Love: I decided before I gave up on the idea of finding a happily ever after I would try the personals. (Yes, in the dark time before the internet, people in the 80's reached out through the ancient means of the newspapers.) I went to an all girl college, and up the hill was an engineering school filled with mostly guys. I took a personal out in RPI's college paper and I got 22 responses. I went on 4 dates... On October 20, 1987 at 5:08 I met my happily ever after. On February 21st, five years later after we had saved enough, I married my best friend.
Education: Even though I had straight A's my mother was told I didn't need to go to college because I was pretty enough to get married... I'm a bit of an overachiever and I decided to prove the guidance counselor wrong. I became Russell Sage College's first & last triple major. I have a BA in Psychology, BA in English and a BA in Philosophy. (I was going to be an art minor but I discovered sex, and well, it was much more enticing...) I also went back for my Masters in Psychology.
This will be a page of WAY too much information. Proceed at your own risk!!!
Back home: I needed to deal with some health issues, and I did a little consulting, but still traveled with my love. (We avoid sleeping apart). We visited 30 countries (on either business & pleasure...sometimes both): England, Wales, Scotland, Spain, France, Netherlands, Italy, Brussels, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Finland, Israel, Egypt, Japan, South Korea, Indonesia, China, Tibet, Taiwan, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam, Cambodia, India, Australia, Chile, Canada & the USA. Many of these places my love was there on business, so during the day I would go out on my own. Usually there was a day or two on the weekends so I could show my love the wonders of the country.
Work: I worked direct care for individuals who had developmental disabilities in group homes and in day programs. I wasn't impressed with most of my supervisors, so I decided it was better to be the asshole then work for one. I was the youngest Director of Day Programs Philly ever had. I believe I made a real difference in the lives of the people I served, and assisted many of the staff I supervised to go back for their own degrees.
Overseas: My love came out of work one day and the conversation that tipped our snowglobe was oddly short:
Love: "You know how we wanted to travel?"
Love: "They want me to go to Singapore for three months. Can you put your job on hold?
Z.: "Okay. Um, but where's Singapore?"
I volunteered with children with MS, studied Asian culture and took a flower arranging class. We
began traveling to Thailand. Three months turned into six, which turned into a year. I gave up my
position and took the role of love slave.
For the first six months I struggled to get hot water, cable and the internet all working on the same time. It's a lovely country with amazing people, but it wasn't home. Everything was different: you needed to pay for things in cash (including standing in lines to pay bills and put money on your water & gas cards). Food shopping was horrible the first two years so we ate in restaurants (it was cheaper & we didn't get sick on the poorly refrigerated meat). I learned out of necessity to play charades very well, (being illiterate isn't fun!) and everything was a negotiation. When our contract was extended, we purchased an apartment, which in China means literally concrete walls and floors (no doors, outlets, plumbing...just a concrete box). I designed and built it with the contractors which is a story worth a book in itself, but in spite of everything I was still searching for my happy.
I heard about Adam Lambert kissing Tommy Ratliff at an awards event in America. I was angry at the sexism that occurred when Adam had spots pulled away from him while a couple years before, nothing happened to Brittany and Madonna... how was that okay? I went to China's censored version of YouTube and watched the kiss. I didn't understand the controversy.
I watched hours and hours of Adam Lambert's Glam Nation tour as it crossed the United States. It fascinated me that one could almost tell how homophobic the audience as a whole was based on whether the singer and the musician kissed or not. Through Europe I was enthralled...when they got to Asia a few odd incidents happened in Singapore (with Tommy Ratliff's passport) & I remembered how it was illegal for two men to kiss. When the band got to Malaysia and they were protested because kids would be turned gay, I realized I needed to add my voice to the cause of equality.
How does happily ever afters equate to equality? I watched a young woman who was quite homophobic read a book with a secondary gay romance element. When she was done, all she wanted was the gay characters' happy ending. I saw her opinion change based on romance characters, when all of a sudden the characters ceased being 'the other' and became personal for her.
Studies suggest up to 83% of the time, mothers have more input on child rearing than fathers. Women read romance novels. By reading and caring about characters throughout the rainbow people are more likely to be accepting. If their child were on the rainbow, perhaps they wouldn't see it as the end of the world and could support their child.
I realized I needed to share the story inspired by a singer and a musician. I wanted to add my voice to promote equality. With Wings allowed me to find the happiness I had been seeking. and I'm so thrilled to share my stories with you!!! After all, each and every one of us deserves a happily ever after.
We were heading home, but as Singapore wrapped up we were detoured by two years in Israel. I took classes at Haifa University and found a jewelry teacher.
I grew up in a small town in Upstate NY. I was always a "tom boy". During the summers I played basketball in the park from sun up to dark with a group of boys. Girls never connected with me so I stuck with the boys. In high school I joined the volleyball team (because I was too short to play basketball) and I channeled my energy into my rifle.
China: We were living in San Diego, California. I was having lunch with my love and he got a call for a job in Suzhou China. He politely rejected the offer at first, but I remember writing a note that the first time there was a holiday in China, it was to be devoted for pandas. This picture was taken a few months later.