I was bored today and decided I wanted to actually learn the lyrics to the favorite New Years Eve tune of Auld Lang Syne.  Quickly, I realized that instead of learning the meaning, I would much rather be putting my newly acquired terrible Scottish accent (obtained after watching too much Outlander and spending a week in the Highlands this summer) to work singing every verse EXCEPT the first and most popular one!  Have you ever looked up the lyrics?  They're incredible.... that is, incredibly fun to try to sing!  The last verse is my favorite.  Put on your tacky Scottish Jimmy Hat (google it) and sing with me:

And surely ye'll be your pint' stoup
And surely I'll be mine!
And we'll talk a cup o' kindness yet
For auld lang syne!

The meaning is nice too:  Let's go buy some beers and catch up and reminisce about old times.

Speaking of reminiscing, this past year has been a rollercoaster, with some memories making it onto my set of all-time favorite experiences and some events I could have done without.  One of best things to come out of the year is that my photography has gotten notably better, I think, and I chalk that one up to simply taking the camera out more often.  Despite our complaints as kids, it's looking like our parents may have been right when they passed along the "practice makes perfect" wisdom.

Here are my top three "highs" from the year:

1. Continuing my travel binge! 

International travel included checking the box on some new places (Norway, Portugal, and Puerto Rico) and revisiting others (Scotland and Iceland).  Of course, there were also a few road trips, several jaunts up to NYC for some Broadway entertainment, and some time spent on the ski slopes!

2. Seeing one of my favorite bands, right next to the stage, in a tiny venue with just 699 other fans!

Mumford & Sons remains one of my favorite bands, and with the hiatus officially over when they released their new album in the spring, I got to see them live three times this year (with plans for at least one more time in 2016).  One of those live events was a "rehearsal gig" they played prior to the album release - where they announced the concert maybe 24 hours in advance, I got tickets in the morning, and was seeing them in person that night.  The best part about that whole show, besides having Marcus Mumford sing inches above me while standing on his stage monitor, was that I met two fantastic fans who have now become my friends.  Oh, and of course meeting/talking to the band after the show, and again at their New Jersey festival stop was not too shabby either!

3. Hamilton!

Ask anyone who has been around me these past few months, I am completely obsessed with this hit Broadway show!  I was lucky enough to get a day-of returned ticket to see it when it was off-Broadway at the Public Theater.  While I didn't get to see Lin-Manuel Miranda as Hamilton that day, I was still completely blown away.  I have not been this excited about a Broadway show since RENT in the mid-90s.  I saw it again in October in its Broadway home, this time with the show creator, Lin, in the lead role, and I cried three times.  2016 is going to be very good to me since I've got tickets for the spring and fall to see it again.  While that seems ridiculous to already have plans this far in advance, if you've tried to get tickets to the show, you know what I am talking about.  The only way to get them for reasonable face value amounts and in a good location is to buy them early, and yes that may mean 11 or 12 months in advance!

Alas, not everything went as planned in 2015, and I ended up spending a lot of the mid-year months rehabilitating my knee after I severed my ACL, requiring surgery.  I wish I could say I was really diligent with continuing my rehab after my insurance stopped paying for it, but this gal has definitely neglected her squats and wall sits.  I could really feel the difference when I hit the ski slopes for the first time this season.  My legs were not as strong, and I tired quickly.  Yep, that post-surgery muscle atrophy is definitely a real thing! On top of my own health mishaps, I had a family member who also suffered a scary health event as well.

On to the new year....

In light of all that, it looks like 2016 is turning into a year of health reform!  I got a Fitbit for Christmas that I've been trying out this past week.  So far, the feedback I get on my daily report is not surprising - sleep more, move more.  What Fitbit doesn't know is that I was a super klutz on Christmas morning and slipped on the wood floor in my ski socks carrying a load of ski gear to the car and mildly sprained my ankle (still skied though!).  I'm going to need that to get better and back to normal soon so I can start my healthy journey!

Of course, I'm not going to give up on my travels and adventures in 2016. I've got passport plans for New Zealand and the Canadian Rockies (I've been obsessing about Banff for the last two years!) already on the books. Much of my other free time will probably invested in local microadventures or short road trips.

I also have two other things I want to do in 2016 that are not necessarily resolutions but they are positive changes.  The first one is that I want to finally cancel my cable TV account.  I'll still need the internet, but I want to see if I can successfully switch to just online content providers like Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu.  Since I don't watch a lot of live TV, I am thinking that this is an addiction I can break that will benefit me both mentally and financially.  The second thing I want to do is focus on creating and maintaining a new website for my photography.  I'd like to be able to provide a way for people who like my work to get a copy for themselves, if desired.  So, if you are one of those people, stay tuned!

Other than get healthy, travel, watch less TV, and get my photography website finished, my only other plans are to continue to scratch off items from my baking to-do list!  While a five item to-do list is small, I am hoping it will be big in returns.

I hope that you had a healthy and happy year too - you and all your loved ones - and wish you all the best in the new year!  And, of course, thank you for joining me on my adventures!


One more thing, on my 2015 Holiday Gift Guide earlier this month, I highlighted a great computer novelty item for Lego enthusiasts - a laptop cover made to work with Legos called Brik Book.  I got mine in the mail, and check out my design I made for it!  A camera!  Shocking design, I know.