Pay me what you owe me

I saw a hilarious tweet about having your ex pay you for emotional distress and how much one would ask for. It got me thinking if I would even want emotional distress money from an ex. I mean, I’ve moved on, right? But then, I could always use more money.

It is no surprise that some relationships sting more than others. And when they are over, the pain of recovery takes time. And worst of all, there are times you never get what you really want…closure. Sure, if a relationship ended, a check would be nice. But we put closure above anything when it comes to moving on from heart break.

I once asked a friend of mine if she felt she was “owed” closure. Meaning, do you deserve having your ex explain the cause of the end of your relationship? Or do you just want your ex to acknowledge it, and the actions that may have led up to it? At the end of the day, no one is owed closure. Even writing that I feel like a hypocrite. But when I take an honest look at even the most painful of breakups, the ones where I felt I “deserved” closure, I saw that over time, that need became less and less.

What we want is to put a pretty bow on the end of that chapter, in hopes that turning the page is easier. But that simply isn’t true, and isn’t real life. Sometimes you have to go through that pain to come out on the other side. And for some people this process prevents them from moving on to something better. We hold so tight on the “What if” of an ex, that we miss out on great future possibilities.

I asked that same friend of mine if she would feel better with closure, and of course she said yes. But I then asked her if she would honestly feel better without. Over time, won’t you have found peace and moved on? Yes. And in some cases, finding out the “Why” of the end of a relationship, can make things worse. So why put yourself through that?

Whether your ex gives your closure, or if we had the ability to get a fat check from emotional distress, moving on is the best reward. You can look back and see your personal growth. Sure, I can name at least two ex’s that I would easily request $10,000 in emotional damages. But let’s be honest, they couldn’t pay it anyway. Hence why they are an ex!

Temptation Island or bust!

Along with my love for “90 Day Fiance” quarantine also introduced me to another reality show gem. Temptation Island. This show has everything. Hot guys, gorgeous girls, beautiful locale, tons of drama, shots of tequila and of course…temptation. If you don’t know the show, let me explain.

Four couples set off to a private island to explore if their relationship is worth saving. The men and women are separated from their partners and put up in stunning villas. Now, here is where it gets tricky. Each villa has 12 singles, all vying for their attention. The idea is to see if you will be tempted, or if you will stay committed to make your relationship work. I know! It has hot mess disaster written all over it. It also has me wondering why a couple would ever put themselves through something like this?

Let’s be clear. Temptation is everywhere. It can be small, like walking past a cute guy. Or a girl sliding in your DMs to say she thinks you’re cute. To something bigger, where how you respond to temptation effects your relationship. Temptation can also be flattering. Someone asks you out not knowing you’re in a relationship, or says you’re hot, can be very flattering. You think to yourself “I still got it!” But what do you do after the message or the text or the comment?

Temptation is really an emotion in judgement and will power. When I think of temptation in relationships, I like to think about a cupcake. Many of us have been on at least one diet in our lives. If you haven’t you know someone who has. And you may have heard them or yourself say something like “I was doing so good until I went to work. They had cupcakes in the office and I was so tempted. I caved!” Sure. You caved and had a delicious treat, but it’s not like the cupcake was doing anything. It was just a delightful confectionary treat. You made the decision to eat it.

Now, this isn’t to say that real life works the same way. In many cases, the temptation becomes dangerous when we engage in it. Think again about the cupcake. What if it could talk? Or send you pictures of itself putting on icing. (Can you tell I really want a cupcake?). It then becomes harder to just walk on by. This is where judgement, has to outweigh will power.

When you are tempted, what deeper desire is it bringing you? Is it appreciation? Attraction? Adoration? Respect? If it is something that you can pin point that draws you toward the temptation, you can then look to see what it is you may be lacking that is drawing you away from what you currently have. Like the cupcake, the attraction is the dessert. You’re tempted because you don’t have it, and on a diet, you don’t get to eat it. So what do you do? You either recognize this, or your give in with some form of justification. “I’ll go to the gym and burn this off.” You can do that, but the act is done. In relationships however, it’s far worse. You can’t just talk about it and move on. You have succumbed to temptation.

So when this happens, what do you do? If you can’t recognize prior to the act what is drawing you toward the temptation in order to understand how NOT to engage in it, you need to then be honest. Honest with yourself and your partner. Countless couples are tempted and are able to hide what may have come from the temptation. But if you do cross that line, it may prove difficult to stay silent. And that’s where honesty comes in. Even if you didn’t cheat per say, being honest about being tempted is just as important. It shows your partner that you value them enough to speak truthfully. It also reminds you that you either had a choice to give in or not.

Temptation is hard. And some people make it harder by actively being the temptor. However, take the time to recognize what is really underneath the temptation. At the end of the day, loaded sugary carbs never really hurt any one, but diabetes kills.

What I learned from 90 Day Fiance

I spent most of quarantine like a lot of you. Aimlessly walking around my house trying not to go slowly insane. I didn’t have the luxury of working from home, as due to COVID, my entire department was laid off. In between self pity and countless bottles of Jameson, I discovered a gem of a show called “90 Day Fiance”. I’m not going to insult you with the details of the reality show hit, but I will sum it up as follows:

Long distance and cross cultural, love meets tv cameras and national judgement.

This show has everything. From aspiring rappers, to sugar mama Karen’s, to sweet country boys, to more sugar mama Karen’s, to Ukranian women who may or may not be real, to you guessed it…more sugar mama Karen’s. For the life of me, I never understood why these women would send money and gifts over so freely to these dudes. But in reality, it’s like watching one of those Nigerian email scams in real life, only the guy on the other end isn’t a prince.

There is a lot to learn from a show like this, but the biggest thing I learned was compromise. Or in some cases, the lack thereof. In a recent episode, this lovely Ukrainian woman is engaged to this sweet simple country boy from Washington. They could not be more opposite. He loves beer, she doesn’t drink. Like me, he finds joy in a Tomahawk steak, shes a vegetarian. The latter came up recently when she watched him in horror devour this gorgeous piece of meat.

Side Note: I totally respect vegetarians and vegans, but I mean, a beautiful piece of medium rare filet in a garlic butter sauce? Chef’s kiss!

Any way, the woman asked if he would try giving up meat for a week. He sheepishly agreed as she says to the camera how doing this was a sign of respect to her and a good compromise. It caught me a bit off guard. My first thought was “compromise”? What are you giving up for him? He doesn’t have meat for a week and you get to sit back and enjoy not having the smell of bacon in your house? But then it hit me. Oh yea, she moved to another country for him. Big compromise.

The thing about relationships, is that they are chock full of compromise. Whether big or small. Women will look past the toilet seat always being left up, if you don’t judge us for eyelashes you find on the counter. You take out the trash, I’ll put away the groceries. But then there are the bigger ones. Where do we live in relation to our family members? Or different religious beliefs? Are you a smoker and your partner isn’t?

Learning to balance compromise in a relationship, rather than it being a punishment, is a huge part of making it work. Compromise, like communication, isn’t easy and doesn’t happen over night. It’s the basis of that tried and true piece of relationship advice “Pick and choose your battles.” You can either make something into a huge deal or stop and ask “Is this something that I can compromise for?” Because maybe, you are doing something that drives your partner up the wall, but silently, they haven’t judged you for it.

Compromise. It’s the name of the game.

The Help You Need

The older I get, and the more serious of a relationship I find myself in, I come to a point where I feel that outside help will be a benefit to my partner and I. And I mean more than just talking to your girlfriends, your crew, co-workers or parents. I mean…professional help. I’m going to say something that may seem a bit controversial, but hear me out. “Every couple…even you…should speak to a counselor/therapist/mediator at some point in your relationship.” To be honest, I’m not sure how some couples make it without outside help.

Think of it this way. How many things do we do to prevent issues with our automobiles? It’s like preventive maintenance for your relationship. We regularly get our oil changed, tires rotated, etc. The same approach should be done with anyone that you plan or are planning to spend a substantial amount of your life with. But why? What’s the point of seeking outside help?

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Just like you shouldn’t drive a car off the lot and when it first shows issues do you take it to a shop; the same shouldn’t be done with a relationship. You can go along the road of life, hoping your relationship  runs smooth and maybe you will have one bump that requires attention. Or that one bump, because it hasn’t been treated sooner, becomes a huge front end blowing problem. You do the work to prevent bigger issues. Now, is this to say that it will work all the time? Hell no. There are some major issues that are unforeseen.

For most couples, the biggest issues usually revolve around four things: Money, Children, Sex and Communication. Some of these are issues that can be tackled before problems occur, simply by having in-depth conversations. And I mean, the conversations that may be uncomfortable. For example, I don’t want to have children. I never really did. I’ve always been very frank and open about this, early on in all of my major relationships. And with the exception of my marriage, I’ve always told my partner there is nothing they can do to change that fact. So the conversation became, “If you want to be with me, this has to be something we both agree on, or you need to be with someone else.”

That isn’t a fun conversation and it can bring up bigger issues down the road. But for me, having that talk early on, saves a lot of heartache. But what if you’re someone who is ok with say, not having kids and your partner at first feels the same way, and then over time that changes? What do you do? Well I promise you, issues will arise. The conversations will turn into disagreements, then to bickering, then to arguing or worst. That’s where getting outside help can be of benefit.

For one, it allows a neutral party to sit and listen to both sides and give counsel that doesn’t benefit that person. Whether we want to say it or not, when we ask our friends or loved ones for advice, there is always a part where it can benefit one person in the relationship more so than the other. It’s natural, they’re your friend. A third person outside of your circle can look at things truly objectively. Another reason to talk to a professional, is to shed light on any potential issues that may come down the road. “Ma’am, you’re gonna need an alignment soon.” AKA “So how do you get along with her mother?” This is a great time to openly and honestly, talk about things that may be on your mind that you fear to bring up in casual conversation. Or maybe even things, that you haven’t really thought about, but should talk about.

And what kind of help should you seek? I’m not going to tell you that you need to see a licensed therapist/counselor or a minister or even a doctor. Find someone who works for both of you. It could be any of the aforementioned professionals. Most importantly, it should be someone that you both trust and can speak openly with. The important thing to remember, is that this a process. I’m not also telling you that you should speak to someone weekly or monthly. But that you should give it a try. Maybe you will find that like a tune up, it’s something you do every few months. Either way, there is no harm in lifting the hood of your relationship and see how things are running. In the end, it will truly help it perhaps run a little smoother.

That is…unless you’re planning on an upgrade! (lol)

What makes me so special?

Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about my dating past. I am a firm believer that your dating past brings you exactly what your present and future can be, as long as you learn from it. Meaning, are you making the same mistakes and getting the same results, while at the same time, blaming your dating partners? Have you ever wondered what makes you so special? And why would someone want to be with you?

A friend of mine is in a new relationship that seems to be blossoming. She’s one of these women that for years I wonder, why the heck guys don’t see how amazing she is. In a lot of ways, she reminds me of me. Loud, funny, highly career focused, no kids, lover of booze. For a while, I was afraid all those things held me back from finding a great guy. And again, I found myself wondering, “What makes me so special?”

Over the years, the question of finding someone who makes you feel special, was always one that I tried to answer. I need a man to treat me like the goddess that I am. The older I became, however, I realized that I need to tap into my own blend of special, and love and appreciate that, before anyone else can. Believe it or not, our moms were right. “You have to love yourself, before anyone else can love you.” Who knew?!

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All you can hope, is that the next person, your person, that you end up with, sees something magical in you, that no other partner ever has. At the end of the day, that’s what makes that relationship “The One”. And a lot of that, comes from not only loving the  things that make you “special”, but the bad, the ugly, the insecure, the annoying, the flatulence. So here’s to finding and loving what makes you special. Here’s to first appreciating it on your own and the beautiful dating process, that will lead you to find someone else, who will think that you’re not only special, but pretty darn groovy, too!

The Advice You Give

When I started my blog 8 years ago, it was because I wanted to work through some issues. A girl might look like a Power Ranger but I need help. What I never expected but has turned into a happy surprise, is my ability to give advice to others. You’ve heard that doctors make the worst patients. The same goes for those who write dating blogs. I may not always listen to my own advice, but the advice I give is darn good!

A few days ago, my college best friend called me. She needed some advice about whether to pursue dating a guy seriously or to let him go. We caught up for a few hours and I realized very quickly, a lot of the advice I give, sounds scarily…like my mother. I have to laugh especially since I don’t have kids. I don’t have many moments where I can go to my mom and say “I get it now”. It does, however happen several times when giving advice.

The advice that I give comes from a place that splits my head and my heart. Most of the time, when my friends come to me and I hear their concern, my first response is something that I’ve heard my mother say countless times, “It sounds like you know what to do, you just have to do it.” And in classic mother fashion, sometimes the thing we know we NEED to do, is the thing we don’t WANT to do. But why is that?

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Because deep down, even though we often seek out the advice of others, we already know what we NEED to do. Sometimes, we want to even be talked out of those things. We have our mind made and know what we WILL do. But hearing advice gives us insight one way or another.

I’m always happy to be a sounding board for my friends. Often, they do the same for me. And I will continue to give advice, whether they listen to me or not. Just remember, the advice you give is often the advice you need to take. Be a better patient, then a doctor!

2019- The Year of “Don’t Repeat”

I can’t stand New Year’s Resolution. Full disclosure, because I can never keep them. Who can? You make grand plans to stick by a resolution and by mid-January, you realize that that pound cake won’t eat its self. So instead of resolutions I try what I like to call “Don’t Repeat”.

Rather than a goal or a resolution I want to keep but know I won’t, I focus on things that brought me no joy or success and focus on not repeating them. The classic “Learning from Ones Mistakes” mantra.  I’ll admit, I am the Queen of screwups. And I wear my mistakes with a badge of honor. But even someone like myself has to stop and make an effort to not make the same mistakes again, hence “Don’t Repeat”.

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So if you are like me, and need a checklist to get you into 2019, might I suggest my list of 2019 “Don’t Repeats”

  • Tinder Dinner Dates- Sure, it gets you out of the house and yea, it’s a free meal. But it’s never just dinner, and it’s never worthwhile in the end. Let’s just say “Wanna meet for a drink and maybe make out?” I mean, let’s put the rules of the game out there before we enter the field.

 

  • Concern for your Ex- Yes, you have a civil relationship with them. There is no following on Social Media or even a saved phone number. And maybe they went through a hurricane. That doesn’t mean you have to be the one who reaches out because you were “concerned”. You’re not. Not really at least. You want to know that THEY know the f*&^ed up. Surprise, surprise…they still don’t

 

  • Looking Cute for Others- BITCH!!!!! Make the winged liner as strong as your personality and as sharp as your tongue for no one else, but yo DAMN self! Trust me…it won’t go unnoticed!

 

  • Cheating on Your Expectations- Earlier in the year I talked about how a friend was trying to set me up. When she asked me what I was looking for in a guy, I gave her a rather detailed top 5. She thought it was shocking and for a moment, I  began to doubt whether those things were really necessary. Then it hit me. If I had found any guy in 2018 remotely close to the characteristics in my top 5, I wouldn’t still be looking. This isn’t to say that my expectations are high, but I know what I want. And in 2019, rather than thinking what you are looking for isn’t realistic, ask yourself if it’s realistic to waste your time on what you AREN’T looking for.

 

  • Losing Sight on Me- Ladies, we all do it. We meet that guy, we click, we start dating and then we morph into another person. We know we’re doing it. Our friends, family and co-workers see that we’re doing it? But why? What do we get out of it, except an emergency trip to our therapist on New Year’s Eve. We know what makes us great. And we also know what makes us a hot F*&^ing mess! So why not accept that and accept that the person who will ultimately be your right match will love both…equally. Let’s stop playing the charade of the perfect hostess, the girl who’s eyebrows always match or the super excited hockey fan (Bitch, you know we ain’t ever been to a hockey game). Instead let’s take this kick ass chick into 2019 ready to make mistakes, learn from them, kiss a lot of frogs, meet a prince, challenge herself, fight for what she deserves and changes the attitudes of others around her with her smile. It’s not impossible, so let’s show the world how it’s done!

What I Need- My top 5 guy requirements

I love my friends. I love that they try to so hard to see me happy. Whether it’s in my professional life or my personal life, they go to great lengths to see me happy. One such friend however, decided to do the thing I hate the most….set me up on a date. I was recently talking to a newly engaged co-worker who asked me what I was looking for a in a man. These two situations had me thinking, “What DO I want in a man?”

When I was in college, I wrote a list of 100 things I wanted in a Dream Guy. My thought was, he really would be the perfect guy for me, if he had all 100 things that I wrote on my list. Over the next few years, I would go back and look at that list. Mainly in horror at what I thought was a NEED. But mostly out of amazement, that my needs changed drastically.

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Just like our palette, fashion sense and choice of movies, we get older and our needs change. 21 year old Desiree was so focused on what she wanted from a guy. But a few years older, a divorce, a few breakups and one heart ache, my needs have definitely changed. So to answer the question asked by several of my well meaning friends, here’s what I need in a guy…my top 5 requirements.

  1. Laughter- I am funny. No seriously, I am. Hilarious. I’m silly, goofy, slightly inappropriate and sarcastic AF. That kind of humor is not for everyone. When I think about guys from my past what sticks out about several of them, was their ability to make me laugh. Laughter is the best medicine and in some cases, the best way to end and argument. For me, if you can make me laugh, it means you don’t take yourself (or me) too seriously. It says, you’re up for an adventure and fun.
  2. Chemistry- Let’s be honest. There has to be a spark. And I hate to admit it, but I get bored easily. If two people don’t have chemistry, what will be the thing that keeps the passion going? I’m not saying that I need to see you walk in the door and jump you before you cross the floor. What I am saying is, you should feel that butterfly in your stomach whenever you see me, because I assure you, I will feel the same.
  3. Height- I know this is random but it’s a big physical thing for me. I wear heels. High heel shoes, heeled boots and I may own a few pair of Louboutin’s. I NEED you to be taller than me. For one, pictures are so awkward when you’re not. Two, heels or not, if I look down to kiss you I feel like an odd freak of nature. Every girl loves the feeling of standing on her tippy toes to kiss a guy. That, and I believe  the guy equivalent of girls doing creative shots to hide their weight, are guys showing photos of themselves sitting in cars. No sir, I need to see you standing next to a small elephant!
  4. Education- I recently went on a date with a sweet young gent. When he asked me how my day was, I replied that it was fine, but that I did have some H.R. stuff to deal with, which is never fun. His reply was “What’s H.R?” Now I’m not saying that you need a Harvard education, what I am saying is, you need to be able to have an educated and insightful conversation with me. And again, let me stress, an intelligent conversation can be anything. I can just as easily debate the need for universal health care as I can why the “ManBearPig” episode of South Park is stellar television.
  5. Passion- At first glance, I’m sure you’re thinking I mean in the bedroom. Well…that too. But I mean more than physical passion. I have dated men who were passionate about comics, the environment, their children or the military. Their passion was evident in everything they did and believed in. It was a part of what made me fall for them. Passion is about having that unyielding dedication to someone or something. Something to believe in. Something to fight for. In any good relationship, you want someone to believe in you and you want someone who will fight for you. What you need is a man with passion.

Looking at this very small list, makes me wonder what college aged Desiree would think. Would you she laugh at what I consider are my top needs? Or would she argue that “Keanu Reeves” is still a valid requirement for the perfect guy. Not a guy LIKE Keanu, I meant, Keanu himself. Either way, sometimes what we need to do is think long and hard about what it is that we may NEED in a partner. Often times, it speaks to what we are lacking in ourselves.

Letting Go- Girl Move On!

I am not ashamed to admit that I see a therapist. Often. I think more people should. But that’s not what this post is about. After going through all of my basic history and running my therapist up to speed about my life, I proceeded to spend about 10 minutes talking about my ex. You know the one. The one that plays on an endless loop of mental memories of good times, bad times and a million “What If’s”.

Then I had a moment of, well honestly..F*&%ING STOP! What we do when we gravitate to the past or we hold on to those amazing former memories, is feel sad that we don’t have that. But as I am reminded by my mother almost on weekly basis, we actually have to be thankful for them. There is something to learn about the loss of love. There is something to be grateful for it. And more importantly, there is something that you need to identify in order to not make the same mistakes again.

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Even as I write this, I have to laugh. It’s probably one of the dating lessons that I find the hardest even at my age to really learn. But that’s the beauty about lessons. Just like when you were a kid at school, it took you a while to learn something. You had to practice. There were reviews. Trial and Error. Maybe a practice test.

So just think of those pasts heartbreaks as the ultimate practice test. When the test is over, good or bad, there’s nothing more you can do. And sure, for you snooty little “A” students who would do extra credit just to get two more points, ok, good for you! For the rest of us “C” students, we know. That ‘ish was done. And though we may have wished it went better, we just have to hope that the next test gives us a better result.

The next test in your life may be your “A”. It may be easier than the others. And you may find that this is the one, you were meant to work so hard to have  and learn from, in your life.

The Last Great….

After a chain of recent hilarious events, I’ve found myself thinking a lot of “The Last Great”…

When you look back at your dating life….the good, the bad, or potentially questionable, if you’re like me, there are a few bright shining moments. I like to call them “The Last Great…”. Whether it was the last great kiss, date, dance or romance, the collection of ray of hopeful sunshine moments from your dating history is enough to remind us all, that  your future romance is out there. And maybe more “Last Greats…” will lead to your “First Real…”.

“The Last Great Kiss”

I wrote an article about this particular kiss a while back. A first date, which lead to a walk around my lovely little hometown, and a kiss that seemed to last forever. What made it “The Last Great Kiss” was simple, I haven’t felt that kind of connection since that kiss. And I’m not talking about a sexual connection, it was something deeper than that. And it felt REAL. It’s funny how we take for granted things that aren’t in front of us, or are on our cell phones and laptops. I mean a connection where it’s just you and the person in front of you. And even if that moment never turns into a relationship, “The Last Great Kiss” was a real moment, and one I will always enjoy.

“The Last Great Morning”

I love New Orleans. I have a few sad but mostly amazing memories there. One of my favorite memories, was “The Last Great Morning” I had with a guy I dated a few years back. We got to sleep in late, something I rarely ever do. It was one of those rainy mornings in NOLA and after a pretty late night the evening before, all I needed was coffee. What I got, was a living room filed with small little white lights, John Coltrane playing in the background and freshly pressed coffee. Oh, did I mention my BF at the time was in the kitchen making the most amazing cheese crepes. We spent the rest of the morning listening to jazz, cuddled on the couch, with the NOLA rain in the background. I haven’t had another morning like that since…

 

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“The Last Great Phone Call”

This is going to seem like a random one, but hear me out. Years ago, before Snapchat and FaceTime, and wayyyyyyy before cell phones and Instant Messaging, guys and girls would spend hours on the phone talking. It’s how you knew you had a real connection and it’s also how you knew a guy really liked you. Fast forward to about 30 years later and those days are long gone. Even I have to admit, I’m not a fan of long phone calls and I’d much rather text than talk, but this guy got me on a special evening. And our phone call lasted 3 hours. We both had to work the next morning but that didn’t seem to bother either of us. We talked about everything under the sun and daydreamed about cozy warm cabins in the North Georgia mountains. We had a great first/only date which also provided some lovely moments. Every once in a while, I think about that call. I wonder what a night in the mountains would be like with a handsome, motorcycle riding, blog writing gentleman who doesn’t drink. Well, maybe my charm, a fireplace and a 30 year old scotch can change that.

“The Last Great Sex”

Let’s be honest, this is the one you all came here for. And it’s the one I’ve had the hardest time trying to pin down. Mainly because there are several gents who will read this thinking it’s them. For all of you curious handsome guys, I do apologize. Originally, I wanted to write this entire article about “The Last Great Sex” and though there has been some great, good, amazing sex in the past few years, I pondered something else. Am I really talking about the last great sex act or something more? And to be honest, I AM talking about something more. I’ve spoken about connection a few times in this article and I really feel that’s what “The Last Great Sex” is about…Connection.  Great sex can be great because of chemistry, music, carnal matching, the perfect thread count and countless other reasons. And while you know I am never one to NOT gossip about great sex, if what I am speaking on is the “The Last Great Sexual Connection”, then my dear reader, I have to be honest…it hasn’t happened yet.

So with that said, and to whomever is reading this pondering if it WAS him, take comfort in knowing…you gave me a great reference point for finding my “The Last Great”. And check back again kiddlets, because I’m sure it will be a great story to tell!