Vanished in the West ...

... is the title of my first book. Which is almost finished. Really.

... is what a lot of folks probably think I've done. Nope. Still here. It's just been a crazy few years.


This is more like a scrapbook: Pictures, quotes, odds and ends.

Meet Catherine!

This is Catherine:


She’s the love of my life.

We got engaged over Thanksgiving weekend.

She’s from Kentucky; she and her daughters Arabella and Giselle are wintering over with me in Flagstaff.

She’s a writer too!  :)

(Apologies for not posting in ages.  ‘Been a wee bit (deliriously happily!) busy of late.)

More to follow!


No flights so far this shift (24 hours on our Angel 2 helicopter in Kingman) … but I did finish nine hours of online FEMA classes today.

I’ve been wanting for awhile now to start doing some kind of volunteer work again.  At different times I’ve recorded books for the blind, taught CPR classes, been a Kiwanis Club member, and served on the board of an organization helping victims of sexual assaults, among other things — but it’s been several years since I’ve done any volunteering except at work.  I decided a few months back that using my medical skills and experience to help people in disaster situations would be a good way to do that.

As part of my application to join the Arizona Disaster Medical Assistance Team (AZ1 DMAT), part of the National Disaster Medical System (volunteer medical and support personnel who also become part of the U.S. uniformed services when activated by the federal government), I needed to complete 12 hours of online courses on the Incident Command System (ICS), National Incident Management System (NIMS), and the National Response Framework (NRF).  I’d completed the first three-hour course last shift; today I finished the other three.

For the most part, it was just as mind-numbing as it sounds:  Lots of overlap between the four courses, and lots and lots and lots of bureaucratic-speak, buzzwords and acronyms.

But the system, if it works like it’s supposed to, actually sounds pretty good …

Besides all the terminology and theory, there were some interesting lessons learned from 9/11, Katrina, and other major incidents … as well as some genuinely scary scenarios that form the current basis for U.S. emergency planning.

I’d better sign off and see if I can get some sleep.  Eight hours left of this shift, then a two-hour drive back to Flag.

Love and hugs, everybody.  Good night.


Good morning from Cottonwood, everybody!

Arrived at work this morning to find the flood repairs all finished, all our stuff back in place — and new carpets in most of the rooms, even (we were told it would be concrete floors for us from here on out).

Also, it appears that I’ve been AWOL from Twitter / Tumblr / for … ten days now?

Yikes, sorry ‘bout that folks.

Super-condensed version of what you’ve missed:  Work/motel, off a day or two, work/motel, repeat several times.  Unpack / wander around like a zombie / write a little on my day(s) off.  Drive out to California for a nice visit with dad and mom, capped by my first-ever visit to the Mission Inn in Riverside.  Which is pretty amazing:  what I imagine you’d get if you crossed Hearst Castle with Disneyland, and added a dash of aviation history:  They have a wall there with wings autographed by everyone from Orville Wright and Amelia Earhart to Chuck Yeager and Neil Armstrong.  On the way back from CA I stopped by Tucson, hung out with Sam a bit (we finally saw “Cowboys & Aliens”, which turned out to be pretty enjoyable).

Love and hugs / more soon …


… and the shift is only half over.  It’s a full moon.  It’s a payday.  It’s a Friday night.  It’s near the end of summer.

We could very well do some more flying tonight.

But it’s been a good shift so far:  Lots of flying over beautiful Northern Arizona, lots of people who really needed helicopters, lots of little fun moments with patients and coworkers.  Even the staff at the local trauma center were kidding when they said they’d lock the doors if we tried to bring them any more patients tonight.  

I think.

I hope we don’t test that theory.  But just in case we do, I’m gonna attempt sleep now and finish charting and everything else in the morning.  Good night, everybody.  Love and hugs from our temporary air ambulance base, aka the Quality Inn.

I love it when the past comes alive.  I love looking at familiar things in new ways.  I love this picture.

I love it when the past comes alive.  I love looking at familiar things in new ways.  I love this picture.

(Source: kateoplis)

Hello From Work … -ish

I think I mentioned last week that our base flooded?  Well, apparently it did it again last Friday, only worse.  Like, an inches-deep river flowing down the hallway worse.

So today they’re tearing the carpets out and cutting away the bottom foot or so of drywall.  We’re at the motel down the street.  So, internet, which is good, but no common area, and several minutes from the helicopter, which is … odd.

Today’s also my first 24-hour shift, so at least it’ll only be odd for half as long as I’m used to.

In other news:  Found Sam and AJ a cool apartment in Tucson over the weekend.  Intubated people in the OR most of yesterday.  Tomorrow and Thursday I’ll be helping pack up Sam’s stuff, trucking it down to Tucson, unloading it, then racing back up the hill in time for another 24 on Friday.

Also, it appears that I’ve been hacked, or something.  Please disregard any posts of an “OMG she’s so naked” variety.  :P  I’ll see about changing passwords and such when I get back from Tucson.  Oh!  And!  I should have actual, real-live, non-persnickety internet access by then also.

I believe I also owe Tumblr a couple weeks’ worth of 30-day-book-challenge posts …

Miss you guys.  Hope all’s well with you.  Really looking forward to catching up with you soon.  In the meantime, great big enormous hugs!!!

Love and (more) hugs from your friendly neighborhood motel-based flight medic.  :)


Sam, his best friend / soon-to-be roommate AJ, and I are here for the weekend scouting out apartments for them for the coming school year.

The new apartment has turned out to be pretty much like the old apartment in terms of mobile internet and cell phone connectivity — not so good! — but my new land line and internet are scheduled to start next Thursday, August 11.  In the meantime, I miss you all, and will try to keep in touch as time / connectivity allows.

I have another O.R. clinical (intubating surgical patients) on Monday, then my first 24-hour shift Tuesday. 

As busy as the 48s have been lately, I’m actually looking forward to the change, although I’m going to need a printout of my schedule to have any idea at all when I’m supposed to go to work for awhile:  After each 24-hour shift I’ll have from one to five days off; the schedule only repeats every six weeks or so.

Also hoping to get some more work done on the book as soon as we get back to Flag.

Good night everyone!

Love and hugs,



At work again:  Day 1 of one of my last 48-hour shifts (we go to 24s in early August).

Two flights so far.

Sleep has not been happening nearly often or long enough this week.  But the move’s basically done (just a little cleanup at the old place when I get off shift Saturday morning); most of the stuff at the new place is already unpacked / in place / up and running.  By and large it’s been a very good week.

One of the nurses I work with, Paul Gibson, sometimes calls me “The Panda” because I spend a lot of the non-flying time at work in my room (aka “The Grove”), and he used to think I was hibernating in here (I’m actually usually reading / writing / doing something online). 

I had Panda Express for dinner tonight … and I just looked over at my drink cup.  It shows the outline of a Panda, arms raised, with a crescent moon and stars above its head.  Inside the panda-outline it says “PANDA’S UP LATE!”.


So now, instead of writing and listening to Five For Fighting one more time (“100 years” and “It’s Not Easy” have been my entire playlist for the last hour or two) … good night, love, and hugs, everybody.

Dispatch willing, I’m off to bed.

Five For Fighting - It’s Not Easy

Wow.  Did NOT know (or had forgotten) that this beautiful song is also one of his.

I love my job, and I’m a ridiculously lucky guy in most ways, so read nothing into this, but tonight I listen to this song and in place of “in a silly red sheet” I keep hearing “in a funny blue suit”.  :P

And I guess I am still “just out to find the better part of me”.

Five For Fighting (aka singer-songwriter John Ondrasik, age 46 (my age)) - 100 Years

This song was always on the radio in 2004, the year my grandpa died at age 100.

(Chills every time I hear it, and sometimes — like tonight — tears.)


A long, good day.

Sam and I moved all the furniture and books over today, plus at least half of the other stuff, while mom packed and unpacked.

Sam is ecstatic to have a room (and bathroom!) of his own again, after weeks of camping out in the living room of the old one-bedroom one-bath apartment.

I’m pretty happy with the place myself.  The decor is identical to our old unit, and the view outside is the same (same pines and aspens lining the same road) — so much so that it almost feels more like the old apartment grew than that we moved.  But it’s a LOT bigger, a lot brighter and more open — and even has something that I’ve missed having for years:  a fireplace.

It’s been great hanging out with the two of them also, catching up on things, mulling over all the news of the day, and solving all the world’s problems.

Lots more moving of little stuff, cleaning, and unpacking tomorrow.

But we’re basically moved in.  Gotta love a 200-yard move.

Good night, all you wonderful people.  Love and hugs from the new place.

Talk to you again soon.