Archive for the ‘About the Blog’ Category

Blog 7th Year Collage

My blog is now seven years old. This is my 237th post in the past 364 weeks. I kept a one post a week pace up for the first 3 years, three posts a month pace up for the 4th year, 1.5 post a month during my 5th year and at least 1 post a month on average for the last two years.  I don’t have posting goals any longer, but I do track my other goals here on the blog. The main list of goals is on my Bucket List.  Although I have checked a lot of things off, I think I’ve added more than I’ve checked off and I have some that I thought I would have done by now that are still there on the “Still to Do” list. I’d love to knock about 30 off the list in the next year… but 5-6 is more likely based on “past performance”. If I planned the year right I could easily knock out 10-12 as there are a lot of things that are all around northern Arizona and Southern Utah, but we honestly have not decided exactly what we want to do in the next year. The only plan we have is for a trip to Hawaii that is coming up soon. It’s been nearly a decade since I’ve been back to Oahu. That is way too long for me to be away. I loved our visits to Kauai and Maui, but need to fit Oahu in more regularly. Maybe every other visit?

The things that motivated me to start this blog, a nearly empty nest, and a search for new ways to fill all the time that came with are still motivating me to continue the blog. Although all our kids are grown, they are starting their own nests nearby and we can’t get enough time with them and the new little ones. There are also still several weekend (and bigger) projects around the house to tackle, so trying to fit in too many adventures can start to take away from other equally or more important things right here at home.

I’d also like to catch up this year on the blog. I just finished posting a trip we did just after the blog turned 6! Maybe I can cut that backlog down to 3-4 months by next August.

With 7 years gone by since I started this blog I also have to acknowledge the undeniable feeling of time flying by way too fast. Retirement is getting closer, and so is what comes after retirement… and I’m not talking about bad investments and having to go back to work. With that in mind healthy living is becoming more and more important. The routine visits to the gym are not as routine as they should be. The diet is not what it should be. My goal to get back to running is not progressing as quickly as I wanted it to. Injuries are more frequent and take longer to heal than they used to. We are preparing ourselves for a happy well-funded retirement, I want to be around to enjoy it as long as possible. So I will think about ways, beyond the hiking goal list, to use the blog to set and achieve goals.

I’m looking forward to the fall and lots of local hiking around San Diego county.  Even with my foot surgery this spring I expect this year will be my best hiking year since I started the blog. I’m likely to need surgery on an arm in the next year, but hope that won’t slow me down too much. Maybe I’ll get lucky and the tendon won’t detach the rest of the way when I’m able to go back into the gym! Yes, getting old is no fun… but it is a great motivator!

Now it’s time to blow out the candles and eat the cake … Happy Birthday Blog!


My Blog is Six

Posted: August 22, 2016 in About the Blog

My blog is now six years old. I have posted 225 posts over the past 312 weeks. I kept a one post a week pace up for the first 3 years, three posts a month pace up for the 4th year, 1.5 post a month during my 5th year and just over 1 post a month of the last year.  Although I used to have goals for posting, I let those go last year, and I won’t have one this year either.  I definitely still enjoy blogging and I can say without a doubt that this blog has been a complete success for me.  It has helped me change my life over the past 6 years.  I live a very full and happy life with my wife, our 6 kids, 2 grandchildren and more soon I’m sure, and our terrific friends and family.  My goal when I started this blog was more than posting on a regular basis, it was to change the way I lived my life.  To grab life by the horns not the tail.  I can say without hesitation that I have done that and I give blogging about some of the things we do a lot of credit for this.  Not just posting what we do, but putting together goals, and tracking my progress on the blog.

A few years ago I set a goal to run the Marine Corps Marathon.  Tracking my progress against my plan on the blog definitely helped me achieve that goal.  I am currently tracking 2 goals on the blog, my Bucket List and my list of local hikes I’ve completed  from the book Afoot and Afield in San Diego.  I’ve been able to make steady progress on both lists and plan to keep working on both lists over the next year.

I also plan to add a new list.  We love going to National Parks and I’ve been to several, but we tend to keep going back to our favorites.  I don’t plan to stop going to Yosemite, or other parks I’ve been to, but I do plan to try to add some variety.  I’m not adding a goal to “visit every National Park in the United States”, but I do plan to track the ones I’ve been to and look for opportunities to see those I have not been to.  (Note:  Added page on the top menu for National Parks Visited.)

I still have some projects to get done around my house, but I also expect I’ll be busy helping our kids with their houses, and of course spending plenty of time with our grand kids.



Although it is hard to believe that I’ve been writing this blog for 6 years, it is also hard to remember living life any other way then I do now.   Life is definitely not slowing down.   Even though we don’t plan as many big things as we used to (intentionally), we rarely have a quiet weekend and home alone.  We plan some adventures, and we check some things off our lists, but our life just seems to fill in the rest.  We still find ourselves having to say no, or not that weekend too often, but it is not as bad as it was a couple years ago.

I’m looking forward to the fall and lots of local hiking around San Diego county.  I want to get back to running if I can early next year.  I have foot surgery toward the end of this year and I’m hoping that will help.  Next year we also plan to reward ourselves with at least one big item from the our bucket list.  Right now a vacation to Italy is what we are thinking but we have some more time to put together a plan for that.

Now it’s time to blow out the candles and eat the cake … Happy Birthday Blog!

Last year, 2014, was not quite “to plan”. It was a very busy year, we had a lot of fun, made some progress on goals, but at the end… it also brought a lot of heartache and sadness. I covered most of the fun parts of the year in my recent End of Summer 2014 post. Before the summer started there was also a work trip to Canada, a getaway to Las Vegas with Jenny’s kids, and a lot of local hiking.

To keep myself honest I should probably review the 2014 top 10 countdown from my post Happy New Year – 2014!

10. Weekend project – install surround sound speakers! (Done)

9. Develop an Android App and publish it to Google Play. (Nope – I’m slacking…)

8. Weekend Project – Improve the storage in our garage so we can park 2 cars in the garage at once (novel idea)! (I say no, but my wife gives me partial credit for some of the things I did to make it a little better, but the big improvements will have to come in 2015.)

7. Our 4th consecutive season of Green Flash Concerts at the Birch Aquarium. (YES – we had lots of fun!)

6. Bucket List (progress) – Complete at least 35 new (never been on hikes) in San Diego County. (Sort of a yes – cumulative, but I think I really missed the spirit of this one. we did not hike at the end of 2014. It was very dry until near the end of the year and then we were booked.)

5. Bucket List – Walk across the Grand Canyon not once but twice on a rim to rim to rim hike! (Not quite… we hiked from the North to the South rim, but the a rim to rim to rim will have to wait until next time.)

4. Check at least one item off my Bucket List in the travel section. Need to coordinate this with a few people so I’m not picking one now… (Not from the travel section “per say”, it ended up being from the California section – see the first post for this trip – A Few Days in San Francisco (Day 1 – 26 July 2014 – Cable Car Museum and Dinner on Nob Hill).)

3. Visit family and friends in Iowa, Nebraska, Idaho, and even here in California! (Yes!)

2. One of my daughters will get engaged! (OK cheating on the prediction side of things as it happened on January 2nd.) (Yep! Not one but two engagements in 2014!)

1. Bucket List – rock a grandchild to sleep in my arms! (Over and over again!)

However, 2014 was not all “fun and games”. Throughout the year there was an underlying theme of significant illness, and uncertainty. Some of this turned out well and some did not. There were also some terrible surprises at the end of the year. In November and December we lost several members of our immediate and extended family. Regardless of all the fun we had throughout the year I will always remember the end of 2014 as a time spent reflecting on past joys, feeling lucky to have known these people, and feeling the full brunt of their loss. One of my key philosophies on life is that joy and happiness would not be as sweet if grief and sadness did not exist. I will carry that as hope into the new year along with the wonderful memories I have of those we lost.

Now to continue the tradition I started last year… here is my Top 10 Countdown for 2015.

10. See at least one singer/act that I’ve never seen before from my Bucket List.

9. Do at least one item from the Adventure, Travel, or California sections of my Bucket List.

8. Eliminate my electric bill! (This one is already planned – so it’s an easy “done” for next year’s review.)

7. Leave room in our schedule for opportunistic travel and adventure and take advantage of at least one of these opportunities.

6. Complete at least one of the following home projects:
– Expand the storage area of my garage by at least 50% to give us more room for fun and games – ping-pong and darts anyone!
– Finish painting the remaining “contractor white” walls and woodwork in our home.

5. Plan and complete a family camping trip to Yosemite. This may be challenging with all our kid’s busy schedules this year.

4. Complete at least 20 new hikes in San Diego County to check off a few more trails on my page tracking the progress on my bucket list goal to hike all the trails in the book Afoot and Afield in San Diego County.

3. Focus on healthy living. I will lose the weight I’ve gained over the past couple years by eating better and exercising more.

2. Spend lots of time with friends and family.

1. Walk my oldest daughter down the aisle!

I hope your 2014 was everything you hoped for and then some, and that your 2015 exceeds all reasonable expectations! Happy New Year!

My blog is now four years old. I have posted 194 posts over the past 208 weeks, so I’ve fallen behind my goal of 1 post a week, this year for the first time. I thought about doing a little “catching up” over the past few months, but we had 3 vacations in the last 3 months and I also had a couple of business trips. I posted 38 posts in the last year. Rather than beating myself up about it I plan to lower my goal this year to 3 posts a month. When I look at my “Honey Do” list for the house, and my “better do” list at work – not to mention plenty of grandson time, I’m sure I won’t be sitting on the couch a lot!

Although the blog has changed over the last 4 years, its main purpose has been constant – to celebrate living a full life. With four years of posts on the blog some of the standard widgets and tools for giving access to these posts are starting to fall short. Some of the things I did in the last year have helped in some ways. I’ve kept my sidebar tool for my “Favorite Posts – So Far” up to date. This has made it easier for people to find many of my favorite posts (usually vacations and adventures). However, the list has gotten long and unwieldy, so I plan to do some consolidating. I’ll create a summary page for places I’ve been multiple times and have many posts for (such as the Grand Canyon, Yosemite, San Francisco).  These summary pages with have a table of posts and include a thumbnail picture from the post. I can put this same table at the end of each of these posts to make it easier to find the information a person may be interested in.

On my homepage I’ve added some links using the built-in post categories on my homepage using my most common categories for posts that don’t fit into my favorites so far list. But this just brings people to a long continuous string of posts. I would rather have it bring them to a list of posts with descriptions. I have a couple of choices to make this happen.
1. Change my theme to one with more tools. (This would be quite a bit of work to reformat many of the posts – especially the pictures.)
2. Brush off my HTML skills and do it myself. I’m leaning toward doing this, but with 194 posts and growing, this could be a bit of a chore to maintain.

Year four of the blog had a couple major events planned. I ran the 2013 Marine Corps Marathon. I didn’t achieve my time goal due to a late training injury, so I plan to do another at some point. However, I need my Achilles tendon to heal first. I see some physical therapy in my future! We also did a Grand Canyon Rim to Rim hike. It was terrific despite the heat and a lingering cold.

I don’t have firm plans for any big adventures in 2015 yet. There’s at least one wedding to plan for, and maybe more! If we can find a date I would love to have a family camping trip to Yosemite or Sequoia. But we’ll have to see where that might fit in. I will continue with my goal of doing all 250 hikes in San Diego County. This will likely take 5-6 years even if we stay on it! As soon as my Achilles is healed I will start training for more runs. I love the half marathon length, but I know I can get a much better time on the marathon than I did at last years Marine Corps Marathon.

It’s hard to believe another year has past. Life is definitely not slowing down. I have absolutely lived a full life for the last four years. The blog has helped me stay focused on planning and living life whether that revolved around a milestone adventure, or just enjoying the local area more. I don’t plan to give up living this way or blogging about it any time soon.

Now it’s time to blow out the candles and have some cake… Happy Birthday Blog!

On the 30th of October 2013 Google offered me a custom URL for my Google+ account. Being one of only a few Eric Rial’s out there I figured I better jump on it to avoid missing out on the coveted URL! Well at least it is coveted by me and some guy in Argentina. At the time I accepted this great offer, I wondered what it would mess up. I figured it was Google after all, so they probably had this all figured out.

As I sat around waiting for the soreness to pass from my first marathon I was also noticing my blog statistics were going down. This happens all the time as what I’ve posted in the past becomes less relevant and drops in search results. Over 80% of the traffic to my blog comes from search engines, so I’m used to the ups and downs. However, this drop seemed different. It wasn’t so much up and down, as down and down! A drop of over 70% over the past 3 weeks in average daily post views! So I decided to check around. It didn’t take long to see the problem. I tried out some common search terms that bring people to my blog, and didn’t immediately see my posts in the results. I looked closer, and they were there, but my Google authorship picture (from Google+) was missing! Even I had difficulty distinguishing my post from the rest of the results. Unless you are in the top couple results you are less likely to “get the click” without something to draw the person’s eye to your post. I knew that when I first set this up last year, but after this skid in post views I’m was true believer!

It only took a few minutes to search (authorship photo in Google results) for the instructions to set it up again. I couldn’t even find the link I had put in – possibly removed as a dead link? Then I watched for the photo to show back up. It took a while for it to come back for all of my common search results.  It also took from November 2013 until March 2014 for my post view statistics to recover.  I have other theories on way my stats went down… the top of the list is that my Mom quit viewing 30 posts a day.  That’s not likely, she’s my biggest fan!  Anyway, the stats came back, but then I noticed again in my search results no longer had my picture again in early July 2014.  I was concerned.  I found out that Google had decided to stop putting photos in the search results.  This concerned me and I assumed my statistics would tank again.  However, July was my best month so far and August is looking even better so far.  Google claims removing the photos won’t affect traffic, and I guess maybe their right.  Maybe it doesn’t matter… maybe there is some other reason my stats tanked last October.

I guess I’ll never know.

[Note:  Please don’t like this post if all you want is for me to “check out” your posts on increasing traffic.  I’m not obsessed with traffic, never plan to earn a dime from this blog, and think all such schemes are scams!  I blog because I enjoy blogging and to celebrate living a full life.  If all you do this for is because you think you’ll get rich convincing people to click to and buy a system to “make money online”, then good luck to you!  I won’t be joining your “movement”! I’ll just keep plugging away writing what I enjoy writing about. If someone enjoys reading it so much the better.]

View from Tecate Peak in Southern San Diego County

One of the most satisfying feelings in life is feeling the sense of being grounded. The dictionary definition of the word asks more questions about a person than it answers.

I’ve heard other phrases in my life that I also equate with a person who is grounded such as “knows who they are and they’re happy with it”, “comfortable in their own skin”, and “right where they want to be in life”.   The classic view of a person who is “grounded” is of a person who is that way because that is who they are and nothing can shake them. People like that might exist, but I think anyone is capable of being shaken loose from their roots occasionally. Sometimes it is better to let yourself drift for a while than to hold on to a self-image that no longer works. I believe you won’t be able to hold on to that “grounded” feeling for long if your self-image doesn’t match your situation!  Although I haven’t always felt that I was “grounded”, I can definitely think of four times in my life I felt that way.

When I was young and we lived just outside of my hometown, even though I spent a lot of time alone, I remember being very happy. I had a close family, felt I knew who I was, and where I fit in the world. Of course things have a way of changing, in fact they never stop changing. I hit puberty (never a likely time to feel grounded), my parents divorced, and we moved in to town. It is hard to feel grounded when the “ground” is shifting underneath you.

But I found my way and even though I was a rebellious teen, I felt grounded. I’m sure my Mom would feel differently about that time in my life, but I was happy with much of my life. I started working, had a more social life, a terrific best friend (who is still my best friend today), and I learned a lot about myself. But high school doesn’t last forever! After high school the ground shifted yet again. Behavior that worked when I had fewer responsibilities became a huge problem. I didn’t know where I was headed and no longer felt even a little bit grounded.

Eventually, I decided that a major change was necessary. I decided to join the Marine Corps. The Marine Corps is a terrific organization and I loved every minute of my 21 years of service, but I can’t say that I felt particularly grounded during my first four years in the Marine Corps. I was constantly moving around, meeting new people, and learning even more about myself. I wasn’t particularly happy with some of the things I learned, so I decided to make some changes. At the end of my first enlistment I met a woman, got married and started a family. Responsibility and family allowed me to finally feel grounded again.

The years I spent married and raising young children was a defining time in my life. I was absolutely exactly where I wanted to be. I never wanted it to end! We were married 20 years. We were happy at least 80% of the time for the first 17. Unfortunately we were only happy about 20 percent of the time the last three years. This was different for me than after high school. After high school I didn’t really know who I was.  Now I did! I was settled in my career, I was a father, and I wanted to be a family man. That included coming home from work to my family. My self-image no longer completely fit my situation. I saw my children several hours a week, not every night. I came home to an empty apartment, and I didn’t have a long list of interests to fill my life with. The interests of my youth – going to the bar, playing pool, and the rest of the things young men do, felt like a pretty hollow existence compared to what my life had been.

I didn’t all at once decide to “find myself” or to live a fuller life. In fact I did what a lot of people in my situation do, I jumped back into a relationship very quickly. I thought I could rebuild what I had lost. I thought all I needed was someone to come home to and then everything would be “good” again. It didn’t work out quite that way. I ended up married and divorced again very quickly. Although it was a 3 year relationship I was not able to regain that feeling of being grounded. After that experience I was even more “out of sorts”. I really was adrift except for one thing, my youngest son moved in with me.

I wish I could say that with my son there I had decided to just enjoy having my son there, not worry about dating, and take some time to build a life, but I didn’t know I needed to do that.  I was a single parent, dating, and dealing with the challenges that all of those things together bring. It didn’t leave a lot of time in my life for self discovery. It didn’t take long for me to see that this wasn’t the way to happiness. I pulled away from online dating, focused on doing my own thing, not for years, but for enough time to find something that I could build on.  I also started blogging. My first blog is no longer around. It was a 60 post in 60 days nonstop rant. I wasn’t ranting at the world for “what they were doing to me”. I was ranting at myself! I needed to change some things. It was too late to “Join the Marine Corps” again, and that is not the kind of change I needed anyway. I needed to accept that I wouldn’t go back to where I had been before. Besides, my kids were mostly grown and the nest was emptying out. I started to hike, and run, and sail more. I started going to plays and more concerts than I had ever gone to before. I also accepted the friendship offered by a terrific woman I was dating before my “60 posts in 60 days” rant/melt down. Again I wish I could say that I let this go slowly, that is absolutely what I needed, but I didn’t. After a few months I asked her to date again. At least it wasn’t because I needed to date, it was because I thought she was terrific and I didn’t want to lose her.  However, I did commit myself to taking the dating slowly, and to continuing to find myself. I knew I needed to fill my life with not just the company of another person, but with my own interests if I was going to ever be happy again.

Much of the rest of the story is already told in the posts I’ve written for this blog over the last 3+ years, so I’ll skip to the good part.  Last week I was rocking my grandson to sleep and my beautiful, tenacious, adventurous, wonderful wife bent over to give me a kiss and one word came to my mind – grounded!  I was grounded well before this, but I felt it more strongly than ever before at that moment.  I could not be in a better place. I cannot imagine a different life. I know exactly who I am and I’m happy with that person (well mostly). I know that there is change out there somewhere in the future. I don’t dwell on it… but it will come. Until then I will live every day to the fullest and continue to feel grounded!

2013 Collage

Last year, 2013, was a very good year for me. Although it will be hard to beat I’m hoping for an even better 2014!

In 2013 I checked a major accomplishment off on my Bucket List, I ran the Marine Corps Marathon and had a great time in Washington DC that weekend! In order to make that happen I ran over 500 training miles including two half marathons, the San Diego Half Marathon in March 2013, and the Rock and Roll Half Marathon in San Diego in June.

We had a great time camping near Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Park with family. Although I’ve been many times, this was my first trip to Idaho with Jenny. We spent our first anniversary enjoying downtown Boise, went white water rafting, and biked the Boise green belt on the 4th of July, then headed north for a couple days in beautiful Stanley Idaho. For my birthday we had a terrific weekend on Santa Catalina Island. the trip started out fast with my first zipline experience, and we also had a terrific time hiking in the hills around Avalon and just relaxing in our hotel and at the Descanso Beach club.

We enjoyed our third year of Green Flash Concerts at Birch Aquarium and lots of other live music including a few of my favorites Sara Barelles and One Republic at the SDSU Open Air Theater, John Mayer and Phillip Phillips at Sleep Train Amphitheater, Steve Miller at the fair, and Fleetwood Mac at one of my favorite venues – the Hollywood Bowl.

We closed on our new house on 31 December 2012, so we had all of 2013 to get settled in. This inspired me to start a new category for my blog: Weekend Project. Although I got a good start on the house, there are plenty more projects to tackle over the next few years.

For 2014 I will do this a little differently than last year with a top 10 count down of predictions for 2014!

10. Week-end project – install surround sound speakers!

9. Develop an Android App and publish it to Google Play.

8. Weekend Project – Improve the storage in our garage so we can park 2 cars in the garage at once (novel idea)!

7. Our 4th consecutive season of Green Flash Concerts at the Birch Aquarium.

6. Bucket List (progress) – Complete at least 35 new (never been on hikes) in San Diego County.

5. Bucket List – Walk across the Grand Canyon not once but twice on a rim to rim to rim hike!

4. Check at least one item off my Bucket List in the travel section. Need to coordinate this with a few people so I’m not picking one now…

3. Visit family and friends in Iowa, Nebraska, Idaho, and even here in California!

2. One of my daughters will get engaged! (OK cheating on the prediction side of things as it happened on January 2nd.)

1. Bucket List – rock a grandchild to sleep in my arms!

I hope your 2013 was unbelievable, and your 2014 is unstoppable! Happy New Year!

I’m planning to post a series of short fiction stories. I would like to give myself a schedule, but I’ll be realistic. It’s been a long time since I wrote any fiction (college) and I only have a basic idea of what I plan to write about. I would like to post at least four short stories a year (not too ambitious am I?), but I’ll have a better idea of the time involved once I have one done.

I’ve always been a huge reader of Science Fiction so I plan to write in that genre. The basic idea goes along with my blog celebrating a full life. The premise for each of the short stories will be that a cure for “death by old age” has been discovered. What I will try to investigate in the series are the troubles that this would cause for society.

This is not the first time I’ve thought about this topic, but a return to it came with a single thought a few weeks ago. The thought… “Death, what a waste!” You have a person with 70-80 years, or more of experience, memories, and wisdom. This person is irreplaceable and full of life, and then they are just gone! There were a whole series of thoughts that led to this thought, but the thoughts I had after this thought were more interesting. Why? What if old age was cured. What would this change? It was easy to figure out some of the changes and more importantly the challenges. The easiest to predict would be the population explosion problem. The current worldwide population over 65 is less than 10% of the total world population. That would change very quickly!

I plan to develop this thought with a series of short stories. The situations and choices that could be made are unlimited. By just changing the world situation at the time of “the cure” and the choice made to deal with the resulting population change I think I can find the premise for several interesting stories. The challenge for me will be to write the type of story that I love to read. A story that “tells the story” through the characters. I have not done that before, and I will not be satisfied with a story that simply reads like a new article, setting up the situation and then laying out the plot… I want to explore the impact on the people in the stories. This means I will have to develop the characters.

I have a couple stories already in the works. Well one is actually very short… and ready to post. I have always found Science Fiction to be very liberating. It is also a way, through exaggeration, to point out those things that given the right circumstances don’t pass the “giggle test”.

Blog Year 3 CollageThe terrible twos are over, the rough patches for finding the path for this blog have passed. My blog is now three years old. I have posted 156 posts over the past 156 weeks, so I’m right on my goal of one post a week, although it took a little “catching up” over the past few months.

Immediately after the the thought that “the hardest part was over” for starting the blog came to mind, the question… how long will I keep doing this… popped into my head. It is a valid question. Everything has a beginning, and an ending. If a full life can end, so can a blog. I don’t have an answer to the question at this point. I don’t feel like “the end” is near, but I also hesitate to say I will continue doing this the rest of my life, or even the rest of my active life. I guess I can say that I will continue to do it as long as it adds more to my life than it takes away. There have been evenings that I’ve sat here typing a post and I’ve thought, could I be using my time for something more useful, or more fun? Could I be spending more time with my family? But when I look at all the terrific things this blog has inspired me to plan and do, the hours seem like a small price to pay.

Although the blog has changed over the last 3 years, its main purpose has been constant – to celebrate living a full life. With three years of posts on the blog some of the standard widgets and tools for giving access to these posts are starting to fall short. This year I added a sidebar tool with my “Favorite Posts – So Far” Most of my favorite posts are of me actually getting out there and living. I enjoyed writing these posts the most and I like to check them out occasionally, and hopefully make them easier for others to find too. Unfortunately I always find another typo while re-reading my posts. I guess that’s to be expected in a blog…

The Favorite Posts so Far also includes a few “resource” posts, and a single “Wild Hair” post Have Ice Cream and Chocolate Syrup in Your Cereal Once in Awhile, but as I reviewed the list I found that there were no Planning posts. Even though they are not as fun to write, I have gone back to read them when refining my plan or planning a second similar trip. Although these posts are not “favorites”, they are the most important. Without these posts, the favorite posts would not happen, or at least the trips/adventures would not turn out as well. Another type of post – Deep Thoughts has only the one post, which is also a Wild Hair post. While digging through the blog content for this post I skimmed back through my posts for the Deep Thoughts category (of course I found a few that shouldn’t be there) and read a couple. I love writing these posts, and I enjoy reading them, but I wouldn’t classify many of them as favorites for a couple reasons. First they are too personal. They are written from my point of view, how I feel about a topic or how I’m affected. Second, many of them tend to get preachy, mostly preaching to me, but that may not be the way it comes across. Preaching is not really my intent on this blog; that’s not who I want to be, although it must be a part of who I am because it happens so often in these posts. I’ll work on that and maybe more of these posts can become favorites. I’ll also consider some other ways to make it easier to browse through older posts.

Year four of the blog has a couple major events planned. First I will be running the 2013 Marine Corps Marathon. This will be my first marathon and likely my last (we’ll see), so I’m hoping to achieve my time goal, be satisfied, and have a little more time to relax and/or do other things. There has been a lot of running over the past year. As soon as the Marathon is over we will start hiking a lot more. We are scheduled to hike from rim to rim at the Grand Canyon in the early summer next year. I did this in the fall in 2010, but next year we will have a larger group (including my wife), and we are doing some other things differently too. I know there will be plenty of weekend project posts over the next year with the new house to play with. Although my wife calls me a “planner”, I have left some room for surprises and spur of the moment adventures. I’m not sure if there will be much room for sitting on the couch and watching TV, but that is sort of the point!

Now it’s time to blow out the candles and have some cake… Happy Birthday Blog!

Its not about the Post Views

It’s hard not to get excited about POST VIEWS! Especially when you wake up to see you have 100+ views from someone in Australia. If you happen to hit a milestone of 19,000 all-time views on the same day, you start to think about milestones. That that leads you to wonder what kind of milestone would deserve a party. I decided that a milestone truly worth a party would be a million views. Being a planner I wanted to be sure I had the date marked on my calendar for the big party. Might need to make reservations or something. I quickly calculated the highly anticipated day using the simple calculator on my computer, my average daily post views for 2013, and a Google search to find the Julian Calendar for 2013 and 2084. So what is so special about 13 Feb 2084? It is the day that I estimate my blog will have racked up 1 million post views. Of course, I’ll be 123 years old, so we may not party ALL night long!

For some the long wait could be a big disappointment, but I’ don’t blog for the post views. Of course, that doesn’t stop me from obsessing about them sometimes…

You can tell if you’re obsessing about your post views if:

  • You pick up your phone and instead of going to Facebook you click the WordPress App on the Android to see how your daily stats are going
  • The first thing you do in the morning is check your Blog Stats
  • The last thing you do before you go to sleep is check your Blog Stats
  • You get concerned if you are under your daily average
  • You’ve read the WordPress post How to get more traffic more than twice.
  • You’ve written a post about POST VIEWS

But really if the post views stopped tomorrow… I would continue blogging. Most of the 19,000 post views have likely been by my mother anyway! I’m not blogging for fame or fortune (that’s why I dance). I blog to motivate myself to get out there and live. I do it because I love to write, about whatever. This blog has made my life better. Not because I have written 140+ posts, although I enjoyed writing (almost) every one of them. Not because the blog has been viewed by others, although I’m happy if someone finds it entertaining, interesting, or helpful. The blog has made my life better by helping me take life by the horns instead of the tail, by motivating me to live a full life. Anything I’m inspired to do goes into my Bucket List, then I post a plan, once these things are “out there” it is a lot easier to make them happen!

Now I got to wrap this up so I can see if this is my all-time best post view day!

Update (6/13/2013): This post has tags and a topic that seem to be magnets for likes, comments, and follows from folks that have blogs that “show the way to make money from your blog”. Before you check these great deals out check out this post: As for me, I think I said it above, but to be clear… I’m not in this for money, I get too much from this to change a thing about my blog for “more traffic”. Anyway, be careful out there if you want to find out “how to make money from your blog”. Is it possible? I’m sure it is, but I don’t think there is a formulaic method. Want to know how to get more traffic, write more, write well, write about interesting things, be helpful to others, etc. Happy Blogging All!