So today was my third driving lesson -- since I hadn't met with my instructor as of last Wednesday, my instructor decided to take me driving for two hours (!). I was nervous at first and a little shaky, but he took me around my neighborhood for a few minutes to allow me to warm up and then I was fine.

He took me to the parking lot where the driving school does their license exam and ran me through the different steps of the exam -- parking, making left and right turns, and making a three-point turn. I did well on all of these. Next he took me to a nearby grocery store with a much larger parking lot and had me practice parking in different parking spaces, some of them quite narrow. I was able to park well in all of them, no problem. I think I amazed myself more than him!

Near the end of the exam, he had me drive to a local Cuban restaurant called La Carreta where we stopped for an impromptu coffee break. He chatted about his life -- his past relationships and the jobs he's had, and what he's learned from all of these experiences. He is an older Cuban man, someone who works as a nurse during the day and a driving instructor in the afternoon/evening. He has a very calm demeanor and very kind, wise eyes. His patience has been instrumental in allowing me to get over my insecurities as a driver.

After we left La Carreta, he took me to a nearby residential street where I spent the last hour practicing left and right turns and three-point turns again. He ran me through the paces over and over until I was performing them seamlessly, without much instruction or guidance on his part.

When the lesson was over and I was back home again, I asked him how I did, and this was his response -- I did perfectly and I'll be fine to drive by the end of the week. I couldn't believe it. I left the car feeling like I was walking on air.

I'm so happy -- what once seemed so insurmountable, this phobia of mine of driving, has become instead an inner confidence. This experience has shown me that there is nothing I can't accomplish, so long as I put my whole heart and mind to the task.




So today is my 33rd birthday. Strange -- I don't feel 33. Not exactly. The older I get, the more I realize how relative age is. There are some days I'll feel 16, caught in the throes of adolescent rage or longing. Other days I'll feel 5, and I'll want to crawl back into the safety of my mother's arms. And then there are the days I'll feel 95, like an ancient tree that's been twisted by the winds of recriminations and regrets.

But it's not all bad. I honestly think I'm young at heart. Teaching high school kids helps with that, and the other part comes from my determination to remain optimistic no matter what, although my optimism was sorely tested these past two months. I'm sure you've noticed I haven't been blogging or tweeting that much. It hasn't just been because of the beginning of a new school year, although that's certainly to blame as well. It's because my boyfriend and I broke up after being together nearly 12 years. I won't pretend it hasn't been awful, but what has helped is the fact that it was in truth an amicable break-up. Despite the unbelieving reaction of our friends, we have remained in contact. The way I see it, he and I began as good friends, so there's no reason why we shouldn't end that way.

The irony of it all is that one of my last blog posts, the last blog post I wrote while he and I were still together, has a title that has an all too eery meaning for me today: "Beginnings are endings are beginnings." Little did I know I would be learning the truth of this statement mere days after writing it.

But that's in my past and right now I'm focusing on the future. I've found solace in my work, in my family, and in my friends, and I have made some adjustments in these areas that have helped my relationships on both a personal and professional level. I'm getting over my fear of driving and have scheduled myself for driving lessons, the first of which I'm taking tomorrow (!). I'm even starting to date again, which is a scary new adventure in its own right.

I was speaking to some friends at work today about how 33 seems to be a turning point for a lot of women, for some reason. I feel (I hope) in my heart that it might be that way for me, too. But no matter what this year brings, I know one thing's for sure -- I'll be walking forward with my eyes clear and open and my head held high.


I can't believe it's been over a month since I last blogged. Life just got in the way, I guess. It's true that there are things going on in my life right now that have contributed to my abandonment of my blog, but that's a blog post for another day.

Right now I want to talk about Halloween costumes. That's right -- I'm talking about Halloween even though we're only on the second day of October. But you've got to understand, October is my very favorite month. Not only because my birthday is on October 10th, or because the weather finally starts to cool off during this month, or simply because of Halloween (and the candy!), but really because of all of these things. Let's face it, October is just an awesome month.

So costumes. I haven't seriously considered getting all gussied up for Halloween in yeaaaars. Sure, I have scrambled together the last-minute costume in recent years, like the witch I was last year (all I had to do was put on a black dress, black heels, and a black witch hat, and tada! you've got witch), but it's been a while since I've seriously put some thought into a costume. Mind you, there's no definite Halloween party on my horizon, but I'm all about thinking ahead.

The only problem is, I can't say for sure what I want to be. I've always been drawn to the idea of geishas, but I worry that would be too elaborate. For sure I can tell you I'm not into the sexy-time Halloween costumes -- I blush just looking at them. I guess I just want something fun yet pretty, nothing too trashy or done-up.

But enough about me. What are you going to be for Halloween? Give me some ideas in the comments! :-)