Thursday, December 31, 2009

2010 Horoscope

I'm liking the sound of this... :)

Year 2010 Overview

Taurus always gets tagged with things like "pleasure-seeking" and "materialistic." That's probably unfair, in most cases. You're just as good at dishing out the pleasure as you are at seeking it, and who doesn't like a few nice things around? Sadly, there's been just too much struggle in your life the last couple of years when it comes to those two very important parts of your life. Thankfully, 2010 marks the end of that long uphill struggle. Your pleasurable pursuits have been a little more restricted than you'd like over the course of the last two years or so. That's over with now, so ... game on!

The big events this year will not so much be a matter of major happenings as they will be things that have been in the works and are slowly revealing themselves. In the last two years, you've put a lot of work into what makes you happy, while Saturn transited your solar Fifth House. Now that those pressures are finally being relieved, you'll find you are finally gaining traction. Certainly, your love life and your career will feel the difference, but beyond that you'll notice things going a lot better in other departments of your life. You may have already noticed some of these changes starting to kick in; the real results start happening around your birthday in 2010.

Let's hope this is true! Happy New Year everyone!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

32 questions about me.

I thought I'd lighten the mood a little and do a questionnaire since my posts are usually full of whining and complaining! Sorry! I swear I used to be a happy positive person!

1) CURRENT LIVING ARRANGEMENT? Single-family house in the suburbs of Charlotte.

2). WHAT BOOK ARE YOU READING NOW? I just finished "Time of My Life" by Allison Winn Scotch. It's basically chick-lit. It was ok. I started reading "Open Season" by Archer Mayor before that and will probably continue to read that now that I'm done with the other book. Archer Mayor is an author that writes murder mysteries set in Vermont, which is where I was born, so I like reading his books.

3). WHAT'S ON YOUR MOUSE PAD? It's a Dell mousepad (not very exciting!)

4). FAVORITE BOARD GAME? - It's not really a board game, but I'm addicted to Apples to Apples right now.

6). FAVORITE SMELLS? - lilac, vanilla, cookies/brownies baking. Also, on Greg I like Bvlgari black cologne. On myself I like Beyond Paradise or Banana Republic for Women.

7).LEAST FAVORITE SMELLS? skunk, garbage, dog breath

8). FAVORITE SOUND? good music, waves crashing at the beach.

9). WORST FEELING IN THE WORLD? losing someone you love.

10). WHAT IS THE FIRST THING YOU THINK OF WHEN YOU WAKE UP IN THE MORNING? Greg if he's next to me, then I roll over and hug him. If not, getting ready for work!

11). FAVORITE COLOR? - blue and green



> 15). FAVORITE FOODS? Lobster, baked stuffed shrimp, Reeses pieces sundae, movie popcorn


17). DO YOU LIKE TO DRIVE FAST? Yes I do. I'm kind of a speed demon.

18). DO YOU SLEEP WITH A STUFFED ANIMAL? No, I sleep with Greg and I sleep on my side while holding a pillow.

19). STORMS - LIKE OR DON'T LIKE? I kind of like storms as long as they're not too crazy.

20). WHAT TYPE WAS YOUR FIRST CAR? - 1986 Toyota Camry that I shared with my brother.

21). FAVORITE DRINK? Hmm, too many to name just one. I like Dr. Pepper, Hard Cider, good red wine, Pomegranate Martinis, hazelnut coffee, green tea.


23). DO YOU EAT THE STEMS OF BROCCOLI? if they are in soup or something, yes.

24). IF YOU COULD HAVE ANY JOB YOU WANTED WHAT WOULD IT BE? Hmm... maybe a foreign diplomat.

25). IF YOU COULD DYE YOUR HAIR ANY COLOR WHAT COLOR WOULD YOU BE? I like my hair the color it is. I put highlights and low-lights in. Once I went red, it was fun, but I don't think I'll do it again anytime soon.


27). IS THE GLASS HALF EMPTY OR HALF FULL? Honestly, I'm so beaten down by life right now, I'll say it's half empty, but I SWEAR I have almost always been a half full kind of girl!

28). FAVORITE MOVIES? So many! Singles, Big, The Notebook, Office Space, Napoleon Dynamite, Serendipity, The Breakfast Club, Elf.

29). DO YOU TYPE WITH YOUR FINGERS ON THE RIGHT KEYS? Yes, thanks to Mrs. Hoyer's 7th grade typing class. That ended up being very useful!!

30). WHAT'S UNDER YOUR BED? I think some slippers.


32). FAVORITE SPORT TO WATCH? I really don't watch sports on TV much unless it's the Olympics or a major game. I'd say I like watching baseball, basketball, or figure skating best.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Well, Christmas weekend was pretty good. It had it's ups and downs.
Friday morning Greg and I got up and I made us croissants with Nutella (I think Greg could live on Nutella right now) and coffee. We did our presents for each other. He got me some windowsill herb gardens, a Shiatsu massage pillow, a necklace and earrings with coin pearl and purple crystals, an Itunes gift card, Starbucks gift card, Movie theater gift card, and gift card, and a bunch of stocking stuffers (mostly chocolate). I made out well! I got him some shirts, slippers, a book, and lots of his favorite junk food. He just bought himself a new laptop recently (his other one died- so it was necessary), so I wasn't allowed to get him a lot. I kinda went with necessities more than luxury items because of this.
Friday afternoon I packed up and headed down to Hilton Head to spend the rest of the weekend with my parents since Greg was working all weekend. I got there at cocktail hour and had lovely Pomegranate Martini and then we dove into the turkey dinner my mom made- yum!
Last week my mom had emailed me to see if I wanted to go to an Italian cooking class Saturday (um- hell yes!), so we did that on Saturday. It was a Scallopine class, so we learned how to cook chicken, veal, pork, and swordfish scallopine style with four different kinds of sauce, which are interchangeable. We both learned a lot, such as the right technique for pounding meat (lol), and that it's better to use grapeseed oil rather than olive oil because it's got a higher burning point and doesn't make the food taste like burned olive oil (interesting right?). The food was fantastic and we had all the wine we could drink. I paced myself so my mom could take advantage and I could drive! haha!
Saturday night we did dinner with some old family friends that also live in HHI (Hilton Head Island). They just moved into a new house so that was my first time over. When we first got there we all sat around in the living room having cocktails and munching on snacks while the lasagna finished cooking in the oven. At one point I was sitting with the men- my dad and Pete, and my mom and Lois called me into the kitchen to hang with the women. Well, upon entering the kitchen, I kinda got cornered by them and sort of a "baby intervention" happened where they basically asked what we were waiting for and why not have a baby now. Historically my parents have never been the kind that pressured me to get married, have a baby, or really do anything in my life (except study when I was in school). My parents have always said that I should do things when I want to and feel ready. Obviously, I've stated it before that having a baby is probably at the top of the list for things I want right now, but I feel like this is just the worst time ever because of Greg's job situation- financially and stability-wise. I reiterated that to them, but Lois kinda pushed me harder and said I should just do it and not wait. Lois and Pete have no children, and the story I have heard is that they never really tried to, but never prevented it and it just never happened for them and they just never did anything about it. I think they look at my brother and me and their nieces and nephews and sometimes regret that. She said something about how I shouldn't wait forever because it didn't happen for her. That is an extremely real fear I have- that we will have trouble getting pregnant. Especially the older I get. I know I'm still relatively young (I'm 31), but we still don't know how it will be when we try. It pretty much freaks me out on a daily basis. Anyway, I told them about the Continental bids coming out soon and how Greg thinks we'll know more once we see that and can reassess then. We moved on and had dinner and then played a game. The whole thing really threw me off though and I found myself thinking about it a lot.
The next morning I called Greg and told him about the "baby intervention". I basically bawled on the phone to him for like 15 minutes. He reassured me that we would probably know more pretty soon. Later, my mom and I decided to go take a walk on the beach. I was itching to bring the conversation up again because I just couldn't get it out of my head and eventually I did bring it up. She apologized and said she didn't want to push me and that Lois roped her into it. She did kind of ask again why we wouldn't consider having a baby now though if it's what we really want. She said if it's mostly financial why couldn't I do more budget our money. My philosophy on the situation is that we have cut back a lot on spending from the way we used to be. I really don't just go to the mall and get a bunch of stuff ever. There was a time where if we had the inkling in our head "Hey, we want kayaks", we'd just go buy some. If I buy something it's got to be pretty justifiable. One thing I do spend money on is some social time with friends- mainly dinner out once in a while. I don't think it's extremely excessive though, and my rational is that life sucks enough right now, I would like to at the very least enjoy some small things with my friends. We do have a somewhat expensive house we don't want to move from. We also have a one car payment. We are about at break even point and have some debt, but not a really excessive amount. We just want to either maintain where we are and/or pay off debt, but not go into more debt. I feel like never going out with friends or cutting out cable, etc... Is not going to get us where we need to be to have a baby anyway, so why cut out what little pleasure we have left? Yeah, it might add up some, but probably in the grand scheme of things to only like a couple grand a year, not tens of thousands of dollars that would make the difference between us feeling like we're really financially set to have a baby. The only real thing that will bring us to that comfort level is for Greg to go back to flying or get a much better paying job. In our current situation, it's probably not happening because he's really not making enough for us to feel comfortable enough to have a baby. Is that screwed up logic? Anyway, so my mom and I had that conversation on the beach and I don't think she does agree with my logic. She kinda said she doesn't think I'm willing to do WHATEVER it will take to have a baby right now. I guess in a sense she's right. I'm not willing to sell our house and car. I'm not willing to never leave the house or never buy a shirt I like once every two months, or go for coffee with a co-worker once in a while. I'd rather wait and have our situation get better than it is now and then have a baby, but not have to lose what we have now to do it. Anyway, I ended up crying a bunch more while we talked about it. It is a hard thing, because I DO want a baby. Aside from the money, I also want Greg's career stress to not be an issue anymore. I don't want us becoming new parents and not knowing what the heck he's doing with his life. I feel like he either needs to be back flying or in a stable CAREER type job- not a entry level hotel job that he KNOWS is not permanent.
The whole thing did definitely put a damper on the weekend. I know my mom feels bad about bringing the whole thing up. It's ok though. None of what we talked about is anything I'm not already thinking every day anyway. I feel like I needed to talk about it and have a good cry about it. This stuff is always running through my mind.
When I was back at the house, I checked my Facebook and saw a message from my friend Becky that she is pregnant. I actually had to laugh, because I was basically all cried out by then. I'm happy for her. I am.
We went to see "Up in the Air" Sunday afternoon. It was really good and did take my mind off of things.
This morning I went running (yay, hopefully I'm back on the wagon!) around the plantation and then my Dad and I took my mom to lunch (she worked today) in Beaufort, SC. Dad and I perused the shops on the main drag and then I headed off on my drive home.
I really hope things turn around for us in 2010.

Thursday, December 24, 2009


Ok, I'm just going to say it. It doesn't feel like Christmas to me right now. I think it's partly that I already had Christmas with my brother, parents, and our spouses a couple weeks ago. That was the "BIG" Christmas for me this year, so tomorrow just feels kind of anti-climactic. I tried for the last two weeks to keep the Christmas momentum going. I watched Christmas movies, baked lots of cookies, and even wore red and green a lot. But it just doesn't feel like Christmas to me that much anymore this season. I'm having trouble keeping the excited feeling going. Maybe it's also because I didn't take a lot of time off around Christmas this year. I am taking Monday (the 28th) off so I can stay in Hilton Head an extra day, but other than that I'm working right up til the last minute.
Greg also doesn't seem that into it. We didn't do overly elaborate gifts for each other this year, which is fine. Neither of us need much and we'd rather save the money. Yesterday I was talking about the plan for this weekend and he was like "When is Christmas again?" SERIOUSLY?? That's my Greg... He hasn't gotten my stocking stuffers yet and I told him he better get on it. I don't think Greg's family really did much with stockings when he was growing up because I had to teach him of the importance of filling the stocking when we got together. I don't even care if my stocking has cans of soup wrapped up, I just like some stuff in there. You know?!
It's probably also the underlying sad frustration I carry with me all the time now due to Greg's furlough. Several people I know have babies that they are having their first Christmas with this year. I wish we were experiencing that. I feel like Christmas will have a renewed magic when we have kids. It just feels kind of dull right now with just us, still waiting out the furlough, and half a day to be together since Greg is working tomorrow. I'm glad I get to spend Christmas morning with him at all, as we've had years when we weren't together for Christmas, but it still feels lack luster.
I'm going to see A Christmas Carol with some friends later today. Maybe that will help put me in a more Christmasy mood.
I hope everyone has a very Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

In other news...

Greg heard that Continental has a system bid coming out in the next couple weeks. He said then the company will show what planes/positions/hubs they have available and how many in each place, and then everyone will bid for what hub/plane/seat they want. We're hoping this will give us some idea of what is happening at CAL and when/if Greg will get called back. Or at least we might see that it looks totally hopeless based on the projected plan for 2010, and we can assume he's not getting called back. It probably won't change much for us, but it's still helpful to have SOME information rather than none.
It's looking like Regional hiring may be picking up. We've heard that a bunch of Regionals are calling back their furloughs and may start hiring soon. That could work out for Greg... The only thing is that then he may have to make a choice between staying at CAL and going to a Regional, which he feels most are unstable in the long run. He'd most likely have to officially resign from CAL in order to go to another airline, which has been an issue ever since furlough. Well, we'll cross that bridge when we come to it if the decision has to be made.
Oh- an update on the dog situation. Apparently having Rascal for the weekend actually worked to my advantage. Greg did some thinking after spending a weekend taking care of a dog and agreed with me that he isn't sure he wants one just yet either. He realized the work that went into taking care of Rascal. I think he also got scared about how the house could get torn up if we were house training a puppy. As much as it was fun to play with a dog, we will hold off for now. I'm glad he's on the same page with me about it now. So to those of you looking to break the dog desires of your significant other- borrow one for the weekend and see if they still want one after! Haha!
I miss Greg on this schedule he's on. He's working evenings and I go to work when he's still asleep and he gets home after I've gone to sleep so we don't see each other much on days he's working. Lately I've been stopping by the hotel on my way home hoping to see him for a few minutes. Last night I did. I don't want to bother him while he's working, but I think he likes seeing me, and I'm always tempted to stop in since his hotel is on my way home, so I usually end up stopping by to say hi.
I decided on a plan for this weekend for Christmas. It's been a debacle because my parents have been to our house twice in the last month or so (for Thanksgiving and when my bro was here), so it's really my turn to go there. I'm going to stay home Christmas Eve and have Christmas morning with Greg before he goes to work and then leave for my parents' after we do our Christmas. I think it's important that I spend part of Christmas with Greg so we can do our presents and have breakfast together before he works. I'll spend the rest of the weekend hanging out with my parents. If I stayed in Charlotte for the weekend I wouldn't have much time to spend with Greg because he's working all weekend anyway. I haven't been down to Hilton Head in a while, and I'm itching to go. I think it'll be a good weekend. I wish Greg could come, but at least he was off the last two weekends with me and I'll still do Christmas morning with him and make him his favorite blueberry pancakes for him :)

No more baking!

Ok, so I THINK the Christmas cookie baking is over. I love baking Christmas cookies (and eating them!). It's one of the things that most gets me in the Christmas mood. I've always liked and been pretty good at baking. At early age I was much more interested in baking than cooking regular food. I don't think I really got into cooking other food (aside from mac and cheese) til I was in college, and then it was mainly because I wasn't eating at home or at the dining hall anymore, so it was up to me to learn how to cook if I wanted to eat anything but prepared food. I usually give out a lot of cookies as gifts at Christmas. This year it felt like I just kept baking and baking, and was never really sure I had enough. Actually, I'm pretty sure it's like that every year, but it felt particularly exhausting this year. Last night I made a batch of raspberry chocolate pinwheels, which are similar to the orange chocolate ones, but with raspberry flavor instead. I also made my first ever batch of peanut butter chocolate fudge. It came out good and was relatively easy to make. I think I'm done now though. I packaged up the cookies and fudge in Christmas bags and brought them into work to give out today. Who knows, maybe I'll make one more batch before I head to my parents' this weekend!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Dog days

I bring you this addition of Life in a Holding Pattern with a dog in my lap. That's right a DOG. Friday night I went to my friend Kelly's cookies and cocktails party. Kelly and Brad were going to Brad's company Christmas party in Richmond, VA for the night Saturday, and were talking about Kelly's dad watching Rascal, their dog. Well the weather was looking questionable Friday night. By questionable I mean that it was raining. Down here people freak out if there's RAIN. I kid you not that Saturday was entirely clear, but just talk of "weather" had the news strip on TV showing all kinds of delays and cancelations of church and weekend activities around Charlotte. I digress. Anyway, I suggested that Greg and I could watch Rascal for the weekend if they wanted and could just take him home with me that night after the cookie party. Now, I don't know if I've mentioned this or not, but Greg has been bugging me HARD for a dog lately. It's gotten to the point where I think one of these days I'm going to come home and find a dog that he has picked out on his own, without my permission, when I have explicitly said I didn't think this was the right time for us to get a dog. This freaks me out. I am not a huge dog person. I think dogs have a certain smell I'm not really into, and don't like dog breath or dog poop, or anything of that nature. I feel like bunnies are my perfect speed for animals. They are cuddly, cute, but exist independently and can be left alone for good amounts of time since they have litter boxes and don't have to be walked. I also think they are fairly easy when it comes to taking trips. Someone can come over and feed them or they are pretty easy to transport, and my parents tolerate them pretty well (they are not pet people of any kind). Having a dog would really change everything, and I don't know that I'm ready for that right now. I think if I'm going to get anything that will change everything, I would rather have it be a baby.
Anyway, I surprised Greg by bringing Rascal home with me on Friday night. Greg ended up staying late at the hotel because they had a bunch of stranded airline passengers and he helped out. He got home and Rascal was flipping out growling and barking because he didn't know who Greg was. Greg was so excited though, it was cute. I think I did pretty good with everything, I even let Rascal sleep in the bed with us (he usually sleeps with Brad and Kelly). Yesterday morning I got up and took Rascal out to pee. We went back in and he followed me around. Which has been pretty consistent. Greg calls him my "shadow". We got out his stuffed squirrel and chew toy and he played with those a bunch. Greg plays this game with Rascal where he chases him around while Rascal has the squirrel in his mouth. It's funny. Later we took him for a walk around the neighborhood. Rascal likes mailboxes. And pretty much every vertical object outside. He peed on everything he could. He also pooped twice and we had to go back to the house for an extra bag. Later we went to do some errands and took him with us in the car.
*I interrupt this post to chase Rascal with his stuffed squirrel as he his whining for me to*
We got back to the house and had dinner and Greg took him outside for a little while more.
Last night he slept with us again. This morning Greg took him out to pee early, and then I got up a little later and he came down to the office with me while I checked my email, Facebook, etc...

I did kinda want to see what life with a dog would be like. It's fun, but it's kind of all-consuming. They are total attention whores.
*stop to pick up Rascal and put him on my lap*
Rascal is a Dachshund. He is one of the most well trained dogs I've ever seen. Brad and Kelly have taught him a crazy amount of tricks he'll do on cue. He's small and pretty unsmelly as far as dog's go, which is why I agreed to take him for the weekend. It's gone well, but I think that this experiment can not be taken as an absolute version of what us getting a dog would really be like. Rascal is an extremely good, fully trained dog, and I think one of the things that freaks me out is the idea of training a dog and going through the "craps in the house, eats the furniture, cries all night long" phase. I don't want to deal with that. I also don't think it's a good idea financially. Dogs can be expensive. The whole idea is for us to SAVE money right now while Greg isn't making a lot. I think having a dog would be an added expense we don't need. Also, the time/attention thing. I like being able to stay downtown after work if I want to run, go out, meet friends, etc... I like being able to say "I want to go to my parents this weekend" and not having to really figure anything out. Someday Greg may get called back or be at a job where he's not home a lot again and it'll be all me to deal with the dog. Not up for that yet.
I think someday I'm open to getting a dog, but now is not the time. Like I said. I want a baby and I'm ready to make those sacrifices for a baby, but not for a dog right now.
In the meantime I will go back to snuggling Rascal while we have him for the weekend. I could definitely deal with watching him once a month or so. It's kinda like California- it's a nice place to visit, but I don't want to live there.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Pretty much every night this week was spent similarly. I went home, put my warm pajamas on (it's been COLD here- high of like 37 today!!), and worked on various Christmas tasks. I made a trip to Wal-mart early in the week to pick up Christmas cards I had printed to the photo center. I'm kinda late with cards this year. I seem to remember being more on top of that last year. Anyway, since Greg and I still have no kids, a while back we got in the habit of doing a Christmas picture of one or more of our rabbits every year. We have three bunnies; Cinnamon (girl), Bosco (boy), and Baxter (boy). The first year we did the bunny Christmas year was probably like 6-7 years ago and we did a picture of two bunnies we had back then, Butterscotch and Oreo, with two little Santa hats we got at Petco. Thus the bunny Christmas card tradition was born. The past couple years we've been mostly using Baxter as our Christmas poster child as he is the most photogenic of the crew. Plus he's black and white so his coloring goes well with most Christmas stuff (red settings). This year I did a picture of him with candy canes scattered around him.
So, each night I've been working on the Christmas cards, wrapping stocking stuffers (which I got the night I went to Wal-mart to get the Christmas cards), and baking TONS of cookies.
Every year I make a ton of Christmas cookies and give them as gifts to friends and co-workers. My friend Kelly is having a cookie and cocktails party tonight, so I made a big batch of my orange chocolate pinwheels for the party. If anyone is interested in the recipe, these are my go-to cookies if you want something kinda different with a wow-factor. A couple years ago I was watching Food Network's cookie special and Alton Brown made these cookies except with peppermint flavor instead of orange. My dad LOVES orange and chocolate together, so it occurred to me that I could make these cookies and change out the peppermint flavor for orange extract (I also add a bunch of orange zest). I've also made them with raspberry extract and they are good that way too. You really could use any flavoring you want in the "peppermint" dough that you like with chocolate. The cookies are slightly labor intensive, but if you plan ahead and make the dough ahead, I don't think they're too bad. Anyway, here's the link to the recipe.
Speaking of Kelly, two weeks ago she and her man Brad got engaged! I met them last spring in my running group and love hanging out with them. I've mentioned them many times before in the blog because they are single-handedly responsible for jump starting my social life in Charlotte. They love good food, wine, and Noda! Friends have always been important to me, but in the last few years I've really started to reassess what good friendship is, as I had my first ever "friend break-up" about a year and a half ago. I think I'm a lot more wary of who I will get close to and trust now because of that. I can honestly say I'm at a good place now with the people I've chosen to have as friends and I am very lucky to have them in my life. Kelly is definitely one of those people that has been easy to be friends with from day one. She's just a happy, positive person and very fun to be around. Earlier this week she called to chat and asked me to be a bridesmaid in her wedding next summer! I happily accepted and I'm so glad she feels the same about our friendship as I do. It's really nice to have a good bunch of girl friends and I'm glad she's one of mine :)

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

furloughed pilot blogs?

It's hard to find any blogs written by furloughed pilots or furloughed pilot's wives. That was my main reason for starting this one. I continually search for other people going through this, but really haven't found much. I hope that if there are other pilot families going through furlough, they may find this blog. Maybe it will give them some comfort. Maybe they will reach out to me and share their experience.
I found this site today... It's written by a furloughed corporate pilot who has been furloughed about the same amount of time as Greg. Interesting.
I know most of my followers are other pilots wives. I hope my blog isn't too depressing (sorry!). I feel like before the furlough I didn't have the perspective I have now. I was coasting along seemingly unaware that the bottom could drop out from under us. I wished I'd prepared myself for it better.
I just want to capture the emotions that both pilot and spouse go through during furlough. The lows, the stress, the ups and downs of good news and bad, etc...

Monday, December 14, 2009

How Greg and I met

I actually met Greg online on Yahoo Chat, almost exactly 8 years ago. We met about a week or so before Christmas. Back then wasn't really big yet and I was into going into the chat rooms on Yahoo and just talking to people online when I had downtime. Occasionally I dated people I met online. I usually went to the Police and Fire chat rooms but sometimes I did the local DC ones as well. Here's my take on online dating since I get asked about it a lot when people find out I met Greg online. I say follow your instincts and definitely rule out anyone that throws you red flags immediately (ie- they bring up anything sexual, inappropriate, etc...). I think it's different to date online now because most people use Match or EHarmony instead of chat rooms. I advise getting to know someone a little bit but at the same time not investing tons and tons of time only getting to know them online before meeting in person. One thing I learned in the online dating process was that as much as you may think someone you meet online is perfect for you, CHEMISTRY is something that doesn't translate that well online. A couple of times I got very wrapped up in chatting with someone online and waited weeks before meeting them in person only to discover I had zero chemistry with them when meeting in person. I was surprised that it's that instant a thing, but I think it kind of is. You just know one way or another if you are into someone or not right away. Greg and I chatted online twice before we met in person. The first time I believe he was in Detroit on an overnight with ACA and I was on a night shift schedule, and we met in a DC chat room. The conversation was nothing earth shattering, I just got the impression he was a normal guy, which is what I was looking for. After chatting twice he suggested meeting in person. I was fine with it. I was a cop at the time, so I figured if he gave me any trouble I'd just pull out my gun (LOL). We met in a mall near where I lived in Arlington, VA. I got there first and sat on a bench and when he walked up I just smiled and giggled a lot because I instantly knew I liked him. We walked to a Mongolian BBQ restaurant for dinner and then walked to a bar called Carpool to continue talking. The conversation was easy and we kept discovering more and more things we had in common and would say "oh, we'll have to do that together sometime!" It was really nice. A couple days later we went on our second date which consisted of lunch at this french bakery and Christmas shopping at Tyson's Corner. At the end of our date Greg walked me to my car and wanted to kiss me so our first kiss was on one of those parking lot islands at the mall (again setting the stage for a future filled with pseudo-romantic moments). Our third date was actually on Christmas day. I was working at the college where I was a cop and Greg came there and had lunch with me on my lunch break at the police station. I later met him at his house to hang out when I finished work that night. The rest is pretty much history. I like that we fell in love during the holidays though. It was fun :)

Time to play catch up. Thursday night was my office Christmas party. This year we had it at a club/restaurant in the Epicenter of Charlotte called Mez. They put us in this loft area of the club with lots of couches and it had a real loungy feel to it. Past years we've done the hotel "wedding reception" type Christmas party and one at a bar that was really casual. This one was sort of in between. They had a food buffet with sliders, a couple different kinds of pasta, and pita with dips. I mainly hung with my usual crew, but got up to mingle a little bit with some people I don't see that often, as I don't work in the same location with them. At one point a couple guys asked me how I met my husband. I forget how that even came up. It reminds me that I should tell the story, so my next entry will be how Greg and I met.

Friday we had our annual all employee conference at work. Basically a lot of different programs give a presentation about their program to everyone (like 100-200 people). I haven't ever had to do one in the time I've been in Charlotte, but this year I did. I was with a co-worker and he offered to do most of the talking. I am a pretty outgoing person, but I kind of have a fear of public speaking to large crowds. I was definitely nervous. We got up on stage and for about the first ten minutes I really just stood there and nodded my head if he needed me to confirm something. Finally I started to relax and eventually spoke up and interjected with important points. It actually went pretty well.

The weekend with my family was great. Saturday we all got ready and went to Paper Skyscraper (the fun little store with all the eclectic things I mentioned in my previous post). We had a good time poking around in there. One highlight was a book called "Stuff White People Like", which has funny stuff like "eating outside" and "The Toyota Prius". We all were cracking up at that. I also like the booke "Breaking Bad News with Baby Animals", which is a book of pictures of cute little animals and each one says something on it like "I'm a registered sex-offender" or "You're adopted", etc... Good stuff! We went to Macs Speedshop for BBQ and had a yummy lunch. After lunch we did do the Old Dominion Brewery as planned. It's a weird little place. They don't have food there other than bowls of pretzels on the tables. We tried the beer and did the "tour" which consisted of standing in the room where the tanks are while the guide told us about the beer making process. I'd say we were there less than an hour total. The beer is good, but I think the place has a ways to go in terms of development. Adding a restaurant would definitely be a good idea.

For dinner we went to this restaurant called Roosters in South Park. Greg's been wanting to go there ever since he picked up a menu from their brochure kiosk at the hotel. It was very good. The place has a neat modern but rustic ambiance. My mom and I split scallops and sweet potato gnocchi with a hazelnut sauce (OMG SO GOOD!). Greg had some mushroom pasta that was also yummy, and my dad of course had steak. We also had some scalloped potatoes and grilled brussel sprouts. The portions were kind of small, but we had enough food and it was pretty delish. The only part that wasn't fantastic was the salad I had before dinner, but my mom had a different salad and hers was great.

Sunday morning was "Christmas morning" for us. Everyone seemed to like what they got. I got a new brown Coach bag from my parents, a whole lot of stocking stuffers (kitchen utensils, lotion, candy, etc), a pair of boots, and a North Face jacket from my brother. I realized that the jacket is not what I expected, but it's my fault as I gave him the exact specifications and he just ordered what I had told him. I was wanting one of those ones that have the outside "skin" that looks like seal skin or a wetsuit. I ended up getting a fleece one. I think I'm going to try and exchange it for the one I had in mind as I have a few fleece jackets already.

Most years when we all get together we do a big traditional type Christmas meal with either turkey or filet of beef or something like that. This year we decided to keep it casual and do homemade pizzas for our Christmas dinner. We got a bunch of pizza dough and everyone made their own pizza. Mine was white pizza with artichoke hearts, roasted red pepper, mushrooms, and mozzarella. YUM!

My parents left in the afternoon and Greg and I drove Mark and Ashley to the airport for their flight back. I love my family :)

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Things to do in Charlotte

My side of the family is coming this weekend for our annual early Christmas fun. We have become accustomed to celebrating at off times, as we all have much going on with with our spouses, vacations days, and the pain of trying to fly during the holidays, it's often easier to just pick an alternate weekend and celebrate then. I've lived in Charlotte, NC a little over 3 years now. I've discovered it's not the easiest place in the world to entertain people. Before moving to Charlotte I lived in Northern Virginia right outside our nation's capital for 6 years. I can honestly say THAT is the easiest place in the world to entertain people. There is nothing that area doesn't have to offer. Giant shopping malls with every store imaginable, indoor, outdoor, outlet- take your pick. A plethora of cute little historic areas complete with cobble-stoned streets and artsy little shops, restaurants, and sites to see (Georgetown, Old Town Alexandria, Leesburg). Every type of museum imaginable. Monuments. Sporting events. Hiking trails. Bike trails. Harbors. Amusements parks. The list goes on and on. Even if the same friends or family members visited like 15 times we could pick a different area every time and never get through it all. It was a playground for guests and for residents. It's something I definitely miss about living up there. Also, people WANTED to come visit us there. And it was EASY to travel to, because with three major airports in the area, there was bound to be a relatively cheap flight into at least one of them.
Charlotte has been a lot more of a challenge for us in this respect. I repeatedly beat my head against the computer each time I have someone coming to visit and I'm trying to figure out what the heck I'm going to do with them. Charlotte is a beautiful, clean, modern city. But it takes all of 20 minutes to walk the downtown area, and there is NO shopping in downtown Charlotte at all. It's a very business oriented city and much more busy during the week than on a weekend. The first time I brought my brother downtown it was a weekend and he was like "WTF??". I made sure to take him down on a weekday the next time so that I could prove the city was more than a ghost town of gray sky scrapers. Pretty much the only option is picking a place to eat and walking around for a bit, and that covers downtown.
We boast a fancy mall called South Park, but if you live in an area with decent shopping, this doesn't really impress anyone. The outdoor mall is Birkdale Village. Also a decent place to shop, but nothing to write home about if you have ever been anywhere with decent shopping.
Here's some ideas I've come up with for things to do with out of town guests. As you'll see, the major problem is that most of them are outdoor activities, and seeing as it's December and getting relatively chilly, a lot of this stuff can only be done at time of the year when the climate is better than it is now.
1. By far the best find has been an off-road Segway tour of Latta Plantation. It's $35 for 3-4 hours of outdoor exploration on a Segway scooter. Pure Awesome!

2. The US National Whitewater Center. I've actually yet to even DO any real activities there. But, there's a restaurant, and outdoor seating, and it's worth going just to sit outside and eat and watch all the people do the rafting, zip-lining, and climbing.

3. Childress Winery. It's about an hour from Charlotte, but we took our friends from Indy there when they visited in the spring, and we had a great time doing the wine tour, eating some food, and checking out the place. It's a beautiful facility and it's owned by a Nascar driver, so you feel like you're doing justice to that factor of NC as well.

4. NoDa Gallery Crawl. The biggest problem with this is that it's only on certain Friday nights. Unlikely that you'll get lucky and have all the stars align to let you partake in this with guests from out of town, especially if it's just a weekend trip. It's a lot of fun though to go and eat somewhere over there then wander around the galleries and duck into the music venues. I really enjoyed it.
5. Paper Skyscraper. It's a store on East Boulevard and it's one of those stores that has a gazillion fun things to look at. Books, magnets, political humor, kitchen stuff, bath stuff, sexual stuff, funny napkins, cards, decor. It's just a great store to take people to and wander around in for an hour.
6. The Daniel Stowe Botanical Gardens. Again, an outdoor activity for a warmer time of year. It's cool to see though and a great photography opportunity. I also especially like the new Orchid Conservatory.
7. Concerts/sporting events. If you are lucky, there might be one happening on the weekend you have visitors coming. If anything decent is in town, I recommend this option. I've done a Bobcats/Celtics game, Fleetwood Mac, etc... Unfortunately the ONLY thing in town this weekend is The Nutcracker, which would thrill my mom and I to go see, but I'm thinking the boys would be snoring about 10 minutes in, so that wasn't an option. All the sports teams are away. Bummer.
8. Restaurants. My family and friends pretty much plan our schedules around eating anyway. The one thing I'll give Charlotte is that it does have a lot of good restaurants. Probably because Johnson and Wales is here. Find some good ones and eat!
That's about it... My idea for this weekend is to take my fam to the Old Mecklenburg Brewery. I saw on their website that they have brewery tours on Saturdays, so I'm thinking we have lunch and then do that. I have no idea if it'll be cool or not, but I'll definitely report back. I think much of the weekend will be spent hanging around at my house, which is fine with me. I do kinda wish we had a few more exciting options though!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Update on Saturday's news

Greg confirmed that the rumor he heard is true. Continental is selling the planes to the Russian company. He pulled up a website that shows plane transactions and it shows that the sale has already occurred. Some planes are probably still in the fleet but they will be headed to Russia eventually. Greg showed me the Continental projected business plan for 2010, which came out in October, and it shows those 31 planes on it, plus getting 9 new planes. This is a big deal because 31 planes translates to about 200 pilots to operate. Not only does it look like Greg won't be recalled, but they may furlough more pilots. It makes me really mad that they didn't inform the pilots of this. We are holding out tremendous amounts of hope that Greg will be called back and they are sitting on information that we need in order to figure out how to proceed with our lives. Greg knew that Continental was looking to sell the planes to this Russian company a while back but the financing had fallen through, so he had thought Continental had reconsidered and wasn't expecting the deal to be revisited.
It's just frustrating. Yet another blow. I just wish Greg could get some good news. He's such a great pilot. It's a tradgedy that he's not able to do what he loves and excels at.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Greg is all freaked out and depressed again. I admit that I have also gotten somewhat hooked on airline (well, the pilot wives ones) forums, but I think you have to take everytyhing you read on there as information that may not necessarily be factual. Anyone can post an opinion or rumor and you don't know if it's true. Greg seems to latch on to any piece of really good or really bad news, which I think is a mistake. This morning he discovered a posting that said something about Continental possibly selling thirty-one 737-500s to some Russian airline. Apparently this was a possibility a while back but then the company couldn't get financing and now they might have gotten the financing and be back trying to make the deal with Continental happen again. This completely freaked Greg out because he's been going by the Continental business plan that came out in October that showed them not only keeping all the planes in question, but also getting an additional 9 planes next year. If they did in fact lose 30+ planes it would obviously reduce the chances of his getting called back and probably mean additional furloughs if anything. This immediately sent Greg into a terrible down-spin. I hate that. I mean, in my opinion there's just as much possibility of the merger with United happening or the company suddenly deciding to get rid of more planes for some reason other than the Russians wanting them, so the possibility of him never getting called back is always there and he should always know this is a possibility.
It also happened right before we were leaving for Gibson's for a brunch he hosted this morning. I could tell Greg was about to severely melt down on the way in the car. I put on the cheeriest Christmas music I could and sang along like a dork to try and cheer him up. I think brunch helped. Usually when he's in a dumpy mood he wants to stay home and curl up in bed and wallow. Which I understand. But I don't think that's always the best thing. I think sometimes it helps to have something going on to take your mind off things, so brunch was good for that.
In addition to that he was going over our finances the other day and said that we are in fact losing money each month, which is not a huge surprise to me since he's working pretty much a minimum wage job. I feel like I've done a lot to try and cut back on my personal spending. I usually bring lunch to work and I don't let myself go near Ann Taylor or Banana Republic, even though I'm mostly wearing older clothes. I buy the groceries but I carefully pick out what I know we need and will eat and don't go nuts on extras. I am mainly guilty of social spending- dinner and nights out with friends on occasion. I will do even more if I can to curb that though. It's difficult because sometimes being social means spending some money, and I feel like I need my social time to keep myself sane with all that is going on.
I again to not know how to help with our situation. I again told him I think he needs to figure out what he wants to do for a career if he doesn't go back to flying. I think it's crazy for him to let the online airline forums dictate his outlook on his aviation career. I've been saying since day one of his furlough that he should plan as if he's not going back and if he gets to go back that's great.
Sorry to my readers if all of this sounds repetitive. I know I sound like a broken record, but this seems to be my place for venting and sorting through my thoughts.
Despite all this, I feel ok. I'm even in a relatively festive mood. I'm going to go wrap some Christmas presents and might even start making some Christmas cookie dough. I think that will be a good mood booster.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Wicked Cool

The week has actually gone by pretty fast. A bunch of times yesterday I was thinking it was Wednesday when it was actually Thursday. It's always a good thing when it's later in the work week than you think it is!
I convinced Sarah to come to running group with me last night and figured we could stay together (in the dark) and do it at our own pace. It was a good run, I'm glad I went. I'm still feeling like I need to work off some of the crap I ate Thanksgiving weekend so any time I can get my butt in gear and work out that's good. After the run we gathered to have our beer we got to talking to a couple guys in the running group and I heard one say "University of New Hampshire". I immediately jumped in and asked if he went there and he did! He grew up in Peterborough and was at UNH til 1998, so we were actually there at the same time for about 2 years. Pretty funny! We talked a bunch about UNH specific things like the Greek life, dorms, UNH hockey games and how every time we hear the song "Black Betty" we picture the giant bass being thrown on the ice (that's what UNH does after they score their first goal at every game). He asked me if I still say "wicked" and I confirmed that I do, and had in fact used it several times during the day yesterday. It's an adjective used to amp up another adjective. For example you can say something is "cool", or you can say it is "wicked cool" and it is that much cooler. He said his sister also uses the term "wicked wicked". That was a new use to me, but I may have to incorporate that into my vocab. As if I need anymore crap for using the term wicked. It was a fun nostalgic talk. I love New Hampshire people. They're hard to find down here!
Greg's been working evening shift all week with no evenings off this week. It's been hard for us to see each other and communicate much. If I call him from work in the morning he's usually still sleeping because he sleeps very very late. I warned him about the possibility of this happening because I worked evening shift when I was in police work and know how the schedule ends up taking over. It's a great shift in terms of sleep because you can go to bed late and sleep late, which is perfect for Greg because that's his preferred sleep schedule anyway. But I think it's very difficult to get anything done when you're on that shift, because you tend to come home late still kinda wired and stay up really late til you wind down, then you sleep very late the next day, thus creating a pattern of nothing much but work and sleep and really accomplishing almost nothing else. I can see that this has already happened to Greg. The honey-do lists sit So anyway, I can't call him in the morning because he's still sleeping but if I wait to call him early in the afternoon he usually seems like he's already flustered and getting ready for work and doesn't have much time to talk. He can't use his phone while he's working unless he's on a break, so the only time I really talk to him is when he calls me during his break at work, but we usually can't talk that long then either. I'm already asleep when he gets home and he's still sleeping when I go to work. We give each other hugs and kisses hello and goodbye, but that's about it for interaction. Last night after running I decided to stop in at the hotel on my way home from work and say hi. He was down the street at McDonalds making a snack run for some of the desk people and brought me a hot fudge sundae. We sat in my car and talked and ate the sundae. It was nice to have a little time with him squeezed in. I will have Saturday and Sunday morning with him and then he's got a couple week nights off next week. I look forward to that time with him.
Tonight I'm going Christmas shopping with a couple friends and to dinner.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

The other day Greg and I went for a walk. The conversations on these walks are almost always initiated by Greg sighing loudly and saying how he wished he was flying again. Then he says some variation of "I wish I had a crystal ball so I could see when I'd be called back". He's kind of like a broken record. We still have no indication of when or if Continental will call the furloughed pilots back. Right now it's even looking like a merger with United could happen at some point, which is scary. The outgoing Continental CEO was against the merger (Greg really liked the guy), but the new one actually has a legal background in mergers and acquisitions, so it's looking like he might want to help the whole deal along. If a merger with United happens, I don't know if Greg will ever fly for the company again. United has tons of pilots furloughed- all the way back to guys that started at the company in 1998. So if they merge seniority or give United the upper hand (which they always seem to get), than Greg would be so far down on the totem pole under their furloughed guys it would be hopeless for him to get to fly with them again.
My main worry is still having kids. Greg's 37 and will be 38 in a couple months. At this point it's looking like the soonest we'll have our first kid will be when he's 40, so he's going to be even older when/if we have a second kid. I also still have no idea whether we'll have trouble getting pregnant or not either, so it makes me really nervous to keep putting the whole process off. My instincts are telling me that it would be a good idea to do this soon if possible. I just don't want to wait forever to start a family. It'd be nice to have kids when we're relatively young and less complications can arise. I feel like we're ready in all other aspects other than Greg's job situation.
I told Greg again that he probably needs to really start planning on an alternate career. He agreed (I don't know if he'll actually DO anything about it). I've said it before and I'll say it again, but I figure he should start planning as if he's not getting called back or getting hired to fly again, and if he does get called back- great, but if he doesn't have the opportunity to fly again he's got a real shot at an alternate career. These jobs he's been doing this past year are just to hold him over til he gets to fly again (truck driving, van driving), and I think he's making a mistake to not really pursue an actual career type job because we don't know what kind of time line we're dealing with, and the longer he continues to do a job like he's got at the hotel, that's just more time taken away from time he could be accumulating in a career type job. I know initially he tried to find some jobs like that, but after a while of it not materializing he resigned to just applying for pretty lowly jobs. I feel like now the job markets is slightly better and he should try again to find a job that would allow him to apply his smarts. I do want to say though, that I am really proud of him for doing what he had to do for us and not being one of those guys that said "No, I won't do anything else but fly" or "I won't do _______ (fill in the blank) because my standards are too high". I also think people with that attitude are making a huge mistake. The reality is that the job market does suck and flying jobs or any sort of jobs are hard to find. Greg tells me that there are still some furloughed guys who haven't found jobs and are in dire straights because of it. And a lot of them have kids/families to support. I feel like if Greg found work- even if it's not ideal work, than they can too. They're just not going outside the box. While I want Greg to continue to look for better jobs, I am glad he's doing SOMETHING right now, even if it's on the lower end of what he's capable of and what pays well. These dudes need to wake up and realize that ANY job is better than no job and they should do something to bring in money.
Last night he called to tell me that his boss told him that they decided not to train him to work the front desk at the hotel. Initially when he started he was kind of excited at the prospect of driving the van and getting tips, but also at the prospect of working at the front desk when he has down time, which he has a lot of. Some nights he only has two runs to the airport, so that's like 7 hours worth of time he has nothing to do. He would like to contribute, especially since the front desk is often really busy. We don't know the reason that his boss opted not to let him work the desk. It may be because other desk clerks don't want him there, it might be because the other van drivers don't want to, we don't know why. It was a blow to Greg's ego though, because he's got a business degree and can fly friggin airplanes, but the hotel people don't want him applying any extra brain power other than driving the van. He was also sort of hoping they would see he was smart, capable, and responsible and working the desk might also lead to a management opportunity or promotion of some sort. I told Greg this is why he needs to be looking for a job that is not minimum wage and entry level. Hopefully this kind of wakes him up to that reality and prompts him to keep applying for other things while he does this in the mean time.
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