Twentieth Anniversary of living in America

On this day in 1987 a twelve year old boy and his parents got off the plane in San Diego seeking a different life.

Twenty years have given me thousands of opportunities, some missed and some taken.

The next twenty will be filled with opportunities that have been chosen.

Here is to the next twenty years.

Jewish Get

I am feeling so overwhelmed with emotion today. Nothing like I have felt…ever, I break down at the drop of a hat and I wish that I could say that it is for no reason. I don’t know if it is the anticipation of a new life or the regret of loosing the old but the reality is that I am getting divorced today at 11:45am. I can barely breath let alone speak right now and I am questioning my ability to drive to Los Angeles.

Today I am getting a Jewish Get or divorce decree. This is the final stage in the process and basically severs ties. This is how I understand it:

“The get makes no reference to responsibility or fault. It has no bearing or effect on any aspect of the civil settlement and does not does not subject either party to personal questions. As long as there is mutual consent, there is no need to state the grounds for divorce. Although religious in nature, the process involves no ceremonies, prayers, blessings, or professions of faith at all.
For most Jews, a marriage begins with a Jewish ceremony uniting two people. The get ends, or terminates that union. It is a formal, clear-cut, legal process which requires only the consent of both parties.???

Seems simple, but even before I start my drive there are tears. Not sure if I am happy or sad.

Yesterday we signed the settlement papers at Caline’s attorneys office. Not my best moment, I just wanted the process to be finished and spare the time wasting for another day. I came off as abrasive, I just want to get this done. I wrote the check, I know what my obligations are and I know what has just ended. What I don’t know and what scares me is what lies ahead.

The world is filled with possibilities, nothing less than amazing promise. So one step at a time, all will be renewed.

99.99% of the way there

There is not much that I know but I do know this:

Lawsuits settle when you dislike with your attorney more than you dislike the other side.

Lost Temper

Today I lost my temper… I had hoped that it was just a sign of jet lag, I have worked so hard to have made no progress.

“Don’t allow your animal nature to rule your reason.??? Mevlana Rumi

The Dance

Have you ever had one of those conversations that you just knew was going to be the last of its kind with a person?

This evening I had a bare all with my ex-wife in which I quoted a few lines from Garth Brooks The Dance to her:

Looking back on the memory of
The dance we shared beneath the stars above
For a moment all the world was right
How could I have known you’d ever say goodbye
And now I’m glad I didn’t know
The way it all would end the way it all would go
Our lives are better left to chance I could have missed the pain
But I’d of had to miss the dance

I tried to explain to her that no matter how much pain there was it was nothing when compared to the pleasure that I had from knowing her. She interpreted it as if I knew that the marriage was going to fail that I would have still been a glutton for punishment and gone through it…

With the two choices being to know her or NOT to know her; it was still better to have know her and experienced it all rather than avoid knowing her at all.

She did not really get it, but then again we never really quite got it.

Letter to myself – Brad Don’t Forget This

This is posted unedited from my Blackberry between Istanbul and Chicago.

So what does it all mean? How exactly does a walking trip through Turkey accomplish?How do I feel? What have I become or what do I continue to be?

What if my life just does a rinse repeat recycle? Where is honesty in the whole equation? Where is integrity?

How about the crying when I even think about who I have been. Everything creates turmoil. There are so few really quiet moments. They say that after grieving the healing begins but when does it finish?

What does it take to become whole again? Not to fill the void with the things that
are easy for me to achieve but the really difficult questions. What does it
require to live a transformed life?

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Day ?: All over the South of Turkey

I don’t quite remember where I left off, but I know that it was more than a few days ago. So much has happened and yet so little has changed.

I’ll give you a quick rundown of some of the highlights of the past few days…I have been to the ancient sites of Aphrodisias and Ephesus and the cities of Kusadasi and Izmir.

The ancient cities were “fun??? I don’t really have a good way to describe them, was I overwhelmed or even under whelmed? Not really, it just was. Of the two cities I enjoyed Ephesus the most not only because of its scale but also because of the integrity of the restoration and the insight that the layout gives a modern viewer into everyday life in ancient Turkey.

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Day 8: Anatolia

A day on the Med. What could be better than taking a day trip on the Mediterranean? How about a day trip on the Med with a beautiful woman, sun tanning and swimming?

There is really not much to say from the historical perspective of the Med, but I can tell you that I have been in some of the niceness oceans on the Adriatic, the Indian, Pacific and the Atlantic but nothing could have prepared me for this. The Med is marvelous, the question of salinity was answered as soon as I jettisoned from the top rail of the still moving boat and pin dropped into the salty bath water.

After a few moments to orient myself, I rolled onto my back, stretched out my arms and let the buoyancy of the water raise my torso into a graceful pose. I was just lying there with the water lapping at my face until one small wave went over my head and I breathed in some water. It cleared my sinuses but the taste of salt water lingered for a few more minutes, not pleasant.

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Day 7: Antalya

We know what early to bed early to rise makes us? But how about late to bed early to rise? What exactly does that create? Today was a travel day from the Kona region near the middle of the country to the Mediterranean beach city of Antalya. The trip took about three hours by bus and we crossed from being in an arid mildly hilly, but mostly Iowa flat landscape into a completely different world. As we inched closer more and more trees, and bushes became visible to the point that seeing a palm tree was not an uncommon sight.

I don’t know if you have spend much time in a bus but once you get settled it is really a relaxing experience. I am listening to an interesting audio book, it is called the “Four Hour Work Week??? it is the unabridged text of the book by the same name. It has been hailed as the study guide for those wanting to live like a millionaire it is almost the quick start guides for the technology centric version of Rich Dad. I am about two hours into the book and he has begun to define his cash flow forecasting techniques and he has reiterated his definition of the traits of this nomadic, goal setting generation.

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Day 6: Cappadocia

Three-forty five in the morning after going to sleep at midnight was not the easiest thing that I have ever done, but I was amazed how easy it was to wake up for the hot air ballooning. I was picked up in front of the hotel at four-ten and headed down to the Cappadocia “International airport???, an empty field just outside of town.

I took a balloon from the Cappadocia Balloon Company; these guys are a well-oiled operation. The cost of the ticket is about $200 and they say that the flight lasts about an hour depending on the wind patterns and where we are able to take off. The launch location is chosen by sending up a black balloon and watching how it floats up into the air. As it floats away it starts moving with the wind in a certain direction and based on their knowledge and experience, they know exactly where they are going to be leaving. It is my experience that they are 100% sure where they are leaving from and 0% on where they are going to land.

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Day 5: Capaddocia

Today started with a cock crowing at sunrise, which just happens to be about 4:45am…a little early, but watching the sunrise was worth the inconvenience. I was able to get back to sleep and then went for a two mile walk at about eight. During the walk I ran into a man who was surrounded by a few puppies, so I just had to go and say hi. I have some pictures that I have posted to These guys were so cute. I also saw some village woman getting milk, from the back of a car. This guy was using a Tupperware to scoop and measure the milk from a larger container into their individual jars. I think a gallon is 1 Turkish Lira, about .70 us cents. But gas is about eight bucks per gallon; I heard that it is the second highest price in the world.

Then hopped onto a bus and headed to Goreme, it is a section of town that was a monastery with Churches that are carved into the hills. The interiors of these Churches were individually and uniquely decorated, some were full color frescos and others were just simple outlined icons of apples, crosses and fish. You know that IC (JC) is represented by the fish.

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Day 4: Ankara to Cappadocia

Last nights Uzo / Raki induced stupor shielded me from constant rocking, rolling stops and starts of the train ride. All I needed to fall asleep was about five minutes and some earplugs. Restful sleep lasted for about five hours and the rest was “sleep but yet to dream.??? Fuck this Blackberry, I need shut it off. I have realized that no news is good news and that my need for hyper-attachment is going to be my downfall. Even a little bit of news interpreted the wrong way can keep my mind reeling with “what if??? possibilities. I need to decompress.

The final stop for the train line is Ankara and at 7am sharp the conductor respectfully knocked on the door to let me know that it is almost time to get off, much in the same way that a bartender makes his last call. The journey is almost complete, you know it in your heart, you just need a little reminder that it is now time to return to reality. Or as my dad would say “Get the show on the road.???

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Day 3: Instanbul to Ankara

I am writing this after two swigs of the Turkish Uzo that they call Raki and I am also onboard an overnight train to Ankara the capital city of Turkey. Raki is a licorice-flavored liquor that has begun to affect my ability to see clearly. If this is anything like its Greek counterpart, I suspect that I have about thirty minutes of lucidity and a long sleep in my future. My memory of Uzo is based on an experience about five years ago when an evening of Uzo “turns good friends into girl friends.??? Man this stuff is potent.

From memory today was about eight miles of walking and it was stuffed to the hilt with passionate experiences. In no specific order I went to the Ottoman Topkapi Palace, Egyptian Spice Market, a boat ride on the Bosphorus straits and a train ride to Ankara.

The Topkapi Palace tour was nice. Yes you heard me ‘nice’. It was not spectacular nor amazing, it sort of felt like touring the Imperial Palace in Beijing but only not as nice. No, I don’t consider myself jaded, but really how many empty rooms can you look at and try to imagine what life would have been like. There was however one exception to my under whelming enthusiasm trek through the palace, this was the tour of the Haram and the sleeping quarters of the over two hundred concubines that made up the permitted temptation of the Sultan.

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Day 2: Istanbul

Its midnight Cinderella and I have just finished my second day in Turkey in the old city of Istanbul. Today was a whirlwind of sight, smell and experiencing. Colors that the Crayola Company has not even invented yet. I started the day sitting at the rooftop restaurant of the Best Western Obelisk hotel in the historic section at 7am, and my skin was itching a little bit, I think that the water has a little more chlorine than I am used to, but as with most things in life, this too shall pass. Breakfast was delightfully shared with a seagull that swooped down to partake in the unprotected cereal of the woman in the table next to me. She said that she did not want to waste the food and she was going to still eat it, I said two little words that changed her mind “bird flu.??? She then went inside and got another bowl.

After the morning call to prayer I went to the Hagia Sophia. The Hagia Sophia is one of the reasons that I choose this trip. In high school AP art history my teacher spoke about this Mosque / Church with such passion that it has been imprinted for almost fifteen years. When I was checking out places to go and I saw the name in print, I just knew I had to fulfill the experience.

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Day 1: Travel and Istanbul

The day before the day of was not quite as busy as I expected, I went to REI and picked up a pair of zippered pants and a hat for the trip. It was their 4th of July sale and there was a crowd of people standing outside the front doors. While I was there I ran into an old friend Sarah that I knew from when she worked at a client of mines offices. That evening I took it easy hand just hung out on the couch with a friend.

I has asked my mom to sew some of the patches that I had collected over the years to my backpack, it ended up being a much larger job than she expected, so mom if you are reading this THANKS a million, the backpack looks great.

The trip started with an American Airlines flight from San Diego to JFK that was fairly uneventful, one thing that really surprised me about the flight was the aloofness of the air staff, I felt like I was in a bus with other passengers just heading to the same destination.

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Our little faults

We confess our little faults to persuade people that we have no large ones.

Francois de La Rochefoucauld
French author & moralist (1613 – 1680)

Feeling for the day

Live in the moment, this is where creativity is maximized.

Life Changes in the Blink of an Eye

How the world can change in the blink of an eye. I was driving on the 5 North in San Diego on Sunday afternoon after doing a little shopping when I noticed some smoke and sparks coming from a car about six lengths in front of me. After about fifteen seconds the cars engine caught on fire and the person struggled to pull the car over from the middle lanes to the right hand shoulder. I noticed that she pulled over but was still in the car, so I pulled over and started walking towards the car…She was still in the car, her car is on fire but she is just sitting there in shock.

90 Seconds after she pulls over

There was another car that pulled over, a guy in a blue Subaru is walking towards her and he and I are about 150 feet away. We both see that she has opened the car door but has not gotten out yet, there is no doubt in our minds that this car is going to go up in flames. We start yelling at her to get the F-away from the car. We are yelling again to get out and get away from her car.

Fire truck on the scene

After what seems to be an eternity she moves away from the car but is just standing in front of it watching it burn. We yell at her to move away and to come towards us, we have narrowed the gap to about 50 feet. She comes towards us and says that her “fuck’n iPod is in the car??? and that she wants to get it. There is no way that we are going to let her get anywhere near her car again. I noticed that the other guy is calling 911, I know this because he turns to me and yells over the freeway noise “can you believe this shit, it is busy.??? He calls again and I also call, we both get through and tell the CHP where we are and what is going on.

This whole process takes less than ninety seconds but in this time the car has changed from a kitten into a tiger, with the flames lapping the sides of the car and the freeway below it. She is still just rambling about her iPod. I ask her if she is ok? Are you hurt? And she describes her version of what happened.

“I was driving at about 65 when I heard this loud whirring sound like when you have your foot on the gas and the car is in neutral. It was just getting louder and the car was not going any faster, I noticed some smoke coming from the engine and knew I had to get over. I think I remember sparks. I got over as fast as I could and then I heard you guys yelling at me to get out of the car.???

For a while we just stood there, waiting for the fire department to arrive, thinking about how lucky she was to have made it out of the car in one piece. She called her dad who lives out of town, he did not answer. She then called her friend that she was supposed to be picking up a couple freeway exits away so that they could go for a walk near the beach. She was very calm, as if this was happening to someone else. I overheard her phone call when she said, “I am going to be a little late…my car is on fire on the side of the freeway. Yes really! The whole car is on fire. We have called the fire department. Hold on a sec, my battery is dying. I’ll call you back.??? She then tried to call her dad again, voicemail; she left a message.

I am fortunate to have not been involved in too many situations that would be considered emergencies but I know that I have never seen anyone as calm as her. I don’t think she would have cared about the car at all had it not been for her iPod. Talk about being in the moment and not worrying about what could have happened but living the here and the now.

The fire engines are here now, the car is fully engulfed in flames as if a fire-breathing dragon swooped down and had a little fun on the freeway. The guys hooked up their fire hoses and started to douse the car with water, there but have been a fuel leak because as they poured the water on the car the flames spread, and spread fast. The water that was running down the side of the road to the storm drain was on fire and heading towards us. They motioned for us to get out of the way and drive our cars further down the shoulder.

We moved about a hundred feet away and watched as they sprayed foam and water on the charred carcass. Still she was calm. Amazing.

They finally motioned for us to come over to the car, it was hissing and smoking but the flames were out. They told her that everything had been destroyed and they had called for a tow truck to come and haul the car away. She asked one of the fire fighters if her iPod was OK? He just looked at her and politely asked where it was? She responded that it was in the center console; he then leaned into the car and holy crap he pulled out her iPod.

This purple iPod mini was the only thing of color in the car, the headphone had blackened and the plastic of the charger had melted but the fricken iPod turned on. I would have not believed it had I not seen it for myself. Holding that iPod and seeing how happy she was I really got it. I mean I really understood what it is like to be thankful for the little things. Her car was destroyed; she was safe and her iPod made her smile for the first time. Apple should send her some new headsets. This girl really loves her iPod!

The tow truck came and dragged her car onto the flat bed, I dropped her off at her friends office about two miles up the road. She was laughing, her dad had still not called her back and she was clutching her mini as she turned to me and said “Thanks for helping me.??? And then closed the car door.

How your life can change in the blink of an eye

Thought for the Day

Friendship is more important than money.

The Meaning of Forgiveness

There are always things in life that do not go as planned and I have learned from these trials and tribulations.

To forgive is to give as before.

If there is real forgiveness you will participate and really activate your life so that you give without holding back and live without regret.