Wednesday, December 24, 2008

T'was the night before Christmas, and out on the ramp,
Not an airplane was stirring, not even a Champ.
The aircraft were fastened to tiedowns with care,
In hopes that, come morning, they all would be there.

The fuel trucks were nestled, all snug in their spots,
With gusts from two-forty at 39 knots.
I slumped at the fuel desk, now finally caught up,
And settled down comfortably, resting my butt.

When the radio lit up with noise and with chatter,
I turned up the scanner to see what was the matter.
A voice clearly heard over static and snow,
Called for clearance to land at the airport below.

He barked his transmission so lively and quick,
I'd have sworn that the call-sign he used was "St. Nick".
I ran to the panel to turn up the lights,
The better to welcome this magical flight.

He called his position, no room for denial,
"St. Nicholas One, turnin' left onto final."
And what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a Rutan-built sleigh, with eight Rotax Reindeer!

With vectors to final, down the glidescope he came,
As he passed all the fixes, he called them by name:
"Now Ringo! Now Tolga! Now Trini and Bacun!
On Comet! On Cupid!" What pills was he takin'?

While controllers were sitting and scratchin' their heads,
They phoned to my office, and I heard it with a dread,
The message they left was both urgent and dour:
"When Santa pulls in, have him please call the tower."

He landed like silk, with the sled runners sparking,
Then I heard "Left at Charlie", and "Taxi to parking".
He slowed to a taxi, turned off of 'three-oh',
And stopped on the ramp with a "Ho, ho-ho-ho..."

He stepped out of the sleigh, but before he could talk,
I ran out to meet him with my best set of chocks.
His red helmet and goggles were covered with frost,
And his beard was all blackened from Reindeer exhaust.

His breath smelled like peppermint, gone slightly stale,
And he puffed on a pipe, but he didn't inhale.
His cheeks were all rosey and he jiggled like jelly,
His boots were as black as a cropduster's belly.

He was chubby and plump, in his suit of bright red,
And he asked me to "fill it, with hundred-low-lead".
He came dashing in from the snow-covered pump,
I knew he was anxious for dranin' the sump.

I spoke not a word, but went straight to my work,
And I filled up the sleigh, but I spilled like a jerk.
He came out of the restroom, and sighed in relief,
Then he picked up a phone for a Flight Service Brief.

And I thought as he silently scribed in his log,
These reindeer could land in an eighth-mile fog.
He completed his pre-flight, from the front to the rear,
Then he put on his headset and I heard him yell "Clear!"

And laying a finger on his push-to-talk,
He called up the tower for clearance and squawk.
"Take taxiway Charlie, the southbound direction,
Turn right three-two-zero at pilot's discretion".

He sped down the runway, the best of the best,
"Your traffic's a Grumman, inbound from the west."
Then I heard him proclaim, as hi climed through the night,
"Merry Christmas to all, I have traffic in sight!"

~Author Unknown

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Darn Skippy

I'm so done, turn me over. My semester is complete! I didn't do as well as I would have liked, but I'm ok with that. I took a C in my lab class in which I am required to give 90 hours of scene and costume shop service in order to earn an A. I put in 75 hours. I'll take the C and be satisfied that I'm still alive and relatively happy. Here are the projects I created in the lecture portion of that lab class. In the scene shop, I designed and sewed this dance bag:
Which happens to be reversable:

You may not be able to tell, but it is green with blue pockets on the outside and blue with green pockets on the inside. Totally washable, reversable, and perfect for all my dance junk. Yay me.

Don't be surprised if these start outselling Adidas bags. Oh yeah, baby.

This is the piece I am most proud of. In the scene shop, I was required to build, design, and paint a miniature flat (what would essentially be the background or wall panels of an actual theatrical set). Mine is 2' x 3 1/2 ' and is happily hanging in a wonderful crooked manner (that would make my mother cringe and develop a slight tick under one eye) on my blue kitchen wall. Don't be too impressed. I didn't design the image. I stole it, as the assignment required. But I messed with it. The background of the original was just blank white. I mixed all sorts of colors and tested different techniques until I came up with this blended sunset-ish background. I messed with the clouds a bit, too. I love this image. I think I'll keep it around for a while.


Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Looking Glass

This morning I had another series of finals scheduled, one of which required a performance of one minute of original choreography to include the emphasis of three of the twelve Irmgard Bartinieff Fundamentals (I'll spare you yet again, mostly because I lack the energy and have an online final and two papers to complete tonight). I hobbled downstairs to clear out my livingroom space so that I could get some practice in before trotting off to school. As usual, I pushed back the couches, closed up the bunny ears on the TV, and slid the coffee table out of the way. Start music, begin dancing. Tra la la. All is going well. I jump, turn once or twice, extend a leg into a high balance, mark a few quarky arm movements, and then roll to the floor...

Oh. My. Gosh.

As I rolled to the floor, I ended up bumping the coffee table slightly, which jarred the candle holders in their display on the table. It was only then that I realized that someone had taken one of those little glass candle holders (in the shape and size of a shot glass) and turned it upside down to hold in place a moderately sized cockroach that had apparently been chilling on the coffee table, waiting for the morning news on Channel Five...

The roach and I remained locked in a dead stare for what seemed like hours. Finally, he blinked. I won! Having overcome my disgusting foe, I felt confident enough to shake off the shakes, creep away from the creeps, ignore the fact that the most terrifyingly harmless creature on earth was sitting before me, and continue dancing. I finished my personal rehearsal, replaced the furniture of the room, nodded civily at my creepy, crawly, caged audience, and headed out the door.

Later, I performed my piece for my professor and classmates. The feedback was excellent, even overly-flattering. I thought back to my silent viewer, the cockroach, and felt a slight twinge of insecurity. He hadn't said anything about my piece at all, and he had watched it several times! How rude... No feedback whatsoever.

Then again, We had deprived him of freedom, food, and oxygen. In fact, he is probably dead by now. And the way his little disgusting anteana poked about his glass window did have a pleasant way about it overall... Perhaps he is not so bad. I'm sure he would have given me great reviews, had he paid to see me perform in a formal concert. In fact, I do think I recall something agreeable about our interaction. He probably loved the piece. Yeah. I probably changed his life, or what little there was left. I'll miss you, roachy. Watch me dance from heaven. Tell your friends.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Family Sick

It's almost 7AM, a chilly windswept morning at KFAT in Fresno, CA. I am not at church or at home in bed. I am at work. Boo hiss.

Across the counter from me is our 9 foot Christmas tree and a sweet little centerpiece that my new boss put together. Cheri is doing a fantastic job against all odds as our new manager. I have a great deal of respect for her and I know that respect is returned. Thank goodness.

It is 28 degrees (F) at KFAT right now. A quiet, stay-home-in-bed morning, that is exactly what three of our 5 scheduled fuelers decided to do today. Only two line techs showed up... Good thing nobody is flying, or we would be in big trouble. The sun is rising on our ramp, and there goes the morning MD80, American Airlines flight 1422. That means my line techs are done fueling it and headed back to my ramp. I'd better head back to my desk.

Herbal Raspberry tea (no more hot cocoa for the vegan) and a fuzzy sweater over my uniform dress keep me happy and toasty this lonely Sunday morning.

My fill-in family as of late has been the free spirits I hang around when I'm not at work. Ok, Daniel doesn't count as a "free spirit". In fact, I don't think it gets more "old conservative man" than him. He's even got a little "cantankerous" in him when he hasn't eaten or had his coffee. But Ellie, Ruth, Lindsay Jo, Taylor, and most of the dance community in Fresno definitely qualify as "free spirit". Ellie (one of my very closest friends since I moved to Fresno) and I were out having Thai food the other night, and we decided that we need a little winter rebellion. That is to say, we are going to rebel against winter. We plan to pack up some other dancers, our boyfriends, some tents, and some firewood, and head off to Pismo, Carmel, or both for a day or two as soon as we finish the semester. We need sand and waves and a break from constant scheduling (Ellie works two jobs and is a fellow dance major at CSUF). And if the sun is not willing to provide, we will get our warmth from a bon fire. Ellie is my carribean beach goddess friend. I used to have pictures of us engaging in reggae nights, pool parties, and lovely, unnecessary, spontaneous visits to the beach over the past 5 years. Where they are now, I don't know. I'll dig them up and share some day.

Ellie and I discussed the importance of family over vegan Phad Thai, pretty glasses of wine, and chopsticks (the wine was for her). We agreed that all the talk of family was making us miss our own so much. Ellie and I have a thick history together, and an understanding that transcends the differences in our fundamental beliefs on life and death. As Daniel says, "it is a freedom we allow one another". Ellie and I could not be more different in religious or political views. But we see that, spiritually, we have much in common, and can allow the other to be who they are without forcing a point of view on them. I have come to love and respect Ellie. We have seen the absolute best of one another and the terribly embarrassing worst... We have seen one another through the ugly moments and the horrible admissions that we wouldn't want our families to know about. But it is because of those experiences that we can see eachother for the imperfect, struggling people we are, striving to just be better, whatever the term means for us.

Anyway... I miss my family now. I love my college families; church groups, dancer friends, roommates, and now Daniel and his associates. But I miss my family so much it hurts. I haven't seen Roo in so long I fear I won't recognize her at Christmas. And Emma is probably talking and I don't know it yet. Chance, Brandon, and Katie were soooooo grown up and full of new ideas and life!!! I don't know how I would feel about meeting four well developed Missouri Black Company boys all of a sudden! I miss my siblings. I miss them even though I am always frustrated by how different we are when we are together, how different our worlds are, and how I can sense a disconnect, a lack of understanding for one another because of those differences. I want to be in their world, with children and constant family and love. But I'm in my own world of school and hard work, big bills, little income; and instead of going home to a family at the end of the day, I go out to a late night social life. I miss kids. I miss nap times and playdough and scribbles on a previously clean wall, tantrums and owies and the five millionth poopy diaper. I always thought I was meant to be a mom. It's just taking much longer than I thought.
Oh well. I am enjoying college life still. I just get this way when I read everyone's blogs and see all the family life happening around me. It was probably not the smartest thing to do at 5:45 this morning when I was already feeling tired, cold, and lonely.
Today is a good day. But I miss you, family.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Being Vegan is... Fun! Surprisingly. I am quite enjoying it. I feel good both physically and emotionally, knowing I'm doing something good for myself. I think I was ready for the change. I've tried all sorts of diets and exercise routines, and they never stick long. I typically hate them all the way through. But I'm liking this vegan thing. Ok, so it's only been 4 days... but still...

We hold the Net Jets field contract here at Corporate Aircraft, meaning that any time that company sends a jet to KFAT, they come to our facility and seek our services. It's huge. They are the reason I have met people like Rudy Juliani, Arnold, Hillary, Bill Engvall, Chris Rock, Beyonce, Rascal Flatts, Jamie Lee Curtis, Larry the Cable Guy, The Transiberian Orchestra, etc.

It's always a little kick in the pants for us here. But what I really love about NetJets is the CATERING. mmmmmmm......... NetJets takes GOOD care of their pilots. Wherever they go, they have full access to whatever food they want. They simply email NetJets directly, and NetJets gets the food to them (this means that NetJets emails ME and makes me work frantically until ALL requested food is ready to be presented however the pilots want it, whenever they want it. THIS, I hate!). The glorious bit is that these pilots often over-order food and leave what they don't want with us. Yum!!! One of the difficult aspects of my job is that we waive our rights to breaks. We work a solid 8 hours, end of story. If you don't sign the waiver, you don't work here. So it is just known amongst corporate pilots that you tip line techs in cash and CSR's in food. A wonderful arrangement, if you ask me.

Today, when I arrived at work today, one of my favorite line techs approached me at the front desk sporting a big, clowny frown.

Laura: "What's wrong?"
Mike: (in the saddest, little boy tone he could muster) "You have chocolate cake in the fridge. I want chocolate cake..." (continues to pout).
Laura: "Oh, I do? A pilot must have left it for me. Well, I can't eat it. I'm vegan. Help yourself!" (big smile and a reassuring "yes, I'm serious nod").
Mike: (giant grin) "Really? Allright!"

Not a minute later, he calls me on the radio, "Mike to Laura. Would you please step into the line office for a moment?"
I do so. Mike is frowning again, holding the cake in one hand.

Laura: "What?"
Mike: "Read."

I approach and read the label on the small box holding the cake. It's a vegan cake from whole foods. Mike had taken a bite and was still unhappily chewing it in obvious distaste. I started giggling and looked up at him. Completely straight-faced, he said "It needs milk."
I think sudden outburst of laughter almost caused HIM to shoot cake out his nose. hahahahahaaaaaaaaaa............

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Jason Black seems to have a nice little family over there in Missouri. Coolest brother ever, I'm telling you. I recently received a call from Jason, inviting me to visit them over my winter break!!!!!!!!!!!! I can't think of how to explain my jubilation at this, so I'll let the exclamation points do the talking for me. !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Unfortunately, just after agreeing to give me five days off after Christmas on which to make my journey to distant family, my boss promptly decided to make some changes at work (which would sort of be illegal for me to post here just yet - My apologies - That is as clear as I can be for now), which require that I stay very nearby for a good three or four months. My vacation was cancelled, and I will not be allowed to venture more than a day's journey from here until June. Saddness and tears. :(

I hope to see The Missouri Black Company in the summer. :)

It's almost over. The semester has been draaaaaagging on forever. Next Thursday at this time, I will be FREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Free to work full time and nothing more. Oh hallelujia.

Bummed as I am that I will not be joining the Missouri Black Company for Christmas break, I am so very excited for this vacation. Next semester I continue my regular coursework, but I also dive in to Kinesiology Master's preliminary work as well. Two more semesters, guys! I'll be a COLLEGE GRADUATE!!!!!!!!! I hope... PLEASE, CSUF! PLEEEEEAAAAASE offer the classes I need next fall!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I'll be right over here, holding my breath. Thanks.

Perhaps you have noticed the above picture of a very handsome young man by my side. His name is Daniel. Brilliant. Sweet. Pretty much wonderful. Had a class with him last semester. We are dating now. There. You are officially in on the news. Wave to his photo happily and move on. :)

Just a few more papers, guys! Just a little more!!!!! I can taste the end!!!!!

Oh, also, I'm trying to be a vegan. No meat. No dairy. Wish me luck...