This month, January, marks my fifth year in business, my decision to paint full time. What inspired me to do this? A number of things led me down this extraordinary path. But if I had to name a single person who inspired me to make this decision, it was a coworker I met when I was suffering from anxiety and working as a corporate consultant, her name was Angela. Angela and I worked together on the same very politically charged government account as project management consultants. When I think about it, I can’t even believe that I forced myself to work each day. I found the work so incredibly boring and the management was dreadful. Angela and I worked with a young, insecure, and power hungry consultant from New York. We were quite sure that she was sleeping with the boss. Ick! And so we'd break the tension by laughing and making jokes. Angela was one month older than me and she was recovering from stage four breast cancer treatments. Her black hair framed her attractive face in a short-cropped curl. I always wanted curly hair. She told me that hers used to be straight too but that it was very common when women lost their hair from chemotherapy for it to grow back in curly. This made me pause and I became thankful for my hair just the way it was. Angela and I both were both deeply dissatisfied with our jobs. I wanted to paint and I learned that Angela always wanted to be an interior designer. Unbeknownst to Angela, I looked at her one-day and thought, "why the hell don’t we just do it, why are we staying here?" Angela and I moved on to different project management gigs. Hers to Hawaii and mine to San Francisco where I had an episode with a self proclaimed born again Christian manager. One day he actually cornered me into my v-shaped cubicle at PG&E. I woke up the next morning with a different resolve. I could not again drive for 45 minutes, park, wait for the ferry, and sail into the financial district for yet another hour, one more day, not one more day of my remaining life. I decided to quit, to find a way to paint, to live the life I was given, and to develop the talent that Wayne Thiebaud himself recognized. I’m blessed to have another year ahead and I’m going to make it the very best that I can. And I look forward to dedicating my first book to Angela.