December 31, 2012

Peter's awesome spectacular very cool year (performed in blogs and photos)

If you're sick of everyone else's "here's how my 2012 went" posts, you can just skip this one. But if that's the case, what are you doing reading blogs in the first place?

My 2012 was a pretty awesome year. Come bask in the glow of my self-satisfaction.

The awesomeness began in January when I published Semper all by myself. (With the help of CreateSpace and KDP and Aerin and Phoenix.) I really didn't know what I was doing, but boy was I having fun. I made a little money in 2012 with Semper (enough to pay my Starbucks bill while I wrote the sequel), and including freebies the book was downloaded over 10,000 times in 2012.

February got even better despite car trouble. I volunteered for the fifth year in a row at the San Francisco Writers Conference and met some great people and reconnected with fabulous publishing industry folks and writers I'd met before. But the most awesome part of February was a weekend retreat at the Sanctuary spa in the Phoenix area Maria and I attended for work. My work is all about corporate philanthropy, and I represented my company at this event called Escape For Good because my boss was busy and couldn't go. Got to hang with celebrity athletes (all of whom are very community minded) for the weekend and talk philanthropy and community involvement with Athletes for Hope and U Give. Among the highlights: Dinner with Mia Hamm and Julie Foudy, Muhammed Ali's 70th birthday party emceed by Johnny Bench, hearing about Andre Agassi's work with underprivileged youth in Las Vegas, an awesome wine tasting, a swell mixology class, getting called an "old guy" by Lance Armstrong, chatting with Tom Jackson, a fun "Iron Chef" competition where Maria cooked with Annika Sorenstam and chef Julian Serrano, and meeting new friends and business contacts. Memories:
Lunch on the patio.
"The Cowboy" from 2012 American Idol. Better than I expected.
Me & Tony watching the chefs at work.
Lance, Maria, and some old guy.
Me and my new BFF.
I know, right? I actually made some business contacts and had a few followup meetings from the event (not with any athletes, sadly). Still working on some ideas with some of those folks.

March came in not so much like a lion but more like a deep breath between hurricanes of awesomeness. It saw my cousin Cassie's wedding, a skiing day with the boy scout troop, and a good corporate citizenship conference in Phoenix. I started in earnest writing Forsada, the sequel to Semper, and I watched actual sales of Sember grow slowly but steadily. (Think frozen molasses flowing uphill.)

April, though... wow, April. I started with a trip to New York for the Charities @Work conference (I'm on the advisory council), followed immediately by a flight to Kathmandu, Nepal. When we got back, Maria had a girls weekend in Denver, then I went on business trips to Las Vegas and Charlotte. All in April. A brief recap of the Nepal trip (the actual blog posts have all the photos):

  • Day one: 32 hours to Kathmandu, some shopping and a fantastic dinner, plus a neat hotel
  • Day two: Kathmandu historical tour, rough roads, and cows sleeping in the streets
  • Day three: A jungle, rhinos, WE RODE AN ELEPHANT, and a twin otter
  • Day four: Bathing the elephants, rowboating for crocodiles, and spiders
  • Day five: Nepal countryside, insane bus drivers, a near-death experience
  • Day six: The most stunning view in the world (perhaps)
  • Day seven: Day hike through rural Nepal

Some of my favorite pictures from the trip:
Flying flags at the Monkey Temple

The patio where we took tea and ate breakfast
Crazy bus drivers, crazy bus passengers
Believe it or not, Rhino, we do see you.
In May I had some big work wins. Specifically, my volunteer program won a Summit Award from United Way Worldwide (a big honor), and my workplace giving campaign was named #1 in the country for the third year in a row. Pretty big honors for me and my team at work, who are the most awesome and fabulous crew ever. We get some pretty big results. In May I also was sworn in to the Workforce Investment San Francisco board. And I also did my first ever author reading from Semper.

June smacked me in the head with my 45th birthday, which I spent at boy scout camp. Bigger news was Beth and Chris' wedding on a day that climbed well past 107 degrees.

In July, Ethan turned 16 while we were on family vacation in Washington, DC. Our whole trip the temperature never fell below 143 degrees, or so it seemed. Still, we had fun visiting all kinds of museums and hanging out with bro Mark and sis-in-law Maria. My favorites: July 4th fireworks on the Mall, Newseum, the Supreme Court, Mark's lab at NIH, and the Library of Congress.

At the time, this house was still up for grabs.
Ash and paper fell on us. It was awesome.
LOC. One of the coolest places on Earth.
Brother Mark in his natural habitat. Cures cancer, he does.
Supreme Court.
Still in July, I did business trips to Phoenix (yes, again!), Portland, and Seattle. And in the middle of all that we drove to Mammoth Lakes to meet my mom for a long weekend. We took the tram to the top of Mammoth Mountain but only hiked around a few minutes because it was dog-cold and wicked windy, and the staff said that lightning was seen within ten miles, so we had to get down the hill quick.

Ruler of all I survey. Take THAT, Yertle.
August was a month for staying home. First, my dad and stepmom visited for a week from the east coast, and we did a whole bunch of fun things. Then, I gave up our four nights at a Tahoe timeshare because (a) someone bailed on the plans we'd made earlier in the year, and (b) I had to coach a soccer tournament. But that doesn't mean I'm not bitter about (a).

In September, Ethan got his driver's license, and I went on business trips to Minneapolis and St. Louis. Ethan started 10th grade and Sam moved up into 7th. We ran our employee giving campaign as we do every year at work, this time kicking butt once more and pretty much locking up a fourth #1 year in a row. Plus, I helped judge the Lascaux Flash contest.

October took me to Denver and Colorado Springs for work, and I finished Forsada and sent the manuscript out to beta readers for the first time. I also injured my knee playing soccer. It's not too bad, but I really shouldn't play on it for a few more months. We saw some America's Cup racing and the Blue Angels, and the F-22 was an incredible sight.

I did, in fact, take this picture.
In November I won NaNoWriMo for the fifth time, with a new story that I may finish in 2014 after I write the third book of the New Eden series. I collected feedback on Forsada and completed my first revisions. Over Thanksgiving the family visited my nephew in Portland, shortly after he moved there. We had Voodoo doughnuts and visited the Japanese and Chinese gardens as well as the Mercy Corps headquarters and the Saturday Market. I am getting to like Portland a lot. Wendy Russ produced covers for me for Semper and Forsada, and I relaunched Semper with the new cover.

December was another stay-at-home month, after one business trip to Los Angeles. I got the proof copies of Forsada and had some revisions, so I'm waiting for the final copy to arrive. It will be published January 13, so be sure to go get it then and then review it on Amazon or Goodreads. My mom came to visit over Christmas, then the boys drove back to Las Vegas with her. They came back last night as unaccompanied minors on Southwest, their first time flying alone.

Tonight we're having a New Year's Eve party. I can't imagine 2013 being nearly as good a year as 2012 was, but I seem to remember saying something similar at this time a year ago.

May your 2013 be the best year ever for you.

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