Sunday, April 29, 2012


I realized earlier this evening that I had not posted my progress in a while.  I actually hadn't posted anything in a while...  I guess it's time for an update!

Surgery is really what put me into a funk. I wasn't thrilled that I would have an extended recovery, and I was really on eggshells until I went to get my post-op ultrasound and had a chance to look at the progress.  This surgery was supposed to free me, and I was not happy that my recovery was going to take longer than expected (since it has been a THREE year process!).

Well, it will be at least three more months before I get some real progress. I have some major swelling left over, but it's supposed to resolve soon.  I am walking daily, and this helps to get everything moving.

I am happy to announce that I am on my way to completing another mission: to learn website design!

I have been walking, talking, and such with a friend, Tom. He works on computer programming for a living, so he has given me a lesson and some pointers on how to layout a website beyond the templates that blogger gives.  I am not saying I want to be an expert in the area- it was just something I always wondered about.  I want to work on creating a site to link my writings, this blog, and some other projects. I will call this mission a near-success, with some actual application meeting my goal. 

The walking has also helped get me moving to get back into training.  I am really not certain what I need to do for my goal to run a 10K.  I know I just need to keep moving and wait to see what happens.  I have little control over anything other than helping myself, and I will do my best.  At the next doctor's appt, I will reevaluate my goal.

I have my stack of books primed and ready for summer break. I am disappointed that I didn't get to read more in the past few months.  Life has kept me extra busy, and I know for the next three weeks I will be treading water.  It is nice to know there is a stack of books that will be waiting for me once I get a break. :-)

I am going to work on arranging the fish catch, and I need to schedule my hot air balloon ride.  I am ready to get out and do those things, now that I am somewhat mobile.

These past two weeks have been incredibly calming.  I have been able to focus on what I need to do, I have been more productive, and I can see that my energy has increased.  It is funny how waves of peace and calm can move through your life.  I really think you don't realize how wonderful it is until you have gone through a storm.  I like the structure and order and calm of my environment, because it was not like that a year ago.  I like having my life back, and I am excited to look at the future.

My daughter's third birthday was Friday, and I thought back over these past three years.  It's been a rough ride, and I wonder at times how I survived.  She has been an incredible presence in my life, and I feel like she was sent to save me.  The other morning I woke up and wrote something for her birthday.  At first I didn't feel like sharing, but it seems like a pretty vital message in the whole scheme of things.

 These Three Years
I waited for my life to change again.
Had enough with change,
and was frankly sick of it all.
Little did I know,
change had just begun.
It would consume me.
My savior-my lifeline
would soon be born.
She was the hope I had dreamed of,
and knew she would rescue me.
She is the spirit of everything
I could ever hope to be.
Everyone says she is my shadow,
my likeness.
As time has moved on,
hair has grown longer,
young faces are older.
Lessons were learned,
both mother and daughter.
My saving grace has walked
beside me through these years.
Through illness, injury, and desertion-
her trusting eyes,
her comforting stroke of my hair,
as I hold her against me at night.
A creature creeps into my room
in early morning.
A whisper:
             "Don't worry Mommy, I'll save you."
My reply:
            "You already have."

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

What's in a Name?

I thought about all of my nicknames today.

When I was little, I was called "Shelly," then "Shell-Belle" after the Beatles' "My Michelle."

Friends gave me a few random nicknames over time, but I always just preferred my name. I figured I was given it for a reason- I might as well stick with it...

When I got married, I was given a nickname. "Chicky." I have no idea where it came from or why it came about, but apparently it stuck.  I was never really a fan, but thought everyone needed an endearing nickname.  Of course, it also made me feel like a puppy or something.  I never could reconcile the idea in my mind.

I talked to a friend a few months back, and she mentioned that a major red flag of an emotional or physical abuser is they won't use your given name in common conversation.  It creates a connection with you, and makes it harder to belittle you and degrade you.  Makes sense to me--I would have a hard time being cruel to something I have an emotional connection with.  Of course, I have a hard time being cruel in general.

So, when there were times I wasn't called my name, I just went with the flow.

Then, as I became a teacher, I turned into Mrs. Winn.  I liked the novelty of it for a while, but then after hearing it hundreds of times a day, it gets old...

Now that I am divorced, I asked that the school call me Ms. Winn. I still kept the name for now- avoid confusion with work, my kids, so on.  I do love to hear the announcements in the morning when the principal will sometimes say "If you have any questions, report to Mrs. Winn.... MS. Winn's room..."

I looked at changing my name back to my maiden name, but it is a hassle in my job. This is part of my identity now anyway. I figure I will change it again when I get married- what's the rush now?

Today, I was given a nickname. Well, really the proposal of a nickname. And then a few nicknames were tried (and failed). Which started a discussion of nicknames...  I voiced my opinion about them in general, but decided maybe it was time to loosen up a little.

I said as long as it wasn't something obnoxious, or an inanimate object. Or Ferret. Definitely not Ferret.

Names are funny- for things in general.  We assign things, animals, and people names because we give them meaning.  We have different names for the same things, often because we view them from different perspectives, and call them different things (according to functions and such).  Cultures use different names.  Even one person can be considered all of these: wife, mother, daughter, teacher, neighbor, etc...

I was given a name of value when I was born, and I earned the respect that went along with that name.  During a period in my life, I feel that value was definitely taken away (and I definitely lost my name for a while). I guess that's as far as I need to go into that situation for right now, but suffice it to say that I hold a lot of value in naming things and people.  In the same breath, I will also say that I will accept bonds with people, and any random names that may come along with these bonds.  As much as it annoyed me in the past, I realize now I need to meet people half-way, and I really do need to loosen up.

Please don't let it be Ferret...

Friday, April 13, 2012

Progress Update

It's been a while since I have updated the progress of my list.  It's always in my mind, but I guess I get talking about other things.  My mind has never been able to section off areas, so it seems that all of these projects mingle together.

So far I have completed four items on the list, and have been reading some of my "great works of literature."

When I told my National Honor Society group that I have never caught a fish, they wanted to plan a fishing trip as one of their summer social activities. That would be quite a way to remember the task!

I am going to be meeting with my friend Becca to work on decorating the cake, so that project will be complete by May.

I have made tremendous progress in learning to play a variety of drum beats (though elementary). I have met my goal, but continue to practice. I want to get better, and it's FUN!!!

I need to call and book my reservation for the hot air balloon. A gift certificate has been reserved in my name. :-)

Road trip will be taking place at the end of May/beginning of June. I am not sure about my path yet, but it will be nice and free... Just the way a road trip needs to be! 

I need to figure out a way to learn to better create a website. I know there are manuals and such, but I am hoping to find someone that can give me some guidance. For all of my writing information, I'd like to have a central site. Besides, all of the fan mail is just getting jumbled right now... :-) There needs to be a clear process to address this...

I decided I am going to eat vegetarian in the summer, when produce is in abundance in the area, and I will have time to plan some exciting meals. 

I am working on how I am going to raise $1,000 for charity.  I'd like to come up with something creative and memorable, so I am going to keep thinking hard on this...

Fly first-class? I wish I had an airline hookup... I am taking a trip to Seattle probably this summer... I did think of amending the flying first-class to renting an awesome car for the road trip (thinking convertible). Same cost would be there, and I could benefit from having: a)dependable transportation on my trip, b) the opportunity to let the wind blow through my hair with my sunglasses on...

Then there's the running goal... If you read my post from earlier today, you will know that I am a bit down about it.  I am not sure what I will be able to do in the next seven months.  I wonder if I should downscale it to a 5K? Or keep the goal and agree to walk part of it?  I want to meet my goals and dreams, but I also don't want to cause myself any injury.  There has to be a balance, and I need to know some limits.  I sound so logical about this, but inside I am a real mess on this goal...

And the bottle of wine? That will be saved for the night of my birthday! Unless someone is dying to take me out for a drink before...

Here's the list, to remind everyone why I am even on here:

Michelle's 15 Before 30:

  1. Learn to play the drums.
  2. Read ten great works of literature.
  3. Catch a fish.
  4. Learn how to create a website.
  5. Run a 10K.
  6. Learn how to decorate a cake.
  7. Learn 20 words in Italian.
  8. Fly first-class.
  9. Eat vegetarian for one month... and enjoy it! :-)
  10. Ride a hot air balloon.
  11. Take a road trip.
  12. Raise $1,000 for a charity.
  13. Karaoke... in public...
  14. Buy and drink a REALLY expensive bottle of wine.
  15. Get in much better physical shape- making my numbers look much better at my physical before 30.

Pain, Pain, Go Away...

First of all, I realize that a lot of my recent posts don't mention the ongoing project of 15 Before 30. I am going to create another post later tonight that will provide an update on the project.

Two weeks ago I had a leg surgery. It was a relatively simple procedure, and I was told I would be back to my old self in a couple of days.  This same procedure was supposed to be the start of a two-part surgery that would wrap up my 2.5 years of pain.  This was supposed to be it! I would be free!

For those of you that have known me for a while, you know I have lived with pain. Well, for some of you that know me, you still may have never heard about it. I was miserable, but I tried not to complain too much.  I remember visiting a specialist, and after him asking me the same question for the thousandth time: "Rate your pain on a scale of 1 to 10." I screamed "14!!!!"

Pain can do terrible things to your body.  It makes you mentally miserable, it limits your daily activities, and it cuts you off from your social circles.  It's even worse when the wounds are healed, and the pain lingers.  There isn't a cast or a bandage for people to see.  They assume you made a miraculous comeback, and nothing can stop you!  Pain doesn't work that way for me.  I am fearful it will always be my companion.

When I started running, I knew a little trick.  With fibromyalgia and chronic pain, you can sometimes overwork your body, and it short circuits the pain response.  I really had that going for me for a few months, and I was feeling better than I had in years!  No medications or anything--just intense exercise and eating right.

Then the leg issues cropped up. Surgery #1, like I said, should have been a couple of days of recovery.  Two weeks later, I still have terrible pain in the leg.  I walked, I wrapped, I propped, I did everything they told me to do!  I have severe almost-painful numbness on my lower leg, and it feels like all the nerves have been fried. A blanket on top of my leg at night causes intense pain. Great...

Wednesday was surgery #2. It was supposed to be very similar to surgery #1, and the recovery time should have been short as well.  I knew better this time, and realized that the recovery might change from a few days to two weeks.  After a terribly painful procedure (I was only partially sedated), I was told it would be a six month recovery.

Six months.

Six months?!?

There were a lot of emotions that ran through me on Wednesday, as well as a lot of Valium.  I knew that some of the emotions were exaggerated from the medications, but others were real.  I had finally gotten my life and my body back together.  I survived the attack and recovery, I survived a divorce, relocation, and new job, and I had been doing well pushing myself physically.  Now, it was like a blow to the stomach.  Why don't they just chop off my leg now?

Ok, that was too dramatic.  But the reality was, I didn't know if I would ever get back to where I was, if I would ever heal and be the person I wanted to be, and if I would get to have the life I have been dreaming about and planning.

There was a lot of tears.

I realized that I have no control over some things that happen in my life, but I can choose how I react.  I am doing exactly what the doctor has told me, and will be taking it very easy.  This is going to be hard when I am used to speeding through life at 100 miles an hour.

I am going to reevaluate a few things.  There was a selfish response on Wednesday, and I'm not really proud that it was one of my first thoughts:

I thought about the recovery, and the unknown.  And I thought about relationships.  Who would sign up to deal with these damaged goods?  I was finally to the point where I could entertain the idea of a long-term relationship again.  Why would someone knowingly get involved with me when there was a lot going on.  And I feel it's only fair that people would know what they are getting into.  I am being dramatic again, but I feel like a leper of sorts.

So, this post isn't positive and upbeat.  We all have our rough times in life.  This has been my week.  Really, this has been a flashback of the past three years for me.  The three years I thought I could finally put behind me.

But there is something positive that has come of it.

Events like this do weed out the people that are not invested.  They tell me who wants to stick around, and who can't handle the trouble.  We've seen it in the past already.  So I will take this as an experience that will hopefully show me something new and different about myself, and even those around me.

I have contemplated adapting my 10K goal, but I don't want to change plans yet. It's like giving up. I am not ready for that yet...

And I have seven more months before my birthday. A lot can happen in seven months...

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Lost in Thought...

I've been thinking a lot over this past week... This often gets me into trouble...

Some say idle hands are the devil's playground--I feel the same with my mind.  If I let it wander, it's hard to rope me back into reality.

I have thought a lot about what the doctor said to me during our interview--about all of the information he threw at me.  The reality is that it took days for me to digest our conversation.  A sixteen-hour car ride seems like the best place to think of such things.

I concluded that I will indeed be a producer--of ideas, of motivation, of goodwill.  I am working on my writing projects, and I absolutely love working with photography and talking with people.  These projects have given me a new passion for life.  I am quite alright "selling tickets," and I believe there are many people that would like to jump on board and join me for the show.

This realization made me think a lot about the second part- "not meet criteria." I was to sell tickets, and not meet criteria.  The logician in me thought it was absurd, because there is criteria for everything these days.  The reality is that I have never done well when I have to bend to the whims of others.  I perform best when I march to my own beat.  I am one of the few that pushes herself ahead.  I am terribly intrinsically motivated, and any external rewards almost shut me down. They insult me.  They tear down my spirit.

I wonder if all writers feel that way.  Or all producers.

I thought about a quote of Emerson's.  Man, if I could pick one person that I had to quote for the rest of my life, it would be him.  He saw the world through the same focus as me--we were kindred spirits, separated by many years.

"Every man I meet is in some way my superior."  ~Emerson

This has always made me think about ego; how so many people aren't willing to see that interactions add value to their lives.  There is always something I can gain from every interaction I have.  It may not always be a positive experience, but at least I have learned something.  That was the greatest lesson my father taught me, and Emerson just stated it more eloquently.

I remember my father telling me long ago that there will be people in life that will give you great lessons.  There will be people in life that will say things with which you don't agree.  The key is to listen (not just hear, but listen!), because you can take something away from every interaction with people.  Even if it is how NOT to do something, you will learn something from those around you.

I believe that people can be wonderful, compassionate people.  They can always be egotistical, self-centered and believe they are the masters of their field.  Everyone has something to learn--some of us are better at admitting it.  In time, I believe everyone will realize they have room to grow, and even blossom.

I know I don't have all the answers.  I know I have made more mistakes in my life than I care to mention.  The reality is that I only made mistakes because I got out there and tried!  I lived, I took risks, and I failed.  It's life.  My ego isn't bruised because of it--I learn, I suck it up, develop who I am, and I move on.  This makes me a better writer, a better teacher, a better leader, and a better mother.  I feel I am more empathetic because I have been there, but I am also wise enough to know that there are people that know more than me.  There are so many that have gone before me, and are many steps ahead of me.  And everyone has something to give me along my journey...

I am not becoming some crazy radical, but I am growing tired of meeting the criteria.  This world constantly has "conditions" to maintain order.  Look around us-is there really order? Because I am not seeing it!  I feel that I can be the most productive when I put my mind to work (instead of idling), and produce SOMETHING.  I like to think, I like to explore the world around me, and I like to talk to people.  I love to take these adventures, put them together, and write about them.  This is where I will be selling my tickets.  Nothing crazy--just being who I am.

Along this journey of twenty-nine years (and counting), I have set a course for who I want to be.  I know that there are so many around me that will contribute along this journey.  Some have already come into my lives, and some I have yet to meet.  I received an e-mail that I will be receiving a list of more contacts for the book.  Something about this e-mail tells me there has been a course SET for me, and it isn't my plan.  Right now, I am just along for the ride.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Perspective and Sacrifice

This week has been terribly busy.  I traveled 849 miles to visit family in western New York.  On the road, I did a mental back-track, and realized I had not been back to New York in eight years. A lot changes in that much time--I was married and now divorced, graduated with two degrees, I accumulated two kidlets, and I have a different perspective on the world around me.

Every family has strange dynamics, or at least a crazy uncle hiding somewhere.  My family is incredibly fascinating, but we all have our quirks.  It's always interesting to sit back and observe at family events.  I can see genetic and learned likenesses, as well as some very drastic differences among close siblings.

I thought about perspective, and how a lot of our opinions about life come from our background knowledge on the subject.  This must be the obvious reason my father and I have a drastic difference in views on politics--he was born in a different era, and was one of six children that lived in poverty.  He worked to rise above his circumstance and create an extremely successful life.  I work hard to achieve my goals, and came from humble upbringing, but I am also one of two children that lived for the most part in the upper-middle class.  He is an engineer with an analytical mindset; I am a teacher with a very holistic and social perspective.  We see the world through two different lenses.  Thankfully we are well-adjusted enough to appreciate what the other has to say, so our discussions are usually productive and supportive.

I will say that through the interactions that I observed, there is a lot of love in a family that has struggled.  There is a lot of pain from a lot of different angles (again, that happens in most families).  Bad things happen in life, and people cope in different ways.  Some people make a productive comeback, and others curl up with their excuses.  For the most part, we don't worry about these interactions until we all come together.  It is at that point that I sat back, looked around, and saw who was thriving, and who was merely existing.

I am not up on a pedestal, and I don't claim to be healed from pain.  But I do realize that I hurt from many problems I caused myself, and know that I have to do something to fix my problems (or try better not to create pain).  I guess it's with that perspective that I can look at other people in the most objective fashion for being related to them.  I know what it's like to hurt, and what it's like to heal.  I have wept uncontrollably, and I have also had to suck it up and move on at times.

I will say that for these same people that all hurt from different wounds--there is a tremendous amount of sacrifice that happens.  It is almost as if everyone goes off to tend to their own pains, but come together to support (well, for the most part).  I will give you a fairly vivid example:

My grandfather is a hard man.  He lives with a rigid set of ideals, and honestly expects the world to conform to his opinions.  He has been married to my grandmother for 50 years, and between them they have had enough pain to create a Lifetime miniseries.  He detests Chinese food, because he believes domestic animals are the main meat source for all Chinese restaurants.  My grandmother has not been doing well, and we tried to perk her up by suggesting a gigantic family outing at the local restaurant.  My grandfather created a fuss, and at first refused to pay money to eat someone's pet.  We really believed he would put an end to this idea, and his firm grasp of control would eventually bend our food decision.

This seems like a trivial moment to mention sacrifice, but he did give in and accept we would be eating at a restaurant he couldn't stand.  Some people can sacrifice great things in their life, or even life itself.  For him, it was the risk of eating Fido.  That meant a lot, in a very twisted sort of way...

It did make me think about sacrifice, in all forms.  I know that Easter is tomorrow, and sacrificing food choice is not symbolic of some crucifixion, but I do think making sacrifices of some sort is therapeutic.  I think taking a moment (hopefully often) to step outside oneself and make a decision based on the welfare of another--that is where love happens.  And that is where real growth happens.

Which brings me to marriage... Yes, I went from eating dogs, to Jesus, to marriage... Go with me here...

Marriage is a blend of perspective and sacrifice.  We both come into the picture looking through two very different lenses.  We bring unique life experiences, ideas, tastes and opinions.  We hope that we have common hopes, goals, dreams, or at least respect the differences between us.  Over time, perspective changes, and we realize what is important and what is trivial.  That is when sacrifice becomes most important in a relationship--when we recognize that something is trivial, but we are willing to do it because it means the world to our partner.  Many marriages fail because relationships become very egocentric--we wonder what the other person can do to make us happy, content, successful, etc.  We don't stop to think what we could do to support, lift up, and help the other person achieve their dreams and goals.

I talked to someone yesterday about relationships, and he put it into great terminology.  He said he didn't want to simply share a house with someone.  He wanted to invest in his partner, and wanted the same in return.  Think about it: if you are looking at investing in a project or business, you will learn all about the idea. You will devote time and make sacrifices to make sure it succeeds (so you will reap the benefits). Relationships and marriage are both definitely investments, and ultimately sacrificing the idea of "me" for "we."

I do believe that people can come from drastically different worlds, but can appreciate their differences and learn to live together.  Not just in a marital sense, but in work, friendships, etc.  But it does take sacrifice, and it does take respecting differences.  Recognizing that you care for another person, and putting their welfare above your own for even a moment--it can do amazing things.

I have many great memories in my life, and many painful ones as well.  The wounds are deep, and will take plenty of time to heal.  I have all of the time in the world, and know this journey will not be complete overnight.  Luckily, through all of the grief I have endured, I have been given the ability to see life from different perspectives, and also to appreciate sacrifice.  I know I have made sacrifices, but I see clearly now that I have wonderful family and friends that have sacrificed greatly so I could succeed.  My success now has come from a joint effort over all of these years.  These words of love and support heal me more than anything I can do on my own.  And so, I move forward from here, traveling 849 miles to return home.  Coming home from this journey, I will hold dear to me the memories of my family, and how they have changed over all of these years.  

A lot has changed in eight years... There are new buildings in this old town.  There are family favorites that are closed down and up for sale.  In the past eight years, I have gained a life and lost one as well.  The world keeps changing, whether you actively participate or not.  I would love to take a moment to come up with an eloquent quote, but I am tired, and fairly content with what I have resolved  in my heart.  So we will leave it at that for now...

Tomorrow is another day.

Monday, April 2, 2012


Serendipity (noun): The occurrence and development of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way...

 I do believe that life has been kind enough to hand me what I need when I need it.  People come in and out of my life to shape me into the person that types this post.  There are some people who seem to flutter in quickly, and others who leave a deep permanent impression--as if he stuck his boot in my wet cement sidewalk...

I went to Chattanooga for a series of meetings and interviews.  I was actually excited to have the opportunity to meet with these people, because we have discovered through speaking with different organizations, that we will all have mutual professional benefit from working together.  And since I don't believe in reinventing the wheel, and I like to do things the right way once and use it later, I happily agreed to meet today.

The other reason for my adventure was to interview people for my book.  I can honestly say that I wasn't very certain how this was all going to go.  I was never good at formally interviewing people.  I have the social ability to talk to a wall if needed, so I can carry on a conversation just fine.  But when it comes to asking questions, writing responses, and prompting the guest, I was terrified of what might happen.  Once I met with the liaison, I found that my new friend was feeling exactly the same way.

I don't say this many times in my life, and may not say this again for a long time: my life has been changed from meeting this person.  I know everyone goes about life, bumping into each other and leaving tiny ripples.  But this guy, he smashed his boot right into my cement, and I will never be the same.

We decided to make it a casual interview, and meet for coffee.  This turned into lunch, so we had an opportunity to talk quite a bit.  I knew the interview was not going to go as planned when we sat down and I said:

"So, I am Michelle. I am going to ask you a few questions."

And he responds...

"What's your story?"

To which I can only reply...

"Um... I think I am supposed to be the one asking the questions."

It was an absolutely comical endeavor. We laughed, I was able to vent my frustrations in dealing with all this mess in my head, and I had a person sitting next to me that had already been there and done that.  The great thing is that he was a successful professional being, had a tragic traumatic brain injury, and came out of it a relatively normal human being (which is a lot to say for any of us really).  He is passionate about life, he is thoughtful, asks a lot of meaningful questions, and really wants to get something out of his interactions with people.

I did feel a bit uncomfortable, I must admit.  The only reason is that he served the purpose that I always fill.  At work, at home, and in some of my friendships, people say that I notice random things and always seem to have an agenda in my mind.  I will point out what a person commented, and perhaps the motivation for such comment.  I never realized how transparent I made people feel until I was under examination today.  It seems I was not able to keep any secrets--I was completely vulnerable.

"You like to categorize people, don't you?"

"You always like to leave impressions on people, don't you? Doesn't that become exhausting?"

"Were you a misfit?"

"Were you the ugly duckling when you were growing up? When will you realize you are beautiful?"

"You laugh when you are nervous." (which happened a lot toward the end, because I felt there were few secrets left)

This was definitely not the interview I had planned, but I was beyond thrilled that I made the journey. We walked about the art district for a bit, and I told him about my first ever "date" that I had with a boy. I told him that we were in an art museum, and the boy did not "get" the piece of art.  I know I speak in a very animated style, but I was probably overzealous in describing this painting.  I told all of the parts that made me so passionate about art, and why I loved this piece.  His look changed, and I asked him if something was wrong.

He said, "No, you just made me fall in love with this painting."

It's funny. I hadn't remembered that memory until we walked up to the stairs of the museum.  It seems like it was a lifetime ago.  Indeed it was--my new life started only a few years ago.

At the end of our journey, we talked about careers.  How we are pushed to choose one that has socially redemptive value.  He was an oncologist, which is a highly admired profession.  I told him that I have been teaching for five years, and asked him what was the limit of how long I had to be in a social redemptive field (I was only joking)?

"Five years!! I was going to say six months."


After studying me for a while, he told me that I needed to sell tickets, and not meet criteria.

I apparently looked very puzzled by this statement.  He said I am not a spirit that can be content in meeting up to other people's expectations of me.  Frankly, that can be exhausting for people that don't enjoy rigid structure and conformity.  I need to produce what I have of myself, and my audience will find me.  I think he is a wise man, and will be a terrific partner in this journey.

At the end of our walk, he asked me if this would give me enough for a book.

I told him that got us through about Chapter 1.

And so the journey continues...