Tag Archives: family ramblings

Planning for 2017

This is a year I’m certainly looking forward to as there are plenty of activities entering our calendar but also am getting a little concerned there is too much to accomplish to enjoy all I would like to. Last year’s goals were mostly accomplished with our travels to National Parks in Texas and Arkansas, taking thousands of pictures which I’m certain has improved my photography skills but still more to do, fixing broken portions of this website, as well as making it to Rocky Mountain National Park to hike Flattop Mountain and Long’s Peak.

Spring blooms

What does that leave for 2017? Plenty! How about starting with our Monopoly goals of visiting Dinosaur, Little Bighorn, and Yellowstone National Parks? Yellowstone has been a place I’ve wanted to visit for a long time as it’s one of the marquee parks in the United States. The more I read about Dinosaur the more interested I get in exploring such a place tucked in Colorado’s northwest corner revealing pre-historic fossils among a beautiful landscape. What’s not to look forward to here? And Little Bighorn, a place among US history commonly known as Custer’s last stand. I get chills just writing that as it reminds me of Gettysburg and all those lost there.

Isle Royale National Park

There’s also a return trip to Isle Royale National Park for a more intense backpacking trip in the works. Our family took on an adventure here in 2012 at which time I insisted I was done backpacking and would never go back to this island. Well, a few months after my muscles and joints recovered I began to think about improvements I could do to enjoy it more but still never really seriously thought about another trip here. The most difficult part was carrying such a heavy backpack. Last summers adventure to Long’s Peak convinced me I could backpack and enjoy it. After almost despising an extended hike I’m now really excited about returning to the island and taking in more of what it has to offer. What’s different you ask? First I’m confident in my abilities after hiking 14 miles at higher altitudes and really want to know how much more I can enjoy it at elevations I can breath more easily at as well as I know how to prepare and train for an extended hike.

Clear winged moth on a warm summer night

Add in to this landscaping projects and a small remodeling project at my house, a camping trip, a snowmobiling excursion, and celebrating 20 years of marriage to my wife and this year will fly by I’m sure. I hope 2017 becomes a great year for you as well!

2016 Plans and Goals

Reflecting on 2015, which you can read about here, I came up with some things I would like to accomplish in this next year.  First and foremost, I want to enjoy the activities and adventures we embark on. We did a lot of fun and exciting activities last year but I didn’t feel like I got the most out of them that I could because there was always another event coming up soon requiring attention to plan and prepare for taking attention away from what I was doing. It seemed like we were always in a rush to do whatever it was we were doing because there was something else that needed to get done or was scheduled. If I can help it that won’t be the case in 2016 for us!

An ocean sunrise

My next goal is to explore Window Trail in Big Bend National Park, Padre Island National Seashore, and Hot Springs National Park. I’m pretty confident in being able to complete this in the next year as we already have some lodging accommodations, airfare, and a car reserved. I’m looking forward to this trip as we will be staying in Big Bend which will only be the second time staying right in a park reducing travel time and increasing exploration time.

Using the GoPro Hero 4 underwater

As has been the case for the past several years, I want to continue learning and improving my photography. Originally I set the bar at wanting to take 3,500  photos this year. That just makes me laugh now after having taking over 11,000 in the past year. I’ve decided to up that to 5,000 photos towards the goal of improving. That means working on composition and technique, not just randomly taking pictures of family and friends or the dog. As part of this I want to capture images of individual snowflakes.

A woodland mushroom

Along with the photography goal I would like to complete the Photography Experiment board by learning more about flash, fill flash, rock climbing, and travel portraits. This is a goal that would be nice to complete but if it doesn’t happen I won’t be too concerned. Still, working a little on it would be good.

Time at the lake

Continuing to update and improve this site is another one of my goals for this year. Since I needed to re-build this website in 2015 I find several broken links that need to be addressed as well as some programming pieces that need to continue to be worked on to get them to work as I have envisioned.

Being watched in the woods

I’ve wanted to put together a video from all of the photos taken on our trip to Alaska in 2013. It’s probably time to get this done so I can remove the photos from my computer and free up space. It is uncertain at this point if I will be able to post the video as I’m probably going to use music that is copyrighted preventing me from being able to use it on the internet.

Just floating on the water

One final goal for 2016 is to volunteer more. I feel like I failed at helping others in 2015 and that is something important to me to get back to this next year. Sure I volunteered to help coach my daughters basketball team and spent a number of hours volunteering at our church. I guess it comes down to volunteering at food shelves more. Seeing people starving is something that affects me and a priority for me to help reduce to the best of my ability. We are so fortunate to be able to have all that we need and it is up to us to help those that we can. Food and shelter are at the top of my list to help with when possible.

Lunch on the prairie

That should keep me busy this year and hopefully allow me to enjoy our adventures. If not, there are more homeowner projects to undertake and a potential hiking trip in the Rocky Mountains.

2015 in Review

This past year seems more like a blur that lasted a few months rather than a full year as our family kept quite busy with lot’s of projects and activities. Now that 2015 has wrapped up and we’re on to 2016 it seems like a good time to review which goals were accomplished and those that I fell short on. Looking over my goals for this past year, which were published in this post (click on ‘post’ to read it), I see we managed to achieve half of them.

Warm Caribbean Waters

Exploring Padre Island and Hot Springs ended up being delayed until this spring. Instead we took in Great Smoky Mountain National Park and Shenandoah National Park to see Lewis Falls. The timeframe for Padre Island and Hot Springs became filled with an anniversary celebration trip for Karen’s mom and dad who have been together for over 40 years. Definitely an accomplishment worth celebrating in my book!

Putting in windows

It may have almost killed me (at least it felt like it) but we completed our window project. I estimated my time spent which ended up at over 110 hours of my weekends and evenings to complete. That doesn’t include the time of others that helped me tear out the old ones and lift in the new ones. You can’t imagine how greatful I am to those that helped us and to be done with this home improvement.
Water Lily

Continuing my learning of photography took a back seat for much of the year so I didn’t complete my Photography Experiment Monopoly board once again. Maybe this year. In spite of this I did still manage to take over 11,000 pictures with my Sony Nex. That doesn’t include the thousands of images taken with my new photography addition – a GoPro Hero 4. By the way, I really enjoy the GoPro and where it can go and what it can do. I have definitely learned more about photography composition and techniques with the opportunities I was fortunate to have.

There were other accomplishments during 2015 which may end up in a different post.

A New Year, A New Site

Monopoly Traveler Site old    Monopoly Traveler Site old -2 

This has been a much longer journey than I expected but we’re finally back with new content. Back in March MonopolyTraveler.com had some uninvited guests who destroyed portions of this site. There were many attempts by a number of people to revive and restore things back to normal without success. Each time we thought we had the website back to normal and secure from these intruders new issues would pop up causing the necessary action of taking it down. By the end of March it was determined that MonopolyTraveler.com would have to be completely re-built from scratch requiring a significant amount of time.

One of the projects on the to do list was to make it more mobile friendly so this seemed like a good time to accomplish that and way over due. At that time a decision was made to look over all aspects of the website and decide what we liked and what should be updated in addition to making it more mobile friendly. Some of the components of this website were no longer functioning correctly and needed to be replaced or re-programed so those were addressed along with bringing more focus to the photographs. After some debate between putting time and energy into re-building the existing site with some improvements or going with an entirely different theme it was decided to use the time towards a new theme so here it is.

Working into the long hours of the night programming and testing a new site

Unfortunately existing commitments and unexpected events required more time away which continually delayed the completion of MonopolyTraveler. In spite of our best efforts there always seemed to be something else that was a higher priority taking time from assembling a new site so there it sat for months and months. Finally it has become a high enough priority and my last goal of getting this ready before the New Year is somewhat met. It has been a nice break from blogging but there are many photographs and experiences I want to share and a stress relief by having this off my to do list. There are still pieces that are being worked on and noticeable changes may come up as the mobile version is not completely satisfactory but for now here we go.

By the way, I said new content – not necessarily better or useful content, just new.