Thursday, December 26, 2013


It is a common occurrence to hear of people making New Year Resolutions and then either never achieving their goals or keeping their resolve for perhaps an hour.

I have solved this conundrum by waiting to compose my 2013 resolutions until now. This provides me with a pretty good shot at some sort of achievement. I realize there are a few days left in the year for me to mess up, but I'll chance it.

1. Post a Blog Entry

Well, I achieved the heck out of this one, didn't I? Here it is in all the glory I can muster.

2. Stay in the Main Building of the Grand Floridian

My family has been to Disney World a lot. I mean a LOT. We were there in October 1971 the month it opened. Both of my daughters were only a year old when they first went, so technically, they've been going all their lives. And we've stayed at the Contemporary, the Polynesian, the Disney Inn (when it existed) and even the Swan and others.

But our favorite, and the place we've stayed the last four times is the Grand Floridian. But, we had never stayed in the main building with the restaurants and the monorail attached. This year, our daughter surprised us with this resolution-achiever. For those of you who have dined at Victoria and Albert's, it is such a pleasure to get there just by taking the elevator. Of course, now we're spoiled rotten... but, oh, well!

3. Recreate Certain Photos

It is a popular craze now to recreate classic photos and see how people have aged and deteriorated. There are places in Disney World that are exactly the same as they've always been, so we used our trip this year to recreate some of the thousands of Disney photos we have. The results will be the topic of another blog entry.

4. Get a New Video Camera

The video camera I had works JUST FINE! But like me and everything else based in technology, it's old now. It takes beautiful images, but it stores them on mini-DVDs. That's right, those little round things that you have to buy, store, document, load into the camera, initialize, finalize, pry out and store again. And they only hold about a half-hour of video. So, after watching one particularly troublesome finalization process, my wife suggested (!) that it was time to look into a new camera. Naturally, she was right. Now, I just turn it on and it's ready to go, for about five hours of HD video.

5. Add a 20th Year of Financials to Quicken

For those of you unfamiliar with Quicken, it is an application that stores and analyzes your financial data. I have been keeping all of my finances on Quicken for 20 years now. And by 'all', I mean every single transaction in banking, credit cards, cash and any other way. This allows me to budget with a fair degree of accuracy and remember things from 20 years ago. If I want to recall when and who replaced my water heater, or trend my electric bill over the last 20 years, it's a snap.

6. Reach a Financial Goal

I have more time to watch my financials now and I have diversified so much, I never expected to reach a particular goal in one of my categories that I had set over 10 years ago. Well, 2013 turned out to be a bit of a surprise and I reached that out-of-reach goal. Yay!

7. Buy Bicycles

My wife and I used to have bikes years ago and when I was at Penn State, my bike was my primary means of transportation since we only had one car. So after talking about it for a couple of years (we don't like to make any rash decisions), we bought some nice comfortable Specialized bikes. It's true, you don't forget how to ride and it turns out tooling around the neighborhood is a lot of fun and good exercise. The trick will be making sure we can ride occasionally during the winter.

8. Exercise the Snow Blower

This is the fourth winter we've had a snow blower. The first season, we used it once, then for the next TWO YEARS it sat unused because the Delaware Valley never produced enough snow to even crank it up. This year I was going to HAVE to start it just to keep it in operational order. But no worries, the first predicted dusting of snow turned out to be ten and a half inches. I just put some gas in it and whammo, it started right up. Now, hopefully, it can rest for two more years.

9. Stay in the Willard

The Willard Hotel in Washington is one of those national treasures you just have to visit. It's a hotel where Lincoln lived for heaven's sake and
now it's an Intercontinental which makes it even better than it was. Every President since Pierce has been there along with every other famous person ever. The term 'lobbyist' comes from the people who used to meet in the Willard lobby and make deals. Mark Twain wrote a couple of his books while staying at the Willard.

We'd been there to visit on other trips and had their famous mint juleps at the Round Robin Bar (where Walt Whitman used to drink) but never actually stayed. Well, it's just as great as we imagined and right in the middle of everything just a block from the White House. 

10. Restart my Photo Scanning

After you scan for a while, you get a little scanned-out. I have 40,000 (estimated) more photos to scan and it gets a little daunting to think about. The Disney Trip this year got me restarted because I had to scan all the Disney photos across the years so we could do our recreations (see #3 above). But I'm going again now and all the way up to the birth of our first daughter. Yay! Here's Deb bringing Leah home from the hospital.