Friday, May 1, 2009

♪so i called up the captain, please bring me my wine♬

the annual passport weekend in dry creek valley, sonoma county, was held this past weekend. my california family and their friends attend each year, but this was only my second time to experience the weekend of food, music, and most importantly, wine!

i made it to sac on thursday morning in time to have lunch with ron and bev. later while bev ran errands i took a little siesta to rest up for cocktail hour, which was held at her friend nan's house. i was pleasantly surprised to find that diane and patty were also there and we all chatted over wine and hors d'oeuvres. these women are so funny and i really enjoy spending time with them, hearing their anecdotes. afterward ron, bev, and i went to dinner at a little cafe they hadn't tried before and we thought it satisfactory.

resalin arrived late that night, luckily able to make the last flight out of houston on standby. as my travel companion so she gets to fly at a very discounted price, but it's on standby which can be very tricky.

the next morning we got up for the daily walking of the dogs with some of bev's friends from the neighborhood, emma and kirk from across the street and margie who lives nearby. the last time i met emma and kirk was on one of these walks but bev took a little spill and busted her lip. we were hoping this walk would have a better outcome, which it did! after a starbucks stop we headed back to shower and eat breakfast. resalin and i had to pick up the rental car - which was quite a hassle if i do say so myself - before heading to santa rosa to meet with the texas gang.

the drive went by quickly, although the choice for radio stations out there is lacking to say the least. famished, we consulted with stella, my iPhone, for nearby restaurants where we found a little greek cafe. after eating very quickly we met the dusings back at the hotel to carpool to ironhorse winery. (background: resalin's good friend from nyu, justine, is the daughter of the winery owners.) none of us could figure out why justine decided to stay in nyc after graduation instead of coming back to the area. it was absolutely beautiful and the wine was very good.

resalin and me with damon/damien

the dusings, resalin, and me

after many very large pours from damon/damien (we weren't sure) we headed up to guerneville and then to the pacific coast, passing a very large gnome on the way. i insisted we stop for photos on the way back. at the beach resalin was taken down by a wave and we all were attacked by the sand but the view was worth it!

the gnome!

the view!

travel companions!

dad and gina met up with us for dinner at a place called the russian river pub, featured on "diners, drive-ins, and dives" and known for their chicken wings and burgers. everyone chowed down and many pitchers of beer were consumed!

along comes saturday morning... time for the big event! resalin and i enjoyed breakfast on the terrace overlooking the santa rosa valley. the day started with a little chaos in figuring out the driver/van situation, but once all was solved we were on our way.

this year forty-five wineries shut down to cater only to the passport ticket-holding visitors. we hit eighteen of them, starting saturday morning at bella and ending sunday evening at seghesio! each winery has a theme with music and food pairings for their featured wines. many offer discounts for passport weekend and some even allow the purchase of "futures," wines that are not finished fermenting.

resalin, me, diane

sisters! at ferrari-carano (they had the BEST gardens!)

louise and me at ferrari-carano

my favorite wine of the weekend was the 2005 cabernet at martorana. paired with a delicious chocolate brownie, it was simply heaven! second place was the merlot at michel-schlumberger, and third was a sauvignon blanc from sbragia.

my "boyfriend" holding the 2005 cabernet from martorana

unfortunately the weekend had to end, so monday morning resalin and i made our way back to the sac airport, fingers crossed that we would make the flight, which we did. we even got seats together; however, making that flight was our last stroke of luck for the weekend. exhausted, i fell asleep after our plane-food lunch. next thing i know i'm waking up to an announcement from the captain, "ladies and gentlemen, we have made the decision to divert to san antonio..." luckily resalin had been awake throughout the flight and was able to update me on the situation. the weather was too severe in houston to land so we were diverting to prevent running out of fuel.

the view from our plane window... and that is NOT a sunset

resalin lives in austin, which is only about an hour north of san antonio, and since i was going to stay the night with her before heading back to jersey, we joked about getting off the plane and driving. instead we decided to stick it out... two hours later we were finally cleared to head to houston. upon our arrival we discovered that, as we expected, the flights leaving were also delayed. planes can't get in so they're not going to get out either, especially when the outbound flights are waiting on those inbound aircraft. we grabbed dinner and began the almost four hour wait to leave for austin, where we landed around 1 am. needless to say it was a long day and not a great end to the weekend, but the moral of the story is that sometimes driving is in fact faster than flying!

an egg-stra special easter

i spent easter sunday in cleveland, which many people might not find very exciting, but thanks to my friend allison, it turned out great! scheduling called me saturday afternoon to let me know i would be deadheading to cleveland to sit borrowed reserve – which means i basically fly as a passenger to cleveland, go to my hotel, and wait for them to call me with an assignment, much like i do in jersey, except i get paid per diem! i was excited despite the fact that my last trip out of cleveland resulted in the pob predicament – see previous post. my best friend from training, allison, lives in cleveland and she is on a leave for the months of april and may. her family is huge and very welcoming so i knew i wouldn’t be sitting alone in my hotel room. when i got in saturday night, allison picked me up and we went to a bar near her house to meet up with one of her many cousins. dad called me mid-morning to ask if i had been to church… i was pretty much still in bed, only sitting up to talk to allison’s mom. i told him “no, but i went to the bar!” referring to the night before. he laughed asked if we had a sermon on the bar top over beer!

sunday afternoon was spent with allison’s family eating, hunting easter eggs, beating the piƱata and having birthday cake for two of her cousins. we then went to our friend charisse’s house to celebrate with her family. (charisse is also a flight attendant for continental.) scheduling called me mid-afternoon to let me know they didn’t need me to work any trips out of cleveland and that i was deadheading back to newark. i explained my situation – eating with a friend’s family – and asked if i could take the latest flight back to newark so i could have more time with them. much to my surprise, they let me do it!! so basically i got paid to hang out with my friend and her family and scheduling worked with what i wanted for once!

after the christmas fiasco, i felt like this made up for it a little bit. christmas day i was ready to quit. i checked flights to tulsa to get to my grandparents and also to dallas to just get home, but since everything was full i bit the bullet and continued with my assignments. i have had a lot of insight from fellow flight attendants as to what this company used to be and what it has become, which is not something i’m not proud to learn. a great disservice has occurred on many levels and i guess i am learning for myself how corporate america can treat its employees. on my last trip, another flight attendant said to me “if you can get out, then do it! this job sucks you in even if the pay is bad and the schedule isn’t what it used to be.” i reassured her that…

lately i have been thinking about grad school a lot. i realize that it would not be easy to get a different job at this time, but i also know that continental is very overstaffed with flight attendants. they have been offering leaves every month and one type of leave is educational. they will grant you a leave for an entire semester with proof of enrollment. i figure that with the economy the way it is i can get my masters in education policy while still holding onto my job. if by the time i graduate, nothing has improved, and jobs are still scarce, i can continue flying until something better comes along. either way i would keep my benefits through grad school and keep my job with continental as a back up!

my first choice program would be at nyu but there are others in seattle, dc, madison, etc. there is a lot to do to prepare for application and also there is the decision as to whether or not this is really a field i want to get into. applications for most of the programs aren’t even out yet so i have some thinking to do and any insight is definitely welcome!