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........