Reflections and Resolutions (Part 2)

Happy New Year Everyone,

Wow, the first day of the new year. One can’t help but look ahead with excitement and anticipation to the new year. Sure there will be some challenges, lots of mistakes (little ones I hope!), and only a little heartbreak and disappointment but it’s sure better than the alternative.

Last weekend we spent the Christmas holidays with our daughter Melissa in Minneapolis. Our plan was to leave from there to head up to North Dakota to check on our mom’s but instead we are back home in Madison. Our travel was halted by the snowfall and blizzard that closed down most of the state for a couple of days starting Christmas Day. Some places had up to 20 inches of snow followed by those howling winds that sweep across the Northern Plains out of Canada. This blizzard brought to mind a couple of winter storms when I was growing up in Western North Dakota. I recall one winter when I was in high school that we didn’t have school for almost a week because the roads were blocked and the buses couldn’t run. After being cooped up out on the farm for a few days and spending most of the day hauling feed and water to the cows, thawing frozen water pipes, and trying to keep from freezing to death, we were really happy to board that bus for school! I think it was the same winter that  we went to the North Dakota Winter Show in Valley City, driving down the I-94 was like driving in a tunnel, snow piled up on both sides of the road. We are going to give it another try in the next week or two, hopefully the winter weather will cooperate.

While looking ahead one must think about what we learned from our experiences this past year. One of the things I learned this past year is that for me writing is good for the soul. This year I wrote 52 blog posts and shared hundreds of photos. Now it must be said that last year at this time, I publicly resolved to keep a daily journal. While I started with good intentions, I didn’t make it to the end of the month before I broke that resolution. Even today, I can’t find my journal on my messy desk! I’ve read that one must do something for at least six months before it becomes a habit. I think that’s true. One thing that I did make a habit this year that I’m kind of proud of is flossing my teeth on a daily basis. Prior to this year, I only flossed my teeth only occasionally usually just before my visits to the dentist! This year, my dentist and hygienist told me that I needed a deep cleaning procedure explained to me in layman terms that it was like using a pressure washer on my teeth and gums. Sounds painful doesn’t it?! This required two trips to the dentist about a month apart and the dreaded shots of novocain. As I was leaving the first appointment I was given strict instructions on proper tooth and gum care that I have taken to heart, I’ve only missed flossing once or twice in the past four months. I like my dentist and the hygienist but I only want to see them a couple of times a year and don’t to go through this again!

So what are my resolutions for 2017? I’m going to try the journaling thing again (if I can find my journal!), see if I can’t make it at least a couple of months. I also resolve to continue taking steps forward to better health by setting the goal to take an average of 65,000 steps a week as measured by my Fitbit. This means that by the end of 2017 I will have taken 3,380,000 steps! And it will be an increase of about 300,000 steps (just under 10% increase) over 2016. I say an average per week because during the colder months of the year like January and February it’s harder to get those steps in without being outside. So keep following this blog to see how I do in the coming year!

Before I move on to the second installment of some of my favorite photos of 2016, I’ve got to tell you about the current book I’m reading. It’s a travel book by Bill Bryson titled “The Road to Little Dribbling” with the subtitle “Adventures of an American in Britain.” It’s laugh out loud funny and takes travelers to unusual and out of the way places. Bryson is an interesting guy, he was born in Des Moines, Iowa but has lived most of his adult life in England. He’s prolific author probably best known in the US for his book “A Walk in the Woods” his chronicle of hiking the Appalachian Trail. When we were in England this past May, our host took us to the nearby city of Durham. Our host told us that Bill Bryson was the Chancellor of Durham University, largely a ceremonial position but that he was quite active on campus. Check out his work especially his newest book referenced above.

Now on to some of my favorite photos from 2016. Just titles not much narrative.

Old Barracks at Ft. Churchill State Historic Park, Silver Springs, Nevada
Truckee River Bend, Sparks, Nevada
Carson River near Dayton, Nevada
Nevada Sunset near Fallon, Nevada
Mushrooms on a Stump, Potawatomi State Park, Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin
Fall Leaves near Carlsville, Wisconsin
Boat Launch, Potawatomi State Park, Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin
View from the Tower, Potawatomi State Park, Sturgeon Bay, Wiscosnin
The Tower, Potawatomi State Park, Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin
Lovers, Potawatomi State Park, Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin
The Cliffs, Big Bay State Park, Madeline Island, Wisconsin
Our Santa Barbara Guests, Linda and Karolyn at Hinchley Farm near Cambridge, Wisconsin
Donna and the Calf, Hinchley Farm near Cambridge, Wisconsin
Stand Rock, Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin
International Crane Foundation, Baraboo, Wisconsin
Scenic from the Amana Colonies, Iowa
Amana Colonies-3681
Barn Quilt, Amana Colonies, Iowa
Happiest Guy in Pipestone, Minnesota
Jazz Fest 2016-1060
Which Way? New Orleans Jazz Fest
Jazz Fest 2016-1040
Flower Girl, New Orleans Jazz Fest
Jazz Fest 2016-1120
Crowd at New Orleans Jazz Fest

Well, that does it for 2016. Look forward to new and exciting adventures and hopefully lots of photos in 2017.

Until next week, travel safe.




8 thoughts on “Reflections and Resolutions (Part 2)

  1. Tom, I can’t believe I am not the only person who committed to flossing every night in 2016! My hygienist and my cardiologist put the fear of God in me on that and it worked! Also, Bryson’s “Walk in the Woods” is one of my all-time favorite books. The movie version was quite disappointing.

    I’ve enjoyed reading your travels and seeing your photos (of course I’d enjoy the photos!). I wish you a great 2017, Tom!

    Paul Malinowski

    1. Hi Paul, I didn’t think of the cardiologist angle but a good reminder to keep it up. I’ll have to say it’s become a habit and didn’t involve a vice like drinking! Wish I could do that with some other parts of my life, just have to keep at it I reckon.
      Thanks for you comments, I enjoy writing the posts and finding the photos. Check out the Bryson book, I’m about half way through and have had several laugh out loud experiences from some of his descriptions of the British people.
      Take care and all the best in 2017.

  2. Hello Tom,

    Bill Bryson is one of my favorite authors, I’ve read all his books, I do have the newest book on my reading list. I’ve enjoyed your photos and your blogs, keep them coming.

    I enjoyed the new year in Wisconsin at Folklore Village, there are some post some videos of some of the activities that go on there during this winter fest festival. My main resolution this year is weight loss, since I’m entering my decade of the 60s, after I have a double one clot in both lungs, I need to reduce my weight.

    Happy new year Fred

    Sent from my iPad


    1. Thanks for your comments. This Bryson book is extra special since we’ve been to the UK twice in the past couple of years. Would go again in a minute. Donna sprained her ankle when we were in Nevada. Has an orthopedic appointment this week to figure out why it’s still not healed. Keeping us close to home for now. Depending how that turns out we plan to head up to ND. Wrong way if you ask me!

  3. Tom, Thanks for keeping up the blog. You have inspired me to write. I hope to spend a few afternoons a week on that task. Happy News Years to you and Donna.

    Kathi Vos 413 Walnut Grove Drive, Madison, WI 53717 Home: 608-833-3643 Cell: 608-234-8821 Life is full, life is abundant, life is REALLY good!


    1. Good for you! I’ve found the experience very rewarding. I found my journal today so will try to keep it going for the whole year. I spend 4-8 hours on each blog post but for me its time well spent. Take care and hi to Scott.

  4. Fun post Tom. Impressed that you captured the dog in mi-jump at Stand Rock. Mid 80’s here. Nice. Slowly getting things together. Lubed everything as winter salt was making a lot of stress on movable joints. Wish it was that easy for me. New Smart towed fantastic.

    Robert west 608-212-4133 cell


    1. Thanks Bob. It helps to have burst on the camera! Nice today, high of 30. Looks like a chance of rain tomorrow night. Take care.

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