Meet Me in St. Louis

I’ve actually never seen “Meet Me in St. Louis,” but with my love of classic movies, and given it stars none other than fellow Minnesotan Judy Garland, I can’t believe I haven’t! More to come on that…

Today is important, because I’ve officially worked at Boeing for a year now. I’ve learned a lot about the company and the industry, and even more about myself. Living alone in a new city has been telling—sad at times, exhilarating at others—but I wouldn’t trade this experience for anything.

To be honest, the last couple months have been really tough. The loneliness of living alone has really started to set in, and a few other things here and there had led me to feel a bit hopeless and unsure of what my future held. But I did my best to “keep calm and carry on” with a positive attitude… and that, coupled with the love and support of my family and friends, kept me going.

And believe it or not, as much as I love the city of Chicago and the amazing friends I’ve made here at Boeing World Headquarters—and despite having only been here for just more than a year—I’m moving on. Heck, I’ll just say it: I’m movin’ on up!

Well, technically I’m making a lateral move career wise… and I guess I’m moving farther south… but to me, this new adventure is a huge step up. In approximately three weeks I’ll be moving to St. Louis to work in the Boeing Archives.

I’ve always been fascinated by the history of The Boeing Company, and to be able to work with a team who shares that passion and in a building that houses and preserves such remarkable artifacts… it’s incredible. Man, I’m excited!

To add to that excitement, I’m currently onboard Spirit Flight 737 from ORD to LAX to celebrate my great friend Chris Sloan’s 50th birthday at the PAN AM EXPERIENCE! And… AND… this morning I got a call from one of my favorite people on the planet: my mentor, Benét Wilson. She said “I told you so…” with regard to my new adventure, and she’s absolutely right.

She DID tell me so.

She knew that despite my having to deal with some tough stuff over the past couple months, everything would ultimately work out for the best. And it did.

With that, here’s to perseverance, positivity and new adventures. Cheers!

Thinking of You

“Fly the wings of an eagle,
Glide along with the wind…
No matter how high,
I’ll be thinking of you the whole time.”

I first heard the song “Thinking of You” by Hanson as a 9-year-old girl who was crazy about boys and even crazier about music. Fast-forward 22 years, and oddly enough this song speaks to me more now than it ever did before.

One year ago today marked the first time I was truly on my own, living in Chicago. It was an unseasonably warm fall day, and I had no idea at the time how different life would be starting fresh in a new town, in a new job, with no family and only one friend—a high school pal who fortunately had lived in The Windy City for several years.

It was the day after Thanksgiving 2017 and my husband Scott, his brother Keith and I drove down here from Minneapolis. The two brothers hung around Saturday to help me get settled, but come Sunday morning… they headed back north. We said our goodbyes and I went for a long walk alone along Lake Michigan—I didn’t know what else to do with myself. I was equally excited and scared, knowing my new gig with Boeing would be an incredible experience, but being apart from Scott would be difficult to say the least.

It was my love of aviation that got me here—I’ve always loved traveling and the connectedness that comes with doing so, but more recently I’ve become fascinated with the physics of flight and all the magic that comes with defying gravity. When the opportunity presented itself, I couldn’t turn down the chance to work for the greatest aerospace company on the planet, but at the time, I had no idea that saying “yes” to a job, meant sacrificing so much.

Long story short, I wouldn’t change a thing…. I firmly believe that everything happens for a reason. I knew going into this that Scott and I would only be apart for 18 months… and we’re already two-thirds of the way through it! If the next six months go by even half as quickly as the last year did, it’ll be a breeze. Scott and I are two tough cookies, but together, we’re like… a tough Oreo… double stuffed with… toughness.

Anyways…

Yesterday around lunchtime, after spending the long holiday weekend together, Scott and I hit the road… he dropped me off at O’Hare before continuing on toward Minnesota. The airport is on his way home, so we get a bit more time together on the 20-minute drive, and I’m left feeling a lot less sad and a lot less lonely out there with my flying friends. What can I say? The airport is my happy place.

After spending a few hours photographing the heavies landing on 28C, I headed back to the train station to catch the blue line home. The sky was gray and the streets were empty… I cried a few tears, and then started humming “Thinking of You.” Today, I was inspired to tap back into my musical side, so I recorded my own version of the two-decades-old pop hit. So, without further ado, I give you my best impersonation of three prepubescent boys, rocking out in harmony.

On this day…

The only Boeing Dash-80 ever built flies over the Olympic Peninsula

Fifty-three years ago today, the famed Rockwell Polar flight came to an end. I’m particularly fond of this historical milestone because it took place in none other than the Boeing 707—one of my all-time favorite birds.

The roughly 60-hour flight was piloted by two retired TWA captains: Fred Lester Austin, Jr., and Harrison Finch. Willard Rockwell—founder of the Rockwell Corporation—paid most of the costs associated with the record-breaking flight. Rockwell himself was on board, along with 12 other observers, nine scientists, five news people, two communicators, three navigators, three flight engineers and five pilots. Together, these 40 were the first people to fly around the world over both poles, and they did so in a brand spanking new 707 they called the Pole Cat.

I can’t quite pinpoint why I love the 707 as much as I do… I think it’s mainly because of its roots—it was derived from the one-of-a-kind Dash 80, a famous yellow and brown four-engine prototype with *dashing* retro flare. I’ve not yet seen that sole Dash 80, which today lives at the Udvar-Hazy Center at Washington Dulles Airport. However, it WILL be the next model I purchase at The Boeing Store, which reminds me… only 44 days left to use my once-a-year 30 percent discount! Eeek!

That, my friends, is all I have for today. Keep calm and fly on!

Why?

SURPRISE: I live and breathe aviation.

There is just something about those big metal birds and all they’re capable of that has me falling more in love with them every day.

It’s not just about how majestic they look or how loud their engines roar…  and it’s certainly not just about who made them… or who bought them and how that customer chose to paint them—though I DO love a special livery!

It’s about more than aesthetics and superficialities—in fact, what I love most about airplanes directly correlates with what I love most about stories: the “why” behind them.

Every time I interview for a job, I make a point to tell the hiring manager how incredibly important it is to me to know that my work has purpose. Before I dive into anything, and I mean anything, I ask myself “Why?” It’s just part of how I am and how I think we all are as humans—when your heart’s not in it, it shows.

So, a huge part of why I love airplanes as much as I do is because of their “Why?” As much as I’d like to believe all the 747s, A340s and DC-10s are flying purely for my visual pleasure, that’s just not the case. They’re uniting families, they’re bringing people of all ages to places they’ve never been, they’re carrying your mail… your packages, and they’re delivering supplies to people and countries in need.

Aviation is about so much more than bringing families to Disney World or getting you and me across the ocean. It’s altogether about so much more than transporting people… take the air cargo market, for example. It’s growing really, really fast, and I think that’s something a lot of non-AV geeks don’t really realize. Even if you’ve never flown, your life is so dependent on the aviation industry… just watch “Living in the Age of Airplanes” and you’ll get it.

At any given moment, there are nearly 10,000 planes in the sky carrying more than a million people and a heck of a lot of cargo—cars, animals, food, you name it. That’s remarkable, don’t you think?

So, that my friends, is why I love aviation. Aren’t you glad you asked?