Wednesday, March 18, 2015

And The St. Patrick's Day Scary Bits....

Yesterday I had an episode at work.
I had really bad pains in my chest, I felt nauseous, my jaw was throbbing, my left arm was tingling and I felt fuzzy...lightheaded-disoriented.
I went outside for a few minutes as I've had a couple of episodes like this before but not nearly as painful.
It eased up a bit- so I went back inside but then  a few minutes after going back in- it started up again.

I don't mind saying it scared the heck out of me. I got up and walked down to my husbands department- stopping a couple of times along the way because my chest was hurting so bad. I was almost crying by the time I got downstairs to my husband who took one look at me and when I said "I think I need to go to the A&E" - asked no questions but grabbed his coat and took me straight there.

They took me straight back for an EEG as soon as they heard my symptoms and then brought me back to a room on the other side for blood work. After that was done they said I would be there probably at least overnight unless the test results came back negative for a heart attack. By this time the chest pain had eased to about a 3 on the pain scale- every 45 minutes or so it would go up to a 5 or 6 and then after a few minutes go back to a 3. They decided to move me up to a ward for the duration of my stay with them. So up to the ward they rolled me and there I stayed . Getting stuck numerous times for all the different tests...going to have x-rays done- and numerous EEG and EKG.

There was another factor that raised my stress levels as well.....There was a patient in the ward who in my opinion should have been on the psyche ward. He was in a hospital gown, but roaming the wards. Every 10 minutes he would come walking into the ward, pulling back the privacy curtains and opening the bathroom(loo) /shower room doors. He even was yelling in a strange mixture of English/German at the patients who tried to stop him from looking in their personal belongings as well as the nurses who tried to get him back into his bed. There was a security officer in the ward because of his behaviour but there may as well have been no one there- that guard was sat with his ass glued to a chair and his eyes closed like he was napping every single time I went past him on my way to another test.
I mean come on- think about it- you are in a hospital bed, naked except for that useless piece of clothing they call a GOWN, and you have a nutcase walking around pulling open your privacy curtains and coming in and plundering in your clothes and handbags? I took numerous photos of him and his very offensive behavior and made my thoughts on the matter perfectly clear after a couple of hours being on pins and needles and seeing the terrified looks on every ones faces. I was hurting and stressed and in no mood to hold back  and I told the nurses and the doctors who came in that they needed to get him in a bed away from everyone because as for me- he was making my stress levels elevate immensely and if he came near me there was going to be trouble. He got past them a few more times, but after that they were more vigilant in keeping him out of my ward which I think the other patients(all MUCH older than me) appreciated. I still wasn't comfortable, but I was less stressed than I was.

Anyway, so there was one positive to the event. As I was having a suspected heart attack, the hospital is a University Research Hospital and one of the research teams was developing and testing a two machines that would cut the time of a heart attack diagnosis from 2 to 3 hours to a scant 20 minutes. They wanted me to participate and I agreed- mainly because there is a history of heart disease on both sides of my family. I think if they had had this technology when my grandparents were alive both of my grandmothers would have been with us much longer than they were. And if I can contribute to the development of a machine that can give a quicker diagnosis and let people be treated sooner thus ensuring a bigger chance of surviving a heart attack and reducing the damage to their heart- I'll do it. Gladly. Maybe it will save one of my children or grandchildrens or even great-grandchildrens lives in the future. Who knows?!

So that research testing was completed at 8:30 PM- when they took the last of the blood tests needed to determine if I had had a hear attack. That test also takes 3 hours to develop results so I decided to try and nap while I waited. I was physically and mentally exhausted at this point and they were still coming in every hour for blood pressure checks and  just as I was nodding off they would come wake me up to ask if I was okay...No rest at all.

At 1AM the doctor finally came in and told me the tests had come back and it had NOT been a heart attack. They wasn't quite sure what exactly it was but they referred to it as a "heart related incident".
 If I had to try and diagnose myself, I would say it's what my Granny Miller had been diagnosed with..... Angina.
 I couldn't remember the name of it yesterday when they were taking the medical history- because I was so fuzzy and disoriented, but I remembered what it was called this morning when I got up and I googled it. Exact same symptoms except I was just a bit disoriented as well.
 I have to go to my doctor on the 31st so we will discuss it then.

Any who...They said they would be releasing me in the morning- but said I could leave then if I had a way home or someone to pick me up. They said normally they would just wait- but there was a bed shortage and if I wanted, I could leave then. It seemed like it took them forever to get the paperwork done after that, but long story short I was home by 2AM. I relaxed and got a drink of diet soda before heading to bed in the spare room so as to not wake my sweet sleeping husband in the master bedroom. Bless his heart- he takes such good care of me when I'm hurting and it's such a blessing to have him by my side. He is the love of my life. With all that went on yesterday I didn't get to sleep until close to 4AM, so rather than go in to work and stress myself out by being exhausted. I took the day off. I thought about going in at noon, but I think the full days rest will do me more good and I can go in tomorrow rested and be more productive.

So I've been to bed and slept a few more hours. I'm going to shower and have a bit of a healthy lunch and then I'm going to nap for a couple MORE hours. It was seriously a very exhausting day and night.

Oh- and the doctors suggestions health wise?.....Stop smoking COMPLETELY(even my lovely e-cig) try not to get too stressed- .......and lost a bit of weight.

Well, Duh.

And what became of the psyche ward candidate?... the nurses finally got word from the doctor to give him a sedative and he was sleeping like a baby when I was discharged.
Bless his heart.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Interview with the Fabulous Lisa Barber

*An Interview with the Fabulous Lisa Barber*

In my journeys, I have met many interesting people from all walks of life.
This is an interview with one of those persons - one who not only dreamt a dream- but is making it come TRUE with nothing short of inspiration, willpower and determination.
This is Her Story……

      Hi Lisa.
      Can you tell us a bit about yourself in your own words?
Well what is there to say? 
I’m a girl from a small town from Ohio and decided that living by other people’s rules was not my bag so I up and left.  I lost a lot of friends doing that but it was the best thing that I have ever done.
This journey that I have been on has been a journey of self discovery and ultimately a journey that has resulted in loving myself.
Growing up was a bit difficult at times. My older sister is a very talented singer.  She has a singing voice that is amazing. She went to university at Wright State and trained with some of the top vocal teachers in the country. One of her fellow classmates was the fabulous and gorgeous Nicole Scherzinger! 
I was kind of pushed aside as a kid. My sister’s needs were kind of put before mine. I was kind of the afterthought. While people were oooo’ing and awww’ing over my sister I was in the wings so to speak. This led to some pretty shitty behaviour on my part.
I started to act out. I stole, cheated, my grades dropped, I stopped caring because I felt that I didn’t matter. I got the attention that I wanted but it obviously wasn’t the right sort of attention. I acted outrageously and dangerously. It lead to depression (I was diagnosed as being bi polar when I was 16.) and lead to bulimia when I was 18. I was an absolute wreck.
That’s why I decided to leave America. I wanted to get out of that situation. I was never Lisa. I was always Angela’s sister. I wanted to find out who I was.

So you decided that living by other people’s rules was not your bag so you up and left. That was a pretty drastic move on your part. How old were you when you made the move? Had you finished school?
I dropped out of Wright State University and left at the tender age of 21. I was doing an International Business course. 

It seems your sister was a bit of a shining star? Did you think that maybe trying to outshine her at something YOU were good at would have been a better plan that acting out?
I didn’t know what I was good at. Everything that my sister did, my Mama made me do. She put me through singing lessons, piano lessons, clarinet lessons, trumpet lessons. Everything. I cannot sing and I hated playing clarinet and trumpet. I loved playing the piano. My sister was a genius on it but I was kind of good. When I was 16 I started writing music. That seemed to fit but I kept it secret. It was very personal to me.

What played the biggest part in your decision to leave it all behind? Was it your sister, or was it the need to find your own shining path?
I needed to leave because I felt like everything I did upset my parents. I loved them very much and I could see my actions hurting them.  I figured if I, the source of their misery, left, they would be happy. It has done wonders for our relationship. My Parents and I are very close now.

Where exactly did you up and go to? Did you have friends or family that helped with the transition?
I left and went to Italy first to be with my Nonno (Italian for grandpa). I loved him so much. I stayed there for 3 months and then moved onto the South of England and the crazy journey began.

How did you begin “Reinventing” yourself?
When I left home I was constantly trying different looks. I tried dying my hair blond and being tanned (biggest mistake ever!!), I tried a Goth look, black hair, pale and red lips which I loved. I tried all different types of fashion but only when I hit my 30’s I realised what style I loved the best.  I started looking through the photographs that my Nonno gave me. I loved the way my Nonna and Mama dressed when they were younger. The hats and coordinating handbags and shoes and the structured dresses, I found my niche!!

I understand you are really big on style and fashion. Have you always been such a girly-girl or was that part of your transition when you relocated? And what’s your favourite style era?
I was a bit of a tomboy growing up. I wore shorts and t-shirts in the hot Ohio summers, jeans and sweaters when I was in the cold Ohio winters. I went through so many different looks but it was definitely when I started to feel comfortable as a woman recently I settled into my style. I was born in the wrong decade definitely! I’d say I am a 1950’s – 1970’s girl but I have recently chopped all my hair off a la Mia Farrow which I am loving.  It’s liberating!!! I have always said that fashion is an expression about your feelings and thoughts. If you make the effort, put on a great outfit with fab shoes, do your hair and makeup, nothing can get you down. It’s armour to me. 

So a little birdie whispered in my ear that you have a modelling Gig in Blackpool? Wanna spill the beans?
Yes!  That is very true!  I recently changed my hair from a graduated bob (which I have had for 3 years) to a pixie crop.  He messed it up the first time....badly!  But he has since rectified it and it is gorgeous!!! My hairdresser is the best color correctionist in the Northwest of England and he has won a lot of awards for his skills.
He asked me to take part in the Blackpool Hairdressing Competition as a hair model to showcase his skills.  I was shocked!  I mean, I am not your stereotypical fact I would go as far to say that I am the anti-model!!!  (A short size 16 woman with a pixie prop and loads of tattoos!!)  So I am well excited for it! 
The theme is black and red and so a friend of mine is doing my makeup and I will be wearing a black jumpsuit, a red waist cinching belt, red and black skull printed Iron Fist Peep toe stilettos and red accessories. 

How many pairs of shoes do you own now?
I own about 153 pairs of shoes. I see shoes as a form of art.  Some are elegant and sweet like a pair of 6 inch stiletto Mary-Janes (my current favourites) and some are just functional like your every day gym shoes.  Shoes can make or break a whole outfit. I have seen many a girl on a night out wearing a gorgeous dress wearing the most hideous shoes that completely ruin the look. You can never go wrong with a simple black or tan patent leather peep toe. They are the little black dress of the shoe world! 

How did you choose your career path? Has it changed much since you initially set out on your own?
The truth was that I didn’t know what I wanted to do. I stumbled into what I do now. I started out as being in the warehouse in the South of London, worked myself up to being in the office. One day, the supply chain manager said, hey you over there.  We need you. And 2 years later I was promoted to Supply Chain Team Leader. I have gone onto being a buyer and working in Procurement. Do I like it?  Mmmmmmmmmm.....kind of. I prefer doing stock. 

What has been the biggest obstacle in your life so far?
Myself. I am my own worst enemy. I believe that we can get through anything. It’s just us that makes it hard for ourselves.

Who has made the biggest impact on your life/lifestyle?
My Mama. I didn’t get along with her growing up. But now I see the beauty in her. She’s an ex-model. Never left the house without a full face of makeup and dressed like a lady. The woman doesn’t own a pair of jeans!!!! She is my hero. 

What do you do for fun?  And what one thing would you LIKE to do at some point but just don’t have the courage to do quite yet?
For fun? I have started to learn to cook and have been going to the gym.  Not that the gym is fun but I am kind of enjoying it. And as for the last bit, once I get to the size I want to, I want to do a tasteful nude photo-shoot as a reminder that I need to take care of my body.

Is there a special someone in your life? If so, how did you meet?
Ahhhhhh, yes, my better half Rik, or Ricardo as Mama calls him! We meet online. It was a whirlwind romance but we are together pretty much 24 hours a day. I work for him and go home and cook his supper. He’s different to my ex-boyfriends in that he has a lot of ambition. The status quo isn’t good enough and that’s the sort of man that I want to be around. Someone that is always going forward.

Do you think your career path will change in the future? What about your Personal Life? Any hopes or dreams you’d like to share with us? I don’t think you are one to shy away from change of any sort, are you?
I definitely want a change in career! I would love to write a weekly article for a newspaper or have a lifestyle slot on a TV program. I feel like I have a lot to give. Change doesn’t bother me.  Change is how life evolves.

What is your biggest strength?
I can adapt to everything. Throw me anywhere in the world and I will somehow adapt and go with it. 

And your greatest weakness?
I wear my heart on my sleeve. I trust too much and forgive too easily.  That and white carbs...bread and pasta... I can’t help it, I’m half Italian!!!!!

 Any regrets so far in your life?
The only regrets I have is that I didn’t save more money and that I didn’t take care of my body the way that I should have.  But instead of being sad and dwelling on it, I am turning into a positive and taking care of my body and I am starting to save money.  The boyfriend and I want to move into a house at some point.

What is the one question I didn’t ask that you thought I would? And what is the answer to it?
Hmmmmmmm...Where do you see yourself in 10 years? I see myself doing my column and having my lifestyle slot on TV. I see myself married, happily, with lots of beautiful clothes!!! But also having a humble side. I would like to get involved with charity work (that’s something that I am working on now) and give back to the community. And who knows, I might have a hair color that you can find in nature!!!!  (And not the electric blue that I am currently considering...)

Lisa, I would like to thank you for this opportunity to interview you for my blog. You are one of the strongest persons I have ever known. You’re a real go-getter who didn’t like what she saw and decided to go out and re-invent herself. A true Real Life Valkyrie who isn’t afraid to fight for what she wants!
I wish you nothing but all the happiness and joy you so richly deserve!!

Saturday, March 07, 2015

An Interview With Michael Dodd

 *An Interview with Michael Dodd*

In my journeys, I have met many interesting people from all walks of life.
This is an interview with one of those persons - one who not only dreamt a dream- but made if come TRUE with nothing short of dedication and determination.
This is His Story……

Hi Michael. Can you tell us a bit about yourself in your own words?

*I am a 64-year-old (65 in May) man who lives in Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin (Waterpark Capital of the World) with my husband, Tom, and our cats, Cassidy and Sundance. We live on property that has been in Tom’s family since 1844 when his mother’s ancestors moved here from Germany and obtained a large land grant. We are both retired.
I grew up in Texas and went off to college in Michigan. While there, I became Catholic and, upon graduating, I entered a monastery. I was a friar for over thirty years and a priest for twenty-five. I obtained two Master’s degrees and did doctoral work in theology. I served the community in a number of roles, primarily as a superior and as one of those charged with training new members.
I left the monastery on very good terms with my former community. Tom and I were introduced by mutual friends in the local parish in Chicago and we began to hang out, then to date and eventually became a couple. We have been together for eleven years, and last March we were able to marry.
I have always enjoyed reading and writing. I worked at a bookstore in high school and college, and I served as community librarian in several monasteries. After we moved to the Dells, I worked in the public library. Now I devote myself to my writing. I have published five books, two non-fictions and three fictions. I am currently working on another novel, which will be the third in a series set in an imaginary college for misfits. I like quirky things and the college stories are humorous. At least, that is my hope. I have also written a book-length memoir that I have turned into a novel, with names of people and places changed to protect the guilty as well as the innocent. Friends are reading that manuscript now to see if they think it can stand on its own. Whether it will ever be published is still a big question.

What a life you have led, Michael! What did your parents do for a living? When we think of Texas- we think of cowboys and ranches and cattle- or oil wells.

*My father grew up on a farm, but he spent most of his life as a teacher or selling lumber. He taught high school and junior college, went on to become Director of Vocational Education for the Texas State Department of Corrections and later was principal of a Job Corps Center. The last part of his working life he was a lumber broker – think lumber salesman who sells by the train-car load. My mother worked for the Department of Corrections as a bookkeeper until she retired. After that she worked as a volunteer in various service organizations. My father died three years ago. My mother lives alone and is pretty active for an 86-year-old.

Off to college in Michigan. What was your major? And what made you decide to go into the monastery for your lifework? How old were you when you went in the monastery?

*When I went to college, I was originally Spanish major. After my freshman year, I switched to religious studies. Although I had been raised in a fundamentalist Protestant church, I had become atheist/agnostic in high school because the teachings of that church conflicted with my own experience in the real world. When I was at Michigan State, I came into contact with Catholicism for the first time and eventually joined that church. I was very attracted to the idea of a life totally dedicated to the pursuit of union with God within community. I have always had grandiose ideas! I graduated from MSU in 1972 and entered the monastery later that year. I was 22 at the time.

Was there a life event that took place that led to your leaving the church community, or was it a slow dawning of realization? Was it a difficult decision? And how old were you when you left?

* I enjoyed my life in the monastery and found it to be a good fit. When I was in my early 50s, however, things in the American church began to go sour for me. The biggest issue was the terrible handling of the pedophilia scandal. I knew both victims and perpetrators, and I had seen how this tragedy destroyed the lives of individuals and families. Yet I also saw bishops who were concerned with covering up all they could, seeking ways to blame the victims and to avoid paying out any damages, and then willingly tossing members of their clergy under the media and political bus in order to keep themselves and the institution safe. This was unacceptable to me and I finally decided I could not be a part of a church that acted in such a way.
This was exacerbated by the sharp turn to the political right by the American bishops. They were so determined to put an end to abortion, they sold their spiritual authority to the Republican Party’s most reactionary wing to gain support for the anti-abortion issue. All other things, including justice and charity, so it seemed to me, went by the board. They claimed they were not acting politically, but many of them issued threatening letters at the time of elections, pressuring people to vote on one issue alone. The local bishop in our area has abandoned all pretenses of neutrality and also the traditional Catholic support for the working class. The American bishops, who had been one of the most important and powerful voices for social, economic and racial justice, had become a mouthpiece for a political agenda that is divisive, unjust and shameful. Sorry, but that is the way I see it. (I am wrong about many things.)
I was called by more than one person who felt persecuted within the church they had grown up in and had served for decades because they did not agree with the bishop and/or pastor on this. I remember one woman in her eighties who was in tears because her pastor had told her she was a bad Catholic because she had voted for Obama.
Eventually, the cardinal in Chicago issued a letter outlining five things that were to be treated as must-believe-exactly-as-I-say: abortion, stem cell research, euthanasia, birth control (in this day and age!) and gay rights, especially gay marriage. He did not want to permit anyone to serve in any church capacity – not even as a member of a choir or reader at Mass or anything – if they did not toe the line on these issues. He did not ask if they believed in Jesus Christ, accepted the Sermon on the Mount as a guide for life or anything of that nature. Catholicism, that rich, vibrant cultural and spiritual tradition, had been reduced to five political issues.
My problem was not with my monastic community, which would cheerfully have ignored all this – as did most parishes and Catholics. But I thought that I could not as a priest stand up and be silent, pretending everything was fine, because that would imply I agreed with the bishops. So after months of prayer and consultation with many advisers and members of the community, I left the monastery and started a new phase of my life. I was 54 at the time.
It took a little longer for me to realize I had left the church, too. Today my spiritual practice tends more towards Buddhist meditation, but I would not call myself a Buddhist. John of the Cross says that nothing we can say or think about God IS God. God transcends all human thought and imagining. That is the God in whom I trust.

Most parents, mamas especially, are very “invested” in their children’s careers- especially in the religious vein. (Think about John Travolta’s mama in Saturday Night Fever, for instance). How did your parents take the news that you were leaving the church and changing careers?

* My parents were not Catholic and so their reaction to me leaving the monastery – although they liked the community very much – was neutral. They had always taken the position that they had raised me and my brother and it was up to us to live our lives as adults. They were a bit concerned about my financial security – the monastery provided no pension, despite 30 years of service, and since I had a vow of poverty, I had no savings – but when they saw that I was okay on that score, they relaxed. Thirty years with a vow of poverty made it easy for me to manage with a very small salary.

Do you have any regrets about leaving the religious vocation? Is there anything you miss about your life in the clergy?

* I was surprised at how little I regretted leaving the monastery. I missed people, of course, and am still in touch with close friends from those days. I miss the opportunity to be involved with people in counseling, spiritual direction and that sort of thing. I miss the rituals, the cycle of feasts, the stories, the fun bits and the security. But today I have my own rituals, my own feasts and stories and fun bits … and Tom and the cats!

Moving on to your life in the here and now… How did you and Tom manage to meet in Chicago and end up living in Wisconsin Dells?  Was it because Tom already owned land there or was it truly where you both wanted to live?

* Tom was very active in the parish in which I lived in the monastery and also after I moved into my own apartment. He ran the program for adults who were taking instructions for entering the church. We were introduced by mutual friends, and we ran around with the same group of people for many months before we began to date. Tom retired not long after we became a couple, and although he did not like living in Chicago, he planned to stay there because that was where I worked at a job I enjoyed. And I liked Chicago. We had discussed moving to New Mexico – his sons were both in college in Santa Fe at the time – the job market was not good and living there was expensive. I would have been happy to stay in Hyde Park/Chicago, but I realized that what Tom had always wanted was to build a house on the property outside the Dells that had belonged to his family and retire there. So I suggested he consider that again and within a year, we had moved up here. It was truly where he wanted to live and it has been a good move for him. I have found it more difficult, finding work was very hard and I miss lots of the things Chicago had to offer. But we live in a beautiful spot and life is good.

I’ve heard “The Dells” is/are beautiful year round. Water-Park Capital of the World!! Have you and Tom ever actually gone and indulged in some of the fun? I find most people I have interviewed never seem to enjoy what is in their own back-yards, preferring to travel far and wide to seek rest and respite.

* We were just talking last night about how people think it must be fun to live in the Dells because there are so many things to do. Those things, though, are for tourists. We are in our 60s. We had both been to the Dells and done the waterparks and so on before we moved here. Once here, we got involved with the little railroad, of course, which is one of the local attractions. And we always take guests out on the river to enjoy the dells themselves, the wonderful rock formations that gave the area its name. On the other hand, the Dells are so full of tourists during the season that locals avoid it if they can. So we go elsewhere to enjoy time away.

So you’re an author of five books? You must give us the titles so we can all read your work. I admit I have read two of the books myself. What, may I ask, inspired the Whoville series? It seems a bit of an odd, (or quirky, if you will), subject for a theologian to write about. That being said-I loved the one I have read in that series and plan on buying the others whenever I can find a spare few minutes to sit down and order.

* As you say, I have published five books. (I have published many articles that have appeared in the States and overseas, as well) The books are all available through in print or in Kindle format. Titles:
The Dark Night Murders: A Fray John of the Cross Mystery (based on an event in the life of the saint, whose life and writings I studied, taught and wrote about for years)
Elijah and the Ravens of Carith (a book of spiritual reflections based loosely on some Carmelite traditions and my own thoughts)
Jerome Gratian: Treatise on Melancholy (translation of a sixteenth century work of spirituality by a companion of St. Teresa and St. John of the Cross, with a brief biography and commentary. Actually a very funny book about community life, despite the title.)
Wicca in WhoVille and Wickedness in WhoVille (quirky stories set in a college for misfits in the Chicago area)
The first three books were inspired by my life in the monastery. WhoVille is inspired by my life in Hyde Park and my own weird self. I thought the idea of a college specifically designed for misfits would be fun and making the main character a gay man who studied oddities made it easy to draw on my own life experience. Theologians study all sorts of odd things …
By the way, I am not the only Michael Dodd who writes books. If you search on Amazon under my name, not everything that pops up is by me. But I imagine they are fine reading.

What else do you do in your “spare” time? I see you have two cats so I can imagine you spend a lot of time waiting paw and attitude on them. I’m a cat person, too so I totally understand the concept of Cat Ownership. The Cat is the owner or Supreme Ruler and He/They just generously ALLOW us to serve and live with them. They do make up for it when they are in a loving playful mood though. All is forgiven. But I digress…What do you do for a bit of rest and relaxation?

* I am not sure it is rest and relaxation, but I tutor English as a second language and volunteer time each week at the library where I used to work. I maintain my blogs, which I enjoy very much and consider the main outlet for my writing compulsion.
Tom and I like to visit museums, art shows and studios, used book sales and things of that sort. I miss the rich options Chicago provided, even within walking distance of our apartment. But Wisconsin is filled with places of historical interest, and our Christmas gift to ourselves was a membership in the State Historical Society, which includes free admission to a dozen or so sites that we plan to visit this year.

I must admit- I have a bit of hero worship going on with you. You have inspired me to write my memoirs- something I have thought seriously about doing off and on for about twenty years, but then thought I haven’t quite lived enough of my life to do. Any news on when your memoirs might be ready for print?

* At the moment, the memoirs project is on hold. Because they are very frank, I do not think they can be published as they are without violating the privacy of other people that I care about, and I will not do that to them. I tried turning them into a novel, but that doesn’t seem to have worked out very well. At the same time, the readers encouraged me to publish them in some form, so I have not given up on it completely. I may do like Mark Twain – leave the manuscript with instructions that it can be published 100 years after my death when everyone who might be embarrassed or hurt by what I say will be beyond the reach of my foolishness.

And finally-
What is the one question I didn’t ask that you thought I would? And what is the answer to it?

*Question 1: “Why hasn’t some national publication hired you to write a regular column already?”
Answer: I know, right?
Question 2: “Are you as good-looking, funny, brilliant and humble as you seem in your blog?”
Answer: No. I am much better looking, funnier, more brilliant and incredibly proud of my humility in real life. ‘-)

Indeed- I seem to have completely mind blank on the most  important questions of the entire interview! Luckily- you caught my mistake in time to make the perfect ending, as I knew you would.
Michael, I would like to thank you for this opportunity to interview you for my blog. I’ve read your blog for years and have enjoyed every single post you have put up. I’ve gotten to know you as a kind, sweet, gentle man who truly must be an inspiration to everyone who knows him. Someday, I’d like to meet you, (and Tom and Cassidy and Sundance), in person. But if it never happens, know you have had a great impact on my life in the very best of ways. You’ve inspired me to always do my best- and to not just talk about things I want to do- but to go out, set things in motion, and JUST DO them!

I offer my best wishes for the future and for happiness always for you and yours.