Monday, November 30, 2015

Passenger of the Day: The Gobbler

Lights of the runway
It looked rough on paper and by the fourth day, it felt rough. It proved to be a long, tiring trip, which drained our energy and Mother Airline saved the worst for the last day...3 flights and nearly 13 hours of working, after the shortest layover of the 3 nights away from home. The first day was easy; flying to Philly for 15 hours. The 2nd day had us end up in Memphis for 16 hours after 2 flights. Day 3 was the easiest day that had us dead head to Houston and then work to Austin, but even that was stressful with weather-related delays. Austin was the shortest layover of the 3, shortened even more thanks to Mother Nature. It's a shame Mother Airline and Mother Nature are often at odds with one another. Day 4 began with only 6 hours of sleep with flights to Denver, Tampa and back home to Houston. By the time I got to Tampa, I was toast!

I love 4 day trips. I got this job to travel and I love staying in the hotels and meeting interesting people. On this trip, I was purser, which means I was in charge of the cabin and the liaison to the flight deck. We got to Tampa and all 3 of us, working the flight, were feeling the effects of the long trip and the short layover the previous night. We were a bit giddy and laughing at the smallest of things. I found myself making quite a few mistakes when making announcements. I'd made the safety announcements 7 times in 4 days. There should be no mistakes- it was practically memorized. I'm sure no one but me really noticed them, but I pride myself on excellence.

I love working the purser position on the Airbus. There are either 12 or 8 passengers depending on whether it's the A320 or the A319. On a longer fight, I usually get to know a few of the passengers, who enjoy engaging in conversation, as I find out where they've been, where they are going, what they do for a living, or a variety of other topics.

Fifteen years ago, I'll never forget being told while in training for this job, to engage passengers whenever possible. It makes their day and most people enjoy being singled out to be spoken to by the flight crew. I was flying since I learned to walk and I've always loved the attention given from crew, flying on my own at such a young age. It's something that has never left me, and now that I'm on the other side of the ticket, I do what I can to be present for all passengers. I comment on jewelry, hats, blouses, shoes, travel bags and especially great smiles.

A baggage loader seen outside the window
The passengers leaving Tampa for Houston in first class seemed to enjoy my levity and humor. Even when tired, or especially, perhaps, I can be entertaining as I welcome people, take pre departure orders, and assist people with checking bags at the door. The woman in 2B seemed to smile a lot and watched me as I worked, more than the others seated in the front of our Airbus. So it was to her whom I most devoted my attention during flight.

She was a lovely, young woman of about 30 with long, dark hair. She and her boyfriend in 2A were dressed nicely, the way people used to dress when flying first class. She admitted that I looked a little tired and asked if I had a short layover the night before. So I briefly detailed my trip and she could understand why I was so looking forward to arriving in Houston and having 5 days off. She mentioned that she and her boyfriend lived in Houston, but had a home near Tampa, as well. I mentioned that I recently moved from San Francisco, and she gushed at how lovely it was there. I agreed, as we talked about the weather, the beauty and open minded people.

She informed me that she and her boyfriend hadn't had the chance to spend much time in the Bay Area, but would be returning soon. They were only there for a day to look at a ring being sold in an antique store. She smiled and nodded towards the young man in 2A, deeply involved in a movie on his personal device. I watched as she displayed her hand, sans any metal on her ring finger and understood her meaning. “Well, good luck with that! I hope you get it!”

We talked on and off for the duration of the flight, as most other passengers were busy watching movies and shows and pretty much ignoring me. As I made my safety checks on the Houston approach, I noticed she was placing an object in her purse. “Oh, is that one of those dancing solar animals?” I asked.
“Yes, it's a turkey,” she said with a wide smile, showing it to me.
“I love those! They have them at the dollar store and I love buying them for my nephews!”
“Yes,” she gushed, “I got this one at the dollar store!” I told her of the ones I had in my window at home and how I often dance with them, giving her, and the rest of the aircraft, a little demonstration, shaking my hips and head in opposite directions. It made her laugh. I love the laugh reaction from people!
My new dancing gobbler on display at home.

As I passed back by to take my seat for landing, she handed me the dancing turkey. I tried to refuse it, as if she were trying to hand me a hundred dollars and not an item that cost as much as a slice of fruit cake. I finally acquiesced and accepted it. It's so rare that a passenger offers up a gift, other than a piece of chocolate, so I quickly wrote her a thank you card.

As we taxied to the gate, I made my usual announcement, “...I hope you enjoyed your flight and we look forward to seeing you again. On behalf of the entire flight crew, happy travels and many returns,” and with it being the week of the US Thanksgiving holiday, I added, “and have a happy Thanksgiving.” A woman shouted out, “You, too, Penguin!” I'm pretty sure it was my new friend in 2B, who, next time I see her, will hopefully have a new antique engagement ring on that finger!

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Passenger of the Day: Condolences

I had a friend who was based in England who told me he was ghastly afraid to ever ask passengers if they had been on vacation or a business trip for the possibility of hearing that they had been to a funeral of a loved one. He thought it was embarrassing and didn't know what to say. I love asking where passengers started their day, where they are going, if they were on vacation. When greeting passengers, usually a big smile back means they are going home, and they are always impressed that I guessed correctly. It's happened a more than a few times that I engage a passenger and hear they were attending a funeral. To me, it's no big deal to hear this. I offer condolences, ask if they need anything and smile as I welcome them aboard.

Leaving Houston, two ladies began to settle into seats 1A and B. They were laughing and having a good time. I could tell they were together, most likely sisters. Lady A had a large bag at her feet, and on a full flight, I let her know she might want to stow it in the overhead bin before they filled up. She tried to stuff it under her seat, and I had to remind her, that was the space of the person behind her. She looked back, apologized to the man, and asked Lady B, to shove it in the small bin with her bag, which she did with more chuckling.

I was unable to offer pre-departure drinks during boarding because the new galley had not arrived, however, a minor maintenance issue delayed us for about 20 minutes after everyone had boarded, allowing me to then give out drinks. The laughing ladies would grow silent from time to time as they listened in to the goings on in the galley.

Lady A and Lady B both asked for Chardonnay. They continued to chatter with each other, and upon overhearing me discussing a mess in the aft galley, they commented to me that it was a shame people leave a mess for others to clean up. Then the catering dude said he didn't want any of the leftover cinnamon rolls I offered, saying, “You never know where they've been...someone could have sneezed on them.”
Lady B laughed and commented, “I hope no one sneezed on them, people ate those things!”
I joked, “He's off his meds.”
Most in first class, now half paying attention to me in the galley for entertainment and in hopes of an update on our delay, thought it was hilarious.

This is how it was for most of the flight. Wine continued to be consumed as they laughed and joked with me, being quite friendly. I really thoroughly them. Lady A informed me that Lady B was her daughter, her son was in 1E and husband in 1F. I looked over at the men across the aisle, then back to Lady B.
“You mean this isn't your sister?” I asked Lady A. I was serious. She gushed and said I was too much.
“I call like it I see it!,” I told her. Brownie points are great from passengers.

After asking, I found out the family was on their way home to a Denver suburb and they had just attended the funeral of Sir F's mother; Lady B's grand mother. I offered condolences, to which she said that she had lived to the ripe old age of 98.

Halfway through the flight, I saw that they were ready for a refill and as I approached with the bottle of wine, Lady A was in tears. They were holding hands as Lady B offered support. I commented, “Uh, oh, things have gotten a bit emotional since I was here last. Is there anything I can do for you?”

She asked if the was any Xanax on board. I looked at Lady B, then back to Lady A, “No, they don't let me give out Xanax, but the Chardonnay is almost as good.”
“No,” she said, as she wiped a tear away, “wine is even better,” and she handed me her glass.

Maybe things got away from me, but I may have given more wine than I should have. As we approached Denver, the two of them were growing loud; almost uncomfortably so. They were laughing again and joking with Mr. E across the aisle. He was taking selfies of the three of them and I wished I could figure out a way to photo bomb the shot, but I couldn't get behind them.

After landing, as they gathered their items, I handed Lady A a card with a small note, once again offering my condolences. I mentioned them to Sir F and Mr. E, as well. Lady A started welling with tears again, the smile fading from her face slightly. She leaned over with her arm outstretched and gave me a huge, long hug. She really needed it, and it was nice. I had a million things going on in my head- making sure the lights were on and the door was disarmed, keeping an eye on the jet bridge slowly moving toward the plane, ensuring I hadn't forgotten anything. But I hugged her back. Mr. E said it was the best flight he'd ever been on. Sir F called him “Chump Change”, telling him not to forget his bag, which made me laugh. I had to turn towards the door and I could hear Lady B comment, “You see, it's a sign, his giving you that card.”

Some people are afraid to hear someone is going through something sad. I look at it as a chance to connect with someone. Often, just a few words of condolence and a smile is all they need. Sometimes, a hug from a friendly flight attendant does the trick. And I'm personally of the opinion that we all need more hugs in life!

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Adventures in Flight: Defeets!

Lima, Peru on a nice day

While in Lima, I took advantage of one of my favorite layover activities: I got a massage. A flying partner had recommended the blind lady massage place, just over a mile away from our hotel. She spoke very highly of her past experience, and in total, there were five of us who set out together. I was also interested in a pedicure, but only if from the sight-enabled. Sorry, but I don't trust that type of work to the non-seeing.

Picking at my feets
Before my massage, I went behind a curtain from the waiting area for my pedicure. Everything was very clean and I could see that the implements to be used were removed from a sterilizing device. The friendly Inca woman wore a white overcoat, gloves and mask. It's a good thing. Not that my feet weren't fresh, but all the dust soon to come off of them would have clogged her up good!

She began by spraying my feet with a fine mist and massaging them with a perfect touch. It felt so good. She then grabbed a tin box and began digging out metal implements and picks, much akin to what you'd expect to see at the dentist. She got in there deep, picking and tugging. She scraped off layers of dead skin. She grabbed a power tool, yes, a power tool, and went to work on my nails, cuticles and soles. I now knew what it felt like to be a horse. She went after my hooves while smoke and dead skin dust went flying this way and that. It all felt divine! I was the prize animal getting ready for the ribbons, to be sure.

When done, nearly an hour later, she lotioned my feet up and massaged them once more. I felt like royalty, while asking, as I usually do in situations such as this, “I wonder what the poor people are doing.” The Incan woman couldn't understand me. Ah, who cares?
The power tool on my hooves

I glided into my massage on feet clean enough to eat off of and feeling pretty well. There was no wait for the massage, and I was certainly ready to continue the royal treatment.

I was escorted into the dim room by a tiny Incan woman with cloudy eyes. She was blind, as witnessed from the manner in which she felt her way around the room and my back. I got on the massage table and her tiny hands showed unusual power as they blindly, at first, found their way around my body to the spots in need of work, using great intuition- working out the irritating knots. I opened my eyes while on the table and noticed her amazingly tiny feet. I swear her shoes were made for a 5-year old!

Soft, white, fluffy clouds
But after my tiny Incan woman was done, I felt I was the king of the world, but for a fraction of the cost; only $25US for the massage and pedicure. Next time, however, I'd like to go for the two-hour massage and maybe I'll consider taking a cab the mile or so back to the hotel instead of walking, as we did. Or better yet, just catch a ride on a nice, soft, white, fluffy cloud!

Defeets part 2: Eight Doctors Running

On my flight home from Lima, my feet were still smooth but my scalp began to itch. It felt so good to graze my fingernails across it. This is something new; my head never itches. I asked the flight attendant who had also had a massage with the blind women on our Lima layover to take a look. Did I have lice? What's going on up there?

She quickly inspected my balding, graying head of very short-cut hair and informed me that I had a sun burn. It was red. I did walk for about an hour in the overcast weather blanketing Lima that day and had failed to wear my hat until the walk back to the hotel. Damn. After my bout with melanoma, I really try to avoid being in the sun, or even under cloud cover, knowing it, too, can cause sun burn. I was relieved to hear the cause of the itch was not lice.

Red, splotchy face and scalp.
So I thought nothing of the fact that my scalp was still itchy the following day. I had only 31 hours off before another trip to Lima. I returned to the airport not only with my scalp still itchy, but now my chin, sides and neck itched as well. It wasn't very bad, although I did think it peculiar. The thought of calling in sick crossed my mind, but I wound up dismissing it as being overly cautious.

Flash forward to the airplane- halfway to Lima. The service was done and I enjoyed a conversation in the aft galley with one of my flying partners. My feet felt itchy and taking my shoes off to rub them felt like bliss. My head itched, my underarms itched and now I was feeling like my lips were twice as thick as normal, and a bit numb. I was very much aware of the fact that my face was possibly growing red as we continued talking. When the conversation came to a conclusion, I eased into the lavatory to take a look.

Shock and horror.

On my arms were these large, raised welts. They itched so badly, at times I thought I'd go insane. OK, something was very wrong. I returned to the aft galley and found another flying partner filling cups with water. I asked if she had any medical training. She didn't, but casually said that our purser was a nurse, as she continued filling the plastic cups.

The welts I found under my arms.
When I approached the purser in the forward galley and asked for a moment of her time, I had a quick flashback to being a general manager and asking such a question and realizing that they were freaking out; not knowing why the hell I was asking to speak with them privately. She walked with me to a well-lit part of the galley and I shared my new-found illness. It's always something with me, it seems.

Step one: contact the pilots so they can get in touch with the in-flight medical department.
Step two: take a brief medical history of the patient. Oh, my gods, that's ME!
Step three: make an announcement asking if there are any medical professionals on board.

I've been the one to make such announcements numerous times. I've seen the reactions of the patents, which range from complete acceptance that medical help is needed, to complete denial, and a feeling that there is no reason to alarm anyone. I knew exactly how these patients felt. As the doctors began to assemble in the forward galley, I felt the redness in my face was no longer a result of this illness, but for the embarrassment. The first doctor seemed to arrive before she finished making the announcement. The second doctor was right on his heals. The third approached from the right aisle. The fourth followed back on the left aisle. Within one minute, there were no fewer than 8 doctors gathered in the small space.

I was both a patient and a working flight attendant. My first reaction was to inform the still arriving doctors that we had enough volunteers, but asking if anyone had any specialization in dermatology. No one indicated such. One of the doctors present was a man I had spoken with before we left Houston. He informed me that I was in good hands, and that the doctors present were all going to a medical conference in Lima!

After all was said and done, I was given Benadryl from the medical kit, followed by a shot. This did the trick and my itchiness was alleviated. My crew demanded that I sit out the service, but I did do some work while they were in the aisle, cleaning the galley and closing out the liquor cart. The Benedryl made me quite drowsy and I finally crashed in the van on the way to the layover hotel.

Many culprits were recommended to me; shellfish, fabric softener, fruit cake. The only thing I could think of was the massage by the blind woman. She had massaged my head, which is where the whole thing started. She had her hand everywhere I was itching, and it all started only a few hours later. Thank goodness I didn't get a happy ending!

The view from my Lima hotel
Upon returning to Houston from this trip, I saw a doctor immediately when the office opened. He gave me another shot and some pills that wiped me out, but helped control the itching. My palms were red; I called it my stigmata. My arms itched as well as my scalp. Twenty-four hours later, it was all gone; crisis averted. I have never had such a reaction in my life, and I hope to never have one again.

I don't know what this means for the future of my getting layover massages. I likes me some good massage, and the blind woman did a really great job. I don't know what type of oil she used on me, and it would be difficult to find out. This experience has me thinking I won't be returning to the blind women after all. Such a shame, too. But oil's well that ends well, as they say.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Adventures in Flight: Ghost Flights

It's a very rare occurrence, some flight attendants say they've never had it happen to them. In my 15 years with Mother Airline, I've only had it happen maybe four times, but what a treat it is, for both passengers and crew. I'm talking about ghost flights; or very light loads. Extremely light.

The first time it happened for me, there were 5 passengers on a 757. On this plane, there are 24 seats in first class. With 3 passengers in coach and the other 2 in first, the purser got permission to move everyone up. With four flight attendants, this gave me and my flying partner assigned to the back no work to do on our flight from Chicago to San Francisco. What was fortunate was that the woman I was working with was a friend who I'd not seen since a Caribbean cruise 2 years prior, so it was fun just catching up with her for a few hours.

The second time I worked a ghost flight, it was again on a 757, but this time I was purser. I didn't move everyone up to first class, and no one wanted to, anyway. I mean, if you have an entire row, or three, to yourself, why move up. This flight had about 13 passengers, and even though those seated in economy didn't move up, I did offer and serve first class breakfast to everyone back there who wanted to eat.

On the most recent flight from Dallas to San Francisco, there were 9 passengers on an Airbus 320. We had 3 in first and 6 in the back; a young man, his mother and grandmother, a man and his 5 year old son and a businessman wearing a Rotary Club pin. (If you've read my story, “The Rotarian”, you will know I have a special history with the Rotary Club.)

View of the Ghost Flight cabin with PAX seated up front.
I love ghost flights and the ability to give outstanding, personalized service to each customer; a chance to get to know them (the Rotarian was from Arlington, the young man with his family worked for Nordstroms's in Dallas and were going on vacation, and the father slept, but the young boy was well behaved and loved orange juice). No cart was set up, my flying partner and I ran each drink out on a tray.

Each time I work a ghost flight, I always hear the same comment. It came from the nice woman in first class this time, “I'm surprised they didn't cancel this flight, they're not making any money with so few people.” The answer is always the same, “The plane is needed for the rest of the day, if they cancel this flight, they have to cancel 3 or more flights that this plane is scheduled to fly.”

The best service you can get on a plane is one with very few passengers. You receive personalized service on a ghost flight. The chance to chat up a flight attendant (and who doesn't love that?), lots of room and peace and quiet is all so, very nice. Plus, the crew is happy to have a light work load and a fun change to the routine of the normally packed airplanes. They are quite rare, so if you have the pleasure of being on one, enjoy...and feel free to spread out.

Passenger of the Day: Grape Ape

He looked like a giant grape- hulking 6'-5” frame with broad shoulders in a purple polo shirt. This grape ape was topped with dark, curly hair, and had a beard. He sat in 4A next to a woman who appeared to be his mother. She was less than normal-sized- a petite thing, also with curly hair but a strange tan/brown combination, maybe from a few too many dye jobs. They were on their way back to Houston from Santiago and seated in first class.

During boarding, I asked what he wanted to drink. Champagne was the response and I thought to myself, “Good for you! That's what I would order.” Mom had a gin and tonic. Ick. I like a gin and tonic about as much as I like fruit cake.

He asked for a second glass before we closed the door, just as I would have. Nothing like a bubbly induced tipsy feeling when headed down the runway at a few hundred miles per hour. He tasted every course served during the dinner service, practically licking the plates clean. He asked for wine with his meal, followed by a coffee with Baily's and then a Jack and Coke. He was taking advantage of every little thing in first class, as if he were an employee, non-revving (flying for free), and not able to enjoy this kind of service too often, as most employes would.

Consulting with the passenger manifest later in flight, I discovered he and Mom were, indeed, employees. One of the most popular benefits of the job is enjoying the best seat on the plane that is available. The seats are divvied out by seniority, and that's why any flight attendant you may know always talks about their hire date. Seniority can be better than money!

The Grape Ape was a very nice man; polite and soft mannered. He was never presumptive or rude. He knew his place, automatically ordering his second choice entree, knowing that being low on the totem pole meant he might not get his first. Mom was quite kind, as well. It is a nice thing when coming across manners in first class. Not everyone who flies in first class acts first class!

Serving the Grape Ape was fun, as I very quickly realized that he enjoyed first class in the manner to which I do, and I was able to anticipate his desires. Without asking, I handed him the fruit and cheese plate following the main meal and had already began to hand him a glass of port before asking if he'd like it. The Grape Ape consumed his fruit and cheese just in time to take advantage of the ice cream sundae as the credits to the movie he'd been watching began to scroll.

During the landing/breakfast service, when asked what he wanted to drink, he asked for a mimosa. I still don't understand ruining good champagne with orange juice, but knowing this passenger so well, I brought him a small bottle of champagne and two glasses half full of orange juice, so he could make his own as strong as he wished. He was quite impressed, as was his mother. They thanked me so much during the services, I was this close to suggesting they simply hold off and give me one big thank you at the end of the flight.

As they left the plane, they looked around the galley corner to find me standing by door 1 Right. They thanked me once more, reaching out to shake my hand. It's always nice to give someone a great experience on a flight. To me it doesn't matter if a passenger is an employee, a high yield flier or someone flying for the first time; I want everyone to have a great experience and I'll do what I can to make that happen.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Adventures in Life: Peter Max

Artist, Peter Max

People always love to drop names. On social media, friends are always posting about the famous they encounter. As I get older, I recognize fewer of the names. It's always fun to meet people who are well known. There was a time when meeting even smaller stars was a thrill for me. In college and beyond, I spent six years working concert security. I've met so many stars, I began a binder to keep track. They are mostly from the world or music, but I've also met quite a few movie and TV personalities and people from the political world.

Of course, my biggest rock star moments have been those shared with Stevie Nicks. I've shaken her hand a few times and once, at a fund raiser, where I paid $1000 for a ticket, I was able to have a meaningful conversation with her parents.

I enjoy conversing with the famous. I spoke to Dire Straits front man Mark Knopfler once about fireworks. I spoke to Jimmy Buffet about roller coasters and Margaritas. When Jon Bon Jovi needed a ride to the Houston Galleria, I drove him in my car. I kept myself from laughing when talking to Al Gore because his accent was just like the Saturday Night Live parody. I met George H.W. Bush and spoke to Barbara Bush as she signed her autograph for me.

Similar to my first Peter Max
Nearly 20 years ago, I discovered an artist by the name of Peter Max. I loved his bright colors, smart meanings and bold style. I attended an auction and outbid someone on his art. Afterwards, the failed bidder approached me and offered double what I had paid, as she decided she just had to have it. More than anything, it was her lust for the piece that told me to hang on to it. A few years later, at yet another auction, I acquired a second piece of his work. Soon, I was an official collector with 5. He is, without doubt, my favorite artist.

It was late. We were cruising to Lima, Peru at 36,000 feet and I was bored. I grabbed a magazine to peruse and came across an ad listing a meet the artist, featuring Peter Max. It's said what the Beatles did for music, Peter Max did for the art world. A slight “squee” may have escaped my lips as I looked to see what city this would occur in. Lo and behold, it was in Houston...for the very day I was to return from Lima...just two days away! Fate.

I arrived at the Galleria Mall early, expecting a line. The gallery was still closed and dark, and there was no line, so I went for a bite to eat. Mom called to check in on me and I told her what I was doing, saying I hoped he'd be free to just approach and speak to, as opposed to him sitting at a table and signing pieces of art. I doubted the former. Surely this would be an event packed by people. I was actually surprised there was no line out front to get in...and glad, too, as it was misting and wet.

Peter Max Earth Day
She wished me luck and at noon, when the gallery opened, I returned. There were very few people inside and the Beatles were playing from the speakers. On the walls were hundreds of Peter Max paintings. The prices ranged from $1800 to $75,000 or more. I found one quite similar to the one I bought and was ecstatic to see a price on it of three times what I paid some 8 years ago. Good investment, but I don't want to sell.

A man approached me and introduced himself as Nim, one of Peter Max's assistants. He inquired to my interest and I spoke to him about the 5 pieces I owned. He led me to a piece of similarity (Peter Max often does many of a series with slight differences in each) known as “Without Boarders” and explained the meanings found within the art. He then led me to Peter Max, sitting in a chair looking as if he were waiting for something to happen. I was introduced, and Nim told Peter I was a collector. Peter sat up with interest as he asked what pieces I owned. Some have been in storage for 7 years, so I was hard-pressed to describe them well. He was very happy to hear that I was a fan and considered him my favorite artist.

Then, to my disbelief, I entered into a nice long conversation with Peter Max, just as I'd hoped to do. We spoke about his upbringing; his being born in Berlin but leaving after 10 months to go to Beijing. We spoke about that wonderful city and how much it had changed. When talking about his time in Israel, he was very interested that I had been there, as if he meets few who have. I patted my stomach as I professed my love of their food! He agreed. When mentioning that my best friend is from Ra'anana, Israel, he shook his head, familiar with the area.
The image I asked him to sign

I then produced a photo I had printed from home of one of my favorite pieces he had done. It was a Pan Am 747. He looked at it, recognized it, and guessed he had done that in the early 70's. He asked why I liked it. I told him I had a love of airliners and it just spoke to me. We then talked about his painting a 777 for Continental Airlines, of which I own a model.

It was an awesome conversation that lasted about half an hour. Soon, another person entered his presence and I didn't want to hog all of his time. I resumed looking at his work, and as I walked away, he told me to consider purchasing one of the pieces I told him that I very much loved...the Houston skyline. It was much more than I could afford.

What I did discover, was an older piece of his, done as an etching in watercolor and pencil called Celestial Sunrise. It was affordable and I decided I just had to have it, especially after having the meaning of it explained to me. There are two sages guarding the sunrise (one of my many nicknames is Grand Sage). UFOs dot the skies (I'm fascinated by the theory of ancient aliens).

Celestial Sunrise

As they took it off the wall, I made a comment that my mother was going to kill me! They placed it on an easel and Peter Max walked over to dedicate it. On the back, he wrote a note inside a large heart with three dots underneath. My sixth piece of art. He also signed the 747 I printed from home, so technically, my 7th piece (and Nim said that little photo is instantly worth $2000 for his having signed it!).

There are few personalities in the world that I would gush about being able to meet. Stevie Nicks is top of that list (while having met her, I've yet to have a conversation with her). Peter Max was another. I was so lucky to have found that ad just in time. I was very fortunate to have the kind of conversation I had dreamed of having with him. The only disappointment was that I was unsuccessful in convincing him to draw a penguin for me. Nim said he would do so...if I paid for it!

Penguin and Peter