29 December 2011

HNT - The Finale


"For good and evil, man is a free creative spirit.
This produces the very queer world we live in,
a world in continuous creation and therefore
continuous change and insecurity."
~ Joyce Cary

Well?  All good things must come to an end, right?  No, not the blog (yet) but HNT ...

What started out as my selfish, passive-aggressive attempt at internet validation in February of 2008 became so much more

A reflection of self

Documentation of life events

Personal insight

A chance to express myself creatively

I've had a love/hate relationship with HNT ... and with myself ... and my photos have often reflected that (current status --> HATE myself)

In the almost 4 years since I first dabbled in the HNT nekkidness, I finished losing - then regained - 100 lbs. I fence sat in a marriage that needed to (and eventually did) end. Cam got his learner's permit. I joined twitter and tumblr. I dealt with cyber stalking. Cam struggled in public school, was then placed in a therapeutic day school and is now (as of January 2nd) back at the public school

And I've made many, many friends - several who were initially connected to HNT in some way (participants, oglers, etc.) who later became friends in real life. There happens to be one of those oglers who has recently become a very special part of my life. The ripples of HNT reach far and long

Hindsight being what it is, HNT was never really about perfection or traditional beauty (although at times it felt that way) - it was about community and learning to see the beauty in every person who was a part of that diverse community

I'm so glad I stumbled upon HNT

And I'm a little sad to see it go

*NOTE* Os put together a fabulous tribute to HNT [HERE]  It contains the words and photos of many who participated along the way. Worth taking a long ogle at


12 December 2011

Remembering Where I Came From


I have an aunt and uncle who are very dear to me ... far more like parents than my own parents were.

When I was 15, life in my own home became unbearable. One snowy January morning, I navigated my way the 40+ miles (on foot and public transportation) to the Greyhound station in downtown Seattle, bought a bus ticket to Spokane (where they live) with money I had been saving for months, and headed east. I spent 2 days living in the Spokane Greyhound station before I called them and asked if I could live with them.

They embraced the idea, found a bed for me, and made plans to have me transfer to the local high school and become a part of their family.

Unfortunately, my parents had different plans. Two weeks after arriving in Spokane my father gave me an ultimatum - get on a Greyhound bus back to Seattle within 24 hours, or he was coming to get me.

I got on the bus.

The last year or so my uncle (now 81) has taken to hand writing letters to Cam and me.

Following is an excerpt from the one I received this weekend. It made me so homesick - something I didn't know was possible at my age - and reminded me that there were some wonderful memories made in that very tumultuous time

Dear Dana & Cameron,

Sitting here looking at the pictures of Cameron and wondering how that good looking young man is doing. He's growing up so fast and really miss you guys being closer so we can be part of the growing up.


We only had 23 for Thanksgiving as Rick's kids went to their mother's house this year but was real nice. All are coming for Christmas Eve so we'll have 30+. Be fun and we are going to have a "White Elephant" draw this year so everyone only brings one gift.

We'll have a big taco feed Christmas Eve and ones who don't go to their in-laws, etc. can come Christmas Day for a big ham and scalloped potato dinner.


Well, enjoy the holidays and do plan to come visit in 2012. Better yet, move closer, OK?

Love you both and wish you a blessed holiday season!


16 November 2011

Worse Than Overwhelming Sadness


Is the realization that you are just getting through the day

The week

The month

The year

And not because the next one might be better ... just because

Nothing to look forward to

No goal looming on the horizon

No promise of change

Just doing what absolutely must be done

And hoping that is enough


13 November 2011

Sunday Secret


It is my greatest fear
Sometimes I see pieces of me ... spilling from him ...
And I worry
I hope he is better able to fight them than I was


31 October 2011

The Switch Witch


When I first heard this term, I thought is was related to some new D/s role play phenomena, but noooo! It's the new Easter Bunny/Tooth Fairy/Santa Claus. That's right parents! Now there is another lie for you to tell your children!

The story goes ...

The Switch Witch sneaks in Halloween night and replaces a child’s candy with a toy. The child needs to leave one piece of candy on the doorstep to let the Switch Witch know they want to give up their candy, and, when they go to bed, they need to leave their Halloween stash next to them. When the child wakes in the morning, the candy is gone and the Switch Witch has left a new toy!

Here's an idea parents ...

Teach your children moderation. One or two pieces a day. If they sneak candy from the stash then you throw the entire stash away.

Or better yet?

Keep your little urchin home on Halloween instead of parading them around the neighborhood in some ridiculously expensive costume that they'll wear for only a few hours in their entire life just so you can hear all of the neighbors say, "Awwww ... isn't little Johny adorable!"

And get off my lawn!


27 October 2011

Focus on the Prize


Almost two years ago, I wrote a post about Dove's Real Women campaign (you can read it HERE).

In a nutshell, I believed then - and still believe now - that Dove (Unilever) is doing little more than attempting to increase their marketing base.

Their latest marketing genius??

"Help us create a world where beauty is a source of confidence
for girls everywhere"

Last weekend, Dove called for women all around the country to reserve one hour to help make a positive difference in a young girl’s self-esteem.

I actually like that call to action. It doesn't specify making a positive difference in a young girl's feeling of being beautiful, but rather focuses on self-esteem generally.

Yet I cannot get past their,"Help us create a world where beauty is a source of confidence for girls everywhere".

How about we focus on other more tangible and long-lasting qualities like intelligence or athleticism.  Why do we even need to address beauty - something completely subjective - as being a source of confidence?

Oh! And the funniest part of this? I learned of this campaign on facebook. My future (step)Sister-in-law had changed her avatar to the Dove Movement icon ... right after she spent the previous umpteen million posts begging for everyone to purchase cookie dough from her to help fund a trip for my niece to go to California to meet with a modeling agent.

My niece is a pageant participant and child model - she's 5.


24 October 2011

Little Drummer Boy


As it's been a while since many of you have heard anything about Cam, I thought I'd give y'all a quick update.

Cam's first year at the therapeutic day school was nothing less than craptastic.  What we (I) thought would be a short stint in the "big house" turned into a battle of wills.  During our IEP meeting in the spring, we struck a deal - if Cam performed well during summer session, he would be able to begin transitioning back to his home high school in the fall.

It was if if someone flipped a switch.

His attitude and behavior improved beyond measure.

His grades were phenomenal (for him) - an A in world history, a B in English.

All systems were "GO" until the therapeutic day school balked - claimed they hadn't made any such commitment to the transition based on summer school (because there were only 2 classes and it was a self-contained session). I called for another IEP and set my foot down. I won. Cam earned it.

Cam started transitioning to his home high school (1/4 time) this fall - taking 2 non-academic classes (concert band and PE) while still maintaining full academics at the therapeutic day school.

He is again involved in his first love (music), playing the bass drum in the marching band and the oboe in the concert band.

His report card first term (combined from both schools) included 2 A's, 2 B's and 2 C's.

*NOTE* For all of you "My little snowflake is in honor society and always gets a trophy" bumper sticker parents - FUCK YOU! My kid is as imperfect as the come, but he's making significant changes and I'm proud!

Cam added an academic class at his home high school second term. He is now at the high school 1/2 time and the therapeutic day school 1/2 time.  Assuming he continues to do well *crosses fingers* he will be back at his home high school - full time - after winter break

Cam's academic/behavioral achievements also earned him Driver's Ed.  He got his driver's permit last month and refuses to let me drive anywhere any more.  For all of you parents of tweens who won't have anything to do with you?  Good news! They want to spend time with you again when they get their driver's permit.  But something tells me this is the last HOO-RAH.

Unfortunately, not everything has been de-thorned roses.  Cam continues to make poor choices regarding friends and "extra-curricular"activities, and those choices continue to bite him in the ass.  A few weeks ago those choices resulted in the police coming to visit us at 2AM to question Cam regarding an incident involving drugs (weed) and a machete.  Fortunately, he was not in possession of either of those items, however he was with the group of kids where both of those items were present.

Choose bad friends? Find yourself in bad places.

I'm hoping this lesson is learned quickly

Progress, not perfection ... right??


20 October 2011

Spell Check


I don't usually get involved in political protests. The masses usually come across (to me) as people looking for attention without being informed. Especially when they hang out with people like this chick.

(If you research this photo and send me an email telling me it's altered, 
I will hunt you down and write misspelled words on your forehead)

But??  I'm (probably) going to make an exception on Monday.

Sears corporate headquarters is on land that should provide tax funding to my son's school district.  23 years ago, in an effort to attract Sears to Illinois, the state provided economic development area (EDA) status to the property Sears purchased and built their corporate headquarters on (you can read more about it HERE).

For the past 20 years, Sears has received a HUGE tax break.  That tax break is scheduled to end next year.  Sears has been threatening to leave Illinois.  The Illinois Senate is voting on an amendment to extend the EDA another 15 years, essentially taking $200 million away from the school district.

I am not one who gets into state politics - especially in Illinois (waste of time anyone?). In fact, I've never participated in any type of march on a State Capitol, but ... but ...

Well, I think this is extremely important.  Rumor has it the real reason Sears is "demanding" the extension of the EDA is because they want to have the option of selling the property should they get a better deal from another state, and the EDA is a great selling feature in the current depressed real estate market.

The school district has the kids all riled up about this (of course), and Cam is certainly old enough to grasp a basic understanding of the impact of this legislation.  It's about time I got all hippie mom, march on the state capital with him, don't you think??  Hell, he'll be able to vote in the 2016 Presidential election.

*pause ... FUCK I'm old*

He turned in his permission slip for a spot on the school provided transportation (they are conducting a lottery as they don't have enough spots for all of the kids). If he doesn't get a spot on the school provided transportation, I'm going to take the day off and he and I will make the 4-hour trek to Springfield.

And there might even be a dinner with Sujomi in the deal for me.


18 October 2011

You're FIRED!


While I was away, I spent most of my time obsessing over enjoying tumblr. My natural way of learning is to immerse myself in the interest du jour - try to figure it out - and once I do, become extremely bored with it. If there isn't a challenge, I have little interest

*SIDE NOTE* - this would be one of the key reasons I pretty much suck at relationships yet have a life-long commitment to math

I learned quite a bit about social media while I was drowning in it, and thought I'd share a few of those lessons ... 'cause I'm a giver like that

  • Social media is all the same. The people who frequent facebook will tell you it's the only place to be - that people try to be something they're not on tumblr and twitter but facebook is the real deal.  The people on tumblr are TERRIFIED that the people of facebook will find them and ruin their ability to not have to be personally accountable for their words and actions.  And twitter? That's where people go to bitch about facebook and tumblr ... except when facebook and tumblr are down.  The bottom line?  Although the tools look a little different, they all accomplish the same thing - social chaos 
  • Social media inspires mob mentality. Using their computer screen as armor, people will say things and do things they'd never consider if they were standing toe-to-toe with you.  And if they have a strong opposing opinion on something you've written?  They will rally the troops and cyberly pummel you. Fortunately, most people on social media aren't intellectually armed well enough to be successful in their hostile takeovers, but the sheer number of them is quite disturbing
  • The same people who aren’t nice in real life aren’t nice on social media.  But here's the rub ... People who are nice in real life aren't necessarily nice on social media.  It is a strange phenomena. I'm convinced there are microscopic aliens living in keyboards and touchscreens throughout the world sucking all of the common sense and good judgment through the fingertips of those using them on social media sites
  • Social media can feel like junior high school ... if you let it. You may think you are thick-skinned, but if you equate followers to friends, you are already taking a trip in the way-back machine.  This game moves fast.  People are busy.  They don't have the time or the desire to get to know you.  You are disposable.  One slip - one post that makes them question whether you like them or not and *POOF* BOOM! BOOM! Out go the lights!
  • People say they write for themselves on social media. They are lying.  If that were the case, they wouldn't be on social media, they'd keep a diary between the mattresses on their bed.  Although often times people don't consider their audience on social media, they do write to the audience they hope (or think) they have, filtering out the "bad" stuff that might make others not like them. Social media exists for validation
  • Social media is not for everyone. I think this was the most valuable lesson I learned.  I kept trying to be good at tumblr, facebook and twitter - good as defined by the majority.  I will never meet that standard. Just as some people will never be good at underwater basket weaving, some people fail at social media.  I got an "F" in social media. I will not be taking the course again

*DISCLAIMER* This post is filled with sweeping generalizations that will likely offend some. I don't care - being politically correct is too cumbersome and wordy, and no matter how hard you try not to, you'll always piss someone off anyway


17 October 2011

On Your Mark


So ... blogging ...

I wanted more - more interaction - more conversation - more socialization

Or so I thought

I moved to tumblr - immersed myself in that "community" (their word - I would argue that description) - started "blogging" (again, their word - I would argue that description)

It was fun in the beginning. Mindless. Required very little thought or planning. Expectations were minimal. Then I dared to write a post in response to something someone else wrote


I was called negative. Told I didn't belong in the community. Reminded that people go to tumblr to escape and I was too serious. Nastiness ensued

It wasn't like I hadn't seen that kind of behavior before - the passive aggressive, write a post, take it down bullshit, then bitch when you learn I subscribed to your RSS feed and I call you out on your nonsense

I imploded - deleted my tumblr - threw a tantrum

Then I became on of "those" people and rebirthed my tumblr. I should have stayed away. It didn't get any better

As is true in any "community", there is a culture. I cannot speak for all of tmblr, but the "community" I found over there was supportive as long as all that you posted were pictures of yourself, pictures of your cat and pictures of your food ... oh! And pictures of your boobs if you are female (see why I thought I'd fit in?)

I found one or two actually bloggers, but the rest? They just found themselves the hipster version of facebook and thought they were better than those people

I really do need to write to process things. It gets the thoughts unstuck from my brain.  That doesn't mean my writing will be good, or even entertaining, but it does mean that the thoughts won't be banging around, bruising my brain

I couldn't do that on tumblr without consequences I wasn't willing to accept

Here?  This is my space (not to be confused with MySpace). No one can tell me I don't belong here

Well, you can, but I won't listen!


16 October 2011

Sunday Secret


It's time to come back to where I started - to refocus

I'm not sure what it will look like here

Whether the negativity and self-loathing that I've been nurturing elsewhere will follow me, or whether I'll be able to start wandering to a better place

I'm hoping for the latter


23 August 2011

Gift Giving


I have been an organ donor since getting my license (over 3 decades), have been a regular blood donor since turning 18 and pay an extra $25 per year to have a Donor Awareness license plate on my car (proceeds helping support organ/tissue donor awareness efforts across the state).  I have certainly heard of the National Marrow Donor Program, but just never got around to making that commitment.

A good tumblr friend of mine, George (badassblogger), recently learned that his mom has acute leukemia.  I will be the first to admit that I have always thought of leukemia as being a children's cancer, but when I started doing some research (yes, I did research - I want to be an informed friend), I discovered there was much I didn't know about leukemia.

I also discovered the importance of bone marrow transplants as a treatment option ... and the difficulty in finding bone marrow donor matches.

I've never met George's mom, yet her fight inspired me to finally join the Be The Match registry (formerly the National Marrow Donor Program® (NMDP) Registry) and request a registration kit.

I want to encourage each of you to visit the Be The Match website to see if marrow donation is something you are willing and able to consider.

And please keep George and his family in your thoughts/prayers/meditation


16 July 2011

*looks around* This place reminds me of somewhere ...


It's been a while, hasn't it?  What I though would be a few weeks away from the blog turned into over two months away from the blog.

So much has happened in those two months - some good, some bad and some ugly.

After finding myself in a place where I was actually looking into caregivers for Cam should I not be around for him, thinking I was putting on a good front so that everyone thought I was doing just "fine", and then having Aunt Becky go all "I will load you up in the minivan and drag you by the hair to the doctor if you don't go NOW" on me (I'll admit, there was a moment when I considered refusal just to see if she could pull it off), I did finally talk to my doctor about how I was feeling.

I've been on an antidepressant for about a month now.  I had some initial troubles with some side effects, but those seem to have mellowed out now.  I had no idea how sick I was (and how long this had been going on) until I started feeling better.  Although I really don't like the idea of depending on a daily dose of drugs for my mental stability, I now realize it was exactly what I've needed ... likely for years.

Now the trick is getting used to my emotions not being all over the place. I had gotten so used to the high, highs and the very low, lows, that this place where I'm at now feels wrong.


Some of you noticed that this blog went private for a bit.  Although I've had experiences with people reading my blog (and leaving comments) that I often wished would go away (notice I'm not using the "T" word?) I had my first experience with a true internet stalker.

I have mentioned again and again that I hide in plain sight out here (and on twitter and tumblr).  I knew that carried a risk of being "found," but the benefit of being me far outweighed that risk.  What I didn't expect was a vindictive streak from someone I've known for quite some time - someone who I've had disagreements and words with in the past, but someone who I didn't imagine thought much about that past.  I was wrong.

On July 6th, this person decided to send an email to my employer (through my employer's CONTACT US website page) that said, "This is what your employee has been doing while at work" with a link to my tumblr.  The intent was clearly to cause me emotional and financial harm (thus crossing that line to stalker).

My tumblr is very much like this blog - it is me - in the raw. This was the first thing my employer saw when they clicked on the the link:

I was, not surprisingly, called into my boss's office.  This photo was clearly taken at work (using my personal phone - not company resources).  When asked to explain, I shrugged my shoulders and said, "It's a personal blog.  I do not mention you (my employer) by name.  I post to it using my phone, not your resources."

I was asked to not used my phone to post to the blog during work hours unless I was "off the clock" and my tumblr was blocked.  My employer did spend quite some time going through my tumblr and definitely got an eye full (and possibly an eye poked out).  I have no doubt they were more embarrassed than I was.

This is me, and there was some relief in learning that they now know this is me.


Last thing on the agenda for this not-so-brief update, I'm taking a ROAD TRIP a week from today.  Cam will be at camp for the week, I have rented a car and will be meeting the internet along the way.  The bulk of my time (3 days) will be spent in Nashville where ... well?  We'll see if there is a story or two to tell when I get back.

This is the (fairly) firm route.  

I'll be stopping for the night in Redneckville, AR (it's time for me to meet Jay in person and give him a boobie-squishing hug), then hopefully lunch in Memphis with Vinny Bond, Nashville for a few fine folks, then heading towards home Wednesday with a possible overnight in Indianapolis if I can find an internet friend to have dinner with me *hint*hint*

I desperately need this break - some time alone to ponder life and the direction I want it to head.  Getting my life back is finally becoming a priority again.

It's about time, don't you think?!


07 May 2011



I'm trying to decide what to do with my little corner of the cyber world. Blogging - consistently and with any amount of interest - is more work than most people realize. I'm running out of motivation to do it well ... assuming I ever did.

I miss taking photos.

I still do not have an IEP, nor placement, for Cam for the coming school year.

I'm not giving Band Back Together the attention that I feel it deserves.

After 5 years of incompetence, my bookkeeper in Arizona was finally let go. Her work is being redistributed (I'm getting about 25% of her daily work - 100% of the problems she left behind) and I am buried ... deep ...

I need to get a second, part-time job.

It's time to prioritize and this blog currently has a negative return on investment.

Not sure if I will let it go entirely, or just take an extended break.

Time (and priorities) will tell.

You can still find me (if you are so inclined) on the twitter and on tumblr.

See ya when I see ya!


03 May 2011

Anxiety is a Bitch!


There! I said it, but it might surprise you to learn just how much anxiety has taken over basic functional parts of my life.

The new ink? There are two stories behind the ink, one of letting go (to be told on Band Back Together) and one of overwhelming anxiety - anxiety that, if it hadn't been for the insight of Aunt Becky, would have kept me from getting to letting go.

The trip with Aunt Becky to The Tattoo Factory had been planned for a while. I was her support, but I had ulterior motives. I knew I was ready to have some ink done. I picked out the Tolkien quote quite some time ago. I decided that I didn't want a flagrant ink memorial to Alan, but rather something subtle - something that wouldn't SCREAM, "Ask me about this important person in my life who died!" yet would still have significant meaning to me.

I don't want to tell Alan's story to strangers - I ... I just don't.

We got to The Tattoo Factory and I started to lose it the minute we walked through the door. I had my printed out Tolkien quote with me - there was clearly an artist who had the time to do it - and I could NOT walk to the counter to speak with him. My ass was firmly cemented to the wooden bench by the window.

My heart was pounding.

My hands were shaking.

I could feel the tears welling up in my eyes just thinking about walking up to that counter.

It wasn't the ink I was anxious about. I wanted the ink. I was ready for the ink. I could not get past walking up to that counter and talking to a ... a stranger ... and I cannot give you a single logical reason for that very overwhelming physical reaction to such a non-threatening situation.

I can tell you that I deal with anxiety multiple times, every day. Sometimes it's a phone call. Sometimes it's placing an order at McDonald's. 9 times out of 10, I am able to get past the moment where the anxiety becomes debilitating. This day I was not.

Aunt Becky's artist called her back. As it turned out, Aunt Becky hadn't prepared well for this visit (imagine that - *giggle*). Although her "Shut Your Whore Mouth" t-shirt was appreciated by the staff at the shop, it made inking her impossible. I offered to run to Target and pick her up a more "ink appropriate" garment.

It gave me an excuse to flee the anxiety.

A chance to breathe.

An opportunity to slow my heart rate.

When I got back to the shop, Aunt Becky had taken it upon herself to talk to Phil about my ink - giving him the printed out Tolkien quote so that he could work up a drawing for me.

She knew.

She's been there.

Getting inked is cathartic for me. The discomfort of the pain takes me to a place where all outside stimuli is muted. I crawl into the very dark crevices of my emotional self and I feel - I really feel - something I don't allow myself to do very often.

That day? I felt the joy of having a friend who not only likes me, but has many shared life experiences and has developed a keen sense of empathy, and I felt the relief of being able to trust a friend enough to tell her the truth, even though I knew how irrational my truth was at that moment.

It was a good day ...


29 April 2011



*Reblogged from tumblr *

I think I've been looking at this all wrong ...

Today, every time I read or hear a comment about how beautiful Pippa and Kate Middleton are, I immediately recoil with, "Well I can't possibly be beautiful if Pippa and Kate Middleton are beautiful because I look nothing like them!"

Tulips and daisies look nothing alike.

They are both beautiful!


28 April 2011

HNT - tumblr


I didn't take an HNT shot last night ... I was too busy drinking vanilla porters ... with shots of vanilla vodka (blame that addiction on Vixen) ... tweeting, texting, chatting and posting tipsy pics (like this one) on tumblr.

And yes, I am hungover ... and headed to work ... go me!



26 April 2011

"(I've Got a Gal In) Kalamazoo"


Cam spent Easter weekend with his girlfriend's father (and his family - her parents are divorced) in Kalamazoo. Since we have no family connections locally, and holidays aren't really celebrated, I have always been supportive of Cam spending time with other families on holidays.

He left Thursday night.

There was a lot of planning and re-planning of this trip. Originally, Cam's girlfriend's mom (who usually drives half way there, meeting her ex and exchanging the kids) wasn't going to have enough room in her car to take Cam, so Cam was going to take METRA into the city, then Amtrak to Kalamazoo. I was concerned about him making the trip alone, primarily because I couldn't seem to get any adult to commit to picking him up/dropping him off at the train station.

I should have listened to my gut.

Thursday morning I learned that Cam's girlfriend's mom was going to drive them - meeting her ex at the half-way point and exchanging the kids. It was a relief. Cam has made this trip in the past without issue. I was relieved this trip would be the same.

Fast forward to Sunday afternoon. I get a phone call from Cam. He starts by saying, "Did Brenda (the girlfriend's mom) call you?"

I knew this wasn't going to be good.

The story was that he just learned they (Cam, his girlfriend (14), his girlfriend's sister (19) and her BF (19)) had no ride home. Brenda had a change of heart and now wasn't willing to drive half-way to pick up the kids. Cam's girlfriend's dad didn't have the money for gas to make the entire trip.

I needed to buy Cam an Amtrak ticket to get him from Kalamazoo to Chicago (Brenda would cover the cost of the tickets for the other 3 kids), then they would take METRA from Chicago to Podunk.


After pulling Amtrak fare out of my ass, and demanding that someone cover the $6 METRA fare back out to Podunk (Cam had given the $50 cash I sent with him to his girlfriend's father to help out with groceries), arrangements were made for Cam to travel back with the other 3 kids ... on Monday night (Cam had school Monday) ... arriving home at 2AM Tuesday.

And not so much as a courtesy phone call from either parent (although I was able to confirm Cam's story with his girlfriend's father after I tracked him down hours later).


To say I was livid would be an understatement. I was grateful for the listening ear of a friend, and the common sense to know that calling Brenda at that moment (or any moment for that matter) was a bad idea.

Cam walked in the door at 2:25 this morning.

He will be going to school today.

He won't be going to Kalamazoo again any time soon.


25 April 2011

Too Many Pots on the Stove


I need to do something to correct this.

Too many pots on the stove means I'm not giving any one thing the attention it deserves, and will likely make a mess of something before it gets on the plate.

Assuming it gets on the plate at all.

Hmmmm ...


24 April 2011

Sunday Secret



20 April 2011

HNT - Tolkien


"All that is gold does not glitter,
not all those who wander are lost ..."
~ J.R.R. Tolkien


I got new ink Tuesday. This has been a long time coming, but I finally knew what needed to be done, and it wasn't what I thought needed to be done. In addition to the Tolkien quote, I also had Alan's rose touched up and recolored (you can read the story [HERE]. It was time to move forward - to accept that even the most beautiful moments in life can have a painful thorn ...



18 April 2011

It's Raining Visitors - Part II


Last week I wrote about my exciting and impromptu visit with Desert Rat. In true my life is a roller coaster fashion (I was on an uphill swing) the following Sunday I had more visitors - Sujomi and her Handsome Husband drove up to Podunk to have lunch with me.

(Handsome Husband is a little shy)

Sujomi was my primary inspiration for doing the Dana Does Digital Project 365 blog last year, so it's no surprise that we spent the majority of our visit taking photos.

You can see Sujomi's photos [HERE] and [HERE] (she's amazing - go look!). I decided to be brave and pull out the new to me DSLR and shot a few of my own ...

This tree had actually "swallowed" the barbed wire in places

NUTS! That had obviously been broken into by some critter

Bits and pieces of memories, dumped in a farmer's field

An old window frame, discarded by the wind only to land precariously

Rusted wheels that have likely seen many harvests


13 April 2011

HNT - Vulnerable


And introduce an element of cynicism and darkness into it
and just realize that we're all vulnerable. We are humans.
There is a finite end to this life and we're all going to face it
and a little silliness can help.
~ Alan Thicke




11 April 2011

It's Raining Visitors - Part I


When it rains it pours ... and this week there was a wonderful spring flood!

I received an email early last week from long-time cyber friend Desert Rat. Rat lives in Arizona, but she and her husband were coming to Chicago for vacation. Would I be interested in coming into the city to have dinner with them?


We made plans for me to take the train into the city Thursday. When Cam learned I was taking the train, he decided that he needed to take the train too. Fortunately, Rat does not have an aversion to gnarly 15-year old boys!

*NOTE* I apologize in advance for the quality of the photos. I had my camera, but went with the convenience of my cell phone.

I tried to get Cam to lay across the tracks - I thought it would make a much more interesting photo - he was a party pooper!

My protector ... doesn't he look fierce??

Cam and I made the trek, got lost, called on my twitter friend Monkey to help us find ourselves (although not here now, he lived in Chicago for many years).

We had a wonderful dinner - I screamed out Jay's name when experiencing a foodgasm from this bleu cheese burger.

Rat didn't seem to mind ... she was playing with her food (yes, those are raw onions)!

We ended the evening with a walk back to Union Station, a visit to the restroom where they had DYSON hand dryers, a quick photo of Rat and I in front of the Nuts on Clark sign (which she promises to email) and then Cam and I ran to the train - somehow making it before it pulled out of the station at 8:30 (yes, we were those people).

A big thank you to Rat and her husband! It was a great evening and I feel privileged to have finally met them!


06 April 2011

HNT - Eye


That old law about 'an eye for an eye' leaves everybody blind.
The time is always right to do the right thing.
~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

The "cure" for multiple corneal abrasions?? Some fancy-schmancy eye drops four times/day (first dose right after I get out of the shower) and time! The eye is healing and feeling much better!



05 April 2011



Got little bits of stuff hanging around and need to get them of of my brain. Writing them down will do the trick, right? Right??


Had a bit of a "blow up" with "husband" this weekend. Let me preface this by saying in a recent discussion with him, he told me to start asking for help when I needed it - to quit being so proud and stubborn. I took him for his word

Last week he offered to cover $180 worth of car repairs on the Cavy. I took him up on his offer. This weekend? He called and left a (lengthy and nasty) voice mail complaining that the only time I want anything to do with him is when he's shelling out money.

There is some truth to that.

Needless to say I'll be paying him back every last penny of the $180 and I will not take him at his word again ... at least not when it involves money.


I've been thinking a lot about what would happen to my cyber-self should anything happen to my physical self. I am in a somewhat (I think) odd place. The people who would be contacted should I become seriously ill ... or worse ... have no idea that I blog or tweet.

Do any of you have a similar situation? And a solution??


Speaking of things happening to my physical self, if you follow me on twitter you know that I had a fairly significant eye injury yesterday - two large corneal abrasions on my left eye.

It was kind of a strange situation. I woke up Thursday morning, put in my contacts and headed to the gym at 5AM. I had some problems with my left contact - had to take it out and put it back in again - but nothing I haven't had happen i the past.

During my workout I noticed that my left eye was getting a little cloudy. Again, nothing that hasn't happened in the past. Went home and took out my contact ... and then all hell broke loose.

The pain was unbearable. It felt like someone had emptied a dump truck of sand in my eye. It was extremely sensitive to light and I lost all but light/dark vision in that eye. It scared the hell out of me.

By about 7AM I knew I had to get to the doctor, but I also knew there was no way I could drive myself (the doctor is a 20 mile drive from Podunk). I didn't have anyone that I could call. Let me say that again - I DIDN'T HAVE ANYONE THAT I COULD CALL. I have never felt such a complete sense of being invisible and alone.

I broke down and called "husband" although I figured he had already left for work and would likely not take my call anyway ('cause that's how he rolls). I left a voice mail ... and then I panicked.

Thank goodness for a few of you who talked me down from the ledge.

As it turned out, "husband" had overslept and was in the shower when I called. When he got the message he immediately called me back and was at the apartment in 10 minutes to take me to the doctor. He stayed with me at urgent care, then took me to the optometrist after urgent care released me.

I hated every moment of having to depend on him, but also realized just how limited my options were. I was torn between being grateful he was there, and being angry that I am here.

Life has a funny way of teaching lessons sometimes.


Lessons? Yeah, I received another one in a recent discussion, that was then repeated by someone else in an email. I was described as having:

... typical Dana "I'm not good enough for anybody, they'll end up not liking me anyway, I'll push 'em away now" rubbish.

It made me realize just how frustrating I must be for people who care about me.


03 April 2011

Sunday Secret



30 March 2011

HNT - Hope


There is no hope unmingled with fear, and no fear unmingled with hope.
~Baruch Spinoza



Real Live Lesbian?


Soooo ... last night, I'm minding my own business on twitter, saying goodnight to a few folks as they logged off for the night, including one of my female followers to whom I promptly gave *sloppy wet kisses* as part of her good night.

I do this frequently (flirting is "safe" on twitter) to both men and women, but for some reason my tweet last night resulted in the following exchange from @MattManWIR:

His timing couldn't have been better - I had just read an article titled "Bisexual Invisibility: Impacts and Recommendations" (linked on twitter by @danteshepherd) that talked about people's need to label sexuality as either or - either straight or gay/lesbian.

I've talked about my sexuality on this blog before. When people demand I put myself in a box, I (begrudgingly) go with bi-sexual. I say begrudgingly because I don't like labels ... AT ALL. And as I spend some time toying with the idea of becoming comfortable in my own skin, I've discovered I hate them even more.

Way back when, Lynn (Real Live Lesbian) wrote a post about being "Fashionably Bi" I remember the post well. My comment was:

I think there *is* a "fashionably bi" segment of the population. My experience is that they tend to be women (generally under 30) who know this is a turn-on for men AND women and since society is far more accepting of it, they "toy" with it for a period of time.

I also think there is a rather significant population of women generally over 30) who fall somewhere in the 4/5 range of the Kinsey scale, but who have "settled" for a heterosexual relationship to meet the traditional wife/mother expectations of society.

For those of you not familiar with the Kinsey Scale, it is based on the notion that sexuality is not all either/or - that there is fluidity in sexual preference rather than nice, neat little boxes that everyone fits in to.

Me? I'm a 3 ... and I think I'm a pretty true 3. Just as I am not attracted to people of a specific race/ethnicity, neither am I attracted to people of a specific gender. I can love, care for and be passionate with men and women ... equally. Although I have had long-term relationships with women in the past, the last 20 years I've confined myself to the heterosexual side of the scale.Yes, attitudes surrounding sexuality have become much more open in the past 20 years, but being straight is still a lot easier than being gay/lesbian/bi.

So, why did I have such a strong reaction to Matt's "Why don't you just become a lesbian?" question?

Two reasons ...

One, I don't think one "becomes" a lesbian. I know ... I know ... it's semantics, but I found it bothersome that someone I consider a dear friend had (or at least appeared to have) such archaic views on sexuality (this is where Matt will tell me I am one of those people who take twitter too seriously *shrugs*).

Two, I'm not a lesbian. If you want to label me or put me in a box, at least get the right damn label/box. This is not a phase (I've been this way as long as I can remember), I am not confused (at least not about my sexuality, but I am confused by why others seem so confused by it) and this isn't an excuse to be promiscuous (although I believe a polyamorous relationship would better suit me, having more partner options does not make me more promiscuous). I am bi-sexual and don't need to "become" anything else.

Now, all of that said, I do think Matt has a point - I need to stop confining myself to the heterosexual side of the Kinsey Scale and be more open to where my true sexuality lies.

It's all part of becoming comfortable in my own skin ...


28 March 2011



Cam is many things - creative, artistic, athletic and quite musically talented. He's also a typical high school freshman - oozing with attitude, entitlement and, of course, he is all knowing. He pushes boundaries and is a pain in the ass more often than not. He is a typical teenager in many ways.

Last week, his artwork was selected for display in the annual Chicago Area Alternative Education League art fair. He was one of eight students from his therapeutic day school whose art work was submitted for the art fair competition.

You know, Cam's freshman year of high school has been anything but typical. There have been no homecoming dances, no spirit weeks, no after school clubs. I didn't imagine his high school experience would look anything like this. I had different dreams. And sometimes? That really sucks.

But not today.

This is his artwork that was displayed in the art fair - the art fair that he didn't tell me about, that he refused to attend with me, but that he secretly wanted me to go to as was evident by the pride in his voice when I finally got a hold of him to find out which piece of art was his.

Side story. I really wanted to get a photo of his artwork but the artwork didn't list the artists names to eliminate any bias in this judged event. Cam told me nothing about his artwork other than it was a watercolor. Fortunately, his painting was one of only five paintings submitted from his school, and one of only three water colors. I had to guess which was his and guessed right, which is good since he didn't respond to my calls and texts until after I left the venue.

When I got home, I asked him about the painting - what inspired him - why he called it "Chance"

He told me he did the painting in art therapy on his friend Carlos' last day at the therapeutic day school before transitioning back to his home school. The rainbow represented the happy ending - going back to a "normal" school. The black line through the rainbow was Carlos' journey.

When I asked Cam about the drops of gray and black sprinkled throughout the painting he said, "Those are my tears. I'll miss Carlos but I'm glad he gets to go back to his real school."

And the reason he called the painting "Chance"? Carlos got his chance to chase his rainbow.

Today? I realize that my dreams are not Cam's dreams, no matter how much I might want them to be, and I feel a tremendous amount of pride in recognizing that my son's dreams have much more substance than mine for him ever did.


23 March 2011

Completely Devoted


During the highly irritating twitter trend of #100FactsAboutMe, this little gem popped up in my time line:


In case you can't read it it says:

"I dislike parents who are not completely devoted to their children"

I asked for clarification because it sounded quite Judgy-McJudgy (The person who tweeted this did DM me explaining what she meant by completely devoted, and it wasn't what I thought she meant).

So yes, I got a little defensive, why? Well, two primary reasons.

First, who are we to stand in judgment of parents, determining it they are completely devoted or just partially devoted? Do we know even 5% of their story before making those judgments? Are we so naive that we believe the ONLY factor (or even the primary factor) of raising "good" kids is to be a completely devoted parent?

My kid is sometimes a mess. Part of that is because he's 15. Part of that is because he has neurological differences that make parenting him in "traditional" ways almost impossible, and part of that is because I haven't been a perfect parent. These aren't excuses, they are just my life. I do the best I can with the skills I have, my ultimate goal being to raise a productive adult who contributes positively to society.

Second, do people really believe that if you are a "good" parent you will magically raise "good" kids? If you are completely devoted to your kids, they have no other option than to turn out great?

I've got a unicorn for sale, are you interested?

I would argue that being completely devoted to your kids, at the expense of your own personal needs, is not only a ridiculous thought, but harmful to the well-being of the kids and you!

Completely devoted is just so subjective and carries a very personal definition. Shame on any of us for judging another parent's complete devotion to their kids without having any idea what might really be going on.

And why are we standing in judgment at all? Aren't there more constructive things we can do if we think a parent needs more help? Oh! That's right ... those take effort, not lip service.


22 March 2011

What Comes After 999?


I don't often celebrate these kinds of things - a blog is narcissistic enough without tooting your horn over every perceived monumental blog moment.

But? 1000 posts really is an achievement. In the 3+ years I've been out here, I've seen a LOT of blogs come, go, go private, be deleted, come back reinvented and go stagnant (and I wish they'd delete the fuckers because stagnant blogs are taking up some good names).

If I count the guest posts I've done over at Real Live Lesbian, the Project 365 blog and tumblr (which I am convinced is NOT really a blog but twitter on steroids) I'm probably closer to 1500 posts. Now that's a lot of wasted time!

Anyway, I want to thank all of you ... yes ... even you! Oh, and let's not forget YOU! Although I put the drivel out here, you all reflect it back at me. It is your input - your comments - your trollish and stalking ways, that have helped me be a better person.

I was chatting with a friend last night who, at one point said (it was close to this - I wish I had saved the chat), "I see you how you are. Not through the lens of your experiences."

I had a moment - a moment where it became clear that I most closely identify with my failures. I am three failed marriages. I am Alan's suicide. I am the reason my father is an alcoholic. That is how I see myself when I look through the lens of my experiences.

He reminded me that is not who I am. Yes, I have experienced those things, they have shaped me in good and bad ways, but I am not those things. I am so much more than those things.

I think there are a few of you out there who have been trying to tell me this for years - it finally sunk in.

Thank you! Seriously ... for helping me find myself Amid Life's Crises! Yeah ... that was corny, but kind of clever, no? Wait! Don't answer that!


20 March 2011

Sunday Secret



17 March 2011

HNT - Clover


Never iron a four-leaf clover, because you don't want to press your luck.
~Author Unknown



BMI and Spots and Lumps - Oh My!


If you are looking for my HNT post, you'll need to wait until this evening. Although the pics have been taken, I haven't managed to work my magic with them and get them posted yet!



Well, I made it through the physical, was even able to pee on demand. What? TMI? Ehhh ... get over it!

The results (so far) were generally good. Blood pressure was excellent (120/76) and resting heart rate was normal (82 - I'd like to get that down a bit).

It does look like I'll be visiting a dermatologist again soon - a few more "skin spots" that look questionable. I'm trying to keep a positive attitude about this - knowing that the doctor is being cautious based on my history with Basal Cell Carcinoma.

Also of concern is the "lumpiness" the doctor found when doing my breast exam. It's been 7 years since I had a mammogram, so getting another one done has become a priority. Fibrocystic Breast Disease does run in my family, so again, I'm trying to take this all in stride.

Of course my weight is an issue - BMI is about 12 points above a healthy range, but I know I'm working on that and making progress, so ... ehhh ...

I go in a week from Saturday for full panel blood work. I've never had my cholesterol, thyroid or blood sugar levels checked. I know ... right?

Oh! And I got a Tdap (tetanus) vaccine. Wasn't expecting that but apparently my age group is now the most at risk for contracting Whooping Cough (the Tdap vaccine protects against tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis (whooping cough)). Go figure ...

I didn't get a sticker or a sucker for being such a good patient, but I did get a Snoopy bandage. That was almost worth going in for!