So much to write about…

21 01 2019

…but where to begin?

Do I write about Grief? Amber? The history of the internet and social media? Or maybe just my life online? Those are all very good and viable topics to write on. There are so many stories I could tell on all of those subjects, yet, I somehow feel, “not now.” If not now, then what? Or when?

I did watch a few TEDtalks today. There was one given by the mother of one of the boys who shot up Columbine. That’s a story for grief though. All I want to say about that right now is that my heart truly goes out to that woman. I can’t believe the bravery it must take for her to stand up and talk to people like that. I am equally sure that it is part of her healing process.

The one I’d like to talk about though was the guy who asks, “How to spot a leader in their handwriting. That was interesting on several levels. First of all, the skeptic in me thought that he is just a good observer and has done enough of these to be able to give some overreaching generalised description that anyone can mold as they interpret it or he finds a way to lift everyone up. I was right on both counts.

However…even going in with those thoughts in my head and watching and analyzing what he said and did…I still got sucked in. I wrote the statement and signed my name and followed along. I watched as he talked about different signature traits of some of our most honoured leaders and thought about my own. Like watching any good salesman, and I use that term lightly, I wanted to believe. I wanted to find the good in my signature and writing. I wanted to see the good in the example of someone in the audience that he analysed. Listening to his observations and explanations, you could see how all could fit in somehow, like the fortunes we find in cookies.

Not to give it away, but the final message is that we all can be leaders. Although analysing handwriting can be fun just as any behavioural observations can be, ultimately we have the power within us to be anything and achieve all we can dream of.

But wait! There’s more! The really final message, I think, is the most important of all is that we all need to write more. Not text or type or dictate or whatever why else you can record your ideas, but actual handwriting on paper. It is a dying art yet has so much personalisation to it that it says so much more than just reading words on a screen. (The irony that I am writing this on a blog on the internet by typing on my computer does not escape me!) If you are lucky like me, you have handwritten note, letters, or other text that a loved one wrote. I recently found an index recipe card in which my grandmother had written down the traditional food we eat on Christmas morning. What a treasure to see her recipe in her handwriting! I was thrilled and relegated my computer print out copy I made some years back to be folded into the back of an old cookbook, just in case.

I will leave you with a link to the video. I would love to hear from you if you watch it. Let me know what you think. Have I read too much into it? Or am I spot on?

How to spot a leader in their handwriting

How to spot a leader in their handwriting.

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Graduation Day

16 01 2019

Today my youngest graduates from the only school she has ever known, the school she has been traveling to since she was born. Her brother was in preschool there when she made her way into the world and she started attending when she was three years old. She is now twelve and is finishing the sixth grade. Small World Country Day School and World Elementary have given our family so much over the past twelve years. It is the first place that felt like home to me after moving to New Hampshire. The people there are more like family. I can’t believe the day has finally come where we are leaving. It has been such a major part of our lives for so long, I don’t know what is going to fill the gap.

Today is going to be a roller coaster of emotions kind of day.





McKenzie Bezos

16 01 2019

…is everywhere in the news these past few day. I don’t follow the news a lot these days and I particularly do not pay attention to personal celebrity type stories, but this one hit home, and hard. I wasn’t expecting it, but it keeps cycling around in my brain for a number of reasons.

First, I feel sorry for Mrs. Bezos. Not only for the fact that after 25 years of building a life together, her marriage is ending, but also because something so personal is getting played out on such a high public platform. However, maybe there is some good that can come of this for others. My own story is one that is somewhat similar. I married a man who borrowed money from his business partner to take a train from New England to New York, with only $60 in his pocket. While I didn’t have much either, I welcomed him into my tiny two bedroom apartment over an abandoned store front with a majestic view of the commuter train platform right out my window in a sleepy suburban town in Westchester County, New York. I shared this apartment with my two young children. My daughter often described him as the man who came for Christmas and never left.

Our life together was hard, but it felt like a fairy tale to me. I talk a little about that in a post I wrote Even Through the Clouds, the Sun Still Shines eight and a half years ago. My ex came to me with nothing more that one small bag and the borrowed money, and dreams. He had a consulting business with a partner, but anyone who knows anything about consulting businesses, they aren’t easy and most fail within the first few years. It is a constant hustle of phone calls, travel, proposals, etc. It takes a lot of time, effort and support.

In our first year together we knit our families together, worked on building his business and growing mine. Together we carved out a new niche in the world fostering a new technology called Product Data Management. It was a technology that he had helped develop in his prior position at a company called Computervision. I single-handedly built the largest non-government website on the internet designed to educate the world about this new technology that managed all the data of products from the design process through manufacturing. It was a big deal.

His consulting business grew. My graphics business grew. We created two more businesses to support his brother who is a very talented musician. We published a CD and promoted his music all over the world. It was played on radio stations as far away as Russia. I was one of a handful of indie music publishers that pushed Amazon into carrying independent music. At the time, Amazon only sold books and major label CDs. This was also a big deal.

Our personal life continued to grow as well. He had a son and step-son from a previous marriage and I had my two children. While we already had a family that we merged, we also started our own. In 1995 I gave birth to our son, who officially tied our family together and moved to New Hampshire nine days later. It was the largest move of my life. In 1998 our beautiful daughter was born. More big deals.

Slowly our lives grew from peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and spaghetti dinners to being able to eat out at nice restaurants. My car that died while in NY chasing a Metro North train that he had left confidential NY’s Port Authority documents on after a day at the World Trade Center. We made it to Brewster North Station where he was finally able to retrieve the proprietary papers, but my car would go no further. We picked up another beater of a car in Derry, NH while on a trip up to see his son. It was an old blue Ford Stable station wagon. Eventually his business was able to lease his dream of driving Lincoln Town Cars and I was able to have a second car, a Mercury Mountaineer. Regularly having new cars felt so posh. Our businesses and our family grew and the last new cars we bought; a Lexus and a Mercedes. Life was good.

We were so in love and we supported each other’s dreams. He split from his partner when their views of direction for their company forked. It was like going through a divorce with many other people’s lives and livelihoods in the balance. The break went well and a year of nail-biting later, s half of the business sold and employed everyone, except me. I remember when he was putting the documents together outlining the company before the sale and we talked about my title within the company. I laughed and being the unconventional person I am, I came up with the title “Glue”. He laughed and asked why Glue. I said that my function within the company was being the glue that kept everything together. He was often traveling and I would hold down the fort at home and support the business in anyway that was needed from booking travel, planning events, buying supplies and anything else that was needed, Glue. He said that wasn’t official enough and gave me the boring title of Director of Executive Functions. Blah…but in any case, I filled the gaps that kept things together. Just as I did with our family as well.

School events were often missed by him because of all his traveling and meetings. It became a running joke when I would show up with a video camera on a tripod, introducing people to my husband. I don’t think he ever watched the videos. Sad.

Our lives together included vacations. We purchased three timeshares that fostered many good memories. We also took a major trip to England, dovetailing a business trip he had. We brought our four children and my older daughter’s boyfriend for a week. It was amazing. He and I also took vacations at Sandals in Nassau enough times that some of the staff remembered us. We also had a wonderful yard, deck, and pool for staycations. We had a wonderful life together that we worked hard to build.

Then it all came crashing down.

HARD!

While on a family ski vacation he told me that he wanted to get together with a girl friend he had when he was 17 and hadn’t seen until a few months prior for over 33 years. I was so devastated that I ran out of our Vermont condo into the cold night after midnight and proceeded to walk at a NY pace back home to Southern New Hampshire until I realised how dumb and unrealistic and idea that was…and our kids. I needed to not leave our kids behind. It was, at that time, the worst night of my life. Everything fell apart, except for my faith in our love and our marriage. I was sure that it was strong enough that we would get through this. I held on to that belief even after he walked out of our home a month later and moved in the same day into an apartment, funded with our money, in the next town. I firmly held that belief for months maybe even the entire first year. I couldn’t accept that everything we built together now meant nothing.

We went for years without starting the divorce. I was still in denial and he was orchestrating her divorce first and planning ours. Our family went from living very comfortably to struggling to survive. One child in college, the other two in private school. He controlled the whole financial situation. I was so shell shocked, I just worked hard to make sure our children were not affected any more than they needed to be. I lived for them and did everything I could to try and maintain some sort of normalcy for them. It was hard.

I know I have strayed off the topic a bit, but no story is simple and mine isn’t short, but I will shorten the rest for now because just writing this has exhausted me. The bottom line, and part of what provoked me to start writing is people have been making comments about how much McKenzie is getting in the divorce settlement. I can tel you, from my perspective, no one… NO ONE…who is married and starts a successful business does it alone. Through my divorce process and thereafter, I have lost everything. He will tell you different, but the reality is everything he did made my life, and the life of my children, harder, not easier. He could have done things so differently and been helpful. This is at total odds with him saying, “This is not your fault. You have done nothing to cause this. I will take care of you the rest of your life,” as he exited. Sadly he rewrote history and conveniently forgot ever saying this when he sat on the stand in court, where he had a lawyer and I sat alone because I couldn’t afford one.

There is so much more, but as I said, this has taken enough out of me. Maybe I will write more at a later date. In fact, I am sure I will, but it has taken almost 10 years for me to write this. But bottom line, no matter what the circumstances are, McKenzie Bezos deserves at least half of the net worth accumulated during their life building an empire together.  As for my ex, I believe in karma and it isn’t for me to judge him. He has to live with what he has done and failed to do. He has lost so much that money can never buy and while he lives in a nice house with an in-ground pool and brand new cars, I can lay my head down at night and sleep with a clear conscious in my tiny apartment and drive an eighteen year old beater car that I hope makes it through the winter. In many ways, I am the richer for all of this.





Never the Same Again

22 08 2018

Never again will my life be what it was.
Never again will I hear your voice.
Never again will you walk into my room
Never again will I see your smile

I miss you with every ounce of my soul
My heart aches for you
I don’t know this world without you
I don’t know me





Magic Chocolate Ball

12 02 2016

This looks amazing! I have to try it.

Magic Chocolate Ball!

by  · 7 hours ago

INGREDIENTS
½ cup white chocolate chips
2 small brownies (homemade or store-bought)
1 scoop vanilla ice cream
½ cup raspberries
½ cup blueberries
1 cup chocolate chips
¾ cup heavy cream
PREPARATION:
Put the white chocolate chips in a bowl and microwave in 20 second intervals, stirring the chocolate between each interval, until melted. Open the plastic ornament and pour the white chocolate into one of the halves. Close the ornament and slowly rotate it so the white chocolate coats the entire inside evenly. Freeze for 30 minutes.
Remove the ornament from the freezer and carefully open it, to remove the white chocolate ball. (Be gentle, the ball is hollow and delicate.)
Run very hot water over a spoon to warm it. Dry the back of the spoon and then use it to smooth the seam that runs around the center of the ball. Run very hot water over a bowl with a flat bottom, dry it, and then put the white chocolate ball on the upside-down bowl and gently twist it, allowing the bottom of the ball to melt, making a 2-inch hole.
On a serving plate, stack the 2 brownies and then top them with the scoop of ice cream. Carefully, lower the white chocolate ball over the brownies and ice cream, so that the brownies and ice cream end up inside the ball. Surround the ball with the raspberries and blueberries. To prepare the chocolate sauce, combine the chocolate chips and heavy cream in a bowl, and microwave in 30 second intervals, stirring between each interval, until the sauce is glossy and smooth.
For the finale, slowly pour the hot chocolate sauce all over the ball in a circular motion. The white chocolate ball will melt and reveal the brownies and ice cream inside.

Magic Chocolate Ball!

 





Silence

2 10 2013

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It always amazes me how much of who we are is formed long before we are aware of who we are and although we may lose track of these influences, they remain deeply embedded in the core of our existence and permeates every aspect if our lives.

Intend to think of this when I think if the most important people who helped me establish my values and believes, two of whom I lost just as I entered high school, yet they never left me. However, today, I was thinking in terms of a written text I discovered about the same time as these men left this world. It is the Desiderata by Max Ehrmann.

The opening sentence is one I think we are all guilty of not paying attention to.

Go placidly amid the noise and haste and remember what peace there may be in silence.

Have you ever noticed that in the middle of chaos, if you just stop a moment, catch your breath and slow it all down, how it all can be looked at anew and great pleasure and peace can be found, even in the middle of insanity?

Today I am finding the peace and enjoying the silence. Nothing can rock my boat from here.





It’s Snowing

18 02 2012
Funny how I get excited over a passing flurry in this snow drought of a year.

Photo

~ Tracy Lee
@StarrGazr
http://starrgazr.carbonmade.com
http://flickr.com/tracylee

Tracy Lee’s Posterous http://tracylee.posterous.com/its-snowing http://tracylee.posterous.com Funny how I get excited over a passing flurry in this snow drought of a year. ~ Tracy Lee @StarrGazr http://starrgazr.carbonmade.com http://flickr.com/tracylee … email