My Angel Dog

I think that sometimes in life we are each given a little mini miracle to help us get through our days. Well guess what guys.. I got mine in the form of a Labradoodle named Truman. 

I had been researching and praying and researching and praying some more and then researching just a little bit more for the perfect dog breed. And I thought I had found it in a Xolo.. Otherwise known as a Mexican Hairless dog, and had even found a rescue in Phoenix! He weighed about 7 pounds and had no hair other than a coarse white Mohawk on his bald little head. I was all set, and almost ready to go when I happened to talk to a veterinary student who said something to this effect:

“Uh.. Have you seen the size of the hawks and owls around here?”

Good point. Real, real great point. Seeing my precious little dog flying away in the grasp of a monster owl would traumatize me. For life. He then told me that a Labradoodle would be my best bet and I happened to find one at a poodle rescue in Phoenix .. And the rest is sweet, sweet history. 

Now I know that you will think that I am biased, and maybe I am, but Truman is, by all acounts, an angel sent straight from Heaven. In one day, he learned how to fetch, sit, walk off leash and now can do so much more. He is my constant companion, my confidant, and is quickly becoming one of my fastest friends. He sleeps by the foot of my bed, only barks when someone is at the door, and smiles at me whenever I look at him. Literally. Smiles. Every time. And wags his tail.. You know Thumper the rabbit from Bambi? Well imagine that sound coming from a very long, very strong tail and then you hear what I hear 85% of the day and it sounds like beautiful music to me. 

You know how they say money can’t buy happiness? Well, it bought me Truman .. And that is pretty darn close. 

I’m sure that I will regale you all with the Adventures of Maggie and Truman in the future, but for now, just know that he is a golden, happy, bundle of love and has opened a little place in my heart that I didn’t know was there. 

So. Now back to the mice. Mr. Exterminator did diddly squat to improve  my situation (the mouse situation, that is) and I have caught a total of about 14. He did inform me, however, that mice use their own fece and urine trails to navigate around the house, that they almost always carry parasites that will jump hosts when the original one dies, and that there really wasn’t much he could do about it. Cool bro, thanks for telling. 

Anyway, I had it under control for a couple of weeks and just today we had a bit of a relapse. I put one of those peanut butter scented sticky pads under the sink with a nice crunchy corn chip right smack dab in the middle.. because who can’t resist that? And when I got home today, in the place of the nice crunchy corn chip was an abnormal amount of droppings and an abhorant amount of grey fur. Meaning, I have a half naked-escape artist- potentially parched- mouse running around my house. So that’s cool too. 

And I saw a black and orange striped Gila Monster! And a tarantula that was half bright orange that reared back in its hind legs at me! And a few rattle snakes.. living and dead.. and lizards and jack rabbits and you get the picture. 

The reason I haven’t written much about my flying down here is I haven’t really been doing much if it.. There have been quite a few complications with financial aid and scheduling, but I will still finish by the end of this semester and it will all be okay!

It will be okay because.. of not only Truman, but Chuck and Patty! I have been cooking and sewing and branding and learning everything I can from these amazing people. And guess what? I made an apple pie from scratch almost kind of by myself!! And if you know me and my previous cooking skills, you would know that I used to have a hard time with the cereal and milk ratio.. So this is quite an accomplishment. And I kind of sort of held the front legs of a calf being branded! And I gave a calf a shot! Who am I?! Who AM I!? I’m Jeeaaannn Vvaaall Jjeeaaaannn… Moving on. 

So, in closing, I will tell you about my evening. 

The ranch is about 10 minutes or so from town, which normally is a completely fine amount of time. Except for today.. Today it was a bit too far. I realized as I was pulling out of my driveway that not only was my gas light quite illuminated, but the gauge was extraordinarily close to empty. I loaded up Truman into the back and we headed in to fill up and return some DVDs. As I was leaving the ranch road to turn on to the highway, I saw a border patrol vehicle parked on the side. There wasn’t anybody in it, but I didn’t pay it too much attention. 

When we arrived at the gas station, I reached behind my seat to grab my wallet.. and lo and behold it was nowhere to be found. Actually, it was sitting on my kitchen table.. but that fact didn’t help me much at the time. I realized, with a sinking stomach, that there was a very real chance I was not going to make it home. I called Patty and she said to try and make it back to the ranch and if not, Chuck would come meet me with some gas. Godsends, right?! So on the way home, I just kept praying that I would not run out and be stuck on the side of the highway for awhile. 

As I was doing that, the rolled down windows somehow turned the blanket that Truman sits on in the back seat into a giant tortilla and next thing I know, I turn around and he is completely wrapped up Taco Bell style. All I could see was his cute little nose and thumping tail. Somehow, between the praying and the trying to unwrap my dog, the gas gauge bumped up a little bit.. Seriously.. And I made it home. 
Well, kind of. Remember when I told you about the border control vehicle at the turn in to the ranch? Well, as I turned back on to the dirt road, running on literal vapors.. I saw another vehicle and a couple officers with a lot bigger guns than the one I now pack, and three illegals handcuffed on the ground. 
Yeehaw! It’s all in the “ranch experience” 🙂
Love to all and a very special HAPPY BIRTHDAY to the most amazing, beautiful, funny and best sister I could ever dream of calling mine. 
Happy 16th MPP3 ❤
Love,

Maggie (& Truman)

   

   
    
    
   
    
    
 

  

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Mini Blog Numero Uno

Well hello everybody!

I have to apologize for not writing for such a long time. Hopefully that will not happen again. My solution to this is Mini Blogs! They will be shorter, but more frequent. Hooray! However, the good news is that I have had an action packed semester that has involved:

Snow Boarding up near Show Low, AZ: I have never been as sore as I was the next day. Ever. Every single muscle hurt. I fell almost every 30 feet .. on my buttocks, my face, my hands. There were 3 year old children who could barely walk that were passing me. In fact, I was so bad, that my instructor went to drink during the lunch break. For real. I drove somebody to drink. Cheers to that.

Exploring Cliff Dwellings near Silver City, New Mexico: We hiked up to these actual dwellings in the side of a mountain that were massive! Carved into the rock were huge rooms, specifically dedicated to bedrooms, kitchens, bathrooms, spiritual rooms.. It was amazing and just reinforced my desire to drop everything and go live in a cave somewhere in Africa with a pet javelina and perhaps a peregrine falcon.

Barnstormed New York City with my Grandma: This trip was one of those trips that, while it is happening, you know just how incredible it is. Every moment was magical from the Broadway Plays to visiting the World Trade Museum to the food that was so good I constantly wanted to cry. The best part of the trip, though, was getting to spend so much time and make so many memories with one of the most special, kind, and incredible people in this world- my grandma. The culture, the people, the sounds, the energy, the smells.. it captivated me even more than the first time I went. I cannot wait to go back and hopefully even live there someday.

Learned that snakes can move up to almost 20 km when they want to: I can’t walk to the laundry room anymore without constantly being prepared to run as fast as I can.. tennis shoes everywhere I go. I saw a massive snake that spanned the entire length of the road I was about to drive on, slithering into a ditch, and it was then I decided I was going to buy a handgun and carry a large stick.

Walked the London Bridge (Yes, the real London Bridge): Guess what! They moved the London Bridge to Lake Havasu! And guess what else! I flew there for one of my solo cross countries, used the crew car they have at the airport, drove to the London Bridge, got out, walked across it, got back in the car, got back in my plane and flew back home! It is actually a lot smaller than I thought it would be, but who cares.. at least it didn’t fall down. PS I am pretty darn lucky to be in aviation.

Biked next to a javelina:  I was biking (haven’t biked this road since, albeit) along the Douglas highway, and I look over to my right, and there is this javelina, maybe about 10 yards away, running alongside me. This continued for a solid 100 yards or so. I have never felt so wild and free! Me, biking as hard as I can to keep up with this sprinting wild pig, side by side, both of us loving the feeling of the wind in our hair/bristles and the smell of camaraderie and adventure. It was a beautiful moment, however looking back I am kind of glad I didn’t get gored.

Experienced the loss of a close friends loved one: I don’t really have much to say about this other than he was one of the strongest, bravest, kindest, most faithful men to ever walk this earth and it was a privilege to know him.

This semester, I have been taking Commercial Ground School, Commercial Flying Class, Multi Engine Ground School Class, and Certified Flight Instructor Ground School Class. This means.. by October I will have my Multi Engine Rating and will also be teaching flying at the college!! Yayyyyyyyy money!

I also, for next semester, have found my dream house. It is high up in a canyon, light blue, surrounded by wilderness.. and a place I cannot wait to start my working life in! (And it has a clothesline.. booyah!)

Also, I would like to say Happy Mothers Day to all the Moms out there.. but specifically mine. Thank you for giving up your life so I can follow my dreams, for working so hard so I never go with out anything, and for being such an amazing role model and woman.. one who so many people look up to and love. Thank you for everything, Momma- See you real soon 🙂

Thank you all for being so supportive and understanding.. can’t wait to come home in a month!!

Love, Maggie

P.S. I will soon be making a picture blog so you can see all of the places I’ve been recently!

Here We Go Again!

Well Hello Everybody!!

I hope you had a great Christmas and New Year. I know that I did! I got to go home and spend a little under a month with my family and friends. It was a very special time that went way too fast, but I am very grateful for it. I miss everybody very much which also causes me to realize how blessed I am to have such great support. I love you all.

It has been a while since I last wrote. I got extremely busy the last few weeks of school because of studying and then the last thing I wanted to do while I was home was write about the desert (shocking, right?) so I will do a short recap of the last few weeks of the semester and a prediction of things to come!

I officially got my Instrument Rating on December 13th! For those of you who have not had to undergo the terrible, awful, no good last stages of getting any type of aviation license or rating, let me paint you a verbal picture.

FIRST, you spend all semester going over questions for a written test. The overwhelming majority of the information required to know is extremely outdated and not important to current flight. The FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) is notorious for trying to confuse you on the test as well (because 1000+ questions aren’t easy enough to memorize anyway) and have many trick questions. It is a 60 question test and you must get a 70% on or above to pass. Not only is each test $100+, but you need to pass it in order to continue on to the other tests, and I did not have time to fail anything or I would not have gotten my Rating the first semester. And then…

There is an Oral Exam that lasts anywhere from 2-4 hours, on average, where an official examiner traps you in a room and asks you questions, about anything and everything Instrument related (weather, charts, airplane systems, approaches.. everything), straight through for hours and hours. AND THEN. If you pass that, and still are conscious and relatively sane, you go flying for about two hours. In that flight, there are numerous maneuvers and approaches that you must fly almost to perfection. If you are a little bit too high (past the standards), you fail. If you are a little bit too low, or don’t correctly correct for wind etc, you fail. It is an awful thing.

But if you manage to scrape your way through these 3 parts and come out ahead, you are a Instrument Rated pilot. And that I am 🙂

I have some rather concerning news to report, however. Synthia the Spider, from my previous blogs, is missing! In fact, not only is she missing, her big, intricate, terrifying web is completely gone! There is a saying that goes something along the lines of “the only thing worse than seeing a spider, is seeing it.. and then NOT seeing it!” Touche, touche.

As for an update on Lockpaw the mouse.. I have not seen him since before break either! The last sighting was one night as I was walking up the stairs, (same stairs Synthia used to monopolize and Lockpaw and I first met) I was not paying much attention, silly me, and I spotted a blur shooting out behind the trashcan. This time instead of turning around, the little guy continued to gain momentum and I’ll be darned if he didn’t fling himself off of the balcony. I shrieked! Not in terror or disgust, but because my little friend had launched himself to his death. Or so I thought. I frantically started to search for him, perhaps to bury him, I cannot be sure what I was thinking as the fact that I was actively looking for a mouse carcass is a bit unnerving upon reflection anyway. But I could not find him! I literally looked EVERYWHERE. He disappeared! Into thin air. Literally, honestly, straight up, could. not. find. him. So either I was losing my mind, or I saw Santa Mouse right before he teleported to the North Pole! (So either way, I was insane.)

There was also a squirrel in my room. A real, live, squirrely squirrel in my room. I accidentally left my door open a crack as I was going to get a vacuum to take care of the comforter-leaks-equal-three-inches-deep-of-feathers-in-my-room situation, and when I came back, I felt something was not quite right in my room. I look around, and there the little guy is. Staring at me, intertwined with my Lasso. How on this green (brown) earth do you get a squirrel out of your room?! They are incredibly fast and the verb “squirrely” is incredibly aptly named! They fit anywhere and can go through anything. I called my mom, “MOM! There is a squirrel in my room!” After laughing for an amount of time that I thought was a bit too long, she gave me the sage advice to sit outside of my room and leave a trail of nuts to the door. So, not having nuts, I ripped up a cashew protein bar and left a trail Hansel and Gretel would be proud of. After waiting about 15 minutes and seeing no action, I decided to call my Grandpa. He had the idea to get something, like a net, to scoop it out. Which was a great idea, but I had no net. He then suggested poking and corralling it out of my room, which is what I tried next. I untwisted a wire hanger and fashioned it into a loop in case he (I named him Bobby) would run through it. (Just go ahead and call me Maggie Macgyver) So by this time, Bobby was in the far back corner of my room. I almost didn’t see him, because, I kid you not, he found my little group of stuffed animals and was hiding with them! For the next fifteen minutes (Unfortunately for my dear mother, she got to witness all of this via speakerphone. She was quite supportive and motivating, however) I alternated between cooing, because he was so cute, and screaming, because he was coming after me. “Aww Mom he is so cu… AHHHHHHHHHH HE IS RUNNING… ohh look at his cute little face I just want to pick him up and WAHHHHH HE IS GOING TO EAT ME HELP ME I’M GOING TO DIE … bu wook at his widdle paws they are so cuutee…” And so on. and on. Eventually, somebody heard me and came in and chased him for awhile and got him out after jumping on him with a towel! Bobby was quite the little acrobat though, jumping off walls and doing flips and stuff. When he was no longer in my room, I missed him deeply. I felt like we had a bond. My mom said I should keep him as a friend, and I partially wish I would have. But if you truly love something, you’ll let it go. Bye Bobby. (Yes, I know I get too damn attached to the wildlife here.) BOOOHHOOOO 😦

On Monday, AJ and I were trying to go to American Sniper in Sierra Vista (a bigger town about an hour away from Douglas with a more culturally diverse population), a movie that is supposed to be really good, and I have been wanting to see for a long time. We get there, though, and it was completely sold out. Bummed and mildly depressed, I start to turn around, tears already starting to pour out of my eyes (not really), when AJ says, “Hey, why don’t we go to Selma?” And I dejectedly agreed. But what followed was an incredible experience that doesn’t happen to very many people very often. As many of you know, (I did not know, dummy me) that Selma is about Martin Luther King and his march(s) from Selma to Montgomery. What an incredible movie. Go see it. But here is what happened. I went to a movie about Martin Luther King, with an African American friend, in a full theater that was probably 90% African American.. On Martin Luther King Day!!! How amazing is that? There were a lot of older people in the theater who had clearly been subject to the atrocities of racism and all it involved. What an incredible experience to be surrounded by people who have overcome so much on the day that commemorates the man who made it possible. It honestly made me a little bit ashamed to be white, but mostly it made me rethink and recheck my life and make sure I do not treat anyone with discrimination. We are all people, with hopes and dreams and families. It was just a very memorable experience.

On a completely different topic, I am now working on my Commercial License (so I will be able to get paid to fly) and soon my Multi Engine Rating (so I can fly planes with more than one engine). I am flying in Piper Warrior which is a low wing plane and less powerful that the one I flew last semester, but also less expensive! I still have the same great instructor and am looking forward to another adventure filled semester!

I would love to hear from you, thank you for everything 🙂

Magsterz

Flying, Centipedes, and Lock Paw

Hello all!

The temperature changed! Whoo!! So now, instead of it being in the 70’s plus ALL the time.. it is only that hot from 9 am to 9 pm! It then abruptly drops to about 20 degrees and stays that way until 9 am the next morning. And repeat. This is so strange to me. I wake up, go to breakfast bundled up in sweatshirts and sweats and by the time I finish and walk back to my room.. I am drenched in sweat and have to stand in front of my fan for a few minutes before I can function.

Did you know that the centipedes of the south will paralyze you if they bite you? And if immediate attention is not sought, it creates permanent paralysis? Did I mention that I have found three of them since I have been here? One was outside my room.. one was in my instructor’s office.. and one was in my ground school classroom. On my desk. I think the only thing worse than a snake (and a tarantula, obviously.. but I’ve already confronted that fear) is a poisonous bug that looks like a snake with legs. We must move on.

The other day, I was walking up the stairs in the dorms. It is a split level staircase.. about ten steps, a platform, and then the other ten steps. The platform is a treacherous place, and one I do not like to dwell upon because of Synthia. Synthia is a big, fat, nightmare making spider that has a very intricate and death creating web that happens to be situated right around the light that illuminates the platform. Synthia never leaves her domain. She is always there. Watching, waiting for a person to forget to watch her throughout the entire staircase journey so she can leap into their hair. In order to go up the second set of steps, you have to walk under her web and then turn your back to go up the rest of the steps. At the top of the steps, I always whip around to make sure Synthia didn’t attack me and to be honest, I usually go up the stairs either sideways or backwards. A lack of eye contact can be the difference between future trauma counseling and having a nice day.

Well, for some reason the other day, Synthia was missing when I got to the platform. And I couldn’t remember if I saw her as I was walking up the first set of stairs, which queued a massive internal panic attack, as you can imagine. I began to hit random parts of my body, much like a game of Whack-A-Mole, just in case she made the leap, unbeknownst to me. As I turned and started to run up the second set of stairs, my eyes were level with the second story of the dorms. I saw a little blur of gray streaking towards me and, through the Synthia terror, I realized that with the current momentum of the gray blur, and my trajectory running up the stairs, I was about to have a mouse fly and land on my face. Fortunately, we saw each other about the same time and both of us put on the brakes. The mouse was going much faster than I, and I saw his little paws lock up and try to stop. For a brief moment, this mouse was in an uncontrolled slide without showing any signs of stopping. As we looked into each others eyes, we both silently agreed that whatever was about to happen would not be anybody’s fault and that we would get through it, together. But I’ll be darned if that little stinker didn’t pulled what I can only describe as the most heroic and skilled U-turn in history. Lock Paw in full force and body whipping around, it was one of the most athletic feats this world has ever seen. And before I knew it, he is bounding the opposite direction and I am continuing my escape from Synthia the Spider.

As for flying, it is going well! I just passed my stage-check (kind of like a pre-test to the REALLY big tests coming up) and am now studying for my written tests and then soon after, the actual test to get my Instrument license. I have about three weeks to absorb an enormous amount of information, but I am studying and believe I can get it done.

My instructor, Rick, keeps telling me to be a sniper and not a shot gun. I have this rather unfortunate habit of blurting out the first thing that comes to my head when asked a question (or in high pressure situations, the first thing that enters my head. Period), and although that is a great trait for personality tests, it is a rather bad trait for someone who will be taking an Oral Exam in the very near future.

Example: I was taking my stage check with the Chief Flight Instructor of the college. The Head Honcho. The Big Kahuna. As I was flying an ILS approach (an extremely precise approach that requires intense concentration) I look over at her and, being the shotgun that I am, say, “Belinda? You smell WAY better than Rick does!”

Oh. My. Gosh.

Trying not to let the horror of what I just said affect my approach, I continue to fly, wishing one of those centipedes would come bite me. Fortunately, she laughed and said “thank you!”.

Crises averted, Shot Gun Maggie lives to fly another day.

I am also coming home for Christmas in just under a month – I can’t believe it! – and am very much looking forward to that.

Thank you all for the support, as always, and thank you for reading 🙂

Maggie

Improbable Beauty

I would like to start this Blog with an apology and with a warning.

First off, I am sorry for how long it has taken me to write this blog. My lack of writing has been a direct result of being busy with instrument flying and trying to have fun while doing so. Which has been a success! Whooo!

Now the warning: Do not, I REPEAT, do NOT eat the Holiday Turkey Sandwich from the Denny’s in Douglas, Arizona. I am debating how much to elaborate on this subject.. but for now.. I will just say that it put me out for at least a week. Like, OUT, out. Like no mas comida for Maggie for a looong time. Like laying on my floor wishing that the centipede my Instructor found on his desk (Yes, a creepily poisonous bug was in my classroom. As well as a baby snake. I still don’t ever really know what is happening in my life) would put me out of my misery. I will leave it there. Just don’t eat it. Please. Don’t.

In the month or so that has passed since I last wrote, quite a few interesting experiences have taken place.

County Fair: Tickets are free if you pick them up from the college. Pick up my ticket. Get to the fair. Whoops. Forgot ticket. Try to convince them to let me in. Fail. Pay for ticket. Look at chickens. Imagine what chicken I would be if I could be one. Do this for every animal. Eat caramel apple. Accidentally eat the entire thing. Core and all. Mental note to not eat like a goat anymore. At least I didn’t eat the stick. Watch a rodeo. Feel bad for the calves. Walk around a little bit more. Play the “who can hear somebody speaking English besides us first wins” game. Go home.

Hike: I heard about a place near Sierra Vista that you can hike around in and looks like North Idaho (Ramsey Canyon). So.. missing falling leaves and streams and pine trees like nobody’s business, Todd (my cute lil’ non back country red car) and I head out. And it did look like home! It was so nice.. to walk through crunchy leaves and hear streams and see green, real green, trees. In fact, it was so nice, that I just wanted to keep walking! I walked so far and so high that before I knew it, I was in a different wildlife preserve! And at a completely different elevation. Looking back, I should have known I was in difficult hiking territory when I passed a couple of heavy duty marine guys coming down from the path, drenched in sweat, wearing those desert head towels, looking at me like I was crazy. But I was just so stinking happy to smell trees that there is exactly nothing that could have stopped me from continuing up. Now I was never lost, per say, but at one point I decided that in order to get back to Todd, I was just going to have to follow the river down. THANK YOU 4,578 survival books I have read over my lifespan. Was it smart to go hiking by myself down here? No, no it wasn’t. Will I do it again? No, no I won’t. But did I have a great time thinking and just being in nature? Yes, and it was one of the most peaceful times I have had in a very long time. Minus the way down. That wasn’t so peaceful. Mostly because I got bit by a mosquito on my right eye and I couldn’t really see out of it. You win some you lose some.

Bike: Well, at least this time I wasn’t by myself. My friend, Maggie, and I decided we needed to get some exercise. (Is it weird having my best friend down here have the same name as me? It was confusing until I broke my lifelong habit of always referring to myself in third person.. that was a breakthrough in our relationship for sure. Just kidding. I have never referred to myself in the third person. Well, rarely. It always scares me when I do. I digress..) Fortunately, my tires didn’t deflate (thank you barefoot Bisbee bicycle man) and overall, it was a good ride. The issue, though, is the hill we went on had tons of rocks and gravel and ruts. Which is all fine and dandy if you have a mountain bike, but if you have a hybrid bike like I do, the tires are quite a bit thinner. There were a few times I swear I was one with Evil Knievel, jumping over the Grand Canyon the way I maneuvered those 6” ruts and mini-mini boulders. We might have walked up the last bit. We might not have. Nobody will ever know. At the top of the hill, that we may or may not have walked up, we came upon a MASSIVE Border Control camera on this huge crane looking thing. It was clearly controlled by somebody who was in some office somewhere NOT on the hill, and would scan the desert, looking for Illegals. Well, somehow it/the controller found out we were on the hill. As we were looking at it, the basketball sized camera (that looked like Mike Kryzowski’s head…off of Monsters Inc..) began to swivel and come nearer to us. It was one of the eeriest things that has happened to me. This big, seemingly unmanned, robotic machine trying to look at my face. Not a fan. Needless to say, we got out of there. On the way down, some parts were so steep that even with all of my brakes fully applied, I was still going faster than I wanted to. SO I got off and walked down that part. No shame. No shame at all. And I lived to tell the tale.

Some road signs I have seen in this area and my thoughts concerning them:

Beware of earth fissures” … WHAT? Why! Why is there a road where the earth could theoretically open up and swallow me! I wasn’t aware I am living on a tectonic plate fault line! Oh wait.. I’m not!

Warning: Visibility frequently reduced to zero with no warning” Am I living at the top of Mount Everest during a snowstorm? Am I living in the middle of a dust storm in the Sahara Desert? NO and NO! So why on earth is this a potential hazard? And why.. WHY! Would I not be able to see it coming?!

Caution: Severe gusting winds. Drive with caution” In other words, if you drive on this road, there are large odds that you will be driving through a horizontal tornado. Have fun, suckers.

Beware: Edge of the Earth, 2 miles.” Well, maybe not this one.. but sometimes it sure seems like it.

Fast Food Experiences: I went to Subway awhile back to get a salad because I just really needed some fly-free vegetables. As I was waiting in line, the fire alarm went off! And nobody.. not a soul.. reacted in any way to it. Not a raised eyebrow, not a covering of the ears, not a bewildered eye or a rush to the exit. N O T H I N G. I honestly thought I was getting that disease where your ears ring and ring and there is no cure. As I was halfway through ordering and debating how much ear damage I was getting and if eating healthy was really worth being deaf for the rest of my life, one of the employees got on the phone and said something about “fuego” and eventually it turned off.

Another time, I was trying to order a chicken sandwich at Church’s Chicken, and I wanted it without pickles and mayo.. just lettuce and chicken. And a non- sweet tea. After repeating myself 4 times.. both at the ordering box and the window, I receive a sandwich with ONLY pickles and mayo and a very, very sweet tea. It is such a struggle sometimes.

The one that takes the bacon, so to speak, is when we went to McDonalds the other day. As AJ rolled down the window to order, he lets out a yell. As I was telling him to hush, this massive locust-cricket-grasshopper thing hits me in the side of the head! I start to yell and wave my arms around like a maniac. BAM! It hits the windshield. WHOMP! AJ tries to hit it with his shoe. POP! It hits me in the chest. SLAM! I run out of the car and realize there is quite the line of cars behind us. I get back in the car, both of us thinking the beast is no longer in our presence. He started ordering and I swear to you, out of NOWHERE.. out of thin air.. this Houdini Devil bug falls from the ceiling and starts pin-balling off of us and off the windshield! It was too much. At long last, it catapulted itself outside. I yelled sorry to the employee as we screeched away, lucky to escape with our lives. Burger-less and breathless. We just went back to the college after that.. too much excitement for one day for sure!

I went to a Luke Bryan and Lee Brice concert this weekend in Phoenix and it was one of the most fun times I have had in a long time. I was with really good friends, surrounded by country loving people in the warm Phoenix night. I think when I look back on college, that will be one of my favorite memories. To be young..

Flying is going well. I am getting ready for some pretty big stage- checks and then the big kahuna tests are coming up in about a month or so! I am studying a lot, flying multiple times a week, and trying to keep my head above the water as far as all this information in concerned. I have pretty much all the approaches down pretty well.. am a big fan of the ILS.. and am now working on procedures and perfecting them. It is hard work and mentally tiring work, but I know how rewarding it will be when I finish. I flew into Phoenix Sky Harbor the other day and was taxing next to and around some BIG airplanes.. surreal really. I still really like it, am glad I came here, and wouldn’t want to be anywhere else right now. Okay, that last statement wasn’t exactly true, but I am glad this is where I am getting my training.

To wrap this up, I saw something beautiful the other day. I was driving on a back road near Douglas, and the sun was beginning to go down. Arizona sunsets are everything that they are talked up to be. The most beautiful golds and purples and pinks fill the expanse of the sky and reflect upon the red dirt in the most magical way. I was driving slow, appreciating the beauty, and I came upon a cow pasture. There was this mound of dirt in the middle of it, not a remarkable mound of dirt, and a lone cow on the mound of dirt, not a remarkable cow by any means. But the dark silhouettes of the cow and the mound with the backdrop of the gorgeous Arizona sky created the most beautiful scene. For a moment, just for a moment, I was a part of the amazing beauty of this world and I was allowed a glimpse into just how incredible this earth really is. You wouldn’t think these ordinary pieces could or would create such intense beauty, but that just goes to show that everything and everyone is beautiful. You just have to know how to look and be willing to see what is in front of you.

Thank you all for all the continued support. I love you all, miss you more, and would love to hear from you.

Love,

Maggie

I want to think again of Dangerous and Noble things. I want to be light and frolicsome. I want to be improbable, beautiful, and afraid of nothing.. as though I had wings.”

-Mary Oliver

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Bisbee and Beatles and Business as Usual

The Pastor at my church got locked out of the church on Sunday. Fortunately, I always sit near the back so I got to see all of this play out. It was right after his sermon, quite a good sermon for that matter, and he went into the Pastor Room at the very back of the church. He goes into the room to regroup or pray or eat a quick snack (That’s what I would do).. whatever he does in there.. and the pianist began a lovely tune to serenade the congregation. After a few minutes, I heard the door begin to rattle. After about 15 seconds, the handle began to shake violently and those of us near to door tried to inconspicuously turn around. About 10 seconds later we heard something large hitting against the door, the frame starting to shake, and a determined grunting sound emerging from the room.

Now pretty much everybody is staring at the back door, but the Bystander Effect held true, and nobody thought to help the poor man. There was silence for about 5 seconds, in which he must have been getting ready for a running start to hit the door, and BOOOOOM!! He comes barreling through, with enough momentum to smash a linebacker, the whole while laughing and guffawing. Nobody really knew how to react so they were respectfully quiet, except me. I was howling like a monkey.. it was one of the funnier things I have ever seen. A Pastor getting locked out of his church.. the irony!! So there was the Pastor and Maggie.. enjoying a nice laugh at his expense. Was it the best reaction? Ummm, no probably not. But did they still invite me to the Potluck afterwards? Absolutely.

Enough is enough. I am running out of fingers to count how many times I have had a flat tire in the two months or so that I have been down here. Back in Idaho, it was a very rare occurence to have a flat tire but here.. I just wonder WHEN it will happen on the ride, not IF it will happen. This limits me to riding only as far as I can walk if I have to. And in this heat and elevation.. I am confined to about a 12 yard radius. Just kidding, but it is seriously concerning not knowing when you are going to go flat because water conservation and roasting to death is definitely an issue. So I decided to take a little trip over to good old Bisbee (Pirate Day? Lesbian Screamo Band? Plastic Bags are outlawed? Ringing any bells?) and see if there were any Bike shops to be found.

While researching it online, I found two. The first was called “Bisbee Bicycle Brothel” and the second “The Bicycle Company of Bisbee”. Fortunately, my decision on which one to go to was made for me because the Brothel of Bikes was out of business.. shocking, right? I walked into the shop and a 50 or so year old man with exceptionally bare and tan feet and an on point Hawaiian shirt greeted me and asked if he could help. I told him that he had impeccably tanned feet (no I didn’t) and that I could not bike for more than 2 miles without going pancake flat on at least one tire. He took off my tubes and proceeded to pull out what looked like an epidural needle from the front tire. It was a massive cactus thorn. Well that sure explained a lot! I then asked him to make them impenetrable and he said he would do his darndest. We then had a nice conversation about the history of Bisbee and all of the mining and gambling and prostitution that made the town into the little gem it is today. He also told me and showed me on a map all of the hiking and camping and adventuring places in Cochise County so I am thuper excited about that!! So if everything goes according to plan, there will not be any more flat tire stories! Yay! Whoo! (My tires weigh about 87lbs each now.. but I will take it, gladly)

Aaaannnndddd now it is time for A.F.T.I.H.L.O.T.P.W.O.S!!!

(A Few Things I Have Learned Over the Past Week or So)

Praying Mantis’s (Manti? Mantisss? Mantusii?) actually look like they are praying! And are as long as a person’s hand! And creep up on you when you are just trying to rest against a wall and then for a split second peer deep into your soul and you think that they are going to murder you in cold blood but then you remember that you are 700 times as big as it is and your heart resumes its beating.. I’m sorry, I had a moment.

Agua Prieta, the town that is directly across from Douglas on the Mexican side, is not a dirty and terrible place.. it, in the main parts at least, is exactly like Douglas! There are restaurants and parks and everybody still speaks Spanish. I have a friend who goes over there frequently, so I have tagged along the last few times and got to see her play in a soccer game, got my nails done very nicely for under ten dollars, had very broken conversations with my very broken Spanish, and ate a Mexican Hot Dog (or 2.. or 3..)

Mexican Hot Dogs are the best things on earth. Imagine a hot dog.. but good meat.. in a warm, fluffy bun that is kind of shaped like a pita.. topped with beans, onions, jalapenos, and a delicious mystery sauce.. wrapped in bacon. And if that doesn’t sound good, which it originally didn’t to me either, just come on down and try one. They. Are. So. Good. Especially washed down with Horchata and followed by Churros.. Ohmygoodness my life has been made complete.

At Arizona Diamondback games, instead of the vendors yelling the usual “Ice Cold Bottle of Beer, Water and Coke right HHHEERRRREE!!” they yell something along the lines of “Cotton candy, cracker jacks.. HOOORRRCCHHHAATTTAA!!” Which doesn’t really flow out of their tongues quite as well as the more standard sales pitches, but man does that Mexican milk-ish drink sell like the dickens in these parts.

When somebody informs you that there will be the outskirts of a hurricane coming through the next day and that there is potential for 12 inches of rain overnight.. believe them. And roll up your pants and hoard some extra burritos from the cafeteria for emergencies.

Always eat a salad in the cafeteria. Unless there is a dead fly floating in the salad dressing. If there is a dead fly, skip the ruffage for that day. Upon further thought, if there is not a fly floating in the dressing, skip it anyway because that means it (and its friends) sank to the bottom. After even more thought, don’t ever eat the salad. Ever.

Be careful driving around at night with the windows down because skunks like to hang out around stop signs. And bugs like to throw themselves into Todd from the streets if given the opportunity.

There was a Beatles group that came to our campus last night to put on a concert. Can you think of something that fits together less than Douglas, Mexico and the Beatles? I can’t either, but my goodness I love the Beatles so I did not care one iota about the absurdity of it. I went with AJ and he is not really all that much of a Beatles fan, but he was a good sport all the way up until they played Yellow Submarine. Around the 15th time the chorus was sung, he had about enough. (In is defense, they did sing the same 3 lines a mildly obnoxious amount of times)

Ringo: “We all live in a yellow submarine!”

AJ: “A WHAT?!” (Yelling.. literally yelling)

Ringo: “A yellow submarine!”

AJ: “OH!” (We were starting to get looks)

Ringo: “A yellow submarine!”

AJ: “I GOT IT!!!!!” (*sigh*)

Anyway. My mom told me about a time when I was much younger, my mom, dad, and I went to a faux Beatles concert and I started rocking and head banging so hard that they had to move to the back of the concert to give me some more room to maneuver. Looking back, I figure I went so hard because Paul and I shared the same haircut (I had a bowl cut until I was about 16) and I must have assumed I was catching a glimpse of my future up there on stage. While I didn’t need to be removed this time, I still loved every second of it.

My Flight Instructor’s wife just had a baby so he has been gone for a little over a week so I have been doing every type of approach imaginable in the RedBird Sim.. which has been very helpful actually, but I am ready to start flying again. Everything is coming together, I think, and I still really like Instrument flying. If everything goes according to plan, I will be an Instrument Rated Pilot by December!

This weekend looks to be an interesting one.. the forecast is calling for a Mexican Baby Shower and a County Fair. I am guessing it will be one for the books.. I will report after!

Thank you all for reading and, as usual, post any comments or questions because I would love to hear from all of you 🙂

Love,

Maggie

Just Another Empty Nester

Today was laundry day.

Well, today was the day my laundry got done. Laundry day should have been about three days ago.. but I digress. This should not be a blog worthy story. It should have been a simple, mundane task that took about an hour. But no.

Upon waking up today and deciding it was time to get dressed and welcome the morning, I came to a rather stark realization. I had nothing to wear. Nothing. Usually I have a few pairs of shorts to spare or a shirt or two but (aside from a few dresses and winter jackets.. not sure why I packed the latter when it typically doesn’t get below 65) I had nothing clean but the pajamas I had on. I looked down to see what I was wearing, was not all that impressed, but needed to get to the laundry room so I made a judgement call and began to gather the soap and necessary washing items. As I was doing so, I caught a full length glimpse of myself in the mirror and froze in shock and mild horror. During my previous scan of my outfit, I must have had my eyes closed. I looked a fright. I had on Hobbit Pants (think Lord of the Rings.. moss green felt.. 48 sizes too big), an oversized Larry Bird collectors shirt (#TeamLarryForLife #ThanksDad), and my hair in a bun directly on top of my head.

But my laundry needed to get done.

I opened the door to my room.. made sure there was not a soul in sight.. and ran as fast as I could the 100 yards to the Laundry Room, high stepping over the bug carcasses, while carrying a bag full of clothes that would have rivaled the Grinch’s bag of stolen Christmas Gifts (I watched that movie the other day.. what a classic). Phew. I made it unseen. I threw all of my clothes into one washer, colors and whites be damned, and ran back to my door. I could hardly believe my luck! Not a single person saw me in my Hobbitish glory!

Aaaaand my door was locked.

As I checked my pockets for the 14th time.. I came to the realization that in my haste to run to the Laundry Room, I had left my keys in my dorm. But being the level headed and quick thinker that I am, I decided I had two options. The first was to hide in the communal bathroom for the next 4 months until the semester was over and everybody had left, and the second was to march my little self across campus to Central Housing and get an RA to come unlock my door. After about 10 minutes of listing the pros and cons of both .. sure death by starvation or eternal humiliation were the key contenders.. I decided to go get the key. I also decided that if I looked like I was fine with what I was wearing, then everybody else would not look twice. Fake it till you make it baby! And fake it I did. Twenty minutes and 52 strange looks later, I was safe in my room.. key in hand.. pride only slightly damaged.

These last couple of weeks have been busy ones. All of my flying is starting to become very complex and mentally draining which has led to a significant amount of sleeping and studying, in that order. I shot my first approach a while back and am now about to start ILS approaches as well as ATC Communication (Booo radios!!) to start tying things together. I am still enjoying it and am still having fun although I wouldn’t mind doing an aileron roll or a loop every now and then.

I wore a sweatshirt last night and it was 78 degrees. I am becoming a disgrace to North Idaho. Please forgive me.

Some friends and I were cruising around Douglas one night, trying to find an elusive frozen yogurt shop that I had driven by once but been unable to find again, and we came upon a movie theater. Yes, an honest to goodness movie theater! I haven’t been that excited since I found out that we were having pumpkin cobbler instead of pudding for dessert the previous night! Up until our discovery, we had been driving 45 minutes to the nearest city to go to movies every once and awhile. Albeit, this theater only shows two different movies for a week or so and they aren’t exactly new releases and the times are really all that convenient and there is a perpetual firework on the right side of the screen because the projector is 72 years old but hells bells!! It’s something to do! And on Wednesdays and Thursdays it is only $5 for two people!! Wahooo!! We go hard in Douglas.

On another note, my birds are gone. I knew the day would come, I knew that they had to grow up and literally spread their wings, but I never imagined it would be so hard to emotionally let them go. And I am being one hundred and fifty percent honest when I say that I love my little birds. And that the day I woke up and went to say ‘good morning’ to them, and they were gone.. was easily the worst day I have had down here. I actually almost cried. I know it is irrational and to a very real degree, ridiculous, but they were born around the time I moved down here, and seeing their cute little faces every morning was a constant that I looked forward to and took for granted. One day, two of the four were gone and the next day there was only one. And the following day.. my little nest was completely empty. As mentioned, that was a rough day. I actually called my parents and told them how sad I was, and my daddy mentioned something about that was how he and my momma felt about me leaving .. and that was about the most depressingly beautiful thing I have ever heard. I found it in my heart to try and let them go, but there were four tiny holes where my babies used to be.

But the next day.. there they were! Sitting, waiting for me in the morning again! Fully grown, beautful as ever, except now they could fly. They could fly, but they still came back to me. And maybe that is how life is. You grow up, just enough to be able to be on your own and fly away for a little bit, but then you come back home. Not forever, and maybe not very often, but you know where your heart is because that is where your family is and then for a little bit, everything is okay in the world again and life is as sweet as ever.

If you all thought I was a Crazy Bird Lady before that last paragraph, I shudder to think what you think of me now!

I miss you all and will be better at trying to keep this a weekly Blog.

I would love to hear from you all and if you have any questions or thoughts, please don’t hesitate to comment below or to e-mail me (Maggie.Kirscher@gmail.com).

Maybe it is because it’s late, or maybe it is because I am in a sentimental mood, but I would just like to thank all of you, my family in particular, for creating such a beautifully supportive and loving nest for me to come home to. I love each and every one of you and am so blessed to have you in my life.

 

Love,

Maggie

 

P.S. I would like to give a shout out to the coolest, funniest, sassiest, most beautiful sister and best friend in the entire world.. GRACE KIRSCHER .. for turning 15 on the 11th. I love you Grace, more than you will ever know. 

 

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Above are Todd and I, cruising down some Arizonian Highway, a line of my birds and their friends after they flew away, my last bird to leave the nest, and a happy picture of me. I will try to be better about taking pictures of myself and my activities and my friends.. I just never have a camera on me!

Goodbye for now 🙂