2015 in Review…and a Preview of 2016

Happy New Year!

I love the week of transition from Christmas into the new year and this year with the holidays falling on Friday it seems to afford more time for reflection and planning.

Like any year, there were highs and lows in 2015 and we’ve seen how DC–and the military especially–marks important occasions.  You may recall I started 2015 at Arlington National Cemetery with the beginning of my Ten DC Walks series.  Sadly, my wife Alice and I ended 2015 there, but this time for a burial service.  In early December a friend of ours was laid to rest with military honors.

IMG_3048

We ended the year honoring our friend Don Gaddy who received military honors at Arlington National Cemetery.

One week later I would be back in almost the same spot as a young West Point graduate whom we have known since he was in kindergarten got married at the Old Chapel at Ft. Myers.

IMG_3147

We also ended the year celebrating the marriage of our friend Tyler Kellogg whom we’ve known for 20 years and his new bride Gemma. His wedding was at Ft. Myers which is adjacent to Arlington National Cemetery.

The Blog

I set out at the beginning of 2015 with a goal of 50 postings.  On New Year’s Eve I posted number 43, so I didn’t quite achieve my goal, but I got pretty close.  I re-vamped the blog site itself to re-energize both my blog and with it my perspective.

Screen Shot 2016-01-02 at 9.39.14 AM

While this chart says “2015” I switched locations in May so these are my stats since the switch. One exciting note, I’m reaching 9 countries outside the US!

I write this blog partly to document my own adventures, a scrapbook of sorts; but, I also do it as an exercise to reflect on them after they happen.  It is my version of “a life examined”, and it has also been a way to connect with people.  I am very grateful to have gained many new readers.  Thank you!  In a couple months I will celebrate the 5th anniversary of my first ever blog post.

I take great pleasure in the ordinary, rarely missing an opportunity to snap a shot of a great sunset, or a new angle on the buildings and monuments I see everyday.  I’m as pleased with a rotisserie chicken as I am with a fine restaurant,  but I am also very fortunate to lead a somewhat extraordinary life thanks in large part to a great job that brings me on lots of travel to excellent places and gives me the means to add more personal travel in my time off.

I have been reluctant to pin myself down to one theme like just “food”, so the blog has slowly morphed into more of a “lifestyle” piece.  A review of this year explains why.  There was so much!  I managed to write 43 posts but easily had enough material for 30 more!  I’m so excited about the things I experience I just have to share them!

I started a few new series, including the 10 DC Walks, and The History in my Grandmother’s Recipe Files.  These will continue and I’m also considering adding a series of “Ten DC Bike Rides” since we have such a great network of trails here.

Please send comments to let me know what you enjoy seeing in the blog and what you want to see more of…and thank you for sharing my blog postings with your friends!

Ahead in 2016…

Ethiopia

I already know about a few things that will happen in 2016.  The biggest on the calendar right now is a February trip to Ethiopia.  I have a college friend who works for a DC-based economic development group and runs their Ethiopia program.  He and his wife visit us in DC a few times each year and have been urging us to visit.  “You should come, you can stay with us, we’ll show you around it will be so much fun!” So, to what I suspect is his great surprise, we have decided to take him up on the offer!

IMG_1402

In February, my wife Alice and I leave for two weeks in Ethiopia

50 BarsIMG_3379

On New Year’s Eve my close friend Michael and I made a pact to visit 50 different bars together in 2016.  With that will come restaurants too.  Could we have chosen a wiser and healthier pursuit?  Perhaps, but would you want to read about two friends who agreed to visit all the Presidential libraries, or run 50 5k’s?  So stay tuned as we count an average of 4 different bars per month and the hijinks that ensue.

 

 

 

Japan

I also expect to travel to Japan for work sometime in the spring.

IMG_2073

This past year I attended a Fujitsu party in San Francisco where they had a ritual “cask breaking” ceremony to open a cask of sake.  This was very fun!  We drank it from square cedar boxes and went on to eat some really amazing sushi.   IMG_2028

I am a huge fan of adventures like this where someone will be there to guide me through what to see, what to eat, etc.  So if my business takes me to Japan, you can expect some fun-filled postings and great photos from that trip!

 

New England

Meanwhile, I still have a daughter attending college in Maine, and last year’s New England Road Trip was a success in so many ways I think we will have to do “season 2” of the NERT!

pgil

The gorgeous campus of Bates College in Lewiston, Maine will be home to our youngest for a few more years so expect the return of the “New England Road Trip” (photo credit Margaret Trombly)

Guitar

IMG_3726I rather doubt that this will figure into my blog much, but one thing I will be working on in 2016 is improving my guitar skills.  I have been trying to learn for years and being on the road all the time makes it hard to do the one thing required…practice.

So recently I purchased a “travel guitar” which has a regulation sized fretboard but an abbreviated sized body.  It fits in the overhead luggage compartment over my suitcase and when I travel people ask me if it’s a violin, a banjo, a tennis racquet, etc.  I plug headphones into it and practice in my hotel room without bothering the rooms next door.

I have to thank my wonderfully indulgent wife here.  She listens to all of the home practice and has probably heard more crappy 12-bar blues than she cares to.  She endures me talking about it all the time and insisting that she hear some new trick I just learned.  So while you should not expect me to be opening for Eric Clapton anytime soon, I will be diligently practicing throughout 2016!

I will again spend time at the corporate HQ of my company in Arizona and continue to explore all that the Valley of the Sun has to offer.  Likewise, we have offices in Boulder, CO, and in San Antonio, TX so I look forward to another year of exploring those great cities too!

I look forward to many more adventures and excitement in 2016 and wish you all a happy new year!

π

 

Comments

  1. Sarah Eriksen Reply

    I love your blog, Tony! Who is it that works in Ethiopia?

    • tonemanblog Reply

      Thank you Sarah! It’s Jim Warner…or I should say Dr Jim Warner!

  2. Tim Vigue Reply

    As always, I feel like a lazy *ss when I read your great blog posts. However, I’m going to choose to take it as inspiration!

    • tonemanblog Reply

      Thank you Tim! As one of your loyal FB followers I know there’s no moss growing on you either!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.