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Otter (Dis) Beliefs

or, here's where I stand

I was born and raised in northeast Ohio - a blue county in a red state. For those of you from the area, I'm a westsider. I chose my name because of the geographical feature that defines this part of the state - the Cuyahoga River, and because it's name translates from the Native American into English as "Crooked River". In other words, it's not straight and neither am I.
I am the youngest of six children - three boys and three girls. But, there is a gap of 15 years between the oldest and me, so I could almost be considered an only child. Both of my parents are deceased - mom in '99 and dad in '03, so in many ways, now I'm an orphan.
My upbringing was strictly Roman Catholic and it infiltrated every part of my formative years - schools, friends, social clubs and even most of my professional career. My first job was a buyer in a Catholic religious goods store. My second and third jobs were as a Catholic high school teacher. My BA is in History (American) and Religious Studies with a minor in East Asian studies, so I taught Western Civilization, American History, US Government and Psychology. Now, I am the manager of a travel agency branch located in downtown Cleveland.
Personally, I didn't deal with the issues of my sexuality too well. As a matter of fact, I married and fathered 3 children (2 girls and a boy) who I've raised, with the help of a partner, since 1992. They're all adults now, so the empty nest is feeling pretty good right now, although, my partner and I have recently separated because of long standing issues that we've found to be unsurmountable.
That's kind of the reason I've begun this journal. I find myself dealing with issues and events that are completely out of my frame of reference, and I find myself lost and confused at times. I am coping well, if I say so myself. I have moved into my own place with my own rules, restrictions and responsibilities. To be honest, part of me is incredibly excited - I've never lived alone. And part of me is terrified. I'm sure I'll make it though, as my support network has been very supportive and very secure.
And finally, travel. I've traveled extensively here in the States and Puerto Rico, except for New England. My youngest child (daughter)has moved back to Charleston, SC, so I'm sure I'll be visiting there again real soon. I've also traveled to Germany (Bonn, Berlin, Cologne, Frankfurt, Munich), Italy (Florence, Rome, Venice, cycling in Tuscany), France (Paris and barging in the Loire River Valley), London, Amsterdam, Vienna, Puerto Vallarta, Toronto and China (Beijing and Hong Kong). I've also sailed through the Panama Canal and cruised in Alaska. I would like my next dream vacation to be a river cruise from St. Petersburg to Moscow with extra time in those cities pre and post cruise. This is another reason I've decided to join LJ - traveling is nice, but it's always better when it's shared with someone with similar tastes and interests.
UPDATE: 1/17/07 Don't know what to say except I feel the need to update. All in all, my life is going very well. As a matter of fact, better than my wildest dreams. Without going into too much detail, my life has been touched by a couple of very special people that have challenged me to love and be loved all over again. I've accepted the challenge and have begun to push the envelop. Accepting this challenge has also forced me to re-examine some things that I always thought were "givens" in my life - my job and my city of residence. Who knows, this all may change but I'm excited about the possibilities.
UPDATE 10/3/07: Well, another stage of my life has begun to end while a new and exciting one is about to begin. Yesterday, 10/2/07, I informed my place of employment that I was moving to Maryland. I also turned in my resignation, but they are presently working with me to retain me at least part time as their database manager and as an IC. Tomorrow, I tell the guys in my office. My last day in the office will be 10/24/07. I fly to Seattle for Puddletown's fly-in on 10/25, returning on the 29th. I plan on moving to Silver Spring, MD sometime between then and 11/8/07. Yes, I'm in love with and am forming a loving relationship with bjarvis and kent4str. Life is getting more and more interesting.