Ten FAQ I get as a Flight Attendant

I posted this interesting post last year, and enjoyed it again just now. We read so much about flight attendants being mean or combative with passengers….so its refreshing to read this thoughtful and fascinating article written by a flight attendant who is also a blogger.

Ellie's Blog

FAQ: Some of the Questions I get asked the most as a Fight Attendant

Passenger: “Do you get to sleep on these long flights?” and “Where do you sleep?”

YES! In fact for most flight attendants a shift onboard revolves around the times we get off. A lot of the time crew will say “Let’s finish this service so we can start breaks!”. Our breaks are formulated around time to eat and time to sleep, usually ranging from 20 minutes (an eating break however I have seen crew take power naps on this break) all the way to the longest break I’ve ever had onboard 3 hours and 45 minutes (when you can really have a good snooze!). I’m sure all crew experience this, because it often gets spoken about, having to limit our water intake before our long breaks, because the most annoying thing is having to leave…

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Farewell the Muse

… and yet again with an oldie from “back in the day.”

SOMETIMES

I’ll never write another word
–ever– I think, maybe a bit longer.

The Muse has left me, alone and mute
singing quietly inside…but it isn’t writing
not bringing forth words of rhyme
or golden thoughts or phrases that soar
with the uplifting quality that speaks of fulfillment
of the annunciation of the soul
(if that is even the right word.)

What does that mean?   My Muse does not respond.
Silence echoes across the lines, across the fields,
rich and full, and absence of sensation…or character.
There is no solution, no evolution…no rhythmic flow
of syllables, or stanzas, flights of fancy…
clever ways to express a notion
…or just to form  a simple phrase–
no silver tinged sunsets,
no tales from the depths of despair…
no soaring ecstasy of the bliss of a kiss.
Words which once were at the edges of my
repertoire –within easy reach of the empty…

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will o’ the whisper

More about me and my Muse…

SOMETIMES

OH!     Where do the great ideas go…
those flashes of brilliance
that should have better resilience
and remain in the Brain Cabinet
long enough for establishment
to take hold in the Eureka! compartment.

How many times in the course of the day
does  the lightbulb flash in the idea flow
and tug at coat-tails for attention;
hoping and praying that no intervention
takes precedence over the outstanding thought
that begs to be recorded–NOT discarded!

That’s it!   Hurry–get to the tablet or pad
and hope there’s a pencil or pen nearby
Scribble or print in quick succession
the words piling together inside…
One after another the poignant confession
or ground-breaking thought to abide
ensconced forever in handwriting or symbol,
keywords or brilliant asides.

The Muse is waiting and prompting the prose
or rhymes that are aching to flow ever forth,
to leap from the pen to the pristine page–

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when the Muse keeps quiet

Here’s a re-run of a blogging commentary I published here on Sometimes a while back….

SOMETIMES

One of the things I love about blogging is the great bloggers…all kinds of people, all over the world, young and old (is that politically correct?) and all political and religious persuasions.   I like that.   How boring life would be if we never got out of our particular little niche.     I DO care about all my … uh…blogging acquaintances…and their opinions and points of view…even the ones that don’t think like I do.   That’s OK, feel free to say what ya want and I’ll deal with it.    My best friends usually don’t agree with me on everything…some don’t agree on anything…

Blogging is fun because there aren’t many rules, and when it isn’t fun there is always the unfollow button.

This post is supposed to be about My Muse.    She stays out of the way, mostly, and pops out with a brainstorm of an idea, or nags me to comment…

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The Tryin’ of Speaker Ryan…revisited (re-posted)

The Tryin’ of Speaker Ryan

I have to hand it to Paul Ryan
the man just doesn’t quit trying!
Caught in a den of experts at lying,
and vying for votes by begging or buying.
Speaking loudly above all the jeering and swearing,
off this way or that…slipping and veering.
Poor Speaker Ryan, his smile running thin
against all the prying and querying…
wearying, not crying, he’s plying his wiles
and biding his time…working at herding his cats…
while trying to stay INSIDE the frying pan!
© Sometimes, 2016

Direct Line…reblogging myself again

Here is another of my early poems from back in the day (Oct. 2015 in this case…
Redundancy intended.)

Direct Line

The Moon, far away as it is bright
dims the brighter light of the stars
My eye sight follows the path of that light
passing the light-years between

Knowing full well the facts of the Moonlight
reflecting the light of the Sun,
it nevertheless leads me to imagine
that the Moon makes its own light from within.

Even if Galileo himself, who charted the Sun,
were to explain with patience and tact
I still would ignore him and blissfully say:
“Please don’t confuse me with facts.”

©Sometimes, 2015

Stranger than Fiction: again

This is one of my personal favorite assignments from writing class last year…in response to rules that the work be a limerick and contain certain other attributes of writing poetry.    I had great fun writing it—

THE DONALD’S MARCH TO INFAMY

There once was a boy named Donald
Who wanted to be rich, and grow up to be President
ha ha! said the people as he started to
stump
but he knew what he was doing and had all the cards he needed to
trump,
and win the game
opponents screamed like angry cat matrons
and picked on his hair and his noisy patrons
but Donald just said they should “lump it!”

“You haven’t a chance, you’re not one of us,” they wailed
“is that so?” said Donald as he placed a standing order for tea and crumpets
to serve to his fans to keep them from starving on the campaign trail
His crowd of the faithful grew and grew
’til they filled the land
so they bought him a very big trumpet.

© Sometimes, 2015

Why are we here? Why do we Blog?

 

Why Blog?

All it takes to write in a Blog
Is a Writer who is a Blogger
and a Reader who reads Blogs.

If someone is reading that Blog
–even if the blog is about nothing–
then all the components are there:

the Blogger blogs,
and the Reader reads.
And IF he is reading,
and she is blogging,
then there is a connection…
a piece of her mind
–for good or for bad–
is read and ingested
and taken to heart

.So what if the Post is about Nothing?

If its being read… someone is interested,
this is obvious right from the start.
The Key to blogging may be
not so much clever phrases
or figures of speech
as simply a communication.

So, if a blog is about Something
then it can’t be about Nothing.

What does that all mean?

If one is blogging…
well, they are blogging.
and if Reading?
Thank you for reading along!

©Sometimes, 2015

Anne Finds Her Career (originally posted February 2016 )

— I first published this poem here on SOMETIMES in February of 2016.    The plan is to re-post some of my favorites among my 400+ posts since the blog began back in 2011.—

Anne finds her career …

When Anne was a girl, she always wanted to be
a dancer.  To wear flowing gowns and satiny slippers
and be guided as a sylph, lifting in twirls and leaping high,
up in the air with skirts twirling and shoes barely touching the floor,
and feeling the thrill of the collective sigh from the audience.
But as fate would have it, her two left feet, and her lack of graceful
moves — more like those of a duck than a lovely swan, or
even a goose–combined with her brother’s snickers
she stepped on her skirt instead of her shoes
and tripped over her partner’s feet.

So then, when she saw that a new goal was needed
Anne decided that she wanted to be, when she grew older,
a doctor.  To have a white coat, a stethoscope  and thermometer
and peer into ears and down throats of her patients…to quickly discover
what ailed them…and find a cure, and all of the people would just be
astounded when Little Anne became a Doctor!
A wonderful plan!
It would be  a good position, pay plenty of money, and mean
great prestige…and besides, the town needed a Doctor.
It might have been the perfect profession, except…
she fainted dead away at the first drop of blood.

Not to be derailed on her track to gainful employment
Anne thought long and hard to find just the right profession
that would serve both her ambitions and her need for recognition.
“One thing that I can do well,” said Anne, “without  tripping over any feet
while dancing…or to lose my wits and panic when anyone bleeds…

The perfect job for me (why didn’t I think of it sooner?) is to get
pen and paper, and a computer — and spend my life Writing!”
So she wrote and she wrote, books and poems, and tales
about dancers and doctors, and all kinds of things.

©Sometimes,2016

Smitten

(first published January 2017

Smitten

Please make your point, Madam
spare me the hints and hyperbole
your subtle suggestions are quite a lot
for one who prefers words spoken verbally
in addition to clear and simple…at all cost.

Please make your point, Madam
be so kind as to avoid this torture
What do you want from me?    I beg you to say!
Just as I think I understand your demeanor,
and decide to venture a move—you’re off.

Just as I think I catch your drift…do I earn your fancy?
Say, how can I tell?    I really hoped that I know you well.
But my imagination is befuddled…trying to see,
my poor heart muddled…beating a loud tattoo.
Pray tell: what are your intentions for me?

Marching off to war is far more assuring
my enemies always make their intentions clear to me…
and in return I do do not lead them on unfairly.
Please make your point, Madam—
What is your business with me?

© Sometimes, 2017

From Doorstep fiction writing— to unfinished dissertation (Re-posted)

When one of my daughters was about ten, her school bus came later than those of the other kids, so she and I had half an hour or so one-on-one time.  I loved to make up stories, and some of my best (maybe) ideas came at that time.   This means fiction…since I was a working newspaper reporter and writer at the time I was writing other types of material —news stories, police reports, obits, motor vehicle crashes, city meeting coverage— when I wasn’t making up far-out stories.

The story I am referring to was about a tiny slug that landed on a patch of grass, and was saved from trampling by a group of scuffling boys by a young girl named Fonzie McElroy.   Turned out the Slug was no other than Prince Rehebal, of some distant planet that was left behind on an exploratory visit to Earth.   To fast-forward the plot, the young Prince was rescued by returning space crew…and Fonzie was richly rewarded, although no one but she ever believed the tale was true.

I know…sounds vaguely like “ET,” which had not hit the movie theaters yet, and I did not hear about for at least a decade.  Yes, I did type up (on newspaper print paper) and I still have the original.

Another of my languishing plots was a Civil War theme, set on a Confederate prisoner-of-war island, a sutler’s daughter who fell for a Rebel army officer, and so the historical novel was set to go.   A sutler was a farmer or merchant who set up sales of produce like onions and potatoes in periodic markets held by prison officials for the imprisoned soldiers.

Then there is the loose plot of a murder mystery set in a small town, peopled by town municipal workers like council members, police, and of course a newspaper reporter that solves the whole crime.   My heroine is still (after about 30 years real time) sitting at the railroad tracks waiting for a train to pass, the murderer holding a gun to the reporter’s side–while the police chief waits on the other side of the train tracks.

In my Science Fiction story the location is a planet which is ruled by women.  All of the men are sent out on space ships doing various jobs, and serving out their time until they and their wives can reunite and move to a utopian planet where they live out their years in happy wedded bliss.

The probability of any of those works ever seeing the light of day is remote.  My more recent interests are in writing  Historical topics in which I have an interest…such as the British Abolition of the Slave Trade; Liberation Theology in Latin America; and various other essay contributions.

Oh, and my current…and possibly only novel is one that I worked on as a National  Novel Writing Month (not the correct name, but the popular writers’ competition in which the goal was to write a 60,000 word novel in one month…which was accomplished mostly stream-of-consciousness-style with no correcting spelling or style or anything else…just pounding away for 30 days.   That NaNoWriMo exercise is THE most useful and inspiring writing experience I have undertaken.   I have elaborated on the plot and the work to a great extent.   It is part Historical and part Time-Travel.

The topic of my novel was based on my doctoral dissertation (which I did not  bring to completion within allotted time.)    Obviously no one except my advisor professor has ever read the Final Draft, which I wish now with all my heart that I had completed.    Various readers such as my kids and best friends…captives, if you will…SAY they read the copies that I gave them ten years ago, but their eyes glaze over as they say it.     It’s about History of 500 years of the Catholic Church in Mexico, or something like that.   It’s a LOT more interesting than you all think!

What got in the way of my writing was … well… writing.    I often whine that  “I wish I had been a Writer.”   I spent years writing for newspapers, term papers, writing minutes as secretary of city boards and commissions, in college writing assignments and serious papers.  E-mailing (the way I have always done it) is sort of like writing as I wrote  to my friends and other people.

Blogging  is writing of course…and I love it because it is a combination of all the different kinds of writing I have ever done:   Fiction, poems, rants, news stories, satire, responding to prompts about all kinds of things…and writing about writing.   Photographing isn’t writing of course, but in a way it can be in that photos tell stories in and of themselves, or they serve as props for accompanying prose.

 

 

On Writing Poetry… with a nod to Miss Edwards (re-posted from 2015.)

I have always been a writer.  At age twelve, more or less, I wrote a novel.  Although I don’t recall any details of the plot, or characterization,  I do remember a name…Joyce Reena Phane.   That was to be my pen name, I believe.  To me that name was beautiful, and the very essence of sophistication.   I was quite proud of my novel, such as it was, and when my aunt asked to read it I was delighted.   Aunt Jada was a writer herself, and was working on a novel dealing with a group of Kent State students during the Vietnam War.  She loved my novel, and was impressed enough to talk with her sister, my mother, about it.

That was the end of that.    My mother was a very practical and down-to-earth woman, whose no-nonsense beliefs had no room for frivolous or non-productive pursuits.   As far as she was concerned no one made a living from writing books, especially if they had no college education–and the prospect of ME going to college was out of the question.   Besides, my writing was childish, the plot far-fetched and the characters unrealistic…and the pen name I had chosen so carefully was silly and unlike a name any real person would have.  The early….and only…draft of that novel consisted of several notebook paper pages, which no longer exist.

I did continue my creative writing, with encouragement from my seventh grade English teacher, Mr. Wilkinson.

I have some early poetry written in a brown notebook, one of those old dime-store notebooks  that were cheap and plentiful.  In addition to my own works of poetry, I have in those pages the complete Edgar Allen Poe, The Raven, copied in my neat and even cursive handwriting.   Also much of Macbeth, Shakespeare’s masterpiece which had also been immortalized as our high school play.  I was so enamored of that classic that I saw fit to enter much of the original play into my notebook.  There is also some poetry that I can still recite in part this many decades later…I was quite proud of my poems which also immortalized some of my early loves in my handwriting.   I used a fountain pen with real ink, and when I made an error I ripped out the notebook page entirely and started over.  I still think that the handwriting on those pages are perhaps the most endearing aspect of the whole brown notebook.  I wish I still loved my handwriting as well as I did then.

As for Shakespeare, my exposure to his works were in my Junior or Senior year of high school, when the truly marvelous reading by our English Literature teacher–who was also the school principal–sends shivers up my spine to this day.  I always stayed on Miss Edwards’ good side.  She was a small woman in stature, tough as any marine sergeant, and did not need any police personnel to maintain order over her classes–or her school.  One of the things I liked about Miss Edwards is that she liked my writing…she is definitely one of my mentors who had a positive effect on my life.

Ah well– I will never make it as a poet, but as long as I like my poetry and other bloggers occasionally say something nice about it as well–it is worth the oft-times lame verse that escapes my fountain pen….er, keyboard.

The Neighborhood Dance, or Taming the Wild Assonants

Writing 201, Poetry–Day 7: Neighborhood, Ballad, Assonance

(This rhythym sort of works to the tune of “Sweet Betsy from Pike.”
or even “Beverly Hillbilly song.”)

Neighborhood Dance

A natty Anteater’s Aunt wanted a chance to meet an
Easy-going Eel sufficient in charms, the
Idea she had was to learn how to dance, but
Only one catch–the Eel had no arms.  So
Unity of moves was hard to enhance
until the Risqué Raccoon suggested:
“Why not freelance?”

©Sometimes,2015

There’s Work to be Done…but Poetry is SUCH Fun!

Writing 201: Poetry, Day Six — Faces, Found Poetry, Chiasmus
(what the heck is Chiasmus?)

just a few books
just a few books

            Booksellers Lament

Books in order means order in books
to find them is the key
with thousands of books the ONE that is wanted
is the one nowhere to be found.

Well, it MUST be somewhere unless it was sold!

If order is everything and if everything is in order
the book business thrives, sporadically
(at least theoretically)
but only if you’re listing, they keep insisting
books on the shelves can’t sell themselves

an order’s an order but books MUST be in order
to fill the order–when there’s an order to fill.

©Sometimes, 2016

 

Flying Fools

There is something about airplane travel that brings out the worst in some people. The worst seats in many airliners have to be in the last row, next to the lavatories. These seats do not recline, and are scooted back against the lavatory wall as far as they will go. Unfortunately, the seats ahead of these fixed streets DO recline, effectively forcing occupants to put up with having the back of the forward seat in their laps.

If alone, once I am settled in my seat I fall asleep almost instantly and remain asleep until the plaae has landed and is taxi-ing toward the terminal.  (I can sleep anywhere.)   I am content to remain in my seat until everyone has left the plane.

The last time my son was with me on the flight, and I was sandwiched between him and a mild-mannered sixty-something man who had the aisle seat.  The man and I had exchanged the polite airplane seat-mate smile-and-nod, and we were all minding our own business.  I was almost asleep, son content to look out the window, and the pleasant man next to me had opened his lap-top.

Everything was fine until the seat-belt sign went dark.

Then the back of the seat, in front of my neighbor, crashed backward, forcing the computer screen almost-closed and pushed  against its owner. He asked the man in the seat ahead to move the seat forward part-way. He was ignored. The flight attendant, by request, also asked that the seat be put into upright,but she also was ignored.

Undaunted, the man with the computer kept turning in the seat, trying to hold the laptop in a comfortable position.  To his credit, he did manage to poke the seat-back a few times.

The guy in front never did adjust the seat, except when the inevitable drinks and peanuts arrived, and once when the guy got up to push his way to the lavatory.

I have thought about that incident now and then, especially when the news outlets run their periodic horror stories about air travel.

What is proper protocol in a situation like this?  Does one push  and bump the seat-back until the offender gets the message?   Try making loud and rude comments?   Fake a coughing fit?   Gag?

None of the above would have been likely to move the flying fool ahead of us.  A good smack upside the head would be effective, but then either a brawl would ensue–and delay the flight, or someone would sue.  Chances are the wrong passenger would have been kicked off the plane.

Far be it from me to advocate common sense on the part of the airline management–but wouldn’t it make sense to fix the seats that encroach upon the passengers seated in the seats that do not recline?   And is it really going to keep the airlines from bankruptcy if they remove that extra row of seats that they crammed in there?

If this has offended any of these Flying Fools–good!