November 17, 2013 · 12:12 am
Generally, as most of us get older, we have a very good idea of what our likes and dislikes are. Recently, though, I have been thinking about doing some things that I know I do not enjoy or usually want to do. It’s an odd feeling.
As I wrote before, I don’t like to be outdoors. Maybe I spent too much time outside when I was growing up, but the great outdoors has far too many hazards and discomforts for me to want to spend hours there. I know there are people who love the outdoors and spend a lot of time there, and that’s all right. They can have my share.
The odd thing is, I’ve been thinking about aboriginal Americans who lived very close to nature. Whether their shelter was a lodge or teepee or pueblo, they had to have been aware of the elements. With a fire for heating and breezes for cooling they were right in the midst of nature.
I have been camping exactly once in my life. I was ten years old, and I remember not sleeping much and just about starving since each of us was responsible for his own food. Lately, though, I been wondering what it would be like to stay outside in a tent. I could pitch one in my back yard and not be that far away from the comforts of the indoors. Of course, I’d have to buy almost everything I need, including a tent. I do have a sleeping bag from my daughters’ Girl Scout days. It’s a thought, but a strange one for me. Still, I find myself thinking that being outside with nothing but a thin nylon wall between me and the outdoors would be intriguing, although I’d probably wait until spring to try it.
Then there’s traveling. I’ve decided I don’t like to travel. Oh, I like to see different places, particularly places with history and good restaurants and good bookstores, but actually getting there is pain. I don’t care for driving, which is mostly monotonous and occasionally terrifying. My wife is a great driver (and a wizard parallel parker, even left-handed), so she does most of the driving when we go somewhere. I do the navigating, and I’m good at that, except when I’m not. That’s a subject for an entire column, but not just now. Anyhow, if there were a Star Trek-style transporter available, I’d use one, even at the risk of scrambling my molecules. To be able to be some place instantly has a huge appeal for me. And don’t even think about flying. That used to be fun and an adventure, but I don’t have to tell you what a pain it has become. No, I’m comfortable where I am, with everything I need right here. That’s why my travel impulse is a strange one. I’d like to fly around the world. I’m not talking about flying around the world non-stop on one tank of gas. What I’m thinking would be fun would be to fly around the world using scheduled flights. I’ve checked and it’s possible. It would take about three days. I think I would like to go business class since I would plan to be on an airplane most of the time. I wouldn’t even leave the airports or clear customs—I would just go right on to the next flight. This is even crazier when I consider that I am mildly claustrophobic. That’s why business class. I could leave on a Friday and be back Monday if my calculations are correct. It would be cool to say I had done it.
Then, I’ve been having an impulse lately to have another career. That’s not that unusual for an early retiree like me, but I’m talking about an entirely different career. When I was in my early teens I wanted to be a rocket scientist. (I was too tall to be an astronaut then.) What dissuaded me from this career path was the sad reality that I was not very good at math, and math is important to being rocket scientists. My impulse is to take science and math classes and earn a degree in astronautical engineering. I figure with the coursework I’ve done already I can skip the core classes and things like phys ed. and go right on to advanced science classes. It would be a whole lot easier for me to earn an M.F.A. in creative writing, but becoming a rocket scientist in my 60’s sounds much more appealing, even if I am probably worse at math than I was in high school. Grandma Moses started painting when she was in her 80’s, so maybe I do have a future with NASA.
So I have these random impulses, but I’ve found if I lie down for a while, they soon pass. Thank goodness for small favors.
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Tagged as aerospace engineering, airplanes, being outdoors, Biscuit City, blogs, camping, courage, Grandma Moses, NASAS, native Americans, nature, outdoors, poetry, Prince William County, random impulses, reading, school, spring, transportation, words, work, writing
April 8, 2013 · 10:52 am
Martin D-45GA. List prince somewhere north of $17,000.
(Part of an email from my brother Ron, who had some serious health problems a number of years ago, recovered and went on to a twenty-seven year career as a pilot for Delta Airlines.)
I thought of that song as I was driving to the church for my Wednesday volunteer work. I only worked one day in March, due to my virus and dental surgery. Even though one of today’s jobs was to clean off some playground equipment, it was nice to be back.
Gene Autry’s song also is a good one in my memory, because the instructor pilot who was in the right seat for my first 767 flight sang it when I made my initial takeoff. This was my return to flying, after being off for 1 1/2 years with health issues. He said he knew things would go well on the trip when I punched all of the flight management system buttons correctly, and in rapid speed. I guess he forgot that I had been instructing the system in the MD-88 simulator. Amazing how today’s pilots are judged by punching buttons, not stick and rudder skills.
I probably should look around for a Martin D-45GA ( pictured above), as his signature song has a special meaning for me. Unfortunately, the price on one is pretty special too.
Filed under Uncategorized
Tagged as airplanes, aviation, Back in the Saddle Again, brother, career as a pilot, delta airlines, flight management system, Gene Autry, guitar, letter, pilot, recovery, transportation
March 18, 2013 · 11:47 am
I had been reading some other blogs lately and noticed that they have pictures. Lots of pictures. Even my daughter Alyssa’s Shame Squad blog (address is http://theshamesquad.blogspot.com/) has some fabulous pictures (and hilarity and recipes). With my background in essay writing, I tend to write. A lot. A friend of mine who reads a lot of blogs told me mine was usual in terms of the amount I wrote. She also said some other nice things about Biscuit City, but it would be self-serving to print them here.
I didn’t have pictures in my blog for a long time, except for the trademark picture of a biscuit on the title page. My posts were all words. I can’t figure out how to put a picture of a biscuit on this blog since I am using Word Press now, so the “cover art” is a nice picture of books. I like books. No, I love books. Then I have a picture related to the post. Please note the pretty cool picture of lightning above. Lightning is pretty cool except if you get struck by it, in which case it is pretty hot. And shocking. Ouch.
Anyhow, in line with more pictures in my posts, and fewer words (too late for that with this post), here’s a really cute kitty picture:
Isn’t that precious? We all know the internet was created so people could post really cute pictures of kitties. I love kitties and cats. I know everyone does not love cats, but we are cat people and have always had one or two in the house since we started housekeeping. Currently we have Nacho, “my” dilute tortie, and Tuxedo, Becky’s tuxedo cat. They are endlessly amusing and impress me with their ability to sleep most of the day and to ask for food at inconvenient times (.e.g, when I’m sleeping). Wacky cats! Get off the table! Stop fighting! Both of them are afraid of mice, which raises the question of how useful they are. They’re too old to be cute (Nacho is ten, a “senior cat,” and Tuxedo about six or so) and as I said mostly lie around so I guess they would best be described as “decorative.” Yes, that’s a good word to describe our cats.
I also love books, but there’s a picture of some books in the cover picture. And I like music and airplanes, so here’s a picture of some of each for you. Enjoy!
(This is a picture of a J-3 Piper Cub, a little later model of the Piper J-2 the hero of my novel, On the Wings of Morning, learned to fly on. <— Shameless plug, which is the best kind.)
(This is not a picture of actual music I have sung in the Manassas Chorale or the Chorale Ensemble or the Sanctuary Choir at our church or played in Evensong Bells, our adult handbell group. It’s generic, but I think you get the idea.)
I hope you have enjoyed these words and pictures today. Have a great day, look at some pictures of cute kitties and cool airplanes, read a book, and sing some music! You’ll enjoy all of them!