2012— What a Year!

2012… was a crazy good year for me. I sure hope it was great for you, too.

I have this theory: if I have an awesome New Year’s Eve, the year to follow shall be grand, as well. If New Year’s Eve is nothing special, then the year to follow will be pretty dull, too.

2012 started off with a BANG. I was in Traverse City, Michigan for work… which sounds pretty crappy. But, it was a long overnight with plenty of time for fun. And fun, we had. Here is a photo of the giant cherry dropping in downtown Traverse City, the Cherry Capitol of the World:

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2012 was the first year that I did a yearly Bucket List. I crossed my seven items off in a timely fashion, experiencing new things and finding old talents. Just seven items? Maybe I’ll get more brave for 2014… but seven seems to work well for me. I tend to make my Bucket List items pretty large, so that they consume more than just a few minutes of an activity.

2012 is the year that my first book came out! Pete the Popcorn was released on Leap Day and scored three #1 positions on Amazon the day of its release. Here is a look back at that:

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The “Official” Pete logo…

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Nick and Joe visiting with illustrator Kathleen Smith Waters in her hometown of Cleveland.

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Our business card!!

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The Best Part? Visiting kids.

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The Second Best Part? The YUMMY popcorn we’ve tried all over the country!

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Joe in a school, with a common sign we see… unfortunately, signs aren’t enough.

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Pete the Popcorn on the teleprompter at one of our many television appearances.

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Joe showing off our cover story at The Toledo Blade!

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#1 on Amazon… three different charts, baby!

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Me, reading to a group of children.

As you can see, Pete the Popcorn kept us pretty darn busy during the first part of the year… and throughout the year, really.

In April, we had a chance to break away for a crazy vacation: a cruise from Barcelona to Dubai! Here are some pictures:

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Me, spreading cheer amongst the camels in Egypt.

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Joe, reading Pete the Popcorn at the pyramids.

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Stepping out of the van and seeing those pyramids in person was breathtaking… and worth every penny and minute spent to get there. Lets hope Egypt stabilizes, offering more of us the opportunity to see this amazing site.

As the summer commenced, we had a second book on the horizon:

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We decided to release this book with a party, complete with food and drinks for all. This also turned into a Community Summer Book Swap, where we gave away over 5,000 used books to children for their summer reading.

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Clipper the Comet is our second book, featuring the special bond between grandparents and grandchildren… and honoring rust-belt autoworkers.

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Oh, yeah…. and we have the real car featured in the book, which makes promoting the book a blast!!

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Many summer weekends were spent like this… signing books and meeting people at festivals and fairs.

Summer time drifted away quickly, though… as summertimes in Michigan and Northern Ohio tend to do. We did fit in some fun, though…

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Our Annual Wig Party at Put-in-Bay was a real treat… if a little bit wild! Join us this year: Saturday, July 20th. The fun starts at 11:00 AM at Heineman’s Winery! Wigs required.

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And there is always time to fit in my world famous bottle trick, right? Ahhhhh…. summer.

Of course, I’ll do anything for a quick buck. And I’m an ordained minister. So I fit in a few weddings this summer, as well:

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After all of this, we extended our summer by heading out on our Encouragement Across America tour, promoting Pete the Popcorn!

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Here we are in studio in Mobile, Alabama!

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And me at Mount Rushmore… I didn’t even know it was on the Bucket List– and it’s already scratched off!

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Halloween, my favorite Holiday, came and went… with me dressed as a pig.

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The year wrapped up with a cruise… with about 13 very eclectic friends. It was one of the best times ever! In fact, this evening for New Year’s Eve, I’ll be meeting up with quite a few of them in Indianapolis for a mini-cruise reunion!

At the beginning of this post, I told you my New Year’s theory… I think tonight is going to be a great night. And you know what that means for 2013.

Happy New Year, everybody!

Nick

 

 

Thanks for visiting this blog! As you see, it is not supported by advertising. If you would like to personally support this blog and its authors, please visit Amazon to purchase our Children’s Book, Pete the Popcorn! If you don’t have a child in your life, donate a copy to your local school or library! Also, we LOVE it when people LIKE us on Facebook. To learn more about our books, please visit www.PeteThePopcorn.com 

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Thinking About Hillary…

As my opinions over the years regarding certain issues have evolved, I don’t necessarily see eye-to-eye with Hillary Clinton very often.

However, when she served in the United States Senate from 2001-2009, she did a remarkable job in being a work-horse, instead of a show-horse. What do I mean? Most of the folks in the prestigious club of the Senate thought she would come in like the celebrity she is and just run her jaws– wasting time on cable news programs and introducing vanity legislation for the sake of making her name shine even brighter.

She did none of this. Instead, she put her nose to the ground and worked for her constituents in the state of New York, who re-elected her handily in 2006. At the same time, she made solid relationships with other Senators, including and especially those that were sitting across the aisle. She even held a press conference with Newt Gingrich in 2005 to promote, of all things, health care legislation!

Today, I’m thinking about Hillary Clinton. Sure, there are some on the extreme right that are claiming her health issues are all a cover-up so that she won’t have to testify on Benghazi. Well, as much as I think something about 9/11/12 in Libya stinks, I’ve never known Hillary Clinton to back down from a fight. When she is well, I know that the Secretary of State will be on Capitol Hill to defend and/or explain actions of herself and those under her leadership.

Whatever the extreme right wing is peddling, I can’t help but worry that Hillary’s health scare could be quite serious. She hasn’t been seen in public for three weeks– and blood clots can be tricky, especially those near the brain. We don’t yet know if this clot is near the brain, or if it may be in her legs because of ordered rest following the concussion. At any rate, I’m worried. No matter which side of the political aisle you fall on, if Hillary Clinton were to be sidelined, this country would be missing a very important voice in our national discussion.

Here is a photo of Hillary and I from 2008:

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There are many that are yearning for a Hillary Clinton 2016 campaign for President. If she were to run, health scares notwithstanding, she would be a virtual lock on winning the Democratic nomination… and would be a highly formidable contestant in a general election. In fact, I can’t think of one Republican that has the experience, name recognition or stature to pose a serious threat. I will say this: that person would need to be young and fresh… and make the argument that we’ve already seen The Clinton Show.

All of this discussion and dreaming would be for naught, if Hillary were to be sidelined from this health crisis. For the rest of our lives, we’d be asking ourselves, “what would have happened?” and “what might have been?”

Again, regardless of your political persuasions, Hillary Clinton is the nearest thing this country has to political royalty. The woman has been #1 on Most Admired Women in the World lists for an astonishing 17 times, beating out current and past first ladies, the Queen and Oprah! Hillary Clinton’s face, name and general brand are so well-recognized that she was able to run for President in 2008 with this logo:

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That’s right— just Hillary.

Anyway, I had to write this out of respect for a true American legend. First Lady, Senator, history-breaking Presidential Candidate and record-setting Secretary of State. There aren’t many resumes like that floating around Washington, DC.

Would I support Hillary Clinton in 2016? That would remain to be seen. If you follow this blog, you’ll know that I’ve voted for 2 Democrats for President and 2 Republican for President in my life… so 2016 will be the tie-breaker, either way. Four years from now, I will again be focusing on the issues and what affects this country as a whole, not me as an individual.

But for today, as we reflect on a year that has passed and celebrate the beginning of one that is new and fresh, I’ll be thinking about Hillary. And saying a prayer that her health improves with the coming of 2013.

Nick

 

 

Thanks for visiting this blog! As you see, it is not supported by advertising. If you would like to personally support this blog and its authors, please visit Amazon to purchase our Children’s Book, Pete the Popcorn! If you don’t have a child in your life, donate a copy to your local school or library! Also, we LOVE it when people LIKE us on Facebook. To learn more about our books, please visit www.PeteThePopcorn.com 

Bucket List 2013: Kayak Down a River

Doesn’t this look so nice?

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I miss kayaking so much! When I lived in Hawaii a few years back, I had a kayak and used it as much as possible. Floating out in the ocean, sea turtles popping up around me, whales jumping in the distance… ahhhh… that’s really one of the few things I truly miss about living there. (People always ask if I’m crazy— why would you leave HAWAII?!?! Well, truthfully, island fever is a real thing. You can only drive so far… you can only sit at the beach so many times… the heat makes you crazy in the brain… living there full-time isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Let’s just say that the resorts aren’t real life.)

In 2013, I want to get back to kayaking. Granted, living here on the Ohio/Michigan border doesn’t really provide too many months out of the year for kayaking… but I’ve always looked at our countless lakes and rivers and thought about how much fun it would be to set a kayak in and just go.

I know one person that will be responding to this and tell me to come along with her… and I will definitely take her up on the offer!

The Bucket List 2013 is coming together… one more post tomorrow, January 1st!

Nick

 

 

Thanks for visiting this blog! As you see, it is not supported by advertising. If you would like to personally support this blog and its authors, please visit Amazon to purchase our Children’s Book, Pete the Popcorn! If you don’t have a child in your life, donate a copy to your local school or library! Also, we LOVE it when people LIKE us on Facebook. To learn more about our books, please visit www.PeteThePopcorn.com