I Know You’re Mad at United but… (Thoughts from a Pilot Wife About Flight 3411)

A very important read written by a pilot’s wife and then posted to facebook by another pilot’s wife (whom I’ve just happened to know for 30 years and who is also married to my former flight instructor – now an airline pilot).

The Pilot Wife Life

If there’s one thing I have learned over the years, it’s that there arealways two sides to every story.

On April 9th, a very unfortunate incident played out on United Flight 3411, the video of which has since gone viral causing a mass social media uprising with an ‘off-with-their-heads’ mentality. I mean, across the board. Fire ’em all and let the gods sort it out later.

Look, I get it. When I first saw the video I was appalled too. To say that it was inflammatory would be putting it mildly. But it was also a situation that was escalated far beyond the boundaries of necessity.

If a federal law enforcement officer asks me to exit a plane, no matter how royally pissed off I am, I’m going to do it and then seek other means of legal reimbursement. True story.

Knowing what I know about airport security, I’m

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Celebrity Chef “Simply Nigella” Chooses KC for Christmas Special

Source: Celebrity Chef “Simply Nigella” Chooses KC for Christmas Special

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Guilt and Regret: Lessons in Death

A week ago yesterday morning I received news that my mom’s brother, Uncle George, had passed away two days prior, on Sunday, finally succumbing to his liver cancer.  I’ve written about Uncle George before.  He lived life fast and hard in his younger years, and his liver cancer was a result of that.

He was a US Navy vet who served during the early 70s and had been being treated by the VA for several years.  At one point he had been on a liver transplant list, but when the cancer was diagnosed, he made the decision to not undergo chemo or other treatment.

He and I had talked in the last year about how he had made peace with God and how his relationship with God had been strengthened.  He knew he was going Home to see his Heavenly Father when the time came, and for that reason, he was ready to go whenever it happened.

Sadly it happened just a week and three days ago.  I had just spoken with Uncle George the prior Tuesday when he called to talk to Mom.  He had wanted to talk to me in the aftermath of the Paris attacks and implored me to not go to Europe for a while.  He was a considerably conservative man and liked to call and discuss current events and politics.  He was also an incredibly intelligent man.  I’m not sure how high his IQ was, but it was up there.

I wasn’t very close to him (certainly not as close as I am to my other uncle), but I still loved him.  He was still my mother’s brother.

In losing him, I feel like we’ve lost so much.  Gone are the stories that we never heard from him about his time in the navy, his years of hard living, the history of the American Indian part of our family.  Gone is his dry sense of humor (so much like my brother’s), his intelligent discussions and insights, his quick wit.

I have been struggling with this so much.  I ended up in tears each time I headed to the bathroom at work last week.  Not just tears, but deep sobs.  For someone I wasn’t that close to, it hurt a lot.  I wonder if it’s because I’m getting older and I’m coming to realize that my parents or other relatives could be next.

I think a large part of what I’m feeling is guilt and regret.  I feel guilt and regret for not calling him.  I feel guilt and regret for not getting up to see him like we had planned to do.  I feel guilt and regret for not talking to him and learning more about him and REALLY getting to know him.  I let him slip through my fingers.  And I feel guilt and regret for that.

Last Thursday, four days after his passing, was Thanksgiving here in the states, and while I regret my missed opportunities and am angry at myself for inaction when it comes to my relationship with Uncle George, I am so thankful that I knew him and had the opportunity to have the bit of time I had with him over the last 14 years.  I’m thankful that he overcame his addictions to become a productive member of society who was willing to share his story to help others.  I’m thankful that he found love again after his wife was killed in a car accident about eight or so years ago.  I’m thankful for the insights he did share with us.  Knowing from his wife just how sick he was and how horrible he’d been feeling in the days preceding his death, I’m thankful that he’s no longer sick or suffering.   But most of all, I’m thankful that he was at peace enough to be ready when the time came.  At the risk of offending some, as I know that religion and God tend to be hot buttons, I am most thankful that Uncle George’s relationship with God was strong.  He knew where he was going upon his death and was ready.  I envy that peace and sureness.  I hope that Uncle George’s life and death can be a lesson to me in that respect.

 Rest In Peace…..
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THiddy does Hank Williams??

The first official trailer for I Saw the Light, the biopic starring Tom Hiddleston as the iconic Hank Williams, dropped today (see below).  After watching it, I remembered the following post that I started writing over a year ago but never published.

So, Tom Hiddleston is the choice to play country music icon Hank Williams in the film I Saw The Light which is slated to begin filming in Louisiana in mid October.  I am definitely not alone in thinking that this is some interesting casting and, as such, it has already created some drama and skepticism.
In the interest of Full Disclosure, I will admit right now, before I go any further, that I am a Hiddleston fan.  However, while I have enjoyed the majority of his work, I feel some trepidation when it comes to this role.
Hank Williams is such an American country music icon that the idea of a Brit being cast to play him has really ruffled some feathers – especially those of his grandson, Hank Williams III.
Tom’s saving grace is that he is a talented actor and an excellent mimic. If you’ve ever heard some of his impressions of other celebrities (his Owen Wilson and Chris Evans are pretty spot on), you may be aware of this. He has a talent with accents and I have no doubt he will figure out a Louisiana accent and make it as accurate as possible.

My main concern is his singing voice.  It’s not horrible by any means – and is likely much better than my own, but then I’m not playing a music icon.  It is highly possible that with practice and training he can mold his voice into what this role needs. Currently he’s not quite there.  He’s giving it the old college try certainly, and this last weekend’s performance at the Wheatland Music Festival in Michigan was a VAST improvement over his impromptu version of Michael Jackson’s “Man in the Mirror” during the Asian Thor: The Dark World press tour.  I admit I haven’t even been able to watch THAT full video – it is BEYOND cringeworthy and one can’t help but feel a wee bit embarrassed for him.

Some of what I wrote a year ago still stands.  I’m still not convinced that Hiddleston would have been my first choice in this role. However, based on what I’ve seen and heard, he’s done an amazing job of morphing himself in an attempt to stay true to the idea and history of Hank Williams.

As of now, I still have not seen the film.  The soonest I will be able to see it in my Midwestern location is the last weekend in January, at which point I might as well just wait until its estimated opening in March.  Prior to today’s trailer, I had seen interviews from the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), as well as one scene that was released of Tom singing “Hey Good Lookin'”.  He doesn’t sound exactly like Williams, but then according to Marc Abraham who wrote, directed, and produced the film, the goal wasn’t for Hiddleston’s voice to specifically mimic Williams’ but to be an authentic representation.

Does he mimic Williams’ singing and speaking voice?  No.  Is his representation authentic? According to Hiddleston, yes.

While initial reviews from TIFF weren’t exactly kind to the film, stating that the screenplay and direction left a bit to be desired, the one consolation was the performance of the two leads – Hiddleston and Elizabeth Olsen, who plays Hank’s first wife, Audrey.  Evidently these two are the saving grace of the film, and if there are award nominations for this film, they will go to one or both of these actors.

Based on what I’ve seen so far, it appears that I may have been too hasty in my judgement of Hiddleston’s casting as Hank Williams.  Though I still have a few months to wait before I see the film with my own eyes, I look forward to seeing it and having Hiddleston prove me wrong.  I will post as soon as I see the film, even if it consists of me “eating crow”.

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Europe Trip 2014 – Paris – In Memoriam

This evening, I’ve been looking through my draft blog posts from my 2014 Europe trip.  I have been horribly lax in getting the blog posts from that trip to Europe in the fall of 2014 written and posted, and I have just returned from yet another trip to Europe about which I plan to write and post. For some reason I’ve been struggling to write them.  So I had planned months ago to post some random photos.

Today felt like a good day to post this one, especially in the aftermath of the chaos in Paris. My ancestors came from France.  My surname is recognizably French.  I may have only spent one day and two evenings in Paris, and I may not remember much of the three years of French that I learned so long ago in high school, but it IS the homeland of my family.  And as such, my short time in Paris was moving and amazing.

Yesterday’s events have caused my heart to ache.  I am praying for Paris, for France, and for the world in general as we struggle with the hatred, evil, and senseless violence that has been a part of our daily lives since 2001. Vive la Paris.  Vive la France.

Notre Dame - Paris  My Photo

Notre Dame – Paris
My Photo

Eiffel Tower - Paris My Photo

Eiffel Tower – Paris
My Photo

"Love Locks" - Paris My Photo

“Love Locks” – Paris
My Photo

Seine - Paris My Photo

Seine – Paris
My Photo

Arc de Triomphe - Paris My Photo

Arc de Triomphe – Paris
My Photo

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Today’s Serving/Bartending PSA

To the partial baseball team that couldn’t be bothered to leave me even a 10% tip today….even though you evidently didn’t deserve it, I’m glad  that I was able to keep your drinks full. I’m glad that I was able to split your check effortlessly and correctly. I’m glad I was kind enough to give you drinks to go and make sure that your order was perfect. And even though you couldn’t tip me in accordance with how well I took care of you, should I serve you again, I will strive to give you the same excellent service. Why? Because it’s my job, and I love my job. And for every one of you that tips poorly, there are dozens that tip me incredibly well, even if I’m having a rough day and my service may not be up to par.

Tip your servers well, people. They touch your partially eaten food when they clean up after you, they run around and sweat to make sure your dining experience is a good one. Oh yeah, and they only get paid $2.13 an hour……your tips are how they make money.

*steps down off of soapbox*

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10 Day Water Challenge – Days 1 Through 5 – Half Way There!

Five days ago I blogged and said that I would try and make a blog entry for each day of my 10 Day Water Challenge.  Well today is the end of Day 5 and it’s the first time I’ve gotten to my laptop all week.  I was unaware that I would be working three of the last four nights at my second job (the one that I have gone back to and kept in order to feed my travel bug). So apologies and I beg your forgiveness.

#H2Only Days 1 and 2

Exhaustion reigned supreme on Monday and Tuesday.  It was the first time in ages without caffeine, and I was made immediately aware of just how much upon it I depend.  I was extremely drowsy all day at work with my coworkers asking if I was alright. On Tuesday I almost fell asleep at my desk.  While I didn’t have a raging caffeine headache, I did have a slight headache that went away with some pain reliever (and it wasn’t even the pain reliever containing caffeine).

Monday was an especially long day between the full time day desk job and the part time evening serving/bartending job.  I had the hardest time concentrating on my work during the day, and by the time I got to my evening shift, I was mentally drained.  The lack of caffeine not only affected my energy, but it almost felt like it was affecting my personality.  It was harder than usual to interact with my guests.

On Tuesday I had the evening off but ended up falling asleep in a chair on the screened in back porch at 8pm while attempting to read.

The other thing I noticed was that while I was craving coffee intensely (and not diet soda, which surprised me), I was NOT craving sugar.  That’s a HUGE thing for me as I truly believe I have a raging sugar addiction.

#H2Only Day 3

Wednesday during the day job I was much less exhausted and my headache was minimal.  I had my first real challenge this day in the shape of a post work happy hour.  I had checked my schedule and didn’t work the second job that night.  So I went to the bar down the street from the office, trying to decide what to do when it came time to order a drink. In the end, I had a glass of water while the “boys” had long island ice teas and beers.

The day was yet another lesson in brain fog as at around 5:35 I received a text from my manager on duty at the restaurant asking where I was.  It appears that I WAS scheduled to work after all.  Sure enough, I was scheduled even though I swore I wasn’t when I’d looked at the schedule.  That night on the floor I had the hardest time remembering the simplest of things.  While reaching to take empty plates from tables, I continuously said, “I’ll take those boxes,” while meaning to say plates.  I went to take something to a table and realized that I had turned the wrong way and headed to completely different table.  I rang food in incorrectly once and rang in a duplicate order as well (which I then paid for and took home).

I found that I was also incredibly cranky.  It could partly have had to do with the fact that my plans were squashed upon going to work.  Or it could have been the fact that the restaurant’s air conditioners just couldn’t keep up with the heat outside, making it feel like a sweatbox to those of us moving around.  My coworkers will mostly say that I am a pretty easy going, laid back person.  Wednesday night, everything irritated me, and I was not my normal self.

#H2Only Day 4

Thursday there was no headache, but the brain fog continued.  I woke up early and walked a little under a mile and a half to the gym, did a biceps and back work out, and then ran a little over a mile home.  After showering and eating, it was when I was almost to work that I realized I had NOT brushed my teeth.  Something that comes as second nature, part of the normal routine that in ingrained in one’s mind, and here I had forgotten to BRUSH MY TEETH!  How does that happen?  It definitely took longer to do the usual things.  Concentration and focus were in high demand and found wanting.

#H2Only Day 5

So we are finally to Friday,.  My concentration was still a little off today, but it was a definite improvement over just two days ago.   And instead of going out with a group to the bars in Westport, MO to celebrate a birthday, I’m here typing my blog.  The group I was to go out with tonight “encouraged” me to come out and have a drink to celebrate the birthday and start my 10 days over again tomorrow.  I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. And while I really would LOVE to be out with them tonight, dancing and having a great time, I know that the temptation to drink something other than water would be too strong. It reminds me a lot of doughnuts.  I love them, and I know they taste good, but they are in my best interest.  I’m too determined to see this through than to go out and have a good time and some drinks and throw in the towel.

I was considering tonight just how I would proceed once these 10 days are over.  I know that I will drink wine and beer again, however in moderation.  My big concern is the coffee and caffeine.  Do I throw it all out the window and get myself completely addicted to caffeine again?  Or do I just allow myself a set amount of coffee per day?  CAN I even do that?  Things to ponder over the next 5 days.


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