2009 – a personal review


I’m pretty glad to see 2009 in the rear-view mirror.  As years go, it will always be in my memory with a few highlights and some very, very low points.  Let’s look back at some postings here to see how it went.

January started off with a wish for peace.  I won’t make a judgement call on how that went.

My flight lessons came to abrupt halt on January 11 when I blinked.  Couldn’t handle stall training.  I still haven’t flown again since that day and I’m not really sure whether I will again.

Sticking with aviation, January 15th saw the remarkable landing of US Airways Flight 1549 in the Hudson River in New York.  Captain Chesley Sullenberger and his crew reminded us all that professional aviators are remarkable people.  Lots of people had fun with what could have been a horrible tragedy.

imageAs far as I know, US Airways never went forward with this suggested modification.

I spent a lot of time at the Canadian Air & Space Museum this year.  Main task was to help put on the 4th annual Wings & Wheels Festival.  My first post on the subject came on January 18.  More on that later.

January 20th saw the swearing in of Barak Obama as 44th President of the United States.

imageThe world was electrified and hope was unlimited.  How’ he done so far?  Meh.

On Valentine’s day, instead of having a romantic dinner with Jan, I boarded an Air Canada flight to Zurich.  Another week of meetings.  When I got back, the museum had changed its name from Toronto Aerospace Museum to the Canadian Air & Space Museum.  To announce this, I took part in the opening of the Toronto Stock Exchange on February 23rd.

imageQuite a rush!

March was pretty slow.  Busy at work and at the museum.  Weather turned nice in the middle of the month and I got some planespotting and posted a bunch of pictures.

imageApril was filled with preparations for Wings & Wheels. I posted a bunch of photos of the aircraft that were scheduled to appear and attended lots of meetings.

Then came May.  On the 2nd, I got word that my mother Maxine had been taken to hospital in Midland.  She’d been in pain for a while, something she attributed to an injury while exercising, but things got really bad.  They let her out 2 weeks later (on her 80th birthday). I wrote about my first love the day after.

Wings & Wheels went off without a hitch.  A very busy week but lots of fun.  It helped take my mind off Maxine’s condition.

imageJune saw Maxine in hospital again.  Lots of tests and conjecture but more questions than answers.  Lots of trips back and forth to Midland while trying to keep the wheels on the track at work.  The month started off on a good note, I caught a lucky shot of the very first Airbus A380 approach to Pearson Airport.

imageThen it all started going horribly wrong.  My trips became more frequent.  Maxine was slipping and there didn’t seem to be anything that could be done except manage the unbelievable pain she was suffering.  She no longer knew who I was.  She was moved to a palliative care unit in Penetang and we prepared for the inevitable.    At 1:13 pm on Monday June 29th 2009, Mary Maxine Mist passed away.

max109Goodbye Mother.

July was a whirlwind.  Arrangements were made.  Friends and family were contacted, memories shared, tears shed.  Some may question my judgement but I had to get away for a while.  I had to get my head straight.  I spent the first weekend of July at Trenton Air Base and attended the general meeting of the Canadian Aviation Historical Society.  The camera became my close friend.  Looking through the viewfinder helped me forget about things for a while.

imageEveryone gathered up in Elmvale to celebrate Maxine’s life.  We had some laughs and shed more tears.  I put together a slide show of all the pictures we had and everyone enjoyed it.   Then it was off to the house where Maxine’s ashes joined those of my sister Susan and my father Ted in the garden in the back.

imageNo need to bore anyone with all the legal and financial matters that came after (and still continue) so let’s move on.

I started writing a series of posts – “Today in aviation history” and kept it up for a couple of months but it just became too much work to find something interesting everyday.  Kept busy at work but found some time to attend an airshow in Waterloo and took part in the 60th anniversary of the Avro Jetliner celebration at the museum where I had a chance to meet the head designer of both the Jetliner and the Arrow, Dr. James Floyd.  Even got my picture taken with this remarkable man.

imageSpeaking of the Waterloo airshow, I worked the museum’s booth and had a chance to meet one of Canada’s astronauts, Bjarni Tryggvason, who also piloted the 100th anniversary replica of the Silver Dart.

imageSeptember was without personal drama.  The museum, on the other hand, went through a lot of turmoil as “new” members of the board who had tried to take us down an unrealistic path resigned and left us in a bit of a lurch.  I wrote about it.  On a high note, I flew up to Ottawa and helped as a volunteer at the Vintage Wings of Canada open house.  A fun weekend with lots of beautiful airplanes.

image On the 16th, Kanye West continued his intrusions and hijacked the website.

imageSpent a great day up at the Brampton Flying Club’s Open House where I got pressed into duty as “official” photographer.

imageGlad to help out Julie!

October held another trip to Switzerland.  Another week of meetings.

In November I grew a moustache in support of the Movember campaign to support prostate cancer screening.  Raised a little money for a very worthwhile cause.  Got sick (not H1N1) and spent most of the month feeling crappy.  Even though I thought I was through with business travel for the year, I ended up doing a quick trip to Connecticut for meetings.  First flight in a little Beechcraft 1900D was a highlight of the trip.


Also got a chance to visit the New England Air Museum outside of Hartford, something I’ve been meaning to do for years.


Wings & Wheels preparations for the 2010 show started in earnest and I put on my web designer hat (it’s a very small hat) and spent a lot of time on the new website.

imageIn December I got older (58) but not a whole lot wiser.   Along with millions of others I watched the first flight of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner.  Beautiful!  All the joy and promise that event brought got sucked out late in the month by the attempted bombing of Northwest Airlines Flight 253 by the “underwear bomber” which brought a new round of security theatre as the US went into lockdown mode and screwed up air travel for millions.  Coming on Christmas Day, the event brought a little excitement into what was, otherwise, just a quiet day at home with Jan and the cats.  It felt very strange not to be phoning Wasaga Beach to wish Maxine a Merry Christmas.

Went to see Avatar on the 27th and wrote a mini review.

The year ended with a visit to the dentist and a quiet dinner at home with the woman I love and two fat and happy cats. C’mon 2010.  Try to be better, please?