Sunday, June 10, 2012

Flying High and Falling Safely

Thursday evening I received a text from Bette that the fox is still hanging around.  She's caught him near Hope's pen, and walking up the hill near her other goats.  He might be after the feed?  She also caught sight of a rabbit, which looked to be possibly a domesticated breed.  Perhaps someone lost their bunny or it escaped and survived?  We are really happy to see the rabbits closer to home this year, though the fox is a bit unnerving to me.  As long as he leaves my chickens alone, I'll be okay with him hanging around.  He seems to not bother the goats at all.

Friday night we got to drive to Novato and visit with my parents for family dinner night.  It's been a couple weeks since we've been able to make it, and it was great to be able to catch up and relax and visit together.  Mom was able to cook one of our favorite dishes, but unfortunately it took a lot out of her to be on her feet so long.  I was really happy to see that she was able to get up and about again, though!  It's been a long time since she's been able to do much in the kitchen.

On the way home, we drove past the old Novato Muffler and Brake shop that my friend, John, used to own and operate.  I was shocked to see a new sign there that started with the words "CATALYSTIC CONVERTERS."  What is happening in our world where people who work in an industry don't know how to spell the parts that they use?  Because it's easier explained in writing than over the telephone, I looked up their web site and discovered that it's no longer functioning, so I couldn't even send an e-mail to let them know.  The following day I saw a chicken meal advertised by signage at a Mexican market.  It came with "beans, rise and salsa." 

Saturday dawned bright and hot, and we had an afternoon of adventure planned.  Well, we weren't going to necessarily be a part of this adventure, but witnesses to the event.  My niece, Kaila, received a special gift for her high school graduation.  She was going skydiving.  I've always said that I don't believe in jumping out of a perfectly good airplane, but some people do enjoy this.  As a child, her family picnicked at the local airport and she'd watch the parachutes come down and always wanted to try this.  Today was the day.

The sky was bright blue with a light breeze as we pulled down the dusty road to the Cloverdale Airport.  Airport is a bit of an exaggeration, but it does have hangers and pilots and a runway for small planes.  We saw a bright green and gold parachute land as we made the turn into the parking lot, and knew that this would be a fun afternoon.  Becca and I rode with Kaila and Amanda, and we met other family and friends there for the event.  Most everyone went inside the building to take a look at the video that Kaila needed to watch before her jump.  You know, the one that says that she's risking Death by participating in this adventure.  My dad said that the man speaking in the video had a long, grey ZZ Top beard.  Dad was trying to figure out if the man was Hatfield or McCoy.

Here's dad outside the building where the video was shown.  He's always good about stopping to let me take a photo when he sees the camera up.

I love this picture of Mom.  She looks relaxed and beautiful in her straw hat.

Our friend, Kyla, was able to make it to watch the event.  She brought her two beautiful labs, too.

Animals will always draw Becca to them.

Kaila went over to the hangers to get outfitted for her jump, and they started the videotape.  The whole adventure was taped and photos taken from start to finish.  She looks confident, doesn't she?

I'm ready!  Then it was time to go to the plane and receive some last-minute instructions.

That's one tiny plane!  There was barely enough room for the four people inside.

OMG.  Am I really going to do this?  Then the plane began to taxi for take-off...

We waited for what seemed like forever, losing sight of the plane completely.  Then one of the ground crew members said that he saw them.  "See that white dot up there?  They're free falling."  We watched two white dots come screaming toward the ground, and then saw the divers reaching behind their backs.  Suddenly, two brilliant chutes opened and their descent slowed.

I swear I saw Kaila's chute spin and go upside down, but I didn't get a shot of it.  They came closer and closer, and the guy she was riding with was able to grab some air and really give her a long ride.

 Kaila landed like a PRO.  The girl we'd seen land before her had fallen on landing.  It looked like Kaila had been doing this forever.

She said her legs were shaky at first.

 Mission accomplished!

She said that her favorite part was the plane ride.  She doesn't want to jump again.  Maybe a pilot's license is in her future?  During free fall she had a hard time breathing, but after that it was fun.  We were able to go to Jessica's house and watch the video that the crew had taken for her, and it was something else.  We had fun being able to virtually share the flight and free fall and hear about her experience as we watched.  Congrats, Kaila!  Check that one off the bucket list.

It was still hot when we got home around 5:00, and I started the grilled chicken with herbs and farfalle for dinner.  Such a good meal, and because the recipe is so big it lasts us a long time.  We're looking forward to Sunday's farmers market and to see what good finds we'll be able to pick up!

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