2014

“A good traveller has no fixed plans, and is not intent on arriving.” – Lao Tzu

We had plans for this year. They never happened. In one respect I can look back on the year and think that we accomplished little of what we set out to do. Then I think about what actually happened this year and I don't know how we could have asked for much better.

None of our travel plans came through, but we still ended up with a couple of great trips. We were in Miami in June and Chicago in November. Not the best timing for either one of those, but in each case the timing was not of our choosing.

Miami came about from a work conference that Sue had. We spent a few days at the Biltmore in Coral Gables. Sue spent her day in meetings while I alternated between the pool, watching World Cup matches at the clubhouse, and watching the filming of a commercial with Gisele B√ľndchen. After the conference was over we shifted over to South Beach and spent a couple of days and nights enjoying that area.

Biltmore

Miami Beach

The trip to Chicago was to take advantage of probably a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see the New Zealand All Blacks rugby team play against the US Eagles. The All Blacks are probably the most successful sports team of all time. They had only played in the USA three times before in their 110+ year history, and the chances of me getting to New Zealand to see them play are pretty slim. When I heard that they were playing in Chicago, I jumped at the chance to go see them. The All Blacks beat the Eagles 74-6 (Ouch) but like I said, they are probably the most dominant team in the history of sport. Seeing them do the Haka in front of a sold out Soldier Field is a memory for the ages. After that we explored downtown Chicago, ate fantastic food, and got to have a great night out with my friends Alex and Rachel, including a show at the Second City comedy club.

All Blacks vs Eagles at Soldier Field

Cloud Gate

Chicago Night

Chicago Streets 2014

I got to see my good friend Jennifer get married. She wanted to combine a beach wedding with a family vacation, so for the first time ever I got to see her and all of her kids here in Florida. I usually have to go to Tennessee to see them all. It’s always a lot of fun to visit Tennessee, but it was nice to be able to show them what it’s like where I live.

As far as shows go, I got to see some great music, including a few bands I always seemed to miss before. After two failed attempts in years past I finally got to see an entire set from Trombone Shorty. Other highlights include the Soul Rebels, Winery Dogs, Rodrigo y Gabriela, Bad Religion, Offspring, Xandria, a few Orchestra shows, and a few dozen other bands.

Offspring

I also got to have one of my photos hanging in the Florida Museum of Photographic Arts for a month. You may have seen it if you’re on my Christmas card list.

The trips and the shows were good, but the real highlights for me this year were the people that I spent my time with. It was great to see Alex & Rachel. I really enjoyed seeing Jenn and her family. I got to see Geo, Rod, Perry, and Bill all together at the Winery Dogs show. Sue and I took her Mom out to a really good dinner at Berns. I can finally say that I went there and I got to share it with two of my favorite people.

Rude Boys

The simplest pleasure of the year was sitting down with Sue during the occasional free evening over the course of a few months and reading Neil Gaimans' Sandman series together. I'd been meaning to re-read it for a while. I never read it until the series was complete and in graphic novel form. When I finally read it a few years back it was the best thing I'd read all year. It's probably the best thing I've read this year also, so sharing it with Sue was pretty cool.

Here's to the hopes for a better 2015, especially for the people I know who are having rough times lately.

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