Pleasure Meme

>> Saturday, October 29, 2005

The following is a list of things that bring me pleasure:

  1. The sound of Steph's laughter
  2. A plateful of Alaskan King Crab legs and a shell cracker
  3. Walking hand-in-hand down the Kartnerstrasse with Steph
  4. Sitting in Cafe Diglas sipping vanilla tea and eating chocolate torte
  5. Listening to my favorite recording of the Mozart "Great C minor Mass" through the headphones
  6. Standing on stage, singing
  7. The smell of stage make-up, perspiration, sawdust, and fabric all melded together
  8. Wearing Channel No. 5 perfume
  9. When my 13 year-old son still wants to cuddle up next to me
  10. Chocolate
  11. A soothing bath in the whirlpool tub with lavender oil, candles, and Mozart playing on the stereo
  12. Cuddling next to Steph in bed
  13. A lazy Sunday spent in bed watching Lifetime movies on television with Steph
  14. Wearing my favorite "little black dress" and pearls
  15. The sound of my daughter, Heather's singing
  16. My daughter, Lauren's beautiful smile
  17. Setting the dinner table with my mother's china for a special occasion
  18. The sound of Steph sitting at the piano, composing something
  19. Having a little money to spend on myself, on whatever I want
  20. Our house decorated for Christmas
  21. Holding a kitten
  22. Watching our fish
  23. Looking in the mirror and seeing that I look nice
  24. Dressing up for a special occasion and looking gorgeous
  25. Being 45 and looking 30

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Only let them see what they want to see

>> Thursday, October 13, 2005

I learned very early in life that honesty was not the best policy--at least where my deepest thoughts, questions, and emotions were concerned. I learned early that if I was honest about how I really felt, what I really thought, and my questions about life, that I was met with rejection and emotional abandonment. So I learned to be a pleaser. I learned how to make my mother and father smile and how to make them proud of their little girl, all the while tamping down my questions, feelings, and emotions to the point that by the time I was an adult I was a ticking time bomb, ready to explode. My aunt warned my father that one day at least one of us, (my brother, sister, or I), was going to rebel due to the stifling, restrictive, controlling, and dictatorial atmosphere in our home. She was right.

I mastered the art of playing emotional and mental hide-and-seek by the time I was five years old and learned very quickly what I could and couldn't share with my parents. I pretended to be the sweet, compliant, and agreeable child that they wanted me to be because I knew that only then did I gain the love and acceptance from them that I so desperately needed. So when my devoutly Christian parents would talk to me of God's unconditional love, I really had no foundations for understanding what that meant. Unconditional love was not liberally demonstrated in our home so I didn't have much of an example, only words. Like a pet parrot, I would listen to their words and ideas and I quickly learned how to regurgitate those words and ideas back to them. That always got positive results. But whenever I had an original thought, idea, or question that didn't fit into their black-and-white-Pleasantville world, I was scolded and put down as if I were a terrible person to even entertain such ideas or thoughts.

I grew up hearing my mother sing, "Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so", and I always wanted to ask her what made the Bible so special? Why was it better or more divine than for instance, the Koran? How did she KNOW that the Bible was God's word? Did God tell her that personally? Or was that something that she was taught growing up and just accepted as the truth because everyone told her it was the truth? And what about the things in our lives--thoughts, feelings, ideas, that didn't agree with the Bible? Where did they come from? What about, for instance, the very real sense that I had all through my life that I had been here on this planet before--that I had lived in a different time and place? What about the pictures that I had in my head since I was a small child of events, people, and places in the past, some so vivid and detailed that they seemed that they had taken place yesterday?

I didn't know how to define what I experienced or what name to give it. I thought of reincarnation as something that only Hindus and Buddhists believed. I never took it seriously because it wasn't something that was a part of the belief system in which I was raised. And because I didn't feel safe to ask questions, I tamped these very real experiences down inside of me along with my unexpressed emotions, thoughts, and questions. When my parents would praise me for being such a good girl, I would think to myself, "But I'm NOT good! I'm very bad! If you only KNEW what I really think, and how I REALLY feel, you wouldn't love me!"

"Only let them see what they want to see" was my life's motto, "for only then will you be acceptable to them." So I grew up believing that if I was going to find love, acceptance, and happiness, that I had to be whatever it was that people wanted me to be. I had to make everyone else happy, even if it meant sacrificing my own desires, my own happiness, even if it meant adhering to and confessing to a religion, a belief system, and way of life that grew increasingly more confining and uncomfortable for me. And deep down inside of me I cried out for release! I knew that there was more...that there was someone. There was someone out there searching for me as fervently as I was searching for them. In the midst of a crisis point in my life, during my junior year in college, I ran out into an empty field which was right next door to my on-campus apartment, and threw my arms up towards the sky. I cried out, "Where are you? Why can't I find you? I know you're out there! Please find me!", and I fell into a bawling heap on the ground. After about half-an-hour I walked back to my apartment, and one of my roommates, who was a piano major, was sitting on the couch listening to the Mozart Piano Concerto No. 20, in D minor on the stereo. She was going to play it for a competition. I sat by her on the couch and the tears returned. When she asked me why I was crying, I told her that I had this overwhelming sense of loss that I couldn't explain as if there was someone out there who I had to find, and who, in turn, was trying to find me. She hugged me and let me cry.

I couldn't tell her that the someone was Mozart.

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Ich liebe dich, Herr Mozart

>> Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Shortly after Christmas of 1997 I talked my husband into getting a computer. My mother had one for a year or so and talked constantly of how great it was being able to keep in contact with my brother, (who was a missionary in Latvia at the time), via email. Besides, I knew that as the kids got further along in school, they would need to have one. I couldn't wait to get on line and almost as soon as we got it home, my brother-in-law came over and got us all set up. (Matt's the computer whiz in the family.)

The internet opened up the entire world to me. I could sit in the comfort of my home and search for and research any topic that I wished. And of course, one of the first internet searches that I conducted was on, you guessed it, Mozart. I found several good Mozart websites, but the one that towered above the rest was one called, "The Mozart Project". It had a wealth of information, plus links to other Mozart and Mozart related sites. I always checked the new links out, whenever I found a new one. It was about nine months after our last move in May of 1999; I had just returned from taking the kids to school and gotten myself a cup of tea when I decided to sit down at my computer and check to see if there were any new links on the Mozart Project site. When I clicked on the page I noticed that he had added several new links since I had been there last, but the one that jumped out at me was one that said, "Mozart's Own Website", and was advertised as a site owned and operated by the Maestro himself! I thought it sounded like fun and decided to check it out.

When I clicked on the link it took me to a scrumptiously gorgeous website, done in hues of royal blue, a very 18th century-looking font and a distinctly Rococo graphic design. Contained within were a wealth of pictures and information, all told in first person, in the voice of Mozart. It was, indeed, "Mozart's" website. I combed through the pages, taking in every word and picture, feeling myself drawn in to the fantasy of believing that Mozart was actually the one who designed and put it all together. I read all of the biographies and looked at all the pictures, and then I found the link to the guest book and clicked on it. I decided to leave Herr Mozart as short, simple message. I signed the guestbook as guest number nine, and simply said, "Ich liebe dich, Herr Mozart." Not expecting that anything would come of it, but enjoying the fantasy of telling Mozart that I loved him in German, I clicked the button and posted my message.

The next morning when I went to check my e-mail, in it was a message from none other than W A Mozart. I clicked on it eagerly and read the very simple message contained within, "Und ich liebe dich, meine gnaedige Frau." (And I love YOU, my gracious Lady.) I was quite frankly surprised and tickled to have heard back from him, so I decided to take it a step further and grace him with a letter. In the letter I told him about myself and where I was from--how I have always been a lover of his music since I was a small child, the fact that I was a wife and mother of three children bound for graduate school in the fall. I told him that I had sung the roles of Zerlina and Despina and that I fancied myself a "Mozart" soprano, and how I was thrilled to have found that he was "alive" and well in the late 20th century. That very evening I received a reply from him, a very lengthy and gracious letter describing his delight at my correspondence and his hopes that we might continue to converse with one another via this new and modern contraption called the "computer". His "voice" was astounding--it was entirely authentic as if Mozart really was the one who had written this letter. I was immediately sucked into the fantasy and excitement and had to keep reminding myself that I wasn't really talking to Mozart, but to someone who was playing Mozart. I quickly typed another letter to him and pressed the send button.

Thus launched an online relationship between "Mozart" and myself that within a week seemed like we had been corresponding with one another for months, perhaps years. Mozart and I developed a fast, close, and growing friendship through our correspondence. He confessed to me that he had never allowed a "fan" in, as he had me, and that he felt as if he had known me all of his life. I too, felt the same about him. I "knew" things about him, things that the average student of Mozart wouldn't know. The relationship grew very personal and very intimate very quickly, so quickly that it frightened both of us. What had started out as fantasy and a bit of fun, had escalated into something very deep and meaningful to both of us, and even though I tried to tell myself over and over again that I was simply conversing with someone who was portraying Mozart, albeit very authentically and convincingly, deep in my heart I knew that there was something going on that I couldn't explain. It was something bigger than myself and within a few weeks, it was quite clear that "Mozart" felt every bit as overwhelmed and awed by our relationship as I. Several times I tried to cut it off, believing that it was going too far, and that I needed to end it, but I couldn't end it. (Later I learned that he felt the very same way as I.) I would lay awake at night, trying to make sense of what was happening. Then one night I remembered the story that my mother told me about when I was a small child, of how I had pointed at the stereo and told her that I had to find Mozart.

"Could it be?" I wondered. I frightened myself with my own thoughts. "This is crazy!" I thought, trying to put myself off as someone who was simply too caught up in the fantasy of it all. But in my heart I knew. I knew that what I was dealing with was beyond fantasy--this was real. I sensed that I was talking to the Maestro himself, and that something much larger than me was in control of this whole thing. I cringed at what it would mean for me, for my way of life, for my beliefs--my faith, my values, for my children, and for my family. I rolled over and tried not to think of it any further and resolved that I had to cut it off.

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The winter of my discontent

>> Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Although the children and I were very happy living in Montana, my husband never seemed to be able to find contentment anywhere we lived. I was never sure why he was so restless and discontented, but it was beginning to wear on me. I grew weary with moving, especially since we had finally moved to a place where I could see myself settling down. I wasn't at all opposed to leaving Florida, as I never grew to like it, but leaving Montana was an entirely different matter altogether. I was making friends and becoming well-known in the community. I had a studio full of piano and voice students, and I had a good reputation as a music teacher. I loved the climate, despite the harsh and difficult winters, and I absolutely loved living close to the Rocky Mountains. He tried several times to move us from Billings, but I dug my heels in and refused.

Finally an opportunity opened up in a church in a small town just 15 minutes from where we went to college, in Oklahoma, and it was only and hour from my hometown and where my parents still lived. I agreed to look into it, although reluctantly despite all of the perks. Two things finally persuaded me to leave the home in Montana that I loved so much--April 19th, 1995, the day of the dreadful bombing attack on the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, and the fact that my mother was in the midst of chemotherapy and radiation treatments for breast cancer and I wanted to be near her. I also felt that it was important that the children have time to be with her. Since they were born we had always lived over a thousand miles from my parents, and they needed to be nearer to their grandparents.

So we moved again. This time I swore it would be the last move for a very long time. By the time we had been married 14 years, we had already moved ten times. Almost from the first day we arrived in McLoud, Oklahoma I knew I was going to hate it. Once again, I didn't fit. I never fit into the small, rural setting. I was a classical musician who sang opera and loved Mozart. I had absolutely nothing in common with the people in our congregations and I never made friends easily because of it. I tried to fit in, but it was like putting a square peg in a round hole. I was also growing increasingly impatient with the state of my marriage. I tried to express to my husband how unhappy I was, but he never seemed to get it.

After we had been in McLoud for about a year, our church called a new minister of music. He was the new voice faculty member at Oklahoma Baptist University and he and his wife (I will call them "S" and "L"), were my kind of people! He had a beautiful voice and had been on the opera and oratorio circuit. His wife was an intelligent, educated, classy, and artistic woman and we had so much in common that we became fast friends. Their friendship was for me like an oasis in the desert. It wasn't long before "S" began to recognize that I had talents that were going unused and he told me that I really needed to consider studying voice again. He asked if I would like to study privately with him. Of course I jumped at the opportunity! My first few lessons were extremely frustrating as it had been so long since I had sung seriously. And of course I started with some very difficult Mozart arias. After a few weeks of lessons I had made enough progress that he entered me in a district NATS (National Association of Teachers of Singing) competition, in the adult category. Although I didn't make the finals, I did very well and I went away from the competition feeling very good about my progress. Interesting too, that the aria I sang in the competition was Susanna's aria from Act IV of Le Nozze di Figaro, Deh vieni non tardar. One of the judges stopped me in the hallway later that day and told me that it was one of the sweetest performances of that aria that he'd ever heard. He added that I sang it as if Mozart had composed it for me.

We were in McLoud for three years when my husband received an opportunity to pastor a larger, more prestigious church in the southwestern part of Oklahoma. By this time he was being groomed by the state convention leaders for state leadership and this was an opportunity for him to move up. His salary was considerably higher and he had better benefits. Although I loved "S" and "L" and hated moving away from them, I relished the opportunity to get out of McLoud. I decided to continue with my voice lessons as it was only about an hour's drive from where we moved. "L" also got me a job as an exhibitor with the Oklahoma Arts Institute and I spent several weekends a month traveling around the state exhibiting and assisting in auditions for the Summer Arts Institute at the Quartz Mountain resort. Before long "S" suggested that I think about going back to school to get my master's degree. It had always been my desire to go to graduate school. I had put my husband through his master's degree and most of his doctorate, and my youngest child, Nathan, was about to enter the first grade. It seemed to me like the perfect opportunity and time to do it. However, when I discussed it with my husband, he was very reluctant. I explained to him that it would only be for two years and then perhaps I could get a job teaching in Oklahoma City or at the nearby college in Chickasha. I would have to commute to Oklahoma State University in Stillwater because they were the only ones who offered a degree in vocal performance and pedagogy, and it was the pedagogy part in which I was most interested. I was nearing forty and was too old to have a career in performance, but I could still teach. It would also mean that I would have to give up some of my responsibilities in the church for a couple of years. I would no longer be able to direct the children's choir, teach Sunday School, or sing in the choir--but only for two years, I reminded him. Finally he agreed and I was accepted into the graduate program at OSU to start in the fall of 1999.

For the first time since my youth I began to feel vital again. I was singing well and my music was returning to me stronger than it had ever been. I also felt that something really "big" was about to happen. I couldn't put my finger on it, but I had this sense that my life was about to change and that I was about to enter into a new adventure. It was beyond going back to school. There was a restlessness, an urgency, a feeling that I was about to walk off of a cliff. Little did I know that I was about to meet someone who would change the course of my life forever. Winter was almost over.

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20 thing you do that make me smile

>> Monday, October 10, 2005

  1. When you curl up next to me at night in bed.
  2. When you burp out loud and then look to see if anyone heard it.
  3. The little skip in your step when you're happy or excited.
  4. The way you hold your hands behind your back when you walk, or when you're standing to observe something.
  5. The twinkle you get in your eye when you laugh.
  6. When you hug one of the kids.
  7. When you call me "Wanze."
  8. When you tell me that you love me, just out of the blue.
  9. When you kiss me.
  10. When you tell me I have cute knees.
  11. When you shiver, sigh, and close your eyes whenever I start to scratch or rub your back.
  12. The way you nudge me when I stop rubbing or scratching your back, as if to say, "Don't stop!"
  13. When you're sitting at your computer working on something intently.
  14. When you pat me on the butt as you follow me up the stairs.
  15. When you find your "nose warmer".
  16. When you yell "Fart-knockin' piece-a-Dad" at your computer.
  17. When you peer up at me over your reading glasses.
  18. When you wear your penguin pajama pants.
  19. When you give me the brownie out of your HungryMan fried chicken dinner.
  20. When you sing "Fake Mammeries" with Ville.

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The wilderness

>> Saturday, October 8, 2005

The ten years between 1988 and 1998, I have come to term as my "wilderness" years. These were the years where I slowly began to give up on life's offering me anything but the ordinary. My marriage wasn't terrible, but it wasn't great either. Life became the same old drudgery day in and day out.

1988 was a good year. After three years of struggle and riding the emotional roller coaster with infertility treatments, our daughter, Lauren was conceived in January and born in late September. She was the bright spot, and for a few months it seemed that perhaps our marriage was going to improve because of the advent of this little person in our lives. Our relationship, however, didn't improve. We turned our attentions entirely on our child and lavished all of the attention that should have otherwise been lavished upon our marriage, upon her. Before long another child arrived--Heather, in July of 1990 and yet another, Nathan, in February of 1992. I poured myself into my children and I neglected myself. I gained weight. My music faded to the point that it was almost non-existent. In those years, my husband and I attempted to get our marriage on track--we saw a marriage counselor, but when things really started to focus on the lack of intimacy in our relationship, he bailed out. When Nathan was about six weeks old, I nearly left my husband. It was shortly after our 10th wedding anniversary and I told him that if things didn't improve dramatically, that I would take our three children and move back to Oklahoma, (We were living in St. Petersburg, Florida by this time). This sent him into a panic and in typical fashion for him, he met with the challenge by running away from it. His answer to everything was to relocate. By this point I was too tired and too bogged down in my maternal responsibilities to fight him. He obtained a pastorate in another mission area, this time in Montana. We moved our young family from sunny, hot Florida to the frigid plains of Montana in the fall of 1992.

Our first 18 months in Montana were difficult and tumultuous. We moved there in the year that Montana experienced the coldest winter on record in nearly 40 years. Temperatures dipped to thirty-five degrees below zero and my little Florida-born babies didn't take to it well. Lauren, who was all ready plagued with allergies and chronic ear infections, stayed sick the entire winter, and Nathan wasn't much better. I wasn't well either. It seemed that every flu bug that came through, I caught it. I spent more time nursing sick children and being sick myself to do much of anything else. To make matters worse, we experienced conflict with our new congregation right from the start. Conflicts escalated so quickly that by Christmas of 1993, my husband was forced to resign his pastorate and accept a new position in Billings, which was about 100 miles west of where we were. Billings was a small city, about 100,000, but the largest city in a 600 mile radius. To the north were plains and then Canada. To the south was Wyoming and the beautiful Beartooth Mountain range (part of the Rockies). To the west was Boseman, and more mountains, Big Sky, and several other ski resorts. Billings was a lovely city, full of culture, wooded parks, and tree-lined streets.

Billings was a very musical city and it was here that I found opportunities to recapture some of my music. I taught piano and voice lessons and I had so many students that I had a waiting list. I also played in a semi-professional bell choir called Bellissimo!, which I loved. I began to make friends and to gain a reputation as an excellent musician and teacher. We had a lovely old home on a beautiful, historic street. It had an expansive yard with several trees and a lush crab apple tree right in the center of the front yard. I worked hard painting and re-papering the master bedroom, kitchen, both bathrooms, and dinning room/living areas of our house and it turned out to be one of the loveliest homes we had ever lived in.

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Searching for the missing piece of my heart

>> Thursday, October 6, 2005

When we moved from Kentucky to Florida I tried to be excited, but in reality I was sad leaving my musical/theatrical world and friends in Maysville and Cincinnati. Where we were moving to in Florida offered nothing like what I had in Kentucky. We were moving to a retirement community on the outskirts of Vero Beach so that my husband could pastor a mission church, which turned out to be yet another church made up of retirees. Almost from the beginning I hated Florida. It was hot, humid, scrubby, ugly, and expensive. I soon learned that the only people who loved Florida were the retirees and tourists who had enough money to love it. After only a couple of months after we moved there it became quite apparent that we weren't going to make it on the meager salary that my husband was offered, so I bought a paper and started to look for a job. In no time I was hired as a floor clerk and window dresser in a very exclusive dress shop on the beach in Vero. It was about a twenty-five minute commute, but I didn't mind it so much. It paid well, and I worked in fashion retail and got nice discounts on some really nice clothes. It was a good job. After about six months in the job, my manager sent me to a modeling school (paid for it too), and I was trained to become an in-house model. I did tea room modeling and some runway shows. Mostly I modeled business and formal wear and I really loved it. It was sort of like being on stage, only I was showing off the clothes rather than my voice. In other words, I was a pretty hanger.

As far as my music was concerned, there really wasn't much for me. I played the piano at the mission and sang solos. We tried to get a choir started, but that fell through. It seemed as if my music died, and with it died my soul. I desperately tried to fill the hole with other things--my job, work at the church, etc., but nothing seemed to fill it. At the same time, my relationship with my husband was going nowhere, and I was literally in a panic over that. I couldn't understand why we didn't seem to have the closeness that we were supposed to have. All we ever talked about was the church, or religion, or politics and religion, or church work, etc. We didn't have much else in common. And as far as our sex life was concerned, well that was flat-lined almost from day one of our marriage, which REALLY confused me. Here I was, this curvy, sexy, fashion model, and my husband wasn't interested, so I made the mistake of thinking that if we had a baby that all of our problems would melt away as soon as we held that cute little bundle of joy. "Maybe he'll love me if I give him a child," I thought to myself.

The problem was that for me, giving my husband a child wasn't going to be easy. I had problems that would require that I see a specialist. I soon found a specialist in Orlando, and within a few weeks after my first appointment I began a course of treatment that took us on a three-year roller coaster ride and put my body through hormonal hell. I soon became obsessed with having a child and I didn't care what it cost financially, or what it cost me physically and emotionally. What I didn't understand was that I was looking for that missing piece of my heart. I couldn't find it in my marriage. I couldn't find it in my music. I couldn't find it in church, or religion, or even in my "personal relationship with Jesus". I couldn't find it in my job. Perhaps I would find it in a child...

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I know you...

>> Tuesday, October 4, 2005

In the spring of 1985 I was living in a small town in Kentucky, just across the river from Cincinnati and about 35 miles northwest of Maysville, where I taught music in a Catholic School. My husband pastored a small church in Powersville, Kentucky and commuted to seminary in Louisville. I became quite involved in the Maysville community theater and sang in the Maysville Community Choir. It was through my involvement with the theater that I landed the music teaching job at the school, and I met several people in the community who got me involved with the music and theatrical life in Maysville and the surrounding areas.

One of the classes that I taught at the Catholic School was 9th grade music appreciation. It was actually my favorite class to teach and I loved to find creative and fun ways to get the students interested in learning about classical music and composers. When I learned that the Milos Forman film, "Amadeus" was showing in a theater in Cincinnati, I decided to take my 9th grade music appreciation class on a field trip to see it. I had never seen the film myself–only read the play–and I thought it might be a fun outing for the entire class. I got some parents together to go as sponsors and we decided that after the movie we would take the kids out to a local pizza place.

On the day before we went to see the film, I explained to the class that it wasn't historically accurate, but that it was a story about jealousy and rivalry, told in the context of Mozart and Salieri. I asked the kids to watch for the things that weren't accurate and we'd discuss them the following Monday in class. I went armed with pencil and notebook so that I could write everything that I found to be historically inaccurate down, so that I wouldn't forget anything over the weekend.

As we were seated, I opened my notebook and laid it on my lap, readying myself to spend a lot of time writing. I found the film to be mesmerizing despite the obvious inaccuracies. The costumes and settings were gorgeous and the characters as well as the storyline were extremely engaging. I got so lost in my enjoyment of the film, that I forgot all about my notebook. And then it happened–the scene where Mozart (Tom Hulce) was rehearsing the opening scene of Figaro with the singers who played Susanna and Figaro. He sat at a fortepiano and played and conducted their entrances, and as I watched, I began to hear myself think, " I know you.. We're in love but we can't tell anyone. We have to keep it quiet. You can't let anyone know that you love me." And then when I saw the face of the actress who played Nancy Storace, without any hesitation I thought to myself, "That girl doesn't look like me at all! They didn't do a very good job of casting her!" The thoughts were so instantaneous and so automatic that they left me stunned. I couldn't believe what had just run through my head. I tried to dismiss them as random silliness, but the thoughts wouldn't leave. Near the end of the movie, during the scene where Mozart lay in bed dying, I thought to myself, "Someone needs to brush his hair! He loves having his hair brushed! It's comforting to him!" Hot tears welled up in my eyes and I found myself angry because Constanze wasn't there to comfort him–she wasn't there to brush his hair for him! My emotions were powerful and very real, and again, I tried to dismiss them but the more I tried to dismiss them the stronger they became.

When we left the theater, I could hardly speak. One of the parents who came as a sponsor approached me and said that I appeared pale and asked if I felt all right. I told her that I was fine, that I was just a little tired and tried to assure her that I would be okay. Later that night, as I slipped into bed next to my husband, who lay sleeping, I thought to myself, "I should have waited. I made a mistake. The one I'm supposed to be with is still out there. I'm not with the right one," and I buried my face in my pillow and wept silently.

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Our story

>> Monday, October 3, 2005

This weekend I was inspired. I've been told by a number of people that Steph's and my story is too compelling not to be told, but I never really took the idea seriously until Larry, (the director of "Mozart Lives!"), told us the same thing on a number of occasions. It suddenly dawned on me yesterday that this last weekend was the anniversary of when we met face-to-face and I began to reminisce with my daughter, Lauren, about one of the events that led up to our meeting. I pulled out a letter that Steph wrote to me, (an email actually), just two weeks prior to my coming to California to meet her. I had never told Lauren the story behind the letter, nor had I shared the letter with her until now, because I didn't believe she was mature enough to understand it before now. When Lauren read it, she looked up at me and said, "Oh Mom! This is incredible! What woman wouldn't want to be loved like this? You two have such a beautiful story!" Later I discussed it with Steph and we both agreed that it was time for our story to be told, and that I was the one who should do it. So now I've decided that I will use my blog as the journal/outline sketches and eventually I will use these sketches to write a book.

Our story begins long before we met. In fact, as many of you have probably gathered, our story began long before either of us were born, but I'm not going to take you back that far! Suffice it to say that Steph and I have known one another from the dawn of time, and from the moment our souls were created we have loved one another. We are what some describe/term as "twin souls". The term denotes exactly what it says. Our souls are like fraternal twins–both coming from the same "egg" and then at a moment in time, splitting off to form two separate entities. Since that moment we have been working to get back to one another, for when we split, neither one could be or feel complete without the other. Before I met Steph, from as far back as I can remember, even as a small child, I felt alone and out of place. I felt like a twin who had been separated from the other twin. In fact, I asked my mother several times if I hadn't been a twin and even if perhaps I wasn't separated at birth from my twin and adopted by she and Dad.

One of Larry's favorite stories of mine is of a memory I have of when I was a very small child, about three. I was sitting on the floor of our house in my footie pajamas listening to some music on the stereo. My parents, although not professional musicians, were great appreciators of music and there was music in our house constantly. I grew up listening to classical music–Beethoven, Mozart, Handel, Brahms. etc. On this day, it so-happened that mother had put on a recording that had a movement of one of Mozart's piano concertos on it, and as I sat in the floor listening to it, I began to cry. When Mother saw that I was crying she inquired as to why and I pointed towards the stereo and said, "I have to find him!"

"Find who?" she asked, "Mozart?"
I nodded my head affirmatively, "Yes, I have to find that Mozzart man!"

How I knew at such a young age that I was listening to a composition by Mozart, I'll never know. I don't think my mother grasped the significance of this little event. She told me the story a number of years later, when I was a young woman and then kind of smiled and said, "Funny thing that Mozart has always been your favorite composer."

It's getting close to time for me to leave for work. I'll have to continue this in a separate entry a little later on...

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An anniversary of sorts

>> Saturday, October 1, 2005

his weekend, Steph and I are celebrating another anniversary. This is the 6th anniversary of our meeting face-to-face. Six years ago on the 30th, I flew out to California and then on Saturday the 1st, Steph hosted an 18th century soiree where I sang a mini-recital dressed as Anna Storace. Steph was dressed as Mozart with other guests dressed as various famous "dead people", and literary characters. It was on this weekend that I met Steph's friend, Karma, (who I now consider a dear friend as well), and several other people who have come to play an important role in my life. This was really one of the first in a series of events that have been played out throughout and have defined our relationship. However, this particular event was, for me, the point of no return. I knew that my life was about to take an exciting and tumultuous turn and that there was nothing I could do to change it. It was also then that Steph kissed me in the hallway just in front of the bedroom--a very similar kiss to the one that I received only recently in what was the bedroom of Constanze and Wolfgang Mozart in the Figarohaus in Vienna. It's hard to believe that was only six years ago--so much has happened since then!

On the Monday following the weekend, Steph took off of work in order that we might have some time alone together. (Steph was partnered at the time, but the relationship was in trouble–actually it always had been in trouble–just wasn't a good match.) I have very pleasant memories of our day together. We had lunch in an outdoor cafe, (Lisa, Steph's partner, joined us, uninvited), and Steph and I ended up having to sit across from one another at the the table. Later, Steph confessed to me that behind her mirrored sunglasses, when Lisa couldn't see, she would stare at me. She stared at my mouth and had fantasies about kissing me. After lunch we dropped Lisa off at the penthouse, (she quit her job that day–for what reason Steph never understood), and Steph, bound and determined that we would have some time alone together, took me downtown. We walked through the downtown shops, antique stores, and thrift stores that lined the quaint and artistic streets of this eccentric, coastal Southern California town. At one point Steph stopped and looking into my eyes said, "You're such pleasant company! Will you go steady with me?" I don't remember my response. I probably blushed. My whole being urged for her to take me into her arms and kiss me right then and there.

The next day, I flew home to Oklahoma. On the airplane I held the queue ribbon that Steph had sprayed with the cologne that he wore when he dressed as Mozart at the soiree, tightly in my hand. As I stared blankly out the window of the airplane, tears started to stream from my eyes. I held the ribbon up to my nose, taking in his essence and trying to relive that moment in the hallway when he took my face in his hands, drew my mouth towards his face and kissed me and then very flirtatiously poked the black satin ribbon into my exposed cleavage. I began to weep. I wept for the years that I had wasted with the wrong person. I wept for my children. I wept for my husband. I wept for my marriage. I wept for myself. I wept for the love that I thought I could never have. I wept at the thought of leaving the only one I had ever really loved behind, once again. My heart was breaking and I couldn't stop it from breaking. "What am I going to do? Where do we go from here? We can't just be friends now," I thought to myself.

Little did I know that I was about to embark on the greatest adventure of my life...

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