What’s in a Year?

Or at least … what’s in a blogging year?

I’m contemplating that very question as I sit out on my finally clean screened in porch.  The rain and too many weekends of travel have kept me from enjoying it and I have missed spring and summer mornings out here.   Breakfast is done and I sit here now in comfortably cool temps, hot coffee at hand and a multitude of birds singing in the background.

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 How lucky I am to live where I do!  The house is far too big for one, what with the child moved on years ago, and 2 dogs and 1 cat also passed on.  It’s now just me and Abby, and every so often I consider moving to a smaller place.  Then I sit here on my porch, surrounded by nature (in the middle of my little city), basil growing in posts,  rabbits (and deer) eating all my hostas (damnit), and I drop all thoughts of moving … for now.

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But I digress.

One year ago, almost to the day, I started this blog as a way to communicate with family and friends while riding.  Each year, I take a solo bike trip and I’m loved enough to have people worry about my safety.  The first two years I typed a travel update via email from my Blackberry.  I’d find a fun little pub or restaurant, order the house special and a good imported beer and write the days news.  In searching for a better venue, I came to WordPress.

One thing led to another and I’ve now been posting for a year.  I started Life on the Bike and Other Fab Things as a travel journal and method of communication and it has morphed into something much, much more.

Story Telling.  Travel Journal.  Photography Portfolio.

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But after 12 months and 158 posts (now 159), it has become a passion, almost an addiction and has taken valuable time away from reading!

The two things that I did not anticipate?

1.  Growth as a photographer – because of many of you!  I have learned so much about the technique and artistry of photography and I have grown better (and more critical) of my efforts.  I can not wait to find a weekend photography retreat to attend so I can continue to improve.  Thanks to all of you out there for inspiring and teaching me.

2.  Connections – I had no idea that I would find such an amazing community of bloggers.  When I first signed on with WordPress and started trying to find my way around, I would read about the blogging community and was mystified.  How would I ever connect with people? How would they ever find me?  Then suddenly that first Like came … and then the first Follow (I still remember the thrill) and all of a sudden I was hooked!  I love telling my local friends about the connections I have made in Australia, London, Norway, Canada, and in many other countries and various parts of the US.  You all inspire me, uplift me, make me cry, and laugh out loud.

I have sighed, exclaimed and been envious over your photos.

I have been moved by your words and laughed at your jokes.

I’ve followed along on your adventures, been proud of your accomplishments, and wondered about you when you haven’t posted lately.

I’ve also lost hours of sleep and time spent with a books … ah well, it’s not all perfection.

To my family and friends: thanks for your patience with my requests to look at just a few more photos.   My annual solo bike trip is planned for August (details pending) and I look forward to having you all along for the ride as always.

To my fellow bloggers:  Thanks for coming sharing this amazing thing called blogging with me.  You have made my life richer for embracing me into your community.

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One special moment in time….

Mae wrote this lovely post … an uplifting moment after a terrible week.

Mae's Day

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Yesterday, we flew over the storm that trapped me in Chicago.  We bumped and thumped over the clouds.  Belted in our seats, I was in the last row fighting back the urge to grab that little paper bag in the pocket seat.  I kept my dignity in tact as lunch remained where I needed it to be.

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When we landed in New York the sun was out and it was warm.  Having lived the storm that was coming, I decided to run to the park and capture some photos of the trees.  A now or never in case the intensity was the same as in Chicago.  I feared all of the blooms would be blown away.

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Central Park was beautiful and I was right to run up there to capture what already was a peak moment.  As I neared Bethesda Fountain I spied a gondola on the lake.  It was…

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Day 4 – Good Morning From Williamsburg!

Almost 500 Nurse Practitioners have gathered in Williamsburg for the 2013 Virginia Council of Nurse Practitioners conference.  The conference is an opportunity for learning new concepts, gaining knowledge, and advocating for improved health care for all citizens.

It is TIME for transition and change in healthcare and to move away from the territoriality that is promoted by certain healthcare providers!

For now, a few quick pictures from the Williamsburg Lodge.

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Weekly Photo Challenge: My 2012 in Pictures

For those who don’t blog with WordPress and may not know, the Daily Post offers a Weekly Photo Challenge.  Each week, the Daily Post provides a theme for creative inspiration and the blogger is supposed to take photographs based on the interpretation of the theme.

The theme for this week?

Pick the best pictures from your 2012 and have those pictures tell everyone about your year.

I wonder if this Challenge was as hard for other bloggers as it was for me.  At first I was intrigued, then overwhelmed and finally resigned … resigned to the fact that I would never be able to narrow a year’s worth of pictures down to a few.

This exercise helped me to remember what a great year it has been and just how fortunate I am.  Fortunate to have amazing friends and family, and to live surrounded by beauty!  No doubt there have been challenges and some heartache, but the positives won the day (er … year).

I decided to share my year in two ways … life and beauty through photography and then life and beauty through family and friends.  A few of the pictures were taken with my Blackberry (yes, I still use a Blackberry).  You’ll be able to tell the difference.

Life and Beauty – Photography

Claytor Lake, Pulaski County, Virginia

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The Booker T Washington National Monument, Franklin County, Virginia

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The Ride of Silence, Radford, Virginia  http://www.rideofsilence.org/main.php

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The New River, Radford, Virginia

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The New River Valley Fair, Pulaski County, Virginia

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Fall and The Virginia Tech Hokies

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Labor Day and rain in Floyd County, Virginia

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The Scarritt Bennett Center, Nashville, Tennessee (from the 2012 Solo Bike Ride)

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Shooting Creek Road, Franklin County, Virginia

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Somewhere in North Carolina

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Along the New River in Pulaski County, Virginia

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Foggy Morning, Radford, Virginia

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The Home of John and Mabel Ringling, Sarasota, Florida

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Just another lovely field in Montgomery County, Virginia

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A train trestle over The New River, Pulaski County, Virginia

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Life and Beauty – Family and Friends

Andrew’s Farewell Party before his move to Charleston, SC (in Blacksburg, Virginia)

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Mothers Day / Fathers Day with the best parents EVER (Williamsburg, Virginia)

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Sisters Celebrating 50 (Roanoke, Virginia)

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The Annual GOA Gathering (Bath, North Carolina)

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Hanging with the SoHos! (Dublin, Virginia)

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Gathering with the BGs in Grayson County, Virginia

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The annual Road Trip with Ruth to see the Hokies (Chapel Hill, North Carolina)

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Mumford and Sons Concert (Bristol, Tennessee)

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Some of my favorite Biker Chicks (Elkin, North Carolina)

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Bikers riding for a good cause (Draper, Virginia)

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“Divas” raising money for another good cause (Radford, Virginia)

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Time on the farm with Bill

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And time on the bike with some of my favorite guys (Philpott Dam, Bassett, Virginia)

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I’m always ready with the camera while riding,

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whether at the beginning of a trip with my good friend, Tim,

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Or during the pouring rain on my annual solo bike ride (somewhere between Nashville and Knoxville)

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And best yet, reconnecting with lifelong friends (not a quality picture but a quality friendship) Richmond, Virginia

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So there you have it … how lucky am I?

Onward to 2013

The Changing

Life is full of constant change …

moving from one season to the next

and with it, the passing on of wisdom from a long time caregiver to those who will carry on.

The beauty and the bittersweet are captured here.