About Tracey

I'm a southern gal living on the coast of South Carolina. I am an instrument rated commercial pilot, but I've never worked in the aviation industry (yet). In 2015 I quit my job with the local police department (911 dispatching and call taking) to travel the world with my husband, and I've been savoring every moment life has given me since.

For crying out loud!

Over the past year I’ve heard countless times from a handful of people words of gratitude for trusting them enough to cry in front of them. What is that? Seriously, I’m a human. Humans cry sometimes. I don’t really try to control who sees me cry. I am who I am and I make no apologies for crying and I don’t ask permission to show emotion. I certainly don’t reserve my tears for special people. My tears are 100% unbiased. It’s not a compliment, folks.

Ok, let’s be honest. It’s really more a matter of me not being strong enough to control it… or being too passionate to suppress emotion. I must admit that I have actually apologized (many times) for crying at work. I have no control. Sometimes I think it’s a positive thing, that I’m just so passionate about life that my emotions spill over. Other times I see it as a negative thing, a weakness. I think that in reality it’s a little bit of both. I have always been a strong and independent person, so crying at inopportune times just makes me feel weak, and I loathe weakness. But I wouldn’t really be me if I hardened my heart, so I’ve no desire to change.

My point is, why do people think life is so hard that they would need to “trust” someone enough to cry in front of them. If you need to cry, just cry, for crying out loud!

Life isn’t really so hard. Be yourself. Live, laugh, love, and try not to take life so seriously. Nobody gets out alive, anyway. And unless you invent some world changing device your life isn’t going to be scrutinized to the point that anyone really cares if you cry in front strangers or not. Just live your life one moment, one day, at a time.

Sending the old man home

With a broken heart and and a tear in my eye, I share the news of the passing of my father, Gregory Allen Patterson. This evening, at 7:32pm, I had the honor of being with my dad as he took his last breath. After a long and exhausting battle with cancer, he died peacefully in his sleep, surrounded by the love of his family.

To know my father was a privilege and a joy. Those who knew him know what an optimistic and gregarious man he was and will not forget the kindness and love he bestowed upon them. The generosity of his spirit was contagious and his sharp wit was infectious. It was rare to leave his presence without your spirits being lifted. Dad was a man of integrity, a man who worked tirelessly to provide for our family, gave selflessly of himself to those who needed a hand and stood firmly by his word, regardless of opposition. My father led by example to show me that we all have the strength to rise above the obstacles we fear the most, that we will find happiness after our deepest heartbreak and that we must forgive even the most cruel offenses if we are to be our best selves.

My father greeted every challenge on his journey through life with determination, resilience, optimism, ingenuity and class. He had a ferocious will to survive, proven many times.

Dad taught me many lessons, but the most important lesson he taught me was one he taught me by example. That lesson is that no matter how deep your struggle, if you put the sake of others in front of your problems then your troubles will be resolved, whether by the passage of time, the generosity of others or the realization that it was never that much of a problem to begin with.

Farewell to the first great love of my life, my mentor, my number one fan, a man who taught me that above all else I should be true to myself, a man who will live in my heart my entire life and a man whom I will love and miss until the end of my days. Goodnight, Daddy.



Don’t put me in a box.

I’ve been driving Ben’s car while he’s out of town because it’s a fun car to drive and my car is out of gas. After my flight yesterday a lady who had been out flying with her husband noticed Ben’s Gaea Yoga sticker on his rear window and told me she does yoga there, too. I told her that I don’t really do much yoga, but my husband goes there and loves it. She looked at my flight bag and seemed a little confused.

Interesting how people have a hard time accepting anything that isn’t traditional.

Can’t we all just get along?

Tonight I read an article written by someone I followed (note past tense) on Twitter. This article was an assault on aviation enthusiasts that call themselves AvGeeks and use that as a hashtag. There are plenty of people out there who have returned fire on the author of this article so I won’t bother continuing that fight here. The thing I would like to address is the mean tone that was set by the author, Chris Clarke.

Social media is a wonderful tool for promoting both businesses and hobbies, but especially hobbies. The community of folks who have met via Twitter is a wonderful group of people and I have come to think of them as friends. I’m not offended that someone thinks the term is derogatory, but I am offended by the way he refers to the people who use the hashtag. We all have the goal of promoting aviation and encouraging young aspiring pilots to follow their dreams and drink the aviation Kool-Aid. Is there really any need to insult a fun and open group of aviation enthusiasts with the same goals just because someone is concerned that they may look like a “geek”? Come on, it’s just a term used in jest. Get over yourself and play nice. The sandbox is big enough for anyone who wants to play.

If We Weren’t All Crazy We Would Go Insane

Ever feel like all the pieces of your life are floating above your head? Like all you have to do is jump up to grab them and put them in their place? That’s how I feel these days, except the pieces are just out of my reach and my legs are sinking in quicksand.

My husband has a wonderful new business opportunity and I couldn’t be more proud of him or happier for his success, except that my happiness is shadowed by a black cloud that seems to be hanging over my head.

This sounds like I don’t have good things happening, which isn’t true at all. I have quite a few great opportunities going for me and more right around the corner, if I can relax and focus enough to grab them. To name a few: *I’ve been planning and preparing for my commercial check ride for months and I am finally ready to take the practical exam, except that just thinking about the exam makes me see myself failing and in giving up on my dreams because of it, because I don’t think I’m strong enough to survive a failure of that magnitude. *A job I’ve been wanting for over 5 years in the police department where I work will be available for me to apply soon, but I keep digging myself into a hole with someone who I just can’t seem to find an ounce of respect for. *The relationship between my son and me is finally becoming what I’ve always hoped it could be. There are quite a few other things I should be celebrating every day, celebrating them and reaching for these opportunities that are in my sight and there for my taking….

Unfortunately, every single thing that is good in my life is shadowed by the cancer that is eating away at my father’s body and the fact that he doesn’t understand that he can make choices that could cost him or afford him years.

I’m so good at evaluating, understanding and communicating my emotions, so why can’t I stop pushing friends and family away? I hope that when I crawl out of this black hole, and I will, I can repair the damage I’ve done to any relationships I’ve hurt.

I need to go flying, where everything is all about freedom and feeling and living in the moment.

Rabbit Hole

I have opened this blog several times every week for the past few months. Some of those times I type up a blog and leave it in the drafts, other times I just can’t find the focus to begin a new post. I have not forgotten about it or given up on it. One of these days there could possibly be several postings at the same time, only because I will finally find the focus to review them & hit “Publish”. In the meantime, I am going to begin a post about my experience yesterday on my long cross-country, which will be posted before any of those other guys hanging out in the dressing room…

The Great Pumpkin

When I was a kid we had The Great Pumpkin visit every year. Our neighborhood was full of young families, so Halloween was always a big deal.

My parents were always very involved in everything I did, and when it came to Halloween, they really stepped it up. They had a ceramic pumpkin with a sound sensitive light they would put inside. The pumpkin would light up with sound, and it was sitting on a big speaker covered with a blanket. Dad would be hiding in the dark inside the living room behind a window covered with a sheer curtain, talking into a microphone that went to the speaker under the pumpkin. Kids would come to the porch and the pumpkin would start interacting with them. Some ran away terrified, but most of them were fascinated by the magic of The Great Pumpkin!

The first year we had The Great Pumpkin visit caused quite the stir in the neighborhood (and small town). The second year we had kids visiting from nearby neighborhoods coming to our neighborhood to see him. By the third year, kids were visiting from neighboring towns, some even traveled from several towns over. When I began high school we moved to a town about 30 miles away. I remember hearing kids in high school talk about going to another town to trick-or-treat so they could see The Great Pumpkin.

I took my parents coolness for granted as a kid, but I sure am glad to have so many great childhood memories. It breaks my heart to think that The Great Pumpkin has retired and may never be seen again. Maybe he will be resurrected someday with a female voice. 😉

Gift or Curse?

I’ve always wondered if it would be better to know you are dying or to just go unexpectedly. If you had asked me that question before this July I probably would have said it would be better to just go suddenly and painlessly.

I don’t think I agree with that anymore. Learning and realizing that my father has a finite number of days left has been the toughest thing I’ve ever had to accept. It has also been a gift for which I will forever be grateful. I moved away from home in 2003 and over the past 10 years I haven’t exactly visited as often as I should have. I’ve missed a lot of special occasions and family dinners. I have been given the opportunity to try to make up for lost time the best I can. I will not miss another birthday or holiday, and I will spend as many weekends with my parents as I can while I still have them around. Dad may surprise us all and beat this cancer, against all odds. Even if that happens I will be sure to not miss any more holidays.

Yes, I now feel that knowing that my father is dying is a gift.

I don’t know if he sees this as a gift or not. I honestly don’t know how I would see it if I were in his position. I would like to think I would see it as a blessing, and even more so, I would like to think he is grateful for this time. Truth be told, I don’t know that he sees it that way. I know he is enjoying all of the love that is surrounding him during this time, but I also know he takes anxiety medication regularly these days. He smiles and speaks of happy things. Even his eyes are smiling, but I can see the sorrow hiding behind them and it breaks my heart for him. I know this will be a difficult year for me, but I cannot begin to imagine how hard this is for him.

So, gift or curse? Definitely a gift for family, but for the patient?  I think a little of both, maybe.

iphone 124

P.S. Cancer sucks.

Sometimes not owning is better than owning.

What’s better than owning an airplane? Long-term leasing an airplane.

I recently entered into a partnership on Piper Cherokee 140. The owner has lost interest in flying and has a new family, which is where his financial interests now lie. Since I (and a partner) would like access to an airplane, we are making the payments and paying the insurance on the airplane in exchange for having full access.

So far, so good. I flew the plane to Greenville to visit my parents for the weekend last week and the plane flew wonderfully. This past weekend I flew with Shon, my partner in this venture, to Sumter for the Breakfast Club Fly In. Shon will soon be having his Biannual Flight Review and will fly more regularly. I hope we can find an easy schedule to split the time without too many conflicts.

One of the things that is nice about renting planes is that someone else has to take care of maintenance issues. There’s already a crackle in the radio that needs to be repaired, and since we are taking responsibility of the airplane it is up to us to have these issues taken care of. We will need to find a way (and time) to get it over to Charleston Executive Airport for repairs soon.

This is still better than owning and it’s WAY better than renting.

One More Candle and a Trip Around the Sun

I spent a week with my mom and dad last week. We went fly fishing this on Friday, just like we did when I was younger, and we had a blast! When we returned to the house and he took a shower, his hair began falling out from his first round of chemo. He decided not to shave it until Tuesday so that his guests wouldn’t be shocked. It also gave him a few days to prepare himself for the change. This was the lowest point of the weekend

On Saturday we had a 69th birthday party for him. The house had 50 people in it, including a sister from Michigan and a brother and sister-in-law from TX, a friend from Louisiana, a friend from Maryland, and a bunch of local friends, old and new. All of these people came to show my dad how much they love him, and he soaked up every bit of it. A few of these people stayed on until Tuesday, and his sister stayed until today (Friday). There are still 26 cards on his mantle and he enjoyed reading them again and again. He always did enjoy his birthday cards.

When we shaved his head on Tuesday he handled it very well. The shaved head actually suits him very well, though It’s still a shock to see him with his new look.  It helps that he is able to smile about it.

Yesterday the doctor told us that his cancer is actually “Primitive Differential Carcinoma”, not Lung cancer like we thought. I’m not really sure what this means as this is not an easily google-able cancer.

Today Dad had his second dose of chemotherapy. Thinking of this makes me sad because I know he will feel awful next week. Hopefully he will handle it as well as, or better than, his last dose. I’ll be seeing him next weekend, assuming he is feeling well enough and I am healthy.