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Another day log. Well, I spent my entire evening walking around feeling angry while attempting to calm myself with retail therapy and still somehow here I am three hours later, feeling exactly the same.

I mentioned in another log that I've been reading up on Jungian psychology. The book I'm reading now, Women Who Run With The Wolves, is written by a Jungian analyst who uses myths and stories to explain the psychology of Wild Woman, the female soul. It's pretty fucking awesome.

At some point I should write a proper review of it. But for now, I just want to say that my poetry from the past year IS the book. So far each chapter has something of significance that reminds me of something odd that I wrote, so I'll re-read my writings, and realize that holy shit, my poetry is the Wild Woman in me trying to get out. The person I've been spending most of my time with so far is the Bone Woman, who is one of the many facets of Wild Woman. Bone Woman is the old crone who lives on the edge of civilization, searching high and low for bones. When she finds them all, she puts them together, breathes on them, and the skeleton turns into a living wolf. She laughs while the wolf runs away.

Bones represent that which cannot be easily destroyed, which is the human soul. When a woman loses herself, it is Bone Woman who must put her back together and bring her back to life.  

So that in a nutshell tells you the state of my mind. I don't think that Bone Woman is completely finished with me yet but it feels like she's getting close. Tonight while walking home there was a woman in front of me in a short black skirt, a black tank top with criss-crossing straps, black sneakers and black netting on her legs. She had huge white headphones on her head, her hair piled high and messy, and a cigarette in one hand by her side as she walked. I could not see her face or guess her age but she looked like she didn't have a care in the world. And not in a happy perky way, but in a comfortable-in-your-own-skin kind of way. My Thursday night yoga teacher is the same way. She'll wear leopard print leggings and have her long hair down and get onto all fours on the mat. She'll instruct us to do the same, then starts swivelling her hips and rolling her shoulders, telling us to do whatever feels good and to just get back into our bodies. She doesn't care how she looks. It amazes me that she can do that.

I wonder how the people in my writer's group see me. I just started a few weeks ago and so far everything I have shared with them is downright disturbing in contrast with their positive pieces. My first night there, I wrote about a man who hates women and tied one up to kill her. Nothing else after that was much better. Am I the disturbed and angry girl who just showed up one day, in their eyes? Probably but I guess that's alright. That's where I am right now, and it feels better to own it than to pretend. I'm getting better at just saying out loud what I think.

Long story short, anyone who understands what I'm talking about right now, or feels the same way, should read that book. It explains things in a way that makes perfect sense. 

Last night I had an opportunity to chat with a friend of mine who recently lost someone that was close to them. She died tragically young, part of the conversation was about how people react to others dying and what kind of coping strategies people use initially but then the topic turned towards life and how people take for granted small yet huge things like being able to walk on their own two feet and breathe air that is not polluted while using the many online resources that are available to them. My friend mentioned that another friend of his has a brother who is autistic and battling cancer. At fourteen he's been through three rounds of chemo, when we were at Children's Hospital we were confident that my daughter would come home and optimistic about her ability to make a full recovery despite hearing that her lab numbers aren't dropping the way that they should.

During this conversation I was on Twitter. Someone I follow there is going through shoulder rehab after an injury, we're friends on Facebook and I wish more people would have this guy's mentality. The other day he made a comment about Some ECards being another platform for people to complain and that really struck me as insightful. Normally I think they're funny but now I can see that a lot of them are negative in nature. For much of my life I've had notions that I or other people can't do certain things. In reality, most people can play baseball or write a book or learn to fly, they just aren't willing to invest whatever it would take or make sacrifices to turn their goal into an achievement. Few people start out as naturally gifted and even those that are can refine and hone their skills to make themselves better.

There are many things I can do and could be doing. Right now, I have to figure out where my energies are going to be most fulfilling and rewarding. Last year at this time, I was a physical and emotional wreck. This year, I'm more physically fit and that has a lot to do with how I feel about life in general. Yesterday, I was really upset until I went for a bike ride. I did half of my yoga video and I didn't time it right so I couldn't finish it, but I learned something from that - I need ways to relax. I need to find ways to have fun and I want people in my life that I can share mutual interests with which is why I think Twitter works so well for me. It can be frustrating at times but it's also a great way to meet new people who have passions similar to yours.

My dream was strange last night. An E2 member was part of it. For some reason this person and I were traveling together, I had the impression that we were teachers or educators of some sort but I'm not really sure why I think that. We were in a room with these other women, he left and then I was alone for a while. Something happened right before we left, the dream scene changed and I didn't see him again after that. The next thing I remember is being in a car that might have been the one I actually drive. A guy was standing next to my window, I didn't see him at first but I could see that his car was parked next to mine. In real life this guy is really tall, he was in my dream too. He reached through my window, our hands touched and he said something but I don't know what it was. When I woke up, I remembered that part of the dream, it made me feel secure and safe and internally warm. It probably isn't trying to tell me anything but I wish I knew what I had done to conjure up that scenario so I could hit that dream replay button on evenings like the one I had last night.

Hop #14

Got the the airport around 5:50pm. The sun was just starting to edge down in the west; the sky was clear and blue, and there was a bit of haze out beyond four or five miles. Didn't see my CFI, so I started preflight. As I was fooling around finding various things (sunglasses, fuel cup, ladder, etc.) I looked up and my CFI was checking the oil level. I straightened as he started off across the tarmac, saying "Gotta find a funnel." While he was doing that, I did my walkaround. Everything looked fine; control cables not too tight or loose, ailerons moving opposite each other and moving the yoke, no lights broken, and so forth. He came back and put a quart of oil in as I was dipping the left wing tank. "How much we got?"

"Twelve on each side."

"Cool, we don't have to gas it."

I finished my walkaround with a couple of questions ("what's the air intake inside the cowling on the left?" "-carb heat intake." "Where's the alternate static air?" "-Inside the cabin, behind the dash, actually.") and we both got in and did Appropriate Pilot Things like putting on sunglasses and fiddling with seatbelts.

"CLEAR!" I'd only given it one primer shot since although it hadn't flown today it was still around ninety degrees F ambient. It didn't start, so I pulled the throttle all the way out, thinking I'd flooded it - nope, so...gave it a half inch and BAMbrrrrrrrrrrrrr. Set the radios, checked the intercom, flicked on the beacon lights and headed out for One Four.

Did the runup (there was no traffic in the area or on the ground) and announced our departure. Before rolling onto the runway, I ran through the checklist my CFI had given me - fuel selector valve, trim tab, flaps, mixture, carb heat. All correct. Noted a right crosswind, slight but present, so I held right yoke on the takeoff and rolled it out, ending up with a level yoke as the wheels left the runway. Gave us ten degrees of right heading to correct for the wind and settled back for the climbout. There were all kinds of wakes on the Connecticut River just under our wheels - jet skis, boats, even crowds swimming. Made sense, it was still hot and sticky out as the heat of the day radiated off the ground. I could almost see it streaming upwards as the sun sank towards the horizon.

Came around the pattern and turned final, was happy to see I was right where I wanted to be; I noticed that I am getting better and better at ending up close to the runway threshold rather than floating over it with fifty feet and ten extra knots. Managed to touch down pretty much just past the numbers despite the crosswind of five knots or so, braked moderately and made the turnoff. As I cleaned up the airplane, my CFI said "Yep, just drop me off, I'll go find my handheld and be around if you want to talk."

"Cool." So I did that, dropped him near the fuel pumps. He waved and headed back inside to air conditioning; I opened my side window to let the propwash through and taxied back out to One Four.

I did six landings today - one with him, and five without. No problems. On the second solo landing, I turned final and found the airplane bouncing. I checked instruments, but it was pretty clear that this was just convection turbulence as the sun went down and the varied surfaces below gave up heat at different rates. I held it to seventy-five on final, keeping that extra five MPH as a reserve against gusts, and had to kick the rudder a couple of times as the wind shifted, but still ended up pretty much right over the numbers at sixty-five MPH and the airplane settled to a gentle touchdown.

Turning base for the fifth landing, I was looking for the runway and when I found it where I wanted it, let my gaze traverse the area - and there was something there, something big and unexpected and wrong because it wasn't really moving. Maintained Pilot Face(tm) even though I was alone in the airplane; took about a second to recognize it as a large hot air balloon drifting pretty much directly across the middle of the airfield at around 900 feet and also to recognize that I'd be on the ground by the time our paths crossed, so I announced "Northampton traffic, Skyhawk 12732 is turning final for One Four Northampton. Advisory, Northampton traffic, hot air balloon is crossing midfield at one thousand feet moving west to east, ten knots, Northampton."

Made my landing, then wondered what I should do - I had planned to do one more go around the pattern but the balloon was drifting from the runway to the downwind leg. Shrugged and taxied back to the threshold of One Four and waited a couple of minutes until the balloon was almost directly in the downwind leg, meaning it would be four or five minutes before I got there, and announced my departure and another advisory about the balloon. As I turned downwind, the ballon was about a half mile to my right, moving away, and perhaps two hundred feet below me. As I came nearer, I saw a flash of reflected light in the basket; somebody was looking at me with binoculars, so I waggled my wings a few times as I passed and they gave me 'shave and a haircut' on the gas burner.

Turned base, then final, and once more found myself coming in juuuust for the threshold. Pulled power out despite my gut wanting it to stay in, and this time found myself flaring right at the numbers, wheels touching almost silently. I didn't have to brake nearly at all to make the turnoff. Nice. Maintain Pilot Face(tm).

So I taxied back into the parking area and shut down. When I got out, my CFI was waiting. "How'd it go?"

"No problems. Got a little surprised by the balloon."

"Yeah? Did you jerk the plane around at all?"

"Nope, this time I held Pilot Face. Didn't even say anything. Had to wait a bit to depart, for him to clear the downwind."

"Aaah, I would've just gone around him. Why didn't you go through him?"

"Would I have gotten a silhouette on the fuselage for that?"

"Totally."

"Damn, gotta remember that next time."

We pushed the airplane back into its parking spot, and tied it down. Inside, he said "You can pretty much fill out the logbook. So, you don't really need me if you just want to go flying - you're cleared for the pattern and if you want to go out to the practice area and do maneuvers - turns around a point, S-turns, etc. - you're cleared for that, just don't get out of sight of the river, OK? I'll be around Tuesday so if it's windy I'll fly with you, and if not, I'll find something else to do."

"Great!"

"So let's see, what do we need to work on?" We thought about it, and came up with:

  • Hood time (instrument flying practice with a hood on to block the view out the windows, airsickness city if you're susceptible)
  • Flight planning
  • Navigation
  • ...so that I could fly cross-country
  • Night flying

So I'll probably take the airplane up a few times to practice maneuvering solo, and then I'll start working on cross-country stuff. I remember this feeling from the last time, two decades ago - it's funny, it's like that feeling when you first get handed the keys to the car and told "Have fun." Freedom!

Tomorrow is work and then after work I'm going to Nevada for two weeks.

It will be the longest I've ever been away from home. I'm going to visit my friend who moved up there last year. She's come down to visit several times, but I've never gone up there. Her mother and father (who are in town on business) will take me with them on their way back up. My friend, being the savvy person she is, decided NOT to come down with them and so saved herself a five hour car drive. So I get a five hour car drive with her parents. AWKWARD. But don't care: going to Nevada.

I've never left my state before. This is going to be awesome.

Today it's finally hit my mother and sister that I'm going, and they've been super needy and telling me not to go. BUT NOPE I'M TOTALLY GOING.

Also: Just got the scores for the WST given to me several weeks ago by my new college. I passed. I was seriously worried I wouldn't pass because part of it was writing an essay in forty five minutes on a topic of their choosing. I went into blind raging panic and scribbled down any old random thing that seemed tangentially related to the topic at hand and by the end I had no idea what I was trying to say and I was freaking out so bad because holy shit I flunked and then they wouldn't let me into the school, and then I'd never get into any college and then I'd wind up being a homeless person on the street because I'm so stupid and nobody would hire me and my family hates me for being a failure. But instead I got a 10 out of 12 on the essay part, and 73 out of 75 on the multiple-choice grammar part, so WAHOO YEAH!

Today me, Mom and Arreter went to the flea market and then had breakfast at Denny's. We almost never go out all three of us together, so this was surprisingly pleasant, aside from a few fights they got into (Arreter and my mom disagree on what Arr should be focusing on in school). There was a guy outside the flea market giving away a kitten and we ALMOST got him, but then my mother snapped out of it before we could actually take him and ran to the car without us. So no kitten.

And, in order to kill two birds with one stone, no se como hablar spanish por nada, pero aquí son palabras extranjeras.

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