The year in review, and a good cause…

My holiday look

Stylin' for the holidays...

Christmas Eve came, and as I turned the key in the lock of the spa door I thought to myself, “FINALLY.  Now I can chill out and disappear.”

My little vacation time couldn’t come soon enough.  This year has been an exceptional challenge for me personally.  I quit the massage school where I was teaching (that’s a story for another time, and maybe a book), invested that teaching salary in the spa, and threw myself headfirst back into my business.   Once again our dayspa survived despite the recession, crappy economy, earthquakes, hurricanes and lousy Verizon service.  My landlords’ were exceptionally patient about the rent, we managed to clear out almost all last years bills, and even the accountant got paid (mostly so I can ask him tax questions with impunity, and without the stigma of being a deadbeat client).  I worked every day, 7 days a week so my business still existed and even expanded its client base.  That’s no small feat, in my eyes at least.

Still, I did manage to do a few fun things that didn’t figure into a balance sheet but made me happy.  I began writing my memoirs.  I learned how to make kombucha. I began kickboxing.  I redesigned our website (although a complete re-do by professionals is planned) and finally youtubed the spa.  I became a Natural Health examiner for Examiner.com.  Blogging has been great fun for me, too, even when I had to eulogize the cat.   In the process of blogging, I met a whole new group of individuals in the WordPress world who have tons of talent, humor and great ideas.  I lost 10 pounds.  I went back to school.  But most importantly, I connected with people like never before.  It was a great year for that.

Evangelist Virgil Carman

Virgil needs help for his boys!

One of these great people I connected with is Virgil Carman.  He runs a faith-based group in my hometown that mentors young men without fathers.  Virgil and I had worked together on a senior health day event prior, and when the opportunity came up to do an Examiner.com piece on his group, I jumped at the chance.  You see, Examiner.com is giving away $50,000 in their “America Inspired” contest, and that money could go a long way for Virgil’s boys in Men Empowering Nations.  I like a good challenge, and thought it would be a good test of my inspirational writing mettle in the contest.  I had already done one article on my acupuncturist (who does phenomenal work with my massage clients), but Virgil’s plight required me to pick up the pen again for the cause.

Writing the article turned out to be the easiest part.  The real challenge lay in editing the hours of film into a cohesive, emotional video to go with the article.  I’m no Erich Von Stroheim, and all I had was a flipcam with lousy sound capability… but I didn’t let that hinder me.  In the end, I pulled out all the stops and submitted a nice audio-visual piece for the contest, with 8 minutes to go before the deadline on Dec. 23rd.  I lost three nights of sleep and paid for it that week, so by Christmas eve I was more than ready to close up, shut down and be invisible for the next 12 days.

What will I do, you ask?  Well, I can tell you what I won’t be doing.  I won’t be working, emailing, or massaging anyone.  I will be catching up with family, eating well, watching my husband die over and over while playing Dark Souls, and prepping myself for our best year ever (I have a few secret projects in the pipeline that I will share with you in due time).  And I will be waiting for the results of the Examiner.com contest.  If all goes well and the article makes the cut, I will be calling upon you all in the blogosphere for help (January 9th is when they pick the top 25 articles and make them available to the public for voting).  Until then, I shall be relaxing, drinking kombucha, eating chocolates and plotting world domination into the New Year – tell me what you’ll be doing in the comments, and I’ll see you in 2012!

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