30 July 2010

Friday Wrap-Up (passive-aggressive edition)


Dear Twitter follower, unfollower, blocker, protected tweeter, public tweeter, follower, unfollower, blocker, unblocker, blocker, protected tweeter (in that order, all in the span of about 60 days), the fact that you continue to read my blog and search the twitter stream for my tweets, all-the-while posting passive-aggressive tweets in response to what you find, and not only denying you are doing so - but claiming you are the victim - is just plain CREEPY! Your social media psychosis says far more about you than it does about me.

I know from experience, passive-aggressive really isn't the best way to handle things - seldom will it do anything other than give you a feeling of false superiority and an "out" should you get called on it. Heaven knows I've tried the direct approach with you several times, most recently with no response other than additional passive-aggressive tweets/blog post innuendos.

If passive-aggressive is your only mode of dealing with conflict, you might want to insure that you can take it as well as you dish it out. Yes, I've been giving you exactly what I've been getting from you, but at least I have the scruples and personal integrity to admit to it.

That word hypocrite that you throw around so casually? If I were you I'd revisit its definition.




Cam's been at band camp since Tuesday and will be home tonight. Let me tell you, getting him there was no easy feat.

Band camp permission forms were due back in May, but because of the uncertainty surrounding where Cam would start his HS classes in the fall, I was apprehensive about forking over the $100 for a camp he might not be able to attend. In early May, I sent an email to the HS band director asking for her guidance. She didn't respond.

Cam seemed less than enthusiastic about going to band camp, so I dropped the issue figuring it wasn't worth the aggravation (imagine that)! Then in June, Cam brings it up again - he wants to go if there is any possible way. I re-send the email. Again, no response.

I follow up with two voice mails to the HS band director (who is in the HS building all summer giving private lessons) and I still get no response.

At my wits end, last Friday I called the special education coordinator for the district hoping she might be able to act as a mediator (she had been copied on all of the previous emails).

I get a call Monday morning at 11:00 letting me know that Cam can go to band camp if he has all of his forms filled out and I pay the $100 fee by 3:00 that same afternoon. I was a mom on a mission. Success was mine!

Now let's hope he got something out of it other than a story that starts with, "This one time, at band camp ..."


I want to clarify my position on this whole Asperger's Syndrome thing as I've gotten mixed input from readers. I am not self-diagnosing, but I am acknowledging that I have many of the same thought processes and challenges that Penelope Trunk describes on her blog.

Prior to reading Penelope's blog, I just assumed that everyone thought the way I did, but were much better (i.e. smarter, more intuitive, more relational, etc.) at handling it than I was. It just never occurred to me that I might be anything other than crazy and/or a shitty person who isn't capable of being successful in friendships/relationships.

I doubt I'll ever go to the trouble of seeking a diagnosis to find the appropriate label to call "it." I'm not a big fan of labels anyway. I am who I am and I've been this way for, let's see ... 2010 - 1964 = ... 46 years! Calling "it" anything other than "me" offers no benefit to anyone, however I am hoping to benefit from Penelope's insight and suggestions, personally, professionally and in the ways that I relate to Cam.


Weekend plans include spending time at our local village summer-fest (free roasted, locally harvested corn for everyone!), watching Cam march in his first parade on Sunday (in the percussion section, none-the-less) and catching up with those things one must do on the weekends - laundry, cleaning, all the fun stuff.

Have a great weekend Ruffians!


28 July 2010

HNT - Silk Scarf


“When she was dressed for a special event in elegant jewelry and silk scarves, you'd never guess that she was shoveling manure from a horse stall a few hours earlier.”
~ Deborah Hazen

(For my newer readers, the click-through DOES contain nudity and is NOT safe for work)

I received this silk scarf from Real Live Lesbian as part of a blogger give-away. It found its way to Illinois all the way from China ... and then found its way to somewhere a little more intimate than the box it was shipped in.

I love the feel of silk!



Critically Flawed ... Again


About two years ago, I wrote my first Critically Flawed post. At the time, I was focusing on explaining why the arguments of others were critically flawed - why I was right and they were wrong - I didn't realize when writing it just how much it said about me.

I've been trudging through the muck for years. I feel misunderstood by most people and, honestly? Just plain crazy most of the time. I want to fit in. I want to be successful - personally and professionally. I want people to "get" me and appreciate me for me (not to be confused with liking me - they are very different). I want life to run smoothly.

These past few months I've had a lot of time to work on me. For the most part, I know what my challenges are, but I've become frustrated with my lack of progress in reinventing myself. Yesterday, I had a moment, a moment where the bigger picture (which has been clear to just about everyone else) finally came into much better focus for me.

There is TONS of information out there on Asperger's Syndrome and autism spectrum disorders ... if you are dealing with an 8-year old boy. I never saw any correlation between my life and the things I was reading about/for Cam because ... well ... I'm not an 8-year old boy. Sure, I scored ridiculously high on the AQ test, but that's not diagnostic, it means nothing, right? Right??

Yesterday afternoon, Maggie sent me this email:

Yesterday's discussion on your blog reminded me that I should share a blog with you. Penelope Trunk writes about career stuff but also interweaves stories about her life with Aspergers and raising a son on the spectrum and it is totally fascinating and helpful.

Y'all know me, I'll voraciously consume anything that might help Cam and/or the way I deal/advocate for Cam. I click the link and decide to read Why I need a sick day to register my car. The title of the article sounds like something I might write myself - good place to start. Within moments I am sitting at my desk in tears.

No, I didn't cry because Why I need a sick day to register my car is about a trip to the DMV that included running over a pet bunny and crushing the heart of a 7-year old girl, in fact those few of you who decide to click on that link and read the post will likely wonder what the hell is wrong with me that I could read those words and actually generate tears. What's "wrong" with me is THAT post is MY life.

I can usually read just about any blog post and identify with something that is written - this is the first time I've read a blog and identified with everything that was written - especially the "crazy" parts. Penelope Trunk was inside my head ... and my heart.

I have always known that I am difficult, at best, to get along with. All Most of the time I come across as mean, opinionated, pompous, narcissistic and just plain rude *y'all can stop nodding your heads now* That isn't what's in my heart or my head - it never has been - yet it is what most many people see. People are just plain exhausted after having to deal with me for any length of time and will, more times than not, choose to write me off (and say less-than-nice things about me to others) rather than get pulled down with me in the muck (as they see it). If you question that for a moment, just look at my relationship history.

Yesterday, I realized I'm not crazy. I'm not a bad person. There are other people out there who cannot remember how old they are but can easily tell you what year they were born. There are other people who have a long list of social rules they must process (think of a huge flow chart in your brain) when entering any situation that requires dealing with people. There are other people who are confused when, during a conversation, people give answers to questions that aren't the "right" answer but instead are the "good manners" answer.

I may be many things, but I am not crazy. I am not bad. I am not mean, opinionated, pompous, narcissistic or just plain rude either (although I do have my moments). Nope! Not me! If that's what you see when you "look" at me I really hope you just go away - or prepare yourself for the FUCK OFF that will eventually come your way - I am not subtle either.


27 July 2010



I awoke to a *FLASH*BANG* at 5:30-ish this morning. Although it aroused *gigglesnort* memories of some good Army training, it was nothing more than the transformer on the pole right outside my bedroom window providing a little show.

If I were a dedicated blogger I'd have composed today's guest post on my phone ... but ... I have no friggin' clue how that works! I'm sure I could have asked Cam for his help although he might have found it a little odd that I needed his help getting to Real Live Lesbian's blog ... or not ... which might have been even more bothersome ...

And yes, of course the power came back on just as I was walking out the door to head to work ...


26 July 2010

What's Your AQ?


Eight years ago, when Cam was first diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome, and more recently, when that diagnosis was "updated" to ADHD and Pervasive Developmental Disorder, Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS - a 'subthreshold' condition in which some - but not all - features of autism or another Pervasive Developmental Disorder are identified) I started to wonder about my own quirky personality.

I've always known that I do things a little (lot) differently than most people, that I struggle with personal relationships and that I have heard many of the same things growing up that Cam is now hearing in his education process (if only you would apply yourself, you're a smart girl, why don't you get this, etc.), but I really never considered giving it a label.

I'm a grown-up. I support myself. I can hold down a job. Sure, I'd like to have more friends/be able to maintain friendships better, but all-in-all, life is fine. I function relatively well.

Then Mike sent me THIS LINK to an AQ (Autism-Spectrum Quotient) Test described by Wired as:

Psychologist Simon Baron-Cohen and his colleagues at Cambridge's Autism Research Centre have created the Autism-Spectrum Quotient, or AQ, as a measure of the extent of autistic traits in adults. In the first major trial using the test, the average score in the control group was 16.4. Eighty percent of those diagnosed with autism or a related disorder scored 32 or higher. The test is not a means for making a diagnosis, however, and many who score above 32 and even meet the diagnostic criteria for mild autism or Asperger's report no difficulty functioning in their everyday lives

OK ... fine ... I decide to take the silly little test expecting a score a little above the control group. I'm realistic. I figured I'd be a little off the norm.

Ummm ... no ... I am WAY off the norm. I scored 43. Forty-fucking-three!

Now, I realize that this 43 really doesn't mean a damned thing. I'm not going to give myself some AQ label and use that as an excuse for all that goes wrong in my life because that would be ... well ... pitiful (although quite convenient), but it did get me thinking ...

I'd love to learn where my readers fall on this scale *hint*hint* I could plot all of the data and even give you a statistical analysis if you'd like! Or not ... *chuckle*


*UPDATE* You knew I'd have to do this, right?? And no! It's not too late to add data. I'll update the graph again tomorrow.

I don't have access to the statistics module in Excel, so I did a scatter chart with labels. Guess what?? With the 17 who have responded so far, we have a pretty bell curve! On average, the scores ran higher than the sample group, but I attribute that to the fact that, according to this data, those with a propensity for math, physical sciences and engineering generally score higher.

MEAN: 21.88


25 July 2010

Sunday Secret



23 July 2010

Friday Wrap-Up


The visit to Cam's new school went well. He was somewhat engaged in the conversation (think typical teen) and actually seemed to enjoy the tour. I felt much better after seeing the school, talking to the staff and watching Cam show interest as we did our walk through and met his teachers.

I did talk to the vice principal about Cam's musical interests and asked if there are any options to help keep him active with music. She is contacting some of the community bands in the area to see if there is a place for Cam. *fingers crossed*

There were some other surprises too, like learning that there is a Therapeutic Day School Sports League - flag football, basketball and volleyball are all played in the league. The school provides all lunches and school supplies, which will help out tremendously from a financial standpoint.

I am feeling hopeful, and hopeful is good ... I think!


I have to reschedule my tattoo appointment. Someone please tell me how in the hell I can schedule an appointment - 12 weeks in advance ('cause she's that busy) - then a month later find out I have a court date ON THE VERY SAME DAY.

I'm trying to convince myself this is just an odd coincidence and not some sign from the ink Gods that I should refrain from more body art.


I don't understand some people (like that's a news flash). I've got a whole post planned on this topic for next week (thanks Mike) but really? Some times I think it's much better that I NOT understand them. I'm just a wee bit afraid of what understanding them means.


Remember the Listen to the Mustn'ts post I did over at Lynn's place? If you didn't read that post, shame on you! That aside, I talked about submitting a photograph for juried review and (hopefully) public display. I heard back earlier in the week - my photo was selected for display!

I am thrilled, but now have kind of a secondary challenge - I need to print and frame the photo. Do any of you have suggestions on where to have this done ... on a budget? I've looked at a few photo printing sites and it seems I am going to have one problem - size. This is a SQUARE photo and yet it seems digital prints are in traditional photo sizes (4x6, 8x10, etc). Ideas anyone?


21 July 2010

HNT - Road Trip


What you've done becomes the judge of what you're going to do - especially in other people's minds. When you're traveling, you are what you are right there and then. People don't have your past to hold against you. No yesterdays on the road.
~William Least Heat Moon, Blue Highways


I've made a couple of relatively short road trips this summer, but with no air-conditioning and scorching Midwest summers, dressing as cool as possible is a necessity.





At 1:00 this afternoon, Cam and I will be meeting with the Assistant Principal at the Therapeutic Day School for a tour and intake interview ... the thought makes me want to hurl ...

Cam and I have talked quite a bit about the move and what that means for him. His biggest concerns have been confirming that he did pass the 8th grade and will be doing freshman school work and how soon he can get back to his home high school.

I've explained that he will be doing freshman level work - that somehow he managed to pass the 8th grade (and yes, I put it exactly like that, because I still can't believe they actually passed him) - but he will need to fill in some of the gaps resulting from his non-performance last year.

The "How soon can I get back to my home school" question is a little more complicated, but I've been as honest with him as I can. The school he will be attending wants a SOLID quarter of consistent performance before they'll even consider transitioning him back to high school part-time, and a SOLID quarter of consistent performance in that environment before they'll consider placing him back at his home school full-time. That means, absolutely best case scenario, it will be mid January before he can return to his home school.

He is NOT happy about that time frame, but as I told him, it means he's got to be on his game from day one - there is no room for half-stepping if what he wants is to get back to his home school as quickly as possible.

He complains that it is going to be hard ... I agree with him and let him know I'm here to support his efforts.

He insists 4 months is forever ... I remind him that 4 months is a lot less time than 4 years.

He whines that it isn't fair ... I reiterate that there are consequences for his actions, good and bad.

What I didn't tell him are the words that echo through my head ... the words his principal spoke to me at our last meeting ... the words I hope I never hear again, but fear I will ...

"We can't help Cam at this school"


20 July 2010

Can You Do The Can-Can?


I've got a guest post up - Can You Do The Can-Can?

Click the pic to find me today and every Tuesday ...


19 July 2010

Meet Me in St. Louis


Ahhh ... there is nothing like a road trip! Seriously, I don't know what it is about driving, but it is one of the most relaxing things things for me (unless I'm driving in Chicago during rush hour). I'm a "Set-It-And-Forget-It" driver. Cruise control is my friend and allows me to really focus on the road and my thoughts rather than my speed. Thursday afternoon, I got in the car and headed south.

I would never choose to live in Illinois again, but I must admit it really is beautiful in its own way. Sure, there are a lot of corn and soybean fields to drive through, but they are dotted with wind farms and water towers. And where else could I get this close to Normal??

A little over 5 hours on the road and I pulled up in front of Sujomi and her Handsome Husband's home where I was greeted by their youngest Musketeer who exclaimed "I think it's HER!" I would continue to be known as "HER" for the remainder of my stay :)

In case you are wondering, Sujomi was the greatest influence in my decision to attempt a Project 365 Blog. I've been following her Project 365 Blog for quite some time. I even "stole" her posting format when I started mine (Imitation is the most sincere form of flattery, right?? Right??) It was wonderful to finally have the opportunity to meet Sujomi and her family in person.

Being that she and her Handsome Husband are avid photographers, it should be no surprise that the visit was filled with photo-ops. I've included a few here and will likely be using more of them over at Dana Does Digital.

Thursday night was spent catching up and getting to know each other, but Friday morning we went here:

I had never been to the Arch, but have been fascinated with it's presence and architecture for as long as I can remember. We arrived early and purchased our tickets for the ride to the top. First stop - door #1 where we were shown a brief video on the history of the Arch.

Once the doors opened, we entered our pod - a cramped little pea-shaped orb with 5 seats - for the ride to the top.

The view from the top was truly spectacular. It was a sunny, clear day that allowed for amazing visibility. If I didn't know better, I'd say that you can actually see the curve of the earth from that vantage point ... at least it looked that way in some of my photos!

This was the view looking east ...

... and the view looking west ...

... and one looking straight down at the shadow of the arch ...

After finishing up our visit we headed across the street to St. Louis' Old Courthouse where, in 1857, the Dred Scott decision was made. Amazing building with phenomenal history.

After touring the courthouse, we were all getting a bit hungry and cranky, so we headed to the Lafayette Fire Company #1 for lunch. With happy bellies, we headed back to the homestead to meet up with Handsome Husband for round 2 of food and picture taking.

After a wonderful sushi dinner at Nobu's and frozen custard treats at Ted Drewes (a Route 66 icon) it was off for more photos! There was a stop at the Turtle Playground ...

... a drive by the world's biggest (I'm still not sure if they were pulling my leg on this one) Amoco sign ...

... and many architectural treats, including some that are now abandoned, but none-the-less interesting ...

It was a long, but exceptionally fun day with great hosts and many wonderful memories!

Thanks again Sujomi and Handsome Husband for your hospitality! And tell the Three Musketeers "HER" said "Hello!"


18 July 2010

Sunday Secret


*My spelling is just as important to me as my birthday - thanks Mike!*


15 July 2010

Friday Wrap-Up (Thursday/HNT Edition)


It's been a while since I played HNT, and since someone mentioned last night that this would be a good HNT pic, what the hell?

Of course, some of you might insist it would have been better had I been topless - and I'd likely agree - but going to jail for public indecency (the laundromat does have video surveillance) just wasn't in my plans yesterday.



I'm headed out on another road trip this afternoon, this time almost due south. I hate it when bloggers are all "clandestine" with their off-blog activities - it reeks of "I'm special and you're not" high-school foolishness. I guess I should remember that it might actually be for them what it is for me - respect of the anonymity of others.

I am quite excited though as one of the stops will be the St. Louis Arch, and yes, I'll be taking the tram up to the top. I hear there will also be dinner at an excellent sushi restaurant. It will be the first time in years that I've eaten sushi that didn't come from Target. Don't judge me ...


Cam is coming home Saturday ... I think ...

I've really been trying to work on my "control" issues - appreciating the joy of spontaneity - but when it comes to things like ... say ... not just what time, but what DAY are you bringing my son back, I get a little stressed with the lack of information.

In this case, I plan on heading home Saturday from my quickie road trip, but it would be nice to know if I should be home at 2PM or if I can take my time and be home later in the evening. Do you think I can get a response from my son? And if that weren't bad enough, it seems the adults aren't making decisions either.

Of course Cam does have a key and is more than capable of taking care of himself for a few hours. Maybe I just need to let him know when I'll be home?!


Not sure what my computer access will look like over the next few travel days (thus the reason for the Thursday Edition of the Friday Wrap-Up) so don't worry if you don't see me for a while ... not like anyone does ... I certainly don't get the one or two millions of concerned emails that Matt-Man gets when he is two hours late to publish a post! And yeah ... I am going to take it personally ...

... or not ... it just occurred to me that he might be getting those emails because people want to make sure he hasn't left Bagwine :)

Have a great weekend everyone!!


14 July 2010

“Love is a game in which one always cheats.”
~ Honore de Balzac


A friend sent me a link to an article titled 15 Signs You'll Cheat by Anneli Rufus. I'm not sure if this was meant to be a warning or a proposition, but I'm going with the latter just because it's a bit more flattering.

The article references where data was gathered from, so if you want the nitty-gritty details, you'll have to go there to get them!

*Gazes into my crystal ball*

So dear readers, which of you will fall of the monogamy wagon??

1. If you're a man, you're about 7 percent more likely to be unfaithful to your partner than a woman is.

This surprises me only because I know a bucket load of women who have had affairs. The article indicates the gender disparity likely occurs because men cheat longer (more years) and men are more honest about what they're doing. Ha! Like that is a surprise!

2. If you live in a large city, you're 39 percent more likely to have an affair than those who live in small towns and rural areas.

This just makes sense. Trust me, if I were to cheat in Podunk the town would know about it before I did. Anonymity has got to be a huge factor in successful cheating, wouldn't you think?

3. If you earn $75,000 or more per year, you're over 150 percent more likely to have an affair than those who earn $30,000 per year or less.

The article claims this is likely due to more work related travel and the ability to hide entertainment costs. Maybe, but I'm placing my bet on the fact that this is little more than legal prostitution - sexual favors in exchange for financial gain.

4. If your husband spends 10 percent or less of his time with you, then there's at least a 10 percent chance you'll cheat on him.

Again, this just plays to the accessibility issue. If your husband (or wife) is spending less that 10% of their time with you, you've got quite a bit of lonely time to fill up.

5. If you think about sex every day, you're 22 percent more likely to have an affair than those who think about sex just a few times a week.

What? There are people who don't think about sex every day? You're kidding me, right?? Next statistic ...

6. If you and your spouse lived together before getting married, there's a 39 percent chance that at least one of you will cheat on the other.

I'm pretty sure my church has this on a banner above the entrance.

7. If your identical twin has had an affair, you're 200 percent more likely to have an affair yourself than if your twin had not.

Interesting ...

Guess that means with all of these multiple births due to fertility treatments, we should be a cheating nation soon!

8. If you're African-American, you're a little more than twice as likely than men of other ethnic backgrounds to have an affair.

The article claims this is due to a disproportionately large pool of black women in areas that are affected by drug-related deaths and arrests. Having dated several black men, and having spent much time in "black communities" I have to wonder if this is not more culturally based.

9. If you've never attended religious services, you're 250 percent more likely to have extramarital sex than those who attend religious services more than once a week.

And this banner hangs right below the one that reads "If you and your spouse lived together before getting married, there's a 39 percent chance that at least one of you will cheat on the other."

10. If you have an advanced college degree, you're 175 percent more likely to have extramarital sex than those who did not finish high school.

I think I may have found an excuse to NOT send Cam to college! So, are we saying uneducated folks don't cheat? Or does this just play into #3?

11. If you're a woman whose husband has a college degree, you're 3 percent less likely to have an affair than women whose husbands do not have college degrees.

Ahhh women! We are so shallow. It's all about the money ...

12. If you were married at age 16 or younger, you're almost 400 percent more likely to engage in extramarital sex than those who were married for the first time at 23.

Again, no brainer! One's got to gain experience somehow!

13. If you're an unhappy man, you're 13 percent more likely to have an affair than happy men are.

No way! OK, I'd actually have thought the percentage would have been much higher.

14. If you have made use of online porn, you are 300 percent more likely to have an affair than someone who has never looked at online porn.

First you tell me there are people who don't think about sex every day, then you tell me there are people who haven't looked at online porn? I'm starting to feel a little self conscious.

15. If you enjoy spending time with your partner's relatives, you're 24 percent less likely to engage in extramarital sex than those who dislike spending time with their in-laws.

Does it also follow that f you enjoy spending time with your partner's relatives, you're 24 percent more likely to sleep with one of their siblings??


13 July 2010

Listen to the Mustn'ts


I've got a guest post up - Listen to the Mustn'ts

Click the pic to find me today and every Tuesday ...


12 July 2010

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year


School registration. Oh sure, it seems like Cam just finished 8th grade 5 weeks ago (because he did) but today I get to register him for high school ... kind of ...

This year, with Cam attending the Therapeutic Day School, I get to register him for high school twice - today at his "home" school (traditional high school) and next Wednesday at the Therapeutic day school. Could we make this any more cumbersome??

I also get to fill out the SAME registration forms I have filled out for the past 4 years:

- the STUDENT DATA FORM (because Cam's date of birth and place of birth may have changed since last year)

- the RACE AND ETHNICITY IDENTIFICATION FORM (because Cam may have suddenly developed almond shaped eyes and an Asian heritage)

- the HEALTH AND EMERGENCY INFORMATION form (the one form that actually makes sense to update annually)

- the HOME LANGUAGE SURVEY form (because over the summer I may have decided Cam should begin speaking Polish)

- the RESIDENCY AFFIDAVIT (because it makes far more sense to have every student fill this out every year than it does to have only students who have made a change in their residency fill it out)

... and then there are the fees ...

Cam will not be attending classes at his "home" high school, yet I will still be required to pay all of the fees as if he were. Now, before anyone chimes in with "But the district is paying for the Therapeutic Day School" you would be right. I am just hoping there aren't any additional fees I have to come up with there.

Let's take a look at the PUBLIC High School fees first. Are you ready??

P.E. SHIRTS - $5.00
P.E. SHORTS - $10.00
P.E. LOCKS - $6.00
ATHLETIC PARTICIPATION PER SPORT (Student cap of 2 High School Sports per school year and or a family cap of 4 High School Sports per school year - No payment plan) - $150.00
DRIVER'S EDUCATION (graduation requirement in IL) - $300.00

PARKING PERMIT (1/2 YEAR) - $70.00

And no, the high school fees are not the highest fees a parent might pay.

Want your child to attend a full-day kindergarten program instead of the traditional half day? You'll pay $200/month in addition to the $100 annual registration fee.

Want to go all out and start your student in the 4-year old pre-kindergarten program with before and after school enrichment (10 hour/day program)? That will cost you $900/month in addition to the $90 annual registration fee.

Ummmm ... yeah ...

Those of you with kids in the public school system, are these fees in line with what you are paying?


11 July 2010

Sunday Secret



10 July 2010

The China Box


I don't think words are needed, but you will need about 8 minutes - sorry!


09 July 2010

Friday Wrap-Up


So ... I've been a little lackadaisical with blog posting as of late, but something tells me none of you noticed because you've been a little lackadaisical with blog reading ... not that I'm BITTER or anything ... just concerned for your well being! No! Really!! OK, maybe not ...


Cam has been home from camp for a whole week and he is now making plans to leave Saturday for another week. One of his friends' family is headed up to Michigan on Saturday and Cam was invited to tag along. The dad has OK'd the idea but we are waiting for mom to have her say.

*CONFIRMED* Cam will be heading to Michigan Saturday and will return on my birthday - I'm sure he planned that intentionally, don't you think??

Yes, today is Friday and they are leaving bright and early tomorrow morning. Nothing says procrastination quite like waiting until the last minute to confirm a week-long trip. Or is that considered spontaneity? Guess it depends on which side of the fence you are standing on.

Which blogger wants to be on my "hit list" this week? I need a road trip!


I WON!! I seldom enter contests which means I don't often win anything *d'oh* but when I can enter by default (i.e. leaving a comment on a blog I read and comment on every day anyway) I don't win either. Guess I can't say that any more! Lynn, over at Real Live Lesbian, recently went to China and ran a random number generated comment contest for a prize package of Chinese goodies. In some cosmic freak of nature, out of all of her commentors, Jay and I were the two winners.

I was all aflutter when the box arrived last Saturday. I placed it on the kitchen storage cart and ... and ... I still haven't opened it! What is wrong with me?? (Don't go there, the list is LONG). Well, I want to vlog the opening of the box and share all of it's contents with you guys, but I haven't had any peace and quiet since Cam came home a chance to do that. Besides, I'm a HUGE fan of delayed gratification. That's my story and I'm sticking to it!

If you are not as good as I am with self-deprivation, you can zip over [HERE] to see what Jay got!


I kind-of-sort-of won something kind-of-sort-of related to my Project 365 blog this week too! Yesterday, I was wasting my employers time gossiping on Twitter hard at work when the following tweet popped up:

Those of you who are not science geeks and/or do not live in this area won't have a clue what Fermilab is. Even if you are a science geek, you are probably like me and still have very little idea what they actually do at Fermilab, but you might be familiar with the odd looking sculpture that welcomes their visitors. Here's the deal ... Fermilab = High-Energy Physics, the science of matter, space and time. How cool is that??

So I click on the Twitter link and read this:

Fermilab invites local photographers, both amateurs and professionals, to a 3-hour, behind-the-scenes Photowalk of the laboratory on Saturday, August 7, 2010. Photographers will be able to visit, explore and take photos of people, objects and locations in five research areas that are usually not accessible by the public. Advance registration is required.

The Fermilab Photowalk is part of the global Particle Physics Photowalk that takes place on this day at five particle physics laboratories in five countries. Participating laboratories are: CERN (Switzerland), DESY (Germany), Fermilab (USA), KEK (Japan) and TRIUMF (Canada).

I'm reading this and getting more excited than I did the last time I had sex! I *MUST* GO! Not because I think I'm all that in the photography world (contrary to popular belief, I am quite humble) but because they have the Large Hadron Collider - the most powerful particle accelerator in the world!

But only the first 50 who send an email will secure a spot? And this tweet was just retweeted by @ThinkGeek? I scurried over to the submission form and hit enter, hoping I might at least get high enough up on the waiting list that someone who was just trying to win, but didn't really want to go, would vacate their slot and I'd get a last minute call to come on out.

Then, late yesterday afternoon, I got the following email:

Dear Photographer,

Congratulations. You are among the first 50 people who signed up for the Fermilab Photowalk. Please arrive at the Fermilab site no later than 7:45 a.m. on Saturday, August 7, 2010, and tell the guard that you are participating in the Photowalk. Ask the guard for directions to Fermilab’s Wilson Hall. The registration will take place in the atrium of Wilson Hall (first floor).

I swear ... I had multiple orgasms just reading that! And yes, I *am* going to walk in with 49 other photographers who will likely be carrying HUGE photography equipment bags containing 18 different lenses. And what will I have?? My $149 Sony point-and-shoot camera in my pocket. And you know what? I'm going to take some phenomenal photos!


07 July 2010

The Perfect Storm


Ahhh ... Independence Day. It's a day that has brought routine dread for the past 20 years. Come the middle of June, I start psyching myself out with internal talk which includes things like "I hate this day," "What should be a day of celebration is for me a day of mourning," and "This day is just a reminder of the life I lost." This year started in much the same way, but then something changed.

Looking back, it was really a series of events, triggered by the trip to Bagwine. If I were to get overly dramatic (which never happens here) I'd liken it to the perfect storm.

I spent a weekend with people who expected nothing more of me than for me to be me. That isn't terribly unusual, but what was unusual was my reaction to the situation. Rather than spending a great deal of energy on making sure they liked the me they saw, I just was ... well ... me! And the world did not fall apart.

Wednesday night at the Annie & Burl compound was much the same, but with a twist. A situation that had the potential to throw me back into the "be-who-they-want-you-to-be" mode instead was an exercise in empathy and grace. Instead of donning my protective armor and working from a defensive position, I stood my ground and was rewarded with a great evening.

Thursday, husband invited Cam and me to the neighborhood 4th of July BBQ. This really was a test of the "reclaimed" me. There was a time, not too long ago where anxiety would have gotten the best of me and I would have declined the invitation, then likely talked about how insane it was for husband to invite me. Seriously, what would the neighbors think? They know why I left. How uncomfortable would that be? Instead, I did an internal "fuck it" and accepted the invitation. It was a great time.

Yes, there was some initial "awkward" in the night. I have no idea how much gossip has been generated about my decision to leave, but I do know that the neighbors are aware of many of the reasons I did. Rather than internalize that and worry about what they were thinking, I just plowed right into the topic and, with a small group, said, "Just in case anyone is wondering ..." then talked a little bit about the situation. It opened up an AMAZING discussion between two of the neighborhood women and myself - neighbors who I had really never bothered to get to know, but had certainly judged in the past rationalizing it as a way to "protect" myself.

The 4th, which has traditionally been a day of moping and pity, was the celebration it should be. I had a moment where I realized that this badge of shame I wear doesn't "protect" me from anything, but rather puts a barrier between me and the real life I can lead.

Do I have it all figured out now? Not a chance! I expect that there will still be many pity parties in my future, but I'm not some helpless child who needs to be invisible so as not to rock the boat. I don't need everyone to like me and I certainly shouldn't be less-than me in an attempt to gain approval. I have the choice to remain stuck in a place where I continue to hate myself, or find that place where I don't.

Who'd have thunk it?


06 July 2010

Where in the World is Wonder Woman?


I've got a guest post up - Where in the World is Wonder Woman?

Click the pic to find me today and every Tuesday ...


04 July 2010

Sunday Secret



02 July 2010

Friday Wrap-Up (Evening Edition)


Well, it's finally come to an end ... my week of freedom. I picked up Cam at 6:00PM today and headed home. He was here an entire HOUR before asking if I'd give him a ride to the ice skating rink. Why yes, there is an ice skating rink within 20 minutes of Podunk - in fact the ice skating rink is closer that the grocery store.

Anyway, don't tell anyone but I think Cam may have actually missed me a little bit. He talked to me more in the hour he was home than he has the entire past month. It's good to have him home, but I did enjoy my week!


In addition to the Bagwine expedition, I also made a trip to the city to visit with Annie & Burl. As luck would have it, Kimmeh was there too! Annie & Burl live just 60 minutes away, but making the trip alone was an opportunity I couldn't pass up. I headed out there Wednesday, had some wonderful homemade Cashew Chicken, and actually sat in the studio while they were broadcasting their live show on Blog Talk Radio.

This is a stretch for me. As much as I put myself "out there" on this blog, I am really quite an introvert. I actually even talked during the show! If you are so inclined, you can listen to the show [HERE].

Honestly? It was a great time - not just the show, but having an opportunity to visit with the crew again!


One of the things I discovered this week was that I really need to some how, some way, carve some time out on occasion to let loose. When you are living life, you sometimes lose sight of where your time and energies are focused. I needed this down time - time that I could do what I wanted to do knowing that Cam was in a safe, supervised place.

Trying to make this happen is going to be quite a challenge. Being a single parent, with no family anywhere near, and no real local "support network" in place, will make carving out time for myself difficult at best ... but it was much needed.


I couldn't pick just one favorite picture from my Project 365 Blog (Dana Does Digital) this week. I had a sentimental favorite and a composition favorite. Can you guess which is which??


01 July 2010

Expiration Dates


For the past 20 years, the 4th of July has been far more than just a celebration of U.S. Independence. My husband Alan - who died by suicide - was born on July 4th. A day filled with celebration, fireworks and brats on the grill became a day overshadowed by grief.

I thought I should be over it. I mean everything has an expiration date, right? Milk, eggs, over-the-counter medicines - there is a time we need to be done with them - throw them out. Seems like grief should have an expiration date too - an acceptable shelf life of say ... 6-12 months? And then it should be trashed, lest you be willing to hear that you are wallowing in self-pity, playing the victim or being a martyr.

Maybe it's just that we all - at some level - fear facing such a loss. Giving ourselves 6-12 months is merely a hope that it won't take longer than that to recover. After all, this won’t happen to us, but if it does it will only be bad for a short, finite amount of time. Then the grief expiration date kicks in and all is magically well. *sprinkles sparkly fairy dust here*

I've heard time and time again that I should "get over it" - that 20 years is far too long to hold on to grief - and so I shove it below the surface where people don't notice. I don't talk about it, and people don't ask ... and it festers.

20 years after losing Alan, I still think of him, and sometimes that makes me sad, puts me in a funk, or makes me cry. The reality is I'll never be "over" it, nor should I be. I love Alan, and his suicide produced a significant change in my life. It doesn't mean that I can’t lead a happy life, it just means that on some days, like the 4th of July, being happy - not pretending to be happy - still takes a lot of hard work.

Like my love for Alan, grief doesn't have an expiration date.