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.