2018 Year In Review

2018 was a year of growth and change. Michelle, our cat Patches and I all experienced some big health events this year, mostly for the better. We made a major shift in our home-based business in the way we market our products. Michelle and I also got away on several short trips this year and we got to see some old friends visiting from Colorado. You can see our 5 photo albums from 2018 below the text.

Michelle has made some major strides with her health over the last several months. She started a metabolic nutritional typing program that has helped her to resolve several health challenges she has had for years. The program is a combination of diet and lifestyle evaluation, testing, very specific and individualized foods and supplementation, genetic testing and ongoing consultations with a specialist in nutritional typing. In part, she was eating way too many vegetables for her metabolic type and that was making her health worse. Michelle is feeling and looking better than she has in years and is back to her mid-1990’s weight. It’s a program I’ll likely do myself after Michelle has a chance to go through it some more – she’s the designated guinea pig đŸ™‚

My health has been doing well with the exception of Bakers Cysts behind both knees, which started in September of 2017 after a long backpack. It’s not an uncommon issue for runners, but for me it was a combination of factors that was the likely cause (improper shoes, gate issues and some diet factors). This spring I learned how to manage the condition well enough to hike and run, thanks to a combination of PT work and visiting a naturopathic sports medicine doctor in Seattle. After fine-tuning my diet and supplements, the cysts are hardly noticeable anymore, unless I start eating a lot of sugar and dairy.

Patches has been doing remarkably well, considering that two years ago we didn’t envision her living more than a few more months. Her health and stamina have been holding pretty well over the last year, which is great considering that she’s almost 20 years old – that’s like 96 years to you and me. This summer we started giving her subcutaneous (under the skin) fluids every other day, which has helped her feel better. It’s a two-person job giving her the fluids. In fact, it’s a real part-time job taking care of her. If Michelle and I had regular jobs, I doubt Patches would be here today, so we’re blessed to be able to work at home and care for her.

On the business front, we’ve been switching gears away from Google and search marketing toward Amazon and non-search marketing. Google’s constant search algorithm changes keep making it more difficult to find good alternative and natural health information online, including websites like ours. While Google says they are trying to protect people from dubious medical advice, they are actually squelching many well-established, science-based voices in the natural health arena. So, we’ve been changing our strategies and techniques to compensate. Our latest project has been converting our existing printed books to Kindle e-books.

Due to Patches’ health, we stayed close to home this year. So that one of us could be home to care for her, most of our trips any longer than half a day were solo. Michelle went to see the lavender season peak in Sequim and made a few trips to Olympic National Park, including Lake Crescent. She also visited Seattle a few times to hear some of her favorite speakers. My trips have been mostly one-night backpacking excursions close to home, but I did get to the Cascades for a few two-night trips and even a three-night trip this Fall. Last winter I took up sewing and made several pieces of outdoor gear. My main projects were a pair of wind pants, a synthetic quilt, an inner net tent for my tarp and six different backpacks. Making the backpacks was really enjoyable – I actually sold three of them through our website. Right now making backpacks is just a winter part-time hobby, but we’ll see what happens in the future.

In June we had the pleasure of visiting with our Colorado friends Steve and Lisa and her daughter Ellie. Boy, it’s been too long since we were back in CO to see everyone. Seeing Lisa and Steve makes us remember how much we miss our friends and family. CO is the first place we plan to visit as soon as we have more flexibility to travel, maybe as part of a longer drive through Arkansas, Pennsylvania and New York too.

On a sadder note, Michelle’s grandfather passed in June at the grand old age of 102! He was doing pretty well overall until early in the year, when a stubborn infection and his weakening strength finally were too much for him to recover from. He was a war hero who flew 30 missions over Europe in WWII as a B-17 bombardier in the Air Force. After the war he invented aircraft countermeasures that protected pilots from enemy missiles. He later retired from IBM after a long and successful career in Boulder, Colorado.

Below are 5 groups of photos from 2018 – we hope you enjoy! Keep scrolling down to see all 5 photo albums. You can flip through the photos by clicking the arrows – but they should advance on their own. Michelle and I wish you a very happy Christmas and New Year – wish we could be there to celebrate with you!

Album 1: Below are photos from Steve, Lisa and Ellie’s visit:


Album 2: Below are photos of early season backpacks in the Olympics:


Album 3: Below are images of peak summer hikes in the Olympics:


Album 4: Below are images from Fall hikes in the Cascade Range:


Album 5: Below are Michelle’s photos she took on some of her trips: