The Scariest Flight of My Entire Life and a Trader Joe’s Treat

Oh, neat. It’s Monday.

I know, that sounds like the least enthused beginning of a post ever, right?

Well, I’ll be honest, Mondays after traveling to/from home in Pennyslvania are always a little rough. For financial reasons as well as a love of spending Sunday nights watching CSI with my little brother and sister, I like to return to the Raleigh-Durham airport on Monday mornings. Unfortunately, that tends to lead to a 5 am (or earlier) Monday wake-up call.

In case you missed it, you should check out my Six Pack Sunday: The Science of Beer  edition. It’s pretty much one of the coolest beer events I’ve ever experienced in my life.

Luckily, I had a tasty surprise just waiting in the freezer for a Monday where “cooking” was the last thing on my lunch-mind.

A little spice is nice!

4 minutes in the microwave, and you have: Trader Joe’s Green Curry Infused Rice!!

The ingredient list is beautiful: Jasmine rice, green bell pepper, carrots, coconut milk, basil leaves, green curry past, light soy sauce, sugar, sunflower oil, holland chili pepper, and key lime leaves. Not too shabby, right?

While the taste was perfect, I thought it was missing something….

Vegetable Fiesta!

I was craving a few more veggies and had some leftovers in the fridge to add to the mix. Broccoli, mushrooms, red pepper, more carrots, and baby corn!! Add this to the warm, spicy slow burn of a quality curry, and you have yourself a colorful lunch to fuel me through the day!

Chances are, though, if you made it this far, you’re not just interested in my Trader Joe’s mouth-party.  You wanna hear the juice.

This Friday, on my way to Philadelphia, I experienced the absolute scariest flight of my entire life. That’s really saying something, too, considering I fly anywhere from 1-2x a month and have been for almost 3 years now (before then, I flew less frequently, but still more than your average bear. Or person.)

I flew Southwest, as I always do, because it’s fast, it’s cheap, and their seating system rewards aggression.  It’s kill or be killed sit or be sat on, out there, and I was a lucky duck who got a primo windo seat. I had a great book on hand, a handsome boyfriend I was flying to, and a few of these bad boys to whet my whistle…

Drink tickets, anyone? (click for source)

Though there was a bit of rain in the forecast, both in Philly and RDU, the drizzles weren’t getting me down.

Then, as luck would have it, the pilot announced over the intercom system that, due to weather and possible turbulence, there’d be no drink service. AND NO PEANUTS!

That’s a bummer, but really, not the end of the world.  I was peeved (and thirsty), but just trying to get to the PHL.

I sat to read my (incredibly emotional and intense) book and was approximately halfway through the (very smooth) flight when the silence was broken.  It was broken by screaming:


A huge lump surged in my throat as I, along with every other passenger, turned to see a flight attendant running through the aisle, waving her hands.

Having watched thousands of episodes of TV shows where that inevitably means one of a few select tragedies, I was petrified.


a) we had all just contracted meningitis, a la that very special episode of House

b) there was a terrorist on board, and maybe the president, a la Air Force One

c) there was…. something on the wing. A la Twilight Zone

NBD, just an Airplane Gremlin that wants to eat my heart.

Either way, in my mind, my plane was doomed.

As I watched a white haired fellow (who I’m PRAYING was a doctor) leap out of his seat, seemingly shouting FINALLY! MY DAY HAS COME! with his body language, I prayed to all things holy (and some things unholy, like that airplane gremlin) that my life wouldn’t end on this plane (or before I finished ROOM.)

Then, as suddenly as the screaming began, the silence returned. My fellow passengers and I craned our necks back, hoping for some indication that a life hadn’t ended in the exit row, and that the rest of us weren’t infected. We looked to the flight attendants, who bustled about in an orderly fashion, as if nothing was amiss, plastic smiles glued to their face.

What the FORK AND KNIFE had just happened?

Well, when that grinning attendant strolled over so nonchalantly to collect our trash (though, since none of us had gotten beverages or snacks, there wasn’t much trash to be collected) I gestured for her to come and collect my apple core (a self-brought snack, thank goodness!!

“Excuse me, ma’am, would you mind telling us what all the commotion was about? What happened back there?”

“Oh, don’t you worry sweetheart! It was nothing! Just some fellow who woke up and wasn’t feeling too well, he’s doing fine now.”

…………………………………………….wait. What?

Color me confused

So you mean to tell me that, when someone doesn’t feel too well after groggily waking up on a plane, you race through the aisles screaming bloody murder for a doctor?! Was that in the training somewhere?!

I certainly hope not.

Needless to say, the rest of my day was spent jumping at every loud sound made and clutching my chest at the hint of turbulence.  The train ride, thankfully was a little less adventurous, and, when I finally reached the beau, I hugged him like a spider monkey clinging to a branch mid-tropical storm (factual basis of that statement is up for debate. I don’t know if spider monkeys even live in tropical areas. Just go with it.)

I haven’t started coughing up organs or bleeding from my eyes yet  so I’m pretty sure I’m okay, but just keep an eye on me y’all. If you don’t see somewhat regular tweets and posts, chances are, I’m living out the plot of Contagion.

Either that, or the airplane gremlin got me.

What'd you say your address was, again, Jordan?

Healthy Choices at the Airport

Good afternoon (or evening… really it all depends on when I get internet access at this point.

So it’s 3:08 pm as I start this post, my flight is scheduled to take off at 3:35.  However, since Murphy’s Law states that every time you really want to go somewhere, your flight will inevitably be delayed…  Guess what happened to mine?

As a fairly frequent flyer (1-2x a month, though this past April/May it was more like 3x), I am very accustomed to airport living.  Once, on a flight to visit Ryan for our 2 year anniversary, I got stuck in the Charlotte Airport overnight….  I learned quickly that you don’t have many options when you’re stuck, so you may as well make the best of it.

My bed for the night.... the floor was heated... so there was that.

In the summer months especially, and with the Healthy Living Summit right around the corner, I figured that some of y’all would be traveling.  And, if you’re an unlucky duck like me and thunderstorms in Tampa somehow prevent your flight from RDU to PHL (damn air traffic control), you might be doing your best to stay healthy and fit in the airport of your choosing (or the airport you’re forced to stay in for reasons beyond your control.)

Here are my best tips for Healthy Choices at the Airport:

1. Don’t Check Your Bags

Ugh, bag fees.

This one will be healthy both for your wallet, and your body.  Airlines are frequently the fastest/easiest way to get from point A to point B, and they know it.  They’ve got the monopoly on the sky, unless your daddy owns a jet (if so, I have a deep-seeded friend crush on you, and think we should make things official.)  They have been jacking up the prices on checking bags for a while now, and there’s no sign of stopping (unless you’re on Southwest…. which checks up to two bags fo’ free. and is awesome.)  However, if you can cram all your junk into a carry on bag or two, you’ll save anywhere from $50-$100 round trip, and you’ll be getting some awesome muscles, lugging your junk around the terminals.  Speaking of that, it reminds me of point two.

2.  Even if your bag has wheels, and is meant to be dragged behind you, BUCK UP AND CARRY IT LIKE A CHAMP!

Then your arms will be jacked, like mine.

It’s awesome to whiz around the airport without being the constraints of a wheeled parasite acting as an extension to your arm.  I’ve learned it makes me faster, it makes me able to turn on a dime, and it gives my biceps a good workout.  I like to pretend it’s my own little “Les Mills” class.  I call it Body (scratchout) BaggagePump.

3. Be a little late.

This symbolizes late... but also just a love of my new watch.

Now, this next tip is not for the faint of heart.  If you’re not prepared to deal with stress or chaos and you’re not familiar with the airport you’re in…. maybe steer clear of this one.  But I’ll be honest: I’ve never sprinted harder than those few times in my life where I’ve heard my name called and I was still in the security line at the Philadelphia airport.  It’s like an endless cavern, that airport, and maneuvering my way around rabid Eagles fans and jaded students coming home from Temple, UPenn, Drexel, etc. while carrying my (incredibly full) bags has left me sweaty, panting… and on the plane.  Extra challenge? Do it in flip flops (the only way to travel, IMHO).

4. Avoid this place.

Demon icing

Seriously, I’d recommend a daily snack of pretzels and whipped cream for 2 weeks before I’d suggest going to Cinnabon. Their stats are insane (as in disgusting), and their food ends up making you feel like a sticky faced food monster.  You’re better off without it.  Trust me.

5. Healthy snacks almost always make it through security!

Ah, that's more like it.

I like to always have a few snacks on hand, something to stave off cravings for $18 cheese fries and $6 bags of chips.  I reccomend fruit and vegetables, cut up or prepped.  Dips are a great way to add some flavor, and I got lucky enough this flight to have my boss decide she hates chewing carrots and eating edamame hummus.  JACKPOT! (I’ve even heard of folks who’ve brought overnight oats on plane… it’s worth it.) Other good choices: Fiber One bars, homemade trail mix, pre-popped mini bags of popcorn. Bad choices: Doritos Fiery Habanero.  It will burn your mouth and you can’t even get liquids through security.  And your fingers will be orange.  Don’t blow this one.

6. Stairs, if you dare

Epic climb.

Airlines are full of convenient things like moving sidewalks, elevators, and escalators.  Screw em.  Go the long way, take the stairs instead, do it twice.  I’ve switched to taking the stairs everywhere I go now, and it gives me a great feeling of superiority when I see all those people waiting on the moving sidewalk for the slowpokes to move to the right. Just being honest.

7. BYO(water)B(ottle)

Beware: if you're near me at an airport.... I'll take a picture of you.

Airports are great for water bottles, as long as that bottle doesn’t contain fluids.  Try this funky one that I creepily took a picture of, I bet it feels great on your hands.  There are water fountains all over the place. GO NUTS!

8. Don’t pull your hair out

Just drink me.

I know the airport can be stressful, but don’t pull your hair out… or your eyelashes and eyebrows (they have a term for that, and you should probably get it checked out if that’s your first option).  Baldies aren’t cute (unless they’re ________)  If you’re feelings really stressed, go grab a beer.  I’ll be so expensive you won’t have any money left to buy those $18 cheesefries I talked about, and they’re made from grains…. grains are healthy, right?

Well…. luckily that only took me 30 minutes to write (and that was with the constant distraction of sneakily taking pictures of airport shenanigans.)  Guess I’ll go try to think of something to do for the next 3 hours (UGH!)

Edit: It ended up being a 3.5 hour delay. bleak.

Do you fly often?  

What’s your favorite airport?

Are you flying anywhere anytime soon?!