A Perfect Birthday Eve

Today is my birthday.

I believe that it is as important to say adieu to the old year in a positive manner as it is to start the new year off on the right foot.

Last year’s birthday eve was an utter disaster. Since I have no interest in reliving it, I’ll let you just click this link and read about it here.

I usually like to reflect on accomplishments and lessons learned during the last year. Honestly, I don’t know what I learned this year other than how to adapt, make do and survive. Changes at work and a major hiccup in my physical well being have dominated these last several months.

I’m tired and I’m tired of feeling like I’m living in a fog while fighting to figure out my new life. The issues that come with hypothyroidism are surprisingly difficult to shake.

It’s not all bad though. My health has improved and things have settled down at work. I’m hopeful that I’m headed in the right direction because survival mode is no place to dwell for too long. Once it becomes a way of life, it’s hard to get back to something better.

But I did get to travel some and explored a good bit in my own area this last year. Sunflower fields, a real life haunted house, fall in Denver, a trip down the river and a whirlwind trip through our nation’s Capitol are among my favorite memories. I even saw Old Glory and the only DaVinci in America during that DC trip. Of course, most of those things occurred before my thyroid diagnosis.

So there was a lot of good amidst the sad, the frustrating and the exhausting. It wasn’t all bad but it was still vital that the last day of my 44th trip around the sun be a good one.

And so I made it that way.

First up, I met a friend for a biplane ride at the James A. Rhodes Airport in Jackson County. My friend Dewey had brought his biplane Ace – a 1929 Travel Air – for some good old fashioned Barnstorming. I never pass up an opportunity to ride with him and it was a bucket list item for my friend too!

I had actually met Dewey at this airport a few years ago. You can also read about that experience – still one of my favorite memories. Learn more about him and his planes at his website.

The airport was hosting a fly-in so there were other aircraft including an incredible B-25 Mitchell Bomber from the Tri State Warbirds Museum.

And this nice Stearman which I believe was a World War II era training plane.

It was a gorgeous day. At eighty degrees, it was much cooler than we’ve seen lately and the sky was a brilliant blue. So after the airport event, I swung by Lake Katherine Nature Preserve for a peaceful hike.

It was wonderful having a moment in the woods to reflect, move and simply breathe. Sometimes you need to just breathe and do nothing else.

All told, this was a perfect day. Planes and nature. What more can a gal want?

Touring In a Model A


I checked off two things from my bucket list on Saturday. One was an open air biplane ride which I wrote about yesterday. This was something I had always wanted to do but required some degree of facing a fear. It was an exhilarating adventure but I did something else Saturday that kept me firmly on the ground and required no bravery at all. It was just a fun thing to do.

I took a ride in a Model A Ford!

While Dewey Davenport was thrilling people with rides in his 1930 D-25 New Standard, there were some other fun things happening on the ground – planes and helicopters, food from some local businesses and a collection of gorgeous Model A cars waiting to take people on rides. 

The owners of these vehicles belong to the Southern A’s Model A Car Club which has Model A owners from three states. They were giving rides in their vehicles for donations so my pal Shelly and I jumped at the opportunity to take a ride.

fffff.jpgThis car club is unique, especially when you consider the age and value of the vehicles they drive. You see, they don’t really do car shows. Their club is about driving and showing off their vehicles in a hands-on way. I love car shows but those events are always a look-but-don’t-touch method of learning about the vehicles. And that’s fine. I get it. The public can be inconsiderate and I wouldn’t want dirty fingerprints (or worse) on my pristine car either.

But the folks in this Model A club want you to experience their cars the way they were meant to be experienced – up close and personal. They are happy to talk freely about the development of the Model A, about their vehicles and what it’s like to drive them.

They’re excited to share their hobby with others.

Shelly and I rode with a gentleman named Chuck who happens to live in the neighborhood so he took us down some peaceful rural backroads and past his own farm, answering our questions and providing delightful narration along the way.

Getting paired up with him was a real treat. He actually purchased this 1930 Model A (the same age as Dewey’s biplane) when he graduated college 51 years ago. Incidentally, he’s been at the same job for that long as well!

He regaled us with tales of the places he’s been with his cars. He owns a few Model A’s and travels with them to events all over the place -Michigan, Wisconsin, North Carolina and all points in between. He likes to find forgotten old cars in barns and then spend a couple of years fixing them up.

He says it keeps him out of his wife’s hair. 

Loved it.

He can tell you all about the original paint colors, about how Henry Ford was the first to provide his factory workers a living wage and will tell you about some of the differences between these cars and modern vehicles. For example, you work a little harder to steer these cars because they have no power steering. There’s no speedometer either so he uses a dash mounted GPS to gauge his speed. He joked that they don’t stop very well and that if you can’t stop, something will stop the car for you!


Riding in this car was a real treat. It’s a beautiful shade of green and is clearly loved.  But it was Chuck who made the ride a memorable experience. It’s just fun to meet people who are passionate about something and who love what they do. It’s even better when they love something that you like too!

Maybe it’s because I haven’t found my passion yet but I want to see, do and learn about as much as possible. There’s always something interesting around the next bend, someone with a fabulous story to share even though they typically think they aren’t that interesting.

Go take a look. You might be surprised at what you find!


Flying Like A Bird


It isn’t every day that you have a chance to check something off your bucket list. So when the opportunity presents itself, you have to do it. Even if it’s something that scares you a little. Actually, especially if it’s something that scares you.

b3It has long been my goal to take a ride in a biplane. There’s just something  romantic about these open air planes and the barnstorming that has been done with them since the years following World War I.

I can’t describe it but my heart takes flight a little every time I see one in the air. 

There was an opportunity to take a ride a couple of weeks ago at a hot air balloon festival but I found every excuse in the book to not do it. So when I learned there would be rides given at an airport in a neighboring community, I simply had to go.

Incidentally, the James A. Rhodes Airport in Jackson County was celebrating their 50th anniversary yesterday with a big shindig – cool aircraft on display, some RC flyers, a Model A Club and rides with Dewey Davenport of Goodfolk and O’Tymes Biplane Rides of the Xenia area. 

This was a really fun blue sky day of celebration but it was a big day for me too. You see, part of the reason that excuses were made to not take a biplane ride is that I have a ridiculous fear of heights. I don’t do roller coasters and cringe at the thought of a glass elevator. But I’ve been up in aircraft before – commercial flights, small planes at my local airport and even a helicopter (sans door as I was taking pictures for a newspaper that day) and it’s ok.

But to glide through the air with the wind in your face and nothing between you and the sky? In a 1930 D-25 New Standard that looks like it belongs in a museum?

Never before.

And guys. Wow. It’s fabulous. 


It probably helps that I had an experienced pilot who is so enthusiastic about his work that I had no choice but to trust him. He’s fantastic. Really. Dewey Davenport is his name and if you see that he’s coming to an event near you, go take a ride. You won’t regret it.  That’s him pictured with me above. And if you’re wondering what’s up with the sign, click here to read about the origins.   Long story short – I have a smart mouth and warped sense of humor.

But this story isn’t really about the plane ride, funny sign or pilot. Sure, the experience was amazing. But it’s really about you and whatever is holding you back.

There has to be something that you’ve always wanted to do, maybe even something that scares you. Please don’t let fear prevent you from doing something that you want to do.

Friends, life is worth living. Go do it. Have an adventure. Go far away. Stay close to home. Do what scares you. Embrace the thing you love most. Whatever it is, do something that will make you smile at the end of this day and every day.

Life IS worth living. Make it what you want. 

This is an area I’m still working on. Truth is, I don’t know what I want my life to look like so I’m just exploring the world as much as possible and doing the things that make me happy as well as the ones that scare me because they often are the same. We’ve discussed this topic here a couple of times before but we all could use a periodic refresher.

I imagine myself to be a kindred spirit of Amelia Earhart, Sheriff Maude Collins and other strong women from history. However, I’m probably a little more closely related to Snoopy versus the Red Barron and maybe Deputy Barney Fyffe! Regardless, I faced a fear and had such a fabulous time doing it that I’m already plotting to take another ride with Dewey someday.

And if you wonder what makes me an authority on this topic, just scroll up and look at that smile. It really was the best day. But this story is going to be a two parter! I checked something else off my bucket list but you’ll have to wait till Monday to read about it!

Want to know more about Dewey and biplanes? Check out his website and his YouTube vlog by searching his name.