Epic Snowbirds

A couple of days ago, the amazing Canadian Snowbirds came back to the Niagara District Airport to perform. I was asked to have my plane set up by noon as part of the ground display.


We certainly had a nice view of the DC-3 which flew in from the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum.


As we got everything set up nicely, the Snowbirds got themselves all ready to rock:


The gates to the general public opened up at 2:00.  Right away, kids started seeing “Dusty” and ran up to take a closer look.  For over an hour and a half, I lifted dozens of kids into my plane.  There were actually line ups!



It was a lot of fun and it felt great to see so many smiles.  I was very impressed that most of the parents were very good about making sure their kid(s) didn’t touch anything they shouldn’t.  My best friend came by with her parents and they sat under Vyctor’s wing and watched the stream of kids pass through.  I got to wave at her now and then but didn’t have much of a chance to sit and and chat.

Starting around 3:30, the Geronimo Skydiving Team were the first to perform.  I never get sick of seeing our flag:



Once the jumpers were down, the Snowbirds started up and the sound was magnificent.  I took a slightly higher view up on Vyctor’s step to watch them start up:


Just like their show here in 2017, they were amazing….it’s unreal how close they fly to each other and stay in such perfect formation:



It was amazing to watch and we are certainly hopeful they come back here within the next couple of years.

Once everyone had headed out, we pushed Vyctor back to the hangar for the night.  I’m going to have to go to the airport this weekend to wash all of the little kid shoe prints off of Vyctor’s door.  Hehe!

Today’s symptoms: I did really well over the last two days.  Today I woke up with a bad headache and quite a few aches and pains.  I’m fairly fatigued today too.  I’ll hopefully get a good sleep tonight and wake up all bright-eyed and bushy haired tomorrow!

First Virtual Reality Gaming Experience

Mike and I played our first virtual reality game.  We went to VR Wonderland at the Pen Centre in St. Catharines.  Since we’re both into zombie fighting games, we picked Zombyte.  The staff were very bubbly and motivating, which made the experience even better.  They explained everything and hooked us up.  We played for ten minutes and it was a blast!  They also have a room with a different VR gaming system that has over 70 other games.  We had a great time and I strongly recommend the experience.

Back to my other experiences I started mentioning in my previous blog.  I recently had Vyctor’s annual inspection done.  I flew him into Welland and my mother met up with me.  We went for a coffee and then wandered around the Seaway Mall for a bit.  Unfortunately, Vyctor needed a bit more work this time so he had to be kept overnight.  I was able to pick him up the next day, at which time, I introduced Donkay’s reincarnation (or at least one of them) to her first flight.  Introducing Squiggy:


I got her probably 20 years ago.  I have no idea why I bought her but I did.  She was just a “plane” (tee hee) starfish, so I pilotized her with goggles, a hat and scarf and now she’s ready to hit the runway!  She was all smiles before taxiing out onto the runway in Welland:


Is was a nice ten minute flight back home, and my new copilot (or at least one of them) was born:


I may have another one to join Squiggy coming soon.  Stay tuned!

Today’s symptoms: I actually felt decent for most of the weekend.  I had a really bad couple days on Thursday and especially Friday.  I had a dentist appointment and wasn’t even well enough to drive there.  My little mother had to pick me up and take me over.  I’m glad the bad days didn’t last too long.  

So Much Has Happened!

Since my last blog, which was forever ago (my bad), I have had the following great experiences.  I’m only going to share a couple tonight and will continue the saga soon:

I had my youngest passenger ever!  She was only seven!  My previous youngest was eight.  And she did aerobatics!  And she flew the plane!  I was so impressed.  She wanted to fly more than anything.  I couldn’t believe how forceful she was with the controls.  She had us doing steep turns!  I’m glad I made sure her seat wasn’t far enough forward so that she could adjust pitch too!  What a great experience it was for both of us.


Within a week I had another aerobatic victim……errrrrr……passenger.  His spouse was the winner of one of my flight gift certificates I donated to a local charity.  After circling around Niagara Falls, we came back to Niagara District Airport to do some aerobatics.  We did a bunch of maneuvers, with his wife watching from the Flying Club.  We all had a nice chat before they left and it certainly sounds like it’s a flight she would like to try.  She said that she had to psych herself up first.  I mentioned that usually when people try to psych themselves up for something, they end up psyching themselves out of it instead.  She seems like she would be fun to fly with so I hope she goes for it.

On a sad note, as you may have seen through FaceBook, little Donkay has gone missing.  I stupidly brought him into the Seaway Mall in Welland, and he must have come out of my pocket.  I’m so mad at myself for this.  I tried calling most of the stores we were in and no one had seen him.  My mother even went to a few of the places we were today, but no joy.  Here he is enjoying his last meal with me at the Fonthill Tim Hortons, within an hour before going missing:


Hooves crossed we get him back!

More to come soon regarding my good month (minus Donkay!)

Today’s symptoms: I did not have the greatest night, but actually felt pretty decent today.  My energy has been all over the place, as usual, but my lows haven’t been quite as low lately.  I certainly hope this continues!

Annual Edenvale Flight

We had pretty decent weather on Saturday, which was great as it was the annual Edenvale Gathering Of The Classics.  I have been to the event for most of the last twelve to thirteen years.  The number of fly ins has dropped a fair bit, but that’s the same everywhere you go anymore.  Still one of my favourite events to attend.  As always, the unicom (radio) operator was so cheerful and pleasant to speak with.  We got Vyctor parked and prepared him (sun shield) and us (sun screen) before walking over to the apron.


Because of a couple events of parents allowing their kids (grrrrr!!!!!) to climb on other people’s property, I attached these signs.  I thought about them at the last minute, so that’s why they look sloppy.  I’m going to print a couple and put them in protective sleeves, so I have them in the plane at all times.  They do bring some peace of mind.  I know not everyone chooses to read and or follow instructions….


Speaking of reading and following instructions:


Such a rebel, I know!  Actually, I know the owner and actually ended up seeing him two days later.

We had a great time wandering around the static displays of both planes and classic cars.  The replica Avro Arrow was also there:


I was hoping to see a Ford Fairlane there to send a pic of to my mom.  She had a Fairlane Fastback that she really loved.  I didn’t see one, so sent her a picture of an old Fairlane ad I saw there:


After touring around, we got some food and sat under Vyctor’s wing, in the shade on a blanket I brought.  And of course, the blanket had an airplane on it.


It was a nice bumpy flight home, which always makes it even more fun.

When I got home, I figured the cats would be thrilled to see me.  I couldn’t have been more wrong:


At least Boo gave me the courtesy of waking up:


There was an interesting event at my building recently.  Someone’s car caught on fire:


Apparently faulty wiring.  I’m glad it happened up top rather down in the underground parking:



Today’s symptoms: I actually had a decent day, despite having three short flights last evening (to a local meeting, some aerobatics, then home).  I really didn’t feel a significant drop in my energy until around 5:30.  Really bad pain in my hands today, though.  


I took Thursday off of  work and took my friend and his daughter to Safari Niagara.  My father volunteers there and showed us around.  We had a nice, guided tour in a golf cart.  Here are some of the animals we got to see:





I had not been able to see the hippos during the previous trips to the zoo.  They were hiding.  I’m happy to report that they were both out that day:


Yikes!  I was waiting for his head to go completely inside out.

It was a very nice visit.  We did get a bit wet during a fairly big storm that went through.  We were able to find shelter while it passed.

I came home to my own little zoo:




Today’s symptoms:  I had a pretty good weekend.  I have a neat flight to discuss in my next blog.  After a long day yesterday, I feel better than I though I would today.  My fatigue level is much less than what it usually is after flying.  Woot!

Jumped Out Of An Airplane Again…

I had such a good time doing my first tandem skydive on May 31st that I decided to go back for more.  Yesterday, my little mother came by and we drove over to the Niagara District Airport.  We then flew ten minutes to the Dorothy Rungeling Airport (Welland) for our 10:00 appointment at the Niagara Skydive Centre.  The previous two jumpers were late, so we had to wait around for a bit.  There are much worse places I can spend time than at an airport!  We sat outside and watched the other jumpers come down, then it was my turn to suit up.  Unfortunately, we weren’t able to convince Jan to jump as well.


Péter, my tandem master, was very camera crazy that day.


I really don’t like getting my pic taken, but obliged for a bunch.  I think I was telling him nicely to put the camera down:


Needless to say, he didn’t.  Hehe.

We were sitting next to the door for the flight up to 10,000′.  He opened the door early so I could just lean out and enjoy the awesome view:


Then without further adieu, we got in position to depart the Cessna 205:


During my last jump, we did three somersaults out the plane.  This time, we did one, although I wasn’t quite expecting it.  Tee hee.  I was wondering why for a split second, I saw the plane again.  I told Péter to do whatever he wanted to make the jump even more exciting than it already was.


We really lucked out with perfect weather.


The free-fall was really neat.  Then we were under the canopy:


He let me control the chute for a bit, which was quite fun.  I’m not too sure what he said at this point, but I saw him pointing and assumed he meant “There’s the ground.  Aim for it.”


It was neat to see my cute little plane from the top down:


And then, unfortunately, it was time to land.  I was really hoping we would hit a massive thermal and get sucked back up again, but it didn’t happen.


Just like the first jump, Péter did a perfect landing.  What an amazing experience.   I’m very impressed with the two jumps I did with Skydive Niagara.  Their staff are great – very friendly, professional and accommodating.  If anyone ever wants to have a wonderful and exciting experience, I highly recommend doing a jump here.  I know I’m going back again.  I’m strongly considering doing the progressive freefall course, so I can do a solo jump.  It entails a five hour course, then a instructor-assisted deployment from 3200′, a bit more training, then a freefall from 10,000′ while being flanked by a couple instructors.  I did four IAD jumps back when I was with the Army, so that gives me a little more confidence for doing this.  It will probably be in September or October.

Today’s symptoms: I felt quite good today, despite my very and exciting day yesterday.  I think I slept more last night than I have in over 10 years.  I started drying my hair last night, and then part way through, I got quite tired.  At 7:30pm, I decided to lay down for a 10-20 minute nap.  I woke up at 2:30am.  Oops!  I had a hard time falling back to sleep but did just before 4:00am.  I probably had 10 hours of sleep last night.  Hehe!

I Donated, Then Received

Soon after I finished my flight training, my instructor and I flew in his plane (a Cessna Cardinal) up to Edenvale.  We wandered around the ground plane and car displays.  I bought some raffle tickets and ended up winning a flight in a Tiger Moth.  I really wanted to go, but I knew that my flight instructor would love it.  He did a lot for me with my training and I really respected him, so I gave him my flight prize.  I flew back with him to Edenvale and was so happy to see how much he enjoyed the flight.

Present day: I was contacted by someone from the Guelph Airport, that he saw my joyous ice rink runway landing.  The videos from my solid ice landing and take off seem to be missing from Facebook (post from back in February).

A pilot with a hangar and plane at the Guelph Airpark, saw the video and contacted me on my FaceBook.  We got to chatting and found out that he wanted to try out some aerobatics, and I would love to go up in his beautiful 1945 Tiger Moth.  Hmmmm….  Seems like a nice trade-off!  So I contacted him recently and we set up a date for a flight out of Guelph in his plane.  I had a nice, bumpy (which I love!) flight to Guelph for noon today.  I should start a business where I announce where parking spaces are at Costco:


When I landed in Guelph, I saw a man and a young boy watching the planes.  I called him over to check out Vyctor.  I let him sit inside too.  (I did not ask permission to post his pic, thus the blurred face):


Most pilots I know love showing their planes to kids, to hopefully get them involved in aviation later in life.

My pilot for today is Paul Marot, who keeps his Tiger Moth in Guelph.  Check it out:


Once we got it out of his hangar, Paul showed me how to climb aboard.  I was a little disappointed when I asked him about the in-flight meal and he said there would not be one today.  Oh well.


We took off and climbed beautifully up to around 3000′.  Paul allowed me to fly the plane for quite a good chunk of our flight.  I was so happy!  I learned a little something as well.  Being a pilot, I was still a little apprehensive to do anything abrupt or too severe.  I know what my and MY plane’s limits are, but I don’t know what Paul’s limits or those of his plane are.  So I still did some fairly steep turns and such, but didn’t push things too much.  I’ll demonstrate mine and Vyctor’s limits when he comes to St. Catharines for an aerobatic flight.  I’m really looking forward to it.


Thanks again Paul!


I had such a blast.  Then I had the pleasure of flying home.  Mike was at his sister’s house today and was deciding whether to take the QEW or back roads.  I gave him a bunch of traffic updates as I flew along the highway back home:



Hopefully it helped with his decision.

So I am totally pooped, as I knew I would be, but it was worth it for the fantastic day I had.

I got home and spent about an hour and a half putting stuff away and tending to all the animals.  As always, when I walked in the door, Mya immediately begged for food.  How many times I’m feeding her wet food during the day is paying off.  She has gained about a pound.  So I really don’t mind giving in to her begging for noms:

Peanut gave me the “I’m hungry” look so I grabbed some crickets for him to dine on.  I really don’t think he’s too bright.  He had a cricket on him for over five minutes.  Dork.


Today’s symptoms:  I had a really good sleep over the few nights and it’s really paid off.  I felt quite good today, just a lot of nerve pain on my left side.  My headache became quite bad starting around 5:00 this afternoon.  Hopefully it doesn’t keep me awake tonight.

Fantastic Week!

I cannot believe how well I have been feeling this week.  My fatigue level has been far more tolerable than normal.  I have not experienced full body weakness like I have been on and off for quite a few months.  My headache has been less too.  I have been able to take advantage of almost every second while feeling this well.

On Monday, I met up with my friend, her husband and six year old son.  He loves cars and airplanes, so they came by so he could see the Flying Club planes, and mine.


Perfect photo op, as he sits in the pilot seat:


After seeing Vyctor, they went up on the observation deck as I did some aerobatics above.  Here is the link to the post on Facebook .

It was a wonderful morning, to say the least! The next day, the weather remained iffy throughout the morning.  I had a charity fly-over at a golf course in Port Colborne.  It is a special charity event for me because it is for the MS Society.  The annual Fred Legg Golf Tournament was taking place.  I was able to do a little show for them, while listening to other aircraft in the area divert from the lightning storm north of me in St. Catharines. 


Once done my show, I couldn’t get back to the Niagara District Airport, so I decided to divert to Welland. 


The skydivers came down from their jump just as I was landing.  My aircraft mechanic was kind enough to let me put Vyctor in their hangar, while waiting out the storm:


I met up with my friends and was able to keep good company with them, while we all waited out the weather.

Péter and I ran out and gathered the flags from the drop zone:


The ironic thing is that I had to be back here – at the Dorothy Rungeling Airport (Welland Airport) for 5:30 that evening for an Recreational Aircraft Association meeting.  Sooooo….I just waited there from around 1:15 to later that evening.

My friend Péter, his daughter Enikö and I hung out around the hangar.  Mike had to drive in due to the weather, and met up with us around 5:00.

My mechanic has an adorable five year old daughter and he often brings her to these social summer meetings.  The last time I saw her was at our last summer meeting (September) and she asked if I could bring my Barbie doll to the next meeting.  No problem!  For some reason, I decided to keep my Ken doll.  I asked my mom to crochet one of my dolls a nice dress.  She did.  What she didn’t know was that it was for Ken, now Kendra.  She brought her Ken, who happened to be naked.  Of course, I had my awesome copilot Donkay with me for my flight earlier.  His daughter created this lovely tower of awesomeness:


Good times!  (tee hee!)

Fortunately, the weather was clear enough for me to fly back to St. Catharines.  Péter suggested that his daughter Enikö, could fly back with me.  He would drive to the Niagara District Airport to take her back home.  I thought it was a great idea, as did Enikö.


She hopped aboard and we flew back toward Lake Ontario, hitting a couple light showers on the way.  Free plane wash!


Hehe!  I’m afraid it didn’t rain hard enough for that.  Vyc was looking pretty dapper anyway, as they take excellent care of Vyctor and I.

We flew over one of her places to go in the area – the Niagara Outlet Mall, close to the airport:


She is really looking forward to going up with me for aerobatics, so was very excited when I did a fairly steep turn:


I was very grateful for my friend, the manager of the Flying Club, to come back to the airport and open the hangar for Vyctor.  I slept better knowing my Aerobat was safe for the night.


It was a very long but very good day!

Wednesday was to be another charity golf tournament I fly over every year.  Unfortunately, the weather was not in our favour.  The clouds were too low to fly, plus there was a risk of a thunderstorm in the area around the time of my fly-over.  Next year will be better.

I had the day off today and unsurprisingly, I was quite weary after my previous busy days.  I managed to push myself though and had a very nice visit with my mother.  We went to the PEN Centre and had some Timmies before slowly wandering around.

While at the mall, I recreated a picture of his daughter, that Péter sent me last night while they were in Sephora.  Tee hee:



I got some Christmas shopping done, so that was a nice little bonus!  Since being back home from our adventure at the mall, I have just been resting.

Today’s symptoms: I felt quite weary and had a lot of bad nerve pain all over, but my spirits were high!  That made it a rather nice day. 

July Is Going Well…

I have had a fairly good couple of weeks.  Recently, I had a wonderful trip to Niagara Falls with a couple of friends.  We wandered down to the Falls…



…and then up Clifton Hill.  I have not been on Clifton in many years and it sure has changed!  Crazy busy, as it always has been.  We stopped for dinner, then gingerly headed back to the car.  It was a fantastic evening.

On Friday, I took up the son of a co-worker for a flight.


The weather was not the greatest, as the clouds south of the airport were less than 3000′.  So unfortunately, we were unable to do a tour over the Falls, but I instead did a low and over at my mechanic’s grass strip.  I then let him fly the plane back over the airport in St. Catharines.  He seemed to get a big kick out of it.  Once overhead of the airport, I took back control and rolled up through most of my aerobatic maneuver repertoire.  He handled everything well and was fun to fly with.

I relaxed on Sunday, surrounded by cuteness:




And we have this charming action shot of Boo grabbing and trying to eat her sister, Mya:


In all fairness, Mya started it.

Today’s symptoms:  Things have been their usual up and down for the last few weeks.  My headaches have been a bit worse than usual, plus some new areas of nerve pain, but my fatigue has been a bit better.  I am not going to complain because for me, fatigue is my most disruptive symptom.

Air Race Classic Terminus

The weather cooperated this past weekend, which allowed us to fly to Welland for the Air Race Classic events.


I assumed we’d be there for maybe an hour, but it actually ended up being over four. I ran into a couple dozen folks I know while we wandered around the events around the Dorothy Rungeling Airport. It was great to see such a turn out, as there seemed to be a constant stream of people coming in. At one point, they had me move my plane to accommodate the OMC (Oink, Moo, Cluck) food truck. Awesome fries!

It was a really good day and I was blown away with how long I lasted. I’m still experiencing more good days than bad, and I can’t describe how great it is. The only incident I experienced that day was when I was standing fairly close to my plane, talking to someone. We then watched s couple young kids (maybe around six or seven years old), run over 20 feet from their parents. They stopped under my left wing and started playing with my pitot static cover. One kid ran around under the right wing and started to sit down on the fiber-glass wheel pant. I screamed for the kid to get off and fortunately he listed. The parents just sauntered over without a care in the world. One of the people I was speaking with before this happened, walked over to the parents to tell them not to allow them to run around the airport and not to touch anything. It’s said that people need to be told this. I’m sure the parents wouldn’t have been happy if I stood on the hood of their car.


Earlier this week, I had to go let out some of my crickets. I was going through so much food. I let out probably close to 200. I left the egg medium in the tank too long, thus the abundance. Peanut and Zim need to start eating more, and not just staring at them:


I was attempting to watch tv from bed the other night, but my view was slightly impeded by a bunch of kitties. You can see my bangs behind Mya below the window:


Pinky has been much more frisky than normal, which has been nice to see. She’s usually quite sedentary and blobbish, so the extra exercise was good for her.


Meanwhile, Mya has been continuing with her opera lessons:


Today’s symptoms: This week has been quite good. I’m a little weary today but tomorrow will be better. I had more than normal nerve pain and a headache, but I think it’s just because I’m a bit drained.

Pet Expo and Flippity Flight

The joyous Niagara Pet Expo took place this past weekend in Niagara Falls.  We are used to going to the one in Mississauga and waiting in a huge line.  It was great to show up at the Niagara Falls Convention Centre to no lines and plenty of parking.  I wasn’t really feeling well that day, but was able to wander around for a couple hours.  There were plenty of adorable animals, plus tons of cute dogs running around.


This fella’s name is Tank:


I was able to resist obtaining any more lizards:


I also didn’t come home with any fancy chickens:


We relaxed for the rest of the day and started watching the Fast and Furious movies.  What are there – about 27 now?  Hehe!  Three of the kitties didn’t seem too interested in watching and instead, slept nearby in an adorable heap:


I couldn’t have had a better start to the day yesterday, as I took someone up for an aerobatic flight.  Just like my last victim, he handled all maneuvers very well.  I was even able to throw in some combos.  The fairly solid cloud layer made for a very smooth flight (even while upside down!):




It was such a blast!  Needless to say, the rest of the day seemed a tad boring after!

Today’s symptoms: I am still experiencing some really good symptom days.  The weakness I was dealing with almost daily for about two months is mostly gone.  My worst issue today has been some very sharp nerve pains and a bad headache, but that’s about it.   Also, the MS Hug I’ve had on and off since the weekend didn’t visit today.  Woot!  You can learn about the MS Hug here: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/320146.php

Air Race Time Trials

I just had one of the best weeks symptom-wise that I’ve had in months, if not years.  On most days, I had no weakness plus my fatigue level was much better than “normal” as well.  I would give anything for this to continue but if it all ends tomorrow, I will be disappointed but still so grateful for the experience.

On Friday, I flew over the Heartland Forrest Charity golf tournament, as I’ve happily done for quite a few years now.  Before flying over the golfers, I stopped at the nearby Dorothy Rungling Airport (Welland) to drop off some homemade Elizafudge for my aviation mechanics and also the guys at the Niagara Skydive Centre.  I was speaking with my tandem master Péter and convinced him to go up with me for some aerobatics.  He obliged, albeit nervously.  I’m say happy to report that he loved the flight and was able to make it through most of the maneuvers (except combos) that I know.  Check out this condensed version of our flight (you may need to unmute in bottom right):

My favourite part of flying is looking over and seeing my passenger smile.  I think this flight was a success!

I was at the airport in Welland again Monday evening, however it was raining so there was no flying in.  We had a nice social meeting with the Recreational Aircraft Association and Canadian Owners and Pilot Association groups.

Yesterday I was able to help out the Air Race Classic, in which the airport in Welland is the terminus.  I helped out with time trials, so did a few low passes over the runway starting from 10 miles out (for radio calls).  I invited Péter to join me, so at least I wasn’t lonely on the flight!  He was completely relaxed during this flight since I wasn’t doing aerobatics.

Today I have surprisingly more energy than usual.  Paws crossed this streak continues!  Whilst on the topic of paws, it looks like the weather for the next four days is going to be yucky.  I’m going to have to break it to the kitties that their naked sunbathing days have come to a stop, for now.





I told them that the wait would make the next sunning experience even better.  They all gave me a rather unpleasant look, then walked away.  One of them even flipped me the paw!

Today’s symptoms: Feeling better than how I normally do, so I certainly can’t complain!  I have had bad nerve pain for most of the day though.  C’est la vie!

Skydiving Experience Continued and Analyzed…

In my previous blog, I missed one of my favourite pics from my awesome skydiving experience on Friday. The ever awesome tandem master Péter and myself, soon before departure from the lovely aircraft.  And although I’ve only known him for an hour or so, there is Rob in the background being, what I would gather, Rob:


Spinning down to kiss the Earth:


I’m very strongly considering going for another jump. I would love to do the progressive free fall course and jump. However, I’m really nervous that my MS fatigue will kick in and I would be unable to complete the full five hour course in one day. I think I need to start having more good days than bad again, at least that way I could judge it better. The class is on Saturday, so my stupid body better smarten up and cooperate for a weekend. If it doesn’t end up happening, I will at least book another tandem.

I only had one disappointment with my skydiving experience. I got absolutely no physical rush from it.  The emotional high made up for it, though! Now don’t get me wrong, it was still an awesome experience and I will go again, but the rush would have made it a smidge better. I’m actually trying to remember the last time I had that physical  sensation. I think it was during the beginning months of my pilot training, and I’m sure it’s because I was so nervous. Up until I was in my early 20’s, I had terrible anxiety. I honestly don’t know how I made it though ten years of the Army! I would still love trying new and daring things, and loved the rush that kicked in after I finally convinced my body to Go! I was always so nervous, and I think that’s the main contributing factor to the physical rush, at least with myself. I would have given anything when I was younger to never be nervous or scared again – anything! Within a few years of my diagnosis of MS, my anxiety was almost gone and I rarely get nervous anymore. For the most part, I really love it. For example, I know years ago I could never have given my motivational talks in front of fairly large groups, but now it’s enjoyable. The downside is that I am now rush-less. I wonder if there is something out there I can do to cause it to return?  And was this caused by my own lengthy battle with anxiety, where I finally kicked its sorry arse, or is one of my lesions on the part of the brain that is involved with the rush sensation?

Today’s symptoms: It’s been much better than yesterday, where I crashed just after 2:00 and had to lay down for over an hour (unable to sleep, my bod just needed to rest).  I was able to trudge the 8 minute walk to downtown for an appointment this afternoon, but have been pretty spent since getting back.  Trying to keep smiling!


Epic Skydive!

I had an amazing treat to the end of another three day stint of being couch and bed ridden.  I was feeling quite a bit better on Thursday and just rested for most of it, plus a short (tee hee – like she is) visit with my mother.  It was a huge relief when I woke up on Friday morning to far less weakness than I had earlier in the week, plus my nerve pain was substantially better.  The plan for that day if I felt decent and the weather was clear was to fly the arduous 9 minute flight from St. Catharines to Welland and do a tandem skydive.  The stars must have aligned as both those stipulations were met yesterday!  Woot!  We took off from St. Catharines around 9:30 and landed in Welland less than 10 minutes later.  I was the only one scheduled through Niagara Skydive to go up for 10:00.

Just before we started the training, instructor and videographer Rob wanted to show me this new magic trick he learned.  He claimed he can cause someone to levitate from the semi-prone position by using only his mind!  It didn’t work but at least he tried.


Then I suited up:


My most excellent tandem master Péter was extremely thorough when getting me into my harness (which was very comforting!)


After doing the training and suiting up, the pilot, my tandem master, videographer Rob and a jumper in a wing suit climbed into the Cessna 210.  I decided to make a big dorky face on the walk over:

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We had a smooth flight over Niagara Falls on our way up to 12,000′.  It was quite nice to be able to see it from the right hand side of the plane (the scenic circuit is clock-wise), as I’m usually flying over it in the left seat.  By the time we got up to around 9,000′, the wingman and myself both had chattering teeth from the cold.  Once up to altitude, it was around -2 degrees.  I don’t think the tandem master actually needed to hook our harnesses together, as I was pretty much frozen to him.  However, I heard the hearty *click* of us being safely linked together.  I’m glad it was the sound of steel and not just some Velcro.  Soon after, the door went up and our camera dude climbed out onto the wing strut.  As he did, we scooched over to the door and dangled our legs beside him.


Since I was experienced with aerobatics, he suggested we do a few flips on exit.  I gladly agreed, since I can’t seem to do anything in a normal fashion!  So on his signal, off we tumbled.  Yuppers, three awesome somersaults!  I remember seeing a flash of the plane during one of them.  Pretty neat!  Péter nicely got us stopped and we enjoyed a free fall down to 5000′.  Rob followed us down and got some great shots and video.  Then Péter deployed the chute.  All went quiet and we got to enjoy the view, while dangling over Welland.   I then began the process of thawing my teeth, as I smiled way too much during the free fall.

I always wondered what those altitude-losing spins felt, as they seem to be quite quick.  I got my wish as Péter spun us down for a bit.  I have a great video of this that Mike took and I will share it in my next blog (soon!)  I was then allowed to guide us down to probably about 1000′ or so.  I could see Vyctor from above and he looked adorable, as did Mike!  Hehe!  I yelled “Hi Mike!” and waved, which will also be shown in my next blog.  I didn’t think he would hear me from up there but he could hear us talking from around 2000′.

Our landing was perfect:


And a high five from Rob.


That was really fun and I’m certainly going to do it again.  This was actually my fifth jump, as I did four static line jumps when I was with the Army back in 1997.

I would give anything to continue to feel like this.  It’s been so wonderful for these last two days.  Paws crossed tomorrow is as good!

Today’s symptoms: Considering my especially long day yesterday, I am surprised how well I feel.  I have only slight weakness and just feel a bit drained and headachy.  I did get the rotten MS Hug for about an hour today, but at least it wasn’t for too long.  Nerve pain has been on and off for the whole day.

Pinky Became a Lamp

This weekend was yet another mix of good and bad, as they’ve been the last couple of months.  Saturday was not good at all physically – very weak, aches and pains all over, fatigued…typical MS stuff.  Sunday morning was so much better.  I slept really well that night and I was feeling well enough to go for a flight.  There was the annual brekkie fly-in at the Sexsmith Airport (Exeter).  After a mostly smooth, hour and ten minute flight, we arrived at the COPA Flight 177 breakfast, which we hadn’t been to in about three years.IMG_0482

It was so nice to see many familiar faces.  It was also nice to see this very yummy breakfast:


We had the pleasure of watching others come and go:


And checked out some of the parked aircraft, like this converted German attack Helicopter:


Then it was back to Vyctor to head on out:


The flight home was about the same length, as there was little wind.  We flew over the old St. Catharines General Hospital, almost completely demolished:


Once back home, we just chilled for a bit until eventually deciding to make dinner.  I was walking into the kitchen to get stuff started, when Pinky got up from the couch.  Mike noticed some bruising by her bum.  I couldn’t believe it – another abscess.  We went through this a couple years ago, of course on the weekend when my vet wasn’t open.  I did take her to the St. Catharines Animal Hospital, just down the road.  We were so grateful for their weekend hours.  Much of the staff stayed later than closing time to get Pinky’s abscess surgically drained.  She came through the surgery well and we took her home right away.  Do you like my new lamp?


Poor little thing.  I still had the satellite dish from her previous abscess surgery.


Pink vacuum:


She is healing well.  They left the incision open so it can drain, and it looks to be slowly closing.

Today’s symptoms: It was not a good day, with much worse than normal weakness and fatigue.  It makes it very hard to get through the work day.  I see my doctor about this again next month and I’m so hopeful we figure out why this is happening.  It’s to the point where I’m pretty much house-bound 3-5 days a week anymore.  😦



Another Trip to CWHM

This weekend was a mixed bag.  Saturday was a nice, clear day, but I was too weak to even leave the apartment.  Sunday I woke up feeling a fair bit better, which was great because we were scheduled to go back to the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum.  Mike and I had such a great time there a few weeks ago, that we decided to invite our Recreational Aircraft Association folks to go back with us.  This was scheduled for Sunday with the Lancaster Berlin Blitz virtual reality starting at 9:00.  We had a small group, but all showed up before the doors opened.  The plan was to do the virtual reality in two groups first, then go upstairs for our 10:00 F18 simulator session.



We loved seeing it again.  We finished with only a bit of time before the F18’s.  Mike and I had to run around the museum a bit to gather everyone back together, so we could show them where to go.  In a group of four and then three, we all did the 20 minute training session.  Then it was time to climb into the simulators:





He aimed for the wrong blue thing!

Everyone seemed to really enjoy themselves.  After the second group went through, we all went downstairs for lunch.  Afterwards, Mike, another member and myself had a wonderful tour with a guide of the planes outside.  Very interesting stories we had the pleasure of hearing.  We weren’t able to spend too much time in the museum because I was getting very fatigued.




Once back home, we just chilled for the rest of the day because I was pretty spent.

On Monday, I had enough energy to go for a short flight around Niagara. The Walmart at the PEN Centre is coming along nicely.


It was only about a 45 minute flight, but it was great to get up.  When we got back, I was pooped from the flight so we just relaxed with the kitties and watched a movie (Sybil – a little over three hours long).

Tuesday was awful.  I was the weakest I’ve been in a long time.  I had a hard time making it through the day, and I never left the apartment.  Last night, I think Abby could detect that I was feeling really cruddy and gave me a loving headbutt:


Little Peanut’s smiling face helped me to smile as well:


Today’s symptoms: Still felt quite weak today, but not nearly as bad as yesterday.  Felt too poorly to go out again.  It’s always a struggle to remain positive when I’m feeling so badly, but I’m trying (my little mother says I’m very trying…..hehe).  This extra weakness seems to make most of my “regular” MS symptoms feel worse.  I’m looking forward to some relief tomorrow – paws crossed!

Guess What Day It Is???

I took the day off today and I’m so happy to say that I felt quite good!  I met up with my father for breakfast at Lane’s Family Restaurant in Stevensville.  It was a very nice meal.  We’ve been there a few times now and it’s always good.  After filling our bellies, we went just down the road to Safari Niagara.  It’s not officially open yet (May 18th) but my father does carpentry for them, so I got a behind the scenes tour.  Here are just some of the awesome animals we saw:


Drooling for some noms:


Look of uncertainty:


I wanted to boop his nose (but I like my hand too much):


Nom nom nom:


Bouncy room:


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Jan-sized horse:


And how perfect was this – Hump Day!!!  Woo hoo!


It was such a good time.  I hope they have great weather for the opening of the park on Saturday.

I came home to my own little zoo.  Actually, all four of the kitties seemed to be very well behaved for the day, as nothing was amiss or out of place.  I had to take something to perk me up to get me through the day.  It was still in effect when I got home and I spent about two hours cleaning (including gecko Peanut’s tank)  and tended to all the crickets (new batch of quite a few hundred!) and other things here and there.  It was such a great day and very productive.

Today’s symptoms: I’ve been having issues sleeping over the last few days.  It’s certainly affecting how I feel and the intensity of my MS symptoms, so paws crossed for better nights starting tonight!  My normal stuff going on the last few days = lots of nerve pain and fatigue.  My headaches seem to be a bit worse than usual (I always have a headache to some degree, since I was in my last teens), but they’re known to fluctuate for seemingly no reason.  I’m going to assume it’s going to start better tomorrow.  (Woo hoo!)

Naughty By (Mother) Nature

Mother Nature was not my friend this weekend.  It was the Walk for MS on Sunday, and I was so happy to wake up to blue skies, after a day of fog Saturday.  By the time we got to the airport for around 9:00am, thick fog was rolling in.  We couldn’t see to the other side of the airport:


I let my ground contacts at the MS Walk base in Port Dalhousie know that I was socked in by fog, just a few minutes from them.  I was just a tad bummed:


We could hardly see the tower, as we were driving through the airport:


It was quite the let down, but not much we could do.  Here are some pics from previous MS Walks I’ve flown over.  2010:








The day on Saturday went a little more as planned.  Mike and I met up with my friend from Hamilton, and we hit the casino.  After he gambled for a bit and we got tickets for Rock Around The Clock, we hit the always yummy Grand Buffet.  The food was great and afterwards, the show was great.


It was a good weekend.  I had one little more nice thing happen – my little gecko Peanut let me know that he was interested in becoming a pilot:


I’m so proud.

Today’s symptoms: I did not feel well today.  Very fatigued and weak again and lots of nerve pain.  Paws crossed tomorrow is a better day.

Kinda Lame But Cute

When my tiny, little grandmother (yes, shorter than my little mother), lived in a nursing home, she had a toy flower stuck through the handle of her closet. When she passed, I took the flower and did the same. It’s been in my closet door handle for over ten years now. It always bugs me when I see it, all droopy and leaning. Looks sad, the stem slid down too far and would never stay up and the top flower petal is slumped down:

I have no idea why I haven’t fixed it over all these years and allowed it to bug me for so long. Well, I went to a funeral of a family member today. The mood was understandably quite low for much of the day, but lifted by being around many family members. After getting home, I went to my bedroom closet for my loungey clothes. I see my flower and asked myself again why I haven’t secured it properly yet so it looks happy. It made me think of my grandmother and the memories with her. Then I thought of how many times I saw the sad looking flower and have been bothered by how it looked. Something from my wonderful Nanny deserves better than that. So voilà:

He looks happy now and I feel so much better when I see it. Makes the memories feel even nicer. It sounds silly and kinda lame, but it is much more to me than it looks on the outside. I love the thoughts of my grandmother it invokes.

Today’s symptoms: I felt a bit better today than I did yesterday. Because it was a long day, I had to take a few wake up pills, so I didn’t full out crash until later in the afternoon. This was quite nice, since my typical crash time over the last few weeks. I appreciate every small positive that my body decides to throw at me.

Mostly Good Weekend

I’m still in a bit of a funk due to how I’ve been feeling physically anymore.  I’m happy to report that today and yesterday were decent though.  Saturday wasn’t quite as positive, as I crashed by around 1:30.  I wasn’t able to do much other than watch movies and TV the rest of the day, but at least it was relaxing.  I was feeling decent Sunday morning so Mike and I went for a local flight.  We were hoping to fly up to Oshawa for an aviation event on Saturday, but couldn’t due to the weather and how I was feeling.  The hour long flight Sunday helped to make up for that.  I wasn’t able to do any aerobatics as the ceiling was below 2500′, so we just wandered around Niagara.  First we flew over to Niagara-On-The-Lake, with Fort George next to the Niagara River:


A closer shot of the Fort:


On the east side of the Niagara River is Fort Niagara, in the States:


We flew south to Lake Erie, which still has a fair bit of ice blobbing around.  Greetings Buffalo:


It was a nice to be able to go for a flight, especially since my health and the weather haven’t been too cooperative lately.  Until next time (hopefully soon), little Vyctor:


As you can tell from these two pics, Pinky was absolutely thrilled when we were home:


We had one warmish day over the last week and little Abby decided to take full advantage of being able to go out onto the balcony.  She wandered out around 3:30:


And I had to bring her in around 9:30pm!


I guess she enjoyed the peace and quiet of not being pestered by her sisters as well.

Today’s symptoms: It was very nice having more energy today.  My headache was average, and probably the best it’s been over the last few weeks.  I’m trying not to get my hopes up too much (so as not to get disappointed) that this will be a continuing trend.  However, I did ask all of the kitties to briefly cross their paws for it though.