Archives For Dawn

I made three moves within a year.   It was difficult for me to leave the cottage.  It had been my liberation and prison at once.  I began painting there.  I grew flowers and hid from the world there.  I forced myself to spend time with myself in that  shingled oasis.  I faced my demons in that cottage and came out alive.  I shed my old skin, opened brave new eyes and set out on a fresh, new start.

I moved in with Dawn, my closest and dearest friend for about six months in her apartment in Cedarhurst, Long Island.  I moved in with Dawn so we could be together, split expenses, and really so I could keep an eye on her during the very tense living situation she was in.  Her little girl did not understand what was happening to her parents.  It was a good idea for a while, but eventually I felt I was crowding her life and somehow making things more confusing for her and her daughter.  Also, very simply, I was probably sticking my nose where it did not belong.  I was feeling a bit stronger now and did not like the way her soon to be ex-husband was treating her.  There were many late nights that summer when we stayed up talking in the dark, the only light coming from the moon and the street lights just below the window.  We sat on the living room floor surrounded by her daughter’s toys.  We talked for hours about past lovers, art, books and the book she was writing.  I became her editor.  Long stretches of the day were spent with her writing in one room and me editing in another.  We met in the kitchen taking breaks and got ready for her daughter’s return home from pre-school.  Times when it was just the two of us were spent talking about the day I would get her published and how we would both be wildly successful in the literary world.  I did send sample pages to publishing houses – big ones – naming myself as her editor and agent.  I don’t know who I thought I was back then but I was raw and so confident in her ability as a writer.  Dawn and I were always so close.  We were very powerful together during those years.  Psychically so.  One night, we were talking about one of her former romantic flames whom she had not seen or heard from in at least ten years.  She knew through others that he had move out of the state but confessed to me she felt he was close.   We talked through the night about her fond and not so fond memories.  I was filled with the knowing that we could find him.  It was as though a magnet were drawing us to him.  The next day we got in the car, I began driving, and less that an hour later we found him.  Through the entire car ride I asked questions about his routines, where his old stops were after work…. and as she spoke I drove, turning the car, stopping, going….  Somehow we were in a parking lot, she went into the store and they walked right into each other in the frozen food aisle.  They had not seen each other in over ten years.  It was like finding a needle in a haystack.  Totally impossible, completely incredible and if we weren’t both there to witness these events unfurl, I am sure neither one of us would believe the other.  We have gone in and out of each others lives for various reasons over the years, always at crucial moments.  I am happy to say we are still close now.  Perhaps closer than ever.  We are true sisters.

While living with Dawn, I began speaking to and visiting my mother on occasion.  It seemed silly that she should be in that big house all alone.  She asked me many times to move back home with her, but I was anxious about it.  Honestly I did not know if I could trust her.  How could she ever begin to understand what I had gone through?  How could I let her mother me again?  Eventually I moved in with her again so I could save money to finally divorce Tommy.  I was getting to the point where I was wanting to date again and felt there was no way I could while still being married, even though I had not seen his face in nearly four years.  Dawn needed her space and I needed to heal the relationship with my mother.

One of the things my therapist suggested (before he dumped me) was to treat myself to “dates”.  Small, affordable outings that would please me and bring back my sense of independence.  Solo adventures.  After our last session, I think it was a few months after, I began doing just that.  In an effort to earn extra cash, I signed up to teach a Saturday morning program at school which ended around noon.  Since I was commuting into The Bronx, I decided to explore Manhattan instead returning home immediately.  I bought a small map of Manhattan in an effort to manhattannavigate the subway lines and decided the first place I would visit was The Metropolitan Museum of Art.  I took the time to walk from Grand Central Terminal on 42nd Street all the way up Madison Avenue to 82nd street and 5th Avenue.  I loved those walks.  I’d pass the cafes and shops and daydream of days when I would be able to afford the designer shoes, handbags and dresses that adorned the windows.  I’d people watch as I strolled up Madison Avenue – watching well groomed, well adorned ladies with their little dogs and alongside them, homeless people setting up camp alongside garbage dumpsters just slightly out of view.  How could the world be so weird and wonderful and cruel?  I continued on my walk, wide-eyed and aware of just about everything and everyone around me.

Growing up on Long Island, my visits to Manhattan, or “The City” as we called it,  were reserved for yearly attendance to see The Christmas Spectacular at Radio City Music Hall and very special family dinners.  Reintroducing myself to Manhattan, on my terms, allowed me for those few hours on Saturdays to feel like a wide eyed tourist; amazed by the architecture, people, rushing taxis and smells of everything from urine to hot dogs to fresh coffee brewing.  And even as I got lost in the streets of Manhattan, wandering aimlessly and discovering the things I loved, I could not help but look around at the countless faces and eyes expecting to suddenly see Tommy, my estranged husband.  It had been years since I’d seen him but I remember his words to me, You’ll always be looking over your shoulder.  one day I’ll be there.  I’ll find you”.  In a city of eight million people, could he really find me?  Does he know where I am, what I’m doing?  I tried to push these thoughts aside, brush them off as crazy.  I needed this time to myself.  This was my time.  He was in the past.  I needed to put him in the past for good. 

It was my routine on those Saturday Dates with Myself, that I would walk my way up from Penn Station to The Metropolitan Museum of Art.  Sometimes I would walk up the East Side of Manhattan – Straight up Madison Avenue to 79th Street and then to the entrance of the Met.  Sometimes I would go up the Westside of Manhattan – up Broadway, to Lincoln Center.  I’d buy myself a new pen or notebook at the now defunked Lincoln Stationers and stop at the Lincoln Center Cinemas where I could lose myself in an arthouse film or foreign film with English subtitles.  Then I would get myself something to eat at Ollie’s Noodles or Sushi Dan.  I’d stroll along the shops and cafes on Columbus, dreaming of another life.  I became familiar with the shops and eateries on the Upper West Side and especially with the giant Barnes and Noble Bookstore just directly across from Lincoln Center.  It too has since been turned into a clothing store, but in those days I would sit around for hours reading and finding incredible new books and classics I had been meaning to read.  I loved those Saturdays.  They really did restart me and get me feeling more confident.

*     *     *

One of those Saturdays, when we were finished with our students and waiting to receive our paychecks, another teacher approached me. Heather was a teacher in the 5th grade and also working the saturday program.  She began with some small talk then asked me what my plans were for the following school year.  I told her I wanted to leave our little school in The Bronx because of all the governmental changes happening in education at the time.  No Child Left Behind, George W. Bush’s pet project, was turning education into a big mess. Reading and math “programs” were purchased.  We had to account for the exact time we would be teaching a specific lesson and what page number we would be working on with the class – and when auditors came to check on us, we needed show that we were on schedule.  We were beginning to feel the effects already in our school and it was a presidential election year.   I swore, jokingly, that I would leave the country if Bush was re-elected.   I could feel the collective grass-roots atmosphere of our school beginning to shift and change.  Teachers were beginning to feel defeated.   Fighting the good fight was turning into following orders and collecting a paycheck.  I did not want that to happen to me.  I told Heather I was unsure of my plans but that I had started applying to surrounding suburban districts with no luck.  She announced, “Oh I’m going to teach in London and I’m going to marry a British guy.”  London?! Marry??  My eyes widened, as it was something I never expected to hear from her.  I didn’t know her well then, just some friendly chatting around school, and I was taken aback by her confidence and determination. She laughed a little and explained to me that she had worked in Australia, and though she did not have a position secured in London, it was still early and she did not anticipate any difficulty in finding a job.  She then asked me the magic question… Would you be interested in doing this?   I immediately could not begin to conceive of how this could work for me… How could I leave New York?  How would I get there?  I don’t even have a credit card!  Could I live in another country? What about my friends, my stuff my life??  Truth was, I didn’t have very much stuff, since I had left it all behind the night I left Tommy.  Heather gave me the information I needed to begin the process.  There would be an agency I needed to register with, attend a job fair (in Bethesda, Maryland) where I would be interviewed, etc.  I remember sitting down in front of the computer that night feeling overwhelmed and deciding not to bother.  Crazy idea, after all.  Crazy.  Who goes to another country for work?  But Heather called.  She stayed on the phone with me until I was registered.  She called me every day giving me tips to improve my application, letting me know about openings, and pushing me.  I was so scared and suspicious of the whole process.  I think Heather must have sensed this.  She continued to stay on top of me.  Calling, checking in, not letting up. Eventually the months rolled by.  I was able to save enough money for a divorce and bankruptcy to free me from the debt that Tommy had accrued in my name.  I found out from one of his family members where he was living, had Tommy subpoenaed with Divorce Papers.

By March I was officially divorced.

By May I was at the Job Fair in Bethesda.   It was an odd setup.  The three day conference was held at a hotel.  There were lots of other candidates there some older, some younger than my thirty one years.  Most of them came from various cities along the east coast to interview  with the headmasters and directors of International and American schools located in cities scattered across Europe, Asia, The Middle East and Africa.  On the first day, I received a folder in which schools who wanted to interview me placed a note requesting an appointment.  When I checked my folder, it was stuffed full.  I was in total shock.  After writing in all my interview requests, I realized I had a full day ahead of me.  I had four interviews all scheduled before 11:00am:  Morocco, Dusseldorf, Moscow, Milan, Turkey. I don’t know which schools wanted to interview me in the afternoon but I do remember my appointment card was full.  In the morning I interviewed with the guy from Morocco who spend more than half our allotted interview time telling me how I would have to wear a Burka and it would not be an easy life on my own as a single woman.  I felt like reminding him that I lived in New York – if any place is not easy to be a single woman, it’s New York!  But I thanked him, decided I had no idea if it would be difficult in Morocco but that I would like to continue interviewing before making a decision.  Mr. Dusseldorf talked about the beauty of Germany and the stability of his school but warned me of massive tax deductions that might make life difficult for me there.  The gentleman from Moscow warned that winters would be difficult but spoke more about the curriculum which sounded interesting.   When I got to the Milan school, the gentleman who interviewed me spoke very seriously about my training, teaching philosophy and asked what I hoped to find in a new school.  He asked why I was looking for an overseas experience and explained his program to me.  It sounded interesting.  Like a good fit.  He offered to call a teacher at his school so I could ask her questions about living in Italy.  But I wanted to go to Amsterdam.  I had no interest in Italy whatsoever.  I spoke to Mary anyway, for about twenty minutes, and all I remember about that conversation was how she and her husband grew their own beautiful tomatoes in their back yard.  The Lower School Head, Mr. Day Jones, finally offered me a contract, to which I hesitated in signing. He said to me Did you ever see the movie Under The Tuscan Sun?  Yes! I replied, I love that movie!  You’re life is going to be just like that movie… what do I need to do to convince you that you should sign this contract?  I need to call my mother.  Ok.  you have twenty minutes.  Go call your mother.  If you don’t come back in twenty minutes, I’m giving the job to someone else.  I ran out the door, ran down to the lobby and called my mother on Long Island.  She yelled into the phone to take the job in Milano!  Don’t be crazy!  Go to Milano!  She was thrilled.  I didn’t even know where Milan was on the map.  Embarassing!

I signed the contract less than twenty minutes later.  Day gave me my first Italian kiss – one peck on both cheeks, and congratulated me.

Three months later, in August 2005 I was on an Alitalia flight direct to Milan, Italy.

My life would never be the same again.

map_of_italy

I continued with medication and therapy sessions for quite some time.

I think it was two years with the same therapist.  All during that time, I was painting.  My inability to keep my mind steady showed in my Pink_House_by_happycurlgirlpaintings.  I was not formally trained as a painter, and almost immediately recognized I had no talent for it.  It felt good to do it, to smell the paints, feel the brush in my hands and do something that resulted in a product.  Something tangible.  The conversations I had with Dawn, my soulmate and artistic advisor over the phone, helped me to begin experimenting with the medium, though I see them now as feeble attempts at art.  As I mentioned in an earlier post, these paintings were not conscious in terms of how I chose my subject matter.  I took inspiration from the neighborhood surrounding the cottage where I was living (pink house) and the cover of an LL Bean catalogue.  My skies were unnaturally curved, the light was all wrong on both but I was so proud of the white picket fence I made surrounding the black house.  I remember using a matchbook cover to make the lines straight and as even as possible.  It took two weekend sessions for me to complete the fence alone. The third painting here shows a mountain top from an odd perspective.  I can’t help but feel now, that I want to see what’s on the other side.  Is it more land or the ocean?  Maybe another house?  I have no idea what I was thinking then or why I created that image, but it seems I could not see beyond the trees literally and metaphorically.  Looking these paintings now, I notice the solitary stance of the houses, the emptiness of them and the unnatural stillness that hovers over the trees and houses.  I suppose this is what I was feeling at the time, but could not articulate that.  I was painting my solitude and fear.  I see that now.

 

There were numerous incidents with my estranged husband that left me vulnerable and bruised internally.  There was the time I left work to find my car was not where I had parked it.  I went to the precinct which was next to my school building to report it stolen and they informed me it had not been stolen.  The car had been towed for over $1,500 in parking tickets and other violations I did not know about – obviously from Tommy’s misuse of my car.  I had to borrow money from a colleague to get my car back the next day – almost $3,000 because it was impounded by the city and there were other fees.  Another time, there were papers I received from New York State Motor Vehicles Department informing me that I needed to pay to re-register my boat.  Well, yes, the boat was registered to me but with all that happened, I completely forgot about it.  I went to look for the boat one weekend.  On the drive down to Long Island I remember thinking that if Tommy were to see me driving into town he would probably kill me.  I was prepared to die.  I thought to myself, Things are so complicated and difficult for me now.  I can’t possibly get myself out of these messes alone; money, cars, boats, the endless abyss of loneliness and crippling fear – If you’re going to take me this way Lord, let it be quick and leave my body in a state that my mother can still bury me in one piece.   I parked, walked up and down the slips where boats were docked but my boat was no longer at the slip where we had kept it the season before.  I walked to the red dock house and asked the Dock Master where it might be.  He simply said “It’s your fucking boat, don’t you know where it is?  It’s kinda hard to lose a boat”.  Embarrassed and angry at once I told him my story.  He simply said “Yeah, I know who you fucking are.  I recognize you.  Go ask Tommy where his boat is.  I don’t know where your boat is.  Get the fuck off my property”.   I ripped the registration papers into a million pieces and left.  To this day, I have never found that boat.

*     *     *

I juggled my two lives fairly well.  I was the devoted professional teacher by day and the tortured scared victim in the lonely walls of my little cottage.  The high of having my own place, of having survived my husband’s insanity quickly evaporated and left me feeling paranoid, scared and alone.  There were days that melted into nights and then into new days again without a moment of sleep.  There were endless cigarettes and sporadic eating and overeating.   There were dreams I daydreamed while lying on my bed ignoring the sunlight just outside my door.  And there were the day long phone conversations with my closest friend Dawn, the only person who knew absolutely all of this at the time.  She talked me through it and listened.  We laughed, we cried we talked about her writing and my fears.  We talked on the phone so much that we killed batteries in cordless phones and got neck aches and red hot burning ears that lasted long after our conversations ended.  We ate meals together over the phone and I painted while she read me her latest pieces of writing.  There were many important relationships with friends I had during that time but Dawn was different.  I told her every minuscule detail of my day, which is a good thing because I have since forgotten (blocked out?) so much. She knows all my warts.  All my successes.  Our bond was intense and immeasurable.  Thank God, it still is.

*     *     *

One day, I was home alone in the cottage. It was sunny Saturday afternoon when the phone rang.  It was Tommy.

I never thought he would find me but somehow he did.  My heart pounded furiously in my chest at the first sound of his voice.  My face grew red, ears were burning.  My chest grew hot with fear.  My mind was swirling with disbelief and confusion.  Surprise, I found you, triumph in his voice.  He told me he would never pay to divorce me.  He said he would find me or my mother and one of us would pay for my leaving him.  He called me a variety of names and threatened me.  Of course I was shaking – was he near the cottage, in the driveway?  How did he get my number?  Why couldn’t he just leave me alone?  If he knows the phone number does he know where I live? – I told him I couldn’t afford to pay for a divorce.  He asked where I was living, what I was doing but I did not tell him.  I asked for his contact information so I could serve him his divorce papers when I did get the money to divorce him. He refused to give me an address, a phone number, anything.  He told me I would always have to look over my shoulder and wonder where he was.  He said he could appear at any moment and destroy me.  I believed him.

When he hung up, I ran around the cottage, peering out each window carefully to see if I saw any sign of him.  I tried to calm myself, took a Klonopin and sat down on the corner of the bed.  I could not relax, so I took another pill.  I was scared to call anyone, thinking maybe the phone line was tapped.  Then it occurred to me that maybe someone I knew gave him my phone number.  Who would do that?  When?  How?  I was becoming delusional.  My thoughts were running in circles and twisting into themselves. How could he still turn me inside out?  Over the phone no less?  Why was I allowing him to have this power over me?  

That’s when it hit me.  I would have to face my fears and begin dealing with things. Fight the dragon. Slay the dragon. If I survived his beatings and the words he spat at me, then I would have to make a real life for myself and stop hiding in my little cottage.  No more hiding.  No more fear. Cars, boats, credit issues, divorces… all these were changeable.  I had my life.  I had my life.

That’s when I decided to grab life by the balls and turn things around.

Black_House_by_happycurlgirlmountain_view_by_happycurlgirl

imagesTime marched on.

Less than three months after leaving my husband, just two years after our wedding day, I moved into my own apartment in Brewster, NY.  It was a two room cottage on a country road littered with stone fences and mile-long gravel covered driveways.  There were trees – pines, oaks and maples – taller than any I had known on Long Island.  My little cottage sat on a ten-acre parcel of land.  The landlord lived in the main house just fifty yards behind the cottage.  His two bear-like dogs, one a sandy colored Labrador and the other a black Rottweiler, roamed the grounds chased squirrels and lounged on the grass at the foot of my front porch.  When inside the cottage only the chirping birds and the occasional whoosh of passing cars on the road beyond the stone fence could be heard.  It was a safe haven, a retreat from the chaos of my former life and I knew I would feel at peace there.  Eventually.

Just two weeks after moving into the cottage, I was offered a student teaching post at a school in The Bronx, some thirty miles from my new home.  I was partnered with an experienced First Grade teacher named Helen.  I quickly came to learn that Helen was well respected by her professional peers for her structured classroom management skills and her firm but loving way with students.  She welcomed me into her classroom and taught me everything I didn’t learn in my graduate studies about what it really meant to be an effective teacher of children.  We worked hard and spent every moment outside of class time planning and preparing for the next session.  Most of the teachers in the surrounding classrooms gathered together in Helen’s room for lunch, checking in about what lessons went well, which copies needed to be made and how we would divide up the preparation of specific subject areas.  We laughed much and shared stories about our students.  I began to fall in love with my new profession and the women who supported my development as a teacher.  Helen invited me to her home after school one day and over drinks I began telling her the story of my former husband and how I escaped from my former life.  Helen did not judge me, or think less of me when I revealed my brutal history.  She simply offered me another drink and looked into my eyes and said, “When you met me, you met God”.  Many years later when I reminded her of this, she did not remember having said it but it was something I never forgot.  The thing is, when angels come into your life, and many have come into mine, they do not always know the impact they are having.

My six week student teaching experience was coming to an end.  I was called into the Principal’s office and offered a Guided Reading position for the Lower School (grades one through four) which began the day after my student teaching position had ended.  It was now six months after I left my husband, with nothing but the tee-shirt and boxer shorts I was wearing – not even shoes on my feet – and here I was with a full-time job in my new profession and friends who made me feel like I was part of their family.  I woke up each morning grateful for another sunrise, another day of work, and another dollar earned.  I was blessed in ways I could not have imagined just a few months before.

When I was not working I felt the need to somehow document my emotions.  I attempted keeping a journal but after a few lame attempts, found words were unable to capture what I was needing to express.  I made all kinds of excuses to myself – the book was all wrong, the pen was the wrong color or thickness, I did not have a comfortable place to write, and worst of all, I could not form a clear sentence.  Then one day, on the phone with my good friend Dawn whom I had met in the bookstore so many years before, she suggested I try painting.  Dawn, who had always been a writer and artist, explained how I could begin by buying just a few acrylic paints in primary colors, a few basic brushes and paper or cheap pre-stretched canvas to begin with and get a feel for the medium.  My next paycheck quickly vanished into the till of a local art store and I began experimenting with mixing colors and simply brushing them onto the canvas.  I was surprised by how the texture, smell and feel of the brush in my hand had the power to let my mind escape into a new artistic experience.  I wasn’t any good, but man, was I having fun.  I began living in a new rhythm of long drives to work, shuffling from grade level to grade level trying to teach kids to read, then the long drive home, and sleepless nights fogged by chain smoking cigarettes and playing with paints.  Weekends were spent getting errands out of the way in the early morning and losing myself in paint and cigarettes, cigarettes and paint.  There were marathon phone calls to Dawn that lasted hours but I never shed a tear.  I sat staring out the window and watched the leaves on the trees turn color and fall to the ground.  I waited expectantly for new buds to bloom on the once dead branches and was altogether unable to articulate my understanding that time was moving forward.  It took almost a year for me to begin to understand the gravity of what I had been through and where I now found myself.

I was living in seclusion, delving deeper and deeper into solitary confinement.  What I perceived to be my haven was actually becoming a self-induced sentence to aloneness and fear.  The strange thing was that I was excelling at my profession.  I was like a robot at work and an indefinable mass when I was alone in that cottage.  The one thing I had hoped for in my auto-pilot state was to have my own classroom.  I felt ready for the professional challenge and was offered a second grade classroom for the following school year.  I was looking forward to spending lazy days in the cottage painting and smoking and generally doing as I pleased.

As we all know, the best laid plans of mice and men oft go astray. As it turned out I could teach, but could not do.  Not for a long while, anyway.

Why Begin A New Blog?

March 26, 2013 — 8 Comments
Abe Ajay (American, 1919–1998)

The Thinking Woman,

So I have this other blog, Speaking of Art, which was originally intended to be a serious accounting of art and the effect it’s had on my life.  I had the best most focused intentions when I started it one winter’s night in Amsterdam.  After yet another art event, I realized the thread that wove me together all these years of life was my love for art and my need for it in my life.  I began writing out of the frustration, really,  of not being able to create art, though I tried with lessons and self experimentation.  However, as things often happen with me, my plans went awry and that blog started to become something else.  I felt obligated to focus on art, my deepest passion, and tried too hard which resulted in articles with many holes in them.  I could have said so much more, written about so many more events and pieces that were creeping into my vision but I simply could not write with any authority on the subject.  My writing was such shit, that I could barely read the pieces back.  Yet I knew I had something to say.  My thoughts became muddled and I could not find a way to express what I felt I could if given time and proper conditions.   I might one day be able to, so I am keeping that blog open and hopefully I will be able to return to it.

What I have only just come to realize in this my forty-fourth year of life – is that the one thing I am a mild expert at – is me.  Those of you who are close to me know that I have spent a lot of time talking about myself and my experiences.  I’ve had a nasty habit of rehashing all the events in my life to anyone who would listen.  Not because I think they wanted to hear me talk, but because I felt the need to verbally, out loud reconsider those events.  My very closest friend Dawn once said to me in a heated exchange, that she found me exhausting.  She said I gave too much of myself away.  To friends.  To men.  To “anyone who would listen”.  She was right, so I listened.  Carefully.  I listened so carefully and closely to her that I silently began a very serious re-examination of why I did what I did.

Dawn and I went a long stretch without communicating after that exchange.  This was not unusual for us.  We would go a few months without contact, then reconnect as though no time had passed.  This time the disconnect was different.  It was important for me to hear her blaring silence and to continuously self-examine.  It’s as though I had been in a year long state of meditation.  My life looked the same on the outside.  I worked, went out with friends, and lived my life.  I just didn’t have her there to talk to for hours, and I mean hours, on the phone.   To this day she s the only person I can call and have a phone conversation that lasts three, four sometimes five hours.  I missed her greatly during this period especially.  You see, she is the one person that knows me possibly better than I know myself.  She says, famously, that I am her ego, her id.  The truth is she is my superego and most honest sounding board.  She knows when to tell me what I need to hear and when I need to hear it.  I’ve been very blessed to find this level of friendship with her.  That word seems to weak, and soulmate sounds a bit cheesy but perhaps in this case “soulmates” is fitting.  By the time communication resumed I knew I had to tell her immediately that I had taken her comments very seriously.  There was no defense I could conjure up.  I simply had to tell the truth.

I realized I was living on a self-absorbed, too-much-in-my-own-head state.   I was critical of myself to the point that I would nearly beg others for negative reinforcement.  I had such a weak view of who I was, while pretending to be very confident and self assured.  Just writing about this now is making me wince at my own memory.  Not attractive.  I know, but this is the truth as I see it.

I’m always asking key questions for the purpose of self improvement.  Why did events happen in my life?  What was my role/responsibility?  What does that mean about me here and now?  What can I learn from this?  How can I create something better?  I have probably done this because somewhere deep inside me I have always known that I was destined for greatness.  My mistake was in thinking that greatness might find me.  I now realize I must find greatness and claim it as my own.  It has taken years, but that knowledge has crept up inside of me and has risen to a level where I can look at it, turn it around and realize it.  Realize the greatness I can have.  Not my potential but my greatness. Greatness.  MY GREATNESS.

So, the question arises again, why a new blog?  Well, recent events in my life have made the fact that I am not getting any younger abundantly clear.  I have always had the sensation that this greatness would be mine later or one day but the time has now come.  I recognize that events in my life are extra-ordinary and I have lived quite a life so far.  I do feel this life is worth remembering, so the new blog is a way to tell my stories so they will be remembered.  I suppose, as with anything, I hope people will connect, learn and reflect on these stories.  After all, we all want to be heard, accepted and understood.  Oh yes, and loved.