All for twenty minutes


I was on flight today, sitting near the front. Despite leaving late, the flight was delayed by ultimately only twenty minutes. Something about a maintenance issue that was fixed by power cycling a system, and filling out lots of paperwork. "Did you turn it off and on again?"

After we landed, all of first class stood up. The woman in 1A declared, "Worst airline ever," and proceeded to embody every stereotype about first class being full of prilvileged assholes, words just started coming out of this woman. Not everyone in first class is a jerk, but every part of this woman told me I do not want to be friends with her.

My first thought was, "If this is the worst airline ever, lady, you haven't travelled much." I have had much worse service and much worse delays and much worse plane quality and much longer flight delays and many more cancellations than a 20 minute inconvenience that we had just experienced. We didn't need to leave the plane. We weren't fighting for the toilet paper in the back. The plane wasn't sitting in 120˚F weather while the tires melted. The plane wasn't sitting in -20˚C weather waiting in line to be defrosted. We had water and orange juice (and champagne) offered to us. We had snacks offered to us. We had clear communication and well-set expectations on our departure time. And exactly no one was delayed enough to miss connecting flights.

But, hey, worst airline ever? Far, far from it.

As the woman stood in front of her seat, guaranteed to be the first person off the plane, she kept complaining. "We are sorry for the delay. Fortunately, it appears no one will miss their connecting flights," came over the intercom. "No thanks to you," the woman declared loudly. "My husband has millions of miles on this airline, so we're stuck," she continued. "Stuck." Right, no, well-off woman attempting to be a victim, you are not "stuck" on this airline. You choose to continue flying this airline because it is less expensive than paying another airline. "I should be able to transfer my points to another airline," she whined. Or, you know, just pay for your ticket? It isn't that difficult, really.

Whenever I see someone like this, playing the part of the ugly American, I try to look inward, see the log in my eye. I am immensely grateful for my successes that provide my means for air travel. I am forever delighted at the opportunity for air travel. It is magical: you move at stunning speeds through the air and experience a new city, a new culture, a new viewpoint, a new time. It is amazing. Yeah, delays suck, they are incovenient. But a twenty minute delay? Twenty minutes. There are times when a twenty minute delay would be terrible, yes, but those aren't every day, and certainly not what this woman was experiencing (else she would have told ALL OF US about it, to be sure). i am grateful for all the people that enable my flight, not just the pilots or attendants, but also the gate agents and ground crew and food services and all the rest. There are a lot of people that help me that I don't even know about, and I am grateful for their time, their effort, and their successes. Because of them, I am able to travel in the air and land safely. How amazing is that?

As for that woman, she hustled off the plane and turned the wrong way for baggage claim.

No, He's Not The Asshole Either


Jonathan sent me this fascinating Am I The Asshole reddit post today: "AITA for being resentful of my husband's reflexive anger during newborn nightime pumping/feeds?" The husband has insomnia, the wife wakes him at his request, to help with the baby. The first three paragraphs (full post below):

My (32f) husband (35m) and I have a 3wk old newborn. My milk supply has been low so I've been pumping every 2-3 hours. The arrangement my husband and I agreed to was that he & I would both wake up for the first "feeding/pump" session, where he would go feed the baby a bottle and I would focus on pumping.

The issue is that my husband has insomnia & can't fall asleep easily. To mitigate this, I'll wear sleep headphones & will listen for the baby's cries when he's hungry; my husband's ask is for me to wake him up when this occurs, so that he can help and I can focus on pumping.

However, when I do gently wake up my husband at the time that he asks me to, it's like a knee jerk reaction for him to be angry. He'll jerk, complain loudly that he just fell asleep minutes ago, slap the bed with his fist or open hand in anger, then stomp off to tend to the baby. After which, he'll cool off, start singing & put on his cute voice with the baby, & otherwise be "okay." Meanwhile, I'm left feeling horrible, feeling guilty for waking him up, to the point where I don't want to wake him up because I'd rather just take care of everything myself than deal with him being pissy.

The conclusion that reddit made is that the author is not an asshole, but the husband is.


Their correct solution is for her to nudge the husband, set an alarm to wake him further, then go start the baby feeding process.

Okay, so, what do I think?

The wife is not an asshole. Well maybe a little bit. Exhausted and sleep deprived, but not a complete asshole.

The husband is also not an asshole. Well maybe a little bit. Exhausted and sleep deprived, but not a complete asshole.

As someone for whom waking up is a physically painful process, I completely understand his anger at being woken up. I don't like being woken up, do not fuck with my sleep, allow me to wake up slowly, let my body have the slow process of coming up from the depths of unconsciousness, gradually waking up to the world for another go around the sun. Every part of an alarm or being nudged awake or more movement increases the physical pain, and yes, I wake up VERY CLEARLY on the wrong side of the bed. Sleeping bags don't count, for some reason.

This guy knows that he doesn't like waking up. He knows he has a difficult time with the waking process. He communicated that to her, asked for consideration that those first moments waking are difficult, and requested she look past it.

Sleep deprivation and being exhausted mean neither of these two are in a good place for being considerate or empathetic, which makes this situation REALLY difficult.

But, I'm on this guy's side. He isn't an asshole either.

Inktober Day 6: Golden


Can we say that sometimes I just completely miss it? Like, tone deaf and all that? When I looked for golden mountains, a lot of pictures were of some mountain in the golden hour. They were beautiful pictures, and not what I wanted.

I eventually found the Golden Mountains of Altai, and thought, "Great!" The photo by Ibrohimov Barzu Mahmadiyor o'g'li shows the mountain from the Mongolia side. Turns out, the Altai are in Russia. Meh.

I lost the edges of one of the ridges when painting this, and wanted to redo this painting. Then I remembered: this challenge is about showing up, not about perfection, or even completion. So, this is day six.

True to form, I messed up the lighting. Some of the shadows are on the wrong side because I didn't decide on my shadow color (the light blue) until after I had used the light brown for shadows in a few places. I'm still working on textures, which are hard to do with the larger brush I have and the small canvas size, but I am definitely aware of them and improving. The lights, though. Still and forever with my lighting.

So, squint a bit. The painting looks better that way.

Inktober Day 5: Map


Be 100% unsurprised that my map was of the journey from Branscom Glacier to Mount Vinson. I spent some time looking at how far I made it up the mountain before AMS sent me back down, and it was farther than I realized.

I posted this one with the comment, "#inktober day 5: map. Base Camp to Mt Vinson peak: some maps make sense only to those on the journey."

One place where I posted this had exactly zero response on it. It is abstract enough to be weird, so I get it. Priyanka commented on it on Instagram, though, and I have huge hearts for that. She understood, she was on the journey.

I messed up the lighting on this one, too.

Inktober Day 4: Dodge


Any idea how rare Dodge is as a mountain name? I didn't either before I started looking for a mountain called Dodge. I could find a lot of Mountain Dodge dealerships, but not a mountain named Dodge. Dodge Ridge is as close as I could come. Turns out, it is a ski resort. And pictures of ski resorts are usually maps of the ski resorts, or smiling happy people. They aren't usually pictures of the mountain.

A trimmed and edited version of what I found is what I used:

Turns out, Instagram wants vertical pictures in a 4:5 aspect ratio and will not allow the taller aspect ratios, because, of course the assholery of Facebook. Didn't figure that one out until I had posted a cut off inspiration image.

This image included a couple people in it. I wanted to include the people, and was 100% sure I wasn't going to be able to paint them well, as I don't have fine enough paint brushes to paint the itty bitty people on a 2" x 3.25" painting. So, for the first time, I used ink pens in this challenge. I wasn't able to convey the dynamic stance of the skiiers, but I believe I was able to convey some tension in them. They went from running speed in the inspiration photo to walking speed in my painting, but still moving.

And, because one always sees what she has done wrong after saying, "Done," I needed to add snow to the trees.

Inktober Day 3: Path


Hooboy, when I searched for "path" on my phone, you know, the latest 40000 pictures I've taken in the last 2 years, I had 1725 pictures identified as including paths. Of the 22 I was willing to try to paint today for Inktober, this is the one that Jonathan selected:

I don't have experience painting non-glaciated mountains. Nor do I have experience painting greens or trees or flowers or plants. But here we go!

This painting was a lesson in patience. I needed to walk away from the painting many times, to give it time to dry so that I could "cheat" and paint over the watercolors already on the paper.

The picture has a white glob on it that was a piece of dried paint that fell onto the painting before I took the picture. I look at this and see how I should have darkened the left side bushes, and added texture to the bush at the top of the path, and how I should have played with the light and dark, sun and shadows more, but I like it. If you squint a bit, it is a lovely painting. I'm pleased with it.