Happy New Year 2018

Twenty Seventeen

Twenty seventeen was ending and I found myself reading through people’s blogs.  The topics were varied but what caught my attention were blogs that chronicled achievements for the past year.  Travel blogs that enumerated the number of places that they featured, bucket list blogs that counted how many in the list had been ticked off, and even some personal blogs that simply stated how many followers they have gained.

It had me thinking.  What have I done for the past year?

I didn’t know how to measure my achievements for the year so I went back to my collection of photographs.  I decided to measure my achievements through my photographs.

New Year 2017 fireworks
New Year 2017 fireworks

The year started with a bang and a lot of fireworks, of course.  The fireworks at Fair Park, Texas was our version of “dropping the ball” at Times Square, New York except that there was no ball and instead we had food, music, laughter, children playing, and fireworks.  The first day of the year and we were already eating, feasting, and having a party.  Good to know that we started the year smiling and laughing!

Lantern festival
Lantern festival

February saw us going to Lubbock, Texas, upon invitation from my daughter, to participate in a light lantern festival.  The experience was unique.  Participating for the first time revealed that launching a light lantern was not easy.  It did look nice though as the glowing lantern was floating away.  Somehow, it did cross my mind and wondered if the tiny light inside the lantern will be enough to start a fire somewhere downwind.

Broken Bow river
Broken Bow river
Fly fishing
Fly fishing

March was the perfect time to be in Oklahoma.  The cottage was spacious and elegant.  All five families were able to find a place to sleep comfortably.  The weekend provided enough time to explore the area, hang out, spend time with each other, and just simply, stay relaxed.

Tulips
Tulips
Red tulip
Red tulip

We found a tulip field close to home also in March and decided to check it out.  It was small but heart-warming to find tulips in a place where I thought it was only corn, wheat, and sorghum all year round.  We also found wineries!

live band
Live street band
Sharon Markwardt
Sharon Markwardt – painter
Old architecture Granary, Texas
Old Architecture Granbury, Texas

The road trip to Granbury, Texas in April was done out of curiosity.  I heard people describe the city as nice and pretty.  True to the rumor, Granbury offered a lot of things.  We didn’t know about the wine tasting festival the weekend that we went there so, surprise!  We also met artists and appreciated the old, restored architecture of the city.

popcorn maker
Popcorn maker
Farmers' market
Farmers’ market
Main Street Beer fest
MainStreetFest
tired feet and cold beer
Tired feet and cold beer

The Main Street Beer fest at Grapevine, Texas in May was on its 33rd year.  The whole length of Main street was closed for the event.  Grapevine has always been famous for wine at Main Street and wineries in the surrounding areas.  We occasionally go there to do some wine tasting in some winery but there was a beer fest during the weekend and Main street was filled with booths and food.

Silos at Magnolia Waco, Texas
Silos at Magnolia Waco, Texas
Magnolia Market and Garden
Magnolia Market and Garden

Close to the end of May, we did a road trip to the Hill country in Texas.  There were a few places where we wanted to go and so we thought the best way to do it in one time was through a road trip.  The first stop was Waco, Texas at the famous Silo and Magnolia of HDTV stars Chip and Joanna Gaines.  The place was closed the last time we were there and so we had to plan for some other time.  This time, we were able to check out the famous place.

LBJ park
LBJ park

We also drove to the LBJ state park and devoted a little bit of time to history since it was Memorial day weekend.

Willow Lane loop
Wildlife by the road

The last leg of the day trip was drive through Willow Lane loop.  The fields there was supposed to the filled with wildflowers but we were too late and saw only a few of the lingering flowers by the roadside.  The local wildlife though were still there and the deer that stared back at us struck me as funny because it seemed to be saying, “Now, what the heck are you doing here so late for the wildflower season?”

I astarted this blog in May and the past eight months has been wonderful for me.  I am happy that I have provided myself an outlet to express my photography and write about it.  No longer do I have to wonder about the situation surrounding the photograph because I now actually spend time writing about the experience.

eagerly waiting
Momo eagerly waiting
food, laughter, friendship
Food, Laughter, Friendship

June was a big activity since we, our group of friends – our adopted family, drove to Destin, Florida for a summer vacation (read about it here).  We spent several days there and each day was a series of activities that were planned for the vacation by the mothers (read about it here).  It was one of my best summer vacations.

Tracy Lawson & JB Bean, writers
Tracy Lawson & JB Bean, writers
4th of July weekend
4th of July weekend

It was the same idea as Grapevine, Texas when we went to Wylie, Texas on 4th of July weekends.  We heard about the booths, the food, the live band, the motor show, and the local delicacies and so we went.  Most of the day spent there was an experience of middle-of-Texas culture.

Jefferson, Texas
Jefferson, Texas

Jefferson, Texas was not really in our plan but I got tired while driving to East Texas last July.  We parked for a few minutes of sleep and rest.  After a few minutes, we felt rested enough to start heading out when we noticed a lot of people walking around and in the stores.  It was a Saturday and a regular market day for most people there.  We decided to go inside one of the general stores and found a wide variety of dry goods and delicacies.  Needless to say, we bought our share of local delicacies to bring home.

Caddo lake
Caddo lake

Caddo lake was exactly how it was described.  A lot of trees, warm lake water, humid, and beautiful.

Barton Springs
Barton Springs
Colorado River
Colorado River

We spent a lot of time in Austin, Texas last August.  My son was moving to Austin and we took the opportunity to help and spend some time in the city as well.  So many things to see and experience in Austin with so little time.  We will have to keep going back to Austin.

Bamboo Manalac concert
Bamboo Manalac concert

September had our activities close to home.  Bamboo Manalac, popular singer of RiverMaya band in the Philippines back in the 90’s, did a concert at The Colony, Texas.  It was a small event that catered to the local community.  The performance though was far from a small event as the artist delivered one flawless performance after another.

Plano Balloon Festival
Plano Balloon Festival

The Plano Balloon Festival came next and we eagerly anticipated it.  It was a big surprise that the event has become so big that the event venue overflowed with people and I didn’t feel it as a family type activity anymore.

The river at Horsethief Canyon
The river at Horsethief Canyon
Columbia ice field glacier
Columbia ice field glacier
Moraine lake
Moraine lake
Autumn at the park
Autumn at the park

Our major travel this year was Calgary, Canada last October.  We spent four days touring Drumheller, Banff, and Calgary.  We got a taste of real winter cold in autumn as the blast of cold air was the coldest we have experienced ever.

Indi
Indi

My grandchild turned two years old in October!

Ateneo de Davao GS '75-HS '79
Ateneo de Davao GS ’75-HS ’79

We were back in Florida in November for a Grade School ’75 and High School ’79 class reunion.   We had a lot of attendees and the worst comment I received for the head shot pictures was, “You look so old!”  Well, you can’t be handsome and something else at the same time!

Nativity scene
Nativity scene

Merry Christmas to y’all!!

Feast for the New Year
Feast for the New Year
Don't forget your fruits
Don’t forget your fruits

Happy New Year 2018!!

This review listed one international travel and a lot of domestic travel.  I think I did good as  I was able to see another country and learned a lot from the communities around me.  I should do it again.

Happy traveling and blogging to all of you!!

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