Happy New Year Post, Days Late

Happy New Year!

Let’s reflect on 2016:

Family-wise, I got to see my parents a few times this year.  The year was bookended by two cross-country Christmas trips.  My parents also made two cross-country trips, visiting us in June for my birthday and my nephew’s birthday, as well as visiting during Thanksgiving, at my brother’s house.  In March, I got to see my cousin, Shelly, and Aunt Gail, as well as my cousin’s son.  A week after that, I flew to visit my parents and then to drive their old Ranger back to New Mexico.  I didn’t get to visit many people on that trip, but I did get to see my parents.  We spent Independence Day with my cousin Andy, and his girlfriend, Carrie, in Washington state.  On our Christmas trip, I got to see JoAnna’s Uncle Larry, Grandpa, Aunt Penny and Uncle Kevin, as well as JoAnna’s Aunt Barb, brother and his family.  We also traveled back from Ohio with her parents.

Friend-wise, I did not actually catch up to many people.  I am always making new friends while I teach and tutor.  I did see one of my old college friends, Sarah, in San Francisco while I was there for a conference.  I also saw Dave Carroll and Dr. Paretti at Virginia Tech on my way back from my parents’ house in Virginia in March.  I have also been semi-regularly attending Seventh Day Adventist churches, here in Rio Rancho as well as when I am traveling.

Weather-wise, I graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Broadcast and Operational Meteorology from Mississippi State, and then enrolled for a Master’s Degree.  I am no longer enrolled there at this point.  I spent most of my Sundays as a student volunteer at the National Weather Service office in Albuquerque, launching the 0Z weather balloons.  I operated Skywarn Recognition Day from the office as well.  This year also marks the first time I posted on my weather blog every single day.  The storm chase was absolutely amazing- there was one day in Dodge City where I saw more tornadoes in two hours than I had seen in many years combined.  At one point, there was three on the ground.  I also reconnected with the Virginia Tech storm chase team and chased with them for several days.

Job-wise, I am still working full time at New Mexico Tech.  I have taken over a larger role in Unit Operations Lab and the Freshman Design Course.  This year, I spent a lot of time working with the freshmen.  I also did some metal casting with the junior design course, and now those students and I are pursuing an affiliated university status from the American Foundry Society.  I might be teaching a metal casting course in the upcoming fall.  Outside of NMT, I have been tutoring at Magdalena for 15-20 hours a week.  In the fall, I taught a remedial algebra class on Fridays at Magdalena as well.  In the spring, I worked at West Mesa High and John Adams Middle in Albuquerque as an AVID tutor, but did not work in the APS system in the fall semester.

House-wise, I started out the year rough.  My plumbing had frozen while we were traveling at Christmas.  Thankfully, it was just the mixing cartridge that had ruptured, so we had it fixed one afternoon.  The big news, however, was that we had our roof replaced with metal shingles.  It looks great!  We got rid of the old swamp cooler that we never used, and added a skylight in the living room.  I am pleased!

Pet-wise, our pets are all doing well. I take Dog-Dog on runs, and miss the animals when I am in Socorro.  I also set up a fish tank for the first time in years, and believe it or not, every fish I bought is still alive.

Vehicle-wise, I have been limping the Malibu back and forth between Socorro and Magdalena.  In March, my parents gave me their Ford Ranger.  I have loved it!  I had to re-learn to drive a stickshift, but it has been fun.  I also have been driving the Crown Vic around, meaning I have three cars to keep track of this year.  The van and Volvo are doing fine as well, though we did put a new fuel pump in the van.

Travel-wise, we returned from Christmas through IL, MO, KS, OK, TX, and NM.  Then, in March, we drove to CO for a Landmark event.  I also flew to MD and VA to pick up the truck.  When I left VA, I crossed through TN, GA, AL, MS, LA, TX, and NM.  I spent the night in Socorro, and then took students to AZ for a conference.  In April, we drove back to AZ to pick up inventory for New Mexico Trunk Shows.  In May, I went on my annual storm chase, and that took me through NM, TX, OK, and KS.  We also went to Kingman, AZ for a rock and mineral show.  In July, we drove through CO, UT, ID, OR, WA, MT, WY, CO and NM for a long trip to the Objectivist Conference in Seattle.  I had never been to MT before.  In August/September, we spent Labor Day weekend in Silver City, NM.  In November, I took 22 students to a conference in San Francisco, driving through AZ and CA.  In December, we took our annual cross-country Christmas trip, driving through TX, LA, MS, AL, GA, SC, NC, VA, MD, DE, PA, and OH.  All said and done, it was 27 states this year, one of which was new for me.

Health-wise, my weight has held steady, but I did gain some weight by the end of the year.  FitBit had helped me tremendously.  Over the summer, I was in really good shape; the doctor even said I was well-hydrated and did not need to lose much weight.  I peaked at running 7 miles one morning, and though my time was not fast, I was able to do it.  I also went on a 32 mile bike ride with JoAnna as well.

Radio-wise, I did not operate nearly as much as I would have liked to.  I started out by operating on my return Christmas trip, picking up some new counties in IL and MO. I then operated from quite a few counties across the south as I drove from VA to NM with the pickup truck.  I only made a few QSOs in each county, however.  I did run the NM QSO Party from the truck, operating from eight counties, and winning the Single Operator Mobile award.  My storm chase this year was in territory I had traveled many times before, so I only operated from one new county, Rice, KS.  On our long summer trip, I had no working radio/antenna combination for the van, so I went without, which was sad.  On our Christmas trip, I operated from a few new ones in Georgia an Pennsylvania.  My station at home is still having antenna problems, so I made almost no contacts from home.

Garden-wise, my garden was quite disappointing this year. I did have corn, grapes, zucchini, peppers and tomatoes.  Everything else was a dud.

Reading-wise, I read 10 magazines, 311 e-zines, 9 books, and 82 books of the Bible.  For anyone doing the math, yes, 82 is more than 66.  I read the entire Bible this year (as I have done for several years now) and started over.  I would like to read more over the next year.

Writing-wise, I wrote 399,566 words on blogs, journals, and miscellaneous notes. I was disappointed in my poor performance during NaNoWriMo.  I also had two articles rejected from QST this year.  I did, however, write a 250 word article for Paydirt once every two weeks in the fall semester, so that helped.

Hobby-wise, I did not do nearly enough camping this year. In fact, I did none. I did very little shooting as well. I am trying to set up my schedule this semester so that I can shoot air rifle practice, at least.  (I copied this post from a few years ago, and this still holds true!!!)

2016 was a good year for me, and I will make 2017 a great year.

Thank you for reading my post!


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