Well, it's now 2010.  I haven't been writing all that much lately, so a year-end wrap-up is probably in order.  Especially this year.  Without question, this has been the year of biggest change in my life since I moved to Oregon (literally over-night) back in Dec of 1999.  So this wrap-up will be a year- and decade-in-review, I suppose.

But before I start, I guess I'll have to lead with a minor disclaimer: there will be vastly less specifics here than many would put in.  Why?  Well, more than anything, I guess it's because I'm discovering that life, or at least talking about it, requires less by way of specifics and more about general tone and tenor, and without question, that has changed in my life dramatically.  The whys and wherefores really are only important to me.


I started writing a chronology of my life here, including employment history, and a bunch of other stuff.  Pointless.  Here's a nutshell...

In 1998, I fell in love with someone very special.  I moved to Portland to live with her, literally overnight.  In the past 10 years that I've lived in Portland, I lived with her for nearly nine of them, and was married to her for nearly seven.  We had many good times together, and I owe her a great debt of thanks and more for my life here, the love she showed me, and for putting in my life the young woman I now proudly call my daughter.  In the end, though, there was an unspannable difference in our lives that was no one's fault.  I know I disappointed her in a number of major ways, and yes, she most certainly did disappoint me as well, but not in any of the ways anyone may think.  She is a great person, and I still feel very strongly about her.  The one thing that I believe makes our life and time together a success is that we supported each-other through great and tumultuous changes in our lives.  If we did anything for each-other, it was that we allowed each-other to grow into who we are now.  We explored the truth of our spirituality, our love, our gender-roles and sexual identities, and our personalities in a very frank and honest way, and encouraged each other to be genuine.  It is for that reason alone that I asked her to agree to end our marriage.  We always thought that no matter what change may happen, the core of what we were as a couple would remain.  It honestly never really dawned on us that this thing, this "us" that we counted on as an anchor would too change.  But it did.   It was without question the hardest decision I've ever hard to make, asking her for a divorce, but I made a promise to her that I'd do everything in my power to make her happy.  I also made a promise to myself to live life in a genuine way.  Those two things came to a point towards the end of 2008, and combined with my deepening Zen practice, forced me to make a decision.  I know it was the right decision.  We are both happier people because of it.

The 00's saw so much change.  So very much.  Between December of 1999 and 2009, both of us lost all our father figures (that'd be three of them), we lost the daughter we were raising together, not once, not twice, but three times, we lost a dear friend to cancer, then one of the most precious feline friends the world has ever known.  A tumultuous move that was VERY poorly handled by me, the purchase of a house just before the bubble burst, a good friend going to jail for something he didn't actually do, then the loss of yet another of our beloved feline friends.  We both were changing at a quantum level.  Vegetarianism, veganism, Buddhism, weight-loss, re-evaluation of our core beliefs.  The trauma of addiction raised its head again.  At least I was able to take the lessons I'd learned from my own traumatic addictions and apply them in a way that saw some good come of it.

And then it was 2009.  I'd gone from being a Roman Catholic semi-Libertarian fading neo-con Midwestern web designer to a Zen Buddhist rampant Liberal latent bi-sexual unemployed writer.  Easy-peasy.

I got my own flat in April of 2009; a mother-in-law studio below a ranch-house on the slope of a cinder-cone volcano remnant.  It felt so very odd that after 40+ years, this was my very first space that was exclusively my own.  In the past, I'd always moved into someone else's space.  It's tiny, but not as tiny as it could be.  It's pricey, but not as bad as it could be.  It's in a great part of Portland that I love living in. It has a nice view of the sun-sets.  I like it.  Eventually I'll want more rooms than just a bathroom and my closets, but for now, it's a good home.

When my former partner and I divorced, we were both seeing other people.  Being that we were polyamorous, that was fine and above-board.  And frankly, our polyamory is NOT the reason why we divorced.  It would have happened regardless of whom we were respectively seeing.  But anyway, I was romantically involved with a mutual friend of ours from about August 2007.  That relationship was really a very positive experience for both me and the woman I was involved with.  We, too, helped each-other grow, and helped each-other move into new chapters of our respective lives.  She is still one of my closest friends, and greatest confidants.  But it was a rather interesting thing to be getting divorced and yet still be partnered.  I will admit that it it was probably more helpful to my ego, self-esteem and emotional stability, but it didn't reduce the sense of loss from my divorce.  Trust me; it still hurt like hell.

In May, shortly after I moved into my current flat, I started seeing someone new.  She was a "formal" acquaintance, and in a number of ways was something I'd always been looking for, so much so that I ended the polyamorous relationship I'd had since 2007 in order to pursue this relationship in depth.  She struck-up a conversation on-line first (something I'm not really used to) and shortly thereafter, we began seeing each-other seriously.  To say it was tumultuous is to minimize both the highs and the lows.  We broke up a number of different times, and just before October, she decided to end it, but honestly, she did me a favor.  She wasn't the right person for me for any number of different reasons, and she had a problem with honesty and trust.  She didn't want to believe the core truths of both of our lives, and that made us completely incompatible.  I wanted it to work for the most part, but as time passed, I was more and more grateful that it was over.  I still wish her well, even though she has nothing but contempt for me now.  I can't help that at all, and frankly I don't really care.  I know in my heart that I acted in good faith at all times, and in the end, that's all that matters as far as karma is concerned.  It does shock me, though, that I had read someone so completely and utterly wrong.  Makes me wonder if my sensors are getting soft.

During one of the periods she (above) and I weren't seeing each-other, I had occasion to go on a date with a fellow polyamorous friend's girlfriend (yes, I know this gets confusing; need a score-card?)  Anyway, he's married, in a quadrangle-shaped life with his wife, his primary poly GF and another GF (yes, he's very busy!)  Anyway, I'd met his primary GF about 9mo earlier, and took an immediate fancy to her for a number of reasons.  While "broken up" with my on-again/off-again, we went out for drinks and hit it off.  A few kisses made us both know that we were very interested in each-other...

Then the on/off was back "on".  More tumult.  It was my mistake, honestly.  I shouldn't have started it back up, but for a number of reasons (mostly due to the new-found desire to have a biological child--something I thought I'd said goodbye to in my life) I did.  She and I tried again, and I didn't really speak to this new lady for quite some time while this summer relationship played itself out.  After the dust of that crash-and-burn settled, and I'd recovered a bit of composure, I asked her out again.  The attraction was immediately back as it was when we first saw each-other.  This relationship is very easy.  I won't say "effortless" because nothing is.  But it's so gentile; so easy.  It has a wonderful depth that comes from combining the lives of two people who have been around the block (or through the ringer, frankly) a few times and have truly lived and developed a maturity that only miles and past lives can produce.  We've been seeing each-other since December 15th.

December 15th.  The day back in 1999 that I hugged my late father goodbye, climbed aboard a Delta MD-80 and flew west to Portland, Oregon, with most of my belongings in two duffel-bags.  A place I'd only been to twice before, knew very little about, and had no real expectations of.  A place that I would soon learn was my destiny, and a place I could truly learn to be genuine in.  A place I love.  A place that I call home.

To everyone mentioned above; all the women whom I've been with, all my friends, all my family, and all those who know me here, even if we don't talk anymore, or are estranged, please take from this one thing: I hope and pray that you find the happiness and joy that you truly deserve from this life.  Each and every one of you have helped shape me into who I am, and to each of you I say--without reservation--thank you.

May we all take more confident steps down the path in this coming year.