Mondays with Mike: Looking forward to it

December 12, 2016 • Posted in Mike Knezovich, Mondays with Mike, travel, Uncategorized by

As this year crawls toward its end, I’m left struggling to feel just a little bit of holidayness, and to hope that nobody else whom I like and care for – musician, astronaut, journalist, friend’s family member, dog or pet – dies this year. Please everyone, just hold out for awhile, if only to prevent this miserable 2016 from becoming any more miserable.

Meantime, Beth and I have adopted the bromide of planning things to look forward to to ward off low moods. Actually, I think it’s more a thing where Beth is making sure we have things to look forward to keep me afloat.

Back in 1984, we started our honeymoon in Edinburgh, and got as far as Oban, on the west coast of Scotland. Oban is on the Firth of Lorn, and Beth had fun feeding the gulls.

Back in 1984, we started our honeymoon in Edinburgh, and got as far as Oban, on the west coast of Scotland. Oban is on the Firth of Lorn, and Beth had fun feeding the gulls. We won’t make it to Oban this time, but Edinburgh will do nicely.

And so I look forward to celebrating Beth’s birthday come December 23, which—given her childhood diagnosis with type 1 diabetes —is not a trivial occasion. It’ll mark her 50th year with her unwelcome companion. Last year we had a blowout party with gourmet food made by our friend Chef Jim. This year I expect we’ll keep it more quiet. No one likes birthdays more than Beth does, so whatever we do, it’ll be good.

And we’re looking forward to seeing the great jazz trumpeter Roy Hargrove when he comes to Jazz Showcase for his annual end-of-year residency. He’s somehow always even better than the last time we saw him.

Beth’s family’s homemade gift exchange comes a little later this year—we’ll be celebrating on December 31. Every year, the gifts range from actually useful things (I still use a toolbox from a handy brother-in-law, and we still use a microwaveable rice bag for aches and pains that Beth’s nephew made) – to the bizarre (I’ll spare you the story about the foot stool).

And best of all, in January, Beth and I will be headed to Edinburgh, Scotland via London. Going to Cleveland when the Cubs were playing the Indians here in Chicago in the World Series was a smashing success, and great fun. So, come inauguration day, we’ll be out of the country, and what better place to mark the event than Scotland? Besides that, Beth and I spent part of our honeymoon in Edinburgh back in 1984, so there’s a little nostalgia involved.

I expect it’ll refresh and renew, and I may have a single-malt or two. And I’ll return braced for whatever comes next.




Marilee On December 12, 2016 at 5:23 pm

How exciting!!! ! A trip to Scotland! I like the way you think ahead?.

Mel Theobald On December 12, 2016 at 6:21 pm

OK, I’m trying not to be jealous that you and Beth are going to Edinburgh, but I’m a little miffed that you’re not taking the rest of us with you. Don’t worry about us (sniffle), we’ll be fine surviving the Polar Vortex and the Inauguration. Love the photo of Beth in black shoes, white tights and red skirt. So beautiful.

Mike On December 12, 2016 at 6:27 pm

We would bring a plane load if we could, Mel!

bethfinke On December 12, 2016 at 10:39 pm

White tights and red skirt? Mel’s description tells me exactly what I’m wearing in that photo — a Laura Ashley corduroy pinafore dress I bought while we were still in England! For those of you interested: join us! Flights to Scotland are pretty inexpensive in January — I guess it’s not a hot spot for winter get-aways?!

Sheila A. Donovan On December 13, 2016 at 11:02 am

The only death that was supposed to happen was the demise of the Repugnantcan party. Instead we are left in shock and fear. I will be marching in Washington while you’re escaping.

Mel Theobald On December 13, 2016 at 11:29 am

Beth, so glad the description jogged your memory of the dress. Most of it was covered by an ochre colored coat, so there was no way of knowing it was a pinafore. I don’t suppose you hear this everyday, but you were “cute as a button” in that photo. Hope you and Mike have a fabulous trip, great holidays and a most wonderful birthday celebration.

Leone Anderson On December 13, 2016 at 11:38 am

Sounds like a great plan – Happy Birthday, Beth, and many positive thoughts to you both!

Annelore On December 13, 2016 at 1:15 pm

Ah, Scotland – one of my favorite places! I know you’ll treasure every minute and every single-malt – bon voyage and Happy Birthday to Beth.

Benita Black On December 14, 2016 at 4:24 pm

Have a great time. We took a shine to Scotland when we spent 2 weeks in the Highlands (near Inverness) preceded by time in Edinburgh and Glasgow. Henry became quite the single-malt fancier after that trip. Do visit a distillery or two. Yes, the weather will be lousy and the sun will set early, but the warmth of the natives and the delicious accents more than make up for it. Much to see and do indoors and so much history.. You picked the perfect time to be away from home. Think of us poor suckers who couldn’t get away.

Mike On December 16, 2016 at 1:34 pm

We spent a night in Inverness back in ’84. It was at an inn that was a converted royal hunting lodge. It was their last night of the season, so we kind of had the staff to ourselves. We loved every minute of it.

ojdoherty On December 14, 2016 at 6:05 pm

Sounds like a great trip to look forward to. Pity you couldn’t come on to Ireland when you have come that far.
I love reading about Beth’s family Christmases, especially the unique variety of presents.

Nancy Sayre On December 14, 2016 at 7:46 pm

Well this is news! Have a great time, you two. And by the way, 2016 was not so bad from my perspective: they year I joined the Beth and Mike fan club.

glivingston On December 15, 2016 at 2:38 pm

Hi Mike and Beth–We were in Edinburgh back in July (having visited a couple of times when we lived in northern England) and it was wonderful of course, though too crowded in summer. My first visit was in February and it was wonderful. Think about this wonderful spot for a meal: Communal dining, tiny open kitchen, and yummy interesting set menu for not as much as some set menu places. You should reserve. And this time we got to see the newish Scottish Parliment building that didn’t exist before. We were in the Shetland and Orkney Islands the week before, which was also fantasic, but probably a bit too far for you this time. Have a dram for us.

glivingston On December 15, 2016 at 2:44 pm

Oh and one more thing for anyone who wants more of Scotland (or knitting) you should check out this wonderful blog by Kate Davies, who is an amazing knitter and author, who changed the course of her career after a stroke. Her husband Tom takes wonderful photos of the Scottish countryside and they have some books too–with photos and even recipes! The next one will be on Islay, one of the islands known for Scotch of course.

Mike On December 16, 2016 at 1:35 pm

Thanks for the travel advice–will check out that restaurant and the blog. Hope all is well with the Livingstons.

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