The view from here is just right...
Working on a ‘Tiny Dancer’#art
Wow… I need a hammer! ;)My Happiness Is Heart Shaped
Almost Finished.. Love Him!#portraits #art
I’m calling this project ‘Whisper Mama’. My heart is filled with honor as I research the pre-adolescent challenges of Evelyn’s young life.
Her story begins with a train crash in 1925.
‘Hal’. pressed plywood and house paint. Sold!! #art #wildlife
Eyes of a beautiful daughter…
A Flight Attendant’s View…
Did he just eat his earwax?! Unbelievable. Yes times have changed in the airline profession. “Ma’am, please don’t hand me that dirty diaper.” “And sir, if you don’t turn off that cell phone before take off, I swear I’ll pop a slide!”
Back in a big way, less naive, more in touch with the world in general? Well, maybe. Is anyone really fully prepared for that hard curve that throws you into the full circle in life, or in career? I’ve been here before; a flight attendant in a previous era. It’s now 2 months, 21 days and 8 hours back fresh into this new, adventurous opportunity. After stepping away 26 years ago for a fulfilling position in the international tourism arena and
what eventually led to a major effort toward handling a small business, it seemed timely. It seemed perfect. Well hang on! We are in for some turbulence.
Ah, the flight attendant interview. A spontaneous decision, though everything seemed to point directly back to this very moment. After completing forms and tapping the mark set high above our heads confirming our height, we are directed toward a room full of nervous energy. Now is the time for presenting, selling ourselves to an audience. Lip twitching and pant legs shuttering, I confess being nervous in the middle of my speech - nice move. Somehow managing to get the point across, now on to master the third level. Good! One on one interview - my specialty. Realizing that my breath was a troches due to lack of food or drink, I threw my self into the ladies room for a quick swish of mouthwash, frantic fidget with the outfit, then back on the floor. The waiting game. Still waiting… My name is called - I’ve just won the lottery! Okay not really but it felt like I had. The one on one went as expected. Selling myself like a mad woman. More waiting game… My name is called - I’ve just been crowned! You would think so with the screams and tears pouring from both the interviewer and interviewee. Funny thing is, this victory simply secured a roundtrip ticket Anchorage to Seattle for yet another three level interview. Days later, four people out of thirty four were hired. I’m not THAT special - or am I? I’ve just been chosen to attend a 5-6 week training course which I will become an expert on evacuating an aircraft in seconds, reviving those that pass away on their three hour vacation flight, heimlich choking children and where I will be glued to a grueling schedule that pays around $20.00 a day. Really? For learning how to save lives?
Let’s reflect back to the 80’s; a 26 year moment of reflection. “Step on this scale please. Hmmm, you could loose around 2.5lbs, work on that. Hold your wrist out. Oh wait, you measure right around the medium bone size. Well, your weight is okay then. How’s your skin? Are you tweezing? What products are you using? Married? Children?” The list went on. “Healthy?” As if to say, “Good, because we are going to squeeze you into a metal tube with approximately 30 smokers. We need super, skinny gals to exceed 14 hour days with bouts of bronchitis. “Hired! You’re perfect for the job!”
Flying during the ‘80’s proved very different from the terrorist awareness of the 20th century. The door was always open, the flight deck door that is. Friends, relatives, local politicians and sweet, little boys and girls expressing dreams of flying their own 737 one day. Everyone was invited. Pilots used to invite flight attendants to the front to experience landings. Wings skimmed tops of clouds. Then with a shout from the captain “Hang On!” Swoosh, down we’d go diving into the heavenly fluff. Nothing like full grown adults playing with a great, big toy. Positive that we were safe - just lots of butterflies and craziness. Stories float around of flight attendants joining their pilots on night freighters. Mile high? Well, depends on how you define the activities. Jokes were played here and there. Watched as flight attendant pranksters placed extra nylons perfectly around the meal tray for captains and first officers, framing little white lines of sweet n low drawn perfectly beside each cup of coffee. All poking fun - no one was serious about sex and drugs of course.
The ‘80’s also presented a time when sexual harassment finally peaked enough interest to make some positive changes. Many of us suffered with a strained laugh or giggle in order to just be a “good sport”. While bending to cross and straighten seat belts between flights, it wasn’t unlikely for a belligerent pilot to place his hands on your hips and proceed to rub himself across your backside as pressing as possible - claiming he just needed to slide by. A touch here, a touch there? An uninvited kiss. “Good sport.”
Pleased to say pilots today are highly professional, humor laden, hard working team players looking to provide the best travel experience possible. Finding most an uplifting, considerate breath of fresh air.
As we jet back to the future we’ve definitely flown past the classier times of travel. Gone are the times where both customers and airline crew retained the impeccable dress and manner of the 50’s and 60’s. Apparently those were the “good ole days” where there existed equal parts of respect and admiration.
Some of our best behaved frequent flyers are children. Excited, curious, generous with a please and a thank you, and amazing attention to direction. Their electronic devices are off and stowed long before the full grown adults and adult children. Following direction is their expertise. I recall a beautiful 8 year old girl seated in the last row coloring quietly before take-off with her 5 year old sister. Perfectly relaxed. Suddenly she comprehends the ‘ready for take-off’ announcement. Collecting all of her crayons, book and bag; she’s urgently preparing. I catch her eye. She turns to her sister, while raising both tray tables stating “hurry, let’s get ready for blast off!” She makes my day. I said, “thank you”, she said “you’re welcome” adding the most angelic smile you can imagine. She is polite, put together, kind and thoughtful. Her manner is impeccable.
Landing on the point of respect. Flyers revel in the convenience of travel. Commuters enjoy the successes of building their businesses. Family members cross state and country lines consistently targeting that hug and hello with those that they love sprinkled throughout our globe. Flight attendants lend that touch of support. The basic needs of safety and care along the way. And still, to present time, I am baffled. Why is it that a highly intelligent, mentally and physically capable, uniformed professional trained in security, required to perform and take charge in a heart attack, firefighting, human rage, assist with vomit, crying babies, crying adults find they are unable to gain the ultimate respect in this working world? Once in a coffee shop a patron had learned what I had chosen for my latest line of work. He simply leaned over and said “Get me a glass of water would ya?” Sad.
Sounds odd, but a favorite part of the job over the years has been holding the hand of the terrified. Those that are shaken to the core with the fear of flying. As a person that doesn’t think twice about take-off and landings, turbulence or most other normal happenings during flight, it is sometimes difficult to tap into each and every passengers personal sense of well being. Most hide it well. Unmistakeable though is recognizing the passenger that displays shifty, watery eyes, stiff shoulders pinned up to their ears and glowing white knuckles. The slightest touch and soft, confident word can instantly unravel their terror. We do this every day.
Yes, a lot has changed in the aviation world. Some things haven’t. I know this much, flying touches the soul. As a passenger flying is about getting from point A to point B. As a flight attendant it’s about the customer, safety, the adventure. Blast off after blast off we covet this career. It offers a highly professional niche quality of life. We see the world, I think sometimes more clearly then most. And yes, he did eat his earwax.
Wee Little Cousins
by Linda M.
A true story though foggy in a mystical, magical sort of way.
Her hair golden, flashing in the sun. Her skin, sun-kissed. Her existence — no nonsense, strong, opinionated. There was no negotiating. After all she was 3 years older. I remember a dream room. A beautiful little girl’s bedroom, in order. Perfection. Delicate trinkets placed carefully on the bureau. Clouds of powder puff and perfume floating in the air. Colorful, character poster images hung neatly, adored. Bedding for a princess complete with stuffed, talking dolls and comfort.
I’m just 5 or 6, holding an apple-sized lump in my throat. I have to leave. Again, I have to leave? Really? Please, let me stay just a while longer. This being the opposite of my life, I find refuge here. Maybe it was the normalcy of it? Maybe. It wasn’t just my cousin or her room. It was my aunt, my grandma, my grandpa, the charming small town, the community. The bustling, healthy activity. Life’s rhythmic heartbeat seemed to live right here. Tears streamed quietly as I’m whisked out of town.
Months later. It’s dark. I smell rain. I smell earth. Groggy from the night drive but excited about my return. “Come on,” she says. “Let’s go play!” We find ourselves lost in hours of play. I remember grandma’s backyard. Organized patterns of blossom lay gingerly, sprawling past a small greenhouse. Gorgeous fuchsia baskets sway, wispy above our heads. “Pop one,” she says. ”Pop it!” I follow along, popping one after another. There are shades of pink, yellow, and purple everywhere. Pansies dance happily under an oversized cherry tree. We found ourselves masters at dodging busy bees bustling around apple trees. Fragrant roses guard the entrance. The milk has arrived. Cold, thick glass tucked neatly in the box on the front porch. I slip my hand through the metal mail slot in the door. I’m finally here. I’m back.
Fresh, crisp aroma of cucumber in the kitchen. Lunchtime. First, competition to see who can get their hands the soapiest. Fluffy clouds cleansing away the wonders of the backyard. While reaching to dry, water drops race up tickling the underside of my arm. Time to sit. We are served. Giggles. I remember all-out, pee-pee dance giggles. Shhhh. We eat quietly. We lock eyes. Some how my lima beans would magically turn into cottage cheese. And mystical forces would turn her cottage cheese into lima beans! It was our pact. Our little secret. The first of many.
“Today we skip!” she says, slating the activities. “Wait! I’ll be right back. ” Faint in the background, I hear: ”Can we go around the block, PLEASE?” She returns, chin-up, grin on her face, taking obvious pride in her top-notch negotiating skills; off we go. Skipping along, chanting, “Don’t step on a crack, you’ll break your mother’s back!” Kicking pebbles and pine cones along the way.
Around her, I had the pleasure of being the youngest. In the real world I am the oldest of five children. Her presence is more like a big sister than a cousin; she held my heart and great influence at a very young age. A trickster at times. “Close your eyes,” she’d say. “No really, close them.” “Don’t peek!” A hint of something would graze my lips. I’m thinking, “What is it this time?” A green bean, fresh from the vine? A potato bug?! Or yes, yes, yes a sweet piece of candy? No, not this time. ”Okay, bite!” she says. I bite. Oh! Hot! Hot! Hot! A dastardly belly laugh follows. She’s done it again. A pepper, a hot pepper, of course. You would think I would learn. Maybe I didn’t want to.
But I can’t swim! I would think, upset. Knots in my stomach. She would glide under the water near my feet, grab hold, and yank me under. Panic would set in. Off she would go. Content with being left behind I cling to life at the side of the pool, regrouping, spitting, gathering air for the next round. A little playful sibling rivalry? Possibly. Since she was an only child I can only assume she craved it. Looking back I might have been having cravings of my own, eagerly seeking someone older, more “kidwise” to come along and toughen me up.
As time goes by, we grow. It’s deep summer. Waves of heat distort views of the valley. A hint of concord grape rides the warm afternoon breeze. We are barefoot, always barefoot. Hot pavement. Too hot for tender, little toes. Heading “home,” snug under one arm, we each carry neatly rolled bath towels. Each towel contains a wet, chlorine fumed, sun-faded bathing suit. A must-have in this hot, sleepy, little town. “The Pool” was a haven. The “social network” of our youth in the ‘70s. Announcements, competition, accomplishments, and relationships flourished there. The vending machine snack hardly touches the oversized hunger pang from hours of hard swimming and play. Faces tight, our eyes are red, we are beat. Exhausted. Slumber soon.
Grandma’s tiny home sheltered artful decor and a sense of settle. I remember musical, ticking chimes announcing the time. Velvet petals arranged lazily in the glass pitcher. Grandpa arriving home evident by the squeak and slap sound of the back door hinge. He leans in for a quick, playful smooch. Grandma shoos him away. She’s giving him a sideways glance. “Hi squirt,” he would say. I stand guard with a shy little grin, steady, ready to flee from the whisker burn headed my way! I reach over, pull hard. Snap! His suspenders my only defense within reach. He pretends to give chase. My heart jumps! More giggles. I head for the backyard.
There she is, my sleepy cousin resting in the grass. I lay beside her. A daisy chain busy in the making. Crickets break into song as the evening sets. I reach for her hand. She knows. I know too. I have to leave. Again, I have to leave. Really? Please, let me stay just a little while longer.