Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Living the Dream-The Conclusion

We wake up early yet again and the crew meets in the hotel lobby. Captain Steve says, "Hey, I checked the company website this morning to check on our flights. Did you see that flight attendants have to re-enter their bids for next month?" Our jaws drop. "What?!!!!"

Nothing we can do before our flight, so off we go to the airport. We have two flights to work and a deadhead flight. A deadhead is where we just ride as passengers to get repositioned. We get through the day without a hitch. Amen.

Once we get to the hotel, I check the company website- and there it is flight attendants have until Thursday at noon to re-enter bids. Good. I can do it when I get home and I don't have to scramble to get on-line (no free internet in LGA). Oh and what's this? There is a change to my assignment for tomorrow. All three of my original flights have cancelled due to weather and all we have to do is deadhead back to Cincinnati. My luck is changing!

We get to sleep in (9:00 AM report instead of getting up at the crack of early). Beverly and I report to the lobby and find out that our pilots had to work a flight to RDU (Raleigh Durham). We head out to find that the flight is delayed by one hour. We don't have to work it, so we don't mind the delay. After an hour, the plane shows up and we board early to get away from the crowds. It's the Vomit Comet!

The crew of the Vomit Comet informs us that there is a maintenance issue and that there will be a further delay. The mechanic is shaking his head. Never a good sign.

Four and one-half hours later, the Vomit Comet is ready! We reboard and two hours later, we arrive in Cincinnati! Boom Done!

Thank Goodness for knitting!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Living The Dream-Day 2

Day 2

It's Valentine's Day and I have just one flight to work today. Go from JFK to ORD. Sounds easy, but the flight leaves at 7:00 AM, which means we report for duty at 6:00 AM, which means wake up at 5:00AM.

We get to the the airport in Kennedy and the "Vomit Comet" awaits us for another day of flying.

I must find the mental energy to put my March bid together and get it entered today. In addition to another warm Doubletree chocolate chip cookie, our hotel in ORD has free wifi in the rooms so this should work out well. Stay focused!

So much for focus, my Captain (his name is Steve, of course) wants to take the crew out for a Valentine's Day Lunch of Chicago Style Pizza. You may remember my Blog episode "Food Wars" where Janice's Chicago-style pizza beat my LGA Killer Canoli. Well, Captain Steve was treating at Giordani's, the exact site of my Canoli defeat. The March bidding can wait!

The Deep Dish Pizza looked more like Cheesecake than pizza! Beverly and I did NOT order the Heart Shaped Deep Dish Pizza pictured above. We split a thin crust spinach and vegetable loaded pizza (which in the rest of America, would be considered deep dish).
Needless to say, a 5:00 AM wake up, carb overdose with chocolate chip cookie chaser spells NAPTIME! The March bidding must wait!

After a long winter's nap, it's time to get serious! After two and one-half hours of hunting, searching, adding, subtracting, conferring with Nancy and dinking my MacBook trying to figure out how to get free wifi, I'm ready to start entering my bid! Entering the darn bid takes another hour, most spend watching the little hourglass spinning around-asking my to wait patiently.
Mission Accomplished-The March Bid is entered! In another week, I'll know if I did it right when the results are published. Wish me luck!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Living the Dream

I thought I'd give you a little taste of my Flight Attendant Life.

Day One-February 13, 2010.
I start out cranky.
It was to be an easy day-2 flights.
Fly from CVG (Cincinnati) to ORD (Chicago O'Hare) then from ORD to JFK (New York and you may have heard me refer to JFK differently-but I'll keep in family friendly).

Our airplane was late coming in so we knew we would be a little late going out. What we didn't know was that a passenger had gotten very sick and had proceeded to vomit all over Seats 19C, 19D, 20C and 20D. The seats and the carpeting would now need to be replaced and the Aft flight attendant jumpseat was now unusable. We named the plane the "Vomit Comet".

Have you ever wonder why your flight is delayed when the weather seems fine? The answers are too numerous and for the most part, you really don't want to know.

It would seem like a great time to get some knitting done while we waited-but NO. I just picked up my Bid Packet. The Bid Packet is the Flight Attendants' only chance to plan for the upcoming month and ask for days off, specific trips and so on. The packet comes out on a Wednesday (it's now Saturday) and the bids must be submitted by Monday at Noon. I don't have the mental energy or the time to go through the whole packet which lists in detail all 1300 possible trips.

I usually cross off the days I want off, then I cross off the trips that start too early or end too late. I also cross off trips that involve Canada (too much hassle with customs and paperwork), and the list goes on and on. I touch base with my friend Nancy, we try to fly together as much as possible but sometimes are schedules are too hard to coordinate. I want March 6th off for the Free Form Purse Class and I want the 19th-22nd off for a possible road trip. With those dates crossed off, I do some quick math and realize that it will not be possible to build my March schedule with those days off. Back to the drawing board-I may need to put Canada back into play :-(

After an hour and a half delay, we were ready to board. The passengers are all concerned about making their connecting flights. We try to address their concerns but we have concerns of our own. We only have a little over an hour to provide a full service to a full plane with a full first class cabin-we'll have to move fast. Luckily, I'm flying with Miss Beverly and she's easy to work with and delightful.

We make it to Chicago and quickly try to get the plane ready for the next flight to make up some time. Luckily, the plane is only half full. During our rushing around, I somehow broke my "Wings", my flight attendant name badge thing that sits over my left chest area. The protective backing of one of the prongs has partially broken off and the sharp point is exposed. I can neither get the pin off or cover the sharp exposed point. Needless to say, I spend the next two hours trying not to play with my chest. Good thing we're only half full and its dark!

We get to JFK and were now only an hour late. It is bitter cold and we wait over 30 minutes for the hotel van to pick us up. I'm now crankier, colder and suffering from multiple stab wounds. Once we get on the van, it proceeds to make three more stops to pick up more cold and cranky guests. I get my room key, my DoubleTree Chocolate chip cookie (the best part of the day) and head straight for bed.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Knitting for Those in Need

Wow! Almost two weeks since the last blog. Very Sorry :-(

Well, several of you have been coming into the shop and crabbing about the lack of postings, so here's the scoop. I've been flying too much with nothing fun to report. I've been busy at the shop with ordering, paying bills and closing out paperwork for 2009. And, I've been knitting aimlessly and not finishing a thing!

When Lisa Hatton and Rita Arthur told me that they were tired of looking at those darn needles from the last post, I knew I was well overdo. It's time to put fun and blogging back into my life!

When I ask Rita for some inspiration, she told me that she has been doing a lot of charity knitting for her church. She said is involved with Prayer Needles. They knit blankets and hats for the Children's Home, where are currently 64 children ages seven and above. They also knit prayer shawls for the sick.

Five minutes later, TJ Dixon called with questions about the free form knitting class. Next thing you know we're talking about ways to use up stash and miscellaneous scrap yarn. She said she had been knitting lots of newborn baby caps with her leftover yarn for the Rose Garden Ministries in Covington. She has been cranking them out and shares the following pattern with you.

"You can knit this cute little baby hat in under two hours. All you need are worsted weight yarn scraps, #7 dpns, and a 16” #7 circular needle. Instructions are for newborn (0-6 months). Using a #7 circular needle, cast on 56 (64) stitches. Join for working in the round and knit until the hat measures 5 ½” (6”) from the beginning. On the next row, K2tog across. Switch to dpns and k2tog across the next 2 rows. Cut yarn and thread it through the remaining stitches. Weave in ends and voila! Add a pom-pom, make I-cord loops on top, etc."

As most of you know, we work closely with Tammy Simpson and Scarf It Up for Those in Need and other causes like Celebritrees. This month we have been asking for your support for Scarf It Up by donating $1 with every purchase or buying a chance to win a beautiful watercolor painting that is displayed at the shop. The support has been great. The Watercolor tickets are sold out!

When your thinking about your next project or in my case, you just need to start something new- we have lots of charities that would appreciate your generosity, kindness and talent.

I'm off on yet another four-day trip. I'll try to blog while I'm away!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Get the Point?

Knitting needles are like shoes--they can make or break your desired look. Some outfits require heels, some knitting projects will require a sharper point. If the shoe fits, wear it! If the needle gets you gauge, use it! I can go on and on with the analogies because I love shoes and needles, but I think you get the point. Bottom line-you can never have too many shoes and needles!

Knitting sounds like such a simple concept--You use two pointed sticks to pull loops of string through one another. But, there are so many different kinds of yarns and needles on the market. From plain plastic needles to metal, glass, bamboo, woods and many other materials-the choices are plentiful. Then, there are straight needles and circular needles (not to mention double-pointed needles). And further more, there are the varying lengths. All of this can be pretty confusing to a beginner. So, how do you know what needle is right for you and your project? Answer: Ask a Knitwit!

Knitting needles are generally divided into three types: straight (with one pointed end), circular (with two needles connected by a cable), and double-pointed. Each has its purpose.
Needles come in thicknesses from 0.75mm to 25mm. Most commonly you'll find needles also marked with U.S. sizes that correspond to the metric numbers, but to make matters even more confusing, various manufacturers use different metric equivalents for U.S. sizes.

Different knitters like different needles for different reasons. We stock only what we think are the best needles on the market. They may not always be the cheapest option.

Many knitters love bamboo or wooden needles because of their warmth, the natural feel in the hands, and the comforting but quiet clicking sound they make. They’re also good for knitting slick yarns because the needles have a bit of friction, which can help keep the stitches from sliding off the needles. Our Clover Bamboos and Velvets are a great choice for beginners.

Metal needles are smooth, can be found in both sharp and blunt tips, and are wonderful for yarns that otherwise tend to stick, but can be used with all yarns. We really really really like the Addi Turbos and Addi Lace Needles and find that they really improve the speed and the appearance of your knitting. The Addis are slightly more expensive but if you're planning to have a lot of knitting in your future they are worth the investment.

Plastic needles are like eating with plastic utensils. They get the job done-but...you deserve better!

To start your needle collection, I suggest buying circular needles with 24-40" cables. You can knit anything on circular needles. As the need arises, buy the DPs for hats, socks and sleeves, the shorter cables for the same reasons. If you're doing a lot of knitting, buy Addis. I prefer the Addi Lace for the sharper points but I do a lot of yarn overs, k2togs and I use a lot of textured and splitty yarns.

A common misconception is that you'll only need one pair of needles in each size. The truth is, you can never have too many duplicate sets of needles. Not only do needles have a habit of disappearing, but they also like to stay in unfinished projects. If you like to work on more than one project at a time, or if you like the freedom of being able to sort through your stash and begin a project at 3am, you'll need lots of available needles.

Because they spend so much time in your hands, needles can quickly become as cherished as your favorite pet or piece of jewelry. Many knitters, once set on a favorite needle type, will defend it with the same vigor usually reserved for religious or political debates.

Some will touch nothing but birch or rosewood, others cry, "Give me bamboo or give me death!" And many Addi fans would rather switch to decaf than use any other type of needle.
You may find that you prefer several types of needles depending on your project.

Now, if only we could find an attractive and organized way of displaying our knitting needle and shoe collections.