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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.




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


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


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


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 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.