Top 12 Memorable Moments of 2012

2012 was a year of extreme highs and lows, surprises, and good friends. Here are 12 of my most memorable moments from the past year, with pictures!

1. Posing for Trish Harding
I am not exactly what you’d call model material. But, Trish doesn’t care. All shapes and sizes are welcome in her art classes. Dressed in costume, I modeled for half a dozen students as they sketched or painted, and I even earned tips!
Posing for Trish Harding

2. The Deck Fire
In March, a house guest who visited from Ireland lit my deck on fire with a cigarette. Then he stuck me with the repair bill. Happy Birthday to Me.

I have since insured every aspect of my life. Unfortunately, there is no insurance for poor decision-making. We simply have to live with the consequences and hope for payment plans.
Deck Fire

3. Little Brother
My 35th birthday was probably the worst on record. However, my brother Chris flew out to Seattle from Minnesota in May with his company, and his visit more than made up for it. They booked me a room in the Four Seasons, paid for my fine dining, a cruise around Lake Union, and a flight in the Evening Magazine airplane over Seattle!
Chris

Over Seattle

4. Horseback riding for the first time
In July, I camped (er, stayed in a cabin with running water and electricity) in Leavenworth. I rode Titan through the steep and treacherous trails of the north Cascades and probably evaded death a couple of times. My horse loved the grass growing on the sides of the cliffs and wasn’t scared to walk right over the edge to get to it. He also liked biting the arses of the horses in front of him. Cheeky bugger.
Horseback Riding

5. Danger
I had such a great time hanging out with my girlfriends this year, I had to include a shout out to them. Our mantra can be summed up in a fuzzy cell phone photo. I’ll never tell what kind of danger we actually got into…
Danger

6. Meeting Jack McGee
I watched every episode of every season of the FX series, Rescue Me. Jack McGee played Chief Jerry Reilly for three seasons, and I loved him! In July, I had the opportunity to meet him at a gala to raise funds for the Burned Children Recovery Foundation and specifically, Camp Phoenix.
Jack McGee

7. Ryan Stiles Celebrity Golf Classic
The day after the gala, I volunteered at the Ryan Stiles Celebrity Golf Classic. Again, this event was designed to raise money for the Burned Children Recovery Foundation. I manned hole #9 with Cerise Noah, and took lots and lots of pictures. In 2012, a total of $160,000 was raised for the BCRF and their Camp Phoenix program for childhood burn survivors.
Golf

8. NYC Pitch Conference
Even though the New York City Pitch Conference was brutal, I walked away with some dear friends. And, who can beat seeing this in their email inbox?
NYC Pitch

9. Discovering the rainbow over the Rock of Cashel
In pursuit of the perfect picture, I hid in the old ruins of Hore Abbey in Cashel, Ireland in October. Little did I know that when the rain passed, I’d step out of the ruins to spot a rainbow over the Rock of Cashel!
Rock of Cashel

10. Seeing the Cliffs of Moher for the first time
Everything in Ireland is beautiful, and I had more favorite moments than I could possibly count, but seeing the Cliffs of Moher was one of the biggest. I woke up early to beat the rain and then battled the wind to get this shot.
Cliffs of Moher

11. Getting Published
Okay, this won’t official happen until 2013, but I found out in 2012. An essay based on one of my book chapters will be published in the next WhatcomWRITES, Loyalties Anthology. I’ll be reading the essay in early March at Village Books in Bellingham.
WhatcomWrites

12. Reading at Village Books
I completed Laura Kalpakian’s Memory into Memoir class at Western Washington University earlier this year and was honored to read one of the chapters at Village Books. I didn’t complete my memoir while in the class, but Laura and my fellow “Skedgers” continue to give me great feedback that has helped me go from zero to over 250 completed pages. That is my greatest accomplishment for the year.
Village Books

Who knows what 2013 will bring?

I leave it with my latest fortune cookie…
Fortune Cookie

The Third Time is the Charm

I love how Irish people pronounce “Ireland”. They say her name like that of a new lover with whom they have just parted ways, wistfully enchanted, possessed by a fondness that can never be fully realized. I have caught myself saying it that way too – love and loss rolled into three syllables. Ireland.

Who couldn’t help falling in love with her?

She is magic, an enchantress who sings of adventure and romance from her Celtic shores. She lures you in with her bittersweet song and haunts you long after she tosses you back to sea. Ireland.

She is cold reality, forcing you to swim back against the salty currents, wounded, just to get another burning glimpse. Ireland.

She makes her peace with you – once you let go of your own agenda and just love her. She opens up a colorful promise, like a rainbow painted across a steal-blue sky, sweet hope against heavy sorrow. She plucks you from the desolate beach of disappointment and offers a gift. Ireland.

Ireland’s gift to me is a story,”Spirited Away”. She gave me the time and space to discover that I am a writer, and unlike the fickleness of romantic love, writing is a passion that can’t be taken away from me. So I have returned to the Emerald Isle a third time to do just that – write. Who knows, maybe I’ll finish my first book while I’m here?

Somewhere Under the Rainbow

If you have been following my blog, you may have come to the conclusion that I disappeared in County Cork, Ireland.  This would be partially correct.  I went off the grid.  I decided that I didn’t want a phone, internet, or anything really connecting me to the outside world. 

Kilkenny, Ireland

At the time I wrote my last blog, I was trying to pace a Garda (correction from earlier – they are not called cops) at Guinness drinking.   Never do this.  Irishmen have extra-large livers designed specifically for pub crawls.  Norwegian girls do not.

In an attempt to recover from Sunday night’s activities, Kieran drove me to the cute  little harbor town of Kinsale where I got some great photos at this place called Charles Fort.  (Those will be posted later this week on SmugMug.)


Kieran basks in the sun, enjoying some alone time while I do my photography thing in Kinsale.

I left Cork on Tuesday after a quick stop for lunch and shopping at the Jameson Distillery.  Then it started to rain for the first time since arriving in Ireland, which was appropriate since I felt like I was leaving my heart there.   It was hard leaving Kieran in the Jameson parking lot…not knowing for sure if I’d ever be back.  There’s no way to really know. 

I drove in silence the first leg of the journey from Cork back to Dublin, until I stopped off in Cashel to get pictures of some famous ruins.

The Irish green is really amazing, isn’t it?


Gravestone at Rock of Cashel, with some very excited birds

When I entered the freeway again from my little detour, a full rainbow (sans the pot of gold and leprechaun) stretched perfectly over the motorway.  Of course, driving I couldn’t get a shot of that, but it was the perfect way to end the trip.

So, after now being up for over 24 hours, I’m home with lots of photo editing to do.  This I will accomplish after a full night’s sleep. 

Would it surprise anyone that I’m already planning to go back?   I need to make it to Galway and stay in Ashford Castle with someone in particular who uses a lot of ellipses….

But anyway, full night’s sleep!