Tag Archives: diversion programs

UN-Doing the War on Drugs

I ended my last post by saying I would write about a road trip I am contemplating, from St. Paul to New Orleans.  I don’t know enough to write about it yet, so for now I will revert to one of this blog’s main topics, addiction—and all the consequences of addiction and trying to stop it.

I’m very excited that the United Nations will hold a review of the whole drug control system in April in New York.  It’s called the Special Session of the United Nations General Assembly on the World Drug Problem, or the horrible acronym UNGASS. I’d like to thank the Open Societies Foundation (OSF) for its reporting on this.  OSF promotes research documenting the heavy costs of the war on drugs and shares success stories from countries that have implemented smart policies.  I’ve plagiarized their recent blog posts quite heavily here.

The last time the UN had a special session on drugs, in 1998, the focus was “the total elimination of drugs from the world.”  Ha!  I wonder if there were any actual addicts or former drug dealers involved in coming up with that totally unrealistic goal.

Because it didn’t go well.  The war on drugs has led to public health crises, mass incarceration, corruption, and black market–fueled violence.  Governments—especially those in Latin America that have to deal with the fallout of bad drug policies—have pushed for this UNGASS.

Citizens are fed up too.  A few years ago, a coalition of organizations and individuals in Uruguay pushed until the country voted to become the first country in the world to establish a legal, government-controlled marijuana market.  The main objective of the law was to eliminate narcotrafficking.  But they also have a positive goal, to make the new marijuana production chain beneficial for poor segments of society and a sustainable business for small producers with limited resources.

For the first time, there is significant dissent at the local, national, and international levels.

UNGASS is an opportunity to put an end to the horrors of the drug war and instead prioritize health, human rights, and safety.

I didn’t even know that there was an International Narcotics Control Board, did you?  That sounds creepy.  And it acts like a bully, apparently.

For instance, in the 90s, Switzerland had a major drug problem.  There were open-air drug scenes and one of the highest rates of HIV in Western Europe.  The government pioneered services such as heroin prescriptions, supervised consumption rooms, and community-based treatment.  The Swiss people approved this policy through a series of referenda.

What happened?  The number of new heroin users declined from 850 in 1990 to 150 in 2002; drug-related deaths declined by more than 50 percent; new HIV infections dropped 87 percent, and there was a 90 percent reduction of property crime committed by people who use drugs.

But the UN’s Control Board accused the Swiss of “aiding and abetting the commission of crimes involving illegal drug possession and use.”

On the other hand, when Bulgaria introduced a law that made possession of tiny amounts of drugs punishable with mandatory incarceration for as long as 15 years, the Control Board praised their “political commitment and the will to deal with drug abuse.”  I’ve never been to Bulgaria, but life in a Bulgarian prison sounds horrifying.

OSF is publishing a series of reports in advance of UNGASS, including research into drug courts and their unintended consequences, and an examination of how the drug war affects girls and women uniquely.  You can sign up for their updates here.  Want to get more involved or have a say?  Check out this cool website, Stop the Harm.

So there!  After my recent buzzkill series of posts, I’m happy to share with you some good news and some easy ways to contribute to fixing this world’s drug problem—for real this time.

Hedgehogs, Mice, and Echidnas, Oh My

I pride myself on writing realistically about life. You can count on me to tell the truth as I know it, to question everything, and to imagine the worst case scenario. I don’t know why the Pentagon hasn’t called me yet to offer me a disaster-planning job.

But that doesn’t mean I’m depressed, or even “unhappy”—the more generic term. Being a highly-analytical thinker has its rewards. I notice and think about things that other people do not. There’s often absurd fodder for laughs. Sometimes I’m the only one laughing, but that’s okay, right?

There was an article in the Sunday paper about a study that debunked the popular myth that “happy” people are healthier and live longer. Yes! My friend who works in an old folks home—or whatever they’ve been rebranded as now—has always said, “There are plenty of miserable, crabby 90 year olds. And they’ve always been that way, because their kids tell me they have.”

About five years ago, I kicked the depression that had dogged me all my life. Since then I have felt mostly contentment, punctuated with the normal situationally-appropriate emotions. I felt angry when my landlord raised my rent $300 a month, which forced me to move. I was stressed when I moved again three months later so Vince could live with me. I was anxious when Vince was in solitary confinement. I cried for everything my sister and her kids went through when she had cancer. I felt awe hiking in Petra, in the Jordanian desert, and nervous about crossing over into the Palestinian territories. I felt powerless rage when I was banned from visiting Vince. I had a blast with my friends in Berlin. I’ve been bored at work. I was proud when Vince led his squad at his graduation from boot camp. I am excited at the prospect of remodeling my kitchen.

Hey, I guess I just wrote my Christmas letter!  What a year it’s been.

None of it lasts. Some people figure this out somehow, much earlier in life than I did. Emotions come and go. The pleasant and the unpleasant, they’re all fleeting. So enjoy the nice ones while they last and know that the bad ones will dissipate. Don’t panic if you feel blue once in a while. Don’t latch on to the negative feelings or thoughts. If the blues don’t go away for weeks, of course, seek professional help.

In the last week I’ve had some really good times with people I love.

Yesterday I took my mother to tour the Purcell Cutts House, a prairie-style home build in 1913 and owned by the Minneapolis Institute of Arts. This is the living room:

Purcell Cutts

The guide explained that the simple, serene style was in part a reaction to the chaos of the age. The architect was from Chicago, which was the industrial center of the U.S. Meat packing and other industries attracted droves of immigrants and African Americans from the south. There wasn’t enough housing, and the water and sewer systems weren’t up to par. There were no child labor laws, workers’ compensation, welfare, or social security.

So architects brought nature and art inside. Obviously this was not a house that could be produced on a mass scale. The immigrants and African Americans still lived in poorly-heated hovels. But at least this one architect could escape all that and find sanctuary at home!

Last weekend, I hosted a cookie-baking party for Vince and his cousins.

Hannukah HedgehogsTaisei n me

They’re not pretty, but we had fun. Strangely, Vince and I had prepared enough dough to yield 16 dozen cookies but only nine dozen made it to the final stage. Hmmm…or should I say, Mmmmm….cookie dough?

So enjoy the moments that contain things you love. In my case: design, craftsmanship, nature, history. Kids, creativity, and cookie dough.

Lasagne, Interrupted

I came home from work, tired and famished.  I was lifting a big slice of lasagna out of a pan to a plate when the landline rang.

This is the phone I am required to have as a condition of Vince’s probation.  He was in the shower, and the phone is in his room.  I respect his space and don’t go in there except to the do the laundry.  (He shares his tiny space with the washer and dryer.)

Brrr-ing…brrr-ing…brrr-ing….  I stood with the lasagna poised between pan and plate.  It stopped.  Then Vince’s cell phone started up—vvvbbbb….vvvbbbbb…vibrating on silent.  It went on and on and still I stood drooling over my longed-for lasagna.

I heard the shower shut off and Vince’s voice, “Hello?  I’m in the shower.”  He repeated himself.  Did the person on the line not believe him?  Then: “MOM!  Will you let the agent in?”

I lowered the lasagna into the pan—it was lukewarm now anyway—and went to the front window.  Yep, there she was, sitting in her car at the bottom of the stairs.  I moved to the front door and opened it, waving down to her.  I stood waited while she got herself out of the car and moseyed up the stairs.

Do not sound sarcastic or mad, I told myself.

“Next time, why don’t you knock on the door?” I suggested.

“Oh, yeah!” she replied, as though she had never heard such an idea.

She stood in the dining room with the urinalysis cup while Vince threw on some clothes.   She smiled, I faked a smile back.  Vince entered the room, retrieved the cup from her, then returned to the bathroom.  As he was returning down the hall, the agent said loudly, “Be sure to tip the cup on its side so the urine gets on the test strip.”


Maybe I should have exited at that point but I didn’t realize she was going to linger.  And did I mention I was hungry?

Vince sat at the dining room table.  The agent and I stood in opposite corners in the room.  I was half way into the kitchen, with one eye on the lasagna.

“How’re things goin’?” she asked.

“Fine,” was his reply.  He told the agent he was planning to buy a $300 car.  It would help him get around quicker and he could tinker with it on “the property” which includes the parking lot of the condos where we live.

“The big challenge,” I volunteered, “will be for him to find a landlord who accepts ex offenders.”

“That is a big problem,” she said, “Most landlords take advantage of them, because they can.”

My crabbiness quotient quadrupled.  Or maybe it was just plain anger.  Well, I’ve rarely had a good experience with a landlord, so why was I shocked that they would exploit ex offenders?

“We do know a guy who is open to ex offenders, and fair,” she continued.

One landlord in a metropolitan area of 3.5 million people.

She told Vince she would get him the landlord’s information, and left shortly thereafter.

Finally!  My lasagna.  I sat across from Vince and when I saw his face I thought, “Oh no, I’m in trouble now.”

Mom,” he began slowly, as though he was talking to an utter moron, “Don’t ever bring things up to the agents.  Now the next time one comes, they’ll grill me about why I want to move out.  ‘What’s wrong at home?’  ‘What’s going on with your mom?’”

“But…last week you told me you had that tip on a sober house.”  For a few days we had both been excited but it fell through.  “You want to move out, don’t you?”

“Yes, but we agreed I could stay a year.”

“Yes, but…you were talking about that house….  I thought she might have some resources.”

I ate my lasagna without gusto and offered him some, which he accepted.  “Do you really think I would try to get you in trouble, on purpose?” I asked.

“Sometimes I wonder,” he said.

Just like when he was inside, I didn’t know the rules until I broke one, and trying to be helpful only got me in trouble.

Sincerely, Barak Obama

I wrote to the White House about a month ago to thank President Obama for his efforts to lower incarceration rates through sentencing reform, reintegration programs and other “upstream” measures. I thought I would share the response I received.  Too bad the White House seal and other graphics don’t show up:

Dear Anne:

Thank you for writing, and for sharing your son’s story.  Today, our criminal justice system holds approximately 2.2 million Americans behind bars, at a cost to taxpayers of $80 billion per year.  Many of these individuals are violent criminals who are off the streets thanks to hard‑working police officers and prosecutors, but many others who are incarcerated are non‑violent offenders whose punishments do not always fit their crimes.  We have to make sure that our justice system is fair and effective and is doing what it can to make individuals, their families, and their communities stronger.

My Administration has taken concrete steps to enhance public safety while also making our system more just.  By channeling resources into early childhood education and issuing discipline guidance to our schools, we are creating pathways to success instead of pipelines to prison.  Through initiatives like “My Brother’s Keeper,” we are promoting reforms to the juvenile justice system and reaching young people before they’re locked into a cycle from which they cannot recover.  Additionally, the Justice Department’s “Smart on Crime” and “Justice Reinvestment” initiatives aim to address the unnecessary use of mandatory minimums in the Federal system and work with states to lower their incarceration numbers and reinvest in crime prevention services.

For currently incarcerated individuals, my Administration has supported critical improvements to our prison system that target overcrowding, solitary confinement, gang activity, and sexual assault.  We are promoting rehabilitation programs that have been proven to decrease the likelihood of a repeat offense, and we are expanding reintegration programs—such as those supported by the Second Chance Act—that work with government agencies and non‑profit organizations to help provide access to employment, education, housing, and health care for the nearly 600,000 inmates released annually.  In addition, I directed the Office of Personnel Management to “ban the box” on most Federal job applications in order to end the practice of disqualifying people simply because of a mistake they made in their past.

While my Administration remains committed to taking action to improve all phases of the criminal justice system, it is time for Congress to act.  Meaningful sentencing reform and juvenile justice reform legislation would make a crucial contribution to improving public safety, reducing runaway incarceration costs, and making our criminal justice system fairer.  There is strong bipartisan support in Congress to achieve these goals, and I am encouraged that the Senate and House will continue to work cooperatively to get a bill to my desk.

Thank you again for writing.  Throughout my Presidency and beyond it, I will continue working to keep our communities safe and make our justice system fair.  To learn more about these efforts, visit www.WhiteHouse.gov/Issues/Civil‑Rights/Justice.


Barack Obama

Seeing how Vince struggles with the after effects of being imprisoned, it is comforting to know that lawmakers on both sides agree the system must change—drastically, and now—and that my president cares enough about this to take it on even after he leaves office. I believe this is the only issue Republicans and Democrats agree on and are working on together nowadays, which tells you a lot about how messed up the system is.

A Draught Experiment

Because my son lives with me and is on intensive supervised release for a 50-month prison sentence, I am not allowed to have alcohol in my house.  Or drugs.  Or weapons.  But I wouldn’t even know where to get my hands on either of those.

I have to admit I was worried that I couldn’t do it—not have alcohol in my home.  Over many years I had developed some habits.  Living alone, there was no one to question them.

It went like this: I would get home and have a beer or a glass of wine.  Then another one, and sometimes another one.  Especially if I was into some TV show, it was easy to just keep the wine bottle on the table next to me so I wouldn’t have to get up and walk to the fridge for a refill.

This was my habit almost every night, except for the occasional night I went out for happy hour, which just involved a different venue.

So I really wondered—what will I do—now that I can’t drink at home?  Was I really an alcoholic after all?  Would I sneak alcohol into the house?  Drink it in my car in the parking lot?  Would I stoop, literally, to drinking in the unheated, spider-web-filled basement?  Would I be going to happy hour seven nights a week?  Would I start stuffing my face with cookies or driving out to Mystic Lake Casino to gamble, as a substitute?  Would I go through withdrawal?  Would I have to check into Hazelden and if so, could I get a family discount since my dad, Vince, and however many cousins were alumni?

I had a notion that this could be an opportunity, but I didn’t know for what.

It’s been three months since Vince was released.  Not drinking in my home has not been a problem.  I joined a private club that’s a block from my house with the idea that I could amble over and have a few cups of cheer without having to drive home.  It’s a nice place but I learned that I don’t like going to the same place all the time, so I dropped my membership after a few months.

I haven’t gone wild with cravings.  I haven’t snuck alcohol into the house except once or twice, when I stopped at home to change in between the liquor store and going out to a dinner party.  I am not aware that I’m eating any more.  Once in a while I do wish that I could watch my favorite TV program and have a glass of wine, but it’s not a huge deal.  I have enjoyed going out for happy hour twice a week or so, with different friends to different places.  I have also found myself shopping more, but that could be because I just bought a new house and I need stuff.

But here’s the unexpected result: I’ve lost five pounds without even trying!  I can only assume it’s from all the alcohol calories I’ve passed up.  I’ve tracked my drinks and calculated that I’ve foregone over 8,000 calories since Vince moved in.  Thank you, Vince!  I’m probably not watching as much TV, either, because without my sedative of choice I don’t get lulled into a stupor in front of the boob tube.

When Vince mentioned last week that he had a lead on a house share situation, I had mixed feelings.  I was happy for him but worried about myself—would I quickly revert to my former habits?  Maybe I could keep up a self-imposed ban on alcohol in my house.  Right.  Uh huh.

The house deal fell through, and I was relieved.

Poppies of Expectation

There’s a saying: “Expectations are disappointments in the making.”

That sounds so cynical. And as with all self-helpy kinds of things, I had to struggle with this concept intellectually before I could accept and employ it.

Some expectations are reasonable. I expected Vince to graduate from high school. I was bitterly disappointed when he didn’t. In this case the saying still holds true but you couldn’t fault me for the expectation, right? It’s a pretty minimal one held by most parents. (Vince has since earned his General Equivalency Diploma and finished two years of college.)

But there are other expectations that are unreasonable.

Vince wrote numerous times from boot camp about how he had spent four hours scrubbing the baseboard in the gym, or all day moving manure from Point A to Point B, or how he made his bed with sharp corners and ironed his clothes with exact creases. This was not the Vince I knew from before boot camp. “Wow!” I thought, “How wonderful that he’s learned to be a perfectionist clean freak like me!” I looked forward to him moving in. It would be great to have someone else in the house who would wash windows, dust and vacuum, wash the car (and here I got really carried way), paint the spare bedroom, clean the spider webs out of the basement, tear up the old patio and cart all the bricks away, maybe even wallpaper the dining room!

Ha. Suffice it to say that none of those things has happened. And why should they? Vince met the expectations of boot camp because his freedom was on the line. I had never even voiced my expectations to him—I was barely aware of them myself.

The progress I’ve made is this: I used to be completely unaware of my expectations, then feel shocked when they weren’t met. Now I catch myself—maybe not in the moment but eventually—and I laugh at myself a bit. The only disappointment I feel is in myself, for having unrealistic expectations.

Vince will never be a neatnik like me, but he does clean up after himself. He takes out the trash and puts gas in the car when the tank is low. He picks up items at the grocery that I forgot to get the day before. He replaces the toilet paper when it’s gone. He makes ribs and bakes cookies and offers them to me. He pays rent. He works full time and volunteers at the Goodwill on Sundays. He exercises. He’s started his own blog. He’s going to meetings and has sober friends.

I still have thoughts like, “I hope he goes back and finishes his degree,” and “I hope he meets a nice girl and gets married and has kids.” I notice these thoughts. I name them as expectations. I am kind to myself. I acknowledge that they could happen but that there are no guarantees and that Vince’s designs for his future may not match mine. Just for today, I’ll be grateful for what’s right. I will not go romping into the poppy field of expectations and disappointments.

Alone in the City of Dreaming Spires

I spent Thanksgiving in Wisconsin with my cousins, which is what I do every year. Vince couldn’t come because he is not allowed to leave Minnesota.

After eating way too much food, I made the mistake of checking Facebook right before I turned out the light. There were a couple posts from Vince. He sounded so lonely.

I couldn’t fall asleep. I laid there thinking about the time I learned to be alone. I think this is one of the most important skills we have to master in life.

I had moved to Oxford, England four months before my birthday. I rented a house with a three-legged cat named McCartney and housemate who went home to Scotland every weekend. I had a great job. I had joined a posh gym. I had made some acquaintances through work and Alanon meetings.

Red Door

This was before Skype or Facebook or What’sApp. My family and friends used email to communicate with me, but there was no internet at the house.

I don’t normally even care about my birthday. I hadn’t told my housemate or acquaintances it was my birthday because I didn’t want to seem like I was fishing for a fuss.

I walked into town to see a movie. February in England is dreary and drizzly. Well, most months are. In comparison to November, the sun was setting later (almost 5pm!) but the sky really only went from murky black to dark grey and back to murk again.

I got some popcorn and found a seat. Someone behind me said, “Pssst!” Hurrah! It was a friendly woman from my Alanon meeting named Rebecca. I wouldn’t spend my birthday alone after all! But she just said, “Nice to see you,” and that was that. I thought, unreasonably, “Why couldn’t she have invited me to sit with her and her friend?” I felt really put out.

The movie was Walk the Line, the Johnny Cash biopic. There’s a scene where Johnny is drying out and his family confronts a drug dealer with shot guns. The theater exploded in laughter. “Typical Americans!” I could hear around me.

I had picked a bad time to move to England. George W. Bush was using their air bases to transport terrorists and political prisoners in black helicopters, and most Brits were not happy about it. Most people were nice enough—if reserved—but I had been confronted by several very angry people who took me to task for everything my country had ever done wrong.

It really hit me that I was not only lonely but alone. I was on an island with 64 million people and I didn’t know a single one of them beyond asking the time of day. It was piercing.

I went home and had a few beers while I stared out the front window like some tragic heroine in a period movie. People strode past with their hands deep in their pockets and their heads down. I wallowed in self-pity. But somehow I knew I would get through it, that I wasn’t going to die of loneliness, that everything would change eventually—if not the next day then next week or next month. Everything did change. I’ve had a lot of great adventures on my own and with other people.

Now we can feel like we’re never alone by floating along on endless social media streams of cutsie platitudes and cat videos and political rants and “breaking news.”

Did Vince know that nothing stays the same forever? I finally fell into a worried, fragmented sleep. I dreamed that Vince fell into a river and was swept away into a big pipe. I ran along the river bank until I came to an opening in the top of the pipe. I could see his face underwater, looking up at me. The iron bars over the opening were wide enough for my hand to slip through so I could touch him, but too narrow for me to pull him through. Ugh. I woke up crying. I don’t need a psychiatrist to analyze that dream.

Free But Not Free

After avoiding each other for a couple days—not easy to do in an 800-square-foot space—I offered to make dinner so Vince and I could talk and clear the air.  “Unless u want me to write a letter to u instead,” I texted.  No, he texted back, we can talk.

We started with a hug and “I love you.”  It reminded me of our moments on the hug rug in prison.

He wolfed down his stir fry while I talked, then talked while I ate.  We went through our lists of grievances.  To my surprise I didn’t get defensive and he didn’t roll his eyes and walk out of the room.

The one thing I was nervous about was saying, “It is my house.”  That’s a fact, right?  But saying it would feel like I was lecturing a teenager.  This was about my request that Vince ask me—or at least give me a heads up—when he was inviting people over—even family members.  He responded that I had brought my friend Sarah home a few nights earlier without warning him.

“I didn’t even know who she was,” he said.

“Sarah?  You don’t remember Sarah?” I asked.  “We came down to visit you and we spent the day together picking agates.  We had dinner at that nice restaurant where you ended up working….”  Had he been high on something, all day and evening, and I hadn’t been able to tell?  It didn’t matter now.

“It’s my house,” I said, and the world didn’t end.  We agreed to have dinner together a couple times a week so we can talk things over on a regular basis instead of saving them up.

A few days later I texted Vince to ask if he’d like to eat lasagna with me that evening, and he replied that he just wanted to go home and go to be after work.

This is it.  This is what they were talking about the day Vince was released, when they said that adjustment to life on the outside would be harder than anything they experienced in prison.

And now the weather has turned, to the cold, dark days of Minnesota winter.  It’s hard for anyone to get up and leave the house when it’s dark as night and freezing drizzle, but Vince has to walk six blocks, take a bus and a train, then walk six more blocks to his job in the laminating factory.  He still can’t cash his own paycheck because Wells Fargo requires two forms of ID, even for checks drawn on its own accounts.

There was an editorial and an article in the St. Paul paper about criminal justice system reform.  At the end of a local forum, two mothers got up and spoke about the effects of incarceration on the family.

“There’s no help,” said one mother whose son had committed suicide at age 28 because he just couldn’t make it on the outside.

“There really isn’t,” said the second mother.  One of her sons is schizophrenic, and thanks to her persistence he’s in a state hospital, not a prison.  She faces eviction because her landlord won’t let her other son, newly-released on 10 years of probation, live with her.  He was convicted of criminal possession of a firearm.  If I was renting in her building and found out he had moved in, I’m sure I’d be unhappy.

These forums and op-eds are good news—there are reform efforts like this going on at the national, state, and local level, and that they have bipartisan support.  But the words of these mothers weighs on me.  Vince actually said the other day something like, “It would almost be easier to go back to prison that to be trapped on house arrest like this.”  Ugh.

MUST be positive!  Must make gratitude lists!  Must not indulge in self pity!  This too shall pass!

Only eight more months to go.

Geographic Cure, Denied

We’re having a long, warm, sunny autumn here in St. Paul. I get outside as much as possible. I hike along the Mississippi River or go to a park and sit in my car with the sun on my face while I read or do a crossword puzzle. I even went camping in the middle of the week.

Well, it was cabin camping. A heated cabin with electricity. I went for a long hike along the St. Croix River then made a roaring fire outside the cabin. I drank some wine and read a book. It was soooo quiet. Lovely. It was just what I needed, but now it seems like a year ago.


I love being outdoors and I love to travel, but I am also a homebody. I’ve been trying to not be home as much as possible because things are tense. Sharing 800 square feet would be tough with anyone, but I am living with my grown son. No grown man wants to live with his parents.

And my grown son is newly released from prison and negotiating all sorts of challenges, like maintaining sobriety in the land of 10,000 liquor stores and bars. His time outside the condo is very limited and must be pre-approved. The probation agents have not come to the house lately, unless they’ve come in the middle of the night and I didn’t hear them. Apparently they are now showing up at his workplace and making him take urinalysis tests there.

He is working full time, volunteering, cooking, getting out into nature and exercising, and going to AA. He doesn’t complain. He doesn’t ask me for much. I thought things were going relatively well.

When there is something I don’t like, I’ve been direct—asking him to take off his shoes when he comes home, for instance. He always says okay.

He’s been mostly silent for weeks. It’s uncomfortable, but I figured he was going through lots of changes and it wasn’t about me. I figured if he had something to say he would say it. Then I discovered that he had said it, just not to me. Ouch.

I want him to have his say. I want him to speak up. This morning he took me to task for making noise in the kitchen while he was sleeping. His bedroom is on the other side of the wall from the garbage disposal…I got defensive at first, then apologized.  I’m glad he said it to me, not to the spectators in the arena that is the blogosphere.

I interviewed for a job in London three weeks ago. Typical for a nonprofit, they wanted someone who could do at least three jobs in one. They wanted a researcher, a relationship/sales manager, a writer/editor, a trainer, and a budget/finance person all in one. Ideally, there would be a division of labor by people who are suited to and strong in different skill sets.

It was 10 days until I found out I didn’t get it, but it was 10 days of daydreaming. It was like having a “Move to London” lottery ticket in my pocket. I researched where the office was and looked at flats on Craig’s List. I mentally packed two large suitcases with everything I would need. Vince would, of course, stay behind in the condo and have all 800 feet to himself. We would get along great again, once I was 4,000 miles away. I would use every vacation day to travel, travel, travel. London would be such a great base! It would be so much easier to get to my long-haul bucket list destinations, like Australia, New Zealand, Japan, India, and all of Southeast Asia. Oh yes, and the job…of course the people would be easy to get along with and they would love my work and it would be cosmically fulfilling. Then after 3-5 years I would come home and semi-retire, just as Vince was getting married and wanting to buy his own place.

Yep, I had it all figured out. I probably dodged a bullet.  But now what?

A Break from Breaking Free


Vince says he’s hit a wall with the blogging, and I need more than 10 minutes notice to come up with new material.  After over a year of blogging and nearly 200 posts, I’d say we’ve earned a break.

We’ll be back.  If you haven’t yet binge read the thing from the beginning, start here and click on the right-pointing arrow at the bottom of each post to proceed.  Feel free to share with others, and thanks for reading.