What to do when you forget your pilot kite

Bubbles the Purple Fish, on his own to fly without a pilot on October 13 2019 at One Sky One World, LaVista NE.

So getting ready on Sunday morning, I was packing kites, the day did not look the best for Charlie the Dog, since the winds would shift during the day, and the soccer fields at the LaVista Sports complex have permanent aluminum benches, and bleachers. I really wanted to get him out, but with that forecast, I also like to keep my kites in one piece. So I decided, to take my other collection of aquatic creatures – Bubbles the Purple fish, The peace fish, and the rainbow squid. as I gathered a few more items, and take the to the garage to pack up, I managed to forget a very important piece to any day you decide to fly show kites; a pilot. Whats a pilot you ask? It’s a medium to large kite with enough pull to allow you to anchor other kites off the single line. This kite basically acts like an anchor to keep the show kites from wandering out of the area on their lines. If you are all by yourself, this is not as important, as when you are flying with others – a wandering kite causes damage, and most of your other kite pilots around will not be very impressed or appreciative of you taking their displays out of the sky. Needless to say, LaVista is one of these fly’s.  Well, after getting everything packed up, you guessed it, I forgot a pilot. When I unpacked, I discovered that I did not have a said pilot kite. I asked to borrow one from a friend, and he gave me one of his secondary kites to see if I could make due – unfortunately, it did not work. So, what did I do? I rolled out a shorter line, and allowed Bubbles to wander all around since I was lucky to have a full soccer field to myself. Well, that didn’t leave me much ability to put anything else up, since I would need to babysit the kite all day. However, what did come back out of it, was yet another life lesson; Adapt.

As I was sitting there, watching the kite, travel around, up and down, back and forth, virtually swimming, I found many people were impressed with the, “Swimming” Bubbles was doing. Out of nowhere, Bubbles became the hit of the fly. I sat back and again, at 52 thought to myself, yet another life lesson: How to adapt, and make the best of a situation. maybe it’s because I am getting older, maybe it’s because I was just plain tired, but I sat back and realized, I just let the day happen, and even though my plan did not go as I wanted it to, it was still a good fly, and none of the spectators knew that I didn’t get things to happen as planned. And quite honestly, they didn’t care. So I pretty much at one point laughed to myself and thought, no matter how old you get, you can always learn something from life daily. Am I still a control freak? Yep. Am I more aware of my need to be in control? Yep. Am I trying to better focus on letting go? Sure, but I can do a better job. Sunday was a perfect example to me of where I just need to some times, let things take their course, and not always be in control.

The day ended up with pizza with the club, and enjoying some chatter before heading off back home, and ultimately to Philadelphia again. One of these days, I will learn the best way to finally let go and allow everything to just happen, I hope though, maybe each day I am getting closer to that goal.

DoorKites.com Will be coming soon

So as the  fall  continues  get  started, I look forward additional flying. However, this fall will also be spent doing much more. We are in the middle of a major home renovation in Sturgeon Bay, at what will become our permanent home soon. To say it is a bit unnerving, or troubling, is not an accurate description. I would call it a commitment to the next chapter in Jennifer and my lives. We will be closer to Katie in Chicago, we will be able to basically enjoy, “Stay-cations” much more, and we will be able to enjoy the natural beauty that Door County, Wisconsin provides. We will miss our kite friends of Omaha, but we will become official members of the Wisconsin Kiters club. We are looking forward to getting to fly all over the state, which will include beaches, as well as fields, festivals as well as normal fly’s. Probably what I look forward to the most, is the ability to attend some of these events, and still get to sleep in my bed at the end of the day. While it is enjoyable to travel and stay other places, it’s even more enjoyable at the end of the day to climb into my own bed. Yes, I am getting old. I know that, and quite frankly, I embrace it. But as I watch friends struggle with big kites as they get older, I look to begin to shed the show kites, and move only to stunts, and smaller single line pieces. My friends at Prism kites, have always taken care of me, and I really enjoy their products. As I have said before, I am not getting out of flying the big stuff yet. I will be going back over to Italy this spring, and look forward to flying with my friends in Gubbio. As well, you will notice me begin to post here more, but you will see it turn into more of a general blog. Yes, I will continue to go on and on about kite flying, but expect me to start posting more about life in general. I want to turn this into more of a general blog, as well as a place to share photo’s of our adventures, so expect to start seeing more pictures of other things, not just kites. Enjoy the fall, if you get a chance to catch a festival, whether in Omaha, or Wisconsin, or other places in the world. Go, enjoy the sky, and have fun. – Jeff

You may have noticed a change

Prism E3 Stunt Kite and HQ FloForm 7.0 Foil

Or, you may not have. If you actually come to my web site, you probably reach it by omahakites.com well, then it seems to redirect, to doorkites.com. Yes, it is correct, while not happening immediately, Jen and I will be relocating up to Door County, Wisconsin, and I wanted to get the URL sooner than later. now don’t get me wrong, I really DOUBT there is a big push for the URL since there is no longer a kite shop up here any longer. I just wish I would have been able to change jobs 5 years ago, and then, I just may have owned a kite shop in Door County. Anyway, my thought was, since this is where we will ultimately end up, it probably made sense to change URL’s and merge omahakites.com with omahakites.org – for our kite club. I think at times, people default the .com instead of noticing it is .org so with that in mind, I will be eventually moving the URL over to point to the Omaha Kite club so that they have both URL’s and I just have my small URL no one pays attention to anyway 🙂 As winter finally relents, I really hope to get to flying more soon, as the weather has really held things back this year.

I am really looking forward to relocating to Door county, while kite flying probably is still not the best due to all the trees, getting lost in the woods with our pups is probably one of my favorite things to do, and as well, the Wisconsin Kiters stay very busy up in the state, so I believe I will have many opportunities to fly going forward. While this is a very small post, and for the most part, not Kite related, at least I posted in less than 6 months!

 

Finally Winter gives

Martin Lester’s Diver

Well, it has been a very long, cold winter. I hope this does not make way for a long hot summer. Floods in Omaha, snow still sticking around in Wisconsin, and I am getting itchy to actually be out flying. Big kites? I am not sure? Stunt kites? definitely. It brings me to a thought, as I grow older, is bigger no longer better? Sure, Charlie and my other big kites are fun, but there is just something about getting out a sport kite, and just losing an hour to flying. While its not the draw or attraction of show kites, I am beginning to withdraw in myself and take solace in possibly just flying solo. I look forward to our eventual migration to Sturgeon Bay and Door county, Wisconsin, (Watch soon, I am going to probably buy doorkites.com) I also am looking forward to flying with the Wisconsin kiters – a group that loves to have fun, in all 4 seasons. This is definitely no slight to Midwest winds, I will miss my friends in that group as well.  But as we get ready over the next few years to make the migration north, I will look forward to a change of scenery, but one thing that I will need to find…. a new flat field to fly in. Up in Sturgeon bay, there is not much flat open land. I will find something, somewhere close, I am sure of that. I look forward next year to flying in Italy, and possibly other countries in the near future. One thing that is definite about life is the age old adage, when one door closes, another opens. That’s all for now if you actually read my ramblings, you know its been quite a while since I have posted, so this may never see the light of day, or the eyeballs of others. I have said this over the years, but I plan to post more this year.

 

A Pop Up Kite Fly For Fun

So a couple of weeks ago, Omaha experienced an early autumn snowfall on a Sunday – Eh, Fall in the midwest, right? Well , yes, BUT it caused our local kite club to cancel their annual Fall One Sky, One World kite fly. Due to this, we decided at the last minute, that the following Sunday, we would go out and just have a fun time flying impromptu at our default field, over at Immanuel field, off of 72nd and Sorenson parkway. It is immediately in front of a hospital (Immanuel Hospital) and the day was 65 degrees, sunny and nice winds. Needless to say, we got after it, and put on a very nice show. The hospital was incredibly happy as well as the care center next to it. Since it had been quite a while since we had flown there, it seemed we almost caused some accidents on the road, as people slowed,  or even stopped and stared… Needless to say, it was a great time, Jen and I took the pups – it was their first kite fly- and they had fun. The amount of “Than You’s” we received, and sincere appreciation from folks was unbelievable. THIS is the reason I like to fly, and I hope that over the next year, I get out to do it more often. No rules, no time constraints, no “Required” flying, etc. It was fun to take a bunch of kites, and just plain fly. Interesting enough Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin, our soon to be new home, really does not have good places to fly, however, there are beaches within 20 minutes of home, and I plan to take advantage of these areas, to use sand anchors, and have fun! Life is too short not to enjoy a fly or two, whether planned or, Pop Up!

Thinning of the herd…

Well, after 6 years, I have said goodbye to the Fish Bol and Kite. It was a great kite designed and manufactured by Martin Blais, but I needed to begin to thin out my kite collection as we look to move north to Wisconsin. I will still fly the string of Fish, as well as Charlie the pup, but in all honesty, sport kites are starting to call my name once again. It does not mean I am going to quit flying the big kites, But it does mean I plan to fly more stunts. My friends at Prism Kites have taken care of me very well, and I have more than enough dual lines to keep me flying for years and years. 

The Winter of (Dis)Content?

Jeff at the Clear Lake Festival, on thin Ice.. or not..

On thin Ice

So here it is, December 4th, and Winter is supposed to be upon us.  Here in Omaha it will be 60 this morning, and temps will be falling all day. Finally possibly Winter is heading our way. I did not take advantage of the warm weather and get out to fly, but I did get downstairs and start to separate out Kites, Laundry etc. The reason? Time to start paring down my collection. Why? Am I getting out of kiting? No. But as this flying year went past me, I realized many many pieces that I own, were not getting flown. And as the famous “Toy Story 3” movie emphasized, toys were not made to be collected, they were made to be played with. Kites? Were they made to be collected? No. They were made by the artists, creators and other to be flown. So I have started, and probably am not completely done, paring down my collection, so that these kites get flown, not just collected in my basement! So what the hell with the title? Well, basically, it would seem that by my paring down, one would assume I am no longer happy with flying, and no longer wanting to fly, thus discontent. It is exactly the opposite, I want to fly more, and I want to make sure kites get flown, so I am paring down, and selling parts of my collection, to insure that this spring, summer and fall of 2018, I will see them up in the air! Do I still have a few pieces left, that are sentimental or items I cannot part with? Yep, you bethcha! I can’t just part with everything, but I am parting with items that just are gathering dust, and others will be excited to fly and enjoy in the air! With the Kiting industry going through a change, and the hobby possibly reducing in size, I want to make sure that what I do have gets flown, so that it is easy for me to enjoy what I do have, and enjoy what I can fly, not just a few pieces with the rest just seeing the inside of dark bags, because I can only fly so much!

So what I am saying is this, in this world of more is better, or he who has the most, wins, I am checking out. I am beginning to see the light of the subscription to the quality matters, and less can actually be more than more. I will still have plenty to fly! I will still have plenty to show off, and enjoy all year in the sky, in fact, probably still too much, and who knows, next winter could be yet another winter of (Dis)Content.  Enjoy the holiday season with your family if you are reading this, enjoy the time you get with family, enjoy your life, whether you fly kites or not. I know 2018 will have one goal in my plans, and that is to enjoy life more for what it is, not what it could be. You don’t see much around you when all you do is look forward. And I do believe “Forward” is only 25% of life.

Lunch and Learn

A couple of fun loving kids enjoying the Gubbio kite festival

I had the opportunity this week to have lunch with a friend from Prism kites. It’s really interesting what is going on in the world of kites. The companies that are making it, the companies that are struggling, and really, the transformation that is currently going on in the entire kite community. While this definitely is not bashing the AKA, nor is it supporting them, as well as KTAI, I feel these two organizations have passed their prime use of service. It is too easy today to search for fellow kite flyers, whether in Youtube, Google Plus, Twitter, or any of the other social media apps available to the public and easily follow things such as #Kites, #PrismKites etc. There are groups on Facebook, there are communities on Google Plus, and quite frankly, the instantaneous relay of pictures, information, and data, really has made these things slowly irrelevant in the kite world today. Don’t get me wrong, we still need local clubs, to organize flies, propagate Kite flying, and still be general ambassadors to the hobby. But I did learn something very important in my lunch. Kiting is definitely changing. Gone are the days where it seems to be a very specific hobby, or sport, and in are the days that is has become a “Life Style” Recreation… what I mean by this is the following: More kite manufacturers,  are slowing promoting and catering to the “Outdoor Life Style” as something to do, while you are possibly on your adventure.. Do I for the most part take kites with me on trips? Yes, I do, just because I enjoy passing a few minutes flying, relaxing etc. and it seems others now, are too.  Are they interested in joining a club, flying really big show kites, and hanging out with others who are deep into the hobby? Probably not. Their hobby is hiking, climbing, or other outdoor activities, and the kite, well, its a chance to relax and pass some time. So as kitefliers, the challenge is simple: We need to find a way to become relevant to this new “Kite Flyer” as well as Kite shops, and manufactures. Generally, flying kites takes up my whole weekend(s) in the spring and fall. I don’t want this to change, however, I would like to see the casual kite flyer come out and enjoy the bigger representation of something they also enjoy. How will we do this as a community? I have no clue, and I am not sure this will even ever get read by anyone that cares or can do anything about it…  But that’s what this little space in the internet is for me, the opportunity to just vent. I want the kite hobby to continue, I would love for others to find the same passion that I have for it, but I just do not see that happening over the next years… That is why as a community, we need to learn to adapt, or die. I hope we adapt….

Learning to adapt, or How to fly kites at a festival when you have none.

So it has been since spring since I have posted. A few reasons: 1) Laziness 2) Lack of things to say 3) Flying was a flop this year. and finally, My kites were lost on their way to the festival in Frejus France.

So I attended a festival this fall in Frejus, France – a nice small town just west of Nice and Monaco. On my way over, my friends at Air Canada proceeded to lose my very brightly colored blue kite bag, and could not get it to me in a reasonable amount of time. (5 days?) Well, I landed in Rome, Italy, on Wednesday morning, and proceeded to the baggage claim, and no luck. The bag was not there. This is exactly why I always carry on my clothes. That was the bad news. The good news, I was going to tour Italy from Rome to Frejus (Look it up, it takes the southern coastline of Italy and France) with my friend Moreno. We went from Rome to Genoa on Wednesday. Spent the day in Turin, and toured Juventus Soccer Stadium and museum on Thursday, and then proceeded on our way Friday morning to Frejus.

The trip, was fantastic, how often do you get to combine you trip to Europe, with your two favorite past times, and in turn, enjoy some fantastic scenery the entire trip? The answer, simple, NOT OFTEN. SInce I did not have my kites, I helped my friends from Gubbio fly all of their kites. In all honesty, they had more than plenty, and my kites would have easily crowded the field, so in a way, it all ended up for the best. I also received a kite fro my friends, and hand made character – that was pretty cool. Somehow on the trip we discussed song lyrics, and I think I just blew the entire country of Italy collective minds. We were singing along with the radio, to Dire Strait’s “Money For Nothing” and the Lyric “And your Chicks for free” came up. I caught my friend singing in english,  “You Get your money for nothing, and your CHECKS for free” Well, in all honesty, that lyric made a lot sense. But it was wrong. So I proceeded to tell him the correct lyric, what do you know, ALL WEEKEND, it was a topic of conversation. Next topic, “Whats a Chick” part two of my lesson to my Italian friends.

The festival had no wind Saturday morning, a great afternoon of flying, and then, rain all day Sunday. We still had a great time together, and still enjoyed the company of each other, I sampled, and brought home with me, more of Moreno’s “Italian Moonshine” (Home Made Limoncello) He dropped me off at the Genoa airport on Monday afternoon, I flew back to Rome Monday night, was reunited with my bag at my hotel, and then proceeded to fly home on Tuesday morning.  It was a great trip. I loved my time in Turin, I enjoyed hanging with my Italian friends, and most of all, I cherished the Saturday afternoon of flying on Saturday. Who knows where my next trip will be, but I know this; It will always include my friends from Italy.

Meet the New Puppy

Charlie the Pup

Charlie the Pup

So as promised last winter, there would be a new kite, and a familiar kite gone. Goodbye to the Air Guitar (Long Live the Air Guitar) and Hello to “Charlie” the new pup from Peter Lynn Kites. It made its debut this last Sunday in Papillion, at the spring kite fly. It should possibly see the light of day this weekend in Underwood, Iowa, or possibly next weekend at the LaVista kite fly. Its large, and stable, and flew great in 20 mph winds on Sunday. The crowd loved it. We are happy with it, and are now learning just how to pack and unpack as well as store bridles. I am looking forward to flying him quite a bit. The name, is a reference to an old friend of mine that got me into flying, and I hope, 10 years after his death, is still smiling down on me with all of the flying I do.   You will also start seeing more pictures of him appear in the pictures section. I plan to go to Europe again this fall, late though, after all of our flies, and head back to see my friends in Gubbio Italy, as well as then head to France for 3 days of flying. This weekend will be busy with kite orientated activities, which is nice, I first started going to regional fly’s as there were not enough things to do in the Omaha area. Now we are up to almost 12 events in the area, so no need to drive hundreds of miles from event to event. I will post more pictures after this weekend.