More Snow.

It looks like this latest storm brought us about a foot of snow. It’ll still be quite cold here but warming slightly as the week goes on. There’s a chance of a smaller snow storm arriving this weekend.

It’s February. This weather is not a surprise for this part of the country. However; this is the most snow I’ve seen in Chicago since moving here 3 1/2 years ago.

Bundle up!

Snow.

The snow continues to fall. According to the weather forecast, they heavier snow won’t arrive until later this afternoon and continue through the overnight. When all is said and done, we should have around a foot of new snow.

Winter is grand!

Space.

We have a good sized condo here on the north side of Chicago. When we were moving to the Windy City, there were a couple of things that we found about this location attractive, and one of those things was the space in our unit. It’s about the same size as our first house. We have plenty of room to live. However, there isn’t a lot of room to move about.

I usually go for walks several times a day. This helps a little bit with my cardio and I’m able to figure things out in my head, whether it’s work or something else I’m pondering about, while I’m strolling through the neighborhood at a decent pace.

With the wind chill currently at -20ºF, I’m not feeling the need to go for a lovely stroll today. This latest winter storm is suppose to continue for the next 30 hours.

This morning I decided to give Apple Fitness+ another try. I went through four different routines, each 10 minutes long. The core routine about kicked my butt, but it was a good kicking that I needed. I then did a couple of yoga routines with Dustin. I was surprised at how easily I remembered my yoga class from 1998. As I sit here typing this blog entry my muscles feel worked out and I feel like I’m off to a good start for a Monday morning.

The thing about Apple Fitness+, or any workout regimen for that matter, is that you need plenty of space to do this sort of thing. The spare bedroom lends itself to Apple Fitness+ for the most part, but I needed to make a couple of modification to accommodate what Dustin was asking me to do.

One of the things I’m looking forward to in the new house is having space for this sort of thing again. I have to admit I really enjoyed my Apple Fitness+ experience this morning, and I look forward to doing more this during the week’s cold snap, but I’m really looking forward to giving it a whirl where I have more space to move about and really get into it.

If you’re looking into Apple Fitness+, I recommend using an iPad or Apple TV to follow along. I don’t know how well it would work on an iPhone. Perhaps my eyesight is just at that point where I can’t see what’s going on using a small screen.

If you’re thinking of trying Apple Fitness+, I say give it a whirl. Just give yourself some space to go through the movements.

Results.

My husband started to tell me the results of the Senate vote on Trump’s impeachment and I politely asked him to stop the conversation. We already knew the answer, the Senate would not do the right thing; all of sudden they were more concerned about going on recess so they slammed through a solution as quickly as possible and after all, the folks at the Capitol that died are dead and not coming back so why worry about it now.

During the Trump Reign of Terror I kept an eye on the news because I wanted to know if my marriage was going to be invalidated or if Martial Law was going to be declared and I wanted to look my best for either occasion. Since President Biden has taken office I have calmed down on following the news. Yes, the Democrats have the majority across the board right now but they’ll be weak and worry about optics more than results and not do much with it and probably lose the majority somewhere come 2022. Biden is signing Executive Orders like hall passes and fixing a lot of things that the Orange Moron did. I’m OK with undoing stupid stuff, I’m not really on board with using Executive Orders to do everything else. The branches of government should be working together to make this a better country for all of us. Unfortunately, it appears those days are long gone.

I sound cynical. I’m actually disengaged. Things are getting better but we shouldn’t be digging ourselves out of this hole to begin with.

I’m not surprised at the Senate’s acquittal. I expected it. Few in government are actually in it for the right reasons and I just don’t have the energy to follow their script anymore.

Caturday.

Truman is very happy we’re home from Tucson. He didn’t eat much while we were gone; his food dish (as part of the automatic feeder) was filled to the top when we came rolling in. We cleaned up the mess and got back to his regular routine and now he’s happy. So are we.

He always wants to be in close proximity. He’s usually situated near my feet or at a reasonable place nearby. He’s good at being a cat.

Sanity.

I created a new Twitter account today. I still have my original account, and am still actively using it, but the original intent of that account was for my aviation purposes, discussions, and endeavors. I’ve moved the direction of that timeline back in toward flying. I created a new account with the intent of using it for everything except for aviation. And politics. I’m at the point now where I’m not surprised by what’s going on with the U.S. Government and I don’t have much hope for some magical turnaround to make things better anytime soon. The recent election of President Biden moves us in a better place. I think he’s a good guy, I think Kamala is a good vice-president and with all the work they need to do since the last administration, the best we can hope for is “bearable”.

I wish there were unicorns and puffs of candy in the sky but that’s just not realistic. The country is in a deep hole and has just started building the ladder. Let’s celebrate the small steps.

So my new Twitter account is out there and I’m keeping it tweaked and being quite selective in whom I follow. I have auto-delete safeguards in place and I’m making liberal use of muting functions. I’m hopeful this will help me keep in touch with what’s going on and let me interact with online folks I’ve gotten to know over the years.

Keep an online smile in place.

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Separate.

Since starting our trip last Saturday I have purposely stayed away from most social media but specifically Twitter. It’s not that Twitter has done anything wrong, it’s just that it’s an endless stream of “stuff” that I don’t need in my head right now. The move to Tucson has me very excited about life; dulling the sensation with outrage, gasps, and other clutches of pearls is not jam. I don’t need the angst.

I mentioned this to Earl and Chris during dinner on Tuesday night. We were reviewing the inspection report on the new house at a Starbucks in Tucson and I took a quick glance at Twitter. After a few swipes of the screen I felt my jaw tighten and my mood harden. I mentioned, “Wow, Twitter can really suck”. Chris responded, “Maybe it’s not Twitter that sucks, but the people you follow. I follow artists and interesting people and try to stay away from politics. Maybe you should try that”.

He’s right. I’ve tried to curtail my following list to non-political posts, but with all that’s going on in the U.S. government these days, both during and after the Trump administration, there’s a lot of people who will just start screaming on Twitter about the latest outrage. I should know, I can be one of them! And honestly, I’m not in the mood for that drama.

I haven’t done anything outrageous with my Twitter account, but I am taking the lead of my friend Séan from the U.K. and starting to delete my tweets after X amount of days.

I don’t need my former outrage following me around like so much baggage.

I know the script, I don’t need to follow it along word by word on Twitter. Many in the GOP are going to be spineless, the Dems will lean toward making sure everyone likes them, and we’ll eventually get to some sort of outcome on the latest crisis.

Just tell me when to vote

On The Radio.

During our whirlwind Tucson round trip road trip I made a point of listening to local radio stations along the way. As a former radio professional (at least, as best as I could be), I used to find great delight in listening to other radio stations during our travels. I was able to formulate new ideas, or at least copy ideas from far flung radio stations, and bring new elements to our station to keep it “exciting and fresh”. Buzz words are important in radio.

With the arrival of the 21st century and the simultaneous explosion of Internet streaming, iPods, iPhones, and the like, and the watering down of radio station ownership to a handful of media megaconglomerates, I had lost interest in listening to radio. That all happened about the same time as Top 40 performers relying heavily on auto-tune, and my musically trained ears just can’t stomach that awful processing, unless it’s used as some sort of special effect. I know I’m getting old, but the vast majority of pop music falls into three categories: 1. all humanity drained from the track by autotune, 2. screaming and yelling and yodeling-like sounds trying to sound like Mariah Carey or Whitney Houston, and 3. whispered tracks that sound like a cat making yowling sounds to a backing track.

Back in my day, while going up hill in the snow both ways to get to school, “classic hits” harkened back to the days of Elvis, the Beatles, and other bee-bop and Rock ‘n Roll. Today’s “classic hits” format plays music from my teenage days to the late 90s, and for the most part sit quite well with me.

Here’s four “classic hit” stations that caught my attention during our trip.

KMXO 95.3 FM in Rolla, Missouri had a strong signal for a good share of the Interstate 44 corridor and had a nice mix of music from multiple decades. I liked everything I heard, the station branding is strong, and it didn’t feel too narrowly focused. With Internet streaming, you can listen here.

I first heard 92.5 KOMA from Oklahoma City in late 2000s when I was attending training for work in Norman, Okla. The station goes back to what I would consider “classic hits” but comes up into the late 80s and plays a nice mix. I often listen to this station courtesy of Alexa; it was nice to listen to the station in real time in an analog way. We listened going into Oklahoma City on I-44 and held onto the signal quite a ways west along Interstate 40 as we made our towards Amarillo. You can listen to KOMA here.

When we decided to move to Tucson I started looking around online to find radio stations that would fit my listening needs. I never really did that when we moved to Chicago; I don’t know enough about Windy City radio other than to listen to WBBM for traffic and weather on the 8s. K-HIT 107.5 in Tucson is a heavily 80s station, at least when I listened to it earlier this week. I had the windows down and the tunes cranked as I made my way down Speedway looking for a recommended Mexican restaurant. I was blasting Frankie Goes to Hollywood and Culture Club. You can listen to it here.

WJEZ covers Livingston County in Illinois. It’s licensed to Dwight, Illinois and identifies to Pontiac. It comes in beautifully across the prairie along the Interstate 55 corridor. I had the sense this is a newer format for the station, and my radio tuned ears could easily identify that it relies heavily on automation in that someone is sitting in a studio running multiple stations through specialized computer equipment at the same time. The first four songs we heard were straight off the old Wow-FM playlist I would generate back in the late 1990s. We heard tracks from the late 1990s going as far back as to The Rolling Stones and a couple of Top 40 tracks from the early 1970s. The mix was eclectic. The only thing that was odd was there were a couple of weird edits to songs, almost like they were hastily edited to fit a certain time slot. I’ve heard many edits of “Groove Is In The Heart” by Dee-lite, but the edit I heard on WJEZ was nothing I’d ever heard before. I still really liked the station, found the air personalities friendly, if slightly generic (hence my bet on automated trickery) and I recommend the station. You can listen here.

Metric.

Interstate 19 runs south from Tucson to Nogales, Arizona. It’s relatively short for a two-digit Interstate; I-19 is slightly over 63 miles long, or more specifically, I-19 in 102 kilometers long.

That’s right, 102 kilometers.

The majority of distance based road signs on Interstate 19 are in metric. Speed Limits are displayed in customary Imperial measurements. Many think I-19 has metric road signs because it goes to Mexico.

Not quite.

The majority of Interstate 19 was built and signed around 1980. This is when the United States was going to finally catch up with the rest of the world and switch to the metric system. Arizona, being proactive at the time, decided to sign I-19 with metric signs. Interstate 88 in New York State almost met the same fate, and for a long time had blank exit number panels because they hadn’t decided whether the numbers were going to be sequential, mileage based, or kilometer based. New York State decided to go with the vastly outdated and not helpful sequentially numbered system.

All of this metric versus Imperial discussion took place around the same time I was in elementary school learning units of measure and distance. Since we were going to be metric by 1980, we learned liters, meters, etc. Was the push to metric a Carter Administration thing? I don’t remember a lot about President Carter, other than we suddenly had peanuts with every lunch meal, he had feathered hair, and the Iranian Hostage Situation. As far as Imperial versus metric goes, to this day I cannot remember how many quarts are in a pound or how many pints are in an acre. It makes me husband crazy when I say, “how many pints are in a gallon”? Metric has always made sense to me and it’s a shame the United States never made the conversion. Who cares how many chains are in a teaspoon.

The signs on Interstate 19 were replaced in the late 1990s, again with metric designations, and many have been recently replaced again. While Arizona was going to switch the freeway to Imperial units, after all, while metrification is long overdue, it’s also a kilometers long long-shot, but at the last minute decided to keep the metric signs. There are a few signs that were converted from 2 km to 1 1/2 miles on the northern end at Tucson, but for the most part, I-19 remains a metric highway.

I can’t wait to drive it again! Metrically.

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Excitement.

I’m cautiously letting my excitement build around the contract we have on the house. We toured it in person for the first time today, and I can safely say the photos on the listing are great, but they don’t do it the justice of actually experiencing the space; there’s a lot of things to love about this house. It also needs a little bit of work, but nothing major. A GFCI outlet doesn’t work here, a faucet leaks there, that sort of thing. All doable.

One of my comments was, “they made quite a few interesting design choices here”.

The inspection went well today and we are marching forward with the proceedings necessary around the purchase of a home. I’m keeping my excitement levels at a reasonable level, but I will say this: I really look forward to moving to Tucson.