Wednesday, December 31, 2014

A Beauty Goes Dark and Welcoming 2015

The sun finally made an appearance a few days ago for what seemed like the first time in weeks. It was so welcome even if it did usher in some much cooler temps. It was worth the trade-off for me.

I took advantage of the brightness to capture a few photos of the laundry room work we just completed. We're really happy with it. The ceiling didn't quite go as planned because of the color. The harvest yellow we'd chosen seemed too close to natural once it was all in place. Tammy had been hinting all along that she'd like to see more of a whitewashed color and that's what we opted for in the end. It was the right choice all along. See the photo to the left.

Karen came across a really cool distressed wood bench seat with a mirror that we liked and had to have to complete our laundry room's look.

Photos of the completed project here and here.

The Glowing Tree in Bloomington has gone dark. I began this Facebook page for it 4 years ago when I noticed that it had none and was so deserving of one. This was the year that the page finally seemed to take off with over a 1000 likes in the last month alone but it looks like the owners have decided to stop investing both their time and money to keep it lighted.

Their home is for sale and I'd heard they were having trouble with the damp weather shorting out strings of lights on the tree. One neighbor also commented in a recent thread on the Facebook page that Bob Little (the tree's owner) was concerned about all of the vehicle traffic the tree was generating and the imposition it was creating for the neighborhood. The tree going dark came as sort of an abrupt but understandable end.

If you've driven Cedar Ave near the Minnesota River and experienced this sight between Thanksgiving and New Years the past many years you'll understand why it will surely be missed.

Rachel went with some friends to a Canvas and Chardonnay painting class this past week. She did really well! It's something Tammy and I have talked about doing as well. It's on our to-do list.

There are things about my job that I will absolutely miss when I finally decide to pack it in. I was at work last night on the overnight shift contemplating the blessing this career has been for me and my family. I can't say enough good things about it. I just can't. Any of the small complaints I could come up with are overshadowed by the freedom it's allowed me over the years. I'm continually ribbed by those I work with for being the old man in the building and I'm okay with that. I'm actually a little proud of it.

We had some ridiculous upper winds last night; winds that were abruptly changing direction in radical ways. Traffic was busier than usual and on odd routes as pilots tried to take advantage of or avoid all together the fast moving river of upper air known as the jet-stream.

UAL1590 was struggling into the teeth of a 130-knot jet-stream at FL280 (28,000 feet) on a route that was going to be slow going. I inquired if he'd talked to his dispatch about a more favorable, less windy northerly route. He hadn't. I suggested he may want to do that or if he didn't mind I could suggest something better. He didn't hesitate to take me up on my offer. I proceeded to establish him on a route 40 miles north of the one he'd been flight planned for and over the course of the next 30 minutes while he was in my airspace I watched his ground-speed increase from around 350 knots to 477 knots by the time I'd handed him off to Denver Center. And he hadn't even picked up the tailwind yet that I'd promised him was not far off!

I love providing that kind of service. The job isn't just about keeping them separated and advising pilots of where the smooth air is. It's an art in a lot of ways. Most controllers I work with will only concern themselves with the upper wind data for their sector which makes no sense at all to me. I prefer a long-range view that both helps prevent me from penalizing them and allows me to offer suggestions such as the one I described above. It's satisfying and yeah, I'll miss that.

It's New Year's Eve, 2014 as I assemble my thoughts for this post. How quickly another year has gone by. Rachel turned me on to an app she uses called Time Hop and I've been enjoying it because it plays so well into my love of reminiscing. It searches several of your social media sites each day and sends you photos from that day's date, one, two, three or however many years ago. I'm hoping they connect with Flickr at some point.

Colorful kites will be flying tomorrow afternoon at Lake Harriet in Minneapolis to celebrate the new year. I hope to be there with my new camera in hand to watch and photograph them.

Here's wishing you all a healthy, happy and peaceful 2015!

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