The Most Interesting Man in the World has nothing on my dad.

Aside

The Most Interesting Man in the World has nothing on my dad.

My dad is the most amazing man I’ve ever known.

“Frank the Tank” (to the pilots and engineers he’s worked with over the years) is a bush pilot who’s flown all over the world and left his mark in more than a few corners of it.  When I was a kid, he crashed over the Arctic (not his fault,) and was found by the Coast Guard a week later, drunk as a skunk with a group of Inuits. When I was a teenager, he was put under house arrest in Saudi Arabia for a year after belly-landing a Sheik’s plane when the landing gear didn’t come down (still not his fault).  When I was in my 20’s, he smuggled alcohol into a Muslim country more than a few times (definitely his fault) but didn’t get caught (so no fault assigned!).  When I was in my 30’s, he achieved 20,000 hours in the air – almost unheard of with bush pilots – and he threw a wake in Greece, where he was working at the time.   His wake to be exact, replete with enough rum to drown a giraffe and a full-sized coffin he built himself in which he was carried through the streets of Corfu.  Oh, and for an encore?  He flew a company plane full of the other pilots & engineers for a 4-day party that spanned the skies between Greece, Switzerland, and Iceland – all under the guise of plane repairs.

Even ‘dead’, my dad is cooler than anyone I’ve ever met.Dad - Frobisher Bay - 1973 (800x600)

ImageIn fact, the only reason he isn’t The Most Interesting Man In the World is because he was busy getting a Cessna 125 from the airport to a mechanic shop and couldn’t make the auditions that day. And in case you’re wondering how you go about getting a Cessna 125 from the airport to a mechanic shop, it’s easy: you knock the wings off, stick a dealer plate on the back, and drive it down the highway.

Now, “Daddy”, on the other hand, was home a few months a year on average while my mom essentially raised my brother and me by herself (you’ll soon meet my fabulous mom/confidante/soul mate but that post will take much longer to write).  He might have missed most of our birthdays, a couple of band concerts, one or two graduations, and more than a handful of holidays, but I don’t remember ever missing him.  He taught me to believe – In myself, in my family, and in Santa Clause.  Seriously. We lived in Frobisher Bay, Baffin Island, until I was four years old and unlike every other little girl who wanted this to be true, I can claim with total honesty that my daddy flew me to the North Pole to pick up Santa Clause and fly him back to town.  Santa even called me on Christmas Eve every year until I was 12. And people wonder why my daddy is my hero. In later years when my dad was home, he would come into my room every night before he went to sleep, kiss me on the forehead, and call me Princess.  And seeing as I was that kid who stayed up late reading under the covers, I was almost always awake when he did, even though I pretended not to be.  He taught me to hug and say I love you as often as possible but not to say goodbye.  Instead, we would say to each other “See you later, Alligator”, “In a while, crocodile”, “Not too soon, you big baboon”, and “I’ll be there, Teddy Bear”.  He told me I could do or be anything I wanted to, he wouldn’t accept namby pamby excuses for not doing it, and he taught me not to take things (particularly myself) seriously because none of us are making it out alive.  And although I credit my mom for teaching me how to raise my voice and stick up for others, my daddy taught me to fight back.   I don’t know how he did it, but no matter where he was or how long it had been since I’d seen him, I knew every minute of every day how much he loved me and how proud he was of me. I still do.Me & my dad - 1st bday

As you can imagine, we have a unique relationship.  Due to similar mannerisms, a penchant for shaking our respective tookuses in what I’ve dubbed BumWiggle Hugs, and a fundamental need to wave our hands around when our mouths are moving, I’m often compared to my mom – but my sense of humour is all my dad.  For example, he’s always said I put so much sugar in my coffee because I’m not sweet enough and I need all the help I can get.  I’ve always replied that he’d better be nice to me now because one day I’ll be the one choosing his nursing home.  He says I can be replaced.  I say “I double dog dare you”.  He asks why I can’t afford the other half of my shirt.  I stare at his stomach and reply that he should come talk to me when he’s put his ‘beach ball’ away.

Needless to say, he’s been a lifelong source of advice, lessons, and a list of ‘Things to do while under house arrest in Saudi Arabia’In other words, I blame my shocking lack of good judgement and complete disregard for authority on him, but damn, I’m fun at a party!

However, he has given me some pretty good advice over the years and I’d like to share it with you:

  • Family first.  And he meant the people you choose as your family as well as blood relatives.
  • Do what you can and don’t complain about it.
  • You pack it (in), you carry it (out).
  • Always have enough money to get home in a cab no matter how rich your date is.
  • You can pick your friends, you can pick your nose, but you can’t pick your friends’ noses.
  • When in need, don’t yell ‘help’, yell “This case of beer is too heavy and I need help carrying it!” (I can tell you from experience that this works)
  • It’s always happy hour somewhere in the world.
  • You can be cheap, or you can be easy, but you should never be both at the same time.
  • Party as hard as you like, but always, always show up for work the next day.
  • Don’t eat yellow snow or drink green water (although green rum smuggled into Muslim countries is perfectly acceptable).

So, if you see me lugging my 100lbs dive bag down a hill grunting like a wild boar after a bar fight because I refuse to let anyone help me, or hear me loudly defending my right not to have children and someone else’s right to be ignorant about it (another post entirely), or see me arriving at work on Monday morning after a 3-day party looking bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, that’s due to my dad.

If I trip and fall down the stairs on my way there and skin my knee because I didn’t notice the snow and forgot to wear shoes with treads?  Well, that’s all on me.

There are many other stories to share (and even more I don’t know about), but I’ve got to go – my dad lost 10 lbs this year and I have half a shirt to look for.

I love you, Daddy, Thank You for giving me Santa Clause.

As for you all?  See you later, Alligators…

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Lost and Loving It!

Searching for love, searching for truth, searching for that elusive meal between brunch and lunch – if you’re not exactly sure where you’re supposed to be, if you don’t know exactly what you’re doing on this little blue planet of ours, you’re supposed to be searching for it.

Swingin' from the bosun

I was searching for a wrench…don’t ask…

It’s okay not to know where you’ll end up, so long as you’re searching for the destination.  It’s okay not to be a good partner, so long as you’re searching for ways to be one.  It’s okay to be 38 and not know what you’re going to be when you grow up so long as I’m, uh, I mean, you are searching for the answer.  We are brow-beaten by the media and society at large to believe that what we have is not enough, that we are not enough.  Somewhere along the line, someone decided that the state of searching was more worthy than the state of being.

Poppycock, says I!

Now, I’m a believer in self-improvement, and I believe in asking questions –  how can I make this world a better place? what were the Coelacanths up to for 65 million years?  where did I put my wine glass? (seriously, this is a big problem in my life), but although I’ve found lost keys, misplaced shoes, the receipt for my misspent youth, and my highschool yearbook (I swear I burned that years ago!) I can’t claim to have found any answers.

My dad would say that’s because I’m a few sandwiches short of a picnic, but (this time) he’s wrong. I believe that everything we want and everything we need is already there – it’s not a matter of finding it, but rather, becoming aware of its existence. Happiness?  Check.  Love?  Right in front of your face.  Belief in yourself? Everywhere, all the time!

So why do we put so much time, effort, and energy searching for things that are already there? I’m certain there’s a scientific reason for it, but basically, it’s because we’re dumb bipedals who are so busy searching for something else that we’re blind to what is.  JRR Tolkien had it right – the journey is where all the great stuff happens.

Now stop searching and get lost.  And I mean that literally; go get lost somewhere.  Get lost in  thought.  Get lost in love.  Get lost while taking a roadtrip to see Mt Rushmore and instead, end up at Crazy Horse and see what majesty and magnitude man is capable of.   Getting lost is simple, although not always easy, and you may need practice.  I’ve been lost for most of my life, so I’m rather good at it, but don’t despair if you don’t get it the first time.  Like flying, the trick to getting lost is to aim towards something and miss.

So go on, get lost – you’ll love it!

It's all about perspective

We were looking for the bay, but we found the heart of Greece – it’s all about perspective…

I may be free, but I’m not easy…

photo (4)Welcome to my world – where the love is large, the weirdos are plentiful, and most of them are my friends.

I decided a while ago that I needed to do something constructive with my time. Seeing as I’ve already mastered the one-handed wine pour into a shooter glass (I know, it’s sacrilege, right? I mean, who only drinks a shooter-glass of wine?!), and horse jockeys don’t need understudies, a blog is the best I could come up with.

I remember being told that to be a good writer, you should write about what you know and tell a story you’re familiar with.   After much reflection (most of it done looking down into a glass of wine), it turns out the only story I’m familiar with is mine.  And although a voice in my head tells me I’m uproariously funny, there are several more who are shaking their heads at my ego, and a few more besides who are too busy poking their eyes out with stir sticks to weigh in.  I choose not to take it too personally.

The great thing about writing a blog is that as far as I’m concerned, you all fall into the same category as  6-foot tall pink bunny rabbits and good highschool trombone players*:  you’re all figments of my imagination.  As such, I feel as though I can be as honest as I want without fear that someone is going to get offended and come after me with a bucket of rubber chickens and a pitchfork.  Again.

A few things about me: I have the short-term memory of a goldfish and I should not be held responsible for anything or anyone with the power to negotiate with me. If you need a ride to the airport at 3h00,  advice on how to fly, or something to feel good about, I’m your girl.  If you need me to fix dinner, water your plants, or remember to pack undies and a toothbrush, you may as well save yourself some grief: order in, get self-watering plants, and buy stock in Proctor & Gamble.  Oh, and birthdays?  Unless you were born on Christmas day (I love presents!), St. Patrick’s day (I love drinking!), or the 11th of October (it’s simply a cool date), your birthday is now 01 March.  Did I mention I have the short-term memory of a goldfish?

This is the part where I feel the need to tell you how this blog will improve your life.  Except it won’t.  So unless you like to laugh (at me), drink (with me), or discuss the number of times I will likely reference HGG2 in the next 6 months (um…27?), you may want to get back to the last cat blog you were visiting.

Or practice flying.

MoJo

*from a joke my highschool band teacher told us.  See, Mom?  I wasn’t just wasting my time in school…