Friday, November 16, 2012

From The (not so) Friendly Skies…

Having finally posted, during a flight hiatus, what was written some 5-6 days ago, I come to reflect on today’s traveling habits. Other than finding connectivity.

Yes… years ago I was, like so many others were and still are today, a Sky Warrior… this meant that my travels would keep me in airplanes, airports and home-away-from-home hotels at least 60-70 % of my time.  Those were days when travel meant getting away from all immediate surroundings without a trace, if that is what you wanted to do. Distances were real and communication, although good for the times, was very limited in comparison with what is available today for the common traveler, let alone a business one.

It was impossible not to compare, all throughout this trip, travel as was then (80’s into the late 90’s… OMG!!!! ... That is last century time!!!), with travel as is now.  There is no need to talk about ticket price; this has gone up considerably but, in basic inflationary calculations, the increases are truly within reasonable parameters.

Measurable changes begin at the counter if there is more than one bag to take as baggage. Back then, you really had to carry the kitchen sink to generate an extra charge. Today… after the first bag, there can be an additional charge of up to $45 per bag… Forget taking the extra clothes… You know... those you take just in case you are invited to the royal wedding…  or have to appear at a dinner reception for a movie star…  Yeah... right!! The good side of this is that it will reduce your hotel tipping costs.

Remember the peanuts we all complained about?  Well… now they are called “Spiced Nuts” and you gotta fork over $5.00 to have the pleasure of their company…  A chocolate chip cookie?  Hmmm! That’ll be $3.29 please… all credit cards accepted… All sandwiches run about $9-11 and they are truly undersized but then, right on the menu it says “light and fresh snacks”… and they mean this… literally.

The demeanor of the flight attendants has changed also. Theirs is a harsh lot, especially those who traverse the national skies back and forth with very little rest time available. They seem to be overly tired, often dressed in somewhat wrinkled uniforms and do not always necessarily believe in that ditty about flying friendly skies. Yes, I know this is a motto of a major carrier, but it does not mean the attendants of the other carriers should not be prone to communicate with a smile…

On my way back from Central America I was talking with a fellow traveler… he, who also did the bulk of his travel back around the same time as I, told me he was taken aback by the subtle and the not so subtle changes in his experience. Gone is the extra smile or the extra service along with the ubiquitous peanuts… in fact, all food freebies are gone. Of course, you can upgrade to business but then, the food plate will cost you a pretty good amount… Gone is the spanking clean cabin environment; it seems cleaning is done in a hurry now, just to get the bird back up in the skies … Gone are the attendants who would often take turns roaming the cabin and asking: “Is there anything else you need?... now they just come around the second time in order to pick up the empty coke cans or water glasses… excuse me, plastic cups.

For all intents and purposes the job of the flight attendant, a plum and exciting job for a young man or woman back when, has become an glamour-less, tiring, demanding and underpaid version of its old self. And it shows in their demeanor. Most of them are good people handling an increasingly stressful job but not all can manage these changes… Too bad… for them and for us.

Up are the delays due to maintenance issues, not a good sign. Two out of my four legs on this particular trip were delayed due to such ditties. Yes, the airline in question rewarded my almost 4 hour patience (as if I could walk away at a stopover location…) with a mileage gift. I rather leave on time.

These are general gripes; it is still exciting to be able to board a flying contraption that will take you to another destination, to discover anew those places and, especially, those longtime –and longtime not seen-  friends who make a difference in one’s life.

For now… we have been told we are approaching our own city and I can see from up here that huge lighted arrow pointing the way to the landing strip… THIS WAY!!! It seems to scream up into the night sky… This way and welcome  home…

Be Well … Be Back!!!

Final Notes:
  • Pray for those who are fighting an illness which may take them away from their loved ones… Every request is heard, and counts!!
  • Follow us on Twitter … @RJAsPandora
  • Any comments please send to
  • “La Otra Caja de Pandora”… The Spanish language Blog… “”Bienvenidos!!!
  • A new blog… once a week or thereabouts… “”… a view on current politics from both sides of the fence… serious and irreverent but transparent (can I use this word in politics???)

Thursday, November 15, 2012

A Natural High.

Well… it’s natural that if I am on a plane… I am high off the ground… Or not?

(NOTE) As this was written on my way out, it is now some 5 days old. After I arrived at my destination, it turned out that more often than not my internet connection was simply, not available… So, I sit at the airport back in the States, and post it…  More on my uptake on this trip by the weekend…
It has been a while since yours truly had boarded a flying machine. Years ago these contraptions had sort of become a second home to me, as I flew all over creation in different pursuits… receiving my mail and notices at the different flyer clubs conveniently located, thanks to the friendly airline folk, at the very furthest end of whatever airport you might happen to find yourself in.

In preparation for this particular sojourn, I came to learn that all that was done back then via the friendly travel agent (any of these left???), I can now quickly do from my computer, just showing up at the airport with boarding pass in hand, still dripping ink from my home printer. Hmmm… how nice… no lines and no waiting at the curb.  That is, until you come to the friendly faces at the security counters. After a semi strip-down and after taking off every bit that was not attached to my body via a skin cell, I posed for what I presume is the (in)famous full body shot… There is definitely no privacy left in this world…

“BEEP … BEEP” went the metal bar…   This, of course brought me to the attention of a couple of somewhat burly (not sure whether from muscle or fat…) guards who came to stand behind the one who quietly asked…

- “Are you carrying anything else Sir?”
 I certainly must have presented a frightening sight to them…

- “Yes…” said I, with a deadpan look on my face… “A metal hip … and not just any metal… pure titanium … deadly stuff…”

No smiles… what a bunch of sour grapes… I guess the security guard profile identifies smiling as a “no-no”.

I proceeded to show them the little card from my doctor, certifying me as a bona fide titanium-hipped-individual and the two guards who had acted as possible back ups in this potentially lethal confrontation made a face and went back to wherever they had been hiding before… I guess to be ready to come out again at the smallest “And what else are you carrying Sir?” question uttered by the gate guard…

After this I was able to put back on all the different pieces which had been taken off before the inspection and go on to the waiting area, where I joined the rest of my fellow travelers in finding a spot and setting up my very own “on-the-go” office… complete with computer, telephone and portable “wi-fi” connector. Ready to tackle the world… or, at least the latest mails…

It is fascinating to see the interminable array of connectors, laptops, wires, telephones and paraphernalia we all carry in our bags now. Everyone is in a veritable “find-your-spot-and-set-up-your-office” mode… Used to be that a comfortable seat and a place near the boarding gate was the important thing to worry about… today, the prize possession at any airport waiting area is the seat closest to an available electrical outlet… when you can find one… these are worth money.

Well… after letting my loved ones know that I was on the plane and it actually seemed that at least this leg would be completed within the expected time, my phone went into the “safe airplane mode” and, eventually, after I realized this meant I could not really use it.. to the “off” mode, I settled to write this as a way to pass the time and to enjoy my flight… coke in hand… about the only thing they now pass (other than water) without having to reach for the wallet… Not even peanuts??? My, my… times are tough for everyone…

I’ll set my on-the-go-office again and post this from my next stop… and then, depending on what connectivity my travels bring (new goal for traveling folk… find connectivity…) I may be able to write some more during this week… If not… I’ll “see” you when I get back…

Be Well … Be Back!!!

Final Notes:
  • Pray for those who are fighting an illness which may take them away from their loved ones… Every request is heard, and counts!!
  • Follow us on Twitter … @RJAsPandora
  • Any comments please send to
  • “La Otra Caja de Pandora”… The Spanish language Blog… “”Bienvenidos!!!
  • A new blog… once a week or thereabouts… “”… a view on current politics from both sides of the fence… serious and irreverent but transparent (can I use this word in politics???)  …  follow us @policomment

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Mind Over What Matters.

Where the Mind is, there is the Treasure” ... Agnostic Gospel of Mary.

It has been a while since the last entry was posted. I have to admit that my time has been taken by several issues; the few moments when I may have been able to sit and write, were few and far between. And, as you know, I may sit at the computer, but the thinking cap may not necessarily be on…

Then, in one of Dan Brown’s books (he of “The Da Vinci Code”), the above quote caught my attention. It is truly amazing that it really only takes a small spark to light a fire. This particular spark comes after much thinking and much reflection over the last few years. In my last entry, much was made about how coming here began a road to physical healing through long treatments, surgeries, and much caring follow up; how this helped this older and sometimes tired body to come back into the realm of the living.

Yet, I am fully aware and convinced that the body is but a shell meant to house a higher being, a spiritual one which is our essence; our “being” and I am not trying to be redundant. We cry, we laugh until we cry, we rejoice and we descend into sadness, sometimes falling into the precipice of depression. We try and when we fail, we try again… we choose whether to give up or not... These and all others alike, are expressions of the mind which uses the physical body to accomplish what it wants to achieve. Not my thoughts only; many of today’s philosophers are taking a cue from those of early ages predecesors and look at the mind as a “divine” vessel. In all versions of The Word we are told constantly that “we are like gods” and that our body and mind make up “The Temple”; we are, in our spiritual sense, each a small part of a larger being who shows Himself through us.

I am a believer in the concepts behind Noetic Sciences. They tell us that we, within our mind, have the power to control our life, environment and our well being. I think you are also a believer … In fact, the posting that has received the largest number of “hits” in the 3 or so years this blog has existed, was precisely the one about Noetic Sciences. Why am I so convinced? In retrospect, I have witnessed its working(s). I have come to realize, in bearing such witness, that the amount of power that our mind actually harbors is much, much greater than anything we can envision at this time.

I am not an expert, sorry to say. Yes, my readings and some experiences have taken me there; they have opened my eyes to some, perhaps a minuscule part, of what it may be available to those with the time and the determination to learn and to expand. Yet, that very little amount of exposure I have lived has allowed me to view myself, my life and my recent ailments (physical as well as personal) from a very different perspective than I might have otherwise.

It has also allowed me to go back in time and to experience anew many of those moments which were key moments in my life and which shaped me for times to come. In fact, several postings have come about from these meanderings. And no, they were not just “memory trips”… they were actual “re-enactments” of moments which had been relegated to that dust filled bin in the recesses of said mind. Moments which were examined from a very different perspective than the one I may have had at the time they actually came to pass. It is fascinating!!

Well, the long and the short of it is that as different thoughts and ideas come together, I hope to continue to grow and what’s more, to begin to understand that which was just beyond my mental grasp before. These developing concepts and understandings have been an incredible help to me in these past years that were at times difficult but which have become a door that brought me to a new road to travel. A road that seems to be far more stable and  wider than the one on which I seemed to be running blindly before.

Be Well … Be Back!!!

Final Notes:
  • Pray for those who are fighting an illness which may take them away from their loved ones… Every request is heard, and counts!!
  • Follow us on Twitter … @RJAsPandora
  • Any comments please send to
  • “La Otra Caja de Pandora”… The Spanish language Blog… “”Bienvenidos!!!
  • New Blog!! Once a week as the crow flies… or thereabouts…  “”   A sometimes irreverent view of things political… Come and join!!

Doña América and other memories.

I know she has already been mentioned somewhen along this line of sometimes unhinged memories as they relate to moments of my life , but y...