It’s been so many years since I’ve been to downtown St. Louis.

Travel Week

Monday: DEN > BWI > STL

When I was a new flight attendant, one of our hotels was so far into the downtown area that you could practically throw a rock and hit the famous arch, not that I would ever do such a thing. Then, for years we weren’t even close to downtown, one hotel in Westport, and I don’t remember where our other hotel was.

One of my favorite downtown St. Louis memories: I walked around the city, looking for breakfast. I came across an old-looking diner that was somewhat run-down and looked like it hadn’t been updated since the 50s or 60s. I walked inside, and one of the servers even had a bouffant-style hairdo. I thought that I had discovered some kind of throw-back, 50s-themed diner. On further inspection, I realized that this was just who these people were. This wasn’t a show or a theme restaurant.

There was one long grill that sort of reminded me of the setup of a Waffle House kitchen. The oddest part of this whole experience was that the lady standing behind the grill held a spatula in one hand and, on the other hand, a lit cigarette. She’d flip someone’s pancakes and turned to take a drag off the cigarette. Next, she would turn someone’s eggs and again take another puff. This was seriously like The Twilight Zone in my mind. The best part of this story is the fact that I couldn’t taste her cigarette smoke in my grits and eggs.

Dinner tonight was at a restaurant called Charlie Gitto’s, Italian food that has been here for over 30 years. I told the hotel concierge what I was craving, and this is the place that he sent me to. I ordered some muscles and order of lasagna.

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The muscles were just ok. Nothing wonderful, though.

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The lasagna more than made up for the lacking muscles! Next time I’ll just get the lasagna.

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A beautiful scene on my walk back to the hotel. See the famous arch in the background?

ZL0eTD%uTbWbtXzkFWJXlwOn my way back to the hotel, I stopped in the hotel lobby Starbucks for some herbal mint tea. I think that we really underestimate the power of herbs. This is perfect since the nights are getting colder, and I really wanted to sip on something terrible for myself. This is actually how I show supreme control over my cravings since I really just wanted a hot chocolate.

Tuesday: STL > TPA

TPAWhen I got to my Tampa hotel, it had just dawned on me that I hadn’t eaten any solid food yet that day. That explained why I had a horrible stomachache and had the shakes. To be honest, I had such a great morning working with my crew on our flight from St. Louis that I didn’t even think about eating.

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Legendary flight attendant Jacky (taken in 1977)

This was a Dallas-based crew and among them was a gal named Jacky, who was hired in 1976, or in other words, when I was one year old! The company wasn’t even formed until 1971, and so as you can see, she is one of the first! She is such an awesome person! Unfortunately, she has run into some hard times in her life recently, and all I’m going to say is that I am so glad that I can count her as a friend! We had a long and heartfelt chat.

I feel that sometimes too many meetings and interactions are dismissed as mere coincidence. Both Jacky and I feel like this meeting is more than happenstance. I plan on keeping her in my life!

6UG0ZoDbQDSrNAB9NgqILQMy pain of hunger was soon relieved, and I walked down the street to the Waffle House. I have been to this location before, so I’m not allowed to count it as a new one for number 100 on my bucket list, which is to eat at 100 different Waffle Houses. It was still delicious, and I got my usual fiesta omelet with a side of grits.

After filling my belly, I walked to a nearby cinema and saw Murder on the Orient Express. The movie was fantastic! It was pretty different than I thought it would be. My only complaint is that so much information was thrown at me all at once that I will probably have to go see it again. I guess I’ll wait for it to get to Redbox.

Wednesday: TPA > PHL > DEN

One of my favorite burger spots is Bad Daddy. It was great to grab 4 of my crashpad roommates and drive to Thornton for some “family” bonding. Sometimes life in a crashpad is stressful and makes me want to pull all of the hair out of my head. I’d swear that some of my roommates have never lived away from mommy and daddy’s house. I’m not going to mention any names because I know a couple of these offenders occasionally read this blog.

On the flip side, there are these times where we’re really bonding as a group, and it does feel more like a real family.

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Thursday: DEN > MCI

I’ve said it before, and I’ll keep saying it- I love days where I only have to work one leg. It makes this P.M. shift a little easier to handle. Passengers are less likely to drink in the mornings and are therefore less likely to make stupid choices. I ended my day in Kansas City, Missouri. Thursday night was a slam-click since I was dog-tired.

Friday: MCI > AUS > EWR

We finished our Friday, just before midnight. My co-worker Brooke and our first officer (whose name I don’t recall) met for a late dinner at the hotel bar. It’s always great when crews get together off the plane, although it’s weird seeing them in regular clothes. I ordered a Cuban sandwich.

This morning I set out in a Lyft to go to the mall. The four-mile drive literally took my driver 40 minutes. He was getting so into whatever he was talking about that he kept taking the wrong turns and the ride ended up costing me so much more than it would have. The kicker: His G.P.S. was right, but he wasn’t paying any attention to it! No tip for you! I complained, and Lyft gave me most of my money back.

When he finally dropped me off, I walked around for a bit (this counts as a workout). I bought some new shoes (I may have left a shoe in one of my hotels last week, and I need two, you see), and I saw Justice League. Turns out that this may be the best D.C. Comics movie so far… at least I think so.

It’s time to get ready for work. I’m posting this now since I’m not done until late tonight, and I’ll probably forget if I don’t. Here’s to hoping for safe/quick flights and passengers who don’t want to drink, only sleep!

…and now- the conclusion of Scotland 5

Scotland 5: Day 58

04.27.16 | Newark > Denver | 07:27

When we landed at JFK last night, I Uber’d my way into Newark, New Jersey. That ride was horribly expensive, but my body ached a little bit from not getting any sleep on the long leg. I found a hotel for about $110 but struggled with the decision to book it at first. I thought I wouldn’t be able to fall asleep since my body hadn’t adjusted to back to a U.S. time yet. Then, I decided that it would feel so good to lay down on a bed, rather than pull an all-nighter on the floor of the airport in Newark.

I laid down on the hotel bed and was probably out cold in about 24 seconds or less. Just like I suspected, three hours later I was laying bed, wide awake. This is probably going to be the case for the next three days or so. At the moment, I don’t have to work until the 5th of May, but once my body adjusts, I may pick up a trip sooner than that. I love the flexibility of my job!

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I have had the most awesome seat companion on this flight! The woman sitting across the aisle from me had a cute little dog with her. This was her “emotional support animal” (don’t get me started on that subject!). I noticed that she looked tired and kept trying to fall asleep. Every time she’d doze off, the little dog would move around and it would wake her up. After watching this for awhile, I just told the lady that if she wanted me to hold her dog, I’d be happy to, so she could get some rest. She handed me over her “little girl” whose name is Kierrie.

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Denver > Salt Lake City | 13:01

After a quick jaunt to my crashpad in Thornton to grab my house and car keys, I’m back on the plane. Excited to be home and sleep in my own bed! I’m feeling a little bit emotional and exhausted (and emotionally exhausted!). I am so thankful to have had this experience. Yes, I have been to Scotland a few times, but each trip only gets better. I love building on what I’ve learned about this culture, these places, and these people. I am by no means an expert, but maybe I will be someday.

I’m not sure when it will happen, but I’m looking forward to planning “Scotland 6”. I’ve been keeping notes about more places I’d to go, and favorite places I want to keep experiencing. Until then…

The End


Back to the beginning of Scotland 5

This will be the entry where I issue the needed apology. I went back and reread my entry from yesterday and realized that’s not where I wanted the story to go. You know how some people should never go grocery shopping on an empty stomach? Well, I think I just proved that I should probably never blog after working a long-haul out of Los Angeles. Lesson learned. My goal with this is blog after all, is to uplift and hopefully inspire others, not tear others down- not even those from southern California.

I know of a flight attendant blog that is very pessimistic in nature. The guy loves to write about all the things that passengers are doing and saying in such a negative light. He shares the things he wished he would have said to the passenger in different situations. Usually, his comments are rude, demeaning and very cutting. He brings himself across as very egotistical and tries to lift himself only. Needless to say, I stopped reading his page years ago.

As the passengers were deplaning at the end of our flight this morning, I was actually quite touched by the nice things they had to say. My crew was particularly fun and enthusiastic, which makes every bit of difference. Many of our passengers commented that they thought I was funny, that we were great, and many of them complimented us on how we handled one passenger’s situation or another. It made me really happy!

This may not be the best job in the world, but I feel like it’s one of the best jobs for me. I happen to be with a company that often recognizes those who rise above. Even though it is the aviation industry, I do feel like I’m in a safe and secure workplace. I’m going to try my best, from here-on-out to focus on the good. Sure, I’ll share the upsets too, but I hope I can share these experiences in a better light. I hope I learn from my mistakes.

Today I have been enjoying my second day off of work. It’s been a good one and I’ve spent at least part of it working on future blog entries, and some bucket list organization. I also managed to watch the movie Stranger Than Fiction. Interesting film but took me a little while to get lost in. It was pretty good, I guess.

I just got back from having dinner with Harrison and Kyle. It was Chinese food tonight and I had the kung pao chicken. It was quite delicious! I am proud of myself for sticking with my food budget this month. I even have $20 left for tomorrow to stay in!

I thought I’d write about a few more items on the bucket list tonight:

  1. There’s been a time or two when I’ve commuted home on Delta and since they happened to have an empty business class seat, they were more than willing to upgrade me, knowing that I am a flight attendant. I have found myself in full Southwest uniform, sitting in a Delta first-class. I guess that would make a good commercial for Delta, huh? The dream is to fly first class on purpose… this is bucket list item number 40: To pay full price for the seat and just pretend like I’m used to it. haha! I won’t show my crew badge and I won’t tell any working crew that I’m a flight attendant.
  2. Item number 54 is to go to Jerusalem. I think this could be an incredible experience! I wonder if BYU has a course I can take to learn about it, but not have to be a student at BYU- I was never smart enough to even apply for BYU. I really need to do some research on that. Is anyone aware of this?
  3. I’m told there is a place on a mountain or hill on the coast of Maine that is the very first place that you can witness a sunrise within the United States. How cool would it be to do this on New Years’ day? To be one of the first people to witness this at the start of a new year?! This is the fodder that bucket lists are made of, and is number 65 on my own list.

Thanks to winter storm Kayla, I’ll be spending the next two days hanging out in Thornton. Nothing against Thornton- I have a great crashpad here and some great roommates, but I was so looking forward to two nights in my own bed. As you probably know, I’ve been working a lot lately for my upcoming vacation and that means that even two nights in my own bed is a blessing! Oh well. Tonight there will be food, a movie, talking a roommate into making a snow angel and hopefully, some hot tub marinating.

I’m reminded of another snow storm here in Thornton, back in April 0f 2013. Jeff has this trike thingy (I’m not sure what it’s for) and for some reason, he decided that it would be fun to be dragged around the snowy neighborhood streets. Thought I’d upload that video. I managed to cut it down to just over 3 minutes. Here you go:

Today is a crashpad day. Aft working for six days in a row, the F.A.A. requires a flight attendant to take at least 24 hours off. I have, however, just finished working eight days in a row. This is possible because after getting back early on the sixth day, there was a 24-hour break, and then I started a P.M. trip on day number seven. This means that today’s plan is to hang out here, not cheat on my Herbalife diet, pick up one of my roommates at the airport, and hopefully get some cardio in. I have yet to emerge from the warm basement this morning. Also, it’s time to talk about a few items on the bucket list.

  1. I feel like I have been neglecting my neighbor to the north. Coming in at number 12 on the bucket list is to visit every province in Canada. So far, my exposure to Canada has been a couple of visits to the north side of Niagara Falls and a camping/road trip with friends up to Banff National Park and Calgary. I know that Canada has so much to offer too. I’m not sure when this trip will happen, but it needs to happen nonetheless.
  2. Speaking of Canada, number 38 on the list would be to stay at the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise. This is a fantastic hotel in a fantastic setting. I visited the lake on the trip as mentioned above, but we didn’t stay there. The hotel looks so wonderful!
  3. Number 23 on my list is to go on a cruise. The closest I’ve come to a cruise is an overnight ferry crossing from Aberdeen, Scotland, up to Shetland in 2011. This was a 12 hour overnight passage (if my memory is working), and even though there was a dining room, bar, and cinema, it didn’t have all the thrills of an actual cruise. I have never been on a cruise because I think the person or people I go with are going to be what makes the trip for me, not so much the cruise itself. There’d better be karaoke!
  4. Have you heard about the most expensive coffee in the world? It’ll cost you somewhere around $50 for a single cup. It’s brewed from coffee beans that are fed to elephants. The un-chewed beans that pass through Dumbo are pooped out and collected. Then they brew those beans. You may think drinking this overpriced crap-coffee is on my bucket list- not so! If you know me, you know that I don’t drink coffee, but I do LOVE the smell of coffee! Number 35 on the bucket list is to ride on an elephant (the poop/coffee talk was just to throw you off the scent).

We didn’t have to report to the Newark airport until 17:30.

This morning was great! I had time to run around in New York City for a few hours. Last week, when I realized this was a possibility, I knew I wanted to go get breakfast at Bubby’s, located in Tribeca and home of some darn good sourdough pancakes!

During work yesterday, I really talked this place up to the other two flight attendants. After all, another coworker had told me about Bubby’s, and I feel the best thing to do is pay it forward by spreading the culinary love. I called Kristel, my coworker, and told her she had 20 minutes to get ready. I tried getting ahold of our other flight attendant, but she didn’t answer her phone. Her loss.

Kristel had her mindset on taking the train over, but I didn’t want to take an hour-and-a-half getting there. I talked her into splitting an Uber fare with me. It was perfect! Our driver was amiable and was able to drop us off right in front of Bubby’s.

We sat down, and the very first thing I said to our server was that we’d be having the sourdough pancakes. She told us that they no longer made them! I’m generally not a colossal sourdough fan, but these were something different! It was nice when I voiced my opinion, and she told me that she would grab me a comment card. A FREAKIN’ COMMENT CARD? I had to settle for some sort of pulled pork, eggs benedict meal, which, although very delicious, just wasn’t my sourdough pancakes.

Soon we were joined by Thomas, one of Kristel’s childhood friends from Texas- she hadn’t seen him since about the first grade. Thomas is a very nice guy who now lives on the upper west side and works in Manhattan real estate. I told him that I’d have him find me a pied-a-terre someday. I heard that word in the movie Baby Mama and always wanted to use it in a sentence. I’m not even sure what that is.

Thomas walked with us to find a good shopping area (I needed to buy a new coat- all I had was a jacket that was part of my Flight Attendant uniform), and on our way, we took us by the firehouse that was used in the movie Ghostbusters back in the ‘80s. Way cool!

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We stopped at one store, and the jacket I wanted to buy cost $220 (eeeeek)! I was actually tempted to get it, but thank goodness they didn’t have one my size. We left and soon found an H&M where the prices were much more reasonable. I ended up purchasing a wool coat and scarf for a lot less!

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Thomas had to get to work, so he left us to explore on our own. We walked around for a couple hours until working up an appetite for lunch. Naturally, we ended up at my favorite restaurant in the city, Morandi. Seriously great Italian food! A trip to NYC without eating there wouldn’t be half as nice!

We got back to our hotel just after 14:00. I managed to take a pretty awesome hour-and-a-half nap before having to get up and get ready. We only had to work one leg from Newark to Denver, and all except one of our passengers were extremely kind. I’m not going to bash the one guy who seems to have some personal issues. Bless his heart.
This afternoon I happened to run into one of my friends from my days at Utah State University! I was walking in the terminal, and I heard someone call my name. I turned around, and it was Allyn Shaw! I haven’t seen that boy in about 13 years or so! He looked good! I should have gotten a picture with him but didn’t think about it until later.

Tonight I’m back at the crashpad. We have a houseful of roommates, so I guess that means I will get little-to-no sleep tonight. That is usually the case with a houseful of young flight attendants who don’t know how to share a house with others. I don’t have work tomorrow, so maybe I’ll drug myself! I think I have some expired Zzzquil in the drawer.

It was a long day today and I’m so happy to be off of my feet! We worked from BHM to HOU to LAX to DEN. The coolest part of my day was when I got to meet Val Young of The Mary Jane Girls featuring Val Young. They are a group who were big in the ‘80s with Motown Records. Click here to see Val’s Wikipedia page.  We went to the back galley and sang for each other. She sang me an Aretha Franklin song and I sang to her a few lines of Heaven Help Me by Wynonna. She gave me some valuable information and we exchanged cell phone numbers. She was a great gal- I’d love to hear her sing live someday.

Here’s a Val Young recording:


And here’s Heaven Help Me by Wynonna:

 

Tonight I finished up my online work for my annual recurrent training. Every year I wait until the very last minute to do this. I’m such a horrible procrastinator! Anyway, tomorrow is the actual recurrent training class so I finished it just in time! I’ll get to sit around for 8 hours in this class. Are you jealous? Sooo not looking forward to this but our evil government requires it of me.

I had to wake up very early this morning to take some of my crashpad roommates to the airport. I thought I’d take advantage of the fact that I was out and about and ran to Walmart to grab Reba’s new album. I would have grabbed it yesterday when it was released, but I didn’t have vehicle access. Plus I didn’t feel up to walking this far. Without any further ado, here’s41-secondond video for you.

I’m sitting at the crashpad, chatting with Victor, one of our newly hired flight attendants. The boy talks a lot, but he passes the test since he seems to be very kind. This is his second month at the airline, and he was just telling me about his hellish commute from Oakland to Denver last night. The poor boy almost got stranded at LAX. Even though he didn’t land until the wee hours of the morning, he still made it.

His stories brought back many memories from just over 10 years ago when I too was new to this world of traveling for a living. I am the first one in my family to travel for a living and it’s been a great ride. It was new, fun and exciting, but nothing compares to what it is now. Like any job, after awhile the longer you’re a flight attendant, the better things can be. That is the case if you love what you’re doing. As great as it was, I wouldn’t go back to those first days for anything.

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