2018 was a year of adventure, stress, and writing achievements. I’m looking forward to a quieter year of positive opportunities to balance the roller-coaster events of the past 12 months.
In January, we returned to the secluded, non-commercial golf resort of Villa del Palmar Loreto on the east coast of the Baja Peninsula. This private nature preserve doesn’t allow cruise ships, motor boats, or jet skis, so it’s quiet and peaceful. The golf course is spectacular with dramatic views of Danzante Bay.
In March, we escaped to Arizona to get out of the cold weather in Eagle, Idaho. I traveled to the University of Idaho in Moscow to initiate the Ambrose Storytelling Endowment. I established the endowment in honor of my late brother George, and the program includes an annual workshop, a faculty stipend, and a student cash award.
In April, I traveled to Dayton, Ohio to the Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop to reconnect with my tribe. I was one of 40 Erma authors to have humorous stories published in an anthology titled, Laugh Out Loud.
I was a speaker at the Boise “Storyfort” program and at the McCall Arts Story Night. I spoke for several writing workshops connected with the Idaho Writers Guild, and returned to my hometown to speak at Wendell High School.
At the end of April, I had the privilege to return to Ireland with the Wayfinding Women tour. A group of women stayed in a castle and in cottages by the sea. We hiked the Burren, lunched at a tea house, strolled through the extensive Powerscourt Gardens, and toured the sacred Hill of Tara. We listened to visiting lecturers talk about Celtic Goddesses, the Divine Feminine, and historic fairy tales. I stayed in Dublin for two days after the tour to visit the cathedrals, see the Book of Kells in Trinity College, and find the Temple Bar. I felt invigorated as I navigated the travel arrangements by myself.
2018 was a year to accomplish writing goals. I finished the manuscript for my memoir Frozen Dinners and submitted it to Brown Books Publishing Group. Two of my children’s books received national writing awards.
Gators & Taters – A Week of Bedtime Stories won the 2018 Distinguished Favorite Award for Children’s Fiction from the Independent Press Awards. Thousands of books were submitted for the honor, but apparently the judges couldn’t resist the narrative rhythm of the imaginative stories. The Independent Press Award recognizes and honors independent publishers and authors and assists them gain more attention and to better purvey their content to a larger audience.
The annual Moonbeam Children’s Book Awards contest announced this year’s medal-winning books “in recognition of exemplary children’s books and their creators, and to celebrate children’s life-long reading.” The Silver Medal was awarded to The Magic Potato – La Papa Mágica – Story Book in English and Spanish.
In June, I returned to Ohio for the conference of the National Society of Newspaper Columnists. For the second year in a row, I received a writing award for humor for my blog posts. I received the award from Pulitzer Prize Winning Columnist Connie Schultz (left) and NSNC President Lisa Smith Molinari.
In August, we returned to McCall to golf and boat around the lake. Then at the end of August, we made a sudden life-changing decision: we decided to move.
We found a house on the third fairway of Spurwing Gold Resort in Meridian. I put the Eagle house on the market and it sold in 31 days. I put the cabin on the market and it sold two months later. We scrambled to move out of two full houses into one. We survived an extensive remodeling project on the new house: two colors of paint on the walls and ceilings, new carpet, new window coverings, and 1,500-square-feet of wood flooring. There were numerous problems with plumbing, water damage, and the well, but we hired excellent workers to get everything fixed.
In September, we hosted the annual birthday/anniversary party at our house. Professional cowboy poet and musician Ernie Sites entertained about 60 guests.
In October, I hosted 12 family members to the touring production of “Lion King.”
In the middle of the fall remodeling project, I traveled to Lake of the Ozarks, Missouri to speak at the farm bureau state convention.
Then I organized the premiere party for my memoir at Telaya Winery. Looking back, I don’t know how we did it all.
We hosted Thanksgiving dinner for the family in our new home, and we enjoyed a busy Christmas season. For the 40th year in a row, I fixed prime rib for Christmas Eve.
So, the year is ending, and I’m still standing. I intend to write another book in 2019 to complete the midlife humor trilogy. As always, my goal is to get in shape and be healthier. I’ll try to reduce the amount of wine consumption. Maybe. I’m grateful for a loving and fun partner, a devoted son and his family, and for the many friends we have in our new community. 2019 will be splendid.