December 2019

Upside Down.

Truman really enjoys looking at me from an upside down vantage point. I’m not sure if he finds me more compelling this way or what but whenever he has the chance he likes to look at me upside down.


Earl bought me a digital piano for Christmas. A Casio AP-260, this digital piano features a full-sized keyboard with weighted keys and full pedals. The instrument is sturdy and substantial. It has a bunch of electronic features that I’m just learning, including a variety of instruments, and I am very excited to get well acquainted with it.

When we moved to Chicago back in 2017 I decided to gift the Gulbransen piano I inherited from my grandmother to one of my cousins. I just didn’t feel right moving the piano out of New York State. I missed having a piano very much and I was delighted to open this under the Christmas tree earlier this week.

When I went to college to become a music teacher back in the mid 1980s I was deemed needing “remedial piano lessons” because I could play but not the approved way by the music school at SUNY Fredonia. Apparently I used the wrong fingers and played by ear more than I played by sight reading sheet music. The only available piano class for us remedial students was Tuesday mornings at 8:00 AM. Nothing wakes up the soul like banging out “God Save The Queen” with a bunch of other freshmen that don’t want to be at an 8:00 AM class on a Tuesday morning.

Still unable to really play by sight (though I can plunk out a song if I have to do it by sight, just with the wrong fingers), I’ve decided to start piano lessons on my iPad. I’m trying out the Simply Piano app after watching a few reviews from other piano students on YouTube. After the first lesson I’m already finding playing using the proper fingering makes life much easier for me. I’m looking forward to becoming a decent piano player in my 50s. It’s something I’ve always wanted to do and I look forward to the challenge. I’m also excited because Earl has decided to work on lessons off of his iPad as well.

I love using new technology this way; the way technology was suppose to be used.

And it’s wonderful filling the house with music again.


I picked up a very cheap pair of “cheaters” on Amazon. I have prescription eye glasses, in fact they’re required to be in the airplane with me when I’m Pilot in Command, but they’ve never felt quite right for computer work. And I do a lot of work on computers in my career.

I decided to just go for broke and buy large glasses that have a slight retro feel to them. They’re so dang cheap if I don’t end up liking them I can go for something else. I’m surprised at how much they help.

Maybe I won’t be so cranky while I’m writing code during the workday because I can actually see what I’m doing on the barrage of monitors on my desk.

At least I look the part.


So my husband and I are celebrating our 23rd anniversary today. 23 years ago today we stood together on Penn’s Landing in Philadelphia, witnessed by my future brother- and sister-in-law, and exchanged our vows of commitment for this happy journey we call marriage. It would be 15 years before the law would catch up with the facts; luckily we’re blessed with patience.

I remember the ceremony as if it was yesterday. I still had hair on top and a small little mustache. I was a little lighter than I am today. I drove a 1994 Hyundai Excel. It was cherry red. I had driven down to Philadelphia on Christmas Day to meet up with my future husband and my future in-laws; they have always just considered me family, right from day one. My mother and father were supportive.

As I looked across the table at the restaurant tonight I fell in love all over again. I can’t believe the guy still loves me after all these years. But I’m lucky.

I married my best friend.


Happy The Cat and Happy The Dog are a wonderful part of our Christmas holiday. Long live Happy The Cat and Happy The Dog on the Hallmark Channel.


My husband and I have started our yearly tradition of watching the Christmas episodes of “Bewitched”. There were four Christmas episodes in the eight year run of the show, not counting the “flashback” Christmas episode in season 2.

Tonight we watched “Santa Comes and Stays and Stays and Stays” from season six. This was the first year Dick Sargent played Darrin. The premise is simple; Alice Ghostley’s Esmerelda sneezes up Santa by mistake and he won’t fade away. Mrs. Kravitz screams a lot when she sees elves and Santa doing their thing, Larry Tate has a few belts, and there’s the usual latter half of “Bewitched” frivolity.

Elizabeth Montgomery will always have a very special place in my heart.

This photo is from Season 4’s “Humbug Not To Be Spoken Here”.


I realize humans are doing some very awful things to our planet, but 50°F and higher in Chicago the weekend before Christmas is enjoyable.

It’s a shame we’ll pay the price for this weather further down this timeline.


I’ve started formulating my goals for 2020. At the end of each year I tend to shy away from the idea of making resolutions, as in my mind calling something a resolution is marking the thought as fleeting. Let’s face it, New Year’s resolutions tend to dissipate by mid January for the majority of folks and while it’s fun to make ourselves feel good by thinking we are orchestrating change, the fact of the matter is I tend to do better when I have goals to achieve.

I am looking forward to achieve some personal goals in 2020. A good share of them are aviation related, but I have other self-improvement and such goals planned for 2020 as well.

I started my goal making progress by reviewing my goals for 2019. I did surprisingly well with what I envisioned a year ago. The biggest was, “trying to fly different airplanes” in a way to get out of my comfort zone of always flying the Piper Cherokee and its brethren. I have thoroughly enjoyed flying the Diamond DA-40s available at Skill Aviation in Waukegan, Illinois this year and I feel like I’m still advancing my aviation skills. I look forward to knocking out a few more ratings in 2020.

I realize as I get older I need to pay more attention to my health. I’m making small strides, three steps forward, two steps back sort of thing, but I hope to enhance that in 2020. I have no desire to buy into the fitness industry and expect magic results from a gym membership. I’m not that trendy.

As long as I can still get an airplane off the ground with me in the pilot’s seat and not worried about dying of a heart attack, I’m good.

Even if I have to go atop a Saturn V.


Only a couple of the terraces on our side of our condo building have Christmas lights or similar decorations. This building down the street from us has seemingly all participated and coordinated the whole all white lights vs multi color lights approach. The designs are different but everyone seems to be thinking along the same line.

The rows of homes along any given street seem to follow a theme, probably in an effort to “do as the neighbors do”. You’ll see a bunch of homes in a row with all white lights on one block and then on another block you’ll see a bunch of home with lights of varying colors. Years ago I heard a discussion around whether this types of lights used were indicative of a socioeconomic status, but I don’t think this holds completely true. If anything I think this would apply more to the inside decorations.

We confuse people as we have multiple trees with multiple approaches to decorations.

Growing up we had the family room, which was decked out in colonial 1970s wallpaper and color scheme. I would decorate a tree with red and white decorations and all red lights. I always enjoyed doing this. In later years the red lights gave up the ghost and the tree was decorated in all white lights.

It was still quite enjoyable.