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Coffee Date

20 Jan

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After the reinvention of Red’s coffee shop in Santa Barbara’s funk zone, Goleta Coffee Company has been my favorite coffee shop. I don’t come too often, because there are so many more that are closer to where I live. But I really just love this place, feel instantly at ease, cozy, and energized by all the visual eccentricities. I adore places like this. A little industrial, a little mismatched and haphazard, and if you can’t have an outdoor patio, then yes please to the fireplace surrounded by booths and a couch. Some of the furniture is quite hideous, and there’s a crazy red paisley rug on the concrete floor under the sofa, but these things make me want to camp out for hours all the same. I’m really here to do some IIN coursework, which I’m excited to get started (who ever predicted I would say that about school!), but I was listening to one of Jen Lee’s Retrospective podcasts, (where she has conversations with so many different people with different backgrounds and different kinds of work about how they got where they are, stories from their life and what drives, inspires and provokes thought in them.) on the way over here. She interviewed a novelist, Diana Spechler in the one I listened to this morning, and I was so captivated by this conversation. It just sparked so many thoughts in me.. Those kinds of mind-boggling, open-ended, questioning thoughts about why the society is in the state and shape that it is, and how achingly delicate and impressionable the human mind can be, and how long we can hold on to healable wounds that we try not to realize are there. It made me think about how so many people are in such desperate need for connection, whether they realize it or not. And how overwhelming that need seems sometimes, and by that I mean the need in the world. How great the need is for mentors. The need for, not even service and resources and organizing committees, but for one individual to sit with another individual and be able to hold a space of patience and honesty and unconditional love. For a conversation.
I guess, for me anyways, it always comes back to conversation. So much can be healed through conversation with another. Through entering into a real conversation with yourself about how you’re making your home in the world and what is or isn’t nourishing you. A conversation with the scarier parts of the secret wishes and judgments that we try to keep locked inside ourselves so that the world stays properly balanced on our own self determined axis.
And I don’t think the power even lies in finding the answer. I think back to how many friends and former homeless shelter clients, and even fictional characters (which you know were based on real emotions) have said, if only I knew why I do this! Why do I have this pattern, this reflex, why do I keep myself here, why do I do this to myself… if I only knew why, maybe I could do something about it. It sounds almost like just another mind trick to keep yourself stationary, doesn’t it? Safe in the obvious truth that until you figure out the answer… there’s nothing that can possibly be done differently.
I think fixating on the answer is a stalling technique. And I think the real power lies in the conversation. In the attempt to understand. In the willingness to hold a dialogue with yourself or someone else, or in prayer or in meditation, and to ask the difficult questions, “the questions that have no right to go away” (David Whyte). To always try to have that courageous conversation. It opens up those dark and messy places, it brings them into the light, little by little, until they don’t feel so taboo anymore. Until the twisted and aching, the hidden and seemingly shameful are finally recognized as passing, malleable, and so unavoidably human and common and cyclical. I don’t know how it happened, that unpleasant feelings became so unmentionable. Like excitement and enthusiasm and affection and satisfaction are the most acceptably universal feelings. But shame… loneliness, and despair and numbness and uncertainty and even sometimes desire… struggle… how did those feelings get exiled? To the land of no-that-never-happens-to-me or don’t-you-mention-that-out-loud-because-it-might-make-people-uncomfortable… to see or talk about an emotion that has a story attached to it. Its all just so stupidly common. From drug addictions, to body image and disordered eating, to the aftermath of feeling abandoned by a parent to the regular old longing for things to be shaken up a little.

How the mind reels.
I may have ended up in a very different place than the podcast started me out with. But isn’t that just how thoughts are. They tip and they pour into other thoughts, which tumbled out in various directions and trip over personal histories and experiences before being sifted into new or rehashed notions.
And I just had to get that all out onto a page, even a virtual one, so that I can focus on learning dietary theories and planning out my February.

Thanks for having coffee with me.

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Worlds Collide

4 Jan

I’m sitting in the Mesa coffee shop. Laughing to myself because I sit here smelling the coffee, sipping my mint tea, I have a headache, which I can only attribute to the two chili dogs, one corn dog and order of chili cheese fries that I sucked down at noon from Weinerschnitzel. But I digress… I’m sitting in the Good Cup. And I’ve already seen three people I used to hang out with downtown in my partying days. Another one that looks familiar… and it’s strange to see these faces in this different context and this different time in my life. I wonder if the Mesa is where everyone goes to settle down after they party? Or if it’s just where people go to try and hide out from familiar places, ironically. And then I look around at all the people in here… mid-twenties… mid-thirties… over fifty… And wonder if they’re all brought back to those crazy times in their lives when they run into a memory trigger. And if they sit, smelling the coffee, in front of their laptops… looking around at all the faces and marveling at how things have changed. And how young and wild we all were at one time or another.

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Dear Friend

16 Oct

Dear Friend,

Here I am. Escaping for just a moment. Not sure what to say… but knowing I want to throw a lifeline out there. This week has been hard. I’m pretty worn out. But I have a little break, and a warm cup of roobios tea, so here I am.

I’ve been sick this week. So have Mark and the baby. Add some troubled teething sleep, and a recent transition from two naps to one (the baby, not me) and I’d gladly give up a day’s paycheck (or two) just to sleep through my shift.

I don’t want to ruminate… really, I don’t…

I’m just trying to figure out how to pull off all the things I want to pull off while I’m feeling stretched so thin.

Mark reminded me that it’s been an uncharacteristically busy week… family in town, friends in town, a birthday party to plan, several recent trips.

What am I really thinking…

Just so you know, the biggest reason that I write is to find out what I’m actually thinking, underneath the day-to-day happenings and the familiar records that play in my head. Sometimes, I think we all try and save ourselves some brain power by playing the same tracks over and over… slightly varied versions of the same story… to come to our reliably quick conclusion and our seemingly simple solution [not enough sleep, not enough time in the day, not the right groceries in the house][need more sleep, to organize my time more efficiently, to buy more almond butter and tofurkey and bread]… rather than sitting with a question or feeling a little bit longer than is comfortable, to see if it’s really anything else. Writing helps me to do this.

Do, or do not. There is no try.

I think there is a fine line between being gentle and compassionate towards yourself… and using your own circumstances as excuses to avoid putting yourself on the line.

I think of people I know, friends, who approach their lives in a way that appears so courageous. My friend Mary who moved to New York, and is now an off-broadway actress, directing and choreographing on the side. My friend Jenna, who quit a very good paying job to take part in a home-based essential oil business that she and her husband must build themselves. Or my cousin Izzy, who moved to Japan to be a freaking ninja!

Now… none of these lives are for me. I don’t want to be an actress, a martial arts expert, or a salesperson. But still, I’m so impressed by these people. People that I know, who didn’t come from particularly out of the ordinary backgrounds. To have initiated and begun living out these goals that just seem even too incredulous to say out loud. But they seem to tackle it with the same methodology that I would plan dinner with…

Buy these groceries, chop this, mix that, sprinkle in a little of this, simmer for some time, serves and boom, I’m living my dream!

I don’t need to move to the other side of the globe, or the continent, or even make $10,000 a month.

Right now, I just want to create a rhythm and flow to my days and weeks so that I can portion off enough time for some soulcare, some newness, some activity, some rest, some planning for the future… and still have energy for playing and cuddling and adventures here and there.

Oh, and if someone can please invent a barometer that can let me know when to remind myself, “Hey, you’re the mother of a one year old… brew a cup of coffee, grab some baby snuggles and stay home all day, it’s okay.”

or

“Hey! Stop whining, get off your ass and make things happen! You’re a mom, nat an inmate.”

that would be great…

at least until I can fine tune my own temperature reader…

Thanks for listening.

<;3, E

Coffee Date

27 Feb

coffee in italy

If we were to grab a cup of coffee somewhere… I would hope it would be a shop that’s a little bit funky.  With couches and club chairs that are a little beat up, and hopefully a fireplace, and some old vintage tin signs on the walls.

I would probably have to order an herbal tea, although I would long for coffee in my cup, because although most coffee shops have non-dairy creamers now, very few have non-dairy, non-soy creamers.

We would pull up a couch or a chair, and gaze at the fire for a second.  I’d pull my feet up onto the chair to get a little more cozy, take a deep breath, look you in the eyes and smile.  Partly because I feel at home in coffee shops, and partly because I feel so comfortable with you.

I would tell you how we really should do this more often, and I would mean it with all my heart.

I would tell you about how I ate a handful of trail mix at work the other day, and mid dried kiwi, I realized it much have sugar in it.  But I would also be sure to say that I was tempted to eat the garlic bread that came with my quinoa pasta yesterday, but resisted.  Small victories, right?

I would tell you that I have been thinking so much about the future lately.  Where to live, how  to live, where my baby will go to school, how to make sure we’re laying the foundations for the kind of life we want to be in day to day, and that sometimes those thoughts are overwhelming.

I would tell you that this coming Thursday, is the last day until March 31st where both Mark and I are not working.  That of the four weekends this next month, two weekends I work straight through, and the other two weekends, either he has a conference or I have a workshop.  I would be clear in saying that I’m SO excited for these workshops… for the travel up to the bay area that they require, and for the workshop itself… but I would also admit that having that little time together worries me a little, and is not a pattern I want to set up.

I would tell you how we talk about how we want to be intentional with the time that we do have together.  The couple hours after Mason goes to bed and before we fall into ours.  And how sometimes, like last night, we do a great job working on a project together, talking, poking fun at each other, until we get too tired to do so anymore… but how a lot of the time, we’re so in need of a break by the end of the day that it’s blog reading and hulu watching, next to each other.

I would take another deep breath, and a sip of tea, and I’d ask about you.  How your days are going, how you’re juggling everything.  Are you excited about where you’re headed? Are you nervous? I would ask you if you ever get that little voice in your head trying to tell you that you need to reconsider, and what you do about it.

I’d tell you that Mason’s skin was started to smooth out.  The baby softness was returning, even after a few days of these oils, and this diet.  And then we gave him some milk over this weekend while I was at work, that I had pumped at the beginning of the month, before I started eating this way.  And didn’t realize what we had done until his little cheeks started to roughen up again, and a rash spread across his chubby little legs.  Blast!

But my eyes would light up as I tell you how excited I am, because that means that it is working!  That he won’t have to just learn to live with it because food really does heal if you pay attention to what it is you’re eating.

And as I start to sparkle with possibility, I would tell you how I want to do everything.  I want to live in Portland or Corvallis, and Kent and Brooklyn, and Venice and Tuscany, and maybe even in Providence Rhode Island… just to try it out.  I would say that I want to write for a living, start an etsy shop, get a degree in Nutrition, do more yoga, knit more prolifically, read more books, give my baby all the time and attention he wants, spend more time cuddling with my husband like we did when we first started dating, take Ruby on long walks…. you would laugh at mean little as I almost start vibrating with excitement when I think of all these things.  And then when I pause to take another breath… I would say that I’m trying to learn how to pace myself.  To readjust and tame the nudge inside me that makes me feel like I should try to do all of these things at once.   And pick a couple each day, or each moment.  So that my time has a bit of focus.

After my rambling comes to a close… we would sit and sip for a few moments.  Each thinking of our own string of possibilities.

And we would catch eyes again and smile.

And of course the time would run out too soon.

We would gather up our bags, I would probably take my tea to go, since I’m such a slow drinker.  Cast a longing glance at the pastry display, and walk with you to the front.  I’d give you a big hug, say, “it was good to see you”

And we should definitely do this again soon.


<post inspired by Casey Wiegand>

A story, the hardest part. Part 3

15 Feb

Lighted alley

Just to be clear… I did not think that the telling of this story would fall into chapter form.  But so goes life with a little one.  I write in bits and pieces now.

Between feedings, naps, and playtime.

You may have noticed that since parts 1 & 2… I’ve stalled.  Again… building courage… potentially because the lead up is a little easier, and the harder part comes next.  I looked over those two posts, and they read almost like a love letter to Mark, my now husband.

Which is appropriate I suppose.  It was because of him, that I started to view having children less as a startling life interruption, and instead as starting a family, creating a future built off of an amazing love you have for another person.  These things had just never clicked for me before in that simple way.  And life would not be what it was now had it not been for him.

So, onward…

Like I was saying in my “part 2” I had always thought it would be a no-brainer.  An automatic response.  Because they tell you, it’s just a microscopic collection of cells at the very beginning, right?  But everything that I thought before, and everything that other people told me meant absolutely nothing.  Nothing in comparison to the reality that a tiny being had started to form in me.  When you begin to feel that tiny realization grow… that unimaginable bundle of potentiality… size and development and science and religion and well-intentioned advice and warnings… they all mean nothing.  And the wonderment and the awe… they only crescendo.

Me, I’m a reader.  I’m a researcher.  I devour as much information as I possibly can when my interest has been peaked.  And to say my interest had been peaked at this developing little soul inside me… well that’s a ridiculous understatement.

I soaked it all up.  I shyly but excitedly spread the word to my friends and those I worked with.  Mark and I talked and planned some more.  We even found a one bedroom apartment to move into together, contacted the landlord and submitted an application.

It felt much longer… but it must have just been days.  Because from awareness to completion… that pregnancy lasted almost exactly two weeks.

And this is what was the hard part.

Not the miscarriage itself, there was no pain or physical difficulty.  Mine was all emotional.  I laid out the contrasts in my former self in that last post to highlight the extreme mental plowing I had to do in order to prepare my mind and my heart for the embarking on a journey towards motherhood, towards partnership, towards putting someone else’s needs before my own for as long as they needed me to develop and grow and thrive and learn.  These were things to which I had barely given a second thought, previous to these two weeks.  And so much processing and soul searching, reality checking and dream analysis went into reworking myself from the girl who pulled over to the side of the road and sobbed in terror at the news, to one who could not contain my wild reverence for what was about to happen to our lives, whose eyes sparkled whenever I told someone new.

Two weeks.

And then I miscarried.

The day we were going to drive down to Orange County to tell my parents, I started spotting.  A nervous hour of monitering led to a cancel of that morning’s breakfast plans, and a five hour stay in the emergency room.  No pain.  Just suspension.  Confusion.  Disbelief.  Not even disbelief in the sense of “How could this happen to us?!”… I wasn’t there yet.  I was still really in disbelief.  I did not believe the events that were occuring.  I still thought that everything had to be okay in there… this was just some rarity.

I laid in a hospital bed, Mark stood or sat next to me.  We held on to each other.  We talked very little, except to acknowledge that people were giving us mixed messages.  A bait of hope that this was a false alarm, followed by some casual statistics of the frequency of miscarriages this early on.  Doctors and nurses came and went.  Blood was drawn time after time for test after test.  Ultrasounds were done on two different floors.  They wheeled me in the bed through the hallways, under the fluorescent lights, with inconclusive results.  Blood pressure checks, the same questions over and over, the same numbness and dazed feeling that came over me in the clinic two weeks before.  When life as I knew it had changed… the first time.

I made up a story about not being able to get out of work for that weekend, and texted it to my parents.  We went back to Mark’s place after leaving the hospital, a follow up appointment at the county clinic for Monday morning, and some more Gelson’s comfort food.

Looking back, I’m so impressed with how we handled that miscarriage.  That may seem like a strange thing to say, but it stands in stark contrast with the poor way in which I handled the second miscarriage I had about six months later.  But after the first one, we leaned on each other the way that a couple should.  We cried and we held each other and we looked to some healthy distractions, but we let the emotion out when we needed to.  And as time went on, even well into the times where we had the inkling that maybe we should have been “passed it” by then… we still told each other when there was a day that we were feeling particularly heartbroken, and needed maybe a little more patience or sensitivity.

And we had to go back, through the lists of people we had sheepishly, yet excitedly told about our big news… and tell them what had happened.  That was so hard.  Because then you had to choose whether to paint on a brave face, or cry on the spot.  And then there were always people you had forgotten to tell the updated story to… I was leaving a class at the massage school one day when one of the student receptionists asked me an excited question about my pregnancy.  It stunned me nearly into tears and I pasted on a smile, said itwasfine, and booked it out the door, letting her believe, for a while longer at least, that I was still glowing… not wanting to tell the story again just yet.

I remember feeling, even a couple weeks after the 2nd follow up appointment confirmed in hormone levels that I had, indeed, miscarried… like they were all wrong somehow, and my little one was still growing inside me.

Eventually it sunk in that it was over.  All that mental shifting… all that planning… all that excitement and wonder and hope and anticipation… it was gone so quick I couldn’t wrap my head around it.  Like it never happened.  Life could have gone on just as it had before.  Only it couldn’t.  Not a chance.  Everything had changed.  Only I felt I had nothing to show for it.  We had grown up and taken a huge breath of courage and stepped forward in commitment to each other and this new baby… and were left standing with our hands open and empty.  And our hearts so much more than a little bit crushed.

What’s amazing is that as I type these words… I can feel myself wanting to skip over parts.  Having to go back and fill in more little details, because I’m still trying to avoid telling the story, even as I tell it.  And as I write, I can feel the emotions that I’m typing.  Which is possibly why I’ve been stalling continuing.  Who wants to relive this stuff?!  What crazy head feels the need to tell this story almost two years after the fact.  After time has passed, and a lovely marriage to the man in the story, and a beautiful baby boy born healthy and gorgeous are part of the new story…

I talked about bits of the lead into this in here and here.

And I’ll talk about it a little more in one more wrap up post… but for now, I’ll just say this…

There’s something about having two people in my life that I love more than I ever thought possible.  Two people who depend on me in such drastically different ways.  Whose lives are so permanently intertwined with mine, that not a moment goes by where we are not affected by each other.  Our lives, our contentedness and our spirits are nourished by each other.  And this amazing and relatively new fact… makes me want to be to best version of myself that I can possibly muster up.  For myself of course, but this new and seemingly stronger motivation is to be a model for my son, and a support for my husband.  And as I’m trying to bring attention to every part of my life… I’m realizing that my best self… experiences every moment of her life, and listens to and learns from the heartbreaking times as well as the times of elation.  I think that being present to even those moments we’d rather rush past, is a way of showing respect to this life we’ve been given.  Of treasuring it.  Of saying to God or the universe or whatever you believe plays a hand in the rhythm of our lives, “I’m not wasting it.  I’m invested in every moment.  From the mundane to the movie-worthy.  I will be present.  And I won’t be afraid of being seen.”

A story, mulled over and marinated. Part 2

27 Jan

Campfire

To this day, I know that I owe so much of my convictions about Mark to that moment.  It was the first in a pair of aha moments that led us to where we are today.  That confirmation that there was a reason we had our eyes on each other since we met.  Since the day we met.  God, I adore that man.

So we let it be for that night.  We went to Gelson’s deli and bought some comfort food.  Ate it all at his place, watching When Harry Met Sally.  The good food and good girly movie wrapped their arms around me just like he did, keeping me safe and held for the night.

In the two weeks following, we talked.  We talked and talked and thought and thought and when we couldn’t think of anything new to say or think, we ran through it all again.  Countless times.

Now.  This is a serious situation for anyone.  An unplanned pregnancy, with a man you’ve only been dating for two months.  When your immediate life plans are to move across the country.  Regardless of how madly in love with him you are, this is a predicament to sort out.  The lovely, delicate and fresh emotions and feelings of a long awaited new relationship that are being newly unwrapped and discovered have to be held up to the light so soon.  Weighed and examined for their long term potentialities, compatibilities.

<<————————->>

And let’s pause for a moment to explain who I was.  Well, who I (and am, and will be) is so much more than the things I am about to explain, obviously, but for the sake of story continuity, and to illustrate the dramatic 360 the direction of my life was facing, “Who I was”:

I worked four days a week, Thursday-Sunday, as a massage therapist (which I still do) and a waitress at a gloriously sexy place called the Blue Agave.  My shifts ended at 2am, but my nights often ended well past that and there several nights where the sunrise served as a gentle reminder that I did need to sleep at some point.  My schedule had been carefully crafted over the past 2-3 years until I had arrived where I was.  Few shifts, on a few optimal income days in two fun and contrasting jobs, which provided so much flexibility for living life outside of work.

I was learning, practicing and sometimes teaching ballroom dancing 2-5 hours a day.  Just for fun, just because I loved it, just because I could.

I was, as I said, quickly falling in love, but trying to drink it all in slowly.  Before Mark I had been a chronic relationship-avoider.  My last relationship a year before him and lasting two months, and my longest being a year and a half, taking place 8 years earlier!

I had always proclaimed myself to selfish to have children.  Unashamedly so.  I was 25, living in the years that are ideal for unabashed self-discovery, reflection, experimentation and ah, the years of the readily disposable income.  I had only just decided that yes… I did want to have kids, someday.  ((Literally, the conclusion hit me on a trip to Italy four months prior.  Fairly spontaneous travel being another thing my work schedule allowed me to do.))

Apparently, the universe took that inkling and ran full force with it.  And my newly discovered inkling that kids might be nice, let me repeat, someday, again, being held up to the potentiality of nearly immediate parenthood.    

I live in a world of polarized friends.  I have a group of friends from Westmont, the small Santa Barbara christian college I went to,  and groups of friends from my massage and restaurant/bar life.  Let me tell you those are two vastly different minded groups of people.  So this next statement is on a subject that’s touchy to some, cut and dry to others, but I had always been in full support of abortion.  I had close friends who had unwittingly found themselves in a similar situation before and that’s the route they went.  Quite rightly so for their circumstances and place in life.  The women in my family had a history of much younger, inopportune pregnancies, and while I ADORED my nieces and nephew, and cringe to think that there was even a potential at their absence in my life… I always figured that if I found myself in a “delicate” situation in an disadvantageous time of my life… there was no question in my mind.  I wouldn’t hesitate to pull the plug.

 <<————————->>

So why was I hesitating?

That’s what I kept asking myself.

Why was the obvious answer… feeling less than obvious…

It was because of Mark.  It was because of his instinctive response of support.  It was because the fact that we had been dating for only two months was nearly immaterial in comparison to the way he had already etched out a permanent home inside my heart.  In that short amount of time, his heart was transparent.  His character was clear and I didn’t know then, and I don’t know now how it’s possible to have all these amazing and genuine, intelligent, contemplative, fun-loving, dedicated, quick to laugh, grounded, soul-touching qualities all wrapped up and packaged in such a gorgeous and true-hearted man.  It continues to blow my mind every day.

So there we were.  Wrestling with what we were feeling instinctively, versus what seemed from the outside to be an insufficient amount of time to enter this overwhelming stage of life together.

We probably thought more than we talked for the majority of that week.  Although we kept touching base to ask each other various what if’s.

It was on a camping trip, in the San Padres National forest, that we finally each admitted to the other that we were leaning towards wanting to have this baby.  Shyly, carefully… testing out the words as they left our mouths, lying on a pile of blankets outside by the firepit as the sky darkened.  Words flowing more freely the more each of us talked.

No decision was made that night.  But the atmosphere had been set.  The confessions had left their protected houses inside us and we gave each other permission to consider.  A future.

A story, not yet fully told. Part 1

24 Jan

Santa Barbara bluffs

It was at the end of April in 2010, and Mark and I had only just started dating.  I had big plans to move to New York with a couple of friends, very ready to wrap up my Santa Barbara life.  Skating around the topic with Mark, because I was quickly falling in love with him, and didn’t want to have to think of how to reconcile those two facts.

It was at the end of April in 2010 when I found out I was pregnant.  I sat stunned in the free clinic as the two women who told me my results then proceeded to go into depth about my various options.  It wasn’t until a few minutes later that I had to tell them I hadn’t heard a word they had said.  I left the clinic with several flyers, got into my car, and started to drive.  Well… got into a car.  I didn’t own one at the time, so it may have been Mark’s, it may have been a friends, I can’t really remember.

I drove.  Across town, up a hill, along the cliffs of the ocean, parked on a dead end street.  And I bawled.  I cried huge, gasping, confused sobs.  This was so far out of my mind as a possible life step right then, that I moved from shock, disbelief, to utter despair.  I couldn’t even think straight I was so overcome.

Eventually, I drove back down the hill, pulling over to burst into tears again over the phone with my New York friend.  And waited at Mark’s house for him to come home.  I didn’t want to call him at work.  I didn’t know what his response would be.  I didn’t even know what my response was yet.

We had only been dating for two months.  We’d known each other for a few years, been friends, secretly adored each other, but only recently started dating.

I was so nervous.  He came home, I told him we needed to talk.  And then, yet again, I burst into sobs.

 

Somehow, without any words, without any explanation.  He knew almost immediately what had happened.

We weren’t careless.  We were very careful, we were very protected.  A pregnancy was in the highly unlikely category… but not impossible.  Apparently.

What blew me away was his response.  I don’t remember exact words, I don’t remember much of anything very clearly from that day… but I do remember that his response is what made my decision.  Right then and there.  Subconsciously, perhaps.  But the second I felt his support. His arms encircling, his sense of love, and courage and acceptance.  Like there wasn’t a thought or an option of leaving me to deal with this on my own.  Togetherness.  I knew we would figure it out.  And I knew that before that moment… every prediction I would have made about my reaction to this situation would have been dead wrong.