Peopled Places 2016: looking back on year three

Last weekend marked my third year writing this blog. What with the holiday season and me busily completing the design for a major renovation of our house, this milestone arrived and I hardly noticed it. Looking back on 2016, I’d say that overall while it was a year of personal accomplishments, my attention to my writing lapsed as I struggled with content and focus. Unfortunately, during the year past, five whole months were lost to history and I’ve not a single post to show for any of them. But as I noted looking back on year two, I’m not one to dwell on the negative. I completed the transition of the blog from WordPress.com to the self-hosted version, WordPress.org. Despite a few technical glitches, I got the new site up and running by myself with assistance from Bluehost. Just the simple fact that I was able to set up the new site given my limited knowledge of all the technical issues going in and still have it work is the best testament I can give to Bluehost’s instruction and assistance. Looking back, I’m glad I selected them since they made the transition as easy as I can imagine it ever could be.

My journey into black-and-white photography continues and over the past year I’ve taken some photos I really like:

Bicycling

Although I took a posting 0-for during May-August in 2016, let’s just say I took the spring/summer off, I remained busy as always between work, volunteer activities and my too numerous hobbies. Last year, combining daily travel with weekend recreational riding, I cycled more than 2,100 miles. I don’t know the real total because I didn’t start tracking my rides until I got a new fitness tracking watch in May. My guess is 3,000 sounds about right. Which is about the same annual mileage I put on my car before I got rid of it. The highlight of all this riding, without question, was my first ever trip to Lake Tahoe to complete the oh-so-rediculously-named Death Ride in California. Now, I’ve completed a lot of rides of 100+ miles but I had never done a ride like this one – 129 miles and more than 15,000 vertical feet of elevation gain over five mountain passes in one day. What? That ride was definitely the way to celebrate my 53rd birthday. And boy, Lake Tahoe is absolutely beautiful. Wow. As an encore performance, in August I did Pikes Peak, one of Colorado’s numerous 14ers, for the second time. Here’s a link to the first ascent. I’ll admit, I did not recall that ride being so stout. I’m happy that neither one of my riding buddies was filming when I reached the summit, apparently forgot how to clip out of my pedals and promptly fell down with my bicycle. Embarrassing. But satisfying all the same.

Bread

In 2016, I rediscovered my bread baking in a big way and couldn’t be happier. I don’t recall what sparked my return but I certainly had been on a rather long break. Then, in July or August, just like that, I started up again. In September I reworked the blog to include bread and I’ve focused on a different style loaf each month. I like this approach. I push myself to try different things, but the repetition of producing the same loaf each weekend for a month, allows me to see the nuances of a different technique or changes in recipe. I closed out 2016 like this…

Buildings

Interestingly enough, when I started the blog, buildings – my shorthand for architecture and design – was the focus of my writing. I love cities, architecture, design and how people interact with all of that. For some reason I hit a point where I just couldn’t motivate myself to write on it anymore. Not that I didn’t have anything to say. It’s just that nothing was there when I wanted it to be. Looking back on 2016, I posted only twice in my Architecture & Design category. How could that be? But there, in the archives, it is. Two posts. I’m still shaking my head.

Looking back, I’m okay with 2016. Sure, I wish I would have written more but even though I didn’t, I decided to go in a new direction that to me is inspiring. In 2016, I decided to bring together the three things I really care about – buildings, bread and bicycles – and write about that. Who knows where this will lead? I certainly don’t but I know I’m not indifferent about the topic.

Maybe that’s my lesson to take from last year: First, do something. Second, adapt and move on. And third, love what you do.

Till then.

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