Its been an interesting time of my life recently... as in the ancient Chinese curse "May you live in interesting times". Not all bad, not all good. Just interesting.
Last Saturday I ran a half marathon trail run with a lot of up, little down. It was a tough course with great friends and the running helped me process what is going on with my youngest brother. He has been having some major problems... some of his own doing, some not. After the run I met up with him as he came through the area on his way back to New Mexico. We chatted, I helped him with some groceries and gas and with my parents help got him some extra money to get him back home. It was a physically and emotionally exhausting day. Sunday was a neighborhood BBQ. Very fun and even more exhausting.
Monday, work and then IFR training, in a plane, in strong winds and turbulence. Did two GPS approaches in simulated instrument conditions and did well on some things, not so well on other things. During my first IFR training flight in the plane the previous week I had trouble getting the GPS into my scan. Monday I did better on including the GPS in my scan, I noticed when I was going off course much quicker, but my corrections were slow and the wrong direction sometimes. Towards the end of the flight I started to get the hang of it. Then it was time to take off the Foggles and land, in a 20 knot wind (small crosswind component). The landing was a bit rough, didn't look at the end of the runway, but we got down safe and my CFI didn't have to take the controls so it wasn't horrible. I was a bit bummed about the landing but much more interested in capturing and understanding what I was learning. My daughter let me know that she got two A- grades.. she was very proud of how she's improved her grades. I am too! Monday night I also heard from one of my siblings that we didn't know where my brother was. Then later we heard he was in AZ.
Today, is it only Tuesday? I got to take a former boss of mine flying. We met up at the office and drove down to the airport. Then we got in the plane and flew a Bay Tour up the San Francisco Peninsula, over the Golden Gate Bridge, around Alcatraz Island, then up the Napa valley to Charles M Shultz airport (STS) for lunch at the Sky Lounge. It was a bumpy flight but my passenger had no problem with the bumps. Its amazing how those same bumps would have left me whimpering two years ago and now they are just part of flying sometimes. We ate lunch on the patio and watched small planes and helicopters take off and land for a while. Then it was time to head back. We flew back over the Benecia Bridge, Concord Airport, past Mt. Diablo and over Livermore Airport. Normally I would come in over Calaveras Reservoir but I was tired of the turbulence so I turned over the Sunol grade and came into the Bay Area proper on that route. I got to log one good and one great landing. Nice to do that after the not so great landing Monday.
After the great flight it was back to work for four hours and then I went to meet up with some friends that I've run with for the last 6 years to take a group picture. The picture is for another friend of ours. He moved to Canada a couple years ago and was recently diagnosed with Stage 4 lung cancer. The cancer is already in his brain and spine. He is getting treatment and in good spirits. It was good to get together in his honor and I hope the pictures brighten his day. I don't know where my brother is today. I hope he is OK.
So, my dear IRs, that was a brief overview of the recent ups and downs that are part of the life of this aviator. Joys and sorrows, things that I can be control and things that I cannot control. Without the sorrow, would I truly appreciate the joy? Would any of us?