Tuesday, June 20, 2017

The End of an Era

That's all, folks.  Other than a couple of reserves, my ATR days are done.  It is bitter-sweet, I am both excited and terrified of starting all over again... so much unknown... but the excitement is definitely the bigger feeling.  I am sad to be leaving the people I have flown with the last five years, and sad to be leaving an aircraft that has been home for over nine.  

Some people hate the ATR, for me it has been pretty much all I've known, and we have had good times.  I won't miss the company, and that's okay.  I'm having a leaving party on Thursday (tomorrow) for some pilots and that will be fun. 

Yesterday was my last rostered duty, and in honour of that, and because I'm leaving and because it really doesn't matter if people know where I worked any more, here are some pics.

After my last landing in to Brisbane on an ATR

The last overnight

Me (a couple of months ago)

Sunrise in Brisbane

Landing on 14 in Brisbane 

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Father's Day

"O my Father, and O the delight of my eyes..."


Frankly, I couldn't ask for a better one.  As Father's Day looms on a different day every year, and is celebrated in AUS at an entirely different time, I'm completely unprepared as always, hence the post.

So here are some things I appreciate about my father.

He's kind
He listens
He is the most selfless person I know
He is generous
He is loving
He loves Lily
And me
He sticks to his guns (barefoot running) even when people laugh at him 
He loves my Lily
He can fix just about anything - and will do so, willingly
He can look after goats even though he doesn't like to
He bought me my first flying lesson (sorry Mum, but it was Dad's idea)
He is honest
He is humble
He is a terribly picky eater just like his favourite daughter


I could keep going on but I have to get ready for Church, so maybe I shall write more later.

Suffice it to say, I have the best dad, I love him to the moon and back and appreciate him so so so very much.


Friday, June 16, 2017


Yesterday I got to cuddle all the goat babies and it was like the cutest thing since sliced bread which is pretty cute, y'all.



E says I really should say the cutest thing since Lily, because Lily is obviously the cutest thing since sliced bread, which is of course true.  

I haven't updated the blog for almost a million years, and for that I am sorry.  I've been keeping people on Facebook informed about baby A, who is doing well considering everything.  He has lost 2.5 fingers on his left hand which is pretty tragic but everything else seems to be healing well and he is such an upbeat little kid despite it all.


Also, on the job front, I am approaching my very last week ever with my current airline which is both exciting and completely terrifying.  I took the other job, which is a direct entry command on the Embraer 145.  Well, Embraer 135LR, 135KL and soon to be 145XR which are the new ones.  The LRs are the smallest with only 36 seats and the XRs have around 50 depending on the particular configuration we get.  All smaller than my current aircraft but it's a) completely different b) a challenge and c) not my current company which I think are all positives.   

I start the new job on the 26th June and then head to Zurich for the type rating around the 30th, expecting to be away for around 6 weeks, including a few days in Ireland at the end.

It's amazing how much there is to do when one gets a new job.  So many things to return, so much paperwork to fill out both for the old and the new, and the list just goes on.  At least it is mostly keeping me busy so my brain doesn't get to think too much.  That said, I think the hardest couple of weeks - the parents will vouch for this as they were here - were when I had to actually make the decision.  Once the decision was made, the weight off my shoulders was such a relief.  Now and then I have a momentary panic that maybe it won't work out, but in general I think I made the right choice.

Sunday, June 4, 2017


We went to the hospital yesterday to visit baby A, he was pretty happy when we arrived but had quite a yo-yo day in and out of pain.  The main problem seemed to be itching under his splints, which he was inconsolable about.  He has Panadol around the clock and also anti-itching medication.  Such a cute funny boy when he was happy - obviously still cute when not, but I found it pretty heart breaking to watch him so upset.

After visiting with A a little, we took T to the Art Museum to the Marvel Exhibition which is on until about September.  It wouldn't have been my choice of activity but he was incredibly enthusiastic.  I don't believe I would have been interested when I was four!  I tried to gauge his actual interest on the walk there with questions like "okay, you can choose between ice cream, pizza and doughnuts, or the exhibition, which will it be?" And "Ferris wheel or exhibition?" Etc and the exhibition won every time.  Oh well, I tried!  He was ever so excited.  It was actually pretty cool, with all of the actual costumes and props used in the movies, and lots of framed original comics, etc.  T said the highlight was getting to draw his own superhero at the end.  

Kaitlyn & T at the exhibition


 The four of us posing

The Incredible Hulk


 I couldn't help myself 

It was nice to get T out for an activity as his mum has been worried about him feeling left out.  He has lots of love and family around him but it must be hard being the older, OK, kid when most of the focus is on the younger sick one and the new baby.  

For those who don't know the story, little A, who just turned two, knocked a power board (extension cable) off a bedside table onto tiles.  It split open, and he picked it up to put it back, and was electrocuted.  Unfortunately he picked it up in such a way that it made a circuit with his little hands, and continued to burn him until his dad managed to get there to knock the board from his hands.  He is now in the children's hospital in Brisbane, and will be there for at least the next month.  He has full thickness burns to his hands, has had three surgeries already and has a lot more ahead of him.

Baby A this morning  

The family just welcomed their new baby a week ago, the dad (TW) just started a new job and the mum (SW) just had a c-section.  The family and church are rallying around them but it is a lot for them to handle, added with the extra stress and emotion of other things going on in the larger family picture.  Please keep the family in your prayers.

I'm also acutely conscious of the family's financial need during this time.  If anyone has it in their heart to donate towards their expenses (car parking at the hospital alone is $30 a day) please get in touch. 

I love this whole family like my own: in fact, they are an extension of my own family.  For C & T, TW's parents, I pray for peace that they wouldn't feel guilt for the accident, and also for strength for this long journey.  For B & R, SW's parents, who have to go to New Zealand this week potentially long term, I pray for closeness and peace while they are physically stuck so far away.  For TW & SW, I am so thankful that they are so strong together, and I pray for their faith, that it remains strong, for their relationship, that it gets built up, and for their hearts, that they stay unbroken.  For little T, and baby R, I pray that they know their family's love, and for baby A, for freedom from pain and complete healing.  

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Melbourne trip

We are up in the Wild Dog Valley, far far from cellphone reception or internet, so I am writing this in my iPad notes as I just must do something electronic or the shakes could start.  I slept pretty well last night after tossing and turning for a couple of hours worrying about the job situation.  Every day there seems to be some new piece of information that seems to push me over the edge of emotion.  

We arrived in Melbourne on Sunday night rather than Monday morning, as having checked the flights for Monday, and seeing they were overbooked, decided it would be better just to start our trip early.  We booked a triple room at the Ibis Budget, as a cheap way to spend Sunday night, and that proved interesting, to say the least.  The room was barely larger than two single beds, with the third bed being a bunk hovering over the lower two.  There was a small sink in the corner, a tiny TV hung high in the second corner, the third corner was the door and the fourth corner was a tiny camper-van style toilet & shower.  It needed a sign on the door saying "many go down to the underworld but few return to the sunlit lands."   Add to that the fact that they didn't even bother to make the bed on my high up foam contraption, and the pillow was filthy... it was a very interesting experience.

Monday morning we exited the Ibis as quickly as we good, picked up the car and headed down the Great Ocean Road, first stop Torquay, which was incredibly beautiful.  We stopped briefly many times on the way to Apollo Bay, although our hopes of fish and chips in Lorne were dashed by the fish and chip shop owners going on holiday.  We had to settle for ice cream instead and got f&c on arrival in Apollo Bay.

Monday night we booked an Air B&B high in the Wild Dog Valley which is breathtakingly beautiful with crazily giant ferns, parrots everywhere and of course a goat farm.  I don't think I could handle living anywhere with completely no phone reception however.  It is very isolating to a child of technology like me.  

Today we drive to Port Fairy which is our last night stop before going back to Melbourne.  It is a less coastal route but we still have the 12 Apostles to look forward to.  

This last bit of this post is written from Port Fairy.  We had a very lazy start to the day, not leaving Apollo Bay until after 10, although I did get to make friends with some goats and see some deer and parrots.  

There was less to see on the way to Port Fairy but we did stop by the 12 Apostles, "London Bridge" and see plenty of pretty extreme landscape - both mountainous and cliffs.  Photos are to follow!

the AirB&B in Port Fairy is actually right on the beach which is pretty spectacular.  Tomorrow we go inland back to Melbourne for our last night here.


Torquay surf beach


A beach near Lorne


Beach of stacks: mine is second left, and dad's fell over


The harbour in Apollo Bay, where we had fish and chips 


Making friends with the local goats


Inland from Apollo Bay


The 12 Apostles


An apostolic dog fox 


Also near the 12 Apostles - maybe these are two?


"London Bridge"


"Our" beach at Port Fairy

Monday, May 15, 2017

Visit of the parents

They arrived!  In fact, they were so fast through security that I was late, and they were already outside by the time I arrived at the terminal.

We had a nice quiet evening on Sunday night and planned to go to the beach on Monday.  However, plans changed and we ended up doing some shopping - Mum managed to practice great restraint in the first shop...  We then cut shopping short so that they could meet Shawnee and Amanda - and little Asher, who was incredibly cute playing tug of war with Lily.  She was growling as ferociously as she could, and still no fear from the little guy!


We had an awesome dinner of duck, or at least three of the four of us did (C was home), and we sent Dad out to Beefy's to buy himself a pie.  This proved to be a terrible mistake, as he has now decided that he really should be allowed a meat pie for dinner every night instead of whatever we're eating. 

Mum loves her grand-daughter...

Today, Dad and I went for a 5k run (just over 3 miles) with Lily, after which we headed up the coast to Bribie Island dog beach.  It was lovely weather, around 25C, blue skies and the water was still relatively warm.  Dad and I went for a swim, and then for a walk along the beach to warm up again, and I collected lots of pieces of coral for Mum.  Since the cyclone, coral has been washing up broken off the reef, and there were some pretty cool specimens.  We walked back to find the mother gone!  Lo and behold, she was in the water.

Pre-water mother

Having never seen my mother in the sea before, I was incredibly excited, so I didn't mind getting wet again.  I splashed out to her and called out to her "LOOK OUT!" too late.  A massive wave smashed over her head.  She came up coughing and spluttering and it was the funniest thing ever.  Well, maybe not quite the funniest because the next two waves became even funnier, leaving her lying in the shallows in the white water, spluttering.  She claims that she loves waves and didn't mind in the least - her face showed a little consternation, in my opinion!


We had a picnic lunch at Redcliffe - ham sandwiches, as I made bread yesterday as Mum can't eat palm oil - and we managed to keep Mum out of any dangerous shops for another day.  Phew.

Tomorrow, we may head up to Somerset Dam.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Don't Worry

Don't worry, about a thing.  'Cause every little thing's gonna be all right...

It doesn't work for me.  Something completely and utterly outside my control, like waiting for the bid import results, drives me into a crazy mess of emotion.  They're now saying 15 May... but I am not holding my breath.

In other news, apparently I am confrontational and too assertive?  I have to say, this almost makes me relieved, as I feel like I'm constantly pretending, constantly facing the world through a confident facade while inside I want to curl up in a dark corner under a table and suck my thumb.  This is apparently feedback from my assessment day which I was unofficially told, and apparently someone was supposed to call me but they didn't.  I'm not sure how I came across this way in the sim brief, as I recollect nothing other than feeling sick with nerves and clammy hands.  In the interview, I get why they might think that as I found a couple of their questions patronising and answered them as such: tongue in cheek and more than a little defensive!  However, I still passed, so... hmm.  It will be interesting to see if I actually do get a phone call.

I'm sitting here in the crew room second guessing myself - because confrontational?  There's nothing I like less than confrontation.  Avoidance, more like, as I avoid confrontation at all costs - I even send my housemates text messages instead of talking to them if there's an issue, even if they're in the next room! 

As I like to be perfect - perfectionist much - I don't like anyone having a remotely negative opinion of me so I must battle that out in my own mind!  Once again, Things Outside of My Control.  

I also held another cheese night last night and it was more than awesome.  Cheese, wine, champagne, baked cheesecake, a fire pit and great friends.  



Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Almost a citizen

It's done.  It is complete.  All the things leading up to today are finished and I can sit back and relax.  (Well, pending making all of the life decisions but hey, give me a break.) 

I spent the day in the city filing paperwork and doing my citizenship exam and yes, 100% in 2 minutes 17 seconds of the 45 minutes allowed.  I may be an overachiever but beat THAT.  It wasn't hard.  I now know more about politics (specifically Australian) than I will ever know again.

Now I am on the train back to Northgate to pick up my car, and tonight am going Southside to J's for paella.  And I just found out today he is going to be a father!  Wow - as L put it, usually she would say oh I'm so sorry, but this time feels strangely excited - although oh my, the poor child.  LOL.

I now have nothing left to do, other than day to day work and life decisions.  I won the lottery on the external interview also and was offered a May start date, and I was terribly honest and told them that it was too soon (the parents are visiting) and that I still needed to find out what the company bid import offers me, and sort out the financial situation.  So they said they would get back to me with future course dates and more information.

So, I do need to decide between the 737 and the e145.  The e145 will be fun and challenging and wow all the responsibility with no back up, and the 737 will be regulated and easy and more money and less fun, and much more useable across the board.  Pros and cons list, anyone?

In the meantime, I shall enjoy not having anything else on my "to do list." 

Dog in an hoodie.  Just 'cause it's cute 

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Jet material and knives

I am officially jet material.  They emailed me last night (office staff working on a Sunday??) to say that I passed my assessment - the company one, I haven't heard about the external one.  All that really means is that if a 737 spot comes up, I'm able to take it.

Also, I just parked at Chermside and a man came running out of the shopping centre at full pelt, wearing a balaclava, clutching a black bag with one hand a a sizeable carving knife in the other.  He ran out of the centre, turned right and disappeared, leaving us Normal People slightly stunned.  Security said to go about our lives, as they had already called the police.

Clearly his mother never taught him as a child that it wasn't safe to run with knives.  


I went to Sydney today.  Just 'cause.  Well, because work made me.  It was beautiful though.



It wasn't too shabby coming in to Brisbane either


In other news, I just found out I passed the company assessment onto the jet fleets.  Now we wait to see what position(s) I am awarded.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

It's over

I did it, I survived.

I don't know why I fall so completely apart in situations under pressure like interviews and sims.  I do pretty well under actual pressure at work, when something happens that I need to deal with, I just get on with it.  Then I'm presented with a job interview and my heart starts going pitter patter, my hands get clammy, I feel sick and feel like I can hardly breathe.

Once I get into the interview, or sim, or whatever, I am fine.  Yesterday's interview was a bit scary at first because there were three of them and one of me, and I felt somewhat in awe and somewhat outnumbered, and then they turned out to be really friendly, chill and kind, so that was great.  It was a bit weird because it seemed more like they were trying to convince me that I wanted to join their company rather than the other way round!  I got a tour of the small office building where everything happens, and got lots of "welcome on board!"s from the various staff, which isn't true because I haven't even decided!

Today wasn't like that at all.  The company building is faceless, and I waited in the lobby alone, with various company staff passing me by as they went about their days, immune to what was going on around them.

Just before 8, one of the HR staff asked for my logbooks and then disappeared back into the ether.  At 8, he returned to usher me in.  I'm not sure what they did to my logbooks.  They were waiting for me in the interview room, and weren't mentioned again.  The questions were definitely more intense than the previous day's, questions like "what attributes have you learnt over the last five years in Australia that you can bring to the jet operation?" unlike yesterday's "so what do you love about flying?"  Questions like "tell me about a time when you had worst case scenario were you had to make a decision, which one you made, and why?" instead of "so what got you in to aviation?"

Finally that was over, and I returned to my lobby couch, now joined by a few more hopefuls, both internal and external applicants.  There we waited for our sim brief - all four of us together.  After the brief, in which I asked two of the only three questions asked, I was first in for slaughter, thankfully as I was all done with waiting around.

The sim instructor was deathly serious.  I swear his facial expression hardly changed the entire time, except to look disapproving when three of the four of us admitted we only had electronic copies of the charts.  I volunteered to find a computer and print them all out, to great relief from the other two. 

The sim was partly from memory and partly under instruction from the check captain.  He told me he was ready to get going, I then had to do all of my duties up to straight and level at 3000' where he would give me further instructions.  This involved control checks, calling for a checklist, memorising the three responses, releasing the park brake, powering up to climb out at 15 degrees, reducing power by 5% at 1500' and then levelling off at 3000', maintaining 180kts and calling for the after take off checklist. 

Then it was turns, left, right, up, down, steep turns, descents, left, right, etc. until he instructed me to intercept the 210 radial to Darwin VOR.  That took a moment.  Feeling fairly overwhelmed with simply trying to keep the airplane from going where it wanted to go rather from where I wanted it to go, I managed to work out where I was (and muttering the mantra "push the head, pull the tail") intercepted the correct radial.  Hurrah.  Overhead the VOR I was instructed to turn right 130' and intercept the localiser (back course) to LAPAR, for a hold entry.  We were right on the join so given the choice between parallel and offset I chose offset as it gives you more time inbound before intercepting the ILS.  I remembered to call "set minimums" after the check captain cleared me for the approach, but once inbound (or should I say, once having re-intercepted the inbound as the EMJ doesn't seem to have such a tight turn radius as the ATR, ha ha)  I completely forgot what was supposed to come next.  I thought there were two items but I wasn't sure, so I called "Flap 3" anyway and then shortly afterwards remembered it was supposed to be "Gear down, flap 3" so I called "gear down" alone.  I remembered to finish the configuration and ask for the landing checklist at 2000' but I also called it "Before Landing Checklist" instead of "Landing Checklist" oh well.  Then it was to land (unassessed), and then apply full reverse, moderate braking, release reverse at 60kts and bring the aircraft to a stop.  Unfortunately I didn't notice when we touched down as the sim didn't feel any different so I had to ask "are we on the ground?" and then applied reverse.  (all raw data)

Once again no reaction from the check captain as I said thanks very much and left to brief the next poor victims of what it would be like!

Now it's over I can relax - and I just wait to see which jobs I am offered... and then decide which I actually want to take!!!

Saturday, April 15, 2017


Easter.  I don't get it.  It makes no sense.  Easter bunnies and eggs and all the chocolate.  Don't get me wrong.  I believe in God, and Jesus, and the Resurrection, and it's awesome and amazing and I'm ever ever so thankful.  What I don't get is its association to Easter.

Are you telling me that Jesus hatched from an Easter Egg 2017 years ago?  Are you telling me that He is somewhat related to a rabbit?  Was chocolate His very favourite thing?  No?  Then what is the relevance?

I like chocolate, too.  In fact, I'm big into Easter chocolate.  I love Easter Eggs, creme eggs, Malteaster bunnies, and what is more I'm incredibly thankful to the airline actually supplying us with large numbers of Malteaster bunnies.


Here's to hoping that lots of the passengers turn them down and leave the leftovers for me.

I just don't understand how the chocolate, the bunnies and the chicks and Jesus are related.  In fact, I 100% believe that they're not.

And when people say "Happy Easter" to me I stare at them confusedly.  And when people talk about "The Easter Story" I laugh in the face of danger and think it is faintly ridiculous.

And I celebrate the resurrection every day of the year.  I believe that Jesus both died for my sins and was resurrected three days later - and that from that there is grace, and that grace is endless and everlasting.  

But the Easter Bunny?  Oh really, people, grow up.

And pass the chocolate... nom nom nom.  


It's two years today since the ball of fluff came into my life.


And she hasn't changed a bit. 


Okay well, she is a lot bigger (5kg as opposed to 1.2kg), she doesn't pee in the house (unless I forget to leave the door open) and she's fairly obedient, especially when there's chicken involved.

She's also the most loving, most forgiving, most cuddly therapy dog a girl could ever need, especially this past year.  In some very very lonely emotional times, this Ufflet has been the most Floofy Licky companion ever.  


Love you, Uffy, even if you are a bit needy.

And licky.

Ha ha, missed me.


Thursday, April 13, 2017


15k on my new bike, which I have decided to name Pearl.  She is a nice matte grey with pink accents, and reminds me of mother of pearl in the right light.  The ride took 45 minutes and was perfect to blow the cobwebs away.  So nice, no distractions, no noise, cycling along to Kippa Ring.  I didn't stop to take photos, sorry.

For some reason it doesn't want to upload a photo right now so you will have to hold Pearl in your imagination.

In other news, Tuesday is my first job interview in five years... Wednesday is my company assessment day for a jet spot (don't ask, apparently us ATR drivers aren't real pilots) and I'm not looking forward to either day.  Oh well, here goes!

Friday, April 7, 2017


I'm sorry I came across as all pie in the sky and everything was sorted, everything was peachy.  It's not.  The company, in all their wisdom, seem to change their mind on a single day like the seasons in Ireland.

So here I am, two days away from the bid import, feeling like my world is once again crumbling around me.  Everything is uncertain, everything is changing, and it seems to only takes one little thing to set me off.  Yes, I may have ran to my room and slammed the door once already today.  I'm sorry.  (Completely unrelated, but like I said, any minor trigger.)

Yet again, a black cloud of uncertainty hangs over my being able to stay in Brisbane.  Yes, the company is still offering me twelve months, but now they have changed it to "we will pay for flights but you pay for accommodation - oh and you won't get allowances either."  So, double whammy of extra $$$ needed for hotels in both Sydney and Canberra, and also no $$$ from the company in overnight allowances to help pay for them.  Great deal, guys.

Which of course begs the question - what can I actually afford?  Or do I cut my losses and accept the other job offer with the pay cut?  Or do I completely cut my losses and leave Australia?  

Lily, of course, came straight to me for cuddles and licked away the tears after I found out about it today.  She is the best.  And now, after sending off lots of angry emails and having a nice long shower, I feel a little more stable emotionally - although with absolutely no clue what to do.  

By the way, bids close at 0700 Monday morning, so apparently I have to decide by then.

Oh, and they only sent out this latest email at 0700 this morning.

Two days.  Thanks, guys.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017


Did you know that if you eat All the Doughnuts and then go to bed, you can barely even keep your head on the pillow with the buzz?  That's right.  Sleep is far far far away... 

...in other news, today I hit my dog and locked her in the bedroom twice, and then proceeded to forget about her, twice.  Mother of the year award?

Some people came over to buy something and Lily gets crazily excited when things like that happen, so I scooched herself into the bedroom and closed the door.  After dealing with my customers I went back inside, chatted to H for awhile and sat down at the table.  Presently: "have you seen Lily?"  H: "you locked her in your bedroom!"  Me: "OMG!!!" 

Soon after, a different person came over, this time to sell me something so I followed the same routine.  Surprisingly, I didn't learn from my mistake, and some time later, having eaten multiple doughnuts, chatted to multiple people and started feeling slightly sick, I realised the dog was missing.  Oops. 

Then going to rescue her from my room, I brought her out to see a very large mosquito hovering in front of me - so I swatted it.  In her face.  *embarrassment*

She is a very long suffering dog.

In OTHER news, my manager called me tonight and said I can stay here for a year.  Huzzah for that!  After that it looks like a move to Melbourne: but now the pressure is off and I have plenty of time to prepare.  Assuming, of course, that he doesn't renege on that next time I see him.

Friday, March 31, 2017

My beach is gone

Cyclone Debbie is not my friend.

This was the dog beach at Woorim:


This is it now:

All my dang sand is gone!

All there is left is a cliff the height of me!


How rude is that?  

(The first bit where the access path is, there is still a 2ft step to where the sand has been eroded away)