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SkyGirl Blog

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Almost five years ago, on January 29, 2013, I posted a blog about a really difficult, emotionally-draining flight I’d just had.  A woman, whose daughter had just been killed the day before in a skiing accident, was on my flight from Orlando to Denver.  She was connecting to a flight to Jackson Hole, Wyoming, to claim her daughter’s body and to find some way to comfort her other two children who had watched their sister be killed when thrown against a tree in a freak snow slide.  There was nothing to say.  I just held her in the galley as she sobbed in a way I will never, ever forget.  She told me about her bright, beautiful 28 year-old daughter.  She felt helpless in her own grief about how to comfort her other two children who had SEEN their sister die.  I still choke up just typing about it.  If you want to read that old blog, search for “An Emotional Flight”.

 

I took away something incredibly important from that experience.  And now, whenever I see online, or see on tv, or hear about any person who dies unexpectedly in acts of violence, or a random accident on the road, or even a medical mistake...I think about how innocent people with great futures ahead, or with wonderful histories behind them, die every single day in senseless, meaningless ways, leaving their wife, their husband, their parents, their children, their friends to  mourn them, miss them, want them back.  And these deaths were beyond the control of the person who died.

 

In contrast, here we are, all of us here on EX, who once smoked or are in the process of quitting...who CHOSE to do this.  We CHOSE to put poison into our bodies.  We CHOSE to kill ourselves slowly.  And, all the while, thinking that we were ENJOYING it. 

 

There are innocent people, young or old, worthy or not, going about the business of their daily life...and boom...something out of their control happens and they are gone.  GONE.  Their loved ones will never see them again. And they had no warning.

 

But smokers DO have warnings.  Lots of them. 

 

Ask us for help when you don’t think you can go another minute. 

 

Because you CAN.  And we will help you do it.

 

xxxooo,   Sky


Let me tell you what smoking does NOT do for you.

 

Smoking does not ease your stress.

 

Smoking does not calm you down.

 

Smoking does not make you feel more relaxed.

 

Smoking does not make you feel happier.

 

Smoking does not make you more able to cope.

 

Lastly, you do NOT enjoy smoking.

 

"But, wait!" you say, "Smoking DOES do these things for me!"

 

No. It doesn't. But it DOES do something. Here's what it does:

 

Smoking a cigarette will relieve the beginnings of withdrawal (which started quietly when you put out your last cigarette.)

 

Smoking a cigarette will raise the levels of nicotine in your body so that you mistake the feeling of feeding your nicotine addiction for a sense of calm.

 

Smoking a cigarette tops off the nicotine in your system, making your body less worried about maintaining the level of nicotine in your body. You mistake that rising level of nicotine in your bloodstream for relaxation.

 

Smoking a cigarette feeds your existing nicotine addiction. You mistake that sense of momentary relief for happiness.

 

Smoking a cigarette does the same thing for your body that you see on those police shows when a scary heroin addict finally tightens the band around his arm and shoots up. He's not less stressed, calmed down, more relaxed, happier or more able to cope with life...he's just upped the drug in his body to the point where he's not in withdrawal anymore. That "aaahhhh" he emits means his body had avoided withdrawal, not actuallly experienced something GOOD.

 

These are true and real and serious parallels, my friends. The ONLY difference between a nicotine addiction and an illegal drug addiction is that nicotine is legal, somewhat socially-acceptable and the addiction has fewer real life rock-bottoms (losing your job, your spouse, your car, your credit).

 

No, you may not ever be in danger of losing the important things in your life because of your smoking. Unless you die from smoking. And people do die from smoking, you know. And those folks lose EVERYTHING. And the people who love them lose EVERYTHING, too.

 

Please let us help you quit. We have so many tricks up our sleeves that help get you through!

xxxooo, Sky

SkyGirl

Seattle, anyone?

Posted by SkyGirl Oct 26, 2017

I’m flying into Seattle tomorrow night (Thursday, 10/26) for a nice long 25 hour layover.

 

I arrive at my hotel, which is about five blocks away from Pike Place Market, at about 9pm tomorrow night.

 

I’ll be hanging out in Seattle all day on Friday, the 27th, until about 10pm, when I’ll be working the red-eye flight back to DC.

 

Do we have any EXers in, or near, Seattle?  

 

I would love to meet an EXer while I’m here!  It doesn’t matter if you have a successful Quit or if you are brand new to EX and don’t really know anyone yet.  Heck, I’d really love to meet up with someone who is even just starting to THINK about setting a Quit Date.

 

Lunch at a restaurant in Pike Place is on me.  Or brunch.  Or a snack.  Or even just a cup of coffee.  Or at any place you want to meet up that I can get to via public transportation or Uber.

 

Are there any EXers in Seattle?  C’mon, don’t be shy, please!  I WANT TO MEET UP.  (Photo op, too!!!)

 

Respond to this blog or send me a private message here on EX.  Or ask me for my phone or email in a comment on this blog.  

 

Let’s make this happen!

 

xxxooo,   Sky

SkyGirl

What’s in YOUR toolbox?

Posted by SkyGirl Oct 23, 2017

You know how we are always talking about having the "tools" to help us when we are quitting? We talk about using our "tools" to make it through a craving. We talk about using the "tools" we've been given to protect our Quit. Let's talk about these tools.

It would be great if you could walk into a hardware store and say, "I'd like to buy some Quit Smoking tools, please." You can't. But if you COULD...here's what you'd walk out of the store with:

1) Education: This would be articles, books, websites where you can learn about nicotine addiction. The tool of Education will be key in helping you learn that you CAN quit smoking and never smoke again. You will use this tool before you quit to get yourself ready and keep using it after you quit to keep you strong. This tool gives you knowledge and helps you benefit from the experience of others. Example: "The Easy Way to Stop Smoking" by Allen Carr and (my personal favorite) "Nicotine Addiction 101" on whyquit.com

2) Distractions: You should have plenty of suggestions and ideas from other people here on EX about ways to distract yourself if you need ways to redirect your brain when you can't seem to stop thinking about smoking or when a craving hits you. There are two types of distractions: Activities that will distract your hands/thoughts (examples: scrub your toilet, weed your garden, redo your nail polish, organize your tackle box, dance for an entire ABBA song, browse around on eBay, etc.) and Flavors/tastes that will surprise (or shock!) your tastebuds and sense of smell (examples: a spoonful of peanut butter, a drop of Tabasco, a shake of cocoa powder, blue cheese crumbles, a squirt of pancake syrup, a whiff of curry powder, Fruit Loops one at a time, Red-Hot candies, etc.) Make a physical list, written or typed, and keep it with you at all times.

3) Human Support: Online (like EX) or in person (family, co-workers, friends) can be some of the best tools you have during the first few weeks of your Quit. Obviously, it doesn't help to lean on someone who still smokes. Never-Ever Smokers can't understand what you are going through, BUT they can be your biggest face-to-face cheerleaders. Don't forget to educate Never-Evers before your Quit Date, using the "Letter to My Loved Ones". You can find this letter here on EX by doing a search for it. Many quitters have said it made a world of difference in the way their friends and family were able to understand and support them. EX is, of course, an invaluable support tool. I don't think I need to elaborate on why EX is so amazing, do I?

4) Common Sense: Your tool box should be chock full of common sense. Your common sense will tell you about things to do, things not to do, things that will help you, things that will hurt you, things to stay close to, things to stay away from. This tool is different from the knowledge you got from Education (#1 above) because it requires you to be creative and think for yourself within the details of your own life. It's that little angel/devil on your shoulder thing, right? Oh, wait. That's called "Conscience". Well, that's a good tool, too. But be careful of Conscience because that can cause a very UNhelpful thing called "guilt", which has NO PLACE in the tool box.

5) A Bottle of Water and A Big Yellow Lemon in a Baggie: Okay, okay, these both actually fall under Distractions (#2 above). But they are SO basic (the water) and SO effective (the lemon) that I felt they deserved the separate category of "Honorable Mention Tools". If you feel like you are losing control at any time during your Quit, take a big slug of water from the bottle. It's easy, it's available and it takes no great thought. Sometimes a few big swallows of water is all it takes to get you back on track. Or...take a deep breath and bite into that lemon, peel and all. It is not pleasurable. But it is a Hall of Fame Crave Buster. You will NOT want a cigarette after biting that lemon. I promise. (The baggie is so you can carry it with you. I got some very odd looks when I took out my lemon and bit it in airports! But...I don't smoke anymore, do I?)

6) Patience: Quitting doesn't happen in a day or a week or even a few weeks. As Youngatheart (Nancy) has said many times "Quitting is not an event; it's a journey.". It doesn't happen all at once and the road can be rocky, at times. Sometimes, all the best tools in your Tool Box aren't doing the trick. That's when you need this tool : PATIENCE. Thomas posted a blog about riding out cravings, experiencing the feelings, acknowledging the difficulty, not trying to fight it, and waiting for the urge to ebb away like a wave. It was a brilliant blog; go read it. Sometimes, you just have to be PATIENT. And patience in action means this: When you think you can't stand it another minute? Just wait a little longer. It WILL pass.

So, Quitters, go check your toolboxes! Are you missing any of these tools? And if you have counted "Willpower" as a tool, forget it. Pitch it out. It won't help you find a Fovever Quit and it's not a real tool at all! Instead of "Willpower", use Education.

xxxooo, Sky

SkyGirl

Sharon (Shashort)

Posted by SkyGirl Oct 13, 2017

The banner photo was taken at EX5 in Virginia Beach last spring.  From left to right: Sky, Chris, jojo, Sharon, Pat, Pops and Laura (Michwoman).  Sharon is undergoing serious surgery on her hand and I would like to know if anyone has a hospital address for her and if anyone knows how long she will be in the hospital so we can send letters or flowers?  If she will be going home soon after surgery, please let us (me) know her home address so we can all send cards and flowers there while she recovers.

 

By the way, Sharon caught MORE water balloons than anyone else at the EX5 First Annual Water Balloon Toss.  So look out for Sharon at EX6 with her new thumb!

 

xxxooo,  Sky

September 27th came and went.  

 

It was my fifth year anniversary as an ex-smoker.

 

Granted, I was up to my eyeballs in wedding details just three days before my daughter’s wedding.

 

Even so, I really love the fact that this anniversary came...and went...and I didn’t even notice.

 

It’s the first anniversary that I wasn’t hanging around on EX all day, and loving the kudos I was getting.

 

It is bittersweet to think that I’m so successful at beating nicotine that a milestone like FIVE YEARS could just pass me by.

 

But, at five years...I’m so happy to be NOT thinking about smoking at all.

 

Love, love, love, love to all the wonderful people who came here before me and helped me to find my Forever Quit.

 

We find EX, we get involved, we support each other,  and WE QUIT.  Every one has a diffferent journey.  But the one thing we ALL have found is that SUPPORT MATTERS.

 

So please, let us support you.

 

xxxooo,  Sky

Sorry I’ve been MIA for a couple of weeks!   Both weddings in September were a huge success and I survived all the Mother-of-the-Groom and Mother-of-the-Bride planning and festivities.

 

I promise there will be something about not smoking in this blog, but if you guys could just indulge me for a few minutes, I’d really like to show you a few photos of the two weddings.  I appreciate your patience with me being the proud Mothership!

 

This first picture is me with all my “babies”!   From left to right:  Whitney (41), Max (33), me (old lady; age unknown), Spencer (30), Hayley (34), Oliver (36).  And to all you young mothers and fathers here on EX, this, yes, THIS is why you want to quit.  Because your “babies” need you to still be around when they are grown-ups and have children of their own.  Do you really want to miss being a grandma or grandpa?

This is the official family picture after Max & Jennifer’s wedding.  From left to right:  Peter (Hayley’s fiancé, now hubby after last weekend), Hayley, Whitney (with three of their four children), me (still an old lady), Max, his bride Jennifer (they’ve been together for SIXTEEN YEARS, since they were just teenagers.  We are so close after all these years that I sometimes forget that she’s not one of my birth daughters.), Spencer, his wife Evelyn, Oliver.  The kids in front are Claire (8), John (10), Graham (12) and then, at the far right, Oliver’s daughter, Vivienne (Vivi, age 6).  Missing are Whitney’s husband, Ben, and their oldest daughter, Addie (13).  Addie wasn’t feeling well, so Ben took her home.

Below, Max and Jennifer after their wedding.

 

Okey doke, that was the FIRST wedding in September.  Now, on to the second wedding in September, in which I was Mother-of-the-Bride (which I already knew was much more expensive and complicated!  But, to be honest, it’s also much more fun when the bride is your daughter.)

 

It was a smaller-ish wedding, with only 90 guests.  It was held in Glen Lake, Michigan at the Homestead Resort on the edge of Lake Michigan. This specific locale information is for @Michwoman (Laura!) and my other EX friends in Michigan because they will know how beautiful the entire Sleeping Bear dunes and Leelanau Peninsula is!  Michigan is my home state; I lived there from age 12 until age A-Lot-Older.  (Crap, I just realized that I have to count my decades in Ann Arbor on TWO hands!).

 

Anyway, I will post a bunch of photos of Hayley and Peter’s wedding (because I’m sure you folks are all getting tired of seeing pics of people you don’t know) without a lot of explanation.  Suffice it to say that it was an amazing wedding and I am so happy to have helped Hayley and Peter plan it.  But the very BEST THING about her wedding was when Hayley told me that she wanted me to come stay with her in her room at the Lodge on the night before the wedding.  The fact that she told me that she wanted to snuggle and talk with her Momma on the last night before she became a wife meant THE WORLD to me.  

 

So, in no particular order, here are a few pics from Hayley & Peter’s wedding.  I know I’m sharing WAY too much on EX about these two weddings, but I’m hoping my dear EX friends will understand...

 

 

 

And I said there’d be something about smoking in this blog, didn’t I?  Well, I had tripped and fallen during the night before the wedding when I was setting up the centerpieces.  I smashed up my right wrist AGAIN (remember when I broke that same wrist about four years ago?  Mascara applied with a left hand ain’t pretty!). It got kind of hard to hide how much it hurt during the reception.  So I slipped outside to just take a breather and to ice my wrist with a baggie full of ice during the festivities.  And what did I happen upon?  Four guests who had taken time out to go outside and smoke.  I am not one of those EXers who still loves the smell of second-hand smoke, so I got as far away as possible from them, but I overheard their conversation.  Here are some of the things they said: “I hope they don’t cut the cake while I’m out here”, “Do you think there’s anyplace around here that I can get cigs this late at night?”, “I’m so glad there are other people here that smoke”, etc.  It made me remember the days when my addiction to smoking made life choices FOR me:  How many cigarettes did I have left?  When is the next time that I’d be in a place where I could smoke?  Do I have enough time to go outside Security, smoke a few, and then get back though Security to my next gate?  If I buy a pack, will I have enough cash to give Oliver for his lunch money tomorrow?  This list goes on and on and on... 

 

I cringe when I think about how I let my nicotine addiction make my choices for me.

 

And I love that I found EX and GOT MY LIFE BACK.

 

To you smokers who are brand new here on EX or have stumbled into the site by accident:  You CAN quit.  Nicotine is a strong addiction; some studies say as strong as heroin.  But look at all of us who have broken free from that damn addiction!  Now listen to this carefully and believe it:  YOUR ADDICTION TO NICOTINE IS NO STRONGER OR MORE DIFFICULT TO BEAT THAT OUR ADDICTIONS WERE.  If we have found a way out of this addiction, SO CAN YOU.  There is nothing special about us.  We have no magic formula that you don’t have.   We were not stronger or more dedicated than you are.  So, please stay here on EX.  Start to blog so we can get to know who you are.  Ask questions.  Make friends here on EX.  And know how a strong support system can make all the difference.  WE can be your support system.

 

xxxooo,  Sky

SkyGirl

What My Beloved said...

Posted by SkyGirl Sep 21, 2017

You know, I was just re-reading my blog from a few minutes ago. And I'm sort of embarrassed that I made it sound so hard.

 

I love to make it all sound like it's extraordinarily complicated and that I'm some kind of Superwoman...but really it's not that hard!  It's just taking care of business, one task at a time.

 

When I get overwhelmed by life, I always remember something that My Beloved taught me early on in our relationship.

Out of the blue, he asked me (when I was moaning and crying and carrying on about something), "How do you eat an elephant?"

 

"Huh?" I said.

 

He said, "How do you eat an elephant?".

 

"I dunno" I said "What does THAT have to do with my problems? Why are you making a joke NOW, when I have so much to deal with??" (Actually I didn't just say that, I GROWLED it that at the poor man.)

 

He laughed at me. And then he took me by the shoulders and sat me down on the couch. He turned off the oven and the computer and the TV. He took my iPad and my cellphone and set them aside. He looked me in the eye and repeated for the third time, "How do you eat an elephant?".

 

I was so impatient and frustrated at the way he was delaying all the crap I had to take care of! "Ok, I'll humor you. HOW?" I said, in a NOT-loving voice.

 

And that wonderful man said these words that have carried me through multiple stressful situations where I have felt SO overwhelmed and that I had SO much on my plate and just couldn't manage it all...

 

My Beloved said to me, " One bite at a time, Honey, just one bite at a time..."

 

It gave me a whole new perspective. It taught me to conquer one obstacle or task at a time, then move on to the next one.

 

And THAT'S how I got through those early minutes...hours...days...weeks...months...of my Quit.

 

ONE BITE AT A TIME.

 

How did I ever get so lucky to find this man? (Well, that's actually a good story...for another blog)

 

All you really need to take from this blog is that you don't have to eat the entire elephant in one meal! Just take one bite at a time.

 

Don't look at the big idea of never smoking again.

 

Just take it one moment at a time.

 

The moments will soon stretch into hours and days.

 

And you will LOVE yourself for doing this.

 

We promise to help you. All you have to do is ASK for help.

 

xxxooo, Sky

Sounds a bit kinky, doesn't it?  Well, it's TRUE in this case!  

 

I have five grown children.  And TWO of them decided to get married in the SAME month.  Yeah, they waited until they were 32 and 34 to get married...and then, just HAD to do it in the same month!  Really?  Gee, thanks, my dear kids.

 

To make it more complicated, they both chose a month in which I've been assigned "Ready Reserve" status ALL month long!  That means that the Crew Desk can call me at ANY time of day or night, and assign me a trip out of either Dulles, Reagan or Baltimore airports with only FOUR hours notice until departure.  Not four hours to get to the airport, mind you...but four hours until TAKE-OFF.  Which translates to about 2 1/2 hours to get to the airport for safety inspections, pilot briefings and boarding.  

 

Needless to say, I'm going crazy! 

 

My son, Max, was the first wedding.  Somehow, through major wheedling, finagling and sobbing, I managed to get Labor Day weekend completely off.   So Max and his bride, Jennifer, (who have been together since 8TH GRADE!!) got married in a simple wedding in my hometown of Ann Arbor, MI.  Being the mother of the groom is pretty easy; I've managed that role before.

 

But, now, coming up in just 8 days, is my daughter's wedding.  Hayley is managing most of it herself, along with her groom, Peter (they've lived together for three years), but still, being mother of the bride is still a LOT of work.  I'm finding myself on the phone with the florist the minute the plane hits the runway, reviewing the caterer's emails in between flights, collecting wine bottles (that one was sort of an enjoyable task! LOL) to spray paint gold for the centerpieces, and arranging hotel rooms at the resort up north at Michigan's Sleeping Bears Dunes where the wedding is being held (See banner pic above.). I'm making lists in my hotel rooms at night, calling Hayley at 6am before I get on a plane, and sending more money via PayPal than I ever thought I would have to!

 

I'm going crazy.  Absolutely bananas.  I can't WAIT until this crazy month is over.  

 

But there are three VERY WONDERFUL things happening this month:

1)  Max and Jennifer are happily married now and in their new house.

2)  Hayley and Peter will have an amazingly relaxed wedding in the Dunes next weekend.

3)  And I will be celebrating my FIVE YEARS of freedom from nicotine on September 27th!  Go, me!

 

xxxooo,   Sky

I want to copy an old blog along with all the comments and post it.  How do I create a link so I can re-post the entire blog, including the thread that followed?  Please help tonight, because I'm off on another unknown journey tomorrow for three days...  THANKS!

 

A Confused Sky

SkyGirl

Newark, Anyone?

Posted by SkyGirl Sep 15, 2017

Hi, Folks!  Hope no one is smoking, for heaven's sake!

 

I am flying the red-eye flight out of Seattle tonight (leaves at 11:45pm) to Newark.  I arrive in Newark at 7:45am and will have a Bloody Mary and fall into bed for a few hours.  But my layover in Newark is 23 hours long!  Woohoo!  I'll be at the Hyatt in Morristown.  Any EXers in Newark that want to have dinner tomorrow night? I'd LOVE to meet some new EXers!

 

xxxooo,  Sky

SkyGirl

It'll Fit You Like a Glove

Posted by SkyGirl Sep 12, 2017


I am 100% FREE. It wasn't an easy thing to do. That's a bit of an understatement.

 

At times, I didn't believe I could do it.

 

At times, I still believed that a cigarette was the answer to a problem or a bad situation.

 

At times, I felt like quitting must be easier for everyone else than it was for me.

 

At times, I was absolutely convinced that MY addiction to nicotine was stronger and harder to beat than everyone else's addiction.

 

At times, I believed that everyone here on EX who was succeeding at quitting had some magic answer that I didn't have.


But the truth is that, while it may not be easy, it is SIMPLE: As long as you do not put any nicotine into your body, you are succeeding, regardless of how you are feeling at any given moment.


Now cling to that truth. And believe that every single day without nicotine brings you closer to your NEW NORMAL.

 

And, slowly but surely, that new normal will fit you like a glove. I promise.

 

xxxooo,  Sky

SkyGirl

Cupcakes and 9/11

Posted by SkyGirl Sep 11, 2017

First off, I want to say thank you to Ellen for the sweet post about my birthday yesterday. And thank you for all the nice comments and pictures from all the dear people here on EX.

 

Because of Irma, the crew desk was working hard to keep up with airport closings and unsafe flight paths during the past few days. And they are switching up a lot of flight attendants' schedules. I was converted to Ready Reserve status for 48 hours. That means I had to be available to drive immediately to an airport to work on an altered or unscheduled flight that needed more flight attendants.

 

So I spent my birthday quietly at my condo, carrying my phone with me everywhere, including the bathroom and the laundry room. I had been expecting to get an assignment, so I had gotten some mini-cupcakes to take with me to share with the crew on my birthday. But the crew desk never called yesterday, so my Ready Reserve status was extended for another 24 hours (today). Again, I've received no assignment today, so I've had plenty of alone time for three whole days.

 

And, as happens every year since 9/11/01, I just don't feel much like celebrating my birthday. It somehow seems callous to celebrate, laugh, enjoy good wishes from my friends/family, eat cake and ice cream...as though something unspeakably horrible didn't happen the very next morning back in 2001.

 

Those of you who have known me for five years already know that the anniversary of 9/11 is a very hard day for all flight attendants and pilots. There are many flight attendants who never had the courage to ever fly again after 9/11. It was a long time before flight attendants didn't feel unsafe and vulnerable every single time they went to work, boarded a plane and were sealed in a metal tube that was hurtling though the air at a ground speed of over 500mph at an altitude of 36,000 ft...and, for all intents and purposes, trapped with about 150-250 people that we knew nothing about.

 

We learned to watch like hawks during the boarding process. We were no longer making friendly jokes as passengers boarded, because we were taught to assess each and every person as they boarded; Did they seem nervous? Did they refuse to meet our eyes? Did they look sweaty or uncomfortable? Were they wearing clothing that could conceal a weapon? Were they traveling alone? Was there anything odd or out-of-place about their behavior? What did their luggage look like and how did they handle their own luggage? We jumped at every unexpected noise. We watched every single passenger's movements during the flight. We were suspicious of people when they walked in the aisles or when they asked questions about the airplane or the pilots.

 

We were all trained in defense techniques. We were taught how to use the steel barrier gates that were installed to separate the passengers from the cockpit door when the pilots needed a bathroom break or have their meal trays sent in to them. We learned how to never let the cockpit door be open for more than three seconds, and to call out "Door, door, door" if the door did not close within those allotted three seconds. We learned about how to react to gunfire on an airplane, as newly-enacted federal aviation law now allowed pilots to carry guns. We learned how to use wine bottles, ice hammers and pots of hot coffee as weapons to protect ourselves, and more importantly, the cockpit door. We were told that our primary responsibility was to keep the pilots safe and to use any measures necessary to not allow the cockpit to be breached. Even at the cost of our own safety. No. Matter. What.

 

For a long time, flight attendants came to work in fear. Slowly, over the years, these changes became our new normal. The fear subsided, but we still assess every person on the plane with a critical eye to ascertain if they are friend or foe. We do it as you board. We do it during the safety demo. We do it during the beverage service and the meal service. We do it every time someone gets up when the seatbelt sign is on. We do it when someone spends too long in the lavatory. And whenever a passenger comes into the galley with a request, a complaint or "just to stretch", we make a judgement; "Is this real? Or is this meant to be a distraction while something is occurring at the other end of the plane? 

We are always watching, watching...

 

And it's become such second nature to us now that we don't think of 9/11 anymore while we do it. "Situational awareness" is a phrase we learned and we use it every day on every flight. And we are so good at it now that you won't even know that we are doing it. We may even joke a bit about it now and then. I do, sometimes. If I am the flight attendant who is standing guard at the steel gate (or the cart positioned to block access), I might say to the flight attendant who will be opening the cockpit door, "Wait, I have to get ferocious-looking before you open it!". But it's not a joke. Keeping the cockpit safe is deadly serious. 9/11 changed our jobs forever.

 

And each year, when September 11th comes, all flight attendants remember that day when all hell broke loose in the skies. And we remember why we do what we do, why Federal Air Marshalls do what they do, why pilots can now carry guns, why going through security checkpoints is such an awful process. But, mostly, we think about the 25 flight attendants who came to work that morning, just as we do today. They checked the safety equipment, they listened to the pilot's briefing, they made the coffee...and within hours, they were gone forever.

 

So, I do really enjoy getting birthday wishes and cupcakes on 9/10...but in the back of my mind, I am dreading the sadness that the next day will bring.  And thinking about the 25 flight attendants and eight pilots who never got to have another birthday with cupcakes...and how our world changed that day.

 

Sorry to be a downer, you guys. I really do love getting birthday wishes.

 

Sky

I looked at my 4-day trip that started on Saturday, 8/26.  And I saw I had a layover in San Diego! Yay!  And then I saw that the layover was a long one.  21 hours!  

 

So I let Dale know and we made plans to get together.  It's been a long time so I was really excited to hang out with Dale.  For the chile rellenos, I mean.  Just kidding, Dale.  (Dale takes me to his cousin's Mexican restaurant every time I visit and we LOVE his chile rellenos and refried beans..)  

 

But Dale tells me that the restaurant will be closed on Sunday while I'm there, so we will have fish tacos from somewhere else.  I try to muster up some excitement for fish tacos.  Which I actually love.  But not compared to Dale's cousin's chile rellenos.  Dale told me the first time that we hung out that those chile rellenos were "as big as your hand!"  They ARE (not counting your fingers, just your palm).

 

So I got to San Diego about 10:30 am.  I changed from my monkey suit into real people clothes.  Then I ran around the corner from the Doubletree to the nail salon that I go to there and had a gel pedicure.  I do have my priorities!  Ladies, you get that, right?

 

Then I rushed another few blocks to the train station and hopped on the Coaster which runs only the 40-mile stretch between San Diego and Oceanside (where Dale lives).  $11 round trip.  It's about an hour and it's such a relaxing ride.  That Coaster train just glides quietly.  (See how I'm talking up San Diego here?  See what I'm doing?  EX6!)

 

Dale is right there waiting when I get off the train in Oceanside and I hop in his truck.  He brought me an ice cold bottle of water.  I think that was really thoughtful!  We decided to eat first because I was starving (c'mon doesn't a good pedicure work up YOUR appetite? Lol).  

 

Then Dale drops THE BEST BOMB ever.  He has CHILE RELLENOS for me at his house!!!  He drove over to his cousin's restaurant the day before and got them To-Go.  This man is brilliant, I say.  Absolutely brilliant.

 

When we get to his house, Dale MAKES fresh guacamole for us and produces the To-Go chips and salsa from the restaurant, too.  I have to admit that I'd never seen anyone make guacamole that delicious while sitting at his desk in front of his computer!  Well, truthfully, I've never see anyone make guacamole at a desk, delicious or not.  And he has a secret ingredient...ask Dale.  Maybe he'll share his recipe.  Maybe.

 

While the chile rellenos and beans baked, we snacked on guac, salsa and chips and gossiped.  Such fun.  And really at no ones expense.  I promise.

 

After lunch, Hoggie deigned to come in his cat door.  Dale has built an amazing maze of walkways all along the back of the house.  Each walkway ends in a different cat-sized "room" which is really a viewing perch for Hoggie to relax and contemplate the Great Outdoors, complete with pillows for Hoggie's comfort.  There's even a room big enough for the covered litter box "room" with a gate that Dale opens to scoop the litter.  Truly ingenious.  I've seen it on other visits, but it never ceases to amaze me.  It's all wooden-framed and covered in chicken-wire, so that Hoggie gets the full outdoors experience without being in any danger from the coyotes that roam the hills near Dale's house (and try to eat cats. Ew.)  That's the reason Dale built it all in the first place--to protect Hoggie.  Anyway, Hoggie decided I was worth coming in for (or maybe it was just the soft bed where he wanted to nap?).  And Hoggie and I had a "moment".  And Dale took a picture.

 

Then we drove around Oceanside, up and down the waterfront.  We people-watched and I talked to him about EX6 and what city would be good and if I could talk him into coming if I couldn't convince everyone to vote for San Diego/Oceanside area. 

 

He promised that we'd get ice cream cones, but we both forgot since we were stuffed with chile rellenos.  Then it was time to drive me back to the train station.  We tried to take some selfies in the parking lot at the train station...and for two old people trying to take pictures with an iPad, we did pretty well.

 

A relaxing ride back down to San Diego, a walk through Little Italy where I bought a bottle of wine and a perfect avocado, some EX time and FB time,  then sleep for about 5 hours, with a van pick-up time at 5am...and off to LAX, then ORD, then MCO.  (That's San Diego to Los Angeles to Chicago to Orlando.)

 

Now here are the pictures:

See, it IS as big as my hand.  And that was the LITTLE one.

The homemade guacamole, the salsa (I should have taken the top off, duh), and the freshly fried (well, yesterday) tortilla chips.  SO good.

Me, posing with my chile relleno.  (Nice expression, Sky...)

Hoggie and I were having a "moment".   He's a good cat.

Dale has this crazy "Free Wi-Fi" sign just above his computer.  No, I don't know WHY.  But it's very cool!

This was one of our first attempts at a selfie.  Is it still a selfie if there's two people?  Shouldn't it be called an "us-ie"?

And this is us, laughing at ourselves trying to take selfies with an iPad.  

 

It was another VERY GOOD ADVENTURE.

Thank you, Dale, for being such a fun guy to hang with!

SkyGirl

SkyGirl = Broken Record

Posted by SkyGirl Aug 29, 2017

1) Smoking a cigarette does NOT calm you down, ease your stress, make you happier or more able to cope. All that smoking a cigarette does is increase the level of nicotine in your body, which holds off the effects of withdrawal that started when you finished your last cigarette.


2) You do not enjoy smoking. What you are enjoying is NOT feeling a low level of nicotine in your body.


3) Educating yourself about nicotine addiction gives you a HUGE advantage in successfully quitting.


4) The way you THINK about quitting is absolutely KEY.


It is important that you banish the concepts of "trying", "attempting", "hoping it works", "wish me good luck".
It is important that you read enough about quitting until your thinking does a complete 180 degree turn from "giving up something", "sacrificing something I love", "doing without", "getting through this" into "FREEDOM".
Freedom from what? From a life that is ruled by an addiction, freedom to enjoy better health, freedom from guilt and shame, freedom from worrying when and where you can have your next cigarette, freedom from the panic when you realize you are out of cigarettes, freedom from smelling like an ashtray, freedom from hiding and making excuses.
And don't forget to think about all the free time you will gain, the money you will save, and the self-esteem that will rocket upwards when you quit.  So get that thinking flipped around so you are ready to quit successfully!


5) You CAN quit. Your addiction is no stronger and no harder to beat than anyone else's. If we can quit, then you can quit. We can ALL quit.


6) Yes, the first few days of quitting are not very pleasant. In fact, they suck. Completely suck.
But if you prepare in advance for how to handle those first days, you will make the whole process go a lot easier for yourself.  Listen to the advice of those who have already achieved what you came here to achieve.
Then FOLLOW that advice. Don't just read it in the blogs and think, "hmm, yeah, that sounds good".
You must actually DO the things that have been proven to help make you a successful quitter.


7) Be HAPPY. This is one of the best decisions you will ever make for yourself. Be excited to do this. And be VERY, VERY proud of yourself. We are. And we will be here to help you all the way...


xxxooo,
Sky