About Me


Hello all,
I am Teresa Michelsen and this is my blog. In its pages you will find many different aspects of my life, all the different hats I wear – environmental consultant, mediator, tarot author, gamer, nature-lover, traveler, food enthusiast :) You probably came to my site from one of these worlds, but this is where all of them intersect.

I live in west Olympia, WA with a home office looking out onto my little garden near the forest. Most of my day is spent doing scientific consulting, mediation, and facilitation. At other times I wear other hats – my publishing website Tarotmoon Press and my gaming website, dedicated to the old Avalon Hill game of Magic Realm. In addition, I do freelance scientific editing of research manuscripts whose authors do not have English as their first language, for a company in India (reverse outsourcing, yay!). I recently started a new Meetup group for adventurous cooks, and that’s been fun.

I’m 46, out on my own after a 17-yr marriage, and looking at life with new eyes. I’m starting out on my new journey, having just downsized to a smaller home where I hope to get more involved in community, sustainable living, biking, yoga, sitting around in quirky coffeehouses, traveling the world, and just seeing what life brings me :) – Teresa

25 Things About Me

Note: This was originally a post on my main page, but it really seemed to belong here, so I moved it!

Rules: Once you’ve been tagged, you are to write a blog with 25 random things, facts, habits, or goals about you. At the end, choose 25 people to be tagged. You have to tag the person who tagged you. If I tagged you, it’s because I want to know more about you. If you don’t tag 25 people, no worries! It’s all for fun.

25 Things About Me

1. I played concert oboe daily through the end of graduate school, in band, orchestra, and musicals – as well as clarinet, saxophone, and recorder. Never could play the flute, even though it has the same fingering as the oboe – can’t get the hang of the mouthpiece! I hope to play wooden recorder in a medieval or renaissance music group when I retire.

2. I never could fit into high school. My crowd was an older group of hard-core stoners already out of school, and at the same time, I got straight A’s. Only two of us went to University, and we stayed good friends for 20 years.

3. My dorm at Caltech was a throwback to the 60s – free love and the Grateful Dead. Mixed with relativity, three-dimensional calculus, synthetic chemistry, and spectroscopy. O.o A quarter-hit of acid with your physics exam, anyone?

4. Somehow I survived all that and became a relatively normal person :D … but with a keen appreciation and enjoyment of the stranger things in life. I haven’t touched a drug since I graduated, and don’t care to. Except coffee :)

5. My early research days were doing spectroscopic research on the colors of gemstones and on Martian mineralogy. I can honestly say I am one of the few people in the world that has had a piece of Mars on my desk.

6. I was put on the environmental path by the extreme pollution of Boston at that time, which I had not previously encountered growing up in Seattle. Not to mention that the Martian space program was tanking both here and in the USSR and so there wasn’t much future in continuing research in that field. As it turned out, my chemistry and geology background were useful, and I moved to UCLA to finish out my doctorate.

7. I got involved in one of the first cleanup programs in US (and the world) to formally deal with contamination in rivers, harbors, and bays. This led to a job at the Washington State Department of Ecology, to teaching numerous training programs around the country, and finally enabled my consulting business.

8. I love working for myself. I’m not sure I could ever go back to a traditional employer. Because I work at home, having just the right home environment is very important to me – it’s not just a place I come home to at night.

9. I’m so happy for the internet – it has made my current career possible and provides all kinds of opportunities for earning extra income should the need ever arise. It makes me feel confident that I will never have to go back to traditional work or “retire” if I need to keep working. When I wrote my dissertation, I had to borrow one of the few portable computers in the department!! As an undergrad, PCs (as opposed to large centralized mainframes) were making their first appearances on campus.

10. My first real job was processing fish tickets (payroll) for fishermen in Seattle returning from Alaska, for Whitney-Fidalgo Seafoods. Each ticket showed how much of which fish were caught and where. This turns out to be pretty typical of Seattle – almost every family still had some tie to Alaska.

11. When I was growing up, my Mom did astrology, numerology, and past life regression and was very active in the New Age community. Like any kid, this eventually led to me having a kind of backlash toward New Age philosophy. I still can’t handle most of the “trappings” of New Age (crystals, angels, etc.) and find many of the beliefs hard to accept (as with most religions), though I have come to look for the value in all religions and philosophies and have become firmly agnostic.

12. I do, though, have a love of tarot cards. I think it was the images that originally drew me. I have long loved card systems of all kinds, as well as games, and philosophy, and tarot is all three. The structure and cycles represented by the archetypal images in the deck are fascinating. Forget fortune-telling – there are serious insights to be had. If you doubt it, ask, and I’ll tell you more about it.

13. It was probably inevitable, given the above, that I would become a Magic card collector at some point in the game’s early history. At that time I had a lot of disposable income, and began trading the cards on eBay. I bought out whole stores and repackaged and resold the cards, and assembled a near-mint collection of all the sets from the very beginning, along with many extremely rare promotional cards. I kept those sets and unique cards when I had sold off everything else. Later, when I became single, they were worth so much that they paid for half of the down-payment for my new house… bought by a Microsoft collector.

14. I married a college boyfriend and we had a good marriage for a long time – 17 years. In the end, communication, work, and other problems resulted in a parting of the ways, amicable. I am proud of the fact that we managed our dissolution without lawyers and without hard feelings.

15. I now do, among other things, mediations of divorces and child custody issues – and I know just how bad it could be! I also facilitate large interagency workgroups, generally in the environmental field. You’d be amazed how many environmentally beneficial projects are held up because agencies don’t agree or can’t get organized.

16. Most of my career, I worked on cleaning up contaminated sites, and developing programs to do so, including developing the numeric cleanup standards that determine what are safe levels of chemicals in the environment for fish, wildlife, and people eating fish. I’m transitioning out of this now, into more people-oriented work described above.

17. I do expert legal consulting on the effects of wood waste in the marine environment, among other weird specialized topics. One of my cases finally went to trial (most of them settle) two years ago. Let’s just say the timber industry is not fond of me.

18. One of my stranger income streams is reverse-outsourced from India – I freelance for an editorial firm there that edits scientific research articles for journal publication, written by scientists whose first language is not English. Most of my papers are by Chinese, Taiwanese, Korean, or Japanese authors who are required to publish in English. Can you imagine if you had to publish in Korean? Topics include medicine, genetics, biology, chemistry, crop research, geology, industrial science, and occasionally social research. So far, I’m finding the genetics ones the hardest – though I’m definitely updating my knowledge in some of these fields!

19. I’ve gotten very interested in sustainable food issues – taking it a step beyond recycling, buying organic, etc. I am working on buying more locally and growing my own vegetables, among other things.

20. I recently moved to a smaller house in Olympia, which is just the right size for me, is in a forested neighborhood, with neighbors that are all women~! (at least the adults). This is so good for me. I love Olympia and all the things to do here.

21. I have a cat named Sophie who’s a bit anti-social, though not with me. If you spend a lot of time here, she’ll love you too. She has a good memory, but is just careful who she gets involved with :D

22. I’ve always loved games, in every format – board games, card games, word games, puzzles, computer games. Yes, I even get lost in the world of MMORPs at times – mainly because it provides a way for me to spend real time with my brother and sister-in-law, two of my favorite people, who live in CA. I have a local board gaming group I hang out with in Tacoma, where I can really let my inner geek out :)

23. Cooking is another passion – though I am frustrated at the moment because the electric stove in my new house does not cook well. It’s never the same as gas to start with, and I am beginning to suspect it is also about 25 degrees under its stated heat. Nothing comes out right. I can’t wait to replace it with a gas one – but that requires running gas to the kitchen and is a project high on my list for the new year.

24. Late last summer I finally got to try out kayaking – there are many marinas in Olympia that rent kayaks, including one very near me. I loved it! I will be back on the water as soon as the weather allows, and hope to find someone to go with.

25. Last but not least… I’ve got two weeks at a condo in Puerto Vallarta each year, right in mid-town on the beach, high in the air with rafts of pelicans and frigatebirds sailing by. Puerto Vallarta has the best sunsets in the world, and the sound of the waves is so soothing that it puts me instantly to sleep. I was convinced to get it not least because i always come home so rested, even if I go and work on the balcony. Someday I hope to live in Latin America and am exploring my options year by year. :)


19 thoughts on “About Me

  1. C Bryant says:

    I have just bought and begun reading your book on Tarot reading and was wondering if you do any tarot teaching (and if so what is the cost)? I have been learning on my own, on and off for a few years, but have recently decided to make a more concerted effort in that direction. Do you help with ATA certification as well? I see that you live reasonably close (suburb of Puyallup). I too own a copy of Magic Realm, though I haven’t played in years.

  2. I do teach tarot, mostly online though I give workshops locally now and again. Any classes I am teaching you can find on my website, at http://www.tarotmoon.com/articles/articles.html – I will be starting a new class after the first of the year.

    The ATA no longer does certification – I would suggest the Canadian Tarot Network as the best North American certification organization. You can find them at: http://www.tarotcanada.com/.

    Good luck with your tarot studies!

  3. Edward says:

    Hi, Teresa. You sound about as together (to use an 80s word, or was it 70s?) as just about anyone I have encountered in your position/stage of life. I have recently gone out on my own, as they say, consulting and working from a home office here in Portland. I think I like it, but I have yet to develop a rhythm (if that’s the word) for making daily transitions from “home” to “office.” Maybe I don’t need to — after all nobody knows I am sitting here sending business emails in my PJs!

  4. Ha! I only look like I have it all together :) And really, doing work in your PJs is perfectly fine!! Since I work late and sleep late, I often find myself answering phone calls from early-bird colleagues at ungodly hours of the morning – while I’m still in bed! Hopefully, video-phones will never become popular

  5. Jim Collins says:

    What a woman of depth you are! I,too, just came out of a long term marriage. My dreams would be to find woman with enough depth to always be discovering new things about her and to have enough depth to have her constantly learning new things about me. Your amazing! Thank you for putting yourself out there, now I know that there are women out there for me to aspire to have a nurturing, loving, fulfilling relationship with.

  6. Dale says:

    Just wanted o say what an interesting web site and very well done. I suprised we haven’t met before because I work for the Dept. of Ecology and have been there for the last 8 years. I’m in the process of finding out life after marriage myself. It is a change and I to wonder where I’ll be and what I’ll be doing. For some reason Montana and Alaska keep coming into that new picture. Take care and I would like to hear more when you have time.

  7. Dale says:

    I’m sorry. Got to check my spelling next time. Take care.

  8. Hi Dale – well I left Ecology about 8 years ago to start my own business, so that may explain why we haven’t met – I do some contracting for TCP, mostly in the sediment unit – or Aquatic Lands Management as I understand it’s now called :) I was at NWRO in the mid-90s getting the sediment cleanup program started, but now I work mostly with people at HQ. Good luck on the life changes … for some reason Costa Rica keeps coming up in my radar but I really don’t know where I’ll be in 5 years either…

  9. Connie says:

    Hi Teresa,

    What a great blog you have! It’s nice to finally “see” and learn about the person behind all those insightful Tarot readings I’ve ordered throughout the years. I’m glad I am able to learn more about you through this blog. Environmental consulting sounds very interesting. I have considered practicing environmental law when I graduate from law school, but I have heard that it is a difficult area of law to get into. I will definitely be following your blog from now on. Take care!

  10. pauline says:

    Hi Teresa, Ive been a member of this group for sometime but havent really had time to interact too much. I have just read your travel notes. Your trip to Puerto Vallarta sounded so interesting and a beautiful. That area is on my list of places to visit. Im a Tarot Reader/Palmist/Numerologist in Australia. I love travel and am always trying to find ways to do more of it. It is quite difficult to find out about doing readings in other countries without actually visiting on the off chance that it can happen. Your pictures and info was facinating. I have an attraction to the spanish speaking countries and would love to work as a Professional Reading in Spain if it were at all possible. Do you know anything about Spain in terms of doing readings. I dont speak spanish but am willing to learn….but know there are a lot of english speaking new comers to Spain. Ive got quite a collection of Tarot cards and books. which includes The complete Tarot by you…..I came across your entry on the Comparative Tarot site first, and found your story about Mexico, so thought Id send you a message. Im always looking (having Sag as an ascendent) for new and exciting places to visit and ways to support my passion. I travel in Australia doing readings which satisfies that need for movement but would love to do more work overseas. Thanks again Teresa for your interesting site. Ive still got more to read. Never seems to be enough time to do what I enjoy most. Take care Pauline Donohoe

  11. Hi Pauline! I really don’t know anything about tarot reading in Spain, other than that my grandmother came from Spain and she said her grandmother did readings with a regular playing deck. Someday when my Spanish is better I plan to visit a tarot reader in Mexico and see what the style is like :) I would very much like to get one of my books translated into Spanish, but so far the publisher is resisting. I may have to bug them for the rights if they don’t want to do it ;) – Teresa

  12. Marcos Vera Yanez says:

    Dear Teresa:

    Let me introduce myself.
    My name is Marcos (mark in english I guess….) and I live in south america (chile). I’m 35 years ago, married (5 kids, two girls three boys).

    I have been studied Rider Waite’s Tarot since two year but I didn’t feel a deep-rigth connection with the cards.

    I gave a lot of readings to other people with good results. But I almost fail in the area of giving future proyections about specific events.

    I work with computers so I don’t plan to work like a full-time tarot reader so I’m now in the contraction about how time I must to invest to get better readings ?….. Do I must to stop completly if I can’t make a good connection with the deck?

    Thanks in advance

    Write me to my mail everytime you want , I love to share everything I can with people in other places. (marcosverayanez@gmail.com).

  13. Matthew Trent says:

    Hi Teresa

    I’ve read your blog for some time…find it facinating…a very great insight into you!

    I must admit…I saw your photos on a yahoo group…you are a very lovely woman (on the outside) and since reading your postings…have found you equally lovely on the inside! I’m glad I found my way here.

    Thanks so much for sharing yourself with all of us.

    Best to you for the new year,

  14. Matt says:

    Hey Teresa –

    Hope all’s well…just wanted a drop a note to say “hello”

    Still enjoying your posts and insights very much.

    Hope to hear back from you.


  15. […] Teresa Michelsen talked about “Bringing the Tarot to Life”. Teresa addressed her topic by showing attendees how to step into a Tarot card and live it for a day, or a week, or however long they want to. In entering a card, we move away from thought and emotion, and into the realm of acting, speaking, and doing. Her stated goal with this method is to directly put into practice approaches to living and interacting with others, that achieve our best results. […]

  16. […] Teresa Michelsen talked about “Bringing the Tarot to Life”. Teresa addressed her topic by showing attendees how to step into a Tarot card and live it for a day, or a week, or however long they want to. In entering a card, we move away from thought and emotion, and into the realm of acting, speaking, and doing. Her stated goal with this method is to directly put into practice approaches to living and interacting with others, that achieve our best results. […]

  17. Дарья says:

    Hi Theresa! I am sorry if I have not expressed correctly, I’m from Russia, and with the tongue a little problem :) but I hope it will not be a problem in order to express my words of thanks to you! your book is “a comprehensive guide to tarot” helped me a lot! Thank you for your experience and light in every word! prosperity and good luck! :)

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