Before the Trip

This Monday, I fly out of Los Angeles to Wellington, New Zealand.  I thought tonight would be a good time for a quick recap of my recent life, something akin to those old-fashioned Christmas cards where the family blabs about Little Joey’s good grades in school.

My shoulder —

My mother’s favorite saying is, “If you have your health, you have everything.” Over the last few months, I had this pain in my shoulder. After my MRI, it turned out NOT to be a rotator cuff issue. All I know is that it mostly healed, and rarely bothers me anymore. Sometimes, if it rains, my shoulder feels creaky again, so maybe the final diagnosis is: getting old.

But I’m happy it has healed.  For awhile, the pain was so intense, the simple act of putting on a sweatshirt would cause tears to roll down my cheeks.

My mother is wise with her adage.  We sometimes forget that our biggest privilege is that we were born healthy. This shoulder pain has opened my eyes to those who have to deal with pain on a daily basis.  I commend anyone able to rise above their physical pain and sbe able to be decent to others.  There were days recently I just wanted to say “F-you” to everyone I met in the street.

My holiday wish for you is not that you get that big “book deal” you so desperately want.  I wish you good health. Believe me, it is worth more than you think.

Writing —

If you know me well enough, you know I’ve been working on this ONE screenplay forever. I finished it this month. It was a long torturous experience. Some day, I’ll tell you more; there are funny stories involved. But not now.

I have someone shopping it around in January. Keep your fingers crossed. I need some money. But I am also trying to be realistic. If you think it is difficult to sell a book, the odds of getting a movie made are the equivalent of winning the Powerball.

I love blogging, and have no intention of ever quitting, but I have slowed down a bit over the last few months. I’m still trying to find my place in the “blogging world.” I’m not a parent blogger.  I’m not a social media expert.  What am I?    But I stay sane by keeping to the same path that I took from day one, ” Act as if your voice counts, treat others as if their voices count, but always remind everyone that we mostly sit around in our underwear.”

Sophia —

Oy. I am stumped on how to discuss the longest and most neurotic separation and divorce in the history of man.  My fantasy was once this — Sophia and I would toast each other in a sophisticated manner, like Nick and Nora in The Thin Man, wishing each other the best of luck in the future.

Uh, yeah.

If I honestly told you some of the nasty names we have called each other over the last month, you would unfollow me from Facebook immediately. I have started the process of moving my books and clothes into a storage facility, and things have not been pretty. So many of the cliches that the two of us used to laugh at while watching “All My Children” together have become SCARY REAL.  The slamming doors. The eavesdropping.  The yelling of “YOU RUINED MY LIFE.”  The main difference between the characters on All My Children and us is that soap operas characters are so filthy rich that they never fight about money.

Normally, couples don’t like to show their dirty laundry online, but I’ve been lucky to have other divorced or divorcing friends online who have told me one thing — this is all normal.  It was unrealistic for me to expect us to handle this like fictional couples in a brightly-lit romantic comedy.  I’m looking forward to a time when Sophia and I can deal with each other in a more uplifting way again — as a divorced couple.

Juli in New Zealand —

I am going to visit my friend Juli for Christmas and New Year’s. She is a good friend. We met through blogging. We have chatted a lot over the last two years. We have a lot in common. She is dealing with her own divorce.  She is a woman. I am a man. So, yes, I’ll admit there is that element to this story. What this means is still unclear. We have never met in real life.  So, this adventure is a big one.

For those of you curious for more details, closely watch my Instagram for hidden symbols. Photos of bonfires — hot time.  Photos of the ocean — I’m drowning.

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35 Responses to Before the Trip

  1. Emily says:

    Wishing you health and simplicity in the new year.
    Emily posted This wasn’t in the brochure.

  2. Hannah says:

    Have a safe and wonderful trip, Neil. You deserve some time to unwind, to disconnect from those elements of your life this past year that have caused you so much stress and worry.

    And good luck with that screenplay.
    Hannah posted Louis unhinged

  3. jana says:

    I’m so excited about your trip Neil. Here’s to many pictures of bonfires and few pictures of oceans. And prayers for health, peace and movie deals!
    jana posted Stream of Consciousness Sunday: Roughing It

  4. Sheryl says:

    Hey, thanks for the update. It’s nice to know what’s going on in your life. Have fun over the holidays!

  5. Pearl says:

    Neil, for all the times I asked you about the truth factor/sincerity of your blog posts over the past several years, this post rings so true. Guess what, Neil? You’re human — you’ll have aches & pains, breakups and makeups as you go through life. And with all that, your sincerity and your humor will continue to reign and, Mr. Neil Kramer.
    Your mother taught you about good health; my late father taught me about good health. It certainly isn’t something to be taken for granted (this past year, 3 near and dear family members have proven that) and it is definitely worth being thankful for.
    I hope your trip is a continued eye-opening experience and you will return with a *NEW ZEAL AND* zest for life. Hoping that screenplay helps make you a household name…beyond the world of us bloggers and FB’ers.
    Be good, and if you can’t be good, then at least be happy!

  6. Headless Mom says:

    Have a great time. I look forward to seeing your pictures and hearing your stories.
    Headless Mom posted Tuesday Tidbits

  7. Amiyrah says:

    Updates like this are wonderful, especially for those of us that care about you. Wishing you a wonderful holiday in New Zealand and great memories with your friend, whether they are platonic, or not. You’ve been quite a bit this year, so use these last few weeks to treat yourself like the great person you are.

  8. If you’re going to have an adventure, go big or go home. How long is the adventure to last? (Assuming it’s not a lifetime, of course.)
    The Honourable Husband posted Better in Boarisch

  9. I wish I were going to New Zealand.

    I will hold down the blogging fort while you’re gone.

    And if you post Instagrams from New Zealand, you’ll go broke. Now is the time to buy a real camera.
    V-Grrrl @ Compost Studios posted Wednesday in December

  10. Megan says:

    Hang in there, love. The only constant is change.

    Re: New Zealand: Remember that it’s summer there and please take a video of the toilet flushing counterclockwise for me.

    Happy trails; have a wonderful time.
    Megan posted Boxed Set: Pieces of Me

  11. Shannon says:

    I adore your voice-counting/underwear quote. If only everyone could try to live by that rule. I will think of it often from now on.
    I wish you safe travels in your New Zealand adventure. I hope that it is all that you wish it to be.
    Shannon posted Meet My Grandchildren: Money, Rich, Fame, and Fortune

  12. Deb Rox says:

    Cheers to your happiness!

  13. Well, as a new reader of your blog, I’m appreciative of this update and look forward to following your adventures. The New Zealand one sounds superb!
    Elizabeth Aquino posted A sight for sore eyes

  14. summer says:

    Isn’t it so nutty to find that we are more like other human beings than we’d hoped. I’m fascinated to see how predictable my behavior patterns have become, how common my problems are next to the rest of the world. At first I screamed to be unique in my unique problems and my ever so special connection to the world, but now I find comfort in the connections that make it easy for me to recognize my people, even out there on the internet.

    I hope you have a great holiday. I’m so excited to see the photos.
    summer posted Facebook detox and recovery.

  15. sizzle says:

    Ending anything sucks the soul out of a person. You will get through this. Going to NZ is a great idea. You need a change of scenery. You need lots of bonfires. ;-)
    sizzle posted Send Towels & Bourbon

  16. I just read a post from her this mornign that said she was having a visitor named Neil come visit for the holidays. I thought, “I wonder if it’s THE Neil?” So I pop over here and sure enough. I will be watching/decoding your two blogs together for the next few weeks then. I hope you both have a terrific time.

    And yay screenplay!

    Casey Freeland posted Hiatus

  17. Juli says:

    *frantically shopping for a brazier*
    Juli posted It’s a wonderful life.

  18. Alexandra says:

    I love Juli. I miss seeing her more on twitter, she is a wonderful person.

    Look forward to your pictures BUT i read on twitter something disturbing this morning: instagram no longer on twitter? I can’t believe it, I LOVE the instant pictures of the tweeters I follow.

    Sad, but it’s true.

    Have wonderful time, Neil. You are a pleasure in real life, never at a loss for conversation, and one of the most considerate internet people. I feel lucky our paths crossed.

    Happy new year, and wishes for the domicile dust to settle soon.
    Alexandra posted LIM: SOC for the rest of us

  19. anymommy says:

    The trip sounds wonderful! Have a fabulous time, Neil, keep a journal so we get to read the highlights!

  20. Have a nice trip. Bonfires in the ocean are a fair start.
    Josette Plank posted Newspapers and Gene Kelly and YouTube

  21. Neil, I just love you.

    Have the best time in New Zealand.

    Can’t wait to hear about the trip. And can’t wait to see “Instagram: New Zealand”.

  22. Thank you for the update. I was wondering how you were. Wishing you health and happiness in the New Year. Have a wonderful time in New Zealand! No pit stops in Singapore, I assume?
    Diana Mahmoud posted Double Vision

  23. Lisa says:

    Neil, what I always say about Powerball is that “someone has to win it.” Someone has to sell his screen play, and if it’s anywhere near as interesting, unique and entertaining as your blog, you’ve got a much better chance than the next guy!

    Did they check into bursitis for your shoulder? Glad the pain is gone. I’m still on that journey with my back. Finally had the MRI done after 20 years. Now on to physical therapy.

    I wish you a magical trip to New Zealand, and hope you two fall madly in love. If that can’t happen, I just hope the friendship is even more special in person than it has been online.

  24. Happy Trails, my friend! I envy your journeying, but maybe not so much the roiling complex emotions that will be your traveling companions. I hope you have a roaring good time and look forward to the photos.
    Varda (SquashedMom) posted November Round-Up: What I Loved on OTHER People’s Blogs

  25. Kevin says:

    Hey Neil, hang in there. Happy to have stumbled across your blog a few weeks ago. I can appreciate your struggle to find your place in the blogging world. I’ve been running an ad blog for years and years, and finally decided I wanted to write stuff that didn’t have to be right, or important, even…so I started a new thing to do in addition to the old one. It’s really strange what your brain can do to you when thinking about blogging stuff.
    Kevin posted The Silver Meteor

  26. Bon voyage, friend. I look forward to a detailed telling of your tales when you return to New York and we finally take in a Mets game together in 2013.
    Always Home and Uncool posted The Photo Finish

  27. No matter what happens, I hope you enjoy yourself and your trip. I look forward to the tales you will spin from this and the photos you will take. Life is short, and I am so glad you are out there, making the most of it. I’m oddly proud of you. Go forth and be awesome Neil.
    Redneck Mommy posted My Annual Etsy Gift Guide

  28. Stacey says:

    I’m glad you shared this update, Neil. You’re one of several bloggers I’ve been following for years. I feel attached to my favorites and like to check in to see how things are going. I hope you have a wonderful holiday in New Zealand.
    Stacey posted Daddy

  29. I went through some health stuff this last week and I have to say you never fully appreciate your health until it’s gone. Seriously, I am feeling like I won the lottery right now just because I got my health back. It’s the most important piece.

    Hope to see mostly bonfires.

    I guess I better join Instagram…finally.

  30. Marinka says:

    I’m eagerly awaiting the tweets from your trip.

    This has been a big year for you, Neil. Hurry back to NYC so we can toast the new one. xo
    Marinka posted Calls From School

  31. I hadn’t heard of your trip prior to today. I’m so thrilled that you are taking on this adventure full steam ahead! I’ve known Juli from Twitter and have always liked her. I hope you have a wonderful time together. If nothing romantic comes of it, at least you’ve had a once in a lifetime vacation with a good friend. Although I’m hoping for more for both of you! ;-)
    Chrisor (ynotkissme) posted Small dog at large

  32. teamgloria says:


    You’re one of the philosophical-thought-and-beautiful-imagery men that we like to follow and read and check in, silently, with – just to see how another writer and photographer got through today…..

    Sad to hear about the dissolving of your relationship.

    Waving from Manhattan.

    Hang in there. We have a good feeling about your screenplay.

    Maybe see you for a cup of tea when we move West?

    teamgloria posted guten tag, julia stoepel! @missjulesberlin came to visit.

  33. tracey says:

    You know, getting classified in the blogging world kinda sucks. Because then you’re CLASSIFIED. And then what? How do you break out of that class once you have graduated that stage? Blech.

    I am sorry the divorce is so difficult… I think we all sort of believe that we couldn’t be reduced to that type of behavior but a dissolving marriage is some pretty serious shit with lots of emotions. I guess it’s impossible to dissolve all of those emotions without a lot of acid. (and not the good kind)
    tracey posted New Traditions…

  34. 180360 says:

    I am sorry I’m only just reading this, but it was great to “catch up” on what’s been going on with you. I owe you a call big time! Have fun in NZ. Can you go all the way to the southernmost tip? Also loved Queenstown, the luge in Rotorua, and there were big sulphur ponds somewhere that were cool (at least they were at age 14)!

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