Snow.

We had to drive Chris and Mike to Sky Harbor (airport in Phoenix) for their flight to the Midwest so my husband and I decided to make a day trip of it. After the stop at Terminal 3 we headed north out of Phoenix and meandered our way up to Prescott.

Prescott is home to Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. I know a few pilots that have gone to Embry-Riddle in both Prescott and down in Florida, and I wanted to see what the campus was like. We’d never been to Prescott before but it’s a seemingly nice city situated in the typical scenic surroudings of that part of Arizona. The campus of Embry-Riddle is very nice. It feels quite new. We then made our way over to Prescott Municipal Airport where there’s a bunch of Embry-Riddle airplanes as well as the typical things you’d find at a municipal airport. Everything felt quite new. There was the unmistakable sound of a Cessna 172 doing engine out landing practice. We watched the pilot do a very good landing.

On our way home we made our way up to Camp Verde and then down through the Coconino and Tonto National Forests. We stopped to see some snow in memory of our winters in the Midwest and back East.

A.

Today we did a little hiking on Sentinel Peak here in Tucson. It was our first time up the mountain and there are some decent trails up for short hikes. The park was quite busy on this warm winter day. It’s fun wearing shorts and the like during the first weeks of January.

Sentinel Peak is also called “A Mountain”, because of the big A that’s been up there for over a century. That’s the white bit you see in some of the photos below. It’s much too warm for snow (though there’s still a trace of snow up on Mount Lemmon).

Look close and you can see Earl waving to me.

Late Night Selfie.

It’s 12:37 AM Mountain Time and I’m still in front of the computer tweaking things in my little Realm of Geekdom. I’ve had a couple of beers, I’ve been working on an old gaming PC, and I have an episode of “Maude” playing in the background.

This activity is giving my brain the reset it needs.

The vibe started this morning when I started cleaning up my work home office. Every weekday I work in what our blueprints call “The Library”. It’s a nice little space, with plenty of sunshine, super high ceilings, and ample room for me to have a comfortable work area, some nice shelves, and the aforementioned space for Truman to stretch out on the floor. The Library is much larger than my old home office in Chicago.

I’ve never felt fully settled in the home office space. Cords are not neat, my desk has a little too much stuff on it (mainly monitors and cords) and it just felt slightly to the left of chaos, at least to me. I like a clean desk. I don’t like cords. So I ordered a couple of inexpensive monitor arms for the two monitors on my desk and some cable wraps and the like. They arrive tomorrow.

I also have the flight simulator and gaming computer up in what the blueprints deem “The Observatory”. The room was originally designed to have a big telescope mounted in the middle of the room, in fact, there’s a cement in the workshop underneath the observatory that was meant to support the telescope. The room was never finished for this purpose as the original owner and designer of the house passed away about a year into the project, his wife ultimately finished the house before selling it to the owner we bought it from. If you look over my right shoulder in the selfie photo you’ll see counter height electrical plugs and wall plates for data cables, speaker cables, and the like. This room is also rather fortified with cement block walls. If we ever have a tornado in the Sonoran Desert, this is where we’ll be. Directly under the room is the workshop, where Chris and Mike do woodworking and Chris has his 3D printing set up for his graphic design business.

Speaking of wood working, Chris and Mike finished the table they designed and built for the living room today. I’m very impressed with their craftsmanship. My dad’s side of the family all had craftmanship like skills that I never inherited. I’m lucky to have others in the family that can build furniture like this for our home.

It’s Magic.

One of my earliest memories is playing around with my Uncle Gary on Grandma and Grandpa City’s living room floor (in front of the Davenport) and the Bewitched credits rolling by on the big RCA television that sat at one end of the room. The little Samantha-the-witch graphic turned into a “Kodak” logo while the credits played and then it was bed time. It’s funny, I hadn’t thought about that in a few decades but tonight I was thinking about the show and that flashed into my head.

As a kid “Bewitched” and “I Dream of Jeannie” were on in the afternoon on WSYR-TV 3 and Grandma Country would let me have a couple of homemade cookies and milk and stop her housework and watch the shows with me. They came on after “The Edge of Night”. I enjoyed this time very much and it’s among my fondest memories; I’m lucky that we were close to both sides of the family.

As I grew older I grew more interested in “Bewitched” and to this day it’s my favorite show of all time, especially the first, third, and fourth seasons. For years, local television stations, as well as WTBS in Atlanta, would only show the color episodes (seasons three through eight) but then in the very late 1980s Nick at Nite started showing the first two seasons and I instantly remembered them. The original Louise Tate played by Irene Vernon. Serena being sultry instead of kooky. Samantha and Darrin as newlyweds, long before Tabatha (later Tabitha).

The first season of “Bewitched” is my very favorite because it had so many more adult themes. Larry Tate had a wandering eye, Louise Tate was a little more icy than Kasey Rogers’ interpretation, and Elizabeth Montgomery had a bit more of a sultry, newlywed look about her. Alice Pearce as the original Gladys Kravitz was hysterical and Endora was more into an up-do than her wild bouffants in the later seasons. The show was focused on the trials and tribulations of newlyweds with a bit of magic thrown in, instead of crazy farcical scenarios of warlocks turned into the Lochness Monster or Mother Goose popping in.

I always include the third and fourth season among my favorites as well, because the third season had a new producer and Samantha and Darrin had some pretty impressive argument scenes during that run, and the fourth season introduced the new batch of sound effects for the choreography of witchcraft and I always found that intriguing. By the time Dick Sargent as Darrin came around in season six the show felt a bit more “designed by committee” and while there are some stand out performances, it got a little too silly for my tastes. But not nearly as silly as “I Dream of Jeannie”.

Not finding anything modern to watch on television tonight, I made my husband sit through two episodes from the first season, including “It’s Magic”, an episode about Samantha, as hospital fundraising committee chairman, finding The Great Zeno, a drunk of a magician saddled with an assistant played by an actress that chewed the scenery of every moment and every show on adjacent soundstages. There’s some, by 1960s standard, risque dialog about small costumes and the love of vodka. The other episode we watched was when a bored Samantha popped over to Paris with Endora for dinner while Darrin was at work and runs into Larry and Louise. Again, Irene Vernon’s Louise is slightly icier and seems more inline with the wife of a guy with a wandering eye, and I just enjoyed the slightly more adult tilt to the vibe of the episode.

Endora riding on the back of a 747 and declaring, “it’s the only way to fly”, notwithstanding. By the way, “it’s the only way to fly” is the motto of Western Airlines back in the day.

Image courtesy of Harpies Bizarre.

No Snow.

I’m infatuated with our first winter here in the Sonoran Desert. We have hints of snow on the mountain tops surrounding Tucson and I find it to be quite beautiful. I can’t get enough of it.

It was a few degrees below freezing last night, but warmed up into the mid 60s this afternoon. Temperatures will be back in the mid 70s by the end of this upcoming week and I find that quite delightful as well.

Earl and I tried to drive to the top of Mount Lemmon today (to play in the snow) but Catalina Highway was backed up for miles. Apparently this happens after the first snow on the mountains in this area. They were allowing only four-wheel and all-wheel vehicles up the mountain. We would have been fine but didn’t want to wait in line.

View.

I’m often reminded of how good life can be. Here is a shot from the local Target parking lot. Mountains, snow on the mountains, sunshine. Life is beautiful.

2022.

It’s 2022 in Mountain Standard Time here in the United States. Happy New Year! Tonight I learned that in Mountain Standard Time we are fed the Central Time Zone delays of Times Square and assorted locals. The ball dropped at 11:00 PM MST. Both Times Square and Miley Cyrus’ Miami celebration lacked exuberance. It felt more obligatory than anything.

I hope everyone that has stopped by has a joyous holiday celebration.

New Year’s Eve.

Today is the last day of 2021. In some places in the world it’s already 2022 and they’re celebrating appropriately. I am off from work, having lunch with a friend, and using the day to gather my thoughts for the New Year. Tonight we shall have a small celebration at home. I am looking forward to it. This will be my first experience of the ball dropping at 10:00 PM.

Classy.

My husband made a reservation for dinner to celebrate our anniversary this past Sunday night. We went to a local eatery we’ve never been to, Commoner & Co on the foothills side of Tucson. It was a wonderful experience.

It’s been a long while since I’ve had a martini, so I ordered their house special vodka martini with a bleu cheese stuffed olive and a pickled something. It was delicious. Earl had another of their special cocktails. Called “The Ultraviolet”, it’s gin based with crème de voilette, lemon and thyme with burlesque bitters. We then both had a well sized meal with an appetizer, salad, pasta course, and main dish. It was both delicious and suitably sized so we could safely drive home after our cocktails.

Social distancing and mask requirements were in effect and the safety measure was appreciated. Earl and I decided it’s been way too long since we’ve had a date night like this, and that’s mostly due to the pandemic. Everything is due to the pandemic. With Omicron flying about with wild abandonment, we probably will continue this “we’re not going out very much” trend into 2022.

I’m happy that we were able to spend our 25th anniversary together in this fashion. I look forward to what the New Year brings but more importantly, I look forward to what being together brings.

Round Up.

The few blogs that are left in my blog roll are doing year round up things and I applaud them for this. I actually applaud them for knowing what year it is; ever since the pandemic started it’s just felt like a really long limbo of nothingness.

I’m still getting used to the fact that we don’t live in Chicago, so that happened this past year. We watched a bunch of television and movies at home. We haven’t been in a movie theatre in nearly two years. I don’t really miss the experience but my husband does.

I’ve gained some weight. We’ll generously spread that over the two year pandemic period. I hope to lose some weight soon but then…. chips and popcorn.

I’ve grown a mustache in 2021. It’s not like the “awesome ‘stache” I had a few years ago, it’s a trim little Sully mustache you’d find on a pilot. I love being a pilot.

Mostly I’ve been weary in 2021. Weary of politics, weary of pandemics, weary of rampant stupidity. I’m want to feel cheery.

In 2022 I’ll try harder at finding the cheery.