autumn bliss.

Sep 26, 2012

As much as I hate to say it... there is no denying the truth. Summer is over. Done. Gone for another year.  Before we know it, winter will be showing its ugly face and dropping loads of snow.  I have a strong dislike for all things winter, with the exception of Christmas. I love Christmas.  
Despite the sad end of my favourite season, I'm making a desperate attempt to make the most of my second favourite season... Autumn! 
Mild weather, gorgeous landscapes, pumpkin flavoured everything, and Thanksgiving... what's not to love about this time of year? 
Yesterday I returned from what has become one of my favourite pairings, due to the fact that I leave at dinner, fly for an hour and a half, go to sleep, fly back... and get home by 9 in the morning.  2 days of work, most of it spent sleeping.  Rather than listening to my cozy bed that seemed to be calling for me to crawl in and call it a day, I opted to make use of my entire day and enjoy as much of the gorgeous fall weather as I possibly could. It was my mission to incorporate as many of my favourite aspects of the season as possible into one day.   
This started with a trip to the grocery store to prepare for dinner that evening.  I picked up a roast, potatoes, sweet potatoes, and carrots, threw them in the slow cooker and carried on with my day.  Whoever invented the crockpot was a genius.  I also picked up some candy corn, because I was feeling extra festive and I find them to be somewhere between disgustingly sweet and addictingly good. 

I went for lunch with my husband, to a small Korean restaurant where the owner greeted everyone that entered with an enthusiastic "Happy Day!!!".  On the way home I stopped at Starbucks because no perfect fall day is complete without a Pumpkin Spice Latte.  Especially when they accidentally make it a size too big and you find yourself shaking from the mass caffeine content. That, my friends, is bliss.

Back home my roast was making the house smell delicious and doing a decent job at disguising me for an actual good housewife.  I grabbed a handful of candy corn and brought Niko to the car. I wanted to go for a walk in the River Valley, despite having no idea of where to go to have access to the trails. After a good amount of time driving aimlessly, I parked the car in a quiet residential neighbourhood adjacent to some decent looking trails. Niko happily ran along, crunching the leaves below his paws and sniffing everything in sight. It was a beautiful day and the trees were a gorgeous shade of yellow and orange. Niko looked up in awe, quite impressed with his very first autumn.  

We walked and walked and walked, down the paths and a huge set of stairs. Okay, let me clarify... I carried Niko down the stairs, because he took one look at them and simply refused. 

He did much better on the way up, however, which led to a puppy that slept the entire way home.  
We drove home, and had a wonderful food filled evening! 
I love this time of year!

capital city adventures!

Sep 21, 2012

It's no secret that I like to escape to new places once in awhile.  I love my home, I love my husband, and I fear the thought of being apart from my puppy, but I need travel in my life to keep me sane. Fortunately, I have a job that enables me to get away rather frequently while earning money to pay the bills at the same time.  I've said it a million times, but I'll say it again... my job is awesome.  
I was very much looking forward to my upcoming trip, but dreading it all the same. I'd be gone for 5 whole days, which would be the longest I'd been apart from my husband since the wedding, and the longest I'd been away from my puppy since the day I'd brought him home.  I was well aware of the fact that I'd miss them both, and that they'd test one another's patience over the span of my layover.  Despite this, I had to go to work. I packed my bags and headed to the airport early in the morning.  My first day was an easy one. I deadheaded as a passenger on another airline, to Ottawa. Beautiful, sunny Ottawa... the capital of Canada!  I'd been all over the world, but it was my first time here! 
As we arrived at the hotel, I was feeling a definite need for caffeine. It had been an early morning and I unfortunately can not sleep on planes.  I was in luck... there happened to be a Starbucks right there in the hotel! As soon as I'd dropped off my luggage in my room, I headed downstairs, grabbed a pumpkin spiced latte, and ventured out to explore the city. 
As my luck always seems to have it, it began raining just in time for my walk.  I shrugged it off and continued walking, and fortunately it cleared shortly after it began. I came across Parliament Hill, and stopped along with every other tourist to take photos. It was quite gorgeous, and it's always interesting to see places with so much history in this otherwise very-modern country.  

I had plans later on in the evening, so I continued walking in search of a grocery store. I found one, and loaded up on healthy food to eat throughout the week. I was determined to avoid having to go out for dinner every night. On my way back to the hotel, I got a message from my friend (and classmate) Kevin, informing me that he had just arrived back from his flight.  We were in Ottawa together, and we were going to go for dinner! We met up with the pilots from his crew and headed out to a restaurant that they'd raved about. Unfortunately, we arrived to find that the former pub has been transformed into a fancy Japanese restaurant. Since we had already walked quite a distance, we chose to eat there anyways. I sipped a caesar that was spiced with wasabi, and dined on lobster salad rolls and pumpkin soup. It was quite the odd combination, but everything was delicious. After dinner the pilots went out while Kevin and I headed back to the hotel. It was still quite early, so we decided to watch TV instead of attempt to sleep. We were both thrilled to find that the Wizard of Oz was on, and we sat watching and laughing at how horribly outdated it was. Around 9 pm, Kevin headed to bed while I ironed my uniform for the next day. It's always hard trying to go to bed when you are a couple of timezones ahead of home, but I managed.  
The next morning I woke up, went downstairs and met my crew. Our first officer happened to have worked for my former airline in Dubai, so we had plenty to chat about. I was happy to find that my fellow flight attendant for the week was awesome, and I was put at ease knowing that we'd get along just great.  We flew to Iqaluit, Nunavut, where it was gloomy and cold, and then back to Ottawa. I succumbed to the temptations of onboard meals, going against one of my own cardinal rules. I couldn't help it. We were serving lasagna, and the meals on my airline happen to be really, really good. I told myself that I'd walk it off that evening. Back in Ottawa I went out walking once again, enjoying the gorgeous weather.  I strolled through the Byward Market, and crossed the bridge over the river. Once on the other side, I was in Quebec! It's not often that I'm in a position to simply walk to another province, so I felt as though it had to be done.  I walked for a few minutes, taking in all of the street signs that had suddenly switched to French, and then turned around and returned to Ontario.  I arrived back in my hotel just in time to watch Big Brother on TV... because yes, I am addicted, and no, I couldn't miss a single episode.  My husband and I texted as we watched, and once it was over I called it a night.  
Day 3 was a repeat of the day prior, with the exception of an additional crew member for our full plane on the way to Iqaluit.  Before leaving the hotel, I grabbed a coffee. Our hotel has an awesome incentive in which if you opt out of having your room cleaned, you receive a $10 voucher to spend at Starbucks... every single day! There is no way that I'm capable of passing up free coffee! Well caffeinated, we headed for the airport. The flight up was busy, but easy. On the way back we had far less passengers, but many strange happenings. I could write a book on the weird things that people do or say in the sky. It was a bumpy ride back, and we were happy to land in Ottawa. I had one plan for the evening, and that was to walk to Byward Market to get Beavertails. It's a Canadian treat, and an Ottawa essential... fried, delicious pastries. They are famous for having served President Obama a few years back.  I was joined by another flight attendant, and while he got the original with icing sugar, I opted for a chocolate hazelnut version. It was pure, blissful, guilty pleasure. 

We strolled the streets and chatted about how great the city was, wishing that we could visit it more often.   After he returned to the hotel, I walked a bit longer. It was the last night that I'd be able to enjoy the city centre as the next evening we were staying in a hotel close to the airport. Once it was dark and strange people were beginning to wander the streets, I decided to head to bed.  
The next day was the last morning to take advantage of free Starbucks, so I loaded up with bottles of iced coffee and the necessary pumpkin spice latte.  Our flights were easy, with few passengers all day. Returning to Ottawa, we sat in our jumpseats waiting to land, and were briefly confused when we suddenly began climbing. It didn't take us long to realize that we'd just had a missed approach. Looking outside, it was easy to see why, as thick fog made it impossible to see.   The Captain informed us that we'd try one more time, and we crossed our fingers that we wouldn't have to divert.  That would certainly make for a long day! Fortunately, there was more visibility on the next runway, and we landed. We checked into our new hotel and I was shocked at how unneccessarily massive my room was. With nothing nearby, and miserable weather, I had a lazy, early night and a great sleep.
It was a good thing that I was well rested, because the next day would be a long one. Apparently they save the worst for last.  We flew to Iqaluit on an obnoxiously busy and all around weird flight. Passengers were grumpy and it seemed as though nobody knew how to be nice. It was a long 3 hours of running up and down the aisles.  
Instead of returning to Ottawa, we flew to Rankin Inlet. This flight was much easier... we only had 20 passengers and half of them were employees. 2 flights down, and 2 to go.  We continued on to Yellowknife, where we had to wait 2 hours for our next flight. That was perhaps the worst part of the entire trip. By the time we boarded our full plane, we'd been on duty for nearly 12 hours and at this time the evening before, I was in bed. We got through it, and eventually landed in Edmonton. 14 hours had gone by... the length of a Dubai-Toronto flight.  I was so happy to be home, and after saying goodbye to my crew I raced home to reunite with my husband and puppy... just in time to catch the Big Brother finale.  It had been a great trip, but there is really no place like home!  

now that i'm flying again, so is time.

Sep 14, 2012

In my months on the ground between airlines, I almost forgot how fast time seems to go by when you work in the aviation industry.  I go to work, come back 3 days later... and just like that, it's the middle of September. Soon I'll be back to work again, and before I know it, it's going to be 2013. 
I've done a couple of flights since my last post, among them, the easiest pairing ever.  No, really... sometimes I can't believe that they pay me for this. I checked in after dinner, flew the hour and a half flight to Yellowknife, went to bed in my hotel room, woke up, flew home. I was back by breakfast.  2 days of work done, easy as pie. I'm not sure what they mean by that saying... easy as pie... are we talking about baking pie? Because goodness, if you've met me and know my cooking skills, pie is nothing resembling easy.  Eating pie on the other hand... but I digress. The flights were simple, short and sweet.  Onboard that morning we had a lady who had a rather extreme fear of flying.  The skies can have a pretty cruel sense of humour sometimes, and of course that would be the morning that it would be turbulent enough to bring her to tears. It's always like that when a nervous flyer is onboard, and completely calm when the plane is full of turbulence loving aviation geeks like myself.  I felt awful, and knew that my reassuring words meant nothing. I love flying and thus don't understand the fear... but I'm not one to judge. I've got a couple of irrational fears of my own, one of which I was about to face shortly after landing that morning.  
Ryan and I moved to Edmonton in December and as new residents in a new city, we are without a family doctor.  Okay, let's be honest.... I hate doctors and only go if forced to do so, thus I haven't had a family doctor in years.  Anyways, this was one of those circumstances in which I was forced to go.  I wasn't nervous, because it was just a meet and greet appointment to meet the guy that I'll avoid visiting but have as my doctor because my husband says so. So I met him. He was nice, and I figured that I'd give him a chance... until he said goodbye and handed me a requisition form for routine blood work. Just to have on file and make sure I'm all good and healthy. All positive thoughts I'd had about this doctor were lost, just like that. I do not do blood. I do not do needles. I'm a fainter.  I'm a trypanophobic. (I googled that.) Perhaps some of you reminder my saga when I had to do Emirates pre-employment medicals.  The only thing that gives me remote comfort in this situation is that my husband has to do it too. He's not great with needles either, so I'm glad that I'm not the only one suffering, as terrible as that sounds.  He'll be there, holding my hand and perhaps picking me up off the floor when I faint.  2 weeks to go, and you can bet that my impending dooms day is going to be on my mind until it's all over.  Don't judge me, I don't judge you for being afraid of airplanes or clowns or whatever it may be that you fear most.  I'm brave. I've jumped out of a plane and moved across the world by myself, twice. I'm just not good with blood...  
So if any of you lovely readers have any helpful advice, feel free to share... although I'm quite certain that it won't do much good. Just like telling the lady on the plane that she's more likely to die in the car on the way to the airport.... real reassuring.   
On another note, in hopes of distracting my brain, I flew up north again today! All the way to Inuvik, where it was chilly but snow free. Norman Wells on the other hand was looking a bit white! Winter comes early way up there.  I'd better start eating extra chocolate to pile on fat to keep me warm.

checking out yellowknife!

Sep 9, 2012

My alarm went off. It was 4:30 am. I contemplated quitting my job, as I do every morning that begins so ridiculously early.  I decided against it, seeing as how I really do love my career with the exception of sleep deprivation.  I ran around the house like a crazy lady trying to ensure that I had absolutely everything that I'd need... I was going to be gone for a few days this time!
At the airport, I met my crew... the pilots and one other flight attendant. Yes, one other. The concept of only 2 of us working an entire pairing was mind boggling for myself, as a former A380 crew member.  Fortunately, my fellow flight attendant was awesome and all of my worries were gone as soon as they'd arrived. Even more shocking was our passenger load of 14 up to Yellowknife. 14?! Was this a dream? It was perhaps the easiest flight (with passengers onboard) of my life.  We continued on, flying to Kugluktuk, Nunavut. This was a far cry from the massive cities that I'm used to flying into, but interesting nonetheless. I think a huge part of the allure is the fact that I've been to all of the major tourist spots and I'm finally getting off of the beaten path like I've always wanted to do. How many people do you know who've been to, let alone heard of Kugluktuk? That's what I thought.
 This was also my first experience landing on a gravel runway.  It's incredible that a big jet plane is capable of such a feat. I stepped out of the plane to take a few photos of the shore just off the runway. Adding to my list of firsts for the day was the fact that I was seeing the Arctic Ocean!

We re-boarded and headed further north, to Cambridge Bay. Seeing as how we were in Nunavut, I was now required to do the safety demo in English, French, and... Inuktitut. That was interesting, to say the least. After Cambridge Bay we fly back to Kugluktuk, and finally we were on the last leg of the day, bound for Yellowknife. 
Upon arrival we caught the shuttle to our hotel, and I was free to do what I pleased for the evening. It was a beautiful day, and I opted to explore on foot. I'll admit that I don't always know a lot about a place before I visit. I learn as I go, and often have different expectations of places than the reality. I didn't expect Yellowknife to be beautiful.  In all honesty, I'd envisioned a small, cold city in the middle of nowhere. As it turns out, it was a city surrounded by gorgeous lakes and the colours of autumn were prominent in the many forested areas.  

I decided to go for a walk, despite my fatigue from having such an early morning.  I headed to Frame Lake and began to walk the trail around it. It was a 7 kilometre trail that primarily consisted of rocky boulders that I hiked over in flip flops.   Halfway around the lake and the furthest distance from the hotel, it began to rain. Of course. The temperature dropped a few degrees, but the rain didn't last long. A bright rainbow shone over the city across the lake.  What a nice evening it was! I took many photos with my phone, kicking myself for the decision to leave my real camera at home. I continued walking until I was back to the hotel, where I proceeded to laze around and call it an early night. 9 hours of sleep awaited me!
I woke up the next morning feeling refreshed. I can't remember the last time that I had a decent night's sleep! I got ready for my day and made a coffee, just because the hotel room was equipped with a Keurig Brewer.
I met the crew and just like the day prior, we flew to Kugluktuk, Cambridge Bay, back to Kugluktuk and then back to Yellowknife.  We arrived to beautiful weather and since I was feeling ambitious I decided to walk around the lake once again. I was joined by the Captain, and we made it around much faster than I had slowly wandered the night before.  We chatted about airplanes and travels, and it was nice to have company since I tend to miss my husband and puppy on long walks alone. We made it back to the hotel and upon sitting down on my bed, I immediately lost all ambition to do anything else that evening. I made the most of my evening with nothing to do, as they are few and far between lately.
I woke up the next morning, and did the exact same flights as the previous day. This time, however, upon landing in Yellowknife we got on another plane and deadheaded (rode as passengers!) back to Edmonton. It was rainy and miserable outside, but I was home! It doesn't matter how long I'm gone for, I'm always happy to return! First layover down, and it was better than I'd expected!    

home and away.

Sep 6, 2012

I find that my life is always one of two options: Extremely chaotically busy, or completely uneventful. There is never a perfect balance between the two. However, as somebody who hates the very thought of being bored, I'll happily choose the first option.  As of late, that's been my life... busy, busy, busy!  
I've been a flight attendant for 3 years now, but only recently have I truly had it all... the job, the home, the husband, the puppy. I've got everything that I could ask for, but I'm still learning how to find the perfect balance.  It's not easy going away for days at a time. When I lived in Dubai, layovers were my solace from the sandpit and I shuddered at the thought of turnaround flights that brought me right back at the end of the day. Now that I've got this little family of mine, I actually enjoy going to work and coming home to sleep. So far, that's been the extent of my job.  I've done a few flights in which I left early in the morning and returned later that afternoon or evening.  Tomorrow, that changes. My bags are packed for a few days away and I'm feeling a mixture of excitement and impending homesickness. It's a tough life, having everything that you've ever wished for.  

The last week has been a blur of flying and fun and time going by too fast for my comfort. 
On Friday, for the first time since July, it was the weekend for me! I'd bid for the long weekend off with low expectations, but managed to get every single day off. I was thrilled to have the chance to finally go camping.  We packed our stuff, buckled Niko's kennel into the car, and headed for the mountains. 
We met with Ryan's parents and aunt and uncle, and had a fantastic weekend of food (smores), campfire, and hiking. Niko absolutely loved it.  He ran up and down the mountains, burning off just enough energy to sleep much more soundly in the tent that he shared with Ryan and I.  It was a great weekend that ended too soon, much like this entire summer.  

We headed back home and I called it an early night in preparation for the next day and my return to work.  
On Tuesday I worked my first flight without a trainer... just me, as an official working crew member without being walked through every step of the flight.  It went well, and I feel far more confident now that I've got past it. A month from now, I'll have this thing down pat. It was a great day, with a couple of easy charter flights to the oilsands.  Between flights we had a 3 hour gap in Edmonton, so for the first time in my flight attendant career, I went home for lunch. That was very strange to me, but I wasn't complaining. I took my dog for a walk and had a 30 minute nap! On the drive back to the airport my stupid brain managed to convince myself that I was supposed to be back at 1:00 pm rather than 1:30 pm that I'd been thinking all along. It was 1:08 pm and I was 10 minutes away. I went into panic mode, driving a tiny bit faster than I should have, only to make it to the airport and realize that I was right the first time. I was relieved, yet annoyed that I'd endured such stress thanks to the fact that I always second guess myself.  We flew another plane full of people to work, and then back home to Edmonton. It's good to be back to the skies, but it's even better coming home!
Now, it's off to bed in preparation for another early start tomorrow.  I'm one of the few people that prefers red eyed flights, and the only one to never get them. This waking up at 4:30 am stuff makes me rethink my career every morning... until I get to work and remember how much I love my job.