Don. Remember when I was so thrilled to have seen my favorite Impressionist piece, "In Bed" by Toulouse-Lautrec in Paris? Well, Don had an artist in China paint me a copy. It's gorgeous!
Hope you are well and not working too hard if you are working. I'm off to make fried chicken for Christmas dinner. That's what I get for letting Don pick the meal!
P.S. Don asked me who the "hot chick" on the blog was. I couldn't think what he meant, and then I looked at my last post. I see a sweater, he sees a redhead. Humph.
Sorry for the long silence, but it was for a good cause. I'm ready for Christmas, or at least as ready as I'm going to get - I still have to go grocery shopping, but no more presents to buy. I've wrapped all of mine, and the guys have even wrapped theirs. I am happy to have things pretty much done, even if it has meant no posts for a few weeks.
The house looks like Christmas . . .
Even Don is in the mood!
On the knitting front, I am working on a scarf and hat, and I bought yarn for a new project. I have a big trip coming up in about a month, where I'll go to India for a week and then to Australia for a few days after that. With all those flights, I need the right thing to do. I get antsy on those long flights, so I need miles of unrelieved stockinette or a simple pattern so I get in the groove. I'll literally go around the world, so I could probably finish an entire sweater if I set my mind to it. I went yesterday and got this yarn for this project.
Do you know your schedule? Will you be working Christmas? Did you get your box? I got mine, and I've been fighting the guys off because they wanted to open their presents immediately if not sooner.
Hope you will enjoy Christmas, even if you are working!
that's a long, long way to run. We can definitely track it here though, using a tracker something like this one (except of course not):
which I can walk you through setting up for his training and for the Real Thing when that time comes. Easy peasy!
I'm glad ya'll had such a good time in Seattle, aside of course from the chilly flight out. I was, thankfully, feeling better after the second round of meds, so I went back to Philly on Thursday night and flew all day Friday and Saturday, then came back home for a restful three days off. Unfortunately Steve is now sick; hopefully we aren't going to pass this back and forth.
Laurie and I are planning a trip to New York in January, when she'll officially be my traveling companion for the year and can fly free any time she wants. I'm looking forward to it for a lot of reasons; Laurie has wanted to go to New York ever since she was a little girl, and I'm going to try to make sure that (in three or four days) she gets to do all the things she wants to do. More than anything else she wants to see Les Miserables on Broadway; second only to that is to have lunch at the Russian Tea Room, which fortunately just reopened in November. Obviously I want to take her to Central Park too, and to the Met, and the Museum of Natural History, and the Museum of the City of New York ... anyone have other suggestions?
I hope you are feeling better, and hearing out of both ears. Ear infections aren't fun, and they are a real bummer when you are flying for a living! I'm glad that you got to go to the cabin, it looks really pretty and sounds like fun. Love the gourds, Steve's mom is really talented!
We're back from our quick weekend in Seattle, and I'm headed to work on the train Monday morning. I'm a little tired, but not too much the worse for wear. We managed to make our flight Friday evening, and it was uneventful except for my choice of airline seat. I was thrilled to be able to get an exit row in Economy Plus on United (more leg room!), and I grabbed the window seat instead of Steve since I fully intended to sleep the entire way there. But . . . after we took off the exit door didn't seal very well, which means that the 60 below cold outside seeps in. I just about froze - I used my coat, Steve's coat, and as many blankets as I could get to try to block it and it was still so cold I couldn't possibly sleep. Brrrrr!!!
I'm glad to report that was the worst thing that happened all weekend. Not too bad, huh? Seattle is gorgeous, very green even in the winter, and I really like it. Steve wants to live in the Northwest, and we toured the University of Washington which is in Seattle in case he might want to go to school there. He's starting to think about where he wants to go, which is mostly about whether there are mountains and he can hike and be outside. Fine with me, I'll have a nice place to visit!
We went to Pike Market, and visited the first ever Starbucks. Here is Steve at the shrine. We bought apples and some fancy jams, and had a blast. There are such different and funky shops there, it's great! Then we went up the Space Needle, which was fun even if it was rainy and foggy so we couldn't see very far. Then we drove around, went to dinner, more Starbucks, etc. We did find a park for Steve to run in, and he did a very fast 7 miles on Sunday before we had to go to the airport to come home.
So I bet you're wondering about the 1,000 miles since all I've done is blab about our weekend in Seattle, huh? Steve runs cross country and track (remember all the running pictures?) and his cross country team gives out T-shirts as awards for mileage run during the summer running season, which is June 1 to September 1. No one has managed to run 1,000 miles during that season since the 1970's, and Steve is going to do it this summer. He has a plan for the summer, and a plan for how to get his mileage up between now and then so he's ready for it. He's very dedicated, and is working hard to get to his goal. For those of you who are wondering, that's about 12 miles a day if he takes one day a week off.
So - sister mine - how could we track his mileage on the blog? I have in mind something that will track his weekly mileage now, and start a counter when the official season starts so we can see how he's doing toward the 1,000. Do you have any ideas of how we could do that?
Flying, Ear Infections, and Good News! (posted by Lani)
Wow, I haven't posted in a LONG time! I'm so sorry ... first I was busy FLYING! FINALLY! and then I kinda sorta got a nasty double ear infection, so I'm grounded until that's resolved. It came at a good time, since Steve was going down to North Carolina to spend a weekend in the mountains with his parents and I actually got to go along, but at the same time I hate having to take sick days. But I'm getting ahead of myself here.
When I last posted I was begging scheduling for a trip; well, they gave me what I wanted. I flew all 5 days of that reserve, and had a great time. I went on duty on Sunday and immediately got a call; off to the airport I went for a quick turn to BGR (Bangor, Maine) and back to Philly. I called in to let them know I was back, and was given a 4-day trip for Monday .. yay! Monday I went PHL-DCA-DAY-PHL-AVP -- Philly to DC to Dayton back to Philly and then on to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, where we spent the night and the next day. Now, let me just say that the airport in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton is beautiful, but (a) it's in between the two cities so it's in the middle of nowhere, and (b) it's, um, well, empty, and (c) about that in between the two cities thing? There is NOTHING THERE. NOTHING. In a fit of desperation and stir-craziness our pilot and I cajoled and wheedled and sweettalked the hotel van driver into taking us to WalMart -- that was, literally, all there was within 15 miles. Well, unless you count the Arby's and the McDonald's. Ahhh, the excitement. Oh, and about that empty airport? I kid you not. And I have proof ... see? When we arrived Monday night there was nobody in the airport but a few security people, our disembarking passengers, and us. When we left Tuesday evening there was nobody in the airport but a few security people, and ... us. Oh yeah, and our three whole passengers, count them, three, all of whom showed up at the very last minute. So anyway ... Monday night we left AVP and flew to PHL, and then flew from PHL to YOW. YOW!!! YOW is awesome, let me tell you, and I look forward to going back there in the future. It's a beautiful, beautiful city and I didn't get to spend nearly enough time there.
Wednesday the plan was to go YOW-PHL-ATL-PHL-ISP, but you know the saying about the best-laid plans ... the Thanksgiving Nor'easter was setting in, and so were delays. Our first delay was in YOW, and it was a substantial one. After finally getting underway we received an ACARS midflight saying that our ATL turn was cancelled, and we'd be sitting in Philly until our Islip leg that night. Oh, FUN! They did get us day rooms at the local Holiday Inn so we didn't have to spend 6 hours in the airport, plus instead of a solid day of flying we got to go to a hole-in-the-wall cheesesteak place and I had the best cheesesteak I've had in Philly. YUM. I drool thinking of it. Then back to the airport and off to Islip -- spent the night there, and then Thursday had one of the most ridiculous days that you can have (they happen, but not often); we deadheaded (flew as passengers) from ISP to PHL, worked a PHL-BWI leg (wheee, all 25 minutes of flight time!), and then deadheaded back to PHL. And then, I flew home for a well-deserved few days of rest.
Our (delayed) Thanksgiving was nowhere near as fancy as yours; we did cornish game hens with a moderate amount of trimmings and only one pie, but we thoroughly enjoyed the dinner and the three days I had at home. Back to Philly I went, got no call the first day but did get a cold. Uhoh. Hoped it would get better, it didn't; second day passed, no call, third day I couldn't clear my ears. That scotches flying, period the end; I called it in, was told to go home and see my doctor, and I've been here ever since waiting for this damned thing to clear up. The cold is gone, the fluid behind the eardrums lingers on, and I've gone through the antibiotics and the decongestants and the eardrops and now I'm on steroids. Rah.
BUT! All clouds having a silver lining and all that, as mentioned above I unexpectedly got to go with Steve to Seven Devils, North Carolina to spend a weekend with his parents in a cabin at the top of a mountain. Seven Devils is literally a town on top of a mountain of the same name, with winding switchback-y narrow roads filled with hairraising hairpin turns .. and it's beautiful, the cabin was very, very nice, and we had a great time. A couple of quick pictures; from left to right our cabin; the view from the front porch; and Steve and his parents in one of the many heated games of pool that took place every night in the basement/game room of the cabin.
Steve's mother is an incredible artist with gourds. You know, gourds, the things that grow on vines? Seriously. She uses a Dremel tool to carve them, and paints them with leather paints and textile dyes. I think my favorites are the Christmas ornaments she makes from teensy gourds; here are some of the ones she's given us, some last year and more this year. For proportion, I've included a picture with an ordinary housekey.
She's also making masks from larger gourds this year, and she gave us two of those, as well as a gourd she decorated with dragons for Steve. My pictures do NOT do the masks justice, by the way. They're each about 11" tall, and they're going to be on the wall over our TV by the end of the week. I'll try another picture then.
So, anyway ... we got back from Seven Devils Sunday night, tired but happy. I can't go back to work until (cross your fingers) Friday, and then I'll be back home again for three days on Sunday. But, and here's the good news; my transfer came through, and as of January 1, 2007, I'm domiciled in NORFOLK! I'll probably be on reserve for a year or more, but I'll be at HOME instead of in Philadelphia. I'm ecstatic, Steve is ecstatic, and I'm quite sure the cats and the dog and the bird would be ecstatic if they understood. Steve was heartily sick of the whole Philly thing already, and I wasn't looking forward to going through more months of it myself.
I completely feel your pain about the fiddliness of your fish sweater, but it's going to be SO cute! And now you know, and you'll restrict yourself to fair isle or less fidgety intarsia. I've done next to no knitting or crocheting, but I've promised myself that over the next two days, now that I'm feeling a bit better and caught up with housework and laundry and errands and all that, I'll sit down and do some catching up. Yeah ... we'll see how THAT goes!
Well, we got snow! About a foot of the white stuff, starting Thursday night and ending sometime early Friday morning. I was scheduled to get on a plane Thursday morning around 6 AM to go to GSO, and when I heard the weather forecast at 3:30 AM Thursday morning I turned the alarm off, called the airline and told them I wasn't coming, left an e-mail for the poeple who were expecting me, and went back to sleep. Smart move, since for some reason they were still sending me flight updates and I would have gotten home sometime Saturday. Maybe.
Steve actually got a snow day, which he was pretty happy about. That's the first one in five years - when we've had snow, it has been nicely timed (or poorly timed, depending on your perspective) for the weekend.
We had lots of excitement around here for Thanksgiving, but all went well. Laurie got on her flight early Saturday morning, and Don went with us so he could stay in the car and I could help her with luggage, car seat, stroller, and Alex. That's a lot to handle by yourself, so I was able to stay with her through checking bags.
Mom and Dad left early Sunday morning, and then we were right back into the work week. At least I didn't go anywhere this week! I worked at home Friday (since I couldn't get out of the driveway) and I decided to cook a nice dinner for the guys Friday night since I was here. The one of Don's friends from Atlanta called, and he was stuck here overnight so he came to dinner. He asked me if I cooked like this every day, and we all laughed - no, I don't make prime rib, twice baked potatoes, popovers, broccoli, salad and molten chocolate cake every Friday. Though he was a last minute dinner guest so I can see why he was wondering!
This week Don goes to Seattle. He's teaching there for two weeks, so Steve and I will fly out on Friday night and we'll spend the weekend there. I am supposed to take care of a place to stay, and I haven't done it yet so I better get on the ball! Steve and I will return late Sunday, and Don stays through the following Friday.
No pictures this post - in case you didn't notice - I can't find my card that lets me upload pictures. When I find it, which will be when I find the surface of my desk in my home office, you'll see lots.
Not much complicated knitting going on here. I have made dishcloths and string bags for Christmas presents, so no pictures until after XMas. I have decided one thing after struggling with the smiling fish - I like fair isle, the pattern around the bottom of the sweater was fun. And I don't think I mind intarsia, if it is just a few large blocks of color. But this fair isle/intarsia/tons of yarn changes isn't much fun. I never get a rythm going before I have to drop one yarn and pick up another. It's too fiddly for me.
That's probably bad news for the smiling fish. You may see them frowning next time you see them - or maybe a shark will have appeared in their midst . . .
So, Sister, where are you? Post soon or we'll change this to Sister instead of Sister, Sister.
Maybe we need a guest blogger - Charlotte? Natalie? Deneen? Anyone??