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For the Love of Money..........

on July 2, 2007 - 10:39am

Dear Josh - In my last e-letter, I wrote about the end of the school year and how I felt like my world was coming to a crashing end. Boy, was I not kidding when I wrote that!

A day or two after I wrote you, I received a call from my aunt telling me that my 95 year-old grandfather needed to be admitted to the hospital. A couple of years ago, doctors discovered a stone in his gallbladder which was causing a blockage in a bile duct. At that time that blockage caused my grandfather's pancreas to be infected and inflamed. Having an infection in the pancreas is so life-threatening. Even though he was very lucid and conscious, the doctors really believed that he could die at any moment. Thank God he pulled through, but surgery was not an option at the time due to frail health. Without surgery, we knew that this problem would return, and it did. This time, his gallbladder is infected and inflammed. Whew - it was caught early! His condition appears to be not as life-threatening, and surgery is being pondered at this present time, but because of frail health, no one knows when. If they can do the surgery successfully, my grandfather's remaining years on this earth will be free of future gallbladder attacks. If not, I need to prepare for my grandfather's death.

Josh, you need to understand, that I do not want my grandfather to die. I wish that he could live forever, but he can not. No one lives forever. But his death will bring the end of my family as I have always known it, and I do not want that to become a reality.

I come from an immigrant family who made their mark in the Rochester, New York area. My grandfather and his many brothers built a successful buisness in construction market. (i.e. they are home builders) Most of my extended family has money. Some more that they know what to do with. My uncle is one of them, and the love of money has caused an irreparable rift between my uncle and mom. My grandparents caused this rift by favoring my uncle over my mother in buisness and personal matters. My grandparents never wanted to face their part in this, and when my grandfather dies, I will lose my uncle, aunt, and cousins over the love of money.

The Bible says that the love of money is the root of all evil. Now money is a necessary commodity. We need it to live, and we also need it, as you know, to do good for others. But when I think of my family's heartache over money, I think of you and my other celebrity flame, Donny Osmond, in particular.

X-Grobie friend told me how close you are to your parents and your brother Chris. She says that they keep you grounded in the crazy world that you live in. Since I do not know you personally and never will, I hope that what she said is true. But I also hope that money does not have a factor in your close relationship with your family.

Donny Osmond's father, George, took all the millions that his children had acquired and squandered it. When their Utah based production company went under, the Osmonds became broke practically overnight. That, in combination with his public image and his marriage to his wife Debbie, left him an unmarketable celebrity. Everybody knew who he was and no one wanted him around. This lasted 8 years. A comeback album in the 1990's resurrected his music career, but until then, boy were things tough. Using Debbie Osmond's own words she once said: "It is easy being married to Donny. It is hard being married to this buisness."

After Donny got married and became unmarketable, I went through a period of darkness and doubt with him, just like I am experiencing with you. Do you want to know how long it lasted? It lasted at least 20 years. Now you need to remember that I was a very young teenager when Donny got married in May of 1978. Up until that point - I WANTED TO BE HIS WIFE!!! But now I am so glad that God had other plans.

Donny suffered from terrible loneliness when he was at the peak of his career. Everbody loved him - for his fame and money, but NOBODY REALLY LOVED HIM - FOR HIM. until his relationship with Debbie evolved. She was given the grace to truly love him no matter what. Whether he lost his career or kept it, she would always be by his side. Who he was as a person was more important to her than who he was as a celebrity. I must admit, I do not think that I could have such detachment if I were Donny's wife. I have a new found respect for her because of the quality of love that she as given by beloved Donny over almost 30 years of marriage. She was the best thing that ever happened to him, and I am VERY GLAD that she will be with him forever.

For you Josh, I truly hope and pray that the significant relationships in your life will be free of the love of money. I especially hope for you to have a love relationship with a significant other that is free of that vice too. I hope some day that a "Debbie Osmond" can grace your life just like Donny's was. I, myself, am in a position where I could never be that person for you. (sad face) But I am not so concerned because I can pray for you and that prayer helps me to love you in a different way tthan I loved Donny. You are not an object to me, Josh. You are a human being, with God's light shining within you. It is a priviledge and an honor to be distantly associated with you at this time in your life. I hope that my thoughts and prayers can be effecacious as you make your journey in the world of celebrity.

May God continue to bless you abundantly, Josh Groban, wherever you are.

Ampatamia - the least of all the Grobanites.

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Change of Heart - A Song About a Grobanite Divorce.

on June 26, 2007 - 9:49am

Dear Josh - Whew! I made it through another school year. The month of June was crazy! Assessments, parent-teacher conferences and of course Moving Up Day! I was so busy I could hardly see straight. And then after all that was over, I had to pack up my classroom (in boxes)for the summer. We do this every year in case our classroom gets moved, and in about eight weeks, regardless of whether our classroom is moved or not, we unpack the boxes again to begin another school year. It is an illogically crazy experience, but it is what we do when one teaches in the Rochester Preschool Parent Program.

But now that all that craziness is over, the beginning of this summer feels like my world is coming to a crashing end. Even though my job is not as high profile as yours, for 180 school days I have to be "ON" just like you have to be "ON" for the next couple of years as you tour and perform. When the summer comes or when your tour ends, it feels good. It is an accomplishment, but at the same time something may be missing.

This feeling is augmented this year by the loss of X-Grobie friend. I thought that by just ending the relationship, it would be easier to move on instead of waiting for her to end it when she returned from Europe. I know that she has returned from her trip, and since I have not heard from her, I am assuming that she has taken my advice from my final letter to her and my preveious e-letter to you and just walked away. I know in my deepest heart of hearts that this for the best, but I did not realize how much I would miss her until now. I guess that the momentum of the end of the school year filled that void for me while she was gone. Now I have to face Grobania alone again, and the prospect of that scares me. I wish that I was not so alone in this insanely crazy virtual world that you and your fans have created, but I am. I had gotten angry one too many times to a person who had been very patient with me. Since she is not God, forgiveness in this matter is not infinite. She got fed up and rightfully so. Now, if I want to be responsible and accountable for what I have done, I must accept what I am going through. There is no other way around it.

In my final letter to her on the day that she left for Europe, I told her that the only way for this relationship to work is for us to learn to forgive each other seventy times seven times - Jesus' command to St. Peter on forgiveness in the Christian Gospels. If you do not know this already Josh, seventy-times seven times is not 490 times exactly. It is an image of infinite perfection. It means that you do not cease to forgive, no matter how often someone may have hurt you. As I am sure that you know from practical experience, this is VERY HARD TO DO when you are involved in a real relationship with an actual human being. It becomes infinitely harder to do this when the relationship is disembodied, like the relationship that I had with X-Grobie friend. It becomes infintely harder to the infinte power when it involves an IMAGINARY DISEMBODIED RELATIONSHIP like the one that I have with you via these silly e-letters that the real you never reads (or knows that they even exist.) It is so easy for me right now to just walk away, stop being a Grobanite and leave you forever. I am sure that there are some people on this website that would be THRILLED with this idea and are anxiously waiting for the day that I would leave. Well, I ain't giving them that satisfaction; so they better not hold their breath or else they will TURN BLUE and DIE. I still want to be one of your many, many biggest fans. I want to do what Jesus says and forgive you seventy-times seven times even though this desire is like throwing pearls before swines. You will trample all over it, never knowing the treasure that you have been given. That is OK. This is my free will choice. I still hope that it will bear the fruit that I want it to bear even though in reality that is practically impossible.

And yes, I do forgive X-Grobie friend seventy-times seven times too. I am not angry at her in any way any more. She is doing what is right by walking away. I must accept that, but if she would ever change her mind, I would love to hear from her again.

Recently, Josh, I have become very fascinated with Italian fashion brand called PRADA. I do not know if you have ever heard of it. Any PRADA item is EXTREMELY EXPENSIVE if you buy it retail. WAY TOO EXPENSIVE for a lowly preschool teacher like myself. But thanks to Ebay, I have purchased some PRADA items at reasonable prices.

In the glove compartment of my car, I have a pair of PRADA sunglasses that have pink lenses. I love those sunglasses. They look so stylish on me. But the reason why I am writing about them is that I wish that I could see you again through those pink sunglasses.

X-Grobie friend sees you through pink sunglasses. In her eyes, you are the epitome of perfection. You can never and will never do anything wrong. There was a time in my journey as a Grobanite where I felt the same way. Nothing that you did was ever wrong, and I defended you even when others critiqued you. Then the Personal Jesus comment -actual or contrived - shattered those sunglasses in to a million pieces. I have been trying so hard, with some help from X-Grobie friend, to put them back together again. But I can't. When I try, I do not see you in the same way. Those comments shook me to the core and initiated what feels like a Grobanite divorce between you and me, even though it is a divorce that I do not want. I do not know where we go from here. It is too painful a reality to contemplate.

So I found a song on the album My Romance: An Evening with Jim Brickman called "A Change of Heart." Olivia Newton John sings the words while Jim Brickman plays the melody on the piano. This song always speaks to me when I am in a state of confusion, and I really believe that the words of the song contain a message for you, me and X-Grobie friend.

So since this is all a world of fantasy anyway, I can make believe that I have a BEAUTIFUL VOICE and I can ask you to please sing this song with me for the pain that I am going through, especially through the loss of X-Grobie friend. I dedicate this song to her. I hope that if she happens to stop by, this song and this e-letter can help her to better understand what I am going through. So here it goes:

Ampatamia; I feel that I am at a crossroads. I don't know which way to go.

Josh: You say that I am changing into someone that you don't know.

Josh continues: Who I am and who I'll be is locked inside, inside of me. And if I follow my heart, will you still be my friend if we break apart? How do I make, how will you take my change of heart?

Ampatamia: For years you have been my best friend. I thought that would always be. You know that I just can't pretend. It's written all over me.

Ampatamia continues: 'Cause where I'll go and what I'll do, I just can't see my life without you. If I follow my heart, will you still be my friend if we break apart? How do I make, how will you take my change of heart?

Josh and Ampatamia: Moving on, it's going to take some time. When I'm gone, you might have a change of mind. Gotta take the chance - no matter what I find.

Josh: No matter how far I have traveled, I think of you as home.

Ampatamia: It's not about finding someone else. It's all about BEING ALONE.

Ampatamia continues: 'Cause who I am and who I'll be is locked inside, inside of me. 'Cause if I follow my heart, will you still be my friend if we break apart. How will I make, how will you take my change of heart?

Josh(solo finale):How will you take my change of heart?

Yes, Josh, I still very much want to be your friend even though we are breaking apart.

X-Grobie friend - Who I am and who I will be is locked inside of me. Even if I choose to follow my heart, will you still be my friend even thought we also have broken apart. How will I make, how will you take my change of heart?

Thanks Josh for helping me with this song. May God abundantly bless both you and X-Grobie wherever you are.

Sincerely,

Ampatamia - The Least of All the Grobanites

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Just Walk Away........

on June 8, 2007 - 7:42pm

Dear Josh - Last week, in my e-letter I mentioned about sharing with you the story of my inappropriate relationship with Mary Lynn, a clergywoman that I met when I was in college. After reflecting on that idea during the past week, I decided against it. The main reason that I decided against it was that emails,e-letters, and blogs such as this one lives forever. They do not die. X-Grobie friend also once told me - when we were still friends - that some moderator by the name of Wyatt oversees the FOJG journals. If this is true, all I have to say is "Hi Wyatt. It is nice to meet you. I am glad that somebody real maybe reading this blog." But I do not know Wyatt, and I don't feel comfortable for him or any other moderator to know such a personal story. So I am not going to go into any particular aspects about this relationship. That I will just leave to your imagination.

With that being said, I just want to stress that Catholic priests are not the only religious leaders who could get themselves involved in an inappropriate relationship with a minor. Some Protestant Clergy suffer from this same weakness. When the intimacy between Mary Lynn and I became inappropriate, what occured inside of me was a phenonmenon called Lesbian Fusion. In other words, I lost myself completely in her. All my inner boundaries were shattered. I existed only as an extension of her, not as a person within my own right. It took everything in me to try to fight and come back from such an experience.

I knew Mary Lynn for eight years. I knew that the relationship was wrong, but because I was so enmeshed in her. I could not let her go. Towards the end of those eight years. Mary Lynn developed breast cancer. I was devastated by the news. I wanted to be with her and support her in any way that I could, but despite the intimacy between us, she did not want me. She told me not to contact her again until her surgery and six week recovery period were over.

After she placed this limit on me, I knew in my gut that our relationship was pretty much over. At this point, I should have just walked away. But I did not want to abandon someone that I loved so deeply at a time of such great crisis. I would never want to be treated that way if I were sick and hospitalized.

Well, two years after that experience, I was the one sick and hospitalized. Tumors were found in my reproductive system that needed to be removed. Mary Lynn said that she wanted to be by my side, and she gave it her best try. But she became really uncomfortable when I introduced her as my'Best Friend.' When I came home from the hospital, she came to visit me and told me that she wanted to end our relationship. We were supposed to get together and talk about it one more time, but I called her the next day and told her, not to contact me again until I was done with my six-week recovery period. I never saw or heard from her again. She simply just walked away.

The recent split with X-Grobie friend triggered the memories of this loss. Not because my relationship with X-Grrobie friend was inappropriate in any way- IT MOST DEFINITELY WAS NOT!!! But it has this period of waiting, where I feel in my gut like the relatioship is ending, and once again, I know that I am the one who has to end it. I have to end it, not because I am upset or angry with X-Grobie friend in any way. The anger and frustration in me that she experienced before she left for Europe is long gone. I totally understand and respect the feedback that she gave me after that reading that letter. I just do not want to do anything in any way to hurt her. She does not deserve that. That is why one of us should just walk away.

Josh, despite the fact that I possess an M.Div., I really don't understand what is going on inside of my heart concerning you. Since the "Personal Jesus" comment, I feel like I am going through a Grobanite divorce. As a devoted fan I am trying to hang on with all my might, but I feel my grip slipping. I thought that having a Grobie friend my strengthen me during this time of pain and confusion. But it has not. It has only loosened my grip in this crazy virtual world even more. I don't know how much longer I am going to last. I do not know how to be a "Good Grobanite" when I see you and experience you and your music so differently from the rest of the pack. I do not always like sticking out like a sore thumb, but I do. I wish that somehow I could find my place and purpose here in Grobania.

One of my biggest frustration with you these days is this feeling that you have no REAL ACCOUNTABILIY to your devoted fans. They fiercely defend you and all that you do, but I do not know if you really do listen to them or defend them in the same way - especially if they disappointed or offended you.

But instead of belly-aching about this one more time, I am going practice what I preach. I want to show you via my actions, not my words, what accountability really looks like. In my relationship with X-Grobie friend, I am accountable for the anger that I showed her almost two weeks ago. And the best way to demonstrate that is to assert and accept the loss of this realtionship. Again I assert and accept this loss, not because I want the relationshipt to end. I just do not want to hurt her any more.

In all your three major albums, you have sung a song that touched that "Mary Lynn" wound in me. In AWAKE, it was the song "Machine." In CLOSER, it was the song "Broken Vow" and in your debut album, it was the song "Alejate" which in Spanish means "Just Walk Away." I want to end this e-letter or blog with the English translation of this song. If X-Grobie friend will ever read this, I hope that she can understand why I thought that it was best if one of us just walked away.

I never felt so much love in my soul.
And no one loved me more than you did.
For you I laughed and cried and was reborn.
I gave all I have to keep you here.
I know that saying goodbye is best.
Suffering, I will pay for my mistake.
And nothing will be the same. I have to accept it.
And find the strength in me for this good-bye.

Just walk away. I can not bear it anymore.
There is no way to go back in time. Forget me.
And let me go on alone with my solitude.
Just walk away. Tell me goodbye.
And I will resign myself to going on without your warmth.
And I will never understand what happened.
If there is nothing I can do. Just walk away.

I am not going to repent for yesterday.
I loved you woman. For that love, for always being faithful.
Today I have to be strong and learn.

Just walk away. I can not bear it anymore.
There's no way to go back in time.
Forget me and let me go on with my solitude.
Just walk away. Tell me goodbye.
And I will resign myself to going on without your warmth.
And I will never understand what happened.
If there is nothing I can do, just walk away.

Just walk away. I can not bear it anymore.
There is no way to go back in time.
Forget me and let me go on with my solitude.
Just walk away, tell me goodbye.
And I will resign myself to going on without your warmth.
And I will never understand what happened.
If there is nothing that I cn do, just walk away.

The words to this song,Josh, even has power as I struggle in my "relationship" with you. And once again, may God continue to bless you abundantly, Josh Groban, wherever you are.

Sincerely,

Ampatamia....the least of all the Grobanites.

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Alone again........naturally

on June 2, 2007 - 7:52pm

Dear Josh - This is a very sad night for me. In previous e-letters, I spoke to you about a new Grobie friend that I met a couple of months ago. I wrote of how different we were and how I thought that the relationship would not last. Well, it did not last. Today, the friendship ended, barely a couple of months since it first began.

It began with another written miscommunication between us. I felt hurt and offended by the miscommunication and I expressed my anger in an email. I did not insult her, but she did think that I was "holier than thou." Today, for the first time, she suggested that we do not write each other until maybe after she returns from her trip to Europe. When a relationship is ending, I refuse to live in limbo. In a book that I read titled: How to Survive the Loss of a Love? it stated that if you know that the relationship is ending, it is better to "break it" then to be in limbo waiting for a resolution. I did not want to break it, but I had to. I could not spend the next three weeks wondering if she will ever write back. I had to set her free so that neither of us will be hurt by the other again.

I knew that this day was coming, and that is why I tried to be the one to break it off with her earlier. I wanted to have the power to end the relationship before it could hurt me as badly as it does now. But I could not avoid it. I became a victim of another relationship where someone said that they cared about me, but didn't. Now, I am alone again in Grobania....naturally.

When I tried to break it off earlier, she sent me an e-card which spoke of how God does not send trials without sending friends to help us through. She said that she wanted to be that friend for me. Now that promise is forgotten because the relationship is no longer comfortable for her.... how convenient. I am glad that God does not act this way or we would really be in the dog house. It always amazes me that after Jesus' life, death, and resurrection, we still refuse to treat others as He would treat us.

As one Christian to another, I wanted her to treat me with Christ's love. I wanted to have a friend, like Jesus, who would be a friend no matter what. Yes, I would fall and fail. So would she. But we would forgive each other in Christ and start over again. She was really demonstrating this Christ-like love to me for a while, but I guess that the sacrifice now got too hard. So like all humans being when things get tough, she wanted to bail out and there was nothing that I could do to stop her.

Another night to take my anti-anxiety medication in order to sleep or I may be overcome with a grief that is not appropriate for the loss that I suffered today. In my next e-letter, I want to write to you about Mary Lynn. I do not know if I ever told you about her before, but she was a Protestant clergywoman who had an inappropriate intimate relationship with me when I was in college. Like my x-Grobie friend, she said that she was my friend and that she wanted to be "there" for me during a dark period in my life. But when things got tough, like my x-Grobie friend, she wanted to bail out. I turned myself into a pretzel trying to please her to keep the relationship going.
Finally, she just ended the relationship and then slipped away. Unlike February Song, she will never come back to me someday, and that is a pain that I will always have to live with. I never wanted to feel that way again, but tonight I do. This loss is triggering my Mary Lynn wound, so I guess that it is time to examine it once more. But not tonight for it is too late.

I hope that God will grant a miracle of miracles, and maybe you will run into my x-Grobie friend while you are both traveling Europe. Like all of us, she is dying to meet you and get your autograph. I know that you are a good and gracious guy, so you would probably grant her that request if asked. I wish you continued success on your tour, Josh Groban, and my God continue to bless you wherever you are.

Sincerely,

Ampatamia.....the least of all the Grobanites.

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Negative Feedback (Part 2)

on May 24, 2007 - 6:38pm

Dear Josh - When I wrote to you a couple of weeks ago, I wrote about my difficulties with the negative feedback that I receive here in Grobania. Well, within the last couple of weeks, I have received a great deal of negative feedback in my "real world" as well.

If I have not told you before, I teach preschool in Rochester, New York. About two weeks ago, I took my class to the zoo, and we went there by bus. Well, the ages of my children are three and four years old, and in New York State 3-year olds need car seats when they ride a bus.

Well, I forgot to attend to that detail when I was planning for this field trip. I do not know why I did this, but I did. NOTHING HAPPENED on the day that we went to the zoo. We came back and forth on the bus safe and sound, and ALMOST ALL of the parents of the children in my classroom rode on the bus with their child. Overall, I thought that we had a successful field trip experience.

Well, I have had a WHOLE SLEW of paraprofessionals (i.e. teacher aides) in my classroom this year, and the current paras that I have DID NOT think that we had a successful field trip experience that day. But instead of telling me, the teacher, about their concerns, they went and told those powers to be that supervise me. So I got called in for a special "meeting" concerning what happened on the field trip the very next day.

This meeting shook me to the core. I had NO INTENT WHATSOEVER to place my little children in harm's way, but if we got into a bus accident that day, my head and other body parts would have rolled. Now the parents in my class are not upset with me at all, but one of the paras, the one who reported me to my supervisors, just "quit" my class because of it.

To add insult to injury, the week after this field trip to this zoo, we boarded another bus to go to a local YMCA for "Gym and Swim." This bus ALWAYS COMES to the school with car seats in it. That Tuesday, the bus driver decided to remove those car seats,and she had no intention of putting them back when I asked her to. We went to the YMCA anyway. My supervisor went with us, but did not discover the lack of car seats on the bus until the bus ride back to school. Again, NOTHING HAPPENED that day. Everyone remained safe Fortunately, for me, this time the YMCA bus driver will be chewed out because she "knew better" all along, and intentionally decided NOT to follow protocol. The para that quit my class, quit that day after the YMCA bus debacle. I guess two weeks making the same mistake was too much for her to handle. My children lost a really good para and I will be watched more closely by my supervisors because of my poor judgement.

I know that you would not think this Josh, but the profession of mere school teacher can almost be as public as your life as celebrity. When teachers make mistakes, it can become local and national news. Ten yeas ago,when I began teaching preschool, I had a similar problem with a parent who wanted to make her conflict with me front page news here in Rochester, New York. Once again, I was fortunate to have that stopped by my boss at the time. I think this para would have done the same thing, but again it was diverted.

The Bible says "Perfect love casts out all fear." Well, right now I need some perfected love, because I am afraid. Even though my supervisors say that I will not lose my job because of this, I wonder how this "mistake" will play out next school year. It was difficult this year to find paras that will work with me. I wonder if this conflict with the para who "quit" will give them indirect grounds to keep me from the classroom indefinitely. Or maybe, I am being told the truth, and I am just worrying for nothing. Like you, I just want to keep my head down, nose to the ground, and not attract any undue attention to myself. But sometimes that does not happen even in the world of a mere preschool teacher.

I do not know what you will think of me if you ever read this, Josh. If this makes you dislike me even more than you already do, I do not blame you. I am not a big fan of myself either right now because of it.

Well, Josh, I hope that your world tour is continuing to go well. You are always in my thoughts and prayers, and may God continue to bless you abundantly wherever you are.

Sincerely,

Ampatamia....the least of the Grobanites.

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