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Chris -

Thanks SO MUCH for sharing the details of your life. It's so great to have a much clearer image of just who is this person writing me and others!

This is a bit looooong...below....but I'm attempting to do a similar thing!

By the way, that Noonday Demon is quite heavy-hitting at times!! But, boy, when I've been in the worst of my clinical depressions...he's the guy I'd vote "most able to describe it!!!" I really liked his lines that "you are incapable of feeling pleasure"..and "you are absent from yourself!" That is such a perfect description. When in the midst of my worst depressions, I find it actually more comforting to hear a writer confirm what I'm experiencing...than to read all those "How to Stop Being Depressed" kind of books that may help, AFTER your antidepressants have taken hold---but not before!!! I am not a 'negative' or 'joyless' person....and that's why when depression overtakes me, it is such an unnatural state. I have never had a "bad attitude" towards life--I've always found it full of fun! But clinical depression can just crush you.

Like you, I like my world most when it is diverse, full of all different sorts of people and opinions...whether Southern Baptist...or Wiccan! (I'm Jewish, though not religious.) Black or White or Gay or Straight. And, although I am hard-core Dem....I have a good friend on this board is solid Repub. I just like knowing all sorts of people and understanding their views. I suppose that living in Manhattan assures that you get to meet EVERYONE...including little green Martians who may just decide to alite on earth looking for our leaders! LOL!

Let's see...what else. Okay, I'm 58 (and NO I am not a little old lady with blue-gray curls on my head. LOL!) I love humor, irony...even sarcasm! I lived and worked in London for many years--from 1971 to 1982--and loved it. I still have close friend there who write and visit.

I met my husband there (he's English) and, with neither of us being the marrying kind--we didn't get married until he needed his Green Card to come back with me to New York. So, I was 36 when I got married. No kids, but I have to say my true loves are--dogs!!! From the time I was a toddler....I loved dogs. I now have two of them--Theo, a 9 year old Lhasa Apso,and Celeste, a 9-year old rescue Peke-mix, found by a friend and starving outdoors in the middle of winter. Brian and I just immediately adopted her. Even though, little Theo was then just a 9 week old puppy--and a ball of mischief!!

Sadly, Brian and I separated several years ago (for lots of good reasons...and NO good reasons...if you sort of know what I mean?) We were such good buddies for so many years, that it was very hard at first. But he had lots of problems he refused to deal with...and I suppose I did, too. Although, at least I was able to get out and about in the world with mine. He wasn't, after awhile. (No drinks or drugs...his problems were pure mental.)

Anyway, I'm not the sort of person who would ever want to remarry--or even let some fellow reclaim any of my newly increased closet space! LOLOL!! :D So, I am happy single with my few close girlfriends. I hate to say it...but my girlfriends have always understood what makes me tick a lot faster than other guys...even Brian....did. NO offense to the guys here! We're just sore of "wired" differently HO HO HO!!

I was never one for competitive sports...but I have skied (snow) for much of my life (it's my one real obsession--I've skied all over the West and Canada and France and Switzerland.). I used to go (and stil love) horseback riding, I've hiked up the mountains of England and Wales, etc. I'm one of those "thrill seeker" sorts of person...who loves roller coasters and that kind of speed fun!

Paris--and New Orleans--are amongst my favorite cities. (And New York, of course!) :D But my great love is the mountains....Switzerland, French Alps, British Columbia, the Scottish Highlands, Snowdonia (an impressive mt. to get up!!) and even good old upstate New York, with it's majestic Adirondacks. Give me a beautiful mt range...with lots of lakes dotted around...and I am in heaven. (Though, I must add I am no the end of the day....I need to check into a "lovely, little (luxurious??) inn"--hopefully, recommended for it's food! Rugged, breathtaking hikes, followed by unabashed comfort! Bring on those bells and whistles. LOL!)

I was always very "antsy" and liked to be out exploring everywhere....whether it was finding a bargain in a fleamarket or (when I would rent a car in England), choosing the tiniest, narrowest, steepest, winding roads in the mountains to scare myself to death on --and seek out the perfect little, hidden country restaurant!!) :D But in the last ten years, whether it's me...or the drugs....I just want to do solitary my apt. (I love sketching, doing greeting cards, I collect antique mt. climbing books, etc.) Alice and my best friend, Pam (another London ex-patriot since 1971) are really the only people I feel like hanging out with at this point. And I hope so much when the drugs are finished...I will revert back to who I was. (Although I always was a bit insular, in spite of the fact that I love trying new things, etc.)

My Mom and Dad....who I was so close to...have both passed away. My Dad in 1977 from a decades-old heart problem....and my Mom, just four years ago, (at 86) from a combination of a bad heart...and 9 years of dementia. The very worst years of Alice's and my life were watching my Mom, who had always been such a rock for us and the most loving of Moms--always there for us every step of our lives--fall more and more into this dementia.

We were determined to keep her with us throughout her illness. And, even when we had to sell our family home, we moved her into an apt in our building and got home care aides to be with her when we couldn't. She didn't have Alzheimer's--but in a way it was worse, because she was aware every moment that her mind was deteriorating and had such fear and such depression that no drugs seemed to touch. Even towards the end she was able to verbalize what was happening to her--and she once described it, saying "it's as though my mind were like butter...melting through my fingers." She could not retain memories for more than about a minute...tho thank heavens she always knew "her girls"--as she called us. That period of her increasing illness was so mentally horrific in my mind, that I still cannot really go over it in my head. I have wanted to write a story or article about it...but it's still too fresh in my mind. So, I really do understand how terrible it must have been for you nursing your parents through their last few months.

I work at a news magazine, assisting their financial columnst...and have been there for 22 years...since I returned from London. (Alice works as a freelance writer and has written some rare dogbreed books.) She has three Shih Tzu! We both highly recommend the unsurpassed love of four-legged critters with big, black noses and perpetually wagging tails. LOLOL!! (And, beyond obedience don't have to educate them...or worry about them returning to the nest 20 years after they left it!! LOL! With the economy the way it is at the moment, some of our apt. building neighbors have had to take their grown kids back in! The poor kids graduate with all these degrees...but can't find jobs to support themselves!! Sad.)

I used to swim and do water stuff as much as I could.....but have not done so in years. Jumping the huge waves at Jones Beach on Long Island (near where I grew up) was my favorite activity in the summer. This NY kayak group is offering free kayaking along the Hudson River (right near my apt), to introduce New Yorkers to the maybe I'll try THAT this summer. Normally, I'd be taking my two dogs for long walks thru the lovely woodsy park down the road.....but Theo is just getting over leg surgery....and Celeste had developed a bad heart the walks will have to wait for awhile. All three of us miss our daily climbs up the huge rock formations in the woods...and look forward to getting more active again.

What did I leave out? Oh! Yes....I am an enthusiastic reader on just about every topic! Books are falling off the shelves, waiting to be picked up and read! My interests vary from....let's see....on the righthand side shelves above me is my huge political section on everything re. the current election, back to Nixon and the Vietnam war. And on the left, all my medical stuff (dn't ask why, but I'm an avid medical reader!" Checking the shelf from the left of me here is "Becoming a Woman Surgeon," "On Becoming a Doctor", "Open Heart"--etc, etc! And I have most of the Paul Monette books ("On Borrowed Time", etc) and Ruth Rendell's mysteries, Styron's book on others on depression, lots of humor books. And most of all, all my mt. climbing and Arctic exploration books.



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