Who am I?
Born in Cortland, NY, in 1962, I was raised on Long Island by parents (a photographer and a social worker), a brother, and a springer spaniel; I have a congenitally bleeding heart. Elected editor of my community college newspaper at 16 years old, I was encouraged by my creative-writing teacher, William Williams (not that one!), who told me, "Someday I'm going to try to get an appointment to see you." He insisted that I enroll in the creative writing program at Harpur College/SUNY-Binghamton. The Journalism concentration with which I graduated was my fall-back, after being tossed out of creative writing because my poetry "was not visual enough."
I took advertising jobs in NYC and on LI, then created customer service functions in two printing shops. I had inherited my family's entrepreneurship gene-mutation! At 22, I developed a stop-smoking program that brought in tax-shelter investment and generated interest among several Forbes 200 companies. Thing was, the Hebrew School teaching I did part-time to feed my entrepreneurial habit began to eclipse the business. I would say I'd been "called" to teach, except that it was more like being kicked in the head.
Normal life diverted for five years that crashed opened with my dad's plane hitting a mountain and creaked closed with my cancer-riddled beloved's dying breath. I think of this period as a magic old attache case that I store under my bed, tightly locked (most of the time). Suffice it here to say that I moved to Boston, committed myself to Jewish Education, was poor, got fat, and discovered many of my quirks, weaknesses, and strengths. Many magnificent people stood by me. Love, far more than accomplishment, was the theme of those vulnerable years.
A year's taste of advanced studies in Jerusalem and two of working for the Jewish community in Florida sent me running back to graduate school, in NYC. I aimed at a doctorate and rabbinic ordination; I achieved instead a Masters degree and the job of my dreams. In this new path, I became a Jewish Day School leader, with a set of tales that I'll skip for now. I lived/worked in NYC, LI, NJ, Toronto, and Albany. Those years included deep friendships, strong focus on the lives of students, and many lessons about sexism in action and the contrast between intentions and enacted values.
I married in 2002, generating many tales I'll leave for another time. After 12 years, I could not find a way to be happy-enough while married. I'm in year 6+ of attempting, and continually failing, to be irrevocably divorced. During those years, I got sick. Breast cancer, radiation treatment, hypothyroidism, fibromyalgia, obesity. Homeless though not destitute for one year, I traveled. I was a hobo in a hybrid car, surfing free couches. I had one #YouToo moment, which I used to keep moving, learning and healing.
I went back to work. I also began dating again, floored to learn that some people believe I possess significant physical beauty. I delight in that discovery by walking around in exaggerated catwalk moves, giggling fiendishly. It's nothing you want to see, trust me.
I started up, grew, and sold an internet business -- online editing. I belonged to a co-working makerspace, where I made some great friends and local connections.
Now I am officially (as well as actually) disabled. On good days, I have about ten hours of functionality; on bad days, the number drops to between two and five. Mindfulness has taught me to separate pain/fatigue (real) from suffering (resistance to, fear of, dismay about, anger at ... the pain/fatigue). Minus suffering, the pain and fatigue are more akin to writing within a haiku's constraints than to being trapped under a massive boulder. I work daily to craft my life beautifully within its limitations.
I write. I get involved. I meditate and strive to do gentle exercise. I'm in a healthy, loving relationship. I rest -- a lot. I laugh -- often -- and am silly as often as possible. To point: I have acquired an imaginary rescue German Shepherd named Trixie. (Any hairs found scattered around the house are Trixie's fault. Definitely Trixie's fault.)