Friday, December 30, 2011

Time Flies

You've heard the saying, "Time flies when you are having fun". Well time flies by faster as you get older too, or at least it seems that way.  Each year I try to do a Christmas letter but this year time flew by too fast and I didn't get it done, so here is a look back in 2011 (via my blog).

Time Flew By 2011 (the condensed version)

A new year to start. The Goal (our new year resolution): A better year than 2010. I figured anything would be a higher aim than 2010.

It looked like the year was going to start of with a bang. I had set-up my business, Alternative Inbound Marketing, and I was now doing Social Media and email marketing for small businesses. I now had 3 clients - Cornet Bay, Indonesian Batiks and Island Adventures Whale Watching. I also had a few consulting clients that I was setting up, and I was busy. There was hope for 2011.

March did not start off so good. A very dear friend, and instructor for our photography workshops, passed away from colon cancer.  I organized a photo workshop to raise money for his family. We did five nights at the Deception Pass bridge at sunset with close to 20 people and raised $3,000. All of us had lost someone that was very important to us and this is how he would have wanted us to celebrate his life.

Tulip season started late again this year.  We did our first tulip workshop in 2011.  It was a cold, wet and early morning, but that just added to the class. Personally I liked it. The rain added a fun dimension to the landscape.

photo by 9 year old, Angel
I also organized a workshop through the Skagit Valley Camera club for the Anacortes Boys and Girls club.  Four days, ten kids, hundreds of photographs and hours of fun and excitement.  A talented bunch of kids and future photographers.  This photo of the water spout is my favorite by 9 yr old Angel.

Dick Garvey's celebration of life was in May. 

We also did a workshop on San Juan Island.  It was a dreary, cloudy weekend and we had a great time. 



June was an exciting month for us this year.  Tony had been working with author, Betty Wright, on a book, "Adventuring to Princess Louisa Inlet" for about 8 months and they were just about finished.  Betty, treated Tony and I, on an all expense paid vacation to the Sunshine Coast, Egmont and Princess Louisa Inlet in British Columbia.  We had 5 days of action, fun, sightseeing, boat rides, riding the Sechelt rapids, and the highlight - Princess Louisa Inlet and Chatter box falls. Most importantly we spent time with an amazing 87 year old woman, who has become very special to us and an important part of our life.

Chatter Box Falls

A very important event happened in June. Our son, Shawn, graduated from Tacoma Community College.

One of my social media clients this year was, Island Adventure Whale Watching Tours.  The perks for working for this client was fantastic. They also hired Tony to consult on upgrading their sound system, so we got to spend a lot of days out on the boat. The perks: whales, whales and more whales......


August was a month full of Highlights:

First highlight for August - The 50th year of the Anacortes Arts Festival.  The festival hired me to head up a new area - Gorilla/Guerrilla.  It was three days of being surrounded by talented working artists. The days were long and well worth every minute.

Second highlight - the book, Adventuring to Princess Louisa Inlet, was published.  To see this amazing book that Tony designed and Betty wrote, visit the website -

Third highlight - the long awaited photography workshop to the Palouse. This has been something that I have been wanting to do for years and it was finally coming together.  We spent five days in the Palouse with 5 very talented photographers. Hundreds of photographs, very long days, sunrises and sunsets, beautiful and amazing landscapes, pounds of dust, and acres upon acres of wheat fields.  Well worth every moment and every memory.


There is an event for one day in September, where the small town of Anacortes, becomes a thunderous roar of over 20,000 motorcyles and 1,000's of people.  It is called the 'Oyster Run'.  They shut down the main street downtown and the street is filled with motorcyles, all shapes, all sizes.  This event is a photographer's dream - colors, shapes, abstracts, people, chrome, chrome and yes more chrome.

We also went on our last whale watching tour for the season.  With us went our friends, Joan, Hap and Karen.  My goal that day - to see a baby orca.  A goal I achieved.  This year I have seen gray whales, minke whales, humpbacks, and our resident orcas - including Granny (the oldest resident) and a baby orca.  I am very satisfied.

This year we saw changes in our business.  We grew into publishing, book designs and layout. We also delved into doing ebook designs, conversion and distribution.  We were hired by published author, Barbara Bickmore. Barbara hired us to convert her nine published books into ebooks.  Seven of the  books were out of print so we had to scan and convert the printed copies to digital.  This proved to be somewhat challenging, but very doable. Also since she was now self-publishing, she no longer owned the rights to her covers, so Tony is designing the covers for each of her books. Her covers are some of Tony's best work.

I designed her new website, set up all of her ebook accounts on Amazon and the Nook and started her marketing campaign.   Check out our new website for our epublishing business - Armchair ePublishing

The big highlight for November - Betty was invited to talk to the Princess Louisa Society at the Royal Vancouver Yacht Club in Vancouver, British Columbia. This invitation meant a lot to Betty. Her love for the Princess Louisa Inlet is evident in her book, and to be invited by the society that maintains this beautiful place, was an honor.  The directors of the society were very generous to her and bought a lot of her books.  We had a wonderful time in Vancouver and it was memorable watching her as she presented her books to the directors.

For the second year in a row, I organized the Holiday Express Gift Show. This year we had some really good artists selling their art for the holidays.  Attendance was down a bit but the artists still did well. It was very festive and we are all ready for next year -though not too soon...


I guess time does fly by when you are having fun and I didn't realize how much fun this year was, until now  

Happy New Year everyone and may 2012 be a BLAST, but preferably a little slower. I am not ready for Christmas yet. :-)

Expressing myself with time flying by.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Who is this person?

Sorry guys, but I am going to talk about the M word here (menopause).   :-0

Raging hormones - it's almost like being a teenager again, only worse.  Only during the teenage years there were no hot flashes and night sweats.  What is similar to raging hormones as a teenager -  the MOOD Swings and the personality changes. So Who Is This Person?

Who is this person that cries at the drop of the hat?

Who is this person that has absolutely no patience left?

Who is this person whose tolerance level is nil?

Who is this person that craves Chocolate and will harm anyone that gets in her way?

Who is this person that will suddenly burst out anger?

Who is this person that is tired of being the rock, the constant giver, the solid foundation of the hearth and home?

Who is this person that is finally coming into her own and is finding her own place in life? Deciding that is time to take care of herself?

This person is finally finding herself, discovering that her life is not tied around everyone else and she that she can KICK BUTT, so stand back and stay out of the way, she is going to change into an incredible WOMAN!  Or at least that is what they tell me. :-)

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

A little more of Louisiana's Story in Find Me

 Louisiana Pryce comes from a family of hunters. Not your typical hunters, no sir Louisiana and her family hunt what they refer to as Lost Souls. Louisiana, a fierce 5' bundle of energy, was raised in a family of men; out of a sense of self-preservation, she developed a tomboyish look and attitude.  Her short unruly brown hair just barely framed her petit round face. Short hair was easy for Louisiana, why bother with all of that fru fru stuff, who has time for that, was her motto. For her line of work, jeans and t-shirts (sweatshirts when the weather was cooler) was the practical attire. She just preferred to run around lookin like a tomboy. Less complicated that way. Ladylike stuff was just too much work. She was sure that in some past life she was most definitely not a refined southern lady.

Louisiana liked things uncomplicated and unattached. Since her work was centered around, what some would refer to as, ghost hunting, there wasn’t much need for talkin. Nope she was pretty satisfied being a loner and not havin to deal with the emotional baggage that came with dealin with live people.  The dead at least could take their emotional baggage with them once she sent them on their way. Yep she was satisfied with her life.

Pa was retired now from the family business. Ma finally decided now that the kids were all grown that she would prefer to talk to live people, grown-ups in particular. Her brothers, Natchez and Beauregard (Beau for short), both are married now and have a passel of kids. They’re kind of cute and everything, but she could only take so much of those noisy little people before she has to get away.  When the brothers aren’t hunting in the family business, they were out hunting gators and other wildlife.  They said it balanced things for them, whatever that means. More than likely it was because the money was better. After all, they had some little ones to feed now.

Louisiana liked the hunt. She felt a sense of pride and peace once she found the lost souls and helped them move on. Not sure why, but she had a knack for it. They say it’s because, her great great grandma Lila, could talk to the spirits. There was even talk of one her ancestors being a voodoo priestess of some sort. Now that was somethin to be proud of.

Since she took over the family business, and with a little help from that T.V. show, Ghost Hunters, the business has grown over the last five years.  She hired her best friend, Emily (Em) Trudeau, three years ago.  They’ve been best friends since the first grade. Em, was the opposite of Louisiana.  She was a little taller, pretty even though she wore those large wired glasses that covered up most of her lovely face, had beautiful shiny red hair and was quiet and reserved compared to Louisiana’s outgoing and sometimes loud personality. She is what keeps Louisiana grounded. She also runs the business. She sets the appointments, keeps the books, deals with the customers (the live ones) and keeps everything orderly, including Louisiana.

She also hired a friend from high school, Mitch Weston.  Mitch is California boy. Not sure how or why he ended up in Lafayette but she was glad he did.  Mitch is a techno geek and Louisiana discovered that she was made for technology. It was this love of the gadgets that has helped grow her business over the years. Hunting for lost souls just got a whole lot easier thanks to some of Mitch’s inventions.

Expressing myself with a little more of the story.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

A Writing Adventure

As a way to celebrate my birthday I took a writing class.  I wasn't sure at first what to expect but I found myself surrounded in class with some creative storytellers. Instead of feeling intimidated, I felt energized and inspired. We spent some of the time doing writing exercises - here are just a few examples of what come from it.

This is the beginning of a someday story - The Runaway Brother
Exercise 1:
He was always running away. He started at the age of 3, which seemed to set the tone (or pace) for the rest of his short life.

A piece of an story formulating - Possible title: Find Me
Exercise 2:
Louisiana Pryce comes from a family of hunters. Not your typical hunters, no Louisiana and her family hunted Lost Souls. Louisiana, is a fierce 5' bundle of energy. Raised in a family of men, she developed a tomboyish look and attitude.

Expressing myself with flashes of inspiration........

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Am I an Old Rusty Abandoned Vehicle

My birthday is this week, and now that I am in my 50's, lately I have been feeling like an old rusty vehicle that creaks and moans every time I move. And like an old vehicle I am moving slower and experiencing less energy. I am told that this old rusty time in life will eventually turn into a more sporty vehicle with a little more umpf and power.  Maybe that is why we see older women turning in their reliable old cars for sporty cars.

I can either be an old rusty vehicle abandoned in field somewhere -

Or a sporty-zoom-around-town vehicle..

Expressing myself with ZOOM ZOOM!!!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Life's Paths

The other day, a friend and I were talking about life's paths. I have been thinking about it a lot lately.  That where I am at, right now in this stage of my life, is not even close to where I thought I would be when I was younger. I have been thinking about how I got here?  Why I am here? And what does it all mean?

 I am a firm believer that things happen for a reason. We may not always understand or know the reason, but there usually is a reason. It may be years before we come to understand that reason, or at least have an idea of why.

For example; my husband I moved to Anacortes in 2005.  We had just gone through a terrible ordeal, our whole life, or at least the life we knew - was gone. We decided to leave the Seattle area and moved to the small town of Anacortes. I don't know why we chose to move here, it just felt right at the time. It felt like a good place to heal and to bring some sanity back into our lives. Now I can look back and I just know that we were meant to be here. We didn't choose, it chose for us. That the real hardship in our life's path was about to come - and it did- but being here in this community is exactly where we needed to be to get through these times. This life path was chosen for us, it put us in a place where community and support were going to become a very important part of our lives. This life path has also been teaching me valuable lessons and showing me what is really important in the world - Friends, Family, Community and Unity.

The other path that I am on, and would never have envisioned being here, is my involvement in the arts. Honestly, I know nothing about art - well next to nothing - I am learning. Yet, here I am involved heavily in the arts. I am very involved in the Skagit Valley Camera Club. I enjoy immensely being part of the Anacortes Arts Commission. I produce workshops for the arts.  I work part-time for the Skagit Symphony. It seems that everything that I do is involved in someway with the arts.  And I am loving every minute of it. Now this is a life path that I could get used to

Though part of the path we are on right now is very stressful and difficult, I am very very grateful for my friends, my family and for the community in which I live.

Life's paths - sometimes it is all about the journey - not necessarily the destination. I am unsure of where the next path will lead or go, I just need to have faith that it will be a good one and lead me to somewhere exciting.

Expressing myself with - wonderment and awe.

PS - I would live to hear about your life paths - email me at If you like I will post it on my blog.  Thank you and enjoy the journey.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Fun at the Community Garden

Every Saturday morning through the summer a friend and I would walk to the farmers market to shop, visit and photograph.  This past Saturday without the farmers market to attend we spent the morning discovering local places to photograph.  Tony was with us and he had a photography assignment, 'harvest', so the question, "where do we go to photograph 'harvest' that is close?". We thought why not visit the local 'community garden'.  This turned out to be a fun discovery with hints of creative inspiration for all of us.

One of my favorite things is things that are small.  My little discovery was a tiny little wheelbarrow with a tiny rake and shovel.

Then there was those things that were past harvest, left to fade until it is their time again.

And no garden would be complete without the color and beauty of flowers.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Where did the time go - 35 years ago he was so tiny.

This month our oldest son turned 35. THIRTY FIVE!

It wasn't just yesterday, it was Thirty Five years ago that I held this tiny little bundle of - 7lbs 10oz, 19 1/2" long - joy.  And he was a joy.  He had lightly blond hair stubble. Cute little button nose. And loved to cuddle. If my photo albums weren't buried I would post baby pictures - maybe that will be a weekend project?

As a young mom with the first child you look forward to all of life's momentous occasions.  Them learning to crawl, then walk and talk.  Then you dream of when they start school  - learn to spell, read and write. You also look forward to when they can finally fix their own breakfast, get their own drink of water, read night time stories to you - sorry regressing.

Short school story: I was so looking forward to Shawn's first day of Kindergarten. In Utah, (that is where we lived when he started school) if they were 5 by October 31st they could start school. So eager mom that I was, I signed Shawn up right away. I went with him on first day to meet his teacher and help him get settled in. I left that day feeling a little sad - my baby boy was growing up. Well apparently, "my baby", wasn't grown up enough. After one week in school his teacher called me into the classroom and told me I should hold Shawn back for another year. She said that some children, boys especially, aren't quite ready at that age to go to school, that they do better when they are little older and a little more mature. She said that all Shawn wanted to do was 'socialize'.  He still does. So I held him back and he did do a little better. He still liked to 'socialize', and that  continued all through school. 

Back to life's momentous occasions.  During their school years you look so forward to High School Graduation. Some days you really looked to graduation.  Then they leave home - go to college, get jobs, so on.  Then you look forward to the day they get married. You hope that they find that 'special' someone and they live happily ever after. But what you really look forward to is GRANDBABIES.  Someone to start all over with, to spoil (and give back to the parents) and hold and cuddle.

During all of these life moments, never do you think about when your child turns 35, 40, 50 etc. To you they will always be that cute, cuddly, adorable bundle of joy that you brought home all those years ago.  So to my cute, cuddly, adorable bundle of joy - HAPPY 35th BIRTHDAY!. 

Shawn and his friend Han.
Even at 35  - Boys with their toys!  

Expressing myself
with memories, nostalgia and pride for my little boy as Grown UP.

Monday, August 15, 2011

To be involved

I was fortunate to be part of the 50th anniversary celebration of the Anacortes Arts Festival this year. They created a new street art area called, Gorilla/Guerrilla and I was asked to be the Guerrilla Coordinator. What fun that was. We incorporated this new street art theme into the working artist/Experience Art section of the fair and the crowd was soaking it up. We had close to a dozen painters from the Washington Plein Air group and few others out on the streets of Anacortes demonstrating their art.  The artists enjoyed it so much that they asked to come back next year. It was a huge success!

This year, the attendance to the fair was phenomenal.  The weather was perfect, bringing everyone out to enjoy it.  Everyone was having such a great time. The compliments about the new Gorilla/Guerrilla and expanded Experience Art area, was overflowing. I felt such joy and pride to be involved with such an amazing and successful organization.

Since moving to Anacortes, I have discovered a part of myself that enjoys being involved.  My tendencies of involvement lean towards the Arts. Not sure why, since I am not an artist, it's just how it happened. I admit though, that I get so much pleasure in being a part of the art community and I look forward to becoming a part of it, even in small ways.

Expressing Myself with - Volunteering and Appreciation.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Family Dynamics

Mother. Sister. Daughter. Wife. That is what I am to somebody related to me.  I am the oldest of five, the mother of two sons, the daughter of a mom (passed away), a father that left when I was around one (and hardly know) and the wife of Tony. And all my life - all 50 hmmm + of them - I have been pulled into one direction or another by one, if not all, of them.

Now maybe it is because I am 50 hmmm + that I finally am getting to the point where enough is enough and I don't feel like being pulled anymore, or maybe it is this somewhat screwed up, stressful world that we live in that makes it harder to put up with Family Dynamics and DRAMA, and yet has increased Family Dynamics and DRAMA.

Family Dynamics is something all of us put up with. Most of us are part of some sort of Dysfunctional Family and there always seems to be DRAMA - fighting, who's mad at who, whining - or there is those that ignore the others, they don't interact, help out, they pretend it is not there. Not sure which is worse?

With all that most of us are going through these days - job loss, bad economy, health, stress - Family Dynamics is just not one more thing I want to add to the plate.  So I guess I choose, at this time, to not be a part of it. 

Expressing myself with DRAMA and just leave me the #@)) alone.  Take the drama somewhere else.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Traveling with an 87 Year Old Kid

Are we there yet? How much farther? I can't wait to get there! Oh, look at that! Tony, take a picture. This is so exciting! I will do that. I can't wait. I'm hungry. Can we go there? I want Ice Cream. Look at this. I want to ride the rapids. I am so excited. I can't wait. Hurry up. Come on, let's go.

You couldn't tell she is 87, with all of the excitement and energy.

Expressing myself with: awe and hope that I am like that when I get older......

Sunday, June 19, 2011


35 years ago today, I said, "I Do", when I married my High School sweetheart. I was 17 and 5 1/2 months pregnant, and all of the statistics (including some family and friends) said that we didn't have a snowball chance in hell (ok the statistics didn't quite say that, but they meant it). Here it is, 35 years later, and that just sounds like a really long time. Why is that? Before divorce become popular ( I was going to say, "easier", but it isn't really easy is it?), people stayed married forever (well until death do them part), for some, that forever felt like, "forever", for most it was just the way it was and they were comfortable with that. Yet in today's society, 35 years sounds like a long time. Don't get me wrong, I am not against divorce, in fact, quite the opposite. We are both from divorced parents and believe me they were much better off without each other, I am just rambling on about how most people seemed surprised that we have made it this far, and that 35 years to some, sounds like a long time, and it just made me think, "Why?".

Does it feel like a long time? I suppose it does in some ways. We have been together since I was 15, so he's been a part of my life, well, almost all of my life, so for me it is just normal. It is no different than having my sisters as a part of my life, or our children, so why should be being married for 35 years feel any different? It shouldn't, we are family, period.

Is 35 years a long time? You bet, so Happy 35th Anniversary - 35 years of ups and downs, tears and laughter, happiness, sorrow, anger, pain, friendship, growth, changes and family. Some of those years (or days) were fabulous, some have been very rocky times, yet all we need to remember is - that 35 years ago, two people said, "I Do" and through it all, have managed to not become another statistic and are celebrating 35 years of life together.

Expressing myself with memories of the past 35 years.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Blue Skies, Nothing But Blue Skies

After a very long rainy and gray Spring, I have this song going through my head - Blue Skies, Nothing but Blue Skies - every day for the last week.  It is not a song that I am real familiar with but for some reason it just popped in my head one day and would not leave. At first I thought it was because I really need some sun, but then I thought, shouldn't I be singing something like, "Sunshine on my shoulders make me happy."?  So maybe it wasn't just 'sun' that I needed, maybe it was a change in 'color'.  After all months and months of gray is a bit much.  Today not only did we have sun, the skies are actually 'blue'.  So nothing but Blue Skies are smiling at me (and everyone else). So SMILE!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Life and our plans

This weekend I had planned a workshop that didn't quite go according to plan and it got me thinking about my 'life plans'. I have a reputation as someone who can organize and plan things. This is my talent. This is something I usually enjoy. Most of the time I am even pretty good at it. But when it comes to my 'own life' I don't really seem to have a plan. The plans I have had didn't necessarily go according to how I would have planned them to. And I most definitely would not have planned my life to go the way it has over the last few years.  So why is that?  Why can I plan events but not my life?  Is it like people that are good at taking care of others but not themselves? People who can do but not teach, or people who can teach but not do? Is it because life cannot be planned? You hear of people who have planned out their lives to go a certain way, though quite honestly I don't know anyone like that. I am not sure, then maybe that is my problem? I am not sure.

Expressing myself as - totally perplexed and unplanned.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Cares just drift away

I recently got to spend four hours traveling on a ship from Everett to Anacortes. The ship is used for whale watching, and it had spent the last 2 months in Everett during the gray whale watching season, now it was time for it to return home to Anacortes just in time for Orca whale watching season. During this four hour vacation I let my cares drift away and just enjoyed the ride home. With the hum of the engine, the cool breeze off the water and the beautiful scenery passing by, I was reminded why I live in such a beautiful area. I was also reminded, that occasionally it is necessary to let our cares just drift away and to let the stress in life be replaced with beauty. 

I am expressing myself with beauty and a care-free moment in time.