All content copyright 2014 Woodpecker Tales LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Alias

The fifth time I found myself in front of professional cameras wasn't at a modeling photoshoot at all. I had taken the advice of Jack Fleming and applied to be an Extra for television and movie use. The program worked by having the registered people phone in to listen to a series of recordings. If the recordings at any point mentioned that they were looking for a particular person that fit our description, we were to dial the corresponding 2 digit number and leave a message on the voicemail box with our name and identification number. Then the casting directors would look up the name by the identification number, look at the photo and decide if the person who left the message matched what they were looking for or not. If so, they would call the person back with details of the shoot date and location. The person would confirm if they could make it or not, and that was that. The shoot would be booked.

But I found myself busy with working 2 jobs, both full time positions, and I never called in. At the time I was working at Kinko's from 8am to 4 pm, 4 or 5 days a week. When I left there I would work the dinner shift at Colombo's Italian Steak House in Eagle Rock CA, sometimes staying on shift until midnight, and on a rare occasion, 2am. That was 4 to 5 days a week, and sometimes split shifts on the days I wasn't working at Kinko's. It wasn't unusual for me to pick up a lunch shift here and there. I just didn't have the time to model anymore, or call for acting positions. I had also recently signed up for taking a college course online at Pasadena City College. To this day I'm not sure how I pulled it off, but the class I took was Physics. Of all the classes to take online, that was probably not the best choice.

I was on my lunch break at Kinko's one day when I pulled my mobile phone out of my pocket to check my voicemail. I'm sure anyone watching from a distance would have known instantly that either I had won the lottery or I had just been told that I was a princess lost from birth an my royal family wanted me back.

"This is Michael from Casting Call services. I'm looking for Amanda Blackwood in regard to a position that's opened up. If you still have short red hair, please call me back right away regaring a possible role on the TV show Alias. Thank you, have a nice day."

I screamed silently. I immediately called the man by the name of Michael back and explained that I did still have my short red hair. He seemed excited until I told him I worked two full time jobs.

"The shoot will probably be around 10 hours and it's next Monday. Can you do that?" I was a huge fan of Jennifer Garner at the time. I agreed that I could without hesitation. "Good, next Monday be at the Hotel Figueroa at 5:30am - you'll see signs. You're going to be in a hooka bar sceen in Amsterdam, so try to dress appropriately if you have anything. It's suggested that you wear your own clothes, the costume department doesn't bring enough for every extra. Do you have anything that will work?" I knew I didn't, but I would by the end of the day. I said yes. "Good, I'll see you on Monday."

I flew to the nearest shopping mall after work and purchased the most appropriate outfit I could find. I couldn't believe it, I was going to be on one of my favorite shows!



Fourth Shoot

The very next time I saw a photo of me in print it was on the front page of the San Diego Tribune in 2004 after a visit to the annual Comic-Con with Mr. Blackwood. He went as Spiderman and I went as Mary Jane from the first movie. I had so many compliments on that costume that eventually I lost track of them all. I had a wonderful day wandering around all day long in my red wig, chop sticks and chinese dress. Once more, that was something that Mr. Blackwood kept once I left. I did love that dress as well. People asked why he kept it, if maybe he planned to play dress up once I was gone. No, Mr. Blackwood wasn't that way. He kept it because he paid for it and saw a chance to make a profit off of it if he sold it once I was gone. It was the same story with the rings. I don't blame him a bit.

A guy by the first name of D'Jef was the next photographer I ever worked with. At that point I was becoming a bit more accustomed to the way things were done. I brought more than two or three changes of clothes and actually had a small suit case. I put on some long, false lashes and packed a few pairs of shoes. I was ready to go. I still didn't trust someone I'd never met before, so we decided to meet in public and only shoot in populated areas.

We traveled all over Los Angeles city, shooting anywhere we weren't chased out of. Without having the proper permits, sometimes those places are hard to find. Everywhere we went though, we would turn heads. People wanted to know who I was. It was my first taste at what it would be like to be famous or special. It was at that point I realized there was no going back. I was going to make a mark somehow; somewhere. Little did I know just how far an unknown want-to-be model would get without an agency or representation. I was alread well on my way and had no clue. It would still be a few more months before I weould begin acting, and a couple of years away from my most important photoshoot I would ever have.

While out on the shoot that day we found a small patch of woods to shoot in. Once more my black dress from Extreme Makeover was brought out of hiding and the results turned into a mystical type of set, very much reminding me of Lord of the Rings. The results were stunning... and this is almost all I have left of it. Once more I had a photographer not bring me the CD as promised - but this one didn't want lunch in return. He wanted a large sum of money.

The "money" shot from this photoshoot was the one to the left here. I ended up using this photo in a low resolution for my headshots not long afterward to try and get into the acting end of the camera industry. I had seen and experienced modeling photography. I knew I could duplicate the results. It was time to move on and try something new finally. It was time to be the photographer - and try my hand at the next step on the ladder.

Third Shoot

Jack Fleming wasn't as well known as he is now when I first worked with him. Now he's had the chance to shoot with people like Tiger Woods, Jack Nicholson and Christina Aguilerra. Back then he wasn't nearly as well known.

I was married to a Blackwood when I first started my modeling, so that's where the name originally came from. Legally, I was actually Amanda Blackwood. Just to make sure things are perfectly clear, I'm not a Blackwood now, but the name lingers like the taste of a fine cigar accidentally inhaled - a memory from the past that is both heaven and hell...



My husband went with me on that photoshoot and I felt far more secure in going to an actual studio. Jack had some nice surprises in store for me.

Once more I brought my own clothes, including the jewelry and gloves I had been given after my episode of Extreme Makeover had been filmed. I also brought the red dress from the previous shoot. I was very much at a loss for nice clothes. I had to use what I had. Jack was willing to work with whatever I had. In fact, Jack had been one of the orignal photographers who had contacted me back when I was gearing up to do my first ever photoshoot. Looking back on the first shoot and the quality of photos Jack was able to provide, I often wonder how things would have turned out for me if I had shot with him in the first place.

He had an actual piece of the Red Carpet from the award ceremonies in Hollywood somehow. A friend of his worked in the prop section of some studio and Jack was always getting goodies from who knows where. I decked myself out in the 6 month old dress and stood on the carpet like a movie star. For two hours that day, I was made to feel like one.

My weight has never really fluxuated much, but for some reason in those 6 months there was a dramatic decrease in my weight. I had gone from 165lbs to 125lbs and my wonderful black dress was loose on me. Jack used black binder clips to hold it tight around the middle and the results were well worth the few hand beaded details I lost in the process. The dress was still magnificent. I kept it for many years.

The last few shots we took were on a solid white background and floor drop sheet. Though when they first were put on a CD for me you could still see the shoe prints on the white floor, they have since been photoshopped out. I wish I still had that CD of pictures, but they're long gone now. When I got divorced, Mr. Blackwood kept a number of my personal items, and I believe that CD was one of them.

Jack told me about a company in near by Burbank that would sign people up to be television and movie extra's. He said that I could possibly stand to make a go of it, and that I would never know unless I tried. My husband at the time was a stunt man in the industry, and though he encouraged me at first, that tune changed quickly later on. That's a story for another

Later, another photographer was working hard to convince me to shoot with him. Though I never did, this creation was one of the attempts he made to convince me. I loved the work he had created, but when B.T.P. started talking about wanting to do glamour nude photoshoots, I quickly backed out. There was no way I'd ever do it.


Below is my favorite shot from that day...
Old modeling images (more wallpapers...)

From the Past

Sometimes, without our knowing it, we touch the lives of people around us. We leave a big impact on others, whether we mean to or not. There have been a few times when people have sought me out after many, many years to tell me that they remember me fondly and that I had been kind to them. It's a reaffirmation that my biggest fear shouldn't exist - my fear of being forgotten.

I started this blog because my hand written book was stolen - and I started the book because my Grandfather was taken from us on April 1st of 2004. He had so many stories he never got to tell and I didn't want to end up with the same fate. I didn't want people to forget who I was and where I had been.

Sometimes they're people we worked with, or grew up with. Sometimes they are people we meet over this great invention called the internet, and sometimes they're friends of the family that we meet under heart wrenching circumstances. Whoever they are, wherever they come from, it's always nice to know that we've meant something to someone out there.

Having a mutual connection with someone has been a rare thing in my life. There have been a few, but I'm always surprised when someone from the past finds me and says that they remember me. It's a wonderful gift, every single time.

Second Shoot

My second ever photoshoot was far more professional.

By the time I did my second photoshoot, I had already been on Extreme Makeover. My episode aired on March 17th of 2004 - St Patrick's Day. I always thought it didn't get many people watching it, since most people were out drinking green beer in Irish themed pubs that night - but just recently a freind from the 6th grade corrected me there. She asked me if that was me she had seen on Extreme Makeover a few years ago. I was blown away.

After the show I didn't feel as though there had been enough of a change. They took about 2 inches from the bottom of my hair and cut bangs (known as 'fringe' in the UK) and colored my hair a dark chocolate brown before putting me in a black ball gown and heels, turning me into Audrey Hepburn. I wanted something more dramatic.


In the following months I went shorter and shorter with my hair until finally it was as short as you see in the photos displayed in this post. I went with a bright red color, since I had been a Strawberry Blond as a kid. With my freckles and light skin, it seemed a natural fit.

Once more I was approached by photographers. One in particular had an extensive online portfolio and seemed quite professional compared to the other emails I had received. I decided to contact the photographer, a gentleman by the name of Richie Bravo, for a 'real' photoshoot.

At first he wanted to do a studio shoot, but as I've said many times over, I'm wary of strangers. I opted to do an outdoor 'on location' shoot. It seemed a good half-way point for the two of us would be Old Town Pasadena.

We met in front of a shop in Pasadena and I made sure to bring a couple changes of clothes with me. We wandered from place to place, shooting anything and everything that appealed to me. He came up with some brilliant ideas as far as placement. While the photo to the right seems graceful and elegant, this was strictly his idea and felt completely un-natural at the time. I felt silly and stupid as he told me to arch my back more and more.
The red dress became my favorite dress after the photoshoot. I wore it every time it was clean and the weather would permit. Before long I began to be recognized while wearing it. I even had my drivers license photo taken in the same dress and necklace some time later on.

By my own judgement I thought the shoot was a huge success. It put me on the right road to get several modeling jobs and several more photoshoots. I became more involved in the industry, but it wasn't until my very next photoshoot that I became interested in acting. The next photographer I worked with set me on the road to being an "Extra" on several TV programs with some fairly prominent roles.

It also wasn't the last photoshoot I did with Richie Bravo.

First Photoshoot

Other than doing the Back to School fashion show when I was 17 years old, I never pictured myself as being able to model. I remember when I first moved to California and I wasn't yet working. I had never been happy with a single photo of myself and I couldn't ever figure out why that was. I joined Myspace after watching a tv show with Leo Laporte on it, talking about the new website that was slowly growing. They had somewhere in the neighborhood of 5,000 users at the time and talked about how they expected it to be an up and coming website; the next Youtube. They talked about Friendster as well, but by far Myspace had better reviews. I decided to join the site and see what happened. I didn't have any friends in California yet and didn't really know how to go out and meet new people in a strange state with a thick southern accent. Myspace seemed to be the answer I was looking for.

I hadn't been on the site for very long with my horrible pictures when several photographers approached me on the site asking if I would model for them. Most of them scared the daylights out of me, but a couple of them seemed to be real people with real portfolios. I couldn't imagine why they would want to take pictures of me, but finally one day I accepted.

The photographer told me that I should do whatever it takes to make myself feel safe. He would travel to my location so that I would be at home and he would be out of his comfort zone. Since I lived really close to the beach he suggested bringing a swim suit. I refused and told him really all I wanted were decent pictures to put up on Myspace, so people would see me in better shots rather than the crap photos I had up at the time. We agreed, I picked out my best green shirt and newest jeans, and made an appointment for meeting at the beach near my place.

We spent the afternoon shooting photos in the sand and on the rock jetty near my new home and at the end of the day we got a lemonade at Hot Dog on a Stick on the Redondo Beach Pier - later on to be the location of several more photoshoots in my flash of a modeling career. I had so much fun on that photoshoot that I knew in my heart that it wouldn't be the last. We made a deal that he could use the photos in his portfolio and I could use them for any purpose but anything I would make money on. It seemed like a good deal to me. He said he would mail me a CD of the photos as soon as he downloaded them. That was that. He left and I went home.


This photo is the only photo I have remaining from that first shoot. What happened with the others, with that cd, I may never know.

I don't even remember the photographers name anymore, but I believe it may have been Christopher. I got a message from Christopher saying that he would like to hand me the cd personally and maybe take more photos, this time with a swim suit. Again, I refused. He emailed this and a couple of other photos to me to show me how they turned out, and I was overjoyed. I never had decent photos before. I asked him again to mail the cd and again he refused. He said that if I didn't want to do another photoshoot that was fine, he would just take me out to lunch. Again, I refused. Something didn't smell right to me.

Christopher kept insisting that he see me again. In prior conversations I had concluded that he lived more than an hours drive time away from me. Why then did he want so badly to hand me the cd personally if he told me that he would mail it in the first place? Why would he drive so far out of the way just to give me a cd? Having been through one kidnapping experience before, I was wary of anything fishy and very distrusting of strangers. Once more I refused. We severed contact at my insistence and I never saw the other photos from the shoot. As small as this photo is, it is the highest resolution of the photo I ever had.

Modeling - Back in the Day

Modeling - Back in the Day
For Vixen / Jo


From time to time I get this question, and I'm usually never quite 100% sure of what I should say in response because, as is my normal method, I tend to analyze everything, sometimes putting too much thought into what my answer should be and how to make my thought process clear.

Usually I just say that "I've never been really happy with a single photo of myself" and leave it at that - a very basic truth. There are a multitude of reasons for that answer though. When I look in the mirror, it's basically the imperfections I see, much the same as anyone else would do unless they were themselves incredibly vane. I see my freckles, my crooked teeth, my slightly hooded eyes with thick upper lids, my weak jaw line, thin lips and nearly pug-nose. Each of these show in nearly every photo I ever see of myself.

When the truth comes out, that's not WHY I've never liked a single image of my face though. When a photographer captures a remarkably good angle where my nose doesn't look so stubby or my crooked tooth isn't sticking out, I know that I can air brush my freckles away with Photoshop if I want to, but then it wouldn't really be a photo of me. It would be a photoshopped version of me, but it wouldn't be the real me. It's the same basic principal for my never wanting to get a boob-job or liposuction or botox... It's not worth it to me. I know who I am on the inside and don't NEED those things to feel like I'm worth while. I don't need a photo to prove to myself, or anyone else for that matter, just what I look like. Sure, I've always wanted people to think I was a pretty girl. What girl doesn't? But that's not where my indecisiveness about my own photos comes from either.

While most other models I've met (notice I said most, because my gorgeous model friend Keira Dazi would not fit into this category I'm about to describe,) are incredibly vane to the point I think they're tetering on the brink of sanity, they are also incredibly fragile. They strive to make everyone believe they are a 'true beauty' and either puff themselves up with false confidence, or they call themselves ugly or fat, fishing for compliments from others in order to feel better. Luckily, Keira is a humble, beautiful, wise, self confidant, sweet and vivatious character that I just adore.

I didn't have any self confidence at all for a long time. I always believed I was not only an ugly child (thanks to the cruelty of those I was supposed to trust as a kid) and that I was not the brightest bulb in the box. I couldn't comare in any way to my certified genius brother. It wasn't until I got out into the world on my own that I started to realize that I was actually a pretty smart girl. I was also incredibly creative and talented. It was time I spread my wings and see how far I could go.

When I was about 7 years old my grandmother had something to say about my freckles that completely devastated me and echoes in my mind even to this day. I've never liked my freckles from that day on. The kids at school could have said whatever they wanted about me and it didn't hurt. But the day my Grandmother said that "it looks like a cow pooted bran in your face" was the day that lives on in my mind as clear as the day it was said. I remember where I was standing as clearly as I remember the second I found out Princess Dianna had been killed.

When I was 16 she pulled me in the bathroom and dyed my hair blond. It went carrot orange and she had to bleach it 3 times before she finally accomplished her goal. I had finally come through what my mom called my "awkward" stage when she would often say I looked like a particular family member she thought wasn't a very attractive person and she didn't seem to like very much.

Mom got me in a "Back to School" fashion show on the military base when I was 17 years old. I remember walking into the store and my mother seeing a sign in the window advertising the show. It would be taking place two weeks from that date. When we walked into the military base clothing store (the BX) that afternoon, I had been blond for nearly a year, thanks to a product called 'Sun In' helping me to keep up with the roots. I had spent a lot of time in the sun so my freckles were brighter than ever, but I knew I couldn't cover those up. I wasn't yet allowed to use makeup. I remember my mother walking up to the counter and asking a cashier at Customer Service if they needed models for the fashion show. I turned bright red and wanted to run away. I couldn't believe she would do that to me! I just knew she was doing it to be mean and cruel. How could someone like me ever be a model? I choked back the tears and looked at her in surprise and huiliation.

The woman guided us to the back of the store where the woman in charge of the fashion show was organizing things behind the scenes. She came out, shook my mothers hand, and the rest is a bit of a blur. I remember her taking one look at me and proclaiming "She's Perfect!" in a voice loud enough for the people across the base to hear. I turned bright red again and tried to hide (at 17 years old) behind my mother's arm. I couldn't believe it. How could someone as ugly as me be perfect?

Mom talked to the woman for a while and discussed where and when I needed to be ready. On the day of the show, all the kids in the show came to the base and we all met in the back of the store. It was pretty easy once standing in that group to discover WHY she thought I was perfect. I was the tallest model for the show and probably weighed less than any of them, except the 8 year old I probably would have been about even with. They were rollie pollie, every one of them! It turned out most of them were the children of people who worked at the BX, meaning they were in by default I guess. Several of the children were bigger around the middle than I am even now, many years later and many pounds added.

I remember being put in green and black tartan trowsers and a matching green top. As they hung on the hanger I hated them. I thought it was such an ugly outfit they were trying to put on me. I had always been a basic jeans and t-shirt girl, and I was the only girl not getting jeans. The other girls were getting pink and red and blue tops - while I was getting what I thought back then was a horrible color - green. Finally I saw something I liked. Since it was a "Back to School" fashion show, all the kids had to carry book bags or books. The one picked out for me was a small black purse book bag that I immediately adored. It didn't seem that practical since you couldn't fit even a single school book in it, but I wanted it just the same. I was so proud to carry that little bag down the cat walk.

Years later when I sat looking at photos of me walking on that cat walk, I realized that no matter what my current opinion of myself was back then, I actually was a decent looking young lady. My freckles were barely visible, and I was smiling with my mouth closed. That made my nose look less pug and my lips seem less thin. It also hid my crooked teeth. I looked genuinely happy, and that was something I was really not used to seeing in photos. It was the first photo of me I ever saw and didn't despise right away. I still wasn't overly thrilled with it at the same time, but it was just a couple of years ago as I sat looking at that particular photo and remembering my first ever modeling job that I finally realized exactly why I never liked a single photo of my face.

It wasn't the freckles or the teeth or the hair or the lips or nose. It was my personality.

I don't see a particular color in my eyes when I see a mirror. I don't notice freckle patterns across my nose or focus on my smile when I'm brushing my teeth over the basin in front of the reflection of myself looking back. What I see when I look at myself in the mirror has nothing to do with my outward appearance other than the basic items. I have two eyes, two ears, a nose and a mouth just like anyone else. My face or the shape of it isn't what makes me unique. Everyone has those things (unless met with horrible tragedy or severe birth defect) and they're just a part of life for me the same as it was for Audrey Hepburn and the Hunchback of Notre Dame. We all have eyes and ears and a nose and mouth. We all speak and smell and see... but not all of us think and feel and imagine and write and paint and create the same way. It's not my outward appearance that makes me unique. Outwardly, I'm just like anyone and everyone else in the world. What makes me unique is who I really, truly am inwardly.

In the end, that's why I've never been happy with a single photo of myself. Photos only show what everyone else seems to have - a face; eyes, nose, ears, mouth... We all have that. A photo of my face doesn't show that I'm unique or special or creative. A photo doesn't show anyone what it is I value about myself or what I think my best personal qualities are. All it really shows is what everyone else sees.... not what I see. I want the world to see what I see. Will that ever happen? I guess I continue to hope it will. That's why I keep writing.

Viewer Maps

Every now and again I love to look at my blog and figure out where my readers and viewers are from. I find it fascinating, seeing the nations and states and cities that view my little blog; me, a complete nobody. I have somehow managed to reach over 70 countries and all but three of the US states. How do I know where you are? Well, let me show you how...

I have a counter set up on my blog that doesn't pinpoint exactly where people are, but can pinpoint a nearby city that provides the internet you use in your home or your office. It adds up the pinpoints in the cities to put them all together in the largest near by city, then adds those together to find out how many views I have had per state, then those are added to decide how many views the blog has gotten for each nation. It's really interesting stuff.

When I first log in, I bring up the world view. From there I can narrow it down. I thought it would be fun to share with you all what it is I see every time I look up my own stats and try to narrow it down.




4,368 visits from 76 countries/territories



Every state but three. Can you name the three without looking them up? Most people can't, but it's something we (as Americans) were all taught in school.



Zooming in on California, it's speckled with red dots. Each of those dots represent a city that contains blog viewers and the spot changes size and color depending on how many views the blog has generated from that city. Multiple views from the same I.P. address are blocked, so each one registered blog view is a different person. If I chose to, I can click on any of those red spots and see exactly how many times someone from a particular city went to see my blog and on which days they were there.

It's really fascinating stuff. I've found it to be a great resource for figuring out who my audience really is and where people are from.

I just thought I would share that with you.

Who are you?

I'm often surprised at the locations and numbers of people who read my blogs. I can tell based solely on the location the visitors are coming from who they might be and what connection I've had in their lives - while others are always a surprise. I know who would be reading my blogs from Clovis and Fresno, while the two different entries from Cairo, Egypt took me completely by surprise. I know who is in San Diego checking to see if I've written anything new, but the people in Ireland, Massachusetts and the spray across the entire state of Texas have completely blown me away. I don't know who these people are or how they found me, and with them not telling me (or us) by leaving comments, it simply remains a mystery.

Recently I was contacted by someone who said they were simply conducting a search for Sioux City Sarsaparilla and my blog about that particular drink came up in the search results. Impressed, I wondered were else my blogs were coming up. Unfortunately it's been quite a while since I have been able to keep up with the blogs on a regular basis, so I don't believe I'm showing up in many places at all at the moment.

So if you're reading this, tell us all where you're from and how you found the blog. It's been a fun project and before it ends I'd love to find out more about YOU. You've already learned a lot about me - show me who I've reached and touched with simple words. Show me - show US - who you are! You can remain anonymous if you choose to do so. Just let us know where you're from and how you found the blog.

Become a part of the story!

The Grand Escape

The Grand Escape


This is a series of diary entries following an amazing escape adventure I had when trying to extricate myself from a failing relationship. It went from bad to worse, but in the end I was finally on my own.

While the stories seem to paint this person in a harsh light, please remember that I write my emotions. At the time, I was angry and hurt. It was my job and my vision to have people feel what I was feeling when they read my stories and entries.

This person later on turned out to be a very good friend to me. There were a few times I wouldn't have eaten for weeks on end if not for him. He seems like a villain in these stories, certainly. In real life, he's actually a very good person and I owe a lot to him.




The Grand Escape Part 1

The Grand Escape Part 2


The Grand Escape Part 3

The Grand Escape Part 4


The Grand Escape Part 5

The Grand Escape Part 6


The Grand Escape Part 7

The Grand Escape Part 8


The Grand Escape Part 9

The Grand Escape Part 10


The Grand Escape Part 11

The Grand Escape Part 12






Grand Escape Part 12

GRAND ESCAPE PART 12 - THE END OF IT ALL.




Subject : He woke up!!!
Posted Date: : Apr 16, 2006 2:05 PM

HE WOKE UP!!!
B finally woke up. He's finally seen that perhaps I was in the right after all. He's agreed to work with me on all of this, and I WILL be getting ALL of my things! Check out the letter he left for me below! How should I respond? the promissory note is MORE than generous! Wow.... Perhaps I WAS right to defend him all this time. He does have a good heart, and he is a good guy...

I didn't think this would ever happen, though.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Amanda;

I don't pretend to understand the state of mind that is driving you to
behave as you have recently. I do know that it is probably far more
damaging to you than it has been for me (which is plenty damaging, by the
way).

In any case we would probably both be well served if I made my position
clear in writing.

First, I have no intention of keeping possession of anything belonging to
you including books, clothing, seat covers and pictures of Ethan. I will
carefully put the things that remain here in boxes. While I won't be
available for most of this weekend, I will make arrangements for you to pick
up those boxes. Email or call and we can arrange a mutually convenient
time. If the bicycle is of any use to you, let me know.

Second, I would appreciate your signing the attached promissory note. I
believe that you will find the terms extremely favorable. The first payment
doesn't start until June 15th. Payments are $XX per month. If you pay
more, it is applied to the balance and interest. And if you make the first
six payments on time, the amount of the note will drop by $XXX.xx.

Third, I will forward any mail you receive initially to you at [your job] in
Torrance. I will try to do this once a week until you get settled someplace
else. When you have a forwarding address, I will make sure the UPS Store
gets a forward order implemented.

Fourth, If you have financial difficulty over the next few weeks, please
drop me an email or call. I will deposit $XXX into your checking account or
mail you a check. This is outside the terms of the promissory note. Pay it
back when you can. There's no need to feel embarrassed (or resentful) about
it. This is a tough time for both of us but I do not want you to go without
enough to eat or a safe place to stay. If $XXX isn't enough, let me know.

I do [care about] you Amanda (even though you and I are both jerks sometimes).

-B

P.S. Sorry - forgot something. We've been pretty intertwined so there will
probably be more "forgot somethings".

The telephone. I was going to change the Sprint account today but changed
by mind. The Treo was a gift to you. I would like you to be able to use
it. It should still be under warranty so you should go to the Sprint Store
and have it fixed. I will keep it on my account to give you time to get
that done.

I would appreciate your not running the bill up in the interim. I got hit
with a $XXX bill on your phone in May of 2004 and I would very much like to
be spared that this time around.

If Sprint needs anything from me to get your phone fixed, let me know. Once
that's done I would like you to open up a new Sprint account for yourself.
Since the two line contract is in my name, I may need to add another cheap
phone to my account until the contract expires. I'm willing to do that if
necessary. If you need help getting an account established, let me know.

- B











Grand Escape Part 11

GRAND ESCAPE PART 11




Posted Date: : Apr 14, 2006 9:12 AM

FREEDOM! AT LONG LAST,
FREEDOM!

Yes, I'm free.
I moved into my new appartment last night. It was a glorious feeling. As I sat in the middle of the floor looking around, though, I realized that I dont have much. I suppose it's more than enough to start a new life with, but it's still not a lot. Still, the things I no longer have are only things. I have clothes to get me by from day to day with only having to wash once a week. I have about 5 books to keep me entertained, one of which is a GREAT book on the collective works of Edgar Allan Poe. My roommate also gave me a TV for my room, I've got my computer with hi speed internet connection, I've got my iPod mini, and I've managed to get my colored pencils... so I will have plenty to keep me busy.

Not to mention friends from out of town are suddenly feeling the urge to come visit me after so many years of not seeing them! It's amazing! Last weekend, someone I've not seen in 9 years comes to visit. This weekend, a friend I've not seen since the 6th grade is coming to visit, and will be here in only a few more hours! I'm looking at another visitor, perhaps a repeat, on the first weekend May, and another friend I've not seen in many years coming to visit durring the second weekend of May!

I curled up in my pink quilt my Grandmother made for me, rested my head on one of the decorative pillows Chris' mother made for me of my own art work, laid my phone by my head as my alarm, and went to sleep. For the first time in quite possibly many years, I slept all through the night without a worry.

I woke up when my phone alarm went off... It started ringing in my ear, not far from my head. It sounded like the Liberty Bell to me, the very voice of my freedom.

Peace. That's what it was... Total peace.


Just call me "Lady Liberty"...

Grand Escape Part 10

GRAND ESCAPE PART 10




Subject : Out, at long last.
Posted Date: : Apr 13, 2006 8:34 AM

Well, here it is. All of the gory details. This is not to be read by those who wish to see me in a shining light through all of this. I've done something terrible, but in my own eyes, I was left with no other options.

As you all read yesterday, the Enforcer changed the locks on the doors. He them proceded to tell me that unless I dropped my insurance reimbursement check for $714.21 into his lap, I couldn't get my things, such as my clothes and tooth brush, and that in no way would I be given a key to the appartment again. I had to think of something, and fast! I needed every penny I had for the deposit on my appartment. I cried on a friends shoulder from what felt like about 800 miles away, and within only a few hours, I had enough for my deposit even after giving up the reimbursement check. Thank you to my dear friend. It WILL be repaid.

Thanks to my friend, I then had the courage to write the email to the Warden that you saw on the UPDATE under the letter he wrote to me. My friend gave me the courage to take action, and the peace of mind to know that all would be ok.

After dropping off my deposit yesterday, I raced back to my office to call The Warden. Upon doing so, I convinced him to allow me to come by so we could "talk" about that promissory note. I drafted one, took a photo copy of the insurance check, and faxed both over to him earlier that day. It made him willing to talk.

We argued, fought, screamed, cried, and yelled for about an hour before I finally confessed to him that I'd not eaten anything other than one meal of Canelloni since Sunday afternoon. Me being me, I talked him into going out for some food. I even offered to pay... The man makes $150 an hour, and he's worried about me paying him back all at once? What an ass. So anyway, we went out for some food and to talk a bit more. The whole time I was concocting something in my brain... Let me explain...

By the time we were done eating, he asked me what I wanted to do from there. I told him I wanted to take one day at a time. He said he wasn't much interested in Limbo, and I agreed. Neither was I. We left it at that. We went back to the appartment, and I pretended to fall asleep on the couch mere moments after sitting down. I mean, I was completely exhausted, so it wasn't that hard to believe. Had I not been so convincing so quickly, there's a good chance I could have fallen asleep!

He told me to go into the bedroom and lay down - he wasn't going to turn me out into the streets when I was so weak from not eating for so long. I looked as white as a ghost! (It's amazing what a little makeup can do...) He made sure to let me know he would be in within the hour, he was going to the other room to finish up some work. The "other room" he meant was the office, which is right next to the bedroom. It shares a wall, and that wall has an old fashioned heater in it. The flaps in the heater are turned at an angle to where he could see into the bedroom if I left the light on, so immediately I turned it off and allowed my eyes to adjust to the dark.

I knew it wouldn't be long, and sure enough I was right. He fell asleep sitting up in the chair. I jumped into action. I grabbed my computer, sent a friend of mine a quick message letting them know what was going on and to not worry about me. Then I creaked the back door open through great risk, since he would have been able to see the back door through the heater too. The street lights outside were extremely bright last night...

The first thing I put out there was a box of my undergarments, followed by a hand full of things on hangers that I had already organized in order of importance. Then the stuffed animals that I have had since I was a baby, including my Wendy pony (so dont panic, Brian...). Then jeans, folded shirts, shoes, legal papers on my divorce, and jewelry. Everything I could get my hands on and I felt was important. I then put my bathrobe on over my clothes and creaked out of the bedroom door towards the bathroom. If he had woken up, there's a good chance I would have been able to cover and make him believe I was only needing to pee. The door to the office was wide open, and he was still slouched over in the chair snooring. That was the first time I ever thought of snoring as a comforting sound. Unfortunately the office door is so loud I dared not close it because of the noise being about impossible to sleep through, even for him.

I shoved my makeup in the robe pockets, followed by a tooth brush, toothpaste, a razor, and deodorant. Then I crept back to the bedroom, but not after grabbing my own art off of the walls first. My hour was almost up. He said he would be back in the bedroom within the hour, and normally he only naps for about 30 minutes at a time. Slighly panicked, I threw my robe out with the rest of my things and silently closed the door. He stirred. My heart raced and I stood frozen in my place.

He began to snore again, and I jumped back into action. I knew that if I was going to make a break for it, this would be the time. I went back to the bedroom door and started to open it. I needed to get my jacket from the living room. The door to the bedroom popped open and he woke up. Once more I froze, only this time there was no going back to sleep.

I pinned myself up against the wall as he walked past the bedroom door toward the kitchen, me staring at the back of his head as he went, praying he wouldn't notice the missing art. He turned the corner to the kitchen and I darted over to the bed again. At that point I thought I would have to wait until morning to get my stuff, which meant I ran the risk of being late to work. I'm rarely ever late. To anything.

It was about 15 seconds after I pulled the covers up to my chin when he walked in. He laid down on the bed, tried to rub my back to see if I was asleep, and again I stirred not. My heart thumped loudly in my ears. Eventually he rolled over and was silent. I knew he was waiting to see if I was asleep.

As tired and exhausted as I was, I sat there for a long time waiting to hear him fall back to sleep. When finally I was convinced that the snores were real, I crept out of the waterbed, being sure not to move more surface of the bed than was necissary. Ever so slowly; steady...

My feet hit the carpet and I snatched up my laptop computer. Next thing to grab was my purse. Then I made a dash for the door, moving as efortlessly and silently as an eagle in flight. Being sure to block the light from the livingroom with my own body, I cracked the door open. I kept my body in line, edged through the door, and closed it behind me, always making sure the light from the lamp in the front room did not wake him.

I turned on the light to the bathroom on my way past and closed the door - my decoy. If he woke up in the night, he'd think I had just had to pee. Since I drink so much water, it's not uncommon for me to do so in the middle of the night... pardon the graphic details.

I grabbed up my jacket from the living room, slipped into my shoes, and walked right out the front door unnoticed. It was about 12:45 at night by this point.

I trotted to my car to unlock it and put my computer and purse inside. I tucked them both safely behind the seat of my car. Then my heart began to pound again. I could see the light in the bathroom still on, so I knew he hadn't discovered I was gone yet. I went for the back door, listening through the cracked open window to see if he was still snoring. Then I loaded up my arms with my first load and walked quietly back to my car. The first load was in. I went back for more, again pausing to see if he was still sleeping. Again, I loaded up my arms. It took me about 8 trips in total to get everything to my car, but at the end of it all, I had everything with me, the bathroom light was still on, and he was still sleeping.

I drove away listening to the song "Shut Up and Drive."

I didn't get everything, but when in that situation, one grabs what they need, not what they want. I feel terrible for what I did. Nobody deserves to be treated that way. Still, He was going to leave me on the street after last night. I know it. He told me that I would ahve a roof over my head for that night. After that I had no guarantees! He wanted all my money - to leave me penniless so I couldn't afford anything. He wanted to FORCE me to find someone to mooch off of!

I REFUSE TO GO THAT ROUTE!!!


So I did what I had to.

I owe him no appology. Nobody deserves to be treated that way, sure. I feel bad for it. But there's also seeing things from my end...
NOBODY should ever have to feel like their only escape is in the middle of the night and to sleep on the floor of their office.

I owe him nothing but his precious money he wanted so badly. Every penny will be repaid in time.




Grand Escape Part 9

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
UPDATE

I've REFUSED once more to allow him the upper hand. See my response to his email below.

Shall I adress these one at a time?

1) You owe me $1432 which I paid toward your car rental and repair. This was in the form of a $300 loan until you got your next pay check to cover the final car rental charge and $1132 paid as the balance due on your cars paint work.

*We agreed last night, did we not, that I could not physically pay you back for this all at once and would include this ammount in the promissory note.

2) You would endorse the Mercury Insurance check over to me as payment toward that amount.

*I thought you released the whole stupid notion of the reimbursement check because you wanted so badly to get rid of me and I would need it for any kind of a deposit on an appartment. HOWEVER... IF you are willing to give me a key to the place and stay there until I can AFFORD a place, then I will give you every red cent from the check - no questions asked. I will need that guarantee before handing you a dime, though. My first concern is for my own well being. I have been homeless in the past and that is NOT something I'm willing to put myself through again, for you or for anyone else. It's not worth it. Besides, I've already got my photo albums, scotch, movies, and art work (other than those hanging on the walls). I can live for quite some time on what I have here at the office. I can even borrow clothes from Aurelie if need be. But without a roof over my head, what options do I have?


3) You would sign a promissory note for $1200 before you took the iBook.

*The agreement is typed up, printed, and ready to sign. I've called you and offered you an increase in the monthly payments to $150 a month.
**Another point of interest here is that you just didn't see the iBook. It's still right under your nose, if all you do is follow the cord. It's not been anywhere near the living room in DAYS. It's in the bedroom in a drawer.
I've stolen NOTHING from you. I want NOTHING of yours. To me it's all shit. Everything you OWN merely reminds me of the things you would rather have in your life than me; the things that were more important than spending time with someone you said you cared about... even back when I thought you DID care.




Grand Escape Part 8

GRAND ESCAPE PART 8





Subject : HELP ME!!! Won't someone help me?
Posted Date: : Apr 12, 2006 1:07 PM

I want to cry...
I never ask for help, and I imagine the subject line has gotten some attention from some of my friends on here.

I'm going to be $350 short for my appartment deposit! What am I going to do?! I have to turn it in today!!!


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
From Bill today...
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

12 April 2006, 7:00AM

Amanda -

What a disappointment. I shouldn't be surprised by this, of course Your absolute inability to honor any agreement you make. Last night you agreed to three things.

1) You owe me $1432 which I paid toward your car rental and repair. This was in the form of a $300 loan until you got your next pay check to cover the final car rental charge and $1132 paid as the balance due on your cars paint work.
(That's fine. Does he expect me to pay him in pennies? We already agreed to this, and that I would pay him back as I could... payments every month.)

2) You would endorse the Mercury Insurance check over to me as payment toward that amount.
(We agreed that I would need this check for my appartment deposit if he wanted to get rid of me)


3) You would sign a promissory note for $1200 before you took the iBook.
(I left it in the drawer under the bed) (I've got the agreement typed up, ready to sign, but don't think I will now.)


Since you snuck out of here with both the check and the iBook, it is clear that you have no intention of honoring even a commitment you made less than 10 hours ago. I'm left to wonder if you actually expect me to continue to honor commitments I made to you.

You and I both know that I have, for many years, put concerns for you far ahead of concerns for myself. Even in the face of scores of lies in 2004 and your leaving to marry someone you'd just met, I gave you $500 because I was concerned for your well being. (He had no idea what I was doing at the time. He didn't even know about Chirs! What a load of Bullshit!)Time and time again you have worked hard to prove to me that my faith in you and my trust in you are misplaced. (What a complete asshole!) True to form, you're working hard to turn our relationship adversarial again, (We ALL know that's not the case. Not the way I've been defending him!) though I have been nothing but loving and understanding and civil by calling me a cunt last night, when all I did was stay calm) as you claimed to need time to "figure out what you're doing".

Your actions today are yet another example in a long string of examples. Amanda is only concerned about Amanda. I would be an idiot to trust you to not do anything you can to further your own ends at this point, including lie cheat and steal from me to do it. You have already lied, cheated and stolen. (Not hardly!)

Please be advised that the locks at 1408 Esplanade Apt 3 will have been changed by the time you read this. Sadly I simply cannot afford to continue to trust you to have a key to my apartment. I will, as I did last time, gather your remaining belongings and box them up carefully. I will meet with you at some other location and come to a legal agreement with you about the money you owe me. True to MY form, I expect only to be reimbursed for money you have previously agreed to reimburse me for. When we have a signed agreement in place, I will deliver your belongings where-ever you choose. And we will be done.

I still love you Amanda and I still want the best for you. But you have (no doubt intentionally) made it impossible for me to continue to be any part of your life. So be it.

Sincerely, and with a very sad heart. (Like I believe that at this point...)

Bill


By the way, I can't imagine why you'd think you'd need to get the police involved in this, but then you've never been able to explain to me why you thought you needed to involve them in April of 2004. Be advised, though, that making a false statement to the police is a crime. Any false statements you make to the police involving me will be taken seriously by me this time around.
I NEVER made a single false statement about him! NEVER! I've defended the man, his honor, and his dignity to all those who've been telling me he doesn't deserve so much!

Oh, GOD! What am I going to do?! Without my reimbursement check I cant get this place, and I have NO clothes to wear until I get paid next. What has he done?! What have I done?!

Oh, I just dont see any way out of it this time.
I called him and left a voice mail telling him my computer is under the bed and reminding him of our agreement on the check. I also offered to increase the promisory note so he wont have to deal with me anymore. I'm afraid this time he's got the upper hand, though. Most likely he wont go for it.

I'm lost.
Defeated.
A failure.

Disheartened.

And I was so close! Oh, God! What am I going to do?!

Grand Escape Part 7

GRAND ESCAPE PART 7




Subject : The Enforcer STRIKES!
Posted Date: : Apr 12, 2006 9:29 AM

That proverbial s#!t has finally hit the fan.

What perfect timing!!!

I found out last night rather late in the afternoon that I've been approved for the appartment I want. I just have to take by my deposit and sign the contract today, and I'm set! I went to dinner (kinda to celebrate, kinda to spend a little time with a friend) and came back rather late. I was thinking this wouldn't be an issue since I hadn't seen the man since Saturday morning anyway - other than having to take care of work stuff. (I had to pick up a CD my boss gave to him since he does the marketing for my company as a consultant). Anyway, he got in really late on Monday, leaving me alone for dinner. I never ate that night, thinking he was going to come in and it would only piss him off if I ate alone. I also never had lunch Monday, and I never eat breakfast.

Yesterday, I came in around 9:30. He was livid! Never mind that he wasn't home Sunday night OR Monday night until very late... suddenly he felt as though he had every right to know every step of my day.He also felt as though he had every right to my reimbursement check from the insurance company for my rental car. He snatched it out of my hands with a scowl.

"Good luck cashing a check in my name!" I smiled in his face.

"I'm not going to try. YOU are going to sign it over to me!"

"Hmm... Interesting." I smiled again. His face reddened.

"You're not getting it back until you agree to sign it over to me."

"Then it's a good thing I can have them issue another, huh?" I didn't tell him I needed that check to cover the last bit of my deposit. Without it, I'd be stuck there for another few weeks!

"Grab a pen and sign it over to me. Now."

"Ahh, no." I held out my hand. This time the scowl was of defeat. He knew I had beaten him at his petty game.

"Sign it over! NOW!"

"Nope. Not gonna happen. It's now 9:43 p.m. and I'm going to bed."

"When are you moving out?"

"Ok, it's now 9:44 p.m. and I'm going to bed."

"Ooh, so you can count! I'm soooo proud of you. Quit being a cu#~ and tell me when you're moving out."

Fully dressed still, I pulled back the covers on the bed and climbed in. I pulled them up to my chin as usual, faced the far wall, and closed my eyes. I dont really remember what he said at that point, but he finally left, closing the door behind him. As soon as I heard it slam closed, I scrambled out of bed and locked it behind him. That's when I got to work.

I ran around gathering the boxes I've been so careful to pack over the past few weeks, a little at a time to where he wouldn't notice anything was missing. I started with a gigantic plastic tub high on a shelf where he never looks. I placed that on the floor near the back door in the bedroom. Then I started reaching in nooks and crannies all over the bedroom, pulling out shoe boxes of all shapes and sizes. Some were stuffed with pictures, others with books, another with medicine cabinet stuff, and yet another with socks. Two were full of my DVD's even. I packed those about two weeks ago and he never noticed! The man never notices anything when it comes to me. Not anymore.

I grabbed my deorative pillows he never allowed me to display that were shoved into one of the cabinets. Next out came my warm quilt and a hand crocheted table cloth. All of these things were piled up on top of the large plastic tub. That was more than enough than what would fill my car. It's a good thing I like to play Tetris.

I hopped back into bed around 11:30 and finally drifted off to sleep after setting my alarm to go off at 6:00 a.m. (I normally dont get up until after 6:30). When I woke up, the alarm hadn't gone off yet. I was up and at it by 5:30. It was still moderately dark outside - the perfect cover.

I didn't even worry about my bedhead (which with short hair, I ALWAYS have these days) and just started hauling stuff out to my car, silently as possible. When I got everything that I had by the back door safely loaded into my car, I realized that maybe I played Tetris too much. I had some room left over!

This is where the challenge came in. Bill was still snoring on the couch. I had things in the living room I needed to get to. I slowly eased the door open just enough to slide my body through the doorway. I crept within inches of him as I made my way toward the kitchen. I grabbed things I had strategically placed all over the kitchen over the past weeks so once they were gone they would not be noticed. Then I crept silently back to the bedroom. After putting everything down, I braced myself for another trip to the kitchen and living room. I needed my briefcase and a few other things. I filled my hands and slipped back to the back door again. Another trip. And another. Finally I was headed to the Scotch cabinet. I've got two of my own bottles I was NOT about to leave behind.

On my last trip to the bedroom I saw something out of the corner of my eye that caught my attention - unusual keys. They weren't unusual in the sense that they looked different than anything else really, but the keychain looked familiar in a far away sense. The Keychain had a familiar print on it... Enterprise. We'll Pick You Up. Underneath was written in messy handwriting ...

Color : Black
Model :Mustang Convertible

Enraged at remembering a black mustang convertible following me as I went to lunch yesterday, I picked the keys up and looked at them. Then I tucked them neatly into a coffee can near by... just to let him know. The hidden message of "I know about you" goes a long way.

Then I went back to the bedroom, loaded my car with the new pile of things, and drove away.

I've just been informed that he's here at my office.

Am I being spied upon, or is it my imagination?

My favorite lines from GOING UNDER by EVANESCENCE

Now I will tell you what I've done for you

50 thousand tears I've cried
Screaming, deceiving, and bleeding for you
And you still won't hear me
Don't want your hand this time, I'll save myself
Maybe I'll wake up for once
Not tormented...Daily defeated by you
Just when I thought I'd reached the bottom
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
So go on and scream
Scream at me
I'm so far away
I won't be broken again
I've got to breathe
I can't keep going under

Grand Escape Part 6

GRAND ESCAPE PART 6



Posted Date: : Apr 2, 2006 4:33 PM

Bill told me to go apartment hunting yesterday.

I just paid $350 for new breaks on my car.

Yesterday was the 2 year anniversary of my Grandpa's Death.

There are only 6 days left!!!

I've weeded though my friends list and now have less than 200, rather than more than 2,100.

Grand Escape Part 5

GRAND ESCAPE PART 5




Posted Date: : Mar 31, 2006 8:19 AM
Some time ago, the Warden lost his digital camera, and I was wanting a picture of our friends just in case I am not able to remain friends with them after I move out. They are his friends first, and you never know how someone will react to such a breakup. I didn't tell him that - only that I wanted a picture of them.

I gave him my camera as we were getting ready to go, and asked if he could look it over since he's a professional photographer and make sure the settings are right and that it's actually working. He said he would. I went to the bathroom and got finished with my makeup.

The time came and we left for the restaurant. We got there, had a few drinks, had a bite to eat, watched Gary Chandling do some stand up comedy (He just came in unannounced and started, BTW - awesome show.) and had a great time. Bill was clingy, but I shrugged it off and went on.

The end of the night rolls around, I ask him to take a picture of me with Patty. He kept walking away and expected us to stand outside in the freezing cold in skimpy dresses so he could take the picture. That was bad enough. When we got there, Patty and Bill posed for a picture and The Warden tried to take it with the camera, which immediately did a delay shot, screwing it up entirely. Bill and Patty thought it had been taken, and I said as nicely as possible, and as quietly as possible, "That's why I asked you to look it over at the house." He shot me a dirty look.

Boy, that was one of the most uncomfortable car rides home I've ever been in.

Once there, he followed me to the bedroom and said "You arent even going to say you're sorry? What the hell was that comment supposed to mean back there?"

I responded by saying "Nobody but you heard what I said. I didn't say anything wrong, only that I didn't want you to embarass yourself and put Bill and Patty out while you tried to work on the camera out in the cold nights air."

"So, you aren't even going to say you're sorry?"

"For what?"

At this point it was apparent that he wasn't going to let me be, so I went to the bedroom and locked the door. It was late and I wanted to go to bed. I changed into my sweats while he yelled at me from the other side.

"Unlock this door! Unlock this door right now!"

"Nope. Not interested. Not until I'm sure there's not going to be someone there trying to start shit with someone who's trying to go to bed."

I got all done changing and unlocked the door, only to walk right past him to the bathroom, where I proceeded to tell him, "It's all yours", and then I closed and locked the bathroom door.

When I came out and went back to the bedroom, he followed me again.
"You just cant take any kind of responsibility for anything, can you?"
I'll admit that maybe what I said to him in the first place came out wrong, but seriously, was it nessicary for him to start this garbage with me? I dont believe so personally.

"Look. The way I see it, you've got 2 options. You can either leave now and let me go to sleep, or you can get out of my way as I pack in order to go find a hotel room for the night. I have to work in the morning. Good night."

When I told him I was going to get a hotel room if he didn't leave me alone he shot back with ...
"What are you saying, you're moving out?"

"Nope. I'm saying that I want to go to sleep. Do you really think I would move out in the middle of the night when I have to work in the morning?"
And I smirked. You should have seen his face turn red when I smirked!!!

He left and slept on the couch.
Around 5:30 this morning, he came to bed, and I got up as soon as he began to snore. I've been up ever since.

And what do I have to say about it all? Basically that I'm just amused is all... Thoroughly and utterly amused.

Grand Escape Part 4

GRAND ESCAPE PART 4





Posted Date: : Mar 30, 2006 10:56 AM

Yes, the winds are changing. The once strong westward gale sweeping me out to be lost at sea has now changed directions. Now an eastward breeze has decided to grace me with it's cool, sweet breath.

I've found my apartment.

There has been an understanding that has finally been reached within my household. We both know that I wont be staying much longer and that there is nothing that he can do to change that. It leaves me in an uncomfortable situation at the moment because I'm stuck staying with him until I move out. However, we also both understand that I have my own life now and that if I choose to do things without his knowledge it's (finally) none of his business.

Unfortunately I've got visitors in from out of town, so the faces have to be painted on, and the smiles have to be prominent. As soon as they're gone, I am too. I'm not able to move into my place until the 8th at the very soonest, and I may be a little short of funding in order to do so then. I may have to wait until the 15th, but I'm willing to wait if I have to.

Finally, things are falling into place.

I've also met a very interesting conversationalist recently, due to a highly unusual Myspace fluke.

Yes, the winds are changing. Finally.

Grand Escape Part 3

Posted Date: : Mar 24, 2006 8:27 AM

Good morning, my small audience.
All of you who can read this have now been added to my "Preferred List" merely because prying eyes and ruthless spies have done me in again.

Shall I start at the begining?
Each of you reading this now know that I've not been happy with the relationship I'm currently in. Yes, it's turned into a monotinous event, having to go home to HIM every day. Yeah, the Enforcer. The Warden. And my personal favorite nickname ... The ASS.

Anyway, lately he's decided that he wants to try sleeping in the bed again after not doing so for months. I began wearing clothes to bed to cover myself because the thought of having him next to me makes me feel uncomfortable now. I've also started sleeping on the couch on the days he comes to bed - if I can wake up enough to do so. Most of the time his obnixious snooring is more than enough assistance with my waking up. Last night for some reason, he didn't snore as loudly so I didn't wake up and sleep on the couch. Instead, I woke up feeling his hands on me. It made my spine crawl... I felt horribly disgusting suddenly.

I tried to roll out of bed and jump in the shower, but it was only 6:00 and I normally dont get up until 6:30. I fained a weak stomach so as not to hurt his precious feelings, and tried to explain that I had a lot to do. Again I tried to get out of bed, and again he held me back. Finally, I told him point blank to ... "STOP. I'm getting UP!"

As any man would be, he was upset. He pouted and moped about for a while, and asked me what was going on with me. What was I to tell him? Well, I told him the truth. Plain and simple. It came out in an explosion of screams, shouts, cries, and slams.

"God Damn it, I'm not here for you to just fu@# when you feel like it! You've not wanted anything to do with me now for months, and now that it's suddenly convenient for you, you want to screw me in the morning before I'm even awake? I'm not in the mood for this bullshi#! You weren't there for me when I needed you, and I moved on. I got used to it. Dont expect me to suddenly think that everything is the way it was when I moved back in with you in August. You've fallen back into your rut! I stopped wanting you to come to bed about 3 weeks before you started again. By that time, it was too late! I'm done!"

"You could have told me you weren't in the mood," he said back to me.

"I was trying to be nice about it."

"When are you moving out?" I had a feeling he knew, but this was confirmation... he did know. What was I supposed to say? I told him the truth.

"I dont know. I dont have anywhere to go right now." I started moping at my face with a dish towel at this point.

"My best friends son told me last night that he read your blog on Myspace and he said you were moving out. Do you know how embarassing that is to find out from his son?"

"You know, it wasn't a hidden blog. You could have read it any time you wanted to. You know the URL to my blog. You could have gone there if you had wished. In fact, the day you asked me to go ring shopping with you is up there right now. Maybe you should start with that one. It pretty much says you must be out of your fu@#ing mind! You were too oblivious and caught up in your own little world to notice anything going on in mine! You know, you scared the fu@# out of me when you asked me to dinner for tonight. I thought for sure you were going to ask me to marry you tonight. I dont know if you were or not, and honestly right now I dont really care to know. I just know that neither of us want or need that right now." I took a deep breath, calmed myself a bit, and tried again.

"I dont want to argue about this anymore. I'm not happy here, as I'm sure you know already. I cant keep doing this anymore."

"All I've tried to do is have a meaningful, loving, and honest relationship with you and all I get from you are lies."

THAT is when I grabbed my purse, walked out the door, and slammed it behind me. I got all the way to the car before I realized that I still had the dish towel and nocell phone. I had to go back in the house. I started my car, took a deep breath, and went back upstairs. I opened the door to find him bent over his computer in the usual position I find him in, hunched over like an old man. I threw the towel down, grabbed my phone, and headed back for the door.

"Here. Give this CD to your boss and tell her there's nothing on it." I snatched the CD out of his hand. "You have a few minutes. Cant we just talk for another minute?"

"No, I'm done."

I got to work 30 minutes early today. And that is where it stands.

Grand Escape Part 2

Grand Escape Part 2




Posted Date: : Mar 22, 2006 8:53 PM
Well, here we go again. I have a major decision to make. It's a yes or no question.

Yes would be a lie, but would provide me with temp. stability.
No would be honest, but would land me on the streets.
Maybe would not only be a lie, but has the potential of landing me on the streets.

It seems as though no matter how I answer, it's not going to turn out good. So - I have to believe in the old standard that when all else fails, tell the truth. That's what I'm going to do... to an extent. I cant see any other option. I'm trying to postpone the question by bringing up "money" issues, other events, making alternative plans, and coming up with other ideas. Still, I dont think I'm going to be able to postpone it as I hoped.

So - here goes. I'm going to tell the truth, no matter the consequences. I'm tuff. I've been through worse. MUCH worse.

Grand Escape Part 1


The Grand Escape - Part 1

This is a series of diary entries following an amazing escape adventure I had when trying to extricate myself from a failing relationship. It went from bad to worse, but in the end I was finally on my own.





Subject : Life is GRAND!
Posted Date: : Mar 21, 2006 8:35 PM
Ok so I'm a little drunk (on only two martini's no less!), but I've just had one of the best evenings I can remember in a long time.

It started out with the Enforcer calling me to let me know he had dinner plans and I wasn't invited. So much the better for me! I flipped! Immediately I jumped into my car (or the rental car, rather - my car will be out of the shop soon...) and took off for a friends house. I thought at first that since my friend wasn't home I was going to have a really horrible evening.

Instead of sitting on my butt moping about the empty apartment, I went to a local restaurant to treat myself to a night out alone. I've been going to this particular restaurant for a long time, so I know a few of the servers and bartenders by name by now... but I met a new one, and made what I feel is a new friend with great potential.

As I was sitting alone, a gentleman from a few tables over walked over just to let me know that I reminded him of Annette Benning, his FAVORITE actress whom he thought was very beautiful! As if that wasn't enough, I was flirted with by about every guy in the place except the ones I already knew by name. I kept telling them all that I had someone in my life now and that I wasn't "shopping" anymore - which felt pretty good to say.

Still - the lesson I've learned is that I've missed out on a LOT by not doing things by myself. I think it's time I explore that avenue. It's time I spent a little time with ME and have fun with it! I'm ready! Look out world, here comes the Redhead!

Now it's time for bed and sweet dreams...

Finding the One

Subject : Finding the Love of Your Life
Posted Date: : Feb 13, 2007 3:11 PM
Finding the Love of Your Life.

It is that time of the year again, when American businesses, struggle to find a way to wrap their products in red & pink and pitch it to the American consumer looking for a way to celebrate that day dedicated to all things romantic, Valentine's Day. For those who have found 'the love of their lives' it is a day to reaffirm their love for each other and to secretly relish the fact that they no longer have to play the arduous dating game. For the rest, who have yet to find the 'love of your life' it is hand-wringing time. Will they ever find Mr. or Ms. Right?

Well, maybe there is nothing to fret about, after all this is the 21st century, the era of internet dating and as the online dating companies boast, millions of choices. Somewhere in that million, there has got to be that one perfect one for you, right? But how do you find that one in a million? You may not like the answer, but finding the romance of your life has a lot more to do with the mathematics of probability than roses and champagne.

Imagine that you are a blue sock with tiny white polka dots and you must find your perfect match, the other blue sock with white polka dots. Now imagine that, in order to find your perfect match you are only allowed to close your eyes and pick one from a sock drawer with a million different socks in it. This is essentially a random choice. What are the chances that you will find the right one? 1/1000,000. You could get lucky and pull the right sock out of the drawer. Probabilistically speaking, one in a million means, it is just not gonna happen.

You need a way to go from impossible to more possible. So what can you do to increase your odds? In mathematics the probability of a given event (that is finding that one perfect match) will depend on the total number of choices. You must find 1 blue sock with white polka dots out of a million different ones. Which translates to 1/1,000,000.

If you can some how decrease the total number of knee socks, you would be able to increase your chances. So let's say that you could eliminate all the knee socks from the drawer and reduce the total number of socks in the drawer to say 100,000. Now your chances of finding the right one if you closed your eyes and picked one out of the drawer at random would be 1/100,000. This is better than what it was but still pretty impossible. So we should reduce again. This time let's get rid of all the colors except for those that are blue. Assume that this reduces things to 10,000. Your chance of finding the right one at random is 1/10,000. Better than before, still not good enough. So we reduce again and keep only those socks with patterns, which, let us assume, reduces our pool to a 100. Now your chances are 1/100. This is much better, but still a lot of tries to find the right one. So we will do one more elimination. We will reduce the pool to only those socks with white patterns and let us assume that this brings it down to 10. Now your chances are 1/10. This is fantastic! This means that somewhere between the first sock you pull out and potentially the tenth one you will definitely find your perfect match, that other blue sock with white polka dots.

If only finding the love of your life was like finding a matching pair of socks.

In some ways though, it sort of is. The sock analogy applied to the dating world would be the chances of meeting Mr. or Ms. Right if all you were allowed to do was pick someone out of the million at random. You could find the love of your life anywhere between the first and the millionth date. Those are bad odds. So you increase your chances of success by elimination, let's say by age. That will bring down your choices and increase your odds. By the sock analogy the more filters you use the greater your odds will be.

Ah! But here is where the similarities end. Using the filters will only increase your odds if you use the right filters or parameters. The filters we used to eliminate all the wrong socks, were useful only because we knew exactly what we were looking for. To increase your odds of finding your perfect match, you need to know what the right questions or parameters are. To figure out the right parameters or questions, you must first know exactly what you want. Otherwise the math is useless.

So what if you don't know what exactly you are looking for? What if you really need that dependable geek, but your dating checklist keeps you dating all those irresponsible bad boys? What if you think you know the checklist that will get you to your soul mate, but don't really? In fact that is exactly what Dr. Phil and all of those other relationship gurus on the self-help aisle are counting on. We all want to find that right one, but don't really know the right check list. Our yearning and ignorance becomes their cha-ching.

Those of us who do end up finding the love of our lives, often realize things only after the fact. You may have thought all along that your perfect match was the blue sock with the white polka dots, but somewhere along the way, it may suddenly dawn on you that the white sock with the blue polka dots you are holding is the real ying to your yang.

It isn't easy finding that one perfect match, but when you do, it's pure bliss.

I wish for nothing more than for each of my friends out there to have every bit the luck that they deserve in the month of love.

Visions and Sanity

I believe that I somehow see the world in a different light than most people. Things around me hold inticate beauty that isn't really visible to most people, and in fact, isn't visible to me unless I really look at them with all senses.

Just now I found myself standing before a wooden shed with rusted locks and hinges on its front. Where most people would only see a wooden shed, I saw a subject worth drawing. I ran my fingertips lightly over the painted wooden surface, the paint worn away in some places. I felt the creases of the wood, the cracks in the surface and the knot holes in their imperfect circles. I could hear my light touch sliding over the creases and natural folds in the wood as it scraped gently like feeling the surface of a freshly cut tree. I could smell the old wood around me; a faint smell of something beautiful and sturdy. The breeze filtered through my hair and lifted my eye lashes slightly, as if trying to open my eyes a bit further so that I might see more of the lines made wider with age.

The fresh air around me filled my lungs and I had a feeling of complete peace; calmness settled around me. I had a vision of drawing the details of the shed first, focusing on small areas at first like the lock or the hinges, maybe the corner of the door and the perfect way it imperfectly lined up with the opening. Then as I took a step back in my minds eye, I invisioned that same shed in its whole among tall trees in a clearing by the wood, behind it stretching out into a vast field surrounded by split rain fences, edged by forrest, spotted with sheep and horses. Far off, at the edge of the field I could picture an old house buit entirely of stone in an ancient hand, the craftsmanship the likes of which the world doesn't see or create today. Even the fictional farm house in my mind had its own texture and feeling. Without touching it, since it didn't really exist but in my mind, I could feel the rouh stone surface. It was weathered and beaten by the rains and winds and yet it stood proud. Smoke billowed through the chimney, making it easy to picture that it was a cold day and someone was inside baking the bread needed for the nightly meal.

While some people would say that it's merely an active imagination, I can only share these pictures through words with the rest of the world. Perhaps that's another reason I write... to paint a picture with words. That house does not exist. The field with sheep and horses does not exist. None of it exists except in my mind. None of it is real, but to me it's all a lart of what I see when I run my fingertips lightly over the painted wood shed. It's not an active imagination so much as it is a desire to see beauty in everything I look at or touch.

I wonder how many people out there could touch the surface of sheep skin slippers and imagine an old wood cutter out by his house chopping wood for the fire while the hides of animals hang tanning in the sun to make warm clothing and blankets for his family. I wonder how many people cal see a stray branch on a tree and wonder how many birds have perched on that limb while searching for its mate. I wonder if anyone else in the world has the same kinds of visions that I have.

Does anyone else in the world see beauty in all that they see and touch? How unique is my view of the world? Is this the very edge of sanity?