My friend, Angela, is one amazing woman, and if you don’t know her, you should. A voracious reader, a tenacious seeker, a sensitive, thoughtful woman who coined the term “theel” to bring together thinking and feeling as a way of being in the world, Angela is intensely loyal to her friends, her family, her causes. Having survived an abusive marriage, Angela is now putting the final spit polish on her memoir, and let me tell you: it is truthful and it is captivating. Thoroughly dedicated to ridding the world of domestic violence, Angela and her cohorts have just launched In Real Life, a web site dedicated to providing information, support, resources, and a safe place for vitally important discussion and equally important hope for those in abusive relationships. It’s the kind of thing she does, the kind of thing she puts her heart and whole self into.

Three weeks ago her beloved Gracie died, and Angela goes through grief as she goes through life: with grace and humility, and frankly, an inquisitiveness that is simultaneously admirable and touching. Like the ancient Greeks, Angela dedicates herself to becoming the best person she can be. Despite her advanced degrees, when it comes to learning, she’s a sponge. When it comes to living, she is fearless. When it comes to loving, she is indefatigable.

So here I am, using capital letters and squeaking in at the very last minute of her birthday 2011, mere minutes before I turn into a pumpkin to say:

Happy, birthday,

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I love you, my friend.