February 2014

Stone Arabia.

Once in a while I’ll take the long way home after a day at the office. This helps me separate the work day from home life and honestly, it’s a pretty drive when I take the long way, even during a long winter such as this one.

The long way home involves driving through a small hamlet called Stone Arabia. This little hamlet is situated along NY Route 10 and is primarily flat farmland to the north of the Mohawk Valley. Many Amish live in the area. The wide open spaces feel very comfortable to me, even with the winter winds whipping across the farmland.


If Earl ever told me that he wanted to live in an old farmhouse again, we’d definitely look for something around this tiny little hamlet. I could find it quite peaceful there.

There are plenty of old, stately farmhouses in the area. I thought this photo captured a great moment at the end of a great day.



So this morning I weighed myself and verified that I have gained 10 pounds since my trip to Minneapolis in mid-November. I’m not surprised at my weight gain, after all, there’s been plenty of holiday meals, other celebrations and a trip to Disney. Couple this with a lack of outdoor activity and my basic hatred of the gym during these wonderful winter months and it all adds up. A while ago I would have been sad about this but today I’m just more determined. On the bright side, it’s only a third of what I originally lost.

The thing is, I’m over what I consider my personal tipping point. When I’m above a certain weight my blood pressure tends to go up and I can just feel it. I need to get below that point and get back into a healthier place. Instead of freaking out and drop-kicking the scale, I did a couple of things today to get my mind back to where it belongs:

1. I’m standing at my home-office desk again. Sitting in a chair all day is awful on the human body. I don’t believe we were really designed for this and this is one of the reasons that I am feeling sluggish.

2. I’m headed back to the chiropractor today. I’ve had some schedule collisions with my regular chiropractor appointments and it’s been five weeks since my last visit. I need to get back on that regular schedule. Some debate the merits of chiropractic care, but I know that when I go to the chiropractor on a regular basis I always feel better. I have a cold for the first time in a couple of years and I think part of that is because I haven’t been to the chiropractor recently.

3. I recently passed my FAA Class 3 Medical Exam, which certifies me as being healthy enough to fly an airplane with a private pilots’ certificate. That is great, but the truth of the matter is that I want to be more than a private pilot, I want to be a Certified Flight Instructor someday, and in order to do that I’ll need to pass an FAA Class 2 Medical Exam. When I went in for my exam on Friday, I was worried about my blood pressure readings, which actually increased my blood pressure. The FAA requirements are actually quite liberal (my doctor would yell at me for having a higher blood pressure if I was well within the FAA requirements, which is at least 155/95) and to think that I needed to calm down to get my blood pressure below that liberal threshold kind of scares me. As I mentioned before, my blood pressure tends to creep up with my weight, so I need to get my weight down to naturally pull my blood pressure down.

4. Most importantly, I need to move. When I work from home I ride my stationary bike at least twice a day. While it’s movement, I don’t think it’s doing much for me, despite what the calorie indicator says. So today I went outside and walked, despite the snow roads and the cold temperatures. I walked my summertime route this morning and I felt fantastic afterwards.


It was most refreshing.

5. I started concentrating on eating *sensible* calories instead of just eating calories. I’ve been keeping track of my calories right along with the MyFitnessPal app, but the fact of the matter is, sometimes it’s eating the right calories that actually counts. So that’s where my focus is again.

I’m not hysterical and I’m not really disappointed in my recent weight gain. I’m sure I can lose the extra weight and then some just by getting back on track again.

Now, if I just had a magic way to make the weather cooperate!


I just read the Old Farmer’s Almanac to see what they’re saying about the weather for this year. They’re right on target for this week, back to cold and snow but things look better starting next week. The summer will be hotter than normal and dry. Let’s hope they know what they’re talking about.

One thing that was not in the Almanac was a prediction for the bout of sniffles that I currently have. I met with an FAA Medical Examiner (doctor) last week for my required exam. He was sniffly but said he wasn’t contagious. But now I have the sniffles. There must have been Kryptonite in his equipment.

For a Monday with loads of meetings and a bout of the sniffles, today is still a pretty good day. I don’t know if it was yesterday’s backseat flying, mulling over Trade-A-Plane to see what airplane I would like to buy or the fact that I went to a luau over the weekend that has me in good spirits. But I’m not going to complain.

I even feel inspired to start writing in my blog again. Let’s see if I can get back into the groove.

Photo on 2-22-14 at 8.49 PM



So yesterday was Monday and it was a crappy mood. After writing yesterday’s blog entry I decided I needed to do something about my crappy mood and I went upstairs and got cleaned up for the day. When I woke up yesterday morning I waited until the last minute to get out of bed, showered quick and then threw some “whatever” clothes on so I could work from home. I think feeling scruffy contributed to my mood yesterday, so at lunch time I cleaned myself up a little more and tried to feel more presentable. This helped my mood a little bit.

What really helped my mood was a message from my flight instructor indicating that a slot was open late yesterday afternoon and that we could so some flight training.

Now that’s more like it!

So what started out as a “meh” day segued into an awesome afternoon, where I enjoyed flying in the calm, clear skies, practiced emergency maneuvers and I did my first practice emergency landing on the runway. It was awesome. The procedures I have been learning are starting to come naturally to me and I’m “feeling” the airplane more as I fly. It is a wonderful feeling.

Today my good mood continues. I’m all cleaned up and though a little sleepy, I’m feeling good. Work is hectic but I’m trying to remain laid back about the whole thing. There’s no sense in getting all worked up about work, especially when it’s a means for funding my passion of aviation.


I am trying really, really, really hard to not let the winter weather get me down. Today is a beautifully sunny day but it’s still cold out. We have a lot of snow. I want to feel warm. I want to enjoy the outdoors. I’m tired of shivering.


It feels like it has been a long winter, though the calendar says we are still a month away from the “official” start of spring. It can’t get here soon enough.

Flight Blog.

I have created a new blog to chronicle my adventures as a student pilot. If you wish to visit, it is located at The Third Wing.

I will still talk about flying here on this blog as well because I talk about flying a lot.



So I’m sitting here during my lunch hour staring at a snow bank. It’s quite chilly out at 22F but nowhere near the sub-zero temps of last month. It’s still cold though. I’m ready for spring. 39 days.

I’ve been talking to a few folks that have blogs similar to this one and they seem they’re not feeling as compelled to write in their blogs, much like I’m not overly compelled to write in my lately. Perhaps it’s the winter blues. This weekend we saw our friends Kevin and Brian in Danbury, Ct. and I mentioned that I was afraid people would be bored to death because all I want to write about is my flight training. They said they would be interested in what I have to write so maybe: a. I don’t give myself enough credit for my aviation obsession or b. I don’t give my audience enough credit for just being interested in who via this blog. This is something that I shall ponder.

Scooter is becoming adapted to his new home. He is quite chatty and he still has the habit of literally inhaling his food. He can whip through two cans of Fancy Feast like it’s nobody’s business. I think he’s still in “stray” mentality where he’s worried he won’t find his next meal on a reliable schedule. Tomorrow night he meets the vet; the first thing we’ll do it have him scanned for a microchip to see if he belongs to anyone. The second thing we’ll do is schedule his appointment to get him fixed.


As I mentioned earlier, we met up with Kevin and Brian this weekend and our activities included a visit to the Culinary Institute near Poughkeepsie. Highly, highly recommended. Excellent food and service.


We joined them for their monthly “Gayme Night” with a bunch of their friends. It was my first time playing “Cards Against Humanity”. I don’t believe I embarrassed myself too badly, since they met us for brunch the next day.


We had an absolutely lovely time, but we must be getting old because we needed to stop at a Parking Area on the Taconic State Parkway for a 15 minute power nap on the way home. The scenery was beautiful, even for wintertime.


Introducing Scooter!


A co-worker has a horse farm with plenty of barn cats. A few weeks ago another kitty showed up in the barn. He didn’t really get along with the others, it’s a clique sort of thing, so he slept out with the horses in the hay. None of the neighbors knew who he was. He had no marks of identification.

He is a very friendly guy and he needs a nice warm home to live in. So tonight, Scooter came home to be with his new family. He’s a little shy right now, but he’s slowly exploring his surroundings. He’s purring like crazy. We think he’s happy.?



So it’s snowing very hard here at the abandoned Burger King near work. There are no signs of people trying to use the non-existent drive thru today, but there are footprints in the snow where people have trekked up to the front door. When I started this blog entry two men were walking through a snowbank to get to the front door. The driveway of the abandoned Burger King has not been plowed. I am thankful for having a four-wheel drive Jeep Rubicon.

I’m working at the office today because people expected me to stay home. Most of those that have a cubicle near me are working remotely; the office is very quiet. After meetings this morning I plan on being productive this afternoon.

When I walked in this morning, albeit five minutes late due to weather related delays, I received some applause from the comedians in the cube farm; phrases like “J.P. made it”, “nothing slows J.P. down” were heard as I made my way to my cubicle, still wearing my winter hat and gloves.

The drive into work wasn’t awful. The state maintained roads weren’t plowed at all, probably because all the schools in the area have closed for this latest bout of weather related hysteria, but the Thruway was in fairly good shape. I was able to maintain 55-60 mph for 80% of the ride on the Thruway, the other times I was between 45 and 50, hence the lateness of my arrival at work. I usually get to my cubicle 15 minutes ahead of my intended time. I don’t like to be late.

In Central New York I believe one has to use some caution, plan ahead and then be sensible about their travel in inclement weather, but I do not believe that this sort of stuff during what is turning out to be a “normal” winter in these parts should leave you stranded in your house all year. Seasons are made to be enjoyed, so one should find enjoyment wherever they can.

Now, I might be cranky if I was scheduled to fly today but luckily my lesson was yesterday. That was awesome.

Today, spending time in the snow is where it’s at. I don’t mind a bit.