December 2013


The song and its video always put me in a happy mood. Even though it’s your basic mid 2000s dance track, the combination of the vibe, the vocals, the tempo and the bass track, bundled with the simple video (I might add with a very hot woman, and how many times do I say that?) just all puts me in a wonderful mood. I love this song. I can never get enough of it.

From 2004, here’s the Stellar Project featuring Brandi Emma with “Get Up, Stand Up”.

Stay with me forever,
Call my name and I’ll be there
Follow me wherever, I will fly.

Ride ‘n Fly.

So today I met up with my flight instructor and another student for a flight. The plan was that I would fly in the backseat as the other student flew; tomorrow would be my hour lesson.

I was really excited about flying today because I had never seen another student pilot in action and observing others significantly contributes to my learning process. Plus, my last flight (a month ago) was the first time I had ever flown in this area and I found myself wanting to commit the landscape to memory, much like I had done when I flew with Dad and Gramps back around my hometown. I was very happy to see the weather was cooperative.

The other student was actually doing a check ride; while he had soloed, he hadn’t flown in a while due to a medical injury and he needed the check ride to make sure that he remembered everything he was suppose to remember. The flight included some steep turns in the practice area and then some work in pattern, including a short field, emergency-like landing, which was a good experience that I am looking forward to knowing how to achieve myself. We did a few touch ‘n goes. The instructor wanted me to pay close attention to the radio work so that I would start getting a handle on that.

After the student completed his check ride, we had a quick “chinese fire drill” and I hopped in the pilot seat with the other student in the back. Today I started working on fundamentals: I did some of the radio work, worked on thinking outside of the cockpit and using the horizon as my primary point of focus and getting a better feel for the Cherokee 140. Since there was another student scheduled at 1300 ET, I only had a chance to fly for a half hour today, but the instructor had me fly over the house and surrounding area. It was the first time that I had flown over the house from a small plane and it was awesome. I did some turns in the immediate area and then headed back to the airport, where we flew over the house again on approach to runway 33. With a lot of coaching and still needing a lot of practice, I landed the plane and brought it back to the hangar where the next student and his instructor were awaiting his turn.

I am so excited about today’s experience for a couple of reasons: seeing another student in action boosted my confidence a lot. Having only flown with certified pilots my whole life, it’s good to see another on his path learning just as I am. I also found myself much more comfortable with the radio work than I expected to be. Granted, my instructor told me what to say, but I felt confident on the radio today and I was a little surprised at this. This was also my first flight with my very own headset. My ground school videos and the reading I have been doing helped me have a better “feel” for the Cherokee today. I’m not just going through the checklist, I’m starting to know the purpose behind each check during my pre-flight, flight and landing procedures and it’s starting to make sense in my head.

I really hope we get to fly again tomorrow. If the weather doesn’t cooperate, the plan is I’m going to sit in the plane in the hangar and become more familiarized with where the controls are, so I don’t need to read, I will just know.

The “brum brum” sounds will be optional.

The photos below are from the first half of today’s hour with me in the backseat.

Take off

Not a clear day but still quite smooth.

Steep 45º turn. Awesome!

Airport off yonder

On final for landing

The look of a very happy man.



About a foot of snow has fallen since midnight. This is most awesome.


17 years ago this evening there were two men standing on the end of a pier at Penn’s Landing in Philadelphia. In the cold, dark December night, these two men were accompanied by a young couple, and it was at this time that the two men held hands, said some vows and exchanged wedding rings. The two witnesses watched with a smile, the moment was private, quiet and perfect. There were hugs, there were tears, there was beauty.

Even though it was in 2011 when New York State said we could be married, in reality, 17 years ago today I married my best friend. Many said it wouldn’t last, saying that we could never settle down. Others couldn’t figure out the union of a geeky farm boy from Upstate New York and a business leader originally from lower Bucks County. But the two that watched the small ceremony that night knew what we knew all along: some things are built to last. We had the honor of being there when the young couple built their reality. Life is wonderful that way.

Earl and I were recently talking about life and relationships and the like and both of us agreed on one thing: divorce has never crossed our mind. We might get angry in the moment, we might want to kill each other, I yell and he yells back, but divorce has never been an option for us. The “bad” (and it’s not really that bad when you think about it) is fleeting, and the good is forever and definitely outweighs everything else.

Right before the first time I told him that I loved him he said, “you better mean it if you’re going to say it”. When I got down on one knee at the top of Rocky Mountain in the Adirondacks and proposed to him he said, “you better mean it forever if you’re going to ask it.” And when I told him that I wanted to spend the rest of my life with him, I told him that it was forever. That has never changed. And the last 17 years have whizzed by in a flash. I still fall in love every day.

So, as I sit at the kitchen table typing this blog entry during my lunch hour, and I gaze at my husband, framed in a beautiful backdrop of a snowy landscape, courtesy of the patio door, I know that while this very moment is fleeting and will be superseded by another moment, I know that this journey is forever. I have been truly and utterly in love for over 17 years and I have no intention on stopping now.

Repost: 1990.

A repost of a blog entry I wrote a while back.

It was 1990 and I was living in Jamestown, New York. I had just returned to Jamestown in September, having lived in greater Boston with a really cool tech-job for what was at the time the second largest computer company in the world. I had made some unfortunate choices thinking I would find something better with the move. There was also a strong element of me trying to hold on to some good feelings from my past with that move to Jamestown and while I don’t regret any choices I have made, I certainly wouldn’t dub that era a “shining moment” of my life.

I was working in the layaway department of the long-gone Hills Department Store. The folks found that I was really good at that sort of thing and were planning on adding me to the sound and video department of the store after the holidays. I was often called up front to run a register and always ended up on register 16, the express lane. It was on the end of the network loop so it ran the slowest. My speed and efficiency as a cashier apparently helped in this situation. I wore an off-purple vest.

It was Christmas Eve. I had no one special in my life. My parents lived 275 miles away. I was scheduled to work until the store closed at 1800. I wore a Santa hat for the occasion. Along with the little beard, the get up either made me look like a young Kris Kringle or a big elf. It was snowing like hell and the express lane was populated with men buying last minute gifts for their loved ones. Their faces indicated stress. I wanted to see my family.

The plan was to leave right after work and make the trek to my folks in time for church. We closed the store and I jumped on Route 60 with hopes of hitting the Thruway. Everyone was driving slowly and and foolishly and then a deer decided he was angry because he didn’t have “rein” before that which describes his species so he ran across Route 60 to get that beat Hyundai. I slammed on the brakes and slid to the right, barely missing a sign declaring I was at a Parking Area. I spun my tires and backed up and into the Parking Area and composed my thoughts.

I look skyward and speaking to whomever I thought was god at the time, I said “I just want to go home for Christmas. Once I do that, it’ll all be better.”

With that I continued my trek up to the Thruway and headed home in crazy snow for most of the trip. What should have taken four and a half hours extended to nearly six; I made to my folks just in time to go to the Methodist church in town for the candlelight Christmas Eve service. I remember thinking a loud “thank you” in my head for making it home safely.

That is when I truly felt the Christmas spirit and that carols and the lights and the candles and being with my family made me feel like it was all good. I can’t tell you what I got that year for a gift, save for a videotape of Madonna’s “Justify My Love” because I always remember dirty things, but shortly after that holiday I left Hills when I was hired full-time as a house manager for the local ARC. With that I found my path again and was able to make the move to where we live today.

It was in 1990 that I found my path and found myself back where I belonged. And it was the Christmas spirit that put me there.



A beautiful tree, warm sentiments, friends near and far and a wonderful evening with family; these things help me find the spirit of the season.

Merry Christmas to all. Thank you for reading. Thank you for being part of my joy.


I know, ’tis the eve of Christmas Eve, but I’m going to go full on geek with this blog entry. So bear with me.

You see, I’ve been a little bit stressed about getting a project completed at work. I haven’t been losing sleep from the stress or anything like that, over the years I have learned how to deal with stress when the situation calls for it, but I had this need to accomplish something before Christmas and when I started the workday this morning I really didn’t think that I was going to be able do it.

A couple of weeks ago I was showing off a very rough draft of the latest functionality I am building into the application they use at work. The new functionality will be a task management system that will be used by several key individuals and their teams in our organization, so I’ve been feeling a little pressure from myself to make sure this new part of the application does what it needs to do. During the presentation, one of the future users asked if I could add a “drill down” capability to one of the data lists of projects currently being worked down. It’s a really good idea; the user clicks on a button and the tasks associated to the project are available for the user, easily accessible and simple to modify. I love efficient user interfaces, and that’s something that I strive to achieve, probably to a fault, so when they asked for this I answered with my standard reply: “of course I can.”

And I knew that I could build this. I fully believe that a computer can do anything we want it to do and if it doesn’t it’s because the programmer is lazy. Those that say “It can’t be done” or “the system can’t do that” are just lazy as far as I’m concerned. It might take some extra time or there might be a learning curve, but something as simple as building a drill-down “info box” in the middle of a table should be a no-brainer.

I’ve never built anything like this before. But after many hours of Googling variations on a theme, lots of experimentation and some yelling at my work MacBook Pro, right before the end of the day today the functionality was there and working brilliantly. In the grand scheme of things, I’m not going to change the world with my coding skills but at the moment I felt really good. I accomplished something that I didn’t really know how to do that long ago. And I figured it out all on my own.

I had to call Earl down to my basement office at the house to show off what I had just built. He was impressed because he could tell I was excited about it.

And this is how I know that I am a full-blooded, full-on geek: I spent 15 minutes clicking on a “+” sign just to watch the new animation of a drill-down info box showing itself in the middle of a table full of data. It even passed the cursed “Internet Explorer” test. Right before the end of my day, I pushed the update to production.

And then I did a little happy dance. Happy Christmas to me.

Now, back to your regularly scheduled holiday.



Remember, a smile is contagious. Even though this film is over 40 years old, the principles still remain the same.

And as a kid, I always wanted to wear one of those uniform hats. I never got to.