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Sunday morning....

It's perfect weather outside, and at LAST!  I am off to the used book sale at the library!!!!!  I missed last year's and this year, of course, my team and I are doing serious battle with the EC130 that's been sitting in our shop for over a year.  We're so close to getting it out of the shop and on its way to get painted and sent on back to its home base, so we're working overtime, and until yesterday, I was going to be spending today there, doing work on the hydraulic systems.  BUT!  DC decided yesterday afternoon that we needed the day off.  YAAAAAY!!!!  BOOKS!!!  :-D
I've just gotten in from aerial class- I typically go Tuesdays and Thursdays (Sundays too sometimes, if I've missed a day during the week).  I learned a new drop tonight on the fabric, and revisited a couple of old ones.  Cranked out 5 pull-ups on the trapeze bar (sad, I know, but when I started going back in early March I couldn't even do one- and had I pushed tonight, I might've gotten to 8!), did straddles and eggs without touching the ground (and am working soooo hard on keeping my legs straight for straddles- I've almost got it!), did a not-too-bumpy one-and-a-half star on the rope and even fit in an ankle hang- which I held for about 7 excruciating seconds!

I've had several people comment on how much happier I seem now that I'm doing aerial regularly.  And I do feel better- I'm not sure if it's the exercise (endorphins and all that) or the fact that I enjoy it so much, but it definitely does good things for my mental health.  I'm nervous about performing- there's a student show in November, and I've never been someone who likes being in front of people for any reason, but I'm slowly getting used to the idea, and hopefully by the time the show actually rolls around, I'll be excited.  In the meantime, though, the learning process is fun- if occasionally frustrating and almost always painful- and the teachers and other students are great.  The atmosphere is very welcoming and tremendously supportive, which is such a great way to learn anything!  The regular instructors take workshops and classes from the guest teachers right along with the rest of us, and I always, always walk out feeling better than I did when I walked in- even when I can't get a particular move down.  It really has been a great thing for me.

One of these weekends, I'll hike again, now that the weather is warm.  If I ever stop procrastinating.  And working on Saturdays.  And then I will post pictures of my lovely state!  But in the meantime: 

Night 1 campsite @ the top of the Redwall, Tanner Trail, April 2012 Escalante Route, Grand Canyon

I DO have a life outside of work!!!

I've had a nutty couple of weeks.  The internet was down for about a week or so, (and to be honest, I debated for a while as to whether or not to just cancel it- it can be such a time-waster for me!!), and I've been working.  A lot.  However, I did eventually get off my butt and get the internet fixed, and we did eventually get rid of our previous project (after copious snags and setbacks, which were as varied as they were frustrating....), and things are settling down a bit. 

I've been doing aerial (fabric, static trapeze, lyra) for the last couple of weeks at a place here in town.  It's been great- I'm getting stronger and more flexible again, and I'd forgotten just how much fun it is for me.  The school recently purchased a corde lisse (rope), and that I'm REALLY stoked about.  I love fabric (so pretty!) but rope is cleaner, and you really have to nail everything you do up there, because there's nothing to hide behind.  On the other hand, it does also result in some truly impressive bruises....

Because I've been spending two (sometimes three) nights a week doing aerial, I've also managed to make some friends outside of work.  That's been really cool, but also kind of strange- I'm not usually that social, but my calender has definitely been full the last few weeks.  There's a group of maybe 10 people that are there regularly, and everyone's very welcoming.  It's nice- I kind of feel like I've found my people!!!

And speaking of buddies from work, several of us are going to go out and hike James Peak on the 26th.  I'm excited about that- I keep wanting to go hiking, as I haven't hiked since I got back from the Canyon, but the weather has been really gloomy both of the weekends I haven't worked, so I haven't made it out yet.  This will be a good way to start the season up here!  Not to mention it's a needed kick in the butt!!  Can't wait! 

Another shot from the Grand Canyon:

Seventy-five Mile Canyon along Escalante Route, with the South Rim in the background

EPIC backpacking trip!!

A preview of other pics to come:

I spent six days backpacking in the Grand Canyon with my family last week.  It was incredible!!  We hiked in on the Tanner Trail out of Lipan Point, then followed the Escalante Route along the Colorado River for 3 days.  The above was taken the evening of the third day of the trip, from the beach at Escalante Rapids, where we camped that night. We hiked out on the Tonto East Trail, up to Horseshoe Mesa and then on Grandview Trail up to Grandview Point. It was truly the experience of a lifetime, and I'm so glad I got to do it.  Thanks Mom and Dad, for all the planning you guys did, and for giving my brother and I what was, hands down, the most amazing family vacation ever!!!


Contortionist Barbie

I feel like I spent most of my week stuffed into the tail boom of the aircraft.  I didn't, of course, but I did spend a lot of time there on Thursday and Friday, and part of yesterday as well.  And there's still more to do on Monday.  Sigh.  Actually, the worst part, hands down, was the install.

In which I spend lots of time pretzled into various uncomfortable positions and wondering who decided this aircraft mechanic thing sounded like a good career ideaCollapse )
Result: One mostly reassembled AS350, and one sweaty, cramped, irritated mechanic who's seriously considering a career change...

I would've rather gone hiking...

...but instead had to work today.  Happily, it's the first Saturday I've had to work since late February, so that's a plus.  But it signals the start of another furious round on the treadmill that has been my job this year.

We have an RTS date for our current aircraft- a drop-in that arrived four weeks ago for inspections.  We're shooting to have it out by the 6th of April, which is do-able if we don't run into major problems, but will still be a push.  Since Pitbull's accident two weeks ago, and with the loan of SR to another team, we are back to only myself and DC on the team- which is a blessing and a curse.  A curse, because, well, it means there's only two of us to do the work intended for three (but we're used to functioning this way.  So far, for the three years we've been a team, the longest a third mechanic has lasted with us has been six months.  We can be rather unwelcoming...), and we aren't always productive.  But a blessing because, like I said, we're used to it, and we work together very, very well.  I don't think I've ever been on a team that's worked as well as the one I'm on now.  Nobody gets in anybody's way, nobody bus checks anybody else, and we've all got a great sense of humor.  So if I do have to work all the Saturdays between now and my vacation (which looks likely!), at least I get to hang out with my guys and we have a good time.

Maybe tomorrow I'll go hiking.  Hopefully it will be sunny; today turned cloudy, which makes me a bit sad. In the meantime, though, I have dinner plans tonight, which I get to dress up for (yay!!!  I never get to dress up!!).  And I need to go get ready!

Evil DST

How many ways do I hate DST??  That, I will say, was the one thing Arizona did right- no "reset your clocks arbitrarily" because really!!!  It's the same amount of daylight either way.  You're not gaining and hour, or losing an hour, you're just taking that hour of daylight that yesterday was at the beginning of the day and putting it at the end.  Which means that for the past month or so, I've been getting up for work when it's light.  And now, thanks to DST, suddenly I've been booted back into the middle of winter.

I only mention this because for some reason it really screws with my internal systems for a long time- usually a couple of weeks every year.  And that makes me cranky and bad-tempered, which is miserable for me and all the people around me.  And I'm really confused as to why 48 states are still stuck in the dark ages- after all, the other 2 states that have abolished it are functioning perfectly well.  Surely it is time to get rid of this nonsense???

In other news...

I went back to aerial class on Thursday.  I haven't been since the summer, and oh lord, am I SORE!!  So sore, in fact, that I skipped on hiking yesterday (bad Lena!!  I have a 40 mile backpacking trip with the family in April, and I haven't trained.  At all.  BAD LENA!!!) in favor of a hot bath, a lot of stretching and a nap in the afternoon.  I'm contemplating going again this afternoon...  Must do all of my chores first, though- there's a waist-high mountain of laundry lurking in the hallway that I need to quit ignoring and tackle before it completely takes over.

Speaking of the backpacking trip, I've been badly need of a lightweight rain jacket- I hiked a lot in the fall and am looking forward to doing that again as soon as the weather improves a bit.  So I splurged (only a little!) and bought a Gore-Tex jacket the other night.  In my defense, yes, I do kind of need it (I was taking the outer shell of my snowboarding jacket, which is kind of stiff and very heavy), and what's more, it was ON SALE!  Clearance, even, and fits well.  So I'm happy- can't wait to go hike in the rain!  Now all I need are some pants (unless I intend to wear cargo shorts the whole time, which I might be able to get away with, depending on the weather) and I'm set.

Still contemplating a Kindle...  (hey, I have a backpacking trip coming up!  And I can't very well lug a bunch of books along, right??)
Chicago Lakes last summer.  A hike I'm definitely doing again!

Mar. 7th, 2012

Today: the only guy in the shop more klutzy and accident-prone than I am reclaimed the title of "Most Recently Injured" by falling down the stairs outside the hangar (it was icy) and breaking his collarbone.

I previously had held the aforementioned title thanks to a spectacularly idiotic move- about a month ago I was making a smoothie for breakfast.  In my defence, we'd been working 70 and 80 hour weeks for awhile (my first weekend off since Christmas was President's Day, if that tells you anything), and it was 6 AM (I am Not At My Best in the mornings...).  I have a stick/immersion/hand blender (whatever you want to call it- looks like this: 
Cuisinart CSB-77 Smart Stick Hand Blender with Whisk and Chopper Attachments
except mine isn't cordless.  The sharp spinning bit disconnects from the top where the black line is.  You push the button to make it go.).  I had mostly finished the smoothie and pulled this nifty gadget out of the container.  There was a bit of fruit caught up under the blade, so being smart, I stuck my right index finger up under the blade to pry it out.  And then I hit the button with my left hand.  And then I went to the ER for stitches.  Why I didn't unplug it, I'm not sure.  Why I didn't disconnect the sharp bit from the motor, I'm not sure.  It was a pretty good cut and it does still twinge, even though it's completely healed by now.  My pride, however, has not totally recovered.  And I'm a bit leery of blenders.  (Oh, and anybody remember the razor blade incident of August 2010?  Same finger.)

Before that, my injured co-worker (who, for future reference, I'll refer to as Pitbull) had held the title for about a month after he shot himself in the face with hydraulic fluid.  We swap out every so often.

This is why I'm afraid of a Kindle...

choose one of the following:

The highest draw from my bank account tonight was:

a) food for the next 3 days or so.
b) my most recent amazon.com order.
c) my bar tab, after spending 3 hours in training on The Software System From Hades.
d) my rent.
e) aerial class or snowboarding.

If you chose b)...you'd be right....(because d) hasn't cleared yet, and anybody who knows me or has followed this blog for any length of time (and, oh gee, you've had to, given that I've been TOTALLY AWOL for the last just about year or so) knows that c) is a SUBSTANTIAL amount. And really, I don't eat that much...except baked goods...and I haven't been doing much baking...sad, so that lets out a).  And unfortunately e) is a massive fail beacuse after all, despite good intentions, I'm really lazy at heart (and both of these options require money.  And, more importantly, TIME.  Which I've been short on, being as I've done NOTHING BUT WORK for the past TWO MONTHS!!!!!!  Not that you'd know.  Cause guess what else I haven't been doing?  Oh yeah!!!  UPDATING!!!!!!!  Good grief, I fail at blogging.  And keeping a positive attitude.  And self-control when it comes to books.)  Oh, but such good therapy...and what an amazing, sustaining place to go when the real world fails and life is crap...wow.  If I had unlimited access to books, who knows the reaches of my endurance or the depths of my capabilities?

My aerial coach is moving to Vancouver, which is exciting for her, and crappy for me.  We really got along, I liked her style of teaching, and she pushed me.  I really felt like I was improving under her, and now I have to start over and try to find a new coach.  I'd gone to several before her, and nobody really clicked.  But I tried a new place last night, and it worked out ok, so I'm cautiously optimistic.  This has become very important recently, because other than reading (a wonderful but passive activity) and snowboarding (a winter-only thing), my only other therapy was aerial (silks and spanish web) and flying trapeze.  It's been too windy and unpredictable weather-wise to fly these past few weeks, and I've been in serious need of active therapy.  So hopefully this works out.

We have a gigantic customer tour coming through at work tomorrow.  We're also having the hangar floors painted.  And since my crew STILL doesn't have an aircraft to work on (our last one left the second week of February), we've been stuck in one big round of CLEAN ALL THE THINGS!!! for the past week.  It's miserable.  You never realize just how much crap has accumulated in the hangar until you have to move it all out and find somewhere else to store it.  If I have to dismantle and then reassemble one more set of shelving I'm going to scream.  The finished floors do look nice though....



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