Monday, December 29, 2014

The Year in Review 2014 - Distractions and Diversions

Having covered the most important stuff - family - in an earlier post, I'll cover the remaining odds and ends here...

Hiking and Outdoors
I spent less time doing short little hikes around home than I have in any recent year, but there were two very good trips that did happen. The first was an overnight trip to Rickett's Glen State Park in northeastern PA in April, and the second was a three day trip to West Virginia in June.

Rickett's Glen was a two day trip, the second day to actually hike the park, the first day to drive up. Dave and I left early and did a bunch of geocaching on the way to the hotel, which was one of my more interesting caching expeditions of the year. The hike itself was truly spectacular, and everything it was hyped up to be.
Rickett's Glen

The West Virginia trip was also memorable for the scenery, the companionship, the hikes, and the marvelous campsite with a view of Sunset Rocks.
Sunset Rocks WV

The Sunday we spent hiking in the Dolly Sods Wilderness was a hot and grueling day, but the scenery was some of the prettiest I have seen in the East. I would gladly go back to that area again.
Dolly Sods Wilderness WV

With one of our regulars planning a big trip to Ireland for his 50th, there will not be a big trip this year, but the plan is to make up for that by squeezing in a few long-weekend trips, like West Virginia was this year. There are a multitude of nice places to go within a 4-5 hour driving radius, and I'm sure we can come up with something good.

Music and Concerts
I didn't get to see as much live music as I would have liked this year (not counting musicals and special events with the family). Anthony and I saw The Musical Box in Wilmington in January, and I saw Justin Hayward again in Wilmington in May.
Justin Hayward in Wilmington at the World Cafe

The Tedeschi Trucks Band near home in Aston in June was the last concert of the year.
Tedeschi Trucks Band in Aston PA

2014 also saw the arrival of yet another guitar in the house, an Epiphone EJ-200CE acoustic electric. I'm still a hack, but perhaps a little better than before. Actual practice would improve that, but for whatever reason, it never seems to happen. So you get what you get. And speaking of getting - no more guitars. Probably.
Epiphone EJ-200CE

As always, I read a ton this year, with only the tip of the iceberg getting documented here. Fifteen fiction books (posted about separately), lots of short stories, lots of history and wargaming materials, and lastly (and quite unexpected) I think I read through an entire file box of old Dungeons and Dragons stuff I had kept from years ago. That jaunt down memory lane sure brought back a lot of fond memories.

Blogging would also have to be considered a hobby unto itself given the time and effort put into it. All told, across three blogs, I have written more than ever before. This will be post number 138 for this, my main blog, and I have also managed to squeeze in 28 posts on the D&D campaign blog and 19 more on the food blog. Perhaps I should do more and write less, although I certainly do enjoy the writing on its own merits. It's a balance I guess. Most of these posts are fairly easy and quick to write, and it has proven very nice to be able to go back and reread posts and look at pictures from as far back as 2009, when I first began.

Dungeons and Dragons
From a hobby/fun-time activity perspective, this is the year I remembered how much I loved playing D&D as a kid, and started playing again as an adult. Five of us have played four sessions beginning in October, and may get one more in over the holidays. I love the pure unfettered creativity of it, and we all seem to be having a good time, which is all that counts.
Kingdom of Alsberg

I may not have blogged about too many recipes, but I think I probably did a better job this year than usual in actually trying new and different recipes out of all the cookbooks we have accumulated over the years. Most used book of the year was without question Giada at Home by Giada de Laurentiis. Every one we make turns out great so we just keep trying more. Grace continues to show some interest in cooking, so it is nice to have a helper in the kitchen with me sometimes.
25 Year Old Easter Treat

It's pretty safe to say that I have become an occasional geocacher at best. I still enjoy it, but more often than not it's really only something that hits my radar screen when I will be traveling to someplace new or unusual and have a chance to grab a new state or a new county. The modicum of interest that the kids had in the first year or two that I did this has worn off for them, and they have no interest in going out with me, so that limits my interest in going out just to go out. Geocaching as a solo endeavor doesn't hold much appeal anymore, although if I have an opportunity to get out in the woods for a walk somewhere, I would still rather pick a place that has geocaches than not. I guess in that regard, I have become a geocacher very much like brother Dave has always been. And there's nothing wrong with that.
Geocaching our way to Rickett's Glen

Perhaps the best part of writing these year end posts is not in the remembering of what has gone before, but to begin to think about the future; not what have we done this year, but what experiences are yet to come. Places to go. Things to see and do. Interests to explore. In other words, life to live.

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