I think this is one of the strangest years I've lived through. In my brain I referred to it as Mad 2012. Just about all of it has been wonderful and the parts that were not wonderful eventually worked themselves out to, "well I guess that really was for the best."
I'm grateful for quite a bit of it: getting time with friends, getting NBB set up doing what he loves for a living, getting the chance to finally see a spotted owl (above). But so much of it was strange and unexpected.
Some of the strange things: I was denied entry to Canada, a public radio DJ got me plowed at a science fiction convention, I went full on blond, I got to hug Dave Foley, Non Birding Bill left me alone in a sushi bar and Chris Kluwe sat next to me and we discussed cock monsters, and Jeff Gordon, the president of the American Birding Association introduced me to someone who enjoys this blog and it turned out to be one of my favorite actors, Lili Taylor--and we went birding together.
The true weirdness of the year was work. I wrote another book that's coming in 2013 and one of my freelance clients hired me full time but then a few months later laid me off, but turned right around and hired me on a contract basis. That really could have been interpreted as a crap moment, but it really worked out for the best and part of what eased that was meeting this woman:
This is Rue Mapp of Outdoor Afro and we were part of an outdoors "think tank" this summer. Right about the time it happened, I was settling into my full time job and putting the Birdchick stuff as secondary and she had just quit her full time job to make Outdoor Afro her full time gig. As she described taking that leap, I felt a pang of envy. I loved the security of a full time job (and the benefits) but I found myself turning down projects and opportunities because I didn't have the time to leave my job. Between the job and the book, I certainly wasn't blogging as much. Rue is a fascinating woman with a clear vision and goal and you can't help but be inspired when you talk with her.
A couple of months later I was laid off. It was a huge relief. In the same meeting I was laid off, I was contracted in for some part time bird work. After a quick phone call I learned that there were still some opportunities for me at The National Park Service, so in October, I found myself doing all the fun things that I enjoyed most about being a blogger with a flexible schedule. I'm still glad I had a full time job for a few months, it allowed us to set up operations for NBB to start his freelance career as a writer and video producer. Now, we are both in our freelance groove and our biggest worry is how do we not kill each other on days when both of us are working from home (or on the road, he's going to at least 1 birding festival with me--yikes).
It's taken a few weeks to get my groove settled, but taking a cue from Rue, I've set some goals for the blog in 2013 to keep it interesting. This blog is over eight years old now and I sometimes wonder how many times I can post about an awesome chickadee eating sunflower seed or crow roosts or hawk trapping. But I've signed up for some projects that will keep it fun for me to write about and hopefully be fun to read.
Thank you to everyone who checks in to the blog, Twitter and or Facebook. I hope your 2013 is fantastic. 2012, you have been a very, very weird year, but all the same, I've had a lovely time.