Reviewing Old Resolutions/Aiming High and Accepting Low

Happy New Year!

Just before the holidays, I spent some time discarding and donating stuff I no longer wanted when I came across this tattered list.  It is an outline of wishes and goals I hoped for in my 39th year.

It was just the distraction I needed to stop de-cluttering.

Thirteen years ago, when I crafted the list, my kids were nearing adulthood, so I aimed high.  I hoped for things like a fake wood floor, a better car, a book deal, $500 more a month,  travel opportunities, a soulful community, lower cholesterol, and a  promising relationship. And then I scrawled all of the qualities I wanted my suitor to have.

I think I’d listened to some motivational guru Tony Robbins cassette tapes that inspired me to be focused and intentional about what I wanted.

There’s nothing wrong with being focused, so long as it’s tempered with flexibility.

So how did I fare, achieving my goals?

Well, that year (2003) I was fortunate to enjoy a soulful community and I completed the first draft of my memoir.

And over the next ten years, I did get a fake wood floor, a better used car, and more money. I began to travel, and completed more drafts of my memoir, finally publishing it a few months ago.

Pieces of Me: Rescuing My Kidnapped Daughters

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My cholesterol is still high, but my good numbers increased while the bad decreased.

And my promising relationship?

 

 

 

 

Songwriter Leonard Cohen once mentioned in an interview that perhaps his greatest goal was to recall what he’d hoped to achieve as a young man, compare it to what actually did happen in his life as he grew older, and then accept the gap between the two with grace.

Of all my  resolutions for 2017, this is perhaps what I want most of all.

Accepting the gap. And keeping hope and faith alive for the future.

What are your resolutions for the New Year?

Thank you for visiting.

The Process of Progress/Three Projects plus Platform

Do you keep a journal?  Have you ever heard of a writer’s process journal?

 

It’s essentially a  writer’s diary noting the progression of their project.

My challenge in keeping one is that I’m currently working on three projects.

  •  My memoir is in the many-eth draft, and I’m now re-writing it in the present tense, hoping to give this great story a breath of life and real emotion.
  • My novel Facing the Odds, One Man at a Time is complete! I’ve worked on this  book with a writing coach from the jump, and now it’s time to go back from the start and add dimension.
  • And I’m doing research for my third book about Alaskan socialite Muriel Pfeil, who died in a car-bombing incident in 1976 after a tumultuous marriage and custody battle with her former husband, real-estate developer Neil Mackay.

Given that I’ve never written a murder-mystery before, it’s been quite a journey. I’ve spent four months following up on one lead after another that ultimately fizzles. Then my luck changed. This past month, I’ve met with a retired judge who helped coordinate Anchorage’s first battered women’s shelter, a colorful lawyer/author who was Muriel’s son’s guardian ad litem, and spoken with some of her school mates. There’s hope yet.

I can’t recall the first time I heard the name Muriel Pfeil.

I was a girl of twelve the day she was blown to bits, but I didn’t hear of it then. That was during the pre-internet times, and I lived 25 miles away, part of a family that didn’t follow the news.

I was a young woman of twenty-one, just on the verge of stepping off a cliff and marrying the man who would soon try to take my life the day Muriel’s brother Robert was executed on the way home from his job as an airline pilot.

I was an earnest professional of twenty-eight, fresh out of college and off food stamps with two little girls, working at the very battered women’s shelter my daughters and I took refuge in when I began hearing other women’s fear about Muriel. It had been sixteen years since the bomb had detonated. “My husband tells me if I leave, don’t dare turn the ignition,” or “How would you like to be the next Muriel Pfeil?”

No thanks.

I was a middle-aged woman attending a Christmas party when I overheard a few people talking about the abduction of Muriel’s little son to the Marshall Islands, and a whispered comment about the judge there who heard the interim custody proceeding who died under suspicious circumstances.

Too many days in my adult life have been haunted by the story of Muriel Pfeil. A finer writer would take the high road and stay out of the story, but I want to be up front with you about why I need to tell her story.

We couldn’t be more different, Muriel and me. She was well-bred, expensively educated, and enjoyed all the privileges forthwith. By all accounts, she came from parents who loved one another and were protective of their children. I am the daughter of two high-school drop outs who likely meant to.

I’ve dined with some of her high school mates, now in their seventies, who have assured me in so many words that Muriel and I would have never been friends. “She was too good for me,” one man said. “Her nose was always up in the air.” Others described her as aloof or reserved.

Whatever the case is, we’ve been together for too long. I waited for someone else locally to tell the story of Neil Mackay and Muriel Pfeil. And now I’ve stopped waiting.

My hope with this venture is that I can introduce you to the real Muriel Pfeil and to Neil Mackay. That we can see what life in Alaska was in the 70’s for women who left their spouses. I hope to explore some of the alibis given in this yet-unsolved murder involving a beautiful socialite and her older, less-beautiful, attorney ex-husband.

I also hope to ensure that Muriel’s memory is eternal, and that in turn, she will let me live the balance of my life in peace.

Last but not least,  I’ve done a few things to promote my platform.

I was interviewed as one of the audio-portraits for the national Futures Without Violence Conference this month.

I released my handbook on Amazon–Online Dating Safety: Get Ready, Get Set, Let’s Go! for a mere 99 cents!

 

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00U809YTU

And I was invited last-minute to give a reading of my essay Healing from A Girl’s Guide to Travelling Alone at a gathering. Another writer had cancelled, and I’m thankful for it. What a fun way to connect! Thank you to my dear friend Susan for giving me the chance.

The seasons are changing. I’m looking forward to getting more serious about my writing. How about you?

What’s on your to-do list these days?

From Past to Present/Dusting Off My Manuscript to Answer the Real Questions

A few weeks ago She Writes Press announced a cool new contest for memoir writers.

Simply put, women writers can submit a query letter and the first couple of chapters of their memoir and compete for an agent with Serendipity Literary Agency. Check it out on She Writes Press.

I may have mentioned I shelved my memoir about domestic violence and child abduction  for many months after a few drafts, more than a few rejections, and much much more than a few hundred dollars spent on editorial services.  I was positively sick of it.

Then I listened to a recorded tele-seminar from my National Association of Memoir Writers membership and heard author Linda Watanabe McFerrin give tips on writing memoir. She mentioned that in a memoir, the protagonist has something they want which is the external plot, versus something they truly want,  the internal which has emotion.

And just like that, it made sense. What do I say I want, and what is really driving my actions? That’s what needs to be in the book.

I’ve also been re-reading the artful memoir Swimming with Maya again by Eleanor Vincent, and realized I need to re-write my first book in the first person to experience the emotions long buried.

So here are my first couple of pages. Does it work for you written in present tense?

I’d love to hear your reactions at liza8m@gmail.com. It’s due on August 31st.  And soon, Eleanor Vincent has agreed to be interviewed for the blog. Stay tuned!

Chapter 1

I brush Marianthi’s hair as fast as I can without upsetting her. My oldest daughter, like so many firstborn, seems in tune to my every mood since her birth. Just six years old now, she senses my wave of anxiety about her father’s impending arrival for weekly visitation.

“Are you scared, Mommy?”

Marianthi’s voice sounds like a munchkin from the Wizard of Oz, as small and sweet as she is.

“No, sweetie” I smile. “I just don’t want to keep Daddy waiting. You look beautiful.”

And she does. She’s wearing her blue dress with the floral collar that matches her liquid blue eyes. Her straight brown hair is neatly held back by a barrette. Now I direct her to her coat and boots while I work on getting her little sister ready.

I push Meredith’s plump calf into her boot. She groans. “Point your foot down, baby.” Slowly, the boot slides on. I run my fingers through her baby-fine brown ringlets and inspect her round face for remnants of Rice Krispies.

Meredith is the antithesis of her sister. At two, she lost grasp of her helium balloon, silently watching it float towards the clouds. “God stole my balloon,” she had announced. At three, she told a bald man that he had a baby head. And now at four, Meredith has learned she could belch as loudly as a college boy at a frat party.

My daughters are absurdly cute. I’m not the only one who thinks so; four separate couples have requested the girls be in their upcoming weddings this spring alone.

“Ready just in time,” I tell them as their father Grigorios, Gregory for short, pulls up in his dented, bright blue Jeep Cherokee. A male passenger I don’t recognize is sitting next to him. I try to get a closer look without upsetting Gregory. The passenger catches me, and I avert my eyes immediately. What guy would ride along with Gregory to pick up the girls? And why?

“Momma, will you pick us up tomowoh?” Meredith asks. I dread the day she’s able to pronounce her r’s.

“I’ll pick you up on the tomorrow after tomorrow, remember?” But of course Meredith can’t remember the court- appointed visitation schedule. She’s only four, and her father visits are irregular. She doesn’t know that the court only recently lifted the supervised visitation requirement that has been imposed during a restraining order, or that I pick her and her sister up at the daycare for the express purpose of avoiding unnecessary contact with him. And she shouldn’t have to. Neither of them should have to know of the grim details of their parents’ divorce. They’re still little girls, after all.

I feel like I have spent my entire twenty-nine years of life walking on eggshells. It’s March 13, 1994, and I’m four years out of my violent marriage. But despite the passage of time, my fear of Gregory is as strong as the day in March of 1990 when I got back up off the floor, collected my baby girls and fled in a taxi. The scratches and strangulation marks healed after several days, but his parting threats haunt me: “I would rather kill you than let you leave. That way you’ll die knowing the girls will have no mother and their father will be in jail. Leave and you’ll never see them again–I have nothing to lose.”

That was by no means the first time Gregory had threatened to harm or kill me. Not even close. In our marriage, he’d isolated me from friends, had taken my car, and at the lowest point, limited my access to food while I was pregnant. Eventually, he wrung my neck. And all the while, he delivered the same message, over and over. “You are worthless, stupid, and helpless. I am the only person you have to rely on. Without me, you are nothing.”

But it’s his threat to take the children and disappear to his native home in Greece if I left him that got to me. He knows that I could never live without my children.

I remind myself that our circumstances are different now. Yes, things are still hard, even though four years have passed since our marriage ended. I have no family around to help with the girls or with the house. We live in Alaska, a place where one battles ice and snow and long periods of continual darkness that is followed by short periods of constant light. It’s a place suited best for those with money. Money to buy a four-wheel drive. Money to buy lots of insulation for the house and to buy fancy winter boots and coats, and money to buy airline tickets to leave the state once or twice a year for a warmer climate. All of the things

But on the plus side, our divorce is final now and includes provisions in our custody arrangement to prevent him making good on his threats. I’ve earned my journalism degree. I have a promising job, and I’m determined not to feign independence through remarriage and further dependence. We are out of low-income housing, and off of food stamps. And more importantly, the girls are smart and healthy, and they how to respond if anyone, including their father, attempts to take them away from me. There is no reason to be afraid.

“Don’t forget your blankie, baby,” I remind Meredith. I hand her the paper-thin quilted blanket that she’s loved since birth. Life for everyone around Meredith goes better when she has the comfort of her security blanket. While her sister is the sensitive, pleasing child, Meredith’s attitude is that if she has to suffer, then so should the entire community.

The doorbell rings. I hug the girls and open the door. Gregory is standing there in his hooded blue jacket and baggy khakis. His dirty-brown hair looks even thinner than the last time I saw him, and his cheeks more hollow. Though he’s a half -inch taller than me at 5’8,” I outweigh my former husband by an easy fifteen pounds despite my frequent crash diets. This stupid fact has pissed me off over the years as much as the legitimate reasons I have to hate him. And yet, his gaunt look makes him appear more scary and desperate to me somehow.

Gregory wordlessly takes Meredith’s hand. She in turn grabs Marianthi’s hand. They carefully step over the ice and snow that has yet to melt in the extended Alaskan winter, and Gregory lifts them into his Jeep. They both looked back at me before he shuts the rear passenger door.

“Goodbye! I love you,” I call out.

“Bye Mommy!” they say in unison.

Gregory glares hard at me before getting in the Jeep. I return his gaze and smile brightly, refusing to defer to his intimidation tactics, and then shudder as the Jeep disappears from view. I close the door, chiding myself. I hate being paranoid, but who is that guy with him? None of your business, Liz, I tell myself. Bad things always seem to happen when I question Gregory about anything, and it isn’t illegal for him to have someone I don’t know in the car. Just get over it.

Time to prepare for the day ahead. I plan to take my friend Julie to lunch at a new sushi restaurant for her thirtieth birthday, and will force myself to enjoy the quiet time without the girls.

Somehow, today feels different to me. A palpable feeling of unrest is in the pit of my stomach for no particular reason.

The climate between Gregory and me has cooled again in the last few weeks. I had always hoped we could be on civil terms for the sake of the children, and was occasionally encouraged when time passed without any hint of coarse language or bullying as we exchanged the girls for visitation. But the peace has been short-lived. In general, it seems that the passage of time has only increased their father’s intentions to possess or destroy me, whichever comes first. And although I’m too scared to cross Gregory unless my and the girls’ safety is at stake, the state of Alaska boldly dipped into a legal settlement of his to collect child support a few weeks ago. Gregory is livid. I can’t help but worry about repercussions. He has strong feelings about paying child support.

“If you need diapers, call me,” he told me after the girls and I got settled into low-income housing four years earlier. “If you and the girls run out of food, you have my number. I’ll do what I can. But don’t ever let some government agency tell me how much I need to pay you to support my daughters. I will decide this.”

And true to his word, Gregory has not bowed to the government mandate of paying child support. Instead, I have learned to manage the financial struggles of supporting two little girls on next to nothing. I have learned how to manage his threatening phone calls, and the image of Gregory in my rearview mirror. I have even learned to parlay my fear of being killed by him into an inspiration to live each day with my daughters as if it might be my last. Because it really might be.

Yet I know I can never learn to live without my daughters, and Gregory knows why.

***

Three Lessons I Learned from Mike Dominoski/What’s Luck Got to do with it

Some people have all the luck.

403202_304172969624299_581089741_nmikedThat’s what I  thought when I met my friend, Mike Dominoski.

I met him in the dorm cafeteria at Western Washington University in the fall of 1982. You could tell he was fun by how he held himself. Wearing a pinstriped, button up shirt with grey parachute pants and a matching fedora covering his curly brown hair, Mike had a nose that can only be described as a Karl Malden knockoff. (For those of you who are too young to know who Karl Malden is, click the link.) And he seemed so very comfortable in his own skin.

I went to college thanks to decent grades and a decent interest rate on student loans. Born of two high school dropouts, there wasn’t a lot of role- modeling or planning for a higher education.

Mike, on the other hand, seemed to ooze money. After we became friends, he was the first to offer to pay for pizza. Coffee? Mike bought a round for all of us. He must be loaded, I thought.

He explained it simply. “I was born with a lot of health problems, and no one expected me to live, so I’ve inherited a lot of money at different times.”

Score! All I could think was how great it must be to go on vacations. Buy a new car. Go to college perhaps debt-free. (I know none of this to be true about my friend, but these were my youthful assumptions.)

970343_10201224373832400_36313353_nmikesmessageOf course, back then my young mind just processed Mike’s words in relation to what I’d never experienced. I didn’t give much thought to what it would be like to have a life that began with incurable and debilitating medical issues. That all became clear with time.

What I could see was that although Mike’s scoliosis made him look and walk differently, he was never self-conscious. Mike loved performing. He did air band at talent-shows (known as lip-syncing to other people’s music today). Every day, Mike happily escorted my roommate Erin and I to meals, studied with us, and showered us with attention. He went to church with us, and always impressed me with his abiding faith, which was much more about unconditional love and compassion than excluding others who were different or didn’t follow the rules.

When Mike inherited a caboodle of money two years after we met, he asked me to go to Switzerland with him (“I’ll pay!”) to visit a mutual friend attending college there. I said no. I thought he should invest his money for the future, and I wanted no part of the indebtedness I would feel if he gifted me with such a luxury.

Did he invest or save his money? Absolutely not. And within a year, it was all gone.

This worried me endlessly. Where would Mike live? What if he couldn’t work some day? What if bad opportunists took advantage of him? Mike seemed unconcerned, but I worried enough for the both of us.

Given that he was a few years older than me, Mike finished college sooner. We said our tearful goodbyes after I turned twenty, quit school, and found my real dad through a lawyer.I moved back to Alaska. Mike couldn’t find work with his degree in marine biology, and settle for one as an elevator man in Seattle while I married the first man who showed interest in me in Alaska and had two daughters in rapid succession.

It’s funny, the things that you remember later. Most of us in college felt we would definitely meet someone to love us and settle down with. Mike hoped for love, but had no air of entitlement about it. Love wasn’t a definite.

We stayed in sporadic contact. These were the pre-Facebook, pre-cell phone days, after all. The days when a husband bent on controlling his wife’s social interactions were made easy by the absence of technology.

After my husband tried to wring the air out of my neck, Mike let me and the girls stay with him for a few days in Seattle. And then the matters of life separated me from my buddy. I became consumed in legal matters, my daughters’ eventual abduction, and finishing college.

Mike’s issues were at least as critical. After serving as a missionary in Kenya, he landed a teaching job in the Dominican Republic. He suffered many health setbacks and professional disappointments, but he kept pushing forward.

When we communicated by written letter or occasional phone call, I tried not to ask whether or not he’d met a woman. Mike was at times discouraged, but always funny, and always sure of one thing. “I think God has a plan for me,” he would say with conviction. I couldn’t help but believe him.

Mike and Sita and Me/Jan 2012
Mike and Sita and Me/Jan 2012

It was New Years of 2012 when I last saw Mike during a long layover I had in Seattle. We’d connected through Facebook, and he was recently married at fifty years of age. Mike and his bride picked me up in his pick-up truck. One of the doors was smashed in his truck, forcing us to all cram in on one side. Mike was unemployed and looking for work. I would have been crushed at the setbacks. Mike never looked happier. And as always, he was making jokes about his job loss on Facebook.

A beloved teaching  job would come after a forced move across the state. But love had arrived, and Mike and his wife lived out loud, recording their joy in their Facebook posts, taking endless selfies, and making the most of every opportunity to demonstrate love.

Mike passed away when I was out-of-town last weekend. Cancerous tumors had ravaged his already challenged body, but he didn’t die alone. Mike was surrounded by his loving wife, and honored by the many students whose lives he touched. And since he lived keenly aware of his vulnerabilities, Mike may be one of the few people I’ve ever known to celebrate each day, playing practical jokes, savoring a good cup of coffee, and generously offering love to his friends and family.

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What a lucky man he was. He knew from the beginning what most of us learn towards our ending:

  • Life is short, and we are all living on borrowed time, so be brave! Be uninhibited! And be thankful.
  • Faith is an anchor. It should connect us to one another and to God. Not divide us or exclude.
  • Love is a gift, not an entitlement. It is to be celebrated, and even shared.
  • Today, the world is a little less funny without my buddy Mike in it. But his is an easy life to celebrate, and he will never be forgotten.

    Remembering Grace and Making New Memories/The Bright Spot of My Daughters’ Abduction

    I’m in Italy this week, spending time with  a cherished friend.

    Have you ever been the beneficiary of uncommon kindness from a random stranger?

    There is something special about going through a brutal time and finding that you have guardian angels who pop up out of nowhere. 

    Such was the case for me in 1995 when I found myself  alone in Greece without two dimes to rub together, looking for my abducted daughters.

    On my first trip to Greece after they were kidnapped, I met with a lawyer I had retained there. Two young women attorneys worked in his office, and after our initial meeting, they invited me to lunch with them.

    They weren’t involved with my case. They were not being paid. They simply extended their hospitality, and they were only too happy to practice their English skills.

    One of the women, Popi, inquired about my living arrangements while in Greece. When I told her I was staying at a hostel, she piped up. “It is settled, then. You will come stay with me in my spare bedroom.”

    And I did. 

    At the time, I had long been a motherless child, and was now a childless mother.  Popi’s nurturing presence was medicinal to me. She taught me to read and speak Greek after work, something that would come in handy since my daughters no longer spoke English. Popi took me on outings with her friends, and when my lawyers quit my case temporarily due to non-payment by me and due to the fact that I second-guessed them constantly, Popi stood in the line of fire with them to help me find a private investigator. In turn, her job was threatened.

    What do you say to someone who has done so much and asked for nothing in return?

    Thank you, Popi. I said I would never forget  you, and I have not.


    We’ve all faced hard times and have been the recipient of uncommon grace.

    Who in your life has stepped up to help you?


    With luck, I’ll post next week. Otherwise, I’ll return to you at the end of the month.
    Take care.

    –Liz

    Adding to the Three Things I Know Something About

    Merry Christmas and/or Happy Holidays!

    I’m revising one of my very first posts, written almost exactly two years ago.

    Though I will continue to be committed to reconnecting with lost loved ones, issues of child abduction, and domestic violence, in 2014 I’ll be expanding to include more about love. What is a safe and healthy relationship? How do we find them? Keep them?  When should we let go of them?And how do we cherish their memory, once they’ve ended?

    And there will always be room to connect on other topics every once in awhile.

    I hope your holidays are full.  Thanks for being a constant part of my life over the past two years.

    –Liz

    My intent when I began blogging was to write about the things I know and care about, focusing on the following three:

    1) Domestic violence
     
    Recently, I was contacted by two friends within hours of each other about their concerns over a loved one being abused. It’s been more than a decade since I’ve worked formally with abuse victims, and more than twenty since I left my own abuser, but the calls and e-mails still come in.

    Dear Liz,

    I need your help/ advise about a friend that is possibly at the worst time in life these past few days from controlling/ mental abuse/ possible a recurrence to old physical abuse but not sure.
     
    In her situation, she’s been (insert emotional/physical/sexual abuse)…
     
    Do I take the information and meet with a police officer, or just give her the information about the local domestic violence agency?  Lead the way.
     Thank you.
     
    The fact is, domestic violence continues to be one of the leading causes of injury to women in our country. And the children who witness violence against their parent often end up in their own trouble later on if the cycle goes uninterrupted.
     
    2) Parental child abduction, especially international child abduction

    Sixteen years ago, I recovered my abducted children from Greece. Only a fraction of parents whose kids are kidnapped and taken out of their home country ever see them again. I was (am) lucky.But despite the passage of time, issues of child abduction cross my mind daily, if not hourly. Perhaps it would’ve been more manageable had I not been a stolen child myself. 

    3) Recovering/reconnecting with loved ones.

    Random, you say? 

    Not really. Because the first two topics are all about isolation. Being disconnected from supports. From family. From yourself, even. I firmly believe losing strong and healthy relationships isn’t just sad, it can be dangerous. Conversely, I’m convinced that having those relationships in tact can be instrumental in preventing or getting out of a violent intimate relationship.

    So now that I’ve stated my blog’s raison d’etre, I’m committed to writing about them. At least some of the time. And I hope you’ll let me know your thoughts from time to time.

    What’s in a Name? The Amazing Life of Paul Fronczak

    Happy Birthday to me.   I’m 49 today.


      Can you imagine not knowing when you were actually born?



    The story Paul Fronczak touched me this week. He’s the man who recently discovered his parents were not his parents, and therefore does not know what his name or date of birth or health history is.




    The mess all began in April of 1964 in Chicago, just a few months before I was born. Young parents of newborn Paul Fronczak were horrified when a woman dressed as a nurse stole their  son from the hospital. Police were unable to find the kidnapped child, but around a year later, an abandoned toddler was located in New Jersey. He had big ears like the missing Fronczak baby. The bereft mother of the missing infant claimed him as her own, and he was raised with the Fronczaks, who by all accounts were loving parents.





    Fast forward nearly 50 years, when a nagging feeling led Paul Fronczak to get DNA testing. Turns out, he’s not related to the parents that raised him. 




    Now he doesn’t know who he is.
    The Fronczak’s don’t know where their missing baby went
    And two Jersey parents have missed a lifetime with their own wonderful son.


    I imagine every time Paul Fronczak signs his name or date of birth now, he might now feel a bit like a fraud. And the parents he was raised by are upset by the new information, too. 


    Talk about having the rug ripped from underneath him.



    Lots of us have histories we might want to re-write. But at least we know them. 
    Maybe the online community can help Paul Fronczak (or whatever his real name is) solve the mystery.

    You can like the  Facbeook page Who is Paul Fronczak  and share the updates, or contact ABC news ifyou have a tip. 

    Wouldn’t it be great if the new media attention could put two families back together? Or at the very least, put a period where a question mark has lingered far too long. 

    Best wishes to the many efforts of Paul Fronczak. I can’t wait to see the resolution.

    Have a great week. 




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    Signs of a Healthier Relationship

     How do you feel about change?

    I’m thinking about changing my blog’s focus in the next few months, or maybe at the new year.

    My second book, presently titled Facing the Odds, One Man at a Time is a fictionalized account of some very real experiences I’ve had over the years after leaving a violent marriage. Its funnier and sunnier than the first book (how funny can a book about inter-generational domestic violence and child abduction actually be, after all?) and  covers the metamorphosis I made over the years as I learned more about myself and who I wanted to be instead of shifting my dependency to another man.

    I think the blog will ultimately explore concepts like where do we need to be in our own lives before we can really find happiness with another, and what are things that make you feel safe with your partner.

    I’m not ready to morph it just yet, but there will be a transition soon.

    In the mean time, I’m waiting for my sweetie to return from two months of commercial fishing. I was writing  today about some of the things I appreciate most about him, based on my early observations of his relationships with his kids. Though I changed the names of he and his daughter, the appreciation is based on a true story.

    But what I like most about Don is his relationship with the women and children in his life.
    I see him with his daughter, watching her. “I notice the way Danielle’s speech patterns change when she’s with her friends… I know Danielle likes soccer, but it’s her running that could net her a scholarship. Does she even know how great she is?”
    With Don’s widowed mother, there’s the occasional lunch date he tells me about. “I can tell mom is nervous about fixing stuff in her house. I wish she’d let me help her.” Or, “Why doesn’t my niece pay Mom for all the babysitting Mom does for her?”  Best yet, “I looked at men in Mom’s age bracket on Match.com. They’re all broken down and looking for a nurse. No way!”
    I enjoy seeing Don’s long-distance relationships with his grown children. “I call my son the last Sunday of every month so I don’t forget,” and “My daughter is so extreme. Every thing that happens, according to her, is the best, the worst, the longest, the shortest of whatever it is.” Don laughs affectionately.
    But of all his loves, I adore the respect he pays to his ex-wife, Haley. I love that he calls or texts her regularly about their minor child’s welfare. I love that he smiles when he greets her in public places, and that no one watching them interact would ever guess that they broke up due to her finding a new love, and once marital counseling failed to break her new love connection, how contentious their ensuing divorce and custody battle was. I love that Don backs her up with matters regarding their daughter when appropriate. And I love that he can enjoy good memories of their marriage without self-consciousness around me. When I ask him about their wedding day, he smiles and says that he believes of all their years together, Haley had never look prettier than on that day. It was a good marriage with many positives, and then had a sad ending, but he does not allow its demise to negate all of the good times.
    —————–
       

    So in a nutshell, that’s what’s on my mind.  What’s on  yours? What was a positive trait your loved one had that resonated most for you?

    Also, let’s celebrate the bravery of some teenagers in Pennyslvania who intervened in a child abduction this week with good results. In my work life, I work exclusively with juvenile delinquents.  Kids like Temar Boggs make me feel better about our future.  Way to go!
    Temar Boggs as seen in the Global Dispatch
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