Monday, August 31, 2009

I'm On My Way!

I'm leaving on a jet plane....

Seriously, I'm pretty sure I could get the 737 running and possibly even in the air and back on the ground, but it wouldn't be very graceful and I doubt the airline would be able to use the plane again. So I left the flying to the captain and first officer and took my cozy seat in the back for the flight to Tucson, AZ.

Thanks to all the strangers who wished me well on my journey and bless you to the people who thought I was MISS Alaska... They must have missed the ring on my finger.

I'm off to sleep and then hit the ground running tomorrow for the start of the 2009 Mrs. America pageant!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

The Tune Up and Check Ride

Every year a commercial pilot must go through a testing process to evaluate her skills and abilities to handle the aircraft and any emergencies that could arise, the test is called a "Check Ride". I don't know too many pilots who look forward to their check ride, I usually manage to fly my absolute WORST during these tests. Yet, I believe that the check ride is a valuable tool and quite necessary for pilots to stay on top of their "game" so to speak.

The same concept applies to the airplane itself. Every year an airplane is inspected for safety's sake. My husband is an aircraft mechanic and looks at a lot of airplanes during their "annual" inspection. He finds things that need repair or tuning up and either does the work himself or directs the aircraft owner to do it before he signs the airplane back into service.

I am about ready to fly from Alaska to Tucson, Arizona for the Mrs. America pageant and I feel like I've put myself through a check ride and an annual all at once in a matter of a few short weeks! I have evaluated my abilities, tested my knowledge, "tuned up" my physique and repaired anything that came up short or out of whack. WHEW. Am I there yet??? I'm ready to go. And for the record, my husband has had fun doing all of the inspections!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Time To Relax

How do you force yourself to relax? I find myself doing one of two things most of the time. Either flying or hiking. Sometimes flying isn't very relaxing, so to really unwind I go on a hike. My husband and I like to take our airplanes someplace beautiful and go day hiking when we can, it really puts us in a good mood. I really enjoy hiking with my little girl when daddy is at work. I swear she knows the word "backpack" and she's only one year old! My daughter goes nutso when you tell her we're going outside or sees the backpack I carry her in.

I have a little more than a week before I pack up and head to Tuscon, AZ for the Mrs. America Pageant and I've decided that it's definitely time to relax. So I went hiking with a girlfriend and our one year old daughters. I finally was able to put aside the constant thinking about what I needed to take with me and the giddy nervousness that comes with such a once-in-a-lifetime event. I am in the "if I don't have it, I don't need it' mode now and it feels good.

Just to make sure I keep relaxing, I am going on a flight tomorrow with friends to go blueberry picking. You never can be too relaxed, right?

Thursday, August 13, 2009

It's All About The Journey

The morning was cold and crisp. The frost clung to the trees like a child on a parent's leg. My plane's engine was warmed up and ready to go. I took off into the December dawn and proceeded to dance above the Earth like Tinkerbell in a Peter Pan movie. I absolutely love to fly. I am usually less fixated on the destination than I am on the act of getting there. Flying to me is all about the journey. Yes, there is a specific process you go through to successfully complete a flight, but that comes quite naturally these days and rarely gets in the way of enjoying the act of flying.

I have enjoyed the journey that has brought me as far as Mrs. Alaska-America, and am truly looking forward to the next step... the Mrs. America Pageant on September 8th in Tucson, AZ. Not many people see pageants as a "process" or a journey, but when you look at pageants in that light it becomes quite obvious that if a contestant doesn't treat it that way then the end of the journey could be disappointing. One of my main goals has been, and will be, to have FUN. I will never get another chance to participate in the Mrs. America Pageant again, so I am going to make as much out of the opportunity as I can. Participating in a pageant may not be as instinctual as flying an airplane to me, but it certainly is as rewarding.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Flying and Fashion

Flying doesn't always lend itself to being fashionable. One reason is functionality (can anyone imagine high heels in a cockpit?) , the other is plain old comfort. I'm lucky to have a flying job which doesn't require a full-blown uniform commonly seen in the airline industry. I show up to work in blue jeans, a company shirt and a black vest or jacket appropriate for the weather. Sometimes it can get so cold where I work that all you can see of the pilot is the eyes behind a huge down jacket with a fur ruff. Believe me, you could wear anything under that arctic gear and no one would notice or care. No one can tell if you're male or female at forty below!

I really enjoy dressing up though, and being Mrs. Alaska-America has given me a wonderful venue to do just that while promoting causes and attending events. I feel that being an "everyday" woman -vs- a "high fashion" woman allows me a broad range of looks and makes me a better spokesperson for the married ladies of Alaska.

I recently attended the Wasilla Joint-Chamber of Commerce luncheon and met the newly sworn in Governor Sean Parnell as well as Senator Linda Menard. I felt proud to share with attendees that I have a home in the small town of Talkeetna and that I have climbed Mt. McKinley and flown the Iditarod Sled Dog Race Trail... even though I was "dressed up" I could tell that other ladies were happy to know that I'm not always in heels and makeup. I enjoy versatility and am as comfortable in an evening gown and lipstick as I am in polypropylene and hiking boots.