UA 1863.

So I’m aboard United flight 1863 from O’Hare to Raleigh-Durham. I’ve been on this airplane since 5:55 PM; I am writing this at 8:49 PM. We just leveled off at cruising altitude. There’s been a lot of snow blowing through Chicago this evening. It took my husband two hours to get home from O’Hare; even on the busiest days of traffic it will take an hour. He said the expressways and streets were a mess getting home.

O’Hare was closed for departures right after we boarded; they needed to plow the runways. It took some time to do that and then we spent quite a while being de-iced. I am always grateful for de-icing. I know what ice can do to an airplane, big or small.

Conditions at the field were at Low IFR at departure, the lowest I’ve ever experienced as a pilot or a passenger. I was fascinated by the whole procedure. I wish I was sitting up front aboard this Boeing 737-800. I would love to fly at least once up front on a commercial flight. Of course, I would love to be an airline pilot but if I’m going to do that I need to get more lift under my wings, the bank account in better order, and most important, my ass at full throttle.

It’s doable. I can do anything.

I always enjoy this trip to visit friends in Durham. It’s a romping good time for all involved and a great opportunity to break away from the snow and cold we Yankees endure this time of year. I’m not sure I could live in what is traditionally called “the South” but it’s fine to visit once in a while.

A few of the pilots in the flying club have moved up to twin engine or turbo engine airplanes, a couple have moved up to business jets. I find this inspiring. I’m not in the cockpit nearly enough in the winter, so I’m going to have to make up for that this spring and summer.

In the meanwhile I’ll enjoy this flight to RDU. Any seat on an airplane is an awesome seat. And, just for the record, I’m in the premium steerage cabin this trip.

I couldn’t bring myself to explore the double digited rows.

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Happy Friday!

I’m sitting at O’Hare awaiting my flight to Raleigh-Durham. I’m visiting friends during this long weekend. It’s an annual event. We always have a great time.

I’m curious to see if my flight actually gets out of here. It’s snowing quite hard with the promise of sleet and the like and the boards are showing many canceled flights.

So far, so good. ORD is showing IFR with one mile visibility.

I’m not in the front seat on this flight but any flight is an awesome flight.

Shoes.

I have discarded four pair of shoes in 2020. I didn’t realize how much I walked during my daily activities but I’ve blown out two pair of gym shoes and two sets of dress shoes. The gym shoes were only six months old.

I spotted these shoes at Nordstrom’s shortly after Christmas and they were over 50% off as part of the post-holiday sales. I wore them for a couple of dressy affairs this weekend and they’re remarkably comfortable. I also have a pair of “urban ready hiking shoes” on the way. So there’s still room in my closet for more shoes, but I’m set right now.

I’m really particular when it comes to what I have on my feet when I’m flying an airplane and I have two pair of Converse High Tops/Chuck Taylors that are awesome for that. I’ll model them when the weather is nicer.

In the meanwhile I’ll be stylish in my new kicks from Nordstrom’s.

Window.

Taken at 11:00 PM Central Time.

We decided to take the curtains off the living room windows. Our condo is on the fifth floor and people can’t really see what we’re doing so we decided to have an open window to the civilization around us.

We didn’t like the curtains and kept them gathered up by a decorative rope (which was actually one of my old belts), so we were inspired by our neighbors identical approach to the windows, as well as the grand windows we see on various television shows and decided to do the same thing.

We’ll see how that works when the business on the other side of the alley decides to use their rooftop garden, which you can see on the left portion of our view.

I’m not really concerned about heat or anything like that, as we haven’t turned the heat on yet this year. We get enough heat from the surrounding units to keep us quite toasty to the point that we sometimes open windows even though it’s below freezing outside.

It saves on the utility bill!

I’m excited about letting a little more light into the living room. The openness seems rather freeing.

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Rain.

What many folks call “Interstate 90” or “Route 90” we call “The Kennedy”. Taken in the rain while my husband is behind the steering wheel, we are currently on The Kennedy headed home from the annual Flying Club Holiday Party. We had a very nice time at the Country Club with fellow pilots and friends.

I will never tire of talking airplanes. And I will never tire of my husband driving.

Remote.

Taken just now.

So I’ve been working from home for over five years. Prior to my current gig I had a cubicle in an office building that I would visit every week or two; since taking my current job in 2015 I have been an official “virtual employee” at a Fortune 500 company.

I enjoy the gig.

Remote employees are quite commonplace here in the new Roaring 20s, especially with all the telecommuting technology at our disposal. Most of my team works remotely. I have employees reporting to me that I’ve never met in person, though I see them on an almost daily basis via videoconference. I like my team.

People have visions of remote employees kicked back in a pair of sweats and a t-shirt, propped up on a couch, working on a laptop. For me that’d be a great way to lose focus and start slacking at my job. One of the things I never want to be is a slacker. There’s too much to do, too much change to make in the world, too much example to set. I have a routine that involves working out, eating breakfast, and getting cleaned up in appropriate work attire, even though I’m working out of an office here in our condo. I stay focused because I look the part of a corporate executive. I dress for success.

A few months into working from home full-time I realized I had a need to get out and about when I wasn’t working. Being at home all the time seems awesome, and in many respects it is, but there are times when I want to be outside, seeing other people In Real Life, and interacting with other humans. Occasionally I’ll jump on the ‘L’ just to walk around another neighborhood or The Loop or whatever just to get a change of scenery. It helps keep me sane. I also go for a walk in the morning and a walk in the afternoon, short walks mind you, and that helps me process whatever opportunity I’m processing in my head at the moment. Plus it gives me a chance to see something other than the grayish-green walls of my office.

I love working from home but I firmly believe it’s not meant for everyone. It takes extra discipline, extra focus, and extra effort to stay productive and be a prime contributor to the goals of your employment.

Michigan City, Indiana.

My husband and I are out for a drive today. Normally when we embark on this activity we tend to head south or west out onto the Illinois Prairie, once in a while we’ll head north up into Wisconsin. Today we are hugging the Lake Michigan shoreline as we wind our way through the south side of Chicago, into Indiana, and probably a bit into Michigan before we turn around and figure out how we’re getting home.

We are stopped at Panera in Michigan City, Indiana at the moment. Earl is perusing his business on the iPad he received from Santa a couple of weeks ago; I have my trusty iPad Pro with keyboard that I tend to take with me everywhere I go. Remember when we used to use laptops? Remember when we used desktops? Mainframes? Punch cards?

Oh my god.

Previously to this journey the only time we’d been in Michigan City is when we would stop at the Culver’s just off the Indiana Toll Road on our way to Chicago. This is before we moved to the area. We’d always rejoice over being in the Central Time Zone with a delicious Butter Burger from the incomparable Culver’s.

I was planning on flying today, in fact, I had a solo cross-country flight planned to Dubuque, Iowa and back. I’ve been watching the weather for the past two days and I had a feeling I was going to have to cancel. The ceiling is just too low for my tastes. I don’t mind a high ceiling as it’s usually very smooth up there when there’s a solid cloud cover that is well out of the way of my intended attitude, but when clouds are lingering at 2500′-3000′ AGL (above ground level), it’s a little too close to the ground for my comfort. Even when flying over the prairies and plains of Illinois, which tends to offer a bunch of emergency landing spots should I ever need it.

I was surprised to see a huge cooling tower in the middle of the Michigan City. I’ve always associated cooling towers of this nature with nuclear power plants, but this cooling tower is at a coal and natural gas power plant. Hence the reason we could drive so close to it. I grew up not too far from a group of three nuclear power plants. The road to the complex mentioned the use of deadly force if you ventured down that road without a reason to do so.

To think back in the 1980s, when they were building the third plant, my dad and I would fly right over the plant in the 1940 Piper J-5A. I can remember looking down into the cooling tower from 3000-feet.

How times have changed.

Keep It Peppy.

So this song has been stuck in my head. From “Waking Up With The House On Fire”, here’s Culture Club with “The War Song”.