What A Difference A Year Makes

Ah! Finally, I’m moved into my new place and have that wonderful feeling of relief that comes when all is cleared My New Placeand done. Already I’m meeting people, and they are so very wonderful! My apologies for not writing in such a long while, it has been a whirl wind of changes and things to do. I must say, I truly am a ‘small town girl’ at heart. I just love it here! My little terrier was having a bit of a stubborn streak when it came time for doing her ‘business’; but she finally came around. Now she, my bird – Frank Sinatra – and I are all nestled in our new home and are quite comfy.

Looking back, it is amazing the difference a year can make. This time last year I was still in shock over my fire and still drowning in the grief of Kimball’s death. Since then I’ve taken the time to heal, grow and allow myself to find ‘me’ again. That sassy girl who loves to laugh, loves a political fight and is filled with spit and vinegar. She’s finally back, I can safely say. All with the help of dear friends and an eight pound Westie Terrier mix named Tula. The best thing I did was adopt that little girl and can safely say that my life is complete! (Almost…)

Tula Waking Up

Still, there is something missing and I believe I’m finally ready to date again. I’ve always known that there are two types of women, those who prefer to be single and those who prefer to be in a relationship. As independent as I am, I’ve always found myself in the latter of those two groupings. My sister Elizabeth, however, now she is in the first group… Independent, single, never married and straight. So many like to label women like her by saying, “she must be gay…” What, pray tell, is so wrong with a woman (or man for that matter) choosing to stay single, living alone and happy? It just so happens that, although I find nothing wrong with being single (rather like it at times), it’s just not the lifestyle of choice for me.

No, if I had my choice, it would be with a partner. Someone who could finish my sentences, knows my likes and dislikes. Someone to share my bed and to share my coffee with me in the morning; and just ‘be’ with in our off hours. Someone with whom I could laugh with over the most absurd things. And someone with whom I could be in the same room and be still, silent; knowing that simply being in our own company was ‘enough’. I miss that. I miss having that companionship; that ‘special someone’ that I could spend the rest of my life with. Someone I could be with the rest of my life (or at least the better part of my life)…

Companionship; what does that mean? I sit here and watch my dog as she chases her tail on my new corduroy white couch and wonder “What is she thinking?” Or, perhaps this show is for me? (will that couch truly withstand her rants?) She truly is a wonder as she runs from the couch to the chair ottoman, to the window, back to the ottoman and to the couch; and, at these moment I realize, I truly am blessed to have her. But, companionship is more than that of the ‘ownership’ of a dog or cat; it is the dual friendship or a ‘lovership’ (if you will) with another person. Somebody who can like/love you for you. Someone who can appreciate you for your humor/ your jokes. I must say (if you would forgive me for repeating myself) I miss that.
I have joined a local group – a Ukulele group; and am learning to play. And you know something? I LOVE it! I do believe that in time, I’ll be able to accompany myself. Never would I have thought I’d have the talent to play an instrument. It is funny how the Universe works; I’ve been sent to these Foothills and have finally found peace. I’ve found wonderful new friends and an easy life. You know the kind? The kind of life that can only come from a small town. It is glorious. I met someone the other night in my Uke group who asked “why in the world would you move here?” To which I responded, “I LOVE it!” It is something I’ve always wanted and have been given the privilege to make the move. It is glorious to be among such history and such glorious people.
Everything is falling in order and I’ve found my best friend (myself)… Now, onto the next step in my journey – my new love… All in good time. God (or the Universe) will provide. And all in good time. For now, I thank all of you who continue to follow me and to read my writings… I appreciate you and getting to know you… I encourage you to write me (email below…) I’m finally back and will keep up my writings. It’s wonderful to be in such a place as this – I’m grateful for it all and for the past struggles… without them, I wouldn’t be who I am today.


Adventure On! How Wonderful!

My adventures continue as I start clearing my things out in trying to get ready for my move in March.  Yes, you read that right, My New PlaceI’m moving in a bit over a few days and I will be moving to a quaint little small town that is just what the Doctor ordered (I think).  I just signed the papers on my new place a few weeks ago and how wonderful it feels.  When I arrived “up-country” to stay with my dear friends  where we went to dinner, I pigged out on my favorite mac and cheese (God that place makes the BEST Mac n Cheese anywhere!), and proceeded to drink the first of many drinks.  This was unfortunate – because I apparently took a phone call (one I didn’t remember until this a.m. boy was I loaded)… and made an ASS out of myself (don’t you hate that?).  There should be Breathalyzers for phones before you speak, text, or do anything that isn’t 911 related.  At any rate, needless to say it has been quite some time since I’ve been that plottoed.  To my friends, my apologies…  to whomever I was talking with (I do remember who it was… but for the sake of discretion will leave his name out of it), my apologies… I was totally blowing smoke up your back-end…  at least I own it… and you really do have to be able to laugh at yourself (no sense in crying over spilled milk).

Anyway, back to more pressing matters, me – it is all about me is it not?  I’m moving and am truly excited about this move.  The town is a historic, lovely little town and is a mere 45 minutes from the big city…  We are surrounded by culture, the people are wonderful and my real-estate broker is like a new-found friend…  I just love it up there!  Now onto the drudgery of the packing (ugh!) and finding a good moving company; of which I’ve found a great one – Yelp is a wonderful helper, and I found some ‘Packers’ to help with my packing needs.   This new adventure is very exciting and carries with it some fears (strangely).  I’ve lived in this area that I currently live in for twenty-nine years.  My sister Kimball was always my ‘touchstone’ as she was family.  Come to think of it, I’ve never really lived anywhere where I’ve not had family close by.

But there are still many days where I find myself saddened at the idea that she is no longer available to visit, to just to go to her home and hang out with her over some dinner or a martini.  Super Bowl has come and gone and reminded me how much she would love to sit and watch the game (she was an avid football fan).  While we watched she would teach me how they game went, what all the ‘1st downs’ and ‘4th downs’ meant (I was lucky if I knew what color jersey our team was wearing).

These days grief seems to be around many of us.  I’m just getting out of a long spell while two of my dear friends are just entering.  It is hard to see those you love face tough times such as these (such a helpless feeling).  I know that as each day passes the pain will lessen, as they do have each other to lighten the load – still, the passing of their dear, dear friend must weigh heavy indeed.  Just a few weeks ago, another friend of theirs passed; the one and only Pete Seeger.  Known by many for his wonderful music such as, Where Have All The Flowers Gone, If I Had A Hammer (to only name a couple); but also for his courage in standing up against the House of Un-American Activities in 1955. PeteSeegertotheHouseUnAmerican

Pete blessed many with his music and the generosity of his talent.  My friends are so very grateful to have had their lives influenced by him and I’m so very grateful to have my life influenced by them (life truly is six degrees of separation).

I think of when we all met and started singing together, I had no idea of the path my life would be taking.  Never would I have thought – nor would I have thought I’d have the courage to move up to a wonderful little small town; so far away from what I know and am comfortable with.  Embarking on a completely new life.  Still holding those that I’ve known and loved for all this time, close and near to my heart – while meeting new people and making new friends.

I have been influenced greatly by, not just these two (who I will lovingly refer to as George and Gracie), but all those I’ve met these last few years – musicians/artists who are so very talented and have given generously to others (people like myself) their knowledge and time.  Who knows where I would be?  I think back to that woman in August 2011; so broken and hopeless.  This feeling of failure everywhere she turned.  Only to look in the mirror and see that same woman, a bit wiser, a bit more confident and looking forward to the unknown – feeling more assured in her future.  Relaxed and able to ‘go with the current’ as she embarks on this wonderful new branch in this river we call life.

Right to Life – How about the right to a FULL Life? Not just first 40 weeks… In Uteral!

In recognition of the anniversary of Roe V. Wade, I thought I would re-post my thoughts on the subject and ask, why is it that they seem to care so much about the life of a fetus and so little about the lives of our children? Education? Who needs to place money there. After school programs, arts, sports? We don’t need that. Child care? Psha!

Finding Ann MacGregor

  • Sometimes there are journeys, paths that we must follow – blindly – trusting those professionals that they know what they are doing; so much so that they can instill the knowledge to us.  And, we must have faith in ourselves that we can take that knowledge and run with it, even if we feel we are running in the dark.Last month Kimball started having difficulty breathing and we came to find out that liquid was collecting on her left lung.  We went in to the hospital for an outpatient procedure, a couple of hours later – bingo – all cured (or so we hoped).  A couple of weeks later, and with much difficulty in her breathing, we found ourselves back for another outpatient procedure.  Unfortunately, due to the fact that the fluid was continuing to accumulate, they would be placing a drainage tube from her lung sack out the back…

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Every Seven Years = A New You!

We have now embarked into the New Year of 2014 and it is at this time when I, personally,  like to take inventory.  Never having ever been one to make Start2014resolutions; instead, I find that looking at the positives and learning from the problems of the past is much more helpful.  As time passes, did you know that every seven years our body goes through its own renewal (like a new you)?  Well, sort of – according to notes by the  New York Public Library’s Science Desk Reference (Stonesong Press, 1995), “There are between 50 and 75 trillion cells in the body…. Each type of cell has its own life span, and when a human body dies it may take hours or days before all the cells in the body die”, pretty cool, huh?  And according to LiveScience.com, being that each of those trillion cells have a life span, when they die they are replaced (see? a new you!).

So, thinking about this has caused me to look back over the past seven years and really look at the girl (Woman) of 2007 to that same (or different) Woman, now, in 2014.  Oh my!  What a difference!  Let’s see… the milestones.  For starters, I had just lost my mother in November of 2006.  A huge loss to us all, but not unexpected.  My husband at the time was still healing from two strokes he suffered in July and August 2006 – this changed our marriage immensely as I had no idea who I was coming home to.  His mood and personality changed completely.  With many stroke victims, the signs are on the outside (e.g. paralysis, slurred speech), but with him it was deep in his personality; so when I came home in the evening I had no idea if I was coming home to Dr. Jekyll, Mr. Hyde or their twin cousins.  The more I tried to help, the more he turned away.  And his drinking that he believed he could still do just aggravated the whole situation (as you can well imagine).

By summer I suffered a melt-down, left work and tried to go back in the early fall.  By this time, I realized my husband’s drinking and his medical condition was all wrong for each other, so by October, I left him.  This was not my initial plan; I wanted to merely move into the next room.  But he said, “if you can’t share my bed, you can’t share my home.”  So, I moved in with my sister, Kimball until I could figure everything out.  He eventually made the commitment to go back to rehab (round #4) and I returned to give it one more go-round.

During this time I was struggling between what I should do with myself.  I was still in Insurance and was feeling the pull of wanting to get out.  I’ve never been a person who worked best under the condition of being ‘micro-managed’ and I was definitely being micro-managed at this new agency.  My life in 2007/2008 was met with constant turmoil – I was a square peg in a world of round holes – there was no place for me to fit in.  Life was as unpredictable at home (I knew something was up… but he was not letting on; was he drinking again?  I wasn’t sure, I mean where was the evidence?)  as it was at work, I was a fish out of water. For the first time in a very long time I felt judged at ever turn.  And I was exhausted.

The difference between that woman then and the woman typing this now is I’m not as fearful as I was.  I was clutching hold of my life as if I were trying to hold onto water.  I remember talking with an attorney back then, and was so uncontrollably crying – because the idea of leaving Doug was too much for me.  I just couldn’t see myself as a “quitter” and quitting on him that way.

By Fall of 2008 I would find that I would be let go from the agency and our business (Doug’s and mine) would come to a halt.   Life couldn’t be any worse recession-cartoon-792502(financially).  I did what I could in my “in-home” business and we sold every single piece of jewelry I had – the recession had this our house and it hit hard.  Still we had the holidays and moved forward as best we could.  I still found myself with suspicions of his drinking again, at which point he would deny.  So, unless I actually caught him there was nothing I could do.

At this point in my life I still felt like I was holding on by my nails – there was really nowhere to turn and nothing I could do to make myself truly happy.  I was truly at bottom.  (ah!  But remember, just when you think it can’t get any worse… it can!)  I would be challenged in ways I never imagined and be asked  for great endurance in the near future (more than I knew).  By June 2009 Kimball’s cancer had returned and I discovered Doug’s little secret – I found his bottles.  I’m done and will move in with Kimball to care for her – her cancer is Stage 4 Ovarian Cancer and she will need me for at least six weeks.  And this would be the start of a roller coaster ride that I never thought I’d be able to handle – but, I did and I survived.

I look at my life now, the way I see things, what I want to do with my life and I’ve discovered talents I never thought I had.  I’ve met people I never, ever would have met.  There have been self discoveries I’ve made that – perhaps I would still have made them – but, I’m willing to wager, I’d still be banging my head against many of the same doors.  Yes, I’ve met great loss; but, I’ve also grown through that loss and discovered many miracles along the way that enlightened and helped to guide me through those hard times.  Friends who, by way of their talent with the piano, showed me my singer’s voice and solo interpretation again.  Friends, who in their own right are wonderfully talented singers and musicians, took me in and harmonized with me and showed me another genre called ‘folk’.  Then there is the blog that allowed me the voice to share; and all of whom I met through it, who gave me support.

I’ve finally found my “square hole” and now know where I want to be (or at least the direction).  It is a completely different direction than I ever thought possible before; but at least I now know where I’ll end up.  They say to get where you are going, you must first know where you’ve been.  I’ve taken a long hard look at myself over these past three years, and I’ve made some incredible self discoveries.  I’ll continue with my journaling as I find it helpful; however I’m so very grateful for all that has been given to me thus far, I like this ‘New Me’; I’ve come a long way Baby…  Happy 2014!

Santa Outdid Himself This Christmas – Most of The Time The Best Presents Come From The Heart (not the store)

As children so often we were planning Christmas morning by August (yes August!); driving our mother mad at the idea when she had so many other things

Illustration from book The Goblins' Christmas ...

Illustration from book The Goblins’ Christmas by Elizabeth Anderson. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

to do.  I can remember discussing the “schedule” with Elizabeth on when we going to get up Christmas morning and who was to start when.  Elizabeth and I are five years apart and in the early years we shared a room.  Time would pass, school would start, the County Fair would begin, which would distract us from our Christmas game plan.  Then of course, would come Halloween and Thanksgiving and then; dundadadum!  The actual count down begins and Santa will arrive!

Christmas was always a wonderful Winter Wonderland in our home, mother made sure of that.  We weren’t very rich, monetarily, but we were in so many other ways.   Many would say we were poor as church mice, only we children never knew it.  Some how mother made sure that Christmas was alive in our home.  I can remember going to sleep at the sound of the sewing machine almost every night between Thanksgiving and December 23rd.  Come Christmas morning, Elizabeth and I were usually the first up; however the rule of the house was: NO one is to ENTER the living room until ALL are up (especially MOTHER).  Now we were allowed to go in to the kitchen, but you had to walk by the living room and, even so, we were NEVER to even LOOK in the living room.

Now Elizabeth usually would deputize me as her spy and give me the assignment of going into the kitchen.  Walking to the kitchen was on the ‘ok’ list, but while walking to the kitchen all I could remember is the rule “Never to even LOOK in the living room.”  Tell a child that and you’re asking for trouble…. So, I tiptoed out across family room and just peeked a quick peek as I went into the kitchen; then another quick peek on my way back (perhaps I could get a better view), Santa came!  There were gifts all over the place.  I had to go quick to report back to mission control (Elizabeth).

What wonderful memories we four have of our childhood, especially our Christmas’.  With the death of our father at such a young age (only 39) his brothers were very generous as well.  So, although they never let on to us children, I’m sure they played a large role in our Christmas treasures.  As I wrote in my last post, Christmas packages come in all shapes and sizes, but sometimes it’s not the dollars spent, mostly it is the thought behind the gift.

This year I was unable to go to Santa Fé to be with my sister, Elizabeth, due to back problems.  I was alone, and she ended up shipping the gifts to me.  Now, we were only to be sending each other ‘stocking stuffers’, but I received three or four packages!  I called Elizabeth to thank her and to let her know that hers was on its way and to nicely scold her.  This was too much!  But she assured me that I would understand once I opened them.

I also received a surprise package from my cousin Clair on Christmas Eve.  I was truly spoiled, and felt overwhelmed with love.  As was tradition, I opened one gift  on Christmas Eve, it was a beach towel; hilarious!  A pink flamingo beach towel!  Then on Christmas morning, Tula and I went out for our morning walk, she gave me her usual ‘gift’ that I bagged and dumped in the doggy poo bin and made some tea and started unwrapping stocking stuffers.  How wonderful.  Some of the gifts that were from Clair were hand-made ornaments, some were of the Wise Men and Camels and the Star (like what my mother had made) made by my Aunt (Clair’s mother).  Another of her gifts were ornaments that my mother made; I cried such tears.  What treasures… The fire in February had taken all those ornaments away from me and I never thought I’d see them again.

Elizabeth found an old piece of stitchery that our mother had done back in 1953 called the History Of Transportation, I remembered it as in this old frame and looking a bit shabby… this was reframed and looked so beautiful!  Among her other packages was a framed picture of Kimball, her Senior High picture and a picture of the four of us (our mother and we three daughters) that was taken at our brothers wedding; I simply Love that picture.  Another was a picture that Kimball purchased during one of her trips to China; there were three and she gave one to David and me and kept one for herself.  Again, I was overwhelmed by the thoughtfulness and the generosity of my sister.  Her heart is huge indeed.

As children we were taught that life was precious.  It was unfortunate to have lost our father at such a young age, but, when you really look at it, it was a great gift for it taught us that we were family and, as such, we were all we had and must always make the most of it.  Mother would constantly lecture us on the importance of family and the importance of taking care of each other and being there for one another.  I think she would be proud for we have continued to fulfill that responsibility.

Yes, Santa outdid himself this year so very much.  As children we look forward to the bikes, the dolls, the latest trinket on the market.  But as we grow older and life has sanded away the rough edges, we start to realize just how precious memories are.  The ornaments that mother made, framed pictures of lost loved ones, cookie cutters made from patterns used by our mother when we were children.  Those are the things that really touch our hearts and truly bring back the meaning of this wonderful season.  Also, there are friends that bring over homemade chicken soup and drop it by your door; completely unexpected and so endearing.  I am truly loved and this Christmas was proof of that.  Happy Holidays Everyone; my wish for you is that you can find your joy in the moments and see the treasure in the little things.

Christmas Presents – Not All Come Wrapped In Fancy Paper With Ribbons And Bows

Christmas, a time for family, friends; it’s a time for loved ones to come together and rejoice.  Rejoice in their own company and in each other’s love.  Most of XmasPresentsmy life I’ve had the pleasure of such gatherings.  Even when it was simply my ex-husband and myself, Doug would make sure that our time together was extra special (well, it could be argued that we each did).  I lavished in the decorating of our home, making our presents (or purchasing)… But, quite honestly, making the gifts was the best part.  And then the holiday would come and we would all be together.

Being married requires compromise.  One year would be with my family and the other year would be with his (and so on).  But with each year, it was a joy to know that I belonged.  I was part of something, something bigger.  Never had I thought that I would be in a position where I no longer had a family to celebrate with or a group of friends to invite or to be invited by.  As you get older, life certainly has a way of changing (and not necessarily for the better).

Last week I was gearing up for a fantastic holiday – was to fly to Santa Fé and spend Christmas with my sister Elizabeth – I was thrown a curve ball as I realized life had different plans for me this Christmas.  This past weekend, I was decorating and  getting ready for guests that were coming for the weekend – a  splendid excuse to bring out the cheer to an otherwise dreary apartment – there were a great many boxes that had to be brought down/out, opened and put away and by Saturday I woke up to some back pain that got increasingly worse by days end.  Come Sunday morning, I awoke to walk my lil pup for our morning stroll and found that, not only could I only walk her a quarter of the way we usually walk, I was in tears by the time we were returning to our apartment from the pain that was generated from my back.  Now I’ve had back problems before, but nothing to the degree that would bring me to tears (not even my migraines… and anyone who has had a migraine knows the severity).

So, I’ve been ‘out of commission’ for all of this week and I must say I’ve had a large dose of reality and this post was originally to be about my ‘friendless’ life and how ignored I feel (unloved, blah, blah, blah).  Self-pity is not a good look for me – or anyone.  But self-pity was a place I was soaring to.  Until one day I heard a wrap on my door it was a police officer with a dear friend of mine who had brought over homemade chicken soup.  And he was not too happy with me (my friend not the officer).  There I was buck naked, standing behind the door… The officer kindly asked “are you ok, ma’am?. ” “Yes officer, I’m not dressed,” I answered.  “We were WORRIED!”  My friend yelled, and continued to ask that I go on Facebook to let everyone know.  “I will”, I answered.

As I’ve written before, I’ve been ‘defriended’ on FB by people who I thought were close friends.  One, I have no idea why and the other was over a rumor!  Never being given the benefit of the doubt.  And for these very people, I’ve sent cards, flowers, driven to the doctor.  It’s not that I’m saying “tit for tat”; no, not by a long shot.  I’m merely doing some personal inventory.  This seems to be the center core of my life.  I put myself out there for ‘friendships’ only to be disappointed when in need of them.  I’ve always been a person to overlook their ‘short-comings’.  So why is it that they seem so quick to judge my short-comings, or so quick to ignore my needs?  Now, this was how I was feeling, I’m ashamed to admit it, but I was.  I was having myself a genuine Pity Party – “Nobody Loves me, everybody hates me; I guess I go eat worms”, do you remember that song?  That was what I was singing to myself.  Before yesterday.   I’ve realized that I’m very rich indeed.  However, rich or not, I still can’t seem to shake my fears.  As much as I forgive, not so sure others do the same.  They will tell me everything is fine; but I can see there is something behind the mask the hide their feelings with.

Case in point, I had what I thought was a best friend from childhood who I will refer to as Scotty.  She and I had much in common and we hung out a lot in high school.  Her father had given her a car for her sixteenth birthday and she and I would sneak out at night as her dad was an alcoholic as was my mother and both of our parents were exceptionally cruel to their teen-age children (us).  It was wonderful to be able to escape if only for a couple of hours.  We would call each other on the phone, she would come by and pick me up and we’d go down to the local Bob’s Big Boy and talk over a plate of fries and a shake.  She was my BFF (or so I thought).  When we graduated, she went off to San Diego State and I went to Cal Poly.  I would leave on weekends to visit her in San Diego.  By the end of our first year I received a call from her telling me about this guy she met (her new boyfriend).  He was a “born again Christian” who advised her that she could no longer see me.  We could no longer be friends (What!?).  My heart was broken and I cried for weeks over the loss of my dear friend (you might as well have said she died).

Flash forward six years,  by this time I had moved to the Bay Area and just happened to be at my mother’s when I received a phone call from Scotty.  She (not realizing that I’d moved) wanted meet for lunch.  From that point I felt that our friendship had picked up right where it left off.  But after a time, I was feeling something was off.  She would never come to visit, never met my husband and even if in the area, would never stop by.  It took a post I wrote about my grief and my disappointment in her around the death of my sister to finally expose her truth.  She told me that we never were friends; she was never able to trust me after something I supposedly said in High School!  So, by this time we were in our late forties, all this ‘friendly’ behavior on her part was just a lie?  No chance to explain, no chance for forgiveness?  The bottom line in all of this is that she was never there for me, not really.  Even when we were supposedly BFF’s.  In hindsight she was only close to me to be close to my brother (who she was dating at the time).  Was I so unworthy of forgiveness?  The same forgiveness I’d given her?  Or others?  Am I truly that pathetic that I don’t deserve lifelong friendships?  Friends to be with you through thick and thin; friends who accept you warts and all?

This ignites a very big fear of mine while I live alone.  I could be here laying on the bathroom floor, in pain, and die and no one will notice for months!  Well, maybe only weeks, but still, a REALLY LONG time.  I understand that this is the life I’ve created for myself and that it is up to me to change this… It’s not too late.  But this reality check has been a big one.  I have friends in my home town who I barely see (maybe twice a year) and yet, when I speak of moving out of the state or county, they get their panties in a wad!  Asking, “how can you think of leaving me?”  Leaving you?!  Where the hell have you been all this time?  Phone calls go two ways.  We both have one of those funny objects with numbers on it.  It’s an incredible device, you punch a series of numbers and viola you have me!

BFFSo, my question remains: Am I destined to be alone?  Friendless?  With nobody to share my life with?  It sure feels that way.  Especially when I try and try.  And maybe there in lies the problem.  I try too hard and perhaps, unknowingly, I’ve tried to buy my friendships.  Not necessarily through monetary means, but with my actions.  Maybe, without being conscious of it, I have been playing a game of ‘tit for tat’.  That realization makes me feel awful!  These things I do know about myself: my love is unconditional, my forgiveness is poured over my friends and strangers; for I truly believe that he who is without sin, cast the first stone.

I’ve since seen the doctor and chiropractor and found that I slipped two discs (one in my lower back and one in my upper mid back).  So, no travel and I’ll be out of commission for at least two weeks (what the hell?).  There won’t be any Christmas spent with family and – most likely – not spent with friends.  Those that haven’t judged and abandoned me, are absent.  My Christmas wish for myself is that I’m able to build new friendships that are true and reciprocal.  Don’t get me wrong, I love those that are in my life and count my blessings, for I am truly blessed.  But, I must become that much better of a friend – one with boundaries, while at the same time, one with an open heart.  Somewhere along the line I’ve hurt people, all in the name of trying to help.  Whether or not my intentions were good, their feelings were hurt.  But unless I can make it right with them, I can only let them go and move forward.

Christmas presents come in all shapes and sizes… we wish for so many things.  For me?  I wished for photos that were lost in the fire (received some from a dear friend of mine), or Christmas ornaments (received some special ones that mother made from my dear cousin), or Santa’s for my collection.  But the most important gift of all doesn’t come wrapped in fancy paper, ribbons and bows; the most important of all comes in friendships and our health, for without those our lives are pretty empty.  The key?  Unconditional love.  My hope is that I’m forgiven for all my trespasses and that I can continue to have a forgiving heart (unconditionally).    Happy Holidays everyone!

Birthdays – Old Friendships (keep or go)

There always comes a time when we have those mile stones (birthdays, for example) when we realize how important we are to the individuals around us. PinkyswearPeople come in and out of our lives as if in a rotating door.  Some friendships are for a lifetime, while others are with us for  a  season or two, most certainly, if for no other reason than a very important lesson.  I often think of these relationships and compare them to that of the gardener and the spectator.  Some friends, like the gardener, are nurturing,  giving back to the tillage with care and nutrition, while other’s simply stand by as the ‘on-looker’.  Almost as if merely putting on a facade, giving the ‘talk’ of tilling their fields, but never truly working it with the care it needs.  This is true with the our varying friendships.  There is this one particular friendship that I’ve held on to for so long, and I find myself forced to ask the question of keeping this friendship or letting it go.  It pains me to be at this point  (most likely why I’ve held on so long); but the fact I’m faced with is that I’ve wanted this friendship far more than she has.

I can’t say that any of this has come to me as a huge surprise.  It has dwindled over the last few years; but I did do the final ‘letter’ and she and I have been in contact.  With her reply, I can now assume that there is something in her that is saying that she does want the friendship.  Now, in her defense, she has had quite a bit of life hitting her in the face.  Is this an excuse?  Well, quite frankly, yes.  Friendship is understanding that we all go through trials in our lives and not all of us handle those trials the same way.  When something goes wrong in my life, I would have been on the phone to her first thing.  But my friend isn’t that same type of person.  No.  She is a person who prefers to keep her troubles close to her vest.  She would rather let on that all is fine with the world while all around her is going hay wire.  I happen to admire this personality type.  Not to say that I don’t admire my own, I just think that we all have ways of dealing with our own troubles and should not be judged by how we handle them or our friendships and how we reach out.  I’ve been guilty of that – judging – and am ashamed of myself.  It’s a fault I continue to work on.


With this birthday, it is not only my friends faces that I see changing; I’m faced with yet another (or different) life changing moment – moving.  Yes, that wonderful task packing one’s things and driving or flying off to new cities, neighborhoods and possibly a new state altogether (maybe I’ll move out of the country – could happen).  At this time, however I realize just how much I will miss the friendships I’ve made.  But I must come to face the fact that these aren’t necessarily friends that I ‘hang’ with on a daily (or even weekly) basis.  Living alone makes you realize, “If I died in my bathroom shower, would I be missed?  Would I be one of those many cases, like my Uncle, who are found only after a couple of weeks?”  It can be an awful feeling to not have those daily phone calls, or contacts.

I realize that by my being such a recluse I’ve made my bed and must lie in it (as it were); but I don’t want to be one of those who stay as a shut in either.  Making new friends has always been difficult for me.  I know, it takes great effort; but, it is a character flaw of mine that I do intend to nip in the bud.  I’ve been through so many changes these past few years (especially these last two), that goes without saying; but somewhere along the line I must think about what is important to me and not worry so much about the ‘what ifs’ about the future.  It could very well be the one thing that takes me to a whole other level – a new level – allowing me to truly live my authentic self.

More and more, I’m finding that many of my friends have been (or are) fair weather friends.  They are there to say hi, answer the phone when you call; while the true blue friend that will believe in ME, regardless of the rumors that might roam around are very few.  I’ve further realize that this happens to be truer for most than not, so it is nice to know that I’m not alone in that at least.  With all the changing going on in my life, I’ve lost a few friends (no explanation, no word just “poof” gone).   I’m not sure if this “Internet” stage of our society is such a great idea.  It allows people to hide behind their Smartphones and their computers/tablets.  We’ve somehow lost (or drained) our “Heart Chakra”; so much to the point, we no longer ‘talk’ to each other.   We dismiss friendships as if they grow on trees and are so quick to judge as opposed to stand by a person; talking things out and making amends.  This has been possibly the hardest part of life for me to come to grips with.  That not everyone is ‘true-blue’ and most will believe just about any type of slimy gossip that makes its way into their ear.  There is nothing I can do about that, all I can do is accept it and I believe I have.

Changes are definitely in my future – the move for one – just where is not yet confirmed.  This move is my choice as the area I live in is far too expensive and crowded for my taste.  I long for a simpler life and would love nothing better than to live in the country.  As for the fickleness of some of my friends, I’ve come to that ‘grown-up’ realization that that too is “LIFE” and all we can do is live our life with integrity and with the knowledge that we are doing the best we can.  Nobody knows what a person is going through in this life unless they’ve walked a mile (heck even a block) in their shoes.  It matters not what I do, how I look; people will come up with their own perspective and judgement.  I can only hope that if they are my dear friends, they will stand by me.

Life is but a dream, and mine is coming true… finally… (whew!)

Happy Birthday to ME! Fifty + and FABULOUS!

Oh yes, it is that infamous day, my Birthday!  I’ve survived my 50th year.  This post will be short and sweet.  I’m up in the mountains with my dear friends, away from all the rukasHappy Birthday Cake of the big city (or suburbia).  There is something wonderful about the country and I do believe I’m a ‘small town girl’ at heart.  I’ve often fantasized about moving up here to live.  Living in a small town (there a plenty), getting a small job, just to pay the bills, and write to my heart’s content.  There’s even a theatre.  I could audition from time to time.  There’s a local radio station.  I would be close enough to those I know in the Bay Area, I could still ‘commute’ for rehearsals and gigs.  But, who knows?  My life is an open book.

I’m now fifty-one and I’m not nearly as freaked out as I was with the idea of fifty.  I’ve found that it’s not the age really; but more my station in life.  And I have a feeling things are going to change dramatically for the better.  Ever have those gut feelings?  You know the kind… those feelings almost like deja vus.  Sometimes, I have those feelings with the knowledge that things aren’t going to end well.  But this time it was with delight.  Changes were coming and I was looking forward with anticipation.  All was good – new love, or a new career, a new place; all of the above maybe?  Feelings have been great!

I’ve survived my fiftieth year with a new-found hope; hope for a new future, new career.  Hope that I will make a difference in this world and that my voice will be heard.  I can’t tell you how wonderful it feels to finally feel great (fantastic even) in my own skin.  50 and Fabulous – now that’s a slogan that works for me!

Here’s a wonderful article that I found and thought you might enjoy…

50 Great Things About Women Over 50

Why Women Over 50 Love Their Age
WebMD Feature

 Who says women over 50 can’t have fun?

  • On the cusp of her 50th birthday, Katie Couric became the first female solo anchor of a national evening news show.
  • At 57, Diane Keaton produced her seventh movie and played the heartthrob of 39-year-old Hollywood heartthrob Keanu Reeves in Something’s Gotta Give.
  • At 61, actress Susan Sarandon is still the American prototype for the sexy older woman, a title she claimed in her 40s.

“A seasoned woman is spicy,” writes Gail Sheehy, the over-50-and-proud author of Passages and founder of the Seasoned Women’s Network online. “She has been marinated in life experience. She is at the peak of her influence and power. She is committed to living fully and passionately in the second half of life, despite failures and false starts.”

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By Jenny Allen The domestic diva opens up about the pain in her past, the love in her life, and how she bounced back big time. Martha Stewart takes a forkful of lemon pie and savors it. “Isn’t this good?” she asks in that trademark low, plummy voice. We’re lunching in her office at the Manhattan TV studio where she’s just finished hosting a live broadcast of The Martha Stewart Show, her Emmy award-winning daily program. She sits at one end of the sleek rectangular table that…

What do other women think is the best thing about turning 50? To find out, we asked WebMD readers, as well as a doctor (Christiane Northrup, MD, author of Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom); a clinical psychologist (Nancy O’Reilly, PsyD); and a retirement lifestyle specialist (Cynthia Barnett, EdD). We also checked out what prominent authors Shirley W. Mitchell (Fabulous After 50 and Sensational After 60) and Jane Ganahl (Naked on the Page: The Misadventures of My Unmarried Midlife) had to say about women aging, then sprinkled in a few observations from 60 Minutes‘ crusty humorist Andy Rooney.

Women Over 50 Are Freer

1. After turning 50 I felt liberated. I felt like I could say what I wanted to say, do things I wanted to do, and wear things I wanted to wear. — WebMD:Suezee52

2. At 50, if you use condoms it’s for safe sex, not for avoiding pregnancy. What a relief when that’s not a worry anymore! — J. Ganahl

3. We don’t sweat the little things any more — and we’ve learned that darn near everything is a little thing!WebMD: — Clara38

4. The woman over 50 makes her relationship with herself No. 1. The kids are grown. She’s learned to let them go and stopped worrying about them. — N. O’Reilly

5. You say “screw it” to plastic surgery. I read somewhere that more women in their 40s get plastic surgerythan in their 50s. I think it’s because once you hit 50, you don’t care. You say, “I am who I am.” — J. Ganahl

6. In their 50s, women realize they don’t have to have a mate. They realize it’s OK not to have a date everywhere you go. — N. O’Reilly

7. You know that the clock is the great leveler. Those 20-somethings with their perfect bodies, looking at yours with pity, will someday have their own cellulite to contend with. — C. Northrup

8. You get new hair, new clothes, to match who you want to be. You don’t feel old, look old, or act old. — S. Mitchell

9. Nobody’s going to fault her for using Botox, dermabrasion, getting a nip and tuck. She can be who she wants to be. She can be a redhead one week, a blonde the next. You can tell her you like or don’t like it — but that doesn’t mean she’s going to follow your advice. — N. O’Reilly

Women Over 50 Are Powerful

10. A world of opportunities opens up when you turn 50. Today, there are entire web sites, companies, and services devoted to the over-50 demographic. Find your niche in that market. — S. Mitchell

11. Women over 50 are a powerful market force in today’s economy. Women buy 80% of consumer goods and services, and among the 80 million baby boomers, that’s power. — N. O’Reilly

12. Women over 50 are president, CEO, and the star of their own lives. If you have the attitude that life is precious, that life is grandiose, that you don’t want to waste any time, you will make this quality time. — S. Mitchell

13. The entrepreneurial spirit is booming in 50-year-old women. She’s following her dreams, starting her own business. She’s forming partnerships with other women’s businesses. She knows that collaboration is a valuable part of being successful. — N. O’Reilly

14. You know what you like and what you don’t like. If someone is trying to talk you into wearing pink because it’s trendy, you don’t let them influence you. There’s wonderful self-trust when you hit 50. — C. Northrup

15. You’ve learned that you can depend on yourself and you are open to new opportunities. You can accept change, tackle life, and move on. — S. Mitchell

16. There’s no such thing as “dressing 50.” We’re past the point when someone can say you’re dressing too young. Women know themselves, what looks good on them, and dress to complement the assets they have. — N. O’Reilly

17. Once you get past a wrinkle or two, a woman over 50 is far sexier than her younger counterpart. — A. Rooney

18. I look better today than when I was in my 30s. I am 87 lbs. lighter and dress to show my figure-8 curves. — WebMD: Edie90601

19. Women in their 50s make great lovers. Going through menopause can be extremely freeing. As she ages, her sexuality becomes more important, and she is better able to enjoy it. — N. O’Reilly

20. You’ve gotten over the “nice girls don’t” thing. Hopefully you’ve finally gotten over that! You know yourself sexually — and if you don’t, this is the time to find out. — C. Northrup

21. I am working out, shopping, traveling, and enjoying my friends more and often. I lost weight and my style of dressing has changed. I am now wearing hip-hugging jeans, leather — everything. Even my sex life has improved. — WebMD: Jackson922

22. A woman over 50 looks good wearing bright red lipstick. This is not true of younger women or drag queens. — A. Rooney

23. You can finally get the car you’ve always wanted. You can toss the minivan and really indulge yourself. — J. Ganahl

24. We’ve learned that being older is the perfect excuse to get out of something we didn’t want to do anyway.— WebMD: Clara38

25. You’ve learned to appreciate spontaneous humor, for it gives life a spicy flavor. You laugh a lot, and laugh out loud. You let the child within you play. You don’t have to be “perfect” because no one’s perfect. — S. Mitchell

26. I am self-employed and having fun. I am taking classes at the local university and surprisingly made friends with students of all ages. — WebMD: Edie90601

27. When you’re over 50, you have the freedom to date for the fun of it. It’s more about do we have chemistry and am I hot for him? — J. Ganahl

28. We’ve discovered that we can act like teenagers whenever we feel like it, and people think it’s nifty. — WebMD: Clara 38

29. You’re finally kid-free. For some people, that is very sad. But I don’t know a single person who didn’t come around to “look at all my free time. I can totally take art classes, I’m not tied to the carpool.” — J. Ganahl

30. You recognize that talent does not know age. You learn the value of taking risks, pushing your personal comfort level, reinventing yourself. — S. Mitchell

31. At this age, almost all men are younger than you, so might as well date them. People look at you less askance for dating younger men. — J. Ganahl

32. A woman over 50 will not lay next to you in bed and ask “What are you thinking?” She doesn’t care what you think. — A. Rooney

Women Over 50 Know What They Like

33. You learn to fuel your life from your inner wisdom, from your soul. Your life only works well if it’s fueled from what’s really true inside, not from what’s current in magazines. — C. Northrup

34. You might participate in a current trend, but what’s true must be from what’s in you. — C. Northrup

35. Your sense of personal style comes together. After decades of experimenting, you learn what feels comfortable, what looks dazzling. — J. Ganahl

36. If a woman over 50 doesn’t want to watch the game, she doesn’t sit around whining about it. She does something she wants to do. And, it’s usually something more interesting. — A. Rooney

37. You really have learned who you are as a person, what your likes and dislikes are. It makes life ever so much more pleasant and joyful and simpler when you know. The downside is, it makes it hard to find people to date because you’re so much more selective. — J. Ganahl

Women Over 50 Are Wise

38. At 50, you realize that life is big, much bigger than you ever knew. You see that life has this ability to be very healing, that the full implications of events aren’t always evident. What you might think is awful can turn out to be a blessing. — C. Northrup

Women Over 50 Are Wise continued…

39. Women get psychic with age. You never have to confess your sins to a woman over 50. They always know. — A. Rooney

40. It’s a time of self-reflection. You thought the glass ceiling would make you happy and fulfilled. Now you’re looking for your purpose in life, looking for work you love to do. — C. Barnett

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Read the Martha Stewart Comes Clean article > >

41. She knows the value of mentoring. There are younger women out there who want role models. A woman over 50 has wisdom to offer. — N. O’Reilly

42. You know the wisdom of surrender. You’re right that your ex-husband wronged you. You can spend the rest of your life beating that drum, but that’s the road to bitterness. There is wisdom in letting go of your grievances. You begin to know what’s important and what isn’t. You know what hill to die on. — C. Northrup

43. When you turn 50, mortality rears its face. Women start looking for their mission in life. The whole arena of giving back to society becomes their focus. — C. Barnett

44. You have more compassion, more acceptance, for yourself and other people. You are no longer shamed by your own humanity. You learn to see the humor in your own foibles. — C. Northrup

Women Over 50 Are Just Getting Started

45. I’m definitely not the same person my mother was at 50! With the knowledge we have now, the sky’s the limit. I ride horses, scuba dive, zip line! — WebMD: Mustang1956

46. There’s something really bracing about being 50. You realize how young you are. And you realize how much more to life there is. — C. Northrup

47. At 50, you learn the value of being passionate about something — a lover, a career, your life. Passion is what makes you jump out of bed every morning, makes you love every moment in the day. — S. Mitchell

48. You look forward to meeting your grandchildren. When that happens, it will be the best thing of my life. — J. Ganahl

49. A woman over 50 knows the value of celebrating life. She’s sizzling, not fizzling. She’s savvy, not sad. — S. Mitchell

50. I am loving life and it’s only going to get better. — WebMD: Jackson922

Published March 2007.

SOURCES: Gail Sheehy, author, Passages; founder, Seasoned Women’s Network online, seasonedwomansnetwork.com. Christiane Northrup,MD,author,Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom.Jane Ganahl, author, Naked on the Page: The Misadventures of My Unmarried Midlife. Shirley W. Mitchell, contributor, 101 Great Waysto Improve Your Life; author, Fabulous After Fifty. Nancy O’Reilly, PsyD, psychologist and life coach. Cynthia Barnett, EdD, retirement specialist.

Reviewed on March 22, 2007
© 2007 WebMD, Inc. All rights reserved.

Standard Time Returns (The Best Birthday Present EVER!!!)

Yes!  It is that time of year again, when I wistfully talk about the return of my long-lost hour that was so abruptly taken last spring, only to return in the fall which, just so happens,TurningBackTime3 the return is to be in a couple of days and I can’t begin to tell you how gleeful I am!  And right around my birthday; could it be any better planned?  What a perfect birthday present for the lady who loves her sleep!

However, with this time of year comes other favorites.  The turning of the leaves for one and the change of the temperature as it starts dropping, we can now trade our t-shirts in for our flannel night-shirts and fuzzy socks.  There is something so wonderfully cozy and soothing about the fall mornings, like sipping hot coffee, reading the newspaper or working on your latest project (and if you’re like me, your latest blog post or article), while snuggled up in your favorite afghan.  So many wonderful traditions that come to mind around the holidays, starting with Halloween, and continuing all the way through New Year’s Day.

For the first time in years I feel the necessity to decorate.  Back in the day, when I was married, I can remember decorating for almost every holiday.  I would have decorations around the door of our home – I found these wonderful cornhusk garlands that I would initially decorate with fall leaves, pumpkins, black widow spiders, and I found these skeleton lights that were a perfect match for Halloween.  I would wrap it all up with a wonderful spooky ribbon; we were the talk of the neighborhood…

Halloween’s black widow spiders, skeleton lights and scary ribbon was replaced by squashes of different shapes and sizes, clear white lights and a more elegant ‘fall’ colored ribbon that would transform our Halloween door into a more welcoming, beautiful Thanksgiving threshold to welcome our ‘grateful’ guests.   And, of course once the turkey was off of the table, our Christmas decorations came out and replaced everything in the house.  Our home would be transformed, yet again, into a Winter Wonderland.  And come spring, it would all continue… I LOVED it!

But, somewhere along the line I grew tired.  It became too much.  Of course I was the only one putting up and clearing the decorations to pack them back up and into their boxes PerfectChistmasin our garage.  I mean, we had 108 feet of pine garland for crying out loud; and that was just the garland.  Then (for example) there were usually two trees, both were filled with ornaments; I don’t think there was a corner or a space in our home that didn’t have ‘Christmas’ in it.  I just loved having candles, lights, all over our home.  It was truly a special time for us.  The holidays, in general, were very special for me and, I felt it was important for me to give the same traditions that were passed down by my mother onto those around me.  Unfortunately, I would later find that I was the only one in our partnership to feel its importance.  In the beginning that wasn’t the case, Doug would get the tree at Christmas and even help decorate it.  We would do so much together… but as time wore on (especially toward the end of our marriage), he did less and less with me (and seemed to appreciate less and less as the years wore on).  We were less of a couple and more like roommates or brother and sister.  There was no ‘togetherness’; no partnership and I grew very tired as the chores of the traditions weighed that much more heavily on my shoulders.

It has been some time since I’ve had my own space, my own things.  I will be going to Santa Fé this Christmas to spend the holiday with my other sister; but that shouldn’t stop me from decorating.  I’m going to stay in for the Thanksgiving holiday (just me, Tula and Frank Sinatra – my bird)… I’ll make a small turkey with all the fixings (just like my mom made and just how I like it) and we’ll watch Miracle On 34th Street and have a wonderful day; come Friday, I will decorate like crazy!

It is a wonderful feeling to look forward, as opposed to backwards, while getting excited for the future.  Not to say that I wasn’t excited for my future, not really sure how I was feeling, really.  I guess melancholy would best describe it – not excited and not dreading… just, meh…  But I now have a much better outlook on what is to be – much better, much better in deed!

As I embark on the new season with the return of my cherished hour that will once again grace my evening slumber; I’m reminded of that lost young woman who couldn’t wait to deck her halls with not just boughs of holly, but lights, ribbon, ornaments, fruit and anything to make her place/home look and feel festive all winter long.  She enjoyed the excitement and joy that the holidays brought.  To tell the truth, I don’t care so much about the presents, I care more about the good times, friends, family – great conversation, and the good company.  These are the things I look forward to the most, new traditions, new memories, new friends (people I meet and become permanent in my life).  Each year has brought its share of heartache, true.  But, far better; each year has brought with it its share of good (great/wonderful) fortune.  Fabulous friends, great people who I’ve learned a great deal from.  As I’ve said many times before, many are in our lives for a purpose.  Sometimes they leave too soon (sometimes on their own fruition), and sometimes they stay with us for a lifetime.  For whatever the reason, I am truly blessed to have known and to know the people I do.

I am very excited, for the first time in almost a decade, for the coming holidays.  Decorating, cooking, relaxing and loving.  2013 started a bit rough; however, it’s ending smooth as ice (which is appropriate, don’t you think?)


All We Need Is Love (even if only Puppy-Love)


They say time heals all wounds and to that I would have to agree.  It has been about a year and a half since Kimball’s death and my grief has lessened all the  more.  Her house has sold, Elizabeth is nearing to close on the estate and life moves on.  I’ve discovered some other troubling childhood traumas that surfaced and am dealing with them, and sometimes, all we need is love.  That unconditional love as well as the love of being needed. 

The other day I finally made the leap of faith and adopted a bouncing baby girl.  She is all of 7 lbs, part West Highland Terrier and Chihuahua and is the angel I seemed to have needed.  Yesterday marked Kimball’s sixty-first birthday.  I’m no longer grieving with sadness and tears, I am rejoicing in the memory of her life.  Her contributions to this world were great and wide and her love was never-ending.  I miss her, yet my heart is no longer as torn apart as it was; it has mended somehow.  Even what seemed like merely stitches holding the pieces of my heart together have miraculously healed and diminished through time.

This all happened because of the love of a dog?  Partly; and the fact that I spent a weekend in Austin with my dear friend and her husband (it was just the medicine I needed).  This friend is one of those friends who lifts you up and, for whatever reason, has always been one who gives off a healing energy.  It is as if we are kindred spirits and have a long ‘karmic’ history together.  Not that I don’t have wonderful times with my other friends and I do not wish to discount them; it’s just that there are certain connections with certain people and I have that certain ‘connection’ with her (one I don’t have with others…).  Plus, I believe people are in our lives for a purpose and this particular person is in my life for a particular purpose, something that she continues to prove.

Another reason for my change of heart and mind is that I met with a hypnotherapist the other day and was astounded by the results.  I got answers to many questions lingering from childhood (enough resource for another post actually) and, bottom line, most importantly I must move forward.  Still continuing therapy and finding comfort in knowing what I know what actually happened.  The fact is that we can never go back and exorcise the ghosts of our past, we can only recognize them and know that they might have taken those years; but they will never take one more second away from our present/future.  I was not only violated, I was robbed of my ability to bear children and that is one tough pill to swallow; but I’ve accepted it and must now make my way through this second half of my life – in harmony with the decisions of my past and present.

I’m currently sitting in the hair salon, waiting on my hair color, on my way over I had a thought that changes were looming; good changes, but big changes.  Normally I would be frightened, uneasy; but I wasn’t for some strange reason.  I’m embracing them.  Could it be this new addition to my home that is causing me to think in terms of new possibilities?  Or the talks with my friend and the walks in her, now, new home town?  Whatever it is, I’m prepared to embrace them and move forward and finally make  some incredible strides with my new life.

Finding Ann MacGregor; hmm… I think I’ve made her acquaintance and her mine.  We are one, and that just might be this peculiar feeling.  I’ve not ever felt comfortable in my own skin; it feels good to finally be my own person.