Saturday, December 31, 2022

Happy New Year 2023! 2022 in Review and Looking Forward to 2023

Oliver Looking at the Back Yard
We did a lot during 2022. It was a jam packed year with traveling, some weight loss, eating, celebrations, and sadness. As I think about 2022, this is looking back at post posts from various months and looking to 2023.

I set out in January 2022 to read 20 books (see post) and I stuck to the plan. I recently finished twenty books and at the writing of this update I am at 24 books for the year. Officially the most books I have read in one year ever in my life. I am hoping to increase that number for 2023, but I am happy with what I accomplished for 2022.

Back in January 2022, we had plans to camp a lot over the warmer months. We were only able to fit in camping twice with one early in the spring and then our final camping trip in late October (see January post about upcoming tripsearly spring post, and October post). With everything planned for the year, we were only able to get the two trips into our plans. Hoping to increase our camping trips in 2023 and possibly work in some other states to visit on our camping trips too.

Sunrise in January 2022
I remained true to my plans for the year of working out and riding the bike. I kept it up throughout the year until our trip to Aruba in November at which point all working out has stopped. I plan to start it up again early in 2023. I looking forward to getting back at it and get back into the habit of riding, running, and going to the gym. Here are various posts from 2022 with updates of my working out, plans, and how it was going from month-to-month (see posts).

Carrie traveled down to Houston, TX back in June to visit our friend Corrie and her kids. She had a great time. While Carrie was away, I grilled out every night and had a good time myself (see post). After Carrie got back from Houston, we both came down with COVID (see post where we were both sick). During that time following being sick, I fell out of working out regularly but quickly started up again once I was back to 100%. That was our first time to get COVID and it sucked the life out of both of us. We were happy to be done with it and healthy again.

In July, I turned the big 50 and we had a big celebration in Fredericksburg, TX with family and friends. We had a great time. Read about our adventure in the August 7 post. On our way back from Texas at the end of July, we received bad news that Carrie’s uncle Robert passed away. He had been battling cancer and we received word that he had passed on our way back from Fredericksburg, TX. After we got back to Topeka, we had a few days and then headed down to Texas for his funeral.

I started Weight Watchers in August and it went well until November, but as I mentioned earlier, we are planning to get back on it and stick with it in the new year. I really do feel better when we are eating well, so anxious to get it started again. 

Oliver Wanting to go Outside
September 21, 2022, Carrie and I celebrated our twentieth wedding anniversary (see post) and then in November 2022, we went to Aruba for the celebration (see post). We had a great time celebrating and looking forward to going back to Aruba or someplace with a beach, chairs, and the ocean. 

October 2022, the King Biscuit Blues Festival returned. Such a fun time with great music and good to see all of our friends. Read about our adventure in the October 2022 post. Looking forward to going again next year.

November and December seem like a blur. The days, weeks, and months flew by for the past two months. The whole year has flown, but November and December seemed like they went faster than all  the other months. Simply flew is all I can say. 

I appreciate you visiting my site to read my updates. I am happy that I have been able to post every Sunday for the past two years. I have not missed a week of posting with some weeks posting more than one post and others I get just the one post. I plan to continue this for 2023 as I find I like to go back and review what I have posted in past years. I also am going to try and take more pictures to use for these updates as Carrie and I do various things throughout the year. 

Have a Happy and Safe New Year! I will talk to you in the New Year!

Sunday, December 25, 2022

Merry Christmas 2022! Have a Happy and Safe Christmas!

Carrie and John at White Linen for Dinner
Christmas seemed to really sneak up on me this year. Like the year flying by, the holiday got here quick and we are celebrating Christmas 2022. Wow! Looking forward to being with family during the holiday weekend. We had a wintery mix with cold temperatures as we headed into the holiday weekend.  

Back in April 2022 I won some auction items at a Washburn Athletics fund raiser and we were able to take advantage of one by staying the Cyrus Hotel in downtown Topeka. We were able to take Oliver, so he was able to enjoy the time in the hotel. Since we were downtown, we wanted to have dinner at White Linen and we were able to go with Greg and Erin who had not been there until this visit. We went to the hotel Thursday afternoon and had dinner that evening. We had a wonderful time and it was so good to eat dinner and then head back to our hotel room to relax. Oliver loves hotels, so he had a great time even though it was bitterly cold outside, he did his business quickly so we could get back to the room.

Christmas Eve we are in Lawrence to see my Mom and some family who will be able to make it in that day. On Christmas Day, we will be at Greg and Erin’s for the day. We were closed at work on Thursday do to the wintery mix that moved through. I find I am all mixed up on my days. It felt like Friday on Thursday and I am not sure what Friday felt like, but it certainly was not Friday. 

Have a happy and safe Christmas!

Sunday, December 18, 2022

Pictures, Memories, and Goal for More Pictures in 2022 to Help with Blog Posts

Beautiful Sunset on December 5, 2022
Beautiful Sunset on 12/5/2022.

Leaving work one evening, I looked out across the Washburn University campus and it was so beautiful, I had to snap a picture. Captured the color of the sky, the lights of Winter Walk, and I could not resist taking a picture. What a way to start December with beautiful scenery as I am leaving work. I remember driving home that evening and I could not take my eyes off of the western sky as it lit my way home. Reminded me of all of the perfect sunrises and sunsets I saw as I went to and from work in 2021 (see January 2022 post). One of those where I know it is happening all the time, but I am not in the right location to see the beautiful sky when it does happen. 

I am trying to take more pictures which will certainly be a goal for 2023. How many times have I seen something and walked away thinking I should have taken a picture. It happens all the time and so I am trying to change and have actually been increasing my picture taking the past few months. I want to keep it going into 2023 though and take even more pictures. Doing so allows me to use pictures I take for posts and I can often times wrap around a story to the picture. The pictures also allow me to go back and review what we did during a specif week, month, or year as I find that I do that often these days reviewing the almost 9,000 images on my Flickr Account. The same pictures are synced to my iCloud account, so I see many pictures on my phone, desktop, and iPad throughout the day.

Oliver Sleeping on the Couch Keeping His Face Warm
Oliver Sleeping and Warm Face

As you can imagine, there are a lot of pictures of our dog, Oliver. We take pictures when watching television and look over and he is sleeping. The one to the left Carrie sent me one day when it was cold in our house and he was sleeping, but keeping his face warm in the blankets. Poor guy cannot get warm enough in our drafty house. So, there he is on my Flickr page for my memories to see over-and-over as it continues to display for me over the next few months on my various devices. Seeing these pictures makes me smile and can help to bring a calm during a stressful day when pictures of our dog display on my screen saver of my phone.

Here we are a week out from Christmas Day. So much to do before next weekend both at work and at home. Short week for work, so that will be good. Looking forward to seeing family, friends, and enjoying some time off of work.

Have a great week before the holiday weekend!

Sunday, December 11, 2022

Completed the GoodReads 2022 Reading Challenge of Twenty Books and Thinking New Goal for 2023

Met My 2022 Reading Goal
Met My 2022 Reading Goal

A year ago I set a goal to read twenty books for 2022. This was done on GoodReads where I have been a member for a while now. I have tried their challenge a few times setting goals for five or ten books in the past. This is the first time I have completed my goal and actually exceeded my set goal.

The year is not over and I have read 21 of 20 books so far. I hope to be able to complete two more books before the year is finished. I am about halfway through one book and then during the break between Christmas and New Years, I should be able to get another book completed.

I read every day for the past year. There was not one day where I did not read at least a few pages. Whether it was on vacation, at blues festival, or exhausted from a day of work, I found time to read. According to Kindle stats, I have read for a streak of 359 days and 58 weeks in a row which I obviously started before the New Year started a year ago. 

During the year, I have read a few series. C.J. Box is the recent series I have been reading. I really enjoy his books and story. Another series that I enjoyed was from L.T. Ryan about Racheal Hatch. I enjoyed the history of Code Girls that I read through a book group on-line. I want to do more with that book group as it gets me to read books that I might normally read and then interact with others that are reading the same book.

Full details of the books in the image above can be viewed on my GoodReads 2022 Reading Challenge page. I am thinking about my goal for 2023 and while I do not want to go crazy by picking a larger number I could not possibly hit, I do want to do more than twenty books for 2023. I am thinking I will probably increase it by five and go for twenty-five for 2023. I was ahead of schedule during 2022 on my target, but I would have to double the effort to hit thirty books if I go that high. Granted, there were weekends and evenings where I could have been reading but decided to watch television, sleep, or just relax, but it is possible I could increase the time I spend reading which would help me to meet a higher goal. We will see what I select for my new reading challenge.

I have always enjoyed reading when I made time to do so. I enjoy getting into a story and escaping through the story to whatever setting the author is describing. I am happy to say that reading is a part of my regular day that I make sure to complete no matter what and I intend to keep this going through 2023.

What are your favorite books? Do you have one to recommend based on the series I have read? You can connect with me on GoodReads through my profile.

Sunday, December 04, 2022

The Movie “Spirited” (2022) Became My New Favorite Holiday Movie After Watching Friday Night

November is over and we are into Christmas music and movies. Everywhere I look there are decorations. It is a fun time of year. This past Thursday, we went to watch Christmas Vacation (1989) at B&B Theaters where we had a great time watching an old movie I have seen hundreds of times on TV, but on the big screen this time. A big bag of popcorn, Hot Tamales, and a big beer in a comfy chair was perfect. We had a great time and it was fun to watch the movie with a crowded theater.

Friday night, Carrie and I decided to watch Spirited (2022). I have a new favorite movie. Spirited is on Apple TV. I was not expecting a lot from Spirited, but so happy we watched it. I had all the emotions with laughing, crying, laughing, and sadness. Featuring Ryan ReynoldsWill Ferrell, and Octavia Spencer. While it was a musical, it had a good story and kept Carrie and I engaged in the movie. We both loved it! Following the end of the movie, I went out and found the soundtrack of Spirited on Apple Music. I have been listening to the album each day since Friday night.

Spirited is a different take on the Charles Dickens classic although it is a musical and a different twist. If you are looking for a new Christmas movie for the holidays, I highly recommend that you check out Spirited. It seems everyone I have spoken to about the movie have agreed how great of a movie it is. Carrie and I plan to watch the movie again and maybe a few times before the holidays are over. If you do not have a Apple TV subscription, I suggest that you get one for the holidays so you can watch Spirited.

I remember my Dad when he would go to movies, he always liked the movies where he came away feeling good. Spirited had me come away feeling good and reflective on the holidays. I hope you have a chance to watch or whatever your favorite movie is for the holiday season.