Michael Willard, writer, painter, columnist, entrepreneur
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Up Close and Personal

I am a creature of habits, some bad. Tom T. Hall wrote that there were only three things in life worth a solitary dime-old dogs, children and watermelon wine. I like old dogs and children, but have never tasted watermelon wine.

My particular poisons are Russian Standard vodka, Jack Daniels sour mash and, on the lighter side, Coca Cola and Borjomi water. I make a particular concoction of Borjomi with fresh lemon, sugar and crushed ice that is being touted by Borjomi in Ukraine.

I like movies, though it might say something about my mindset-firmly anchored in an earlier century-that my two all-time favorites are Captain Blood (1935) and Casablanca (1942), both directed by the same person, Michael Cortiz.

I live in downtown Kyiv, Ukraine on Sofiaskiy Street, right in the shadow of the famous church and square St. Sophia with its golden cupolas. It is a five minute walk downhill to the main street, Kreshatic. .

I live with my wife Olga and her/my daughter Vala, age 7. In all, counting Vala, I have five children, ranging in age from Vala up to Kelly, 35-plus-ish, who lives and teaches in Charlotte, N.C. In between, there is Mia, 9, Masha, 17, and Rob, 35. I have four grandchildren.

I also have two former wives, or, as Willie Nelson and we serial marriage-ers say, additional wives. The first, Becky, lives in Orlando, Florida. She is a saint. The second, Tanya, lives in Kyiv.

My favorite getaway is to our home in Side, Turkey, about a 10-minute walk to the Mediterranean. Olga and I bought it in March 2007, and visit there every chance we have to get away for a couple of days.