Tuesday, November 6, 2012

The end... or is it the beginning?

It's no secret that Aaron and I have struggled to recombine our lives after he started working back in Juneau. After living separate lives for more than 3 years, we both had difficulty in breaking the independent streaks that we had developed. So, after almost 13 years of marriage, Aaron and I have decided to dissolve our marriage...

Neither of us is entirely blameless in this situation... We both could have done things differently... But, we both also feel that this is the right thing for us both.

I would like to say that the pilot wife lifestyle that I am used to is not entirely to blame for our situation either... It just brought it to our attention faster than we would have seen without it.

So, new adventures on the horizon for the both of us... Aaron is currently exploring hobbies outside of aviation and hanging out with his friends. I have moved out of the house and am saving up money so I can move back down south, to be closer to my family and friends. As much as I like living in Juneau, the only reason I am here is because this is where he wanted to be.

I probably won't post much on this site in the future, as it was primarily based in my aviation world. I have two other blogs that I will post to more regularly - Getting Healthy (my take on going gluten-free and making other lifestyle changes) and Food with Friends (my cooking blog with my friend Jessie). Feel free to keep up with me there.

Thank you all for the support you have given me over the years.


Friday, September 21, 2012

Who has the time?

I love working over at the airline. It was amazing how quickly I just fell back into that world. But, it also leaves me with little to no time for pretty much anything. Is my house clean? Nope! Is the laundry done? Nuh-uh... Is the fridge full? Yes, but it is full of stuff that has gone bad and needs to be thrown away... What can I say, I wasn't the BEST house cleaner before acquiring a second job, but I'm even worse now... sigh...

Time after my primary job is spent doing homework. I received such a dismal grade in my last class that I am making myself read at least one chapter a day and do one other thing for school (research, discussion questions, working on papers, etc)... So far, I've held to it (aside from taking the time to write this post anyway)... The best thing about working on the weekends is that it is pretty slow most of the time, so I'm able to work on school work while I work... Hopefully, I'll be able to get ahead on my reading for next week.

In addition to not having time to do the basic stuff around the house, I also don't have much time to devote to cooking dinner. I love my husband and his attempts at making me dinner, but he has not quite grasped the concept of how to plan a healthy dinner... Lately, we've been taking to buying stuff for sandwiches and buying stuff from the deli that is already prepared... again, sigh... I miss being creative in the kitchen...

Friday, August 24, 2012

Balancing the Budget...

For whatever reason (and I can't seem to come up with one specific reason), our monthly expenses are going up! Partially due to the increase in hanger rent, partially due to my school expenses (tuition, books, etc), and partially due to rising grocery costs and my need to eat gluten-free foods (which are VASTLY more expensive than their gluten-counterparts)... Current options fail at this point - if I suspend my schooling for the time being, I not only delay my graduation date, but I have to start paying back student loans as of now... not a great option. We aren't confident that we can sell the Apache in this market (by far, one of our largest expenses) and break even on the loan, and we still have to put a roof over our heads and food in our bellies (the list goes on and on)...

So, what happens when your expenses exceed your income and you can't really get rid of your expenses? You find a second job... I know, you all probably think I am insane to take on a second job with everything else going on in my life... But, Aaron already has a second job on top of one that takes up great chunks of his day... Really, the only option was to find a second job that would still give me the flexibility to travel when needed for my full time job and allow me to still work on my homework. Luckily, Aaron's company was looking for PT Customer Service Agents... Awesome, right? Yep.

I started today, mostly just an introduction to the computer system. Heck, the last time I was a CSA for an airline, we used paper and pencil for the reservations and schedule... Now, I'm no stranger to technology, but it will be a bit of a learning curve to understand the system and it's multiple quirks... I may cross train in other areas, but we'll see where this goes first.

My first "full" day is tomorrow. Pray for me and my sanity (and that the coffee shop in the airport that always seems to be closed is ACTUALLY open so I can get caffeinated properly... I smelled the coffee that they brew in the back office and it's not good... but, then, I've become spoiled since getting my Keurig).

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Birthday Celebrations and More!

First, I want to say "Happy Birthday" to my husband. Today was his special day and I had fun planning it. Although, he kind of almost ruined the surprise. He was "supposed" to go to bed early last night so I could finish preparations and he was "supposed" to be off today. My original plan was to set everything up last night and then let him wake up to it... But, no... He decided that he needed to work today, and since he didn't have to go in at the butt-crack of dawn, that he could stay up with me and get up with me... crap...

Plan B meant frantically finishing the preparations this morning and (after making sure he was STAYING at work) setting up the surprise on my lunch break... I threw in a sandwich delivery just to make sure he stayed at the airport...

So, what was the surprise? I set up a little scavenger hunt for my honey. We are in that stage where you don't really know what to get for the other person because (1) he already has pretty much everything he needs and (2) you don't have a whole lot of cash to drop on a present that you know he'd really love.

So, starting out with his birthday card - I found a pretty cute one of a dog (he's just crazy about canines) that was blank inside. I wrote a simple little saying and signed it from Me, Noni, & Lijha (had to include the dogs). Then I added a little note to the bottom of the card - "If you think this is all you get today, turn the card over"

On the back of the card was clue #1 - A quote from one of our favorite books by one of our favorite authors (if we are being completely honest here, we haven't read the book in QUITE some time, but I remember when it was the center of our little world... like back in year 1 of being married). He had to use a little help from Google to "get" what it meant, but it led him to the book where he found a gift card to the local coffee shop.

By Herminio Ulibarri
Attached to the gift card was clue #2 - "A gift given with love! We call it beautiful, others call it creepy... The product of a troubled heart, the nun appeared and restored peace." - I know, not really poetry, but very well meaning. This was to point him to a beloved painting that his grandfather created. It is very special to us because it was given to us the last time we saw him. The story he told of the painting is one of loss and pain and grief. The painting was a kind of therapy (and as a closet artist myself, I completely understood its personal meaning and why he was giving it to us). He painted it after the death of one of his sons. "The nun appeared..." because he hadn't planned on painting her. Just, one day, he was painting and there she was... She helped him overcome his grief. It was not long after we received this painting that Aaron's grandfather died after a battle with lung cancer. We miss him dearly...

Anyway, I hid his gift around this painting. I have to admit that we have two - the original oil painting and a similar watercolor painting that hangs in our dining room. My original idea was to hide this gift behind the painting but it hangs too high in the living room to do so. Then I tried to put it behind the one in the dining room, but it wouldn't stay. So, I hid it behind the TV underneath the original painting. The gift was the blue-ray edition of "The Last Starfighter"... Yeah, I went there... Bring on the cheesy '80's acting and special effects!

On the case for the movie was his 3rd clue - "Greetings Starfighter! You have been chosen by the Star League to defend the frontier against Noni and the Lijha armada. Be sure to watch out for the bouncing beast! You'll find you next clue where you'll leash expect it." (Did you see what I did there? I just couldn't resist...)

This, of course, led him to our front door where we have the dogs' leashes hanging on hooks. The bouncing dog reference is for Lijha... She likes to bounce and jump at her harness and leash when she thinks she is going somewhere... Hanging on one of the hooks was a gift bag with little toy cardboard gliders... The kind you would give out at a 6-year-old's party... I always get him something fun like this for birthday or Christmas.

What better clue to put on a 6-year-old's toy but a reference to the liquor cabinet! No, he didn't get a bottle of scotch (this time) but I did hide his special dark chocolate there... He got 3 kinds - regular (70% dark), orange, and chili...He tried the chili one first. He says it has a slow burn... The final clue on the chocolate bars led him to our coffee table that is shaped like a large trunk. We keep all kinds of things in there, but mostly extra blankets for when company comes. To make it easier to clean the living room, I added the castors that came with it to the bottom... Aaron hates it on wheels because it pushes away anytime he tries to prop his feet up on it, but to his credit, he hasn't tried to remove the wheels (yet)...

I hid his last gift under the table, primarily because he would know something was up if I tried to put it inside the table (as was my original plan)... The only time the table is clear enough to remove the hidden top is when we have it cleaned off for company... The rest of the time it looks like a bomb went off and scattered random mail, magazines, cups, and dog toys on it... Had I disturbed any of this, he would have KNOWN something was up...

His last gift was a set of random coupon cards... Mostly I wrote things on them that I thought he would appreciate... Like "ONE FREE Movie Night" or "FREE PASS from taking out the garbage" or - his personal favorite - "ONE FREE Homework-Free Night"... I required that he give me at least a day's notice when he wants to invoke one of these cards simply because I may need to shuffle things around to make sure I can accommodate the due dates of various assignments...

Birthday dinner was at our new favorite restaurant downtown - he got sushi and I got Chicken Udon soup. I shared my pot-stickers with him (it was his birthday, after all). We just got back home and need to work in the morning (him at o'crap-thirty), so we won't be doing anything else too crazy... Like breaking out the absinthe (last year's birthday present)...


Aaron has been working on a video of him flying at work (well, of him flying - I don't think he would call it "work")... It was taken on a VERY nice (VERY RARE) day here not too long ago. It was a beautiful flight and I hope you enjoy it :) PS - Look for the heart-shaped lake!

Monday, June 25, 2012


Due to Aaron's new job (and his lack of availability to get vacation time this summer) we will not be going to Arlington this year... We are kind of bummed about it, but OK with it too... We decided to postpone our vacation to go to the Reno Air Races in September instead.

But, in the mean time, we are hankering to go camping with the plane. The problem? Most of the camping sites that you can fly to are unworthy of being graced with the presence of our Apache 235 (read: we are not awesome enough to be the Super-Cub that can easily fly in/out of those locations). Luckily, we learned about a fly-in at Atlin, BC, just over the ice-field from us! It takes like 45 minutes to fly there! Which means, that we can fly there for about $250 instead of the $2,000+ that it costs us in fuel to fly to Arlington and back.

Did you notice that I said BC? As in British Columbia? As in Canada? Yup, we will be camping in Canada this weekend. Glad I got my passport last year!

We had to do quite a bit of preliminary preparations to go. We are bringing the dogs with us, so that is adding extra challenges. We used to take our old dog camping in Idaho, but neither Lijha or Noni have been camping before. This ought to be fun.

We picked up the necessary documents for the dogs. There was some conflicting information available on the internet. Some websites stated we just needed vaccination records and others stated we needed health certificates that had been certified by the USDA... After a couple of phone calls to customs on both sides of the border, we were told that current rabies certificates will suffice, as long as they clearly identify the dogs by their colors, size, etc. Sweet!

Another thing that we have to contend with is the EAPIS requirements to fly in/out of the US. Aaron set up an account with customs (that I forgot about) last year when he flew with a couple of other pilots ferrying two airplanes to Alaska. Aaron got our EAPIS stuff done and we have our authorization emails already... Check that off the list!

All we have left is to gather our camping gear that is spread between the hanger and the garage and get it prepped and ready to go. Oh yeah, and we need to do some grocery shopping to accommodate my dietary restrictions. We leave after I get off work on Friday!

Thursday, June 14, 2012


Just wow.... It has been a REALLY long time since I posted anything... I blame school and Aaron, in that order... (School first, all other free time is spent with Aaron, now that he is home every day)...

So, since February, we (finally) bought bedroom furniture. Aaron had to fix the headboard to make it stronger (so we didn't break it while sitting up against it). This is what happens when you buy the "cheap" furniture rather than the 3-times-as-expensive furniture also available at the same store. But, $20 bucks at Home Depot will fix that right up for you :)

We also bought a new car. I FINALLY got rid of my crappy Ford Focus (nothing personal against the car - it was a great car that never let us down - but I really hate Fords... "Fords SUCK" was a constant phrase in my house growing up - but I digress). The driving force behind getting a new car was that Lijha kept hitting her head on the ceiling of the car. We test drove a bunch of cross-over vehicles (Subaru, Dodge, Jeep - mostly to get the 4x4 capabilities for the winters here) and didn't like any of them. We knew we did not want a full-sized SUV (WAY TOO HIGH MPG). On a whim, we test drove a mini-van AND LOVED IT.... So, now, I am the proud owner of a 2010 Chrysler Town & Country (oh, yeah, and Aaron is too)...

Now that Aaron is back home, we do stuff together on Saturdays (our one day off together). Recently, we were able to take a trip up to the Herbert Glacier by helicopter.
Jen & Aaron on the Glacier :)

Deep pool that we landed next too :)

Not a very good picture of Jen, but proof that I was there

Our ride to the top!


Friday, February 17, 2012

Home again!

Aaron is home! I am excited! He is done with Bethel and we have all next week off together for when his parents come visit us.

He came home yesterday and we went out to dinner last night. What a change "coming home" has done for us, at least in the short term... We usually go out to dinner several times while he is home, but it seems that we just don't have anything to talk about. He usually pulls out his iPhone while we are waiting for the food. It's actually quite sad... But, last night, he didn't pull out his cell phone once in the almost 2 hours we were at the restaurant. He would tell me stories about his last few days at work. I would tell him about my new diet that the doctor put me on, why I'm on it, and what results we expect to see... We talked about the upcoming visit with his parents. We talked about the errands that we will do this weekend. We just talked... It was so nice!

I'm so glad to have him home again. :)

Friday, January 27, 2012

Changes lead to adjustments...

Shortly after Aaron came home this shift, he had an interview... with a local company... That starts at the end of February... We are both ecstatic! and at least a little bit scared (at least I am)

After 3 and half years of him being away half the month, every month, I have gotten used to spending time by myself, taking up as much of the bed and blankets as I want, and have my own schedule where I don't have to answer to anyone for anything... That will all change on February 16th (Feb 15th if I'm lucky)... Then, he will be home for good!

I need to remember back to a time when we were both here, both contributing to the household, both responsible for what goes on... It's hard to remember back that far...

Aaron's going to have to get used to a regular menu each month (or else I won't cook). When he's been home, I've overlooked his avoidance of planning for dinner. He usually doesn't even think of food until 8:00 PM or so... When I need to adhere to a specific grocery budget (and I will, starting this month), I NEED to plan what is for dinner so that I know what to buy and when, not to mention to relieve the stress of cooking meals after work and before school work...

I am looking forward to his help around the house more often. And the dogs will appreciate his presence as well... Lijha gets depressed when he leaves... She curls in a ball and mopes when she sees him pack his suitcase to leave...

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Back to the crazy thing that I call life...

Back to work... back to school... said hello and goodbye to some friends... sent my husband to work... didn't burn down my kitchen... all in all, I'd say it was a successful break. I took some time to read a book (Water for Elephants... haven't seen the movie, but the book is great!) I cooked a bunch... Basically, Christmas was pretty nice.

I did make my apple/pear butter. It was AMAZING. So addicted to that crap... I now have to keep myself supplied in english muffins so that I can snack on the awesome goodness that is apple/pear butter... I'll post the recipe and experience on my new project/blog (yes, another one) that a friend and I started... It will be a place where we can post recipes and stories of those recipes... Since she lives across the country, it should be a way for us to stay connected through food.

I kept with tradition for Christmas... I usually make Chinese food for Christmas Eve dinner... It hearkens back to a time when I didn't live near a Chinese restaurant so I was forced to make my own if I wanted it to be tasty... I did sacrifice the normal recipes for something quick and easy (still having flashbacks from Thanksgiving)... I bought some Wanchai Ferry Orange Chicken (not a fan, but it was good in the moment). I also usually make fried wontons, but I wasn't feeling that ambitious (see my previous statement about Thanksgiving). Instead, I found a recipe for baked spring rolls... Another post for my food blog... They were AMAZING and simple... although, it probably wasn't the best idea to use lumpia wrappers instead of spring roll wrappers... But what can I say... I couldn't find spring roll wrappers to save my life and the lumpia wrappers were right there... They tasted good, I've just never worked with lumpia wrappers before and some of the wrappers were thicker than they needed to be, causing us to eat the spring rolls with a knife and fork...

For Christmas Dinner, I took a page from my husband's family. They are from the American Southwest (ABQ, to be specific) and always make Posole for Christmas... So, I had a pot of posole going on the stove, a tasty pork roast cooking away in the crock pot, and taco fixin's in the making (my addition to the family feast... I just love tacos)... Although, after our day at the firing range to play with my new toy (yeah, that's right, I am the proud new owner of a Smith & Wesson 22 Pistol), we were so wore out (and cold) that we kind of skipped dinner and fell asleep mid afternoon... Best thing about this kind of mexican food? It keeps really well and kept us fed for days :)

Aaron and Lijha, passed out on the couch... Noni is passed out on the floor behind the table... Christmas Comas all around!

Spent the days around New Year's experiencing copious amounts of liquor... I don't usually drink to that excess, but sometimes, it must be done. Side note? I'm apparently really fun when drinking margaritas :)