Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Our Year in Review

Sun Setting on the Holy Mountain

The last day of the year is here. I tend to always reflect on what I've accomplished and where I may have side stepped progress. It helps me frame my mind set for the year to come. I am a goal-oriented person and I feel lost if I do not have some objective set for myself, something to strive for.  By looking back, I can gaze forward and see what needs to be done. 

It's been a remarkable year in the world. The Ukrainian revolution is particularly poignant to me as I am of Ukrainian-American descent. There will be much written about 2013.  So here is the story of us.  

2013 ... an interesting year.

Last winter gave Daria a serious bout of S.A.D. She became addicted to a blog called ‘Hyperbole and Half’ which eventually pulled her out of the funk, but the funk interrupted progress on many fronts.  No blogs, no writing, no business development – only nonstop questioning of the meaning of life, the universe and everything for months.

Nevertheless, we went skiing for the first time since we’d arrived in Ireland.  We spent a week at Zell um See-Kaprun, a resort in Austria where the locals go. It has a high glacier for days when the clouds sink low, and a string of lower mountain areas for when the sun shines and the snow blows.  We hadn’t forgotten how to ski and the Austrian food was awesome. We loved it.

Easter came and went – cold and wet. Meanwhile, Aleria had once again been comfortably on the shore in her cradle for the winter. A big storm with huge surge pushed her straps forward. When she sat back down, the strap was under the prop shaft and bent it and the prop, then broke the stern tube. We had to hire two cranes to lift her out on Westport Quay where she became the tourist attraction. Alex set out to rebuild her, and he did a great job. When it was time to drop her back in the water, one of the cranes broke so we had to wait six weeks. Another heartache. But we got her in just in time to head off to Scotland.

We spent the month of July sailing and it felt really good to be out there again, especially since the whole region had an amazing heat wave and settled weather for the entire month. We sailed along the west coast of Ireland and into Scotland and wrote a detailed blog about it… http://aleriasadventures.blogspot.ie/. Onyx came along but the little felines stayed behind with our friend Siobhan minding them and the house.  It was a great trip and we loved Scotland, but realized we love Ireland even more.

Fully re-invigorated, we went into full swing when we got back. Alex finished writing his first novel ‘The Butterfly Effect. It started on 9/11.’ He is currently well into his second.  Now that he’s learned what’s involved, he says the new one is a whole different animal.  You can hear him read the first chapter of the first book on our website. https://whiteseahorse.ie/publishing/Butterfly/index.html.  We also sold more Happy Hooking - The Art of Anchoring and Oyster Delight books this year than ever before.  All due to Alex's vigorous social media campaigns. He's tweeting up a storm. 

Meanwhile, inspired by Alex, Daria completed a first draft of the ‘Unwilling Immigrant’, a historical fiction novel set in post-war Europe based on her mother’s true story of escape from the Bolsheviks. The timing may be good with Ukraine and Holodomor getting much attention in the media. Hopefully, she will do the story justice.

We also hired our first employee for Best Patient under a grant from the government. He has been busily developing secure infrastructure for our online patient education system. Daria has been writing content; Alex has been laying out and creating webinars for the programme. To establish connections, Daria successfully got the Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association Ireland off the ground and now has her network in operation. It looks like we’ll be launching early in 2014.  Wish us luck.

In September, we celebrated Alex’s mother’s 80th Birthday in a 3-day superparty and nephew Cillian’s 21st birthday.  Then a whirlwind trip to Germany and Paris – amazing! A great Thanksgiving with our friends Jane and Finbar at Kilshane House in Tipperary.  What a venue!  Christmas will be at home and Ross House, New Year’s Eve with the Moore’s, friends at Bishopscourt in County Monaghan. We’re getting out and about a bit more this year. Our good friend Siobhan has moved to Ireland and is staying at our house while she spruces up her cottage. What a sense of renewal! We get to share in it. How fortunate. 

Aleria is in a slip in Galway this winter so we have a floating condo in our favourite small city. Whenever we can get away, we go to work on her (lots to catch up on) and then spend the night exploring the city. Lots of great restaurants, pubs and cultural events in this vibrant university town. Unfortunately, we've had storm after storm after storm after storm for weeks now. Hopefully, the pattern will change and we'll get some relief and time to do projects long postponed. 

There is much up in the air for next year, but hopefully it will be a great one for everyone!  Miss you all. XOXOXO.

Happy New Year to all and to all a good night!

Daria, Alex, & Onyx the Cruising Kitty

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