A Passion for Princesses

Some of my daughter's princesses on the bridge of their space ship.

My 3-year-old daughter is crazy about princesses. Since I did not have the same affliction as a child, I am now forced to watch all the Disney Princess movies with her to keep her happy and me partially sane. They’re not as bad as I imagined, though. Here are a few of the points that I picked up from the movies that make me feel better about indulging her princess obsession:

* Cinderella wanted to escape the tyranny of her family to go to the ball. And what girl doesn’t want to dress up and go out and have a good time after slaving away all day? She didn’t even know the man with whom she fell in love was the prince until he sent his underlings to return her shoe.

* Sleeping Beauty didn’t even want to be a princess. She only wanted to marry the man of her dreams. Even the prince spurned his betrothal to Princess Aurora in favor of Briar Rose, a peasant girl he met in the woods. Love rules, royal status drools.

* Belle went in search of her missing father and agreed to be a captive in his place. She fell in love with a beast, not a prince. And spurned the advances of the handsome (and hugely narcissistic) Gaston. This is actually one of my favorite princess movies to watch with my daughter since it shows the difference between inner beauty and outward appearances.

* Ariel actually rescued the prince! Twice! And Ariel’s sisters (also princesses) had horrible singing voices. Now, THAT’S something that no other princess movie has!

* Tiana worked like a dog to make her dreams come true while denying herself everything else. She actually turned a wayward playboy of a prince into a decent fellow before she fell in love with him. Note: my daughter is not a fan of The Princess and the Frog because Tiana spends most of the movie as a frog.

* Jasmine refused to marry anyone that she didn’t love, ran away, and then later used her feminine wiles to distract the bad guy and help Aladdin – who, by the way, wanted to be a prince so that he could marry HER!

* Snow White was the only one innocently dreaming of a prince to marry, but that didn’t stop her from making the forest animals clean the house and shaming the the Dwarfs into washing before dinner.

* Fiona married an ogre, and then chose him again over Prince Charming. (I had to throw this one in. I LOVE Shrek!)

None of these women – Snow White, in my opinion, was just a girl – dreamed of marrying a prince. Most fell in love with someone that they didn’t even know was a prince. They did not want fame, fortune, pretty dresses, servants, or even a crown. All they wanted was love. And who doesn’t want that?

Simulated Fun

As the pilot of a jet, I was required to pass a competency check every six months.  Some of the maneuvers I needed to perform were less expensive and much safer to do in a flight simulator.

It may not look like much from the outside, but inside it's better than Disney World.

These simulators are incredibly advanced, offering full motion and exceptional graphics which are capable of giving the pilot a very realistic experience.  The instructors also have the God-like powers to place you at any airport, in any time of weather conditions, with whatever broken aircraft systems that floats their boat.

For this reason, many a pilot has woken up in a cold sweat at the prospect of simulator training.  Not me.  I loved it.  Where else can you test the very limits of your flying expertise and not run the risk of dying?

My freight dog brethren understood.

Great. Where's the flashlight?

A night time approach in a half mile of freezing fog with clear ice building on the unprotected surfaces of your aircraft was not a far fetched scenario, it was common.  Losing your interior lights may not even be noticed during the day when most pilots are working, but it could be a giant pain in the ass for a freight pilot at 2:00 in the morning.

Some of the instructors particularly enjoyed the freight dog “bring it on” attitude.  Once, after a particularly difficult approach and embarrassingly ugly landing in the Learjet 35 simulator, I had angrily asked my instructor what I did wrong.  He just laughed and said, “I loaded you up with about 3000 pounds of ice.  I can’t believe you didn’t crash.”

Asking one of these folks for a zero visibility approach and landing must have been like manna from Heaven.  How horrible would it be to have omnipotent powers that you could only use when some adventurous and arguably masochistic soul said, “pretty please?”

Call me crazy – you wouldn’t be the first or the last – but I never wanted to be the pilot caught by surprise in a dangerous situation for the first time in an actual aircraft.  I wanted to experience everything from the safety of the simulator first where I could explore different solutions, have the luxury of stopping time, and review what worked and what didn’t.

All the fun with none of the risk.  What could be better than that?

Astounded to Learn that Walking Soothes My Soul

Let me begin with the assertion that I am not an outdoorsy kind of person.  Unless of course, the “outdoors” to which you’re referring involves a beach in Hawaii, a good book and an unimpeded view of the hot local hanging ten on a gnarly wave.  Nor am I, by any stretch of the imagination, an active kind of person.  In high school, I opted to take Air Force J.R.O.T.C. instead of gym to avoid the certainty that my grade in gym would affect my G.P.A. in much the same way that the iceberg affected the Titanic.  More recently, when consulting with my doctor on my quest to lose weight, he suggested that I walk for exercise.  When I told him that I don’t like walking, he said, “Trust me.  You’ll learn to like it.”  Jerk.  I hate it when he’s right.

So, I bought decent shoes and began walking.  At first it was just up the street and back.  That’s all I could handle.  But ever so slowly, I began to walk faster and for a longer period of time.  It was fantastic.  No children.  No housework.  No deadlines.  No stress.  Just me and the outdoors.

Then I got this crazy thought – maybe I could get better results in less time by sprinkling an easy jog here and there in my walk.  I bought cheap running shoes and gave the Couch to 5K plan a try only to discover that I can run for a minute or so without dying.  I also learned the importance of a really good jogging bra, but that’s another story.

Now, when I go for a walk or a run, it has almost become of form of meditation for me.  It is impossible for me to not be in the moment and while my body does it’s thing, my mind is free to wander where it will.  Inspiration has quietly become my companion on many occasions and I’ve started to truly notice my surroundings in a completely new way.

I want to share with you a few of the things I’ve seen just in my own neighborhood.

 

If you are suffering from the same “Ziggy Syndrome” (too short for your weight) as I was, take my doctor’s advice: “Trust me.  You’ll learn to like it.”

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going for a walk.

K.I.S.S. me

I surrender.  I  have been outflanked by CNN and the 24 hour news cycle.  My inbox has been stealthily infiltrated by informational newletters .  I am in the trenches desperately trying to contain the essence slowly seeping from my life as an eternal barrage of information, apps, advertisements, and news advances upon my position.  Outnumbered and outgunned, I’ve come to believe that the only hope remaining for my sanity is a K.I.S.S.

K.I.S.S. or “Keep It Simple, Stupid,” has now taken it’s rightful place within my philosophical outlook and shall heretofore provide the standard against which all my activities and projects are measured.  Multi-tasking has been summarily dismissed in favor of simplicity, minimalism, and dissolution.  In this manner, I will step back from the brink of madness and learn to focus on those things I have come to realize matter most to me.

I know the path will be fraught with danger.  I accept that there will be many diabolical attempts to lead me astray.  I am prepared to forgo the psychological comforts associated with sentimental possessions in order to gain room to breathe, think, love and create.  Life is fleeting.  I refuse to spend another moment wishing for “more” when my salvation lies with “less.”

My journey in the company of my wonderful new mantra begins in earnest this very moment and leads forever into the sunset toward the promise of an uncluttered and organized existence.  K.I.S.S. me, you fool.  I’m ready to be free.

An Ode to Procrastination (Not really)

I’d write an Ode to Procrastination, but I haven’t got the time.

Sales and business prognostication weighs heavily on my mind.

Expenses, reports, and P & L – I haven’t got a clue

how to fix (or even tell) Quickbooks what to do.

Maybe I could read a book or blog to clear my head.

Should I give Facebook a quick look or just go back to bed?

Oh, sweet Procrastination, there’s nothing I wouldn’t pay

for an explanation that could magically save the day

and free my weary mind of this monetary drudgery

so that in my joy I could find the time to be with Thee.

There’s no “team” in Uno

While playing a friendly game of cards last night with family, I discovered an ugly truth: There’s no “team” in Uno.  This truism was uttered by my nephew (who has kindly offered to waive any and all copyrights to his turn of phrase) shortly before I placed my final card face up on the “played pile,” much to my husband’s copious dismay.  I suppose the sudden and complete lack of magnanimity could have been influenced by the steady flow of Wild Turkey, cranberry juice and 7up enjoyed freely by all, but it got me wondering about other card and board games with the potential to foment discord on a grand scale.

As a night freight pilot, I occasionally had the opportunity to foist a portion of my route off on a newbie Lear driver without sufficient experience to become as jaded as I to the awesomeness that is flying a Learjet and hang out for several hours with other Freight Dogs and some playing cards.  We often played Hearts but there never seemed to be a lack of players willing to “take one for the team” to prevent my domination of the hand by collecting all the hearts and the Queen of Spades in order to gift each of the other players 26 points while I unselfishly remained at zero.

It seems to me that Sorry would be another game with a inherent capacity for mayhem, despite the preemptive apology in the game’s title (do I detect a note of sarcasm in that name?), but even my 7-year-old seems to take each game-induced setback in stride.  Perhaps the arbitrary nature of the game provides ample opportunity to blame Chance for each loss rather than the premeditated malice of your spouse’s strategy to bring about your simulated downfall.  Sorry.

In any case, the animosity dissipated almost as quickly as it appeared after I kicked everyone’s proverbial ass.  All hail the Uber-Goddess of Uno!

Z is for Zenith

Life is like a box of chocolates…No, wait. Life is like a roller coaster…No, still not right.  Life is like being airlifted to the middle of the Himalayas and unceremoniously dumped with nothing but some all-weather gear and a small survival pack with instructions in Mandarin.  Yeah, that’s more like it.

Although you have what you need to survive, the information isn’t revealed to you without some effort.  And what you do with that knowledge is entirely up to you.  Some people simply decide it’s too difficult and give up.  Some people find a nice cave in the valley and spend their time making themselves and their descendants as comfortable as possible.  Some people start climbing.

Once the climbers reach the summit, they are faced with yet another decision – complete their journey at the zenith of their mountain and enjoy the view their achievement has provided or start climbing the next taller mountain and strive to gain an even higher peak.  And in this manner, each person and every living thing contributes to the Universe, in one way or another, through actions, thoughts and simple existence and eventually returns to the ether from which everything originated.  We are, after all, comprised of the same basic building block as the stars.

If each contribution to the whole is equally valid, what will yours be?  Do you give up and serve as an object lesson for the cave dwellers and the climbers or do you start looking for Everest?  Personally, I’m thinking the view must be awesome from Mars.

B is for Bra

It occurred to me today as I completed Day 3 of Week 1 of the Couch to 5K plan how horribly important a proper exercise bra can be.

One would think that this epiphany would have taken place ages ago with far less effort. After all, I learned very quickly after the onset of puberty that I was no longer able to ride to school in the back of the bus without suffering black eyes from the uncontrollable response of my new golden bozos to every pothole, rock, and insect the bus happened to roll over. I’ve always had to purchase the fugly over-the-shoulder-boulder-holders with the underwire and thick straps which no amount of lace or other embellishments could hide the overwhelming fact that they were clearly not make to be worn by any woman under the age of 150. And, BTW, what is up with Victoria’s Secret (of ALL the companies in the universe) not offering pretty bras in sizes to accommodate my Winnebagos? C’mon, Victoria! Where’s the love?

Why I thought that just any old brightly colored spandex band with thick straps could possibly contain the girls while I ran (ok, jogged) my little heart out, I’ll never know. Not only could I not concentrate on my workout due to the exaggerated motion of my bodacious ta-tas and fear of being seen causing myself bodily harm with them, I grew tired much more quickly.

So, I now pledge to never again forsake my orange Reebok high impact jog bra under any circumstances. I urge all my ladies to do the same and never relinquish your boobs to the uncaring manipulations of gravity during your workouts.