Come on and join author Melissa Bradley as she sets off on her latest adventure...


If you are not 18, please exit stage left. While there is normally nothing naughty here, I do write and review erotica so there are links to spicy stuff and the occasional heated excerpt.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

The Big C Blog Hop and Anthology

My hugest thanks to Michael Di Gesu, who organized this. You are an amazing friend and I wouldn't know what to do without you.

As many of you know, I am currently locked in battle with the Big C...Cancer. Today I am celebrating the fight with my wonderful fellow bloggers on this Big C Cancer Blog hop. We are telling stories of the humor found in dealing with this disease. Humor helps a lot in this battle, it is a very effective weapon in keeping one's spirits up and at the ready.

Money is also an important part of the fight, so these entries you read are all going to be published in an anthology to help me in my fight. Whatever I do not use of the proceeds will be donated to Gilda's Club Chicago, a very important place for women fighting this terrible disease.

Thanks for reading. You can find all the incredible, wonderful participants here.

So without further ado, here is my entry....

An Unexpected Show

Chemo. Losing my hair. Vomiting. Losing my freakin' hair. I was upset and nervous and angry as we walked into UIC's Out Patient Cancer Center for my first chemo treatment. I had little enough hair as it was thanks to genetics now I was going to lose the rest. Perfect. I was going to be short, fat and now bald. Unless I got a wig. And my experience with wigs was almost non existent, except I knew they could be expensive unless one was talking Halloween costume types. Another expense. Great.

"You're scowling," my sister whispered.


"Yes you are. Stop it or you'll scare the nurses."

"Okay, fine."

She was right. It wouldn't due to frighten the people who were going to people who were going to take care of me.

After what seemed like hours we were called back to the infusion rooms.  The chairs were exactly like I'd seen in the movies, these uncomfortable looking recliners caught somewhere between spa comfort and dental office chic. I sat and my nurse introduced herself, a really nice, down-to-earth woman she was. She gave me the rundown of everything to expect. There was so much to process I felt like I was about to take a physics test without having learned the chapters.

First came the Benedryl, anti-nausea cocktail that put me to sleep. Just as I was beginning to enjoy a nap, the big chemo drug bag was administered. As I settled in and watched the drip, a little woman came in with a huge cart.

"Hi. I'm here from the American Cancer Society with some wigs for you. As a cancer patient, our program entitles you to one free wig."

Color me stunned.

My sister and I looked at each other, then at the wigs in the cart. The ACS rep left us with the wigs and we started pouring over them. An idea formed in my mind. I had to get into a better mood. After discounting all the ones that surely would not work, we snatched up the short. blonde ones.

"Let's do a wig show," I said.

"What? You mean try all these on and walk around in them?"

I nodded. "And take crazy pictures."

"Cool! Let's do this."

One by one I tried on the wigs, strutting around as much as my dance partner aka the IV machine would let me. The nurses came in clapping as I posed and pranced. A wig did not seem so bad now and neither was my mood. I laughed as my sister showed me the pics. I was determined to rock a wig and no longer afraid of losing my hair.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Battlefield Update: Round 2 of Chemo Over

Hi there Imaginarians! Happy Tuesday. I'm finally getting around to posting an update about my battle here with that old bastard, cancer.

I had Round 2 of chemo and this one did not go as well as I'd hoped. I had an allergic reaction this time. Talk about scary. When you get chemo, they start you off with a cocktail of drugs designed to prevent any kind of allergic reaction. However, with chemo it is all in the timing of delivery. They started my main chemo drip right after  giving me the cocktail and it hadn't had time enough to work through my system. My whole body suddenly got hot, turning fire engine red. My temp rose so fast that I thought I would spontaneously combust.

The nurses came running as my poor sister nearly freaked out. The drug was stopped and a saline drip administered ASAP. The whole thing felt as long as a wait at the DMV, but really only lasted a few terrifying minutes. Still, it was more than enough to bring home the fact that these are chemicals going into my body which are killing my healthy cells right along with the cancerous ones.

It's been a tough go, but I'm hanging in, keeping my levels up as best as I can.

This fight isn't just physical, though. Cancer is a hell of an expensive fight and I've been out of work these last few months. I'm really facing some financial burdens here. To help, my friends have started this fundraising page for me at Go Fund Me.com If you could share this link, it would help me tremendously. I know times are tough so I'm not expecting donations, just share this so that maybe I can reach the help that I need. I would be forever grateful. Thank you all very much.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Greetings From The Battle Zone

Hello! Just wanted to take a moment and say hey, my Imaginarians. I know I've gone radio silent, but this cancer shit is just wreaking havoc with my schedule and my writing. Plus, now I have to  fight broke because well, my Unemployment is up. And there are not a lot of people ready to employ me as I am. Boy, the Universe must think I am Xena, Warrior Princess because if it's not one thing, it's another. But, I'm keeping strong. I want to thank you all for the well wishes and prayers. I have feel truly loved and blessed counting you all in my corner. I'm also making sure that I do a lot of sleeping, exercise and taking supplements to keep up my strength. Cancer ain't got shit on this chick.

I've gone through my first chemo treatment. 1 down 2 to go. So cancer is taking a beating and so far I'm not too shabby except for sleeping a lot.

To help keep me in fighting spirit, my nephew took me to see 22 Jump Street and Transformers. I had a blast seeing both. They were a fun ride that made me forget the fight for a few hours. Joshua is a great sidekick.

Sorry I missed Insecure Writers Support Group. I had intended to post, but never got the time or the energy in sync. My insecurity this month is time. Will I get to finish the projects that I've started on time? How can I work around chemo and tests and appointments? Ugh. It feels overwhelming sometimes.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Leverage By Nancy S. Thompson

Hi Imaginarians, how are all of you? I've been quiet as I make phone calls to doctors etc. I have my first appointment on June 10. Thanks to all of you for your supportive comments, prayers and friendship. You all are amazing. Today I am really excited to bring you a kick ass new book from brilliant writer Nancy S. Thompson. Leverage is a hot new romantic thriller available right now...

Four years ago, Tyler Karras' quest to avenge his wife's death led to all out war with San Francisco's Russian Mafia. With the Bratva's collapse and its king, Dmitri Chernov, long dead, all Ty wants now is to put it behind him and enjoy a second chance at life with his new bride, Hannah, and the child they're expecting any day.

But Chernov's heir, Grigory Dmitriev, has returned, bitter and determined. He wants his kingdom back, and he's more than willing to leverage Ty's new family to get it.

First he targets Conner, Ty's brooding nineteen-year-old stepson, manipulating the boy into a vortex of sex, drugs, alcohol, and gambling. Then he turns his sights on Hannah. At eight months pregnant, she's the ultimate bargaining chip. With both their lives in jeopardy, as well as his unborn child, Ty has little choice but to do as Grigory commands.

But Tyler swore he'd never kill again. He buried that monster four years ago and means to keep it that way. Grigory, however, makes that vow impossible to keep.

With his new family on the line, Ty will cross further into the dark side than he ever has before, challenging everything he believes about himself, and forcing him to face the ghosts of his past. Only then will Ty discover if he has the strength to do the unspeakable, to sacrifice his last chance at redemption and save the lives of those he loves most.

Buy Links:

About Nancy:

Nancy S. Thompson began her writing journey with her debut novel, The Mistaken, a dark romantic thriller released in 2012, and she’s continued the saga in Leverage. While Nancy loves to write, she pays the bills as an interior/architectural designer, as well as a freelance book editor. She’s a Bay Area California transplant, currently living with her husband and college-aged son near SeattleWashington.

Friday, May 16, 2014

I've Been Blitzed!

Happy Friday Imaginarians!! I'm feeling the love of this awesome community in super force right now. I got blitzed yesterday and just wow. Thank you does not even begin to cover the gratitude and positive energy I'm feeling. But all the same, thank you from the bottom of my heart, you all are wonderful, amazing, thoughtful people and I am proud to be a part of this community. I will be working my way through all the comments left and visiting everyone as my energy level allows.

As you may or may not know I just spent nine days in the hospital and am preparing for the battle of my life. I went in for a simple x-ray of my hip and lumbar area because 'd been having horrible pain that would not allow me to sit, stand or lay down for very long. Well, they found a mass. I was admitted and scheduled for biopsy faster than I could blink. It is malignant, so needless to say I am in for the biggest fight, but I am bringing my A game and going total badass bitch on this.

I'll be around as much as I can, but since I have major health considerations now, I may miss time. Thanks again for being my friends, my support, my Imaginarians. I love you!!

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Sex, Drugs and Rock N Roll...Alice Morell Tells All

Hey there Imaginarians! I know, I've been absent a lot due to real life problems, but I have a special treat today. Alice Morell is here today with some rock star confessions from her article "Sex, Drugs and Rock N Roll: Rockstars Shocking Confessions." Take it away Alice...

The rock and roll lifestyle is certainly not for everyone; there are stories, some legends of events and acts taking place backstage or elsewhere with rockers, groupies and unfortunate bystanders. Certainly a few based on musical style or personal preference can be almost guaranteed to have some, “Dirty Laundry” lying about, but some have achieved rather remarkable achievements in the press and the legal record. Here are a few that you may have heard of, but maybe you didn’t know everything about.

A band with quite a few hits on the charts and notices from the authorities are The Rolling Stones. There are plenty of jokes floating around about how after Armageddon happens; the only things that will survive are roaches and Keith Richards. Some true life issues the lads have found themselves in date back to 1967 when Richard’s home was raided by police and some reports, not fully confirmed involved Jagger, his girlfriend at the time Marianne Faithfull and a chocolate bar. Moving forward to 1975, the band would bring on stage during performances of the song “Star Star” a twenty foot long fake phallus even though after initially doing so they were warned by police that it was not considered a good idea. A quieter member of the Stones, Bill Wyman, divorced Mandy Smith; a woman he had married when she was eighteen and he was forty-nine. A recent admission Wyman has made to police though states that the two were dating when she was thirteen and they started having sex a year later. Back to Mick Jagger—the lead singer has had probably enough behind the scenes escapes to cover for the entire band not limited to; an extensive history of drug use- speed, LSD, cocaine & hashish, an alleged love affair with David Bowie and being intimate with over four thousand women including Uma Thurman, Linda Ronstadt and France’s First Lady Carla Bruni.

An easy and open figure in Rock history to find legal issues with is the former front man of Black Sabbath, Ozzy Osbourne. The Ozman has had a number of memorable run-ins with authority for a variety of reasons; his first famous event was not at a concert but at a meeting with CBS Records. The reported story says he planned on releasing doves in the air “as a sign of peace.” Unfortunately Osbourne had pre-celebrated a bit too much and while intoxicated, bit the dove’s head off and spit it out. It likely didn’t endear him to the execs, but it’s one of the things he’s well known for. Ozzy doesn’t get any awards from PETA for animal kindness because a year later during a performance in Iowa, a bat was on the menu. It didn’t go down without a fight though because it did manage to bite him first which required a rabies test. Osbourne maintains he thought it was only rubber, while the fan who threw it on the stage says he was sure it was dead when he tossed it. Another famous incident, animal free, involved a drunken Ozzy relieving himself on an Alamo memorial in Texas. What isn’t generally mentioned is that he was wearing a dress belonging to the future Mrs. Osbourne (yes, Sharon!) because she’d hidden his clothes. This led to him being banned from San Antonio for a decade. In spite of all his misadventures, the only jail time the Prince of Darkness ever had was when he was seventeen and stole some clothes from a store and did more time for assaulting a police officer.

Our final rocker with a rap sheet is Vince Neil from Mötley Crüe. Lead singer for the majority of the band’s history, Neil has had quite a few run-ins with the law, some of which led to the deaths of others. This was the first recorded incident when Neil’s love for liquor overrode common sense and involved a party with Neil and members of the Finnish band Hanoi Rocks. Neil and their drummer, Nicholas Dingley went on a booze run after consuming copious amounts already with a few other members of the band. They were doing twice the legal limit when the car spun out and crashed into another vehicle. Its occupants suffered brain injuries that Dingley ultimately died from. Neil was found to have a blood alcohol limit of .17 and was charged with DUI and Vehicular Manslaughter. He was sentenced to 30 days in jail, of which he served only 15 for good behavior, five years’ probation and $2.6 million dollars in restitution to the victims of the crash along with 200 hours of community service. Neil apparently learned his lesson for a time but in 2002 he was arrested for punching a record executive and went on to an assortment of incidents including more fighting and drunk driving.

Does the lifestyle inspire the chaos or is the chaos enhanced by the lifestyle? These examples show that sometimes “Living La Vida Loca” isn’t what it’s cracked up to be.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Chicago from A to Z...K is for Kenwood...L is for Lincoln Park Zoo

Good afternoon!! I know I'm getting a terribly late start, but things got in my way. I hate real life sometimes. Anyway, for the Big A To Z today I'm taking you to the famous Kenwood neighborhood on the near South Side, then up north to one of my favorite places, the Lincoln Park Zoo.
Blackstone Library Wikimedia

K Is For Kenwood

Located on the near South Side, Kenwood lies just north of Hyde Park and the University of Chicago along the Lakefront to the east and Cottage Grove Avenue to the west. It was settled in the 1850's by wealthy Chicagoans looking to escape the congestion of the ever growing city. The area is named after John A. Kennicott, the first resident who named his home Kenwood after his family's ancestral estate in Scotland. Kenwood is the neighborhood that President Barack Obama calls home and it has indeed had many famous residents including actor Mandy Patinkin, Muhammad Ali, Julius Rosenwald of Sears, Roebuck and Company and Bill Veeck, former owner of the Chicago White Sox. There have also been some infamous residents. Murderers Nathan Leopold and Richard Loeb were from Kenwood as well as their unfortunate victim, Bobby Franks.

The neighborhood has many unique features including an area known as the Indian Village. Here all the buildings are named in honor of the local tribes that once populated this area. The Powhatan Apartments have the only 24 hour elevator operator position in the city. Another landmark, the Blackstone Library was opened in 1902, making it one of the oldest branches in the Chicago Public Library system. It is a beautiful neighborhood with some fascinating walks, if you come visit, I'll take you for a stroll, then take you to Medici's for pizza.
Entry to Lincoln Park Zoo Wikimedia (BTW those birds are sculptures)

L Is For Lincoln Park Zoo

Ah the Lincoln Park Zoo...Here is one of my absolute favorite places in the city. It opened in 1868, making it one of the oldest zoos in the United States as well as one of the largest free zoos in the world. The first animals in the zoo were a pair of swans from the Central Park Zoo and a bear from the Philadelphia Zoo. It now houses over 1100 animals, including Keo, the oldest male chimpanzee in North America. There is also a large burr oak tree here that dates from about 1830, seven years before Chicago was incorporated.

Marlin Perkins, of Wild Kingdom fame, served as the zoo's director from 1944 to 1962 and helped create the Lincoln Park Zoological Society, a citizens group that fundraises and supports the zoo's operations. My favorite place inside the zoo are the penguins and polar bears as well as the Nature Walk along the South Pond. It is a stunning place to have fun and enjoy a great summer day. You can also enjoy the place in winter with Zoo Lights and caroling to the animals.

Ready to see Kenwood? Take a stroll at the Lincoln Park Zoo? I hope so. Happy A to Zing and thank you for stopping by. Please visit my fellow challengers by clicking at the top left or here.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Chicago from A to Z...I is for Ida B. Wells...J is for the Jewelers Building

Happy Hump Day!! I can't believe it is Wednesday already. Today I'm here with another Daily Double as I attempt to get myself back on track in the Big A To Z. I'm going to delve a bit more into Chicago history as I give you my selections for I and J. Ida B. Wells is one of my favorite women in history and one of Chicago's finest. The Jewelers Building is a terrific place with an intriguing past.
Ida B. Wells Wikimedia

I Is For Ida B. Wells

Ida is one hell of a woman and a true badass to me. She was a journalist, a suffragette, a sociologist and an early leader in the Civil Rights Movement. Born in Holly Springs, MS to enslaved parents, Ida adored her father James, who after the Emancipation Proclamation, worked tirelessly for the advancement of black people. When her parents and youngest brother died during a yellow fever epidemic, 16 year Ida became a teacher so that she could keep her remaining five siblings with her.

Spurred by the inequality in salary between white and black teachers, Ida moved to Memphis, TN where she attended Fisk College during her summer breaks and became more active politically. She co-owned the anti-segregationist paper Free Speech and Headlight where she wrote articles and edited the paper's content. In 1892, three of Ida's friends were lynched. Their murders prompted her to investigate lynchings across the South and she wrote a pamphlet entitled "Southern Horrors: Lynch Laws In All Its Phases." Threatened, Ida bought a pistol and used her journalistic abilities to encourage blacks to leave Memphis.

Ida moved to Chicago and helped to organize a boycott of the World's Fair. She started working for the Chicago Conservator, the oldest black run paper in the city. During this time she met and married the paper's owner, Ferdinand Barnett. Ida became one of the first women to keep her own name in addition to taking her husband's. Her passion for women's issues led her to found the National Association of Colored women as well as the National Afro-American Council. She also helped to found the NAACP. Her work in Chicago for urban reform, suffrage and civil rights continued until her death.
Jewelers Building Wikimedia

J Is For The Jewelers Building

35 East E. Wacker aka The Jewelers Building is a Chicago historic landmark. Featured in the 2005 film Batman Begins and as the scene of a huge battle between Decepticons and Autobots in 2011's Transformers: Dark of the Moon, this building has seen a lot since its construction in 1927. The first 23 floors featured a car lift  and parking so the jewelers could come and go in safety.

There have been many famous tenants, including Mercury Records, which occupied several floors from 1953 to 1973. The most infamous would be Al Capone, who had a speakeasy in the dome at the very top. This same place then served as the showroom for architect Helmut Jahn. There is a current reconfiguration of the interior going on which sadly has removed many of the cool features like the car lift, but progress will out.

I hope you found Ida as cool I did. We can visit her house if you come to Chitown and we'll also take a spin by the Jeweler's Building. Thank you so much for stopping by. Happy A to Z, please visit my fellow challengers by clicking at the top right or here.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Chicago from A to Z...The Daily Double G is for Garfield Park, H is for Hull House

I'm so sorry I was gone and not doing my part  for the Big A To Z, but real life got in the way. I even had a new lawn ornament forcibly installed when a woman crashed her car in front of my house. Thankfully the little baby in the other car was completely. The woman was clearly under the influence of something. I am soldiering forward and will try to catch up. Today I'm giving you a daily double of two of my fave spots in Chitown, Garfield Park and Hull House.

The Golden Domed Fieldhouse Wikimedia
G Is For Garfield Park

Garfield Park sits on the West Side and first opened in 1874 as Central Park. It was the centerpiece of the west park system, which includes Humboldt Park and Douglas Park,  and renamed in 1881 after slain President James A Garfield. Designed by William LeBaron Jenney, the park is home to the Garfield Park Conservatory, one of the largest and most impressive conservatories in the Untied States. The conservatory encompasses 4.5 acres of the park's 184 and houses thousands of varieties of plants, some nearly 200 years old. 
Gardens with Conservatory in background Wikimedia

The park is famous for its Golden Dome Fieldhouse, its lagoon system, its band shell and its extensive gardens. It is truly one of the most beautiful spots in all of Chicago and a favorite with locals. Not so much tourists as they are more easily ensnared by Lincoln Park because of its easy access from downtown and the zoo. However, Garfield has its very own stop on the Green Line, so ease of access is plentiful. Garfield Park also contains an Olympic sized gymnasium, tennis courts, pool, soccer fields, baseball diamonds, a boxing ring and a theater. So come with me to this wonderful piece of landscape art, we'll have a great time.

H Is For Hull House
Hull House Wikimedia

Hull House was opened by Jane Addams and Ellen Gates in 1889 as a settlement house for newly arrived immigrants. Here they learned English, job skills, received aid in finding housing, schools for their kids and also received free lectures on current events, concerts and art exhibits. It was also a way for women to start seeking independent means of support as they received a full education here from the volunteers who were university students and teachers, all women like themselves at one time. 

The mansion itself was the starting point for a whole movement that eventually grew to encompass some 13 buildings and a summer camp with the addition of the Bowen Country Club in 1912. It became the standard bearer for some 500 settlement houses founded nation wide. When the Nation Historic Preservation Act went into effect in 1966, Hull House was among the the first to be placed on the list. It was built in 1856 by real estate magnate Charles Hull and his niece Helen Culver donated the building to Jane. Hull House and the surrounding complex were purchased in 1963 for the University of Illinois at Chicago. All the buildings, but Hull House were razed. The Hull House Association continued operations in various other Chicago locations until 2012 when it closed its doors forever. Today there is a museum inside Hull House and due to some "woman in white" stories, it does rate a stop on local ghost tours.  

Thinking about taking a stroll through Garfield Park? Want to see the place responsible for helping millions of immigrants and poor people? Come on to Chicago and I'll also buy the beer. Have fun visiting my fellow incredible challengers by clicking on the top left or here

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Chicago From A To Z...E and F, a Twofer

Sorry about the mini break in posts, I had a busy weekend. But, I'm catching myself up with a twofer today for the Big A To Z.

Ness in Chicago
E Is For Eliot Ness

One of Chitown's most famous is the head honcho Untouchable himself, Eliot Ness. There is a lot known about him, so I'll try and fill in some lesser known details. Ness was born in the Roseland neighborhood here on the South Side to Norwegian immigrants in 1903. After high school he went on to the University of Chicago where he obtained a degree in Economics. He began his career investigating backgrounds for credit checks with the Retail Credit Company of Atlanta known today as Equifax. Spooky how long they've been around.

Eliot's brother-in-law, an FBI agent, got him interested in law enforcement and Ness returned to the U of C to obtain a Masters in criminology. He started with the Department of the Treasury in 1927 as part of the Bureau of Prohibition in Chicago. President Hoover ordered the Department to focus solely on Al Capone and so began Ness' battle with Scarface. During his raids and investigations there were several assassination attempts on Ness resulting in the murder of one of his closest friends. After the events in Chicago, Ness was promoted to Chief Investigator for the Chicago office of the Bureau of Prohibition and later for the Ohio region. Once the Volstead Act was repealed, Ness became part of the ATF (Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms). He transferred to Cleveland, where he was hired as the City's Safety Director and promptly went after organized crime. His work led to heavy drinking, two divorces and finally being forced into the private sector as his failures mounted. He did various odd jobs to keep afloat, worked at a security company and finally found footing at Guaranty Paper.  He died young at 54 after collaborating on Oscar Fraley's novel, The Untouchables.

F Is For The Hotel Florence
Hotel Florence in winter

Standing proud on the corner of 111th and Forrestville in the far South Side neighborhood of Pullman is the Florence Hotel. Built by the inventor of the Pullman sleeper car, George Pullman, the Florence was his home away from home. Named after his oldest daughter, Florence, the 50 room hotel opened on November 1, 1881. It offered first class luxurious accommodations for the railroad magnates and other robber barons who came to do business with Pullman. It was the crown jewel of Pullman's industrial town along the shores of Lake Calumet. Pullman's workers were banned from the hotel, as was the consumption of alcohol. The Florence had the only bar in town, of course. Business tycoons needed their whiskey,though.

In 1889 Pullman's little kingdom was annexed by the City of Chicago and ol' Georgie saw his rules and regulations all disappear in favor of City ordinances and taxes. Booze for everybody! Pullman's dreams took a further blow in 1894 with the Railroad Strike led by Eugene Debs. The sleeper car inventor died in 1897 and his successor built on to the Florence, making it a hot destination for visitors to Chicago. With the decline of rail travel, the hotel fell into disrepair, but was purchased in 1975 to save it from demolition. In 1991, the hotel was restored by the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency and now operates tours and holds a champagne brunch on the weekends. I myself, have been there several times and it is beautiful and the food is top notch, including nearly all the same menu items offered in its heyday.

Fun trivia about the hotel. The 2002 film, Road To Perdition was filmed in part at the Florence, as Daniel Craig's character kept a room there. They were allowed unprecedented access to the hotel for filming.

Care for some champagne and brunch at the Hotel Florence? I'd be more than happy to take you. Were you surprised at all by Ness? Have fun visiting the rest of my fellow amazing challengers by clicking on the link at the top right or here.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Chicago from A to Z... D is for Du Sable

Jean Baptiste Pointe DuSable
It's D Day for the big A to Z and I'm introducing you all to a Chicago first. Jean Baptiste Pointe Du Sable, a Haitian born Frenchman is Chicago's very first non Native American resident. Moving from Indiana territory in 1784, Du Sable settled on land at the mouth of the Chicago River on what is today known as Pioneer Court. He left his home in Indiana because he had been imprisoned by British troops there, accused of being an American rebel sympathizer during the Revolution. I'd have moved, too.

Not much is known about DuSable's early life. There are many stories out there, including one that has him being the son of a pirate and a freed slave. Others have him traveling here from Louisiana, some from further east. The only thing agreed upon is that he was of African descent.

There is documented proof that he operated a trading post here and was a successful businessman. Surviving documents such as explorers' journals, bills of lading, etc. all reference dealings with DuSable. He was considered invaluable when dealing with the Pottowattamies here. When he sold his property in 1800 to a man named Jean La Lime, the deed included a house, two barns, a mill, a poultry house, a dairy and smokehouse. He then moved to St. Charles, Missouri where he died in 1818.

For a long time, Chicago's leaders refused to acknowledge DuSable as the first resident, instead preferring to honor white men only like John Kinzie and considered the 1803 Fort Dearborn as the first permanent residency in the city. However, during the 1933-34 Century of Progress World's Fair, a replica of DuSable's homestead was created and acknowledged as "one of the first residents." That same year (1934) DuSable High School opened in the Bronzeville neighborhood. In 1965 Pioneer Court opened on the site of DuSable's homestead and became a National Historic Landmark in 1976. A bronze bust of DuSable was installed in 2009 and the Michigan Avenue Bridge has been renamed the DuSable Bridge. He also has a museum that bears his name as the DuSable Museum of African American History opened in 1968.

What do you think of ol Jean Baptiste? Interesting the number of people in history not often acknowledged because they didn't fit a certain mold or idea.

Happy A To Z and thanks for visiting. Please visit my incredible fellow challengers by clicking the image at the top right or here.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Chicago from A to Z...C is for Columbian Exposition of 1893

Grand Entrance to the White City
We are on the third day of A To Z and things are rolling right along. Today I'm taking a trip back to one of Chicago's defining moments, the great Columbian Exposition of 1893. In order to celebrate the 400th anniversary of Columbus' voyage and to promote Chicago as officially back on track after the Great Fire of 1871, the city vied for the new World's Fair. They had beat out New York, Washington D.C.and St. Louis for this honor.

The fairgrounds were located on 630 acres in Jackson Park, Hyde Park, South Shore and Woodlawn neighborhoods. Famed Central Park designer Frederick Law Olmsted designed the layout of the grounds and the lagoon system while renowned architect Daniel Burnham supervised the overall design of the buildings which were designed to look like a white marble, neo-classical city, hence its nickname, The White City.

Ferris Wheel and Midway
There were many precedents set at this exposition. It was at that time the largest fair event in the world, drawing over 27 million visitors in its 6 month run. An astounding 46 nations sent delegations and cultural exhibits. The Columbian Exposition was the first event of its kind to feature a building designed by a woman and one that was dedicated to women and their accomplishments. The Women's Building was designed by Sophia Hayden, the first female graduate of MIT's architecture program. The fair also featured the very first Ferris Wheel. Located right on the Midway, the ride was some 264 ft. tall and had 36 cars that accommodated 60 riders each. New snacks and candies were also featured. F.W. Reuckheim introduced his popcorn nut confection, Cracker Jack, while Wrigley unveiled its Juicy Fruit gum. Pabst Blue Ribbon beer, a Midwest staple, also made its debut.

The fair also contained many scandalous events. On the Midway,  a popular dancer known as Little Egypt, introduced America to the seductive charms of the belly dance. And serial killer H.H. Holmes began his murder spree. On October 30, 1893 the fair ended its run and many of the beautiful buildings and lagoons were left to ruin. some of the remnants of the White City survive, including the former Liberal Arts Building which is now the Museum of Science and Industry. It's still there in its original location on 57th Street with a reflecting pool and lagoon system behind it that were part of the great exposition. the Japanese garden, a gift from Japan, also remains on the wooded isle that was created for the fair. Statues like the great golden Columbia that greeted guests are found  in various areas throughout the city. Columbia is actually near her original spot on what is now Hayes Drive at the southern edge of Jackson Park.

What do you think? Would like to tour the city to find more cool things from the Columbian Exposition? Surprised by the firsts? Happy A To Z ing and thanks for stopping by. Click on the badge at the top right or here to visit my fellow Challengers.

Museum of Science and Industry frmly Fine Arts Building

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

A To Z Chicago...B is for Biograph Theater and IWSG

The Biograph today
Day 2 of the Big A to Z and I'm kicking it old school gangster style with a visit to the infamous Biograph Theater on :Lincoln Avenue. It opened in 1914 and remained a movie house until 2001. Now it houses the Victory Gardens Theater Group and is the site of live performances. In May of 1984 it was added to the National Registry of Historic Places and became an official Chicago landmark on March 28, 2001.

The Biograph attained notoriety in gangland history when on July 22, 1934 Public Enemy Number One, bank robber, John Dillinger, attended a performance of Manhattan Melodrama with the Lady in Red, Anna Sage. He was gunned down outside by FBI agents led by Melvin Purvis. In 2008, while filming the movie Public Enemies, the theater and all the immediate surrounding businesses were redressed to look as they did on that night. I was fortunate enough to be able to see movies in the Biograph before it was closed in 2001 and subsequently renovated for live theater. It was a treat and a thrill sitting right near where Dillinger watched his last film. They say his spirit even checks out some of the current productions as the Biograph is on many a Chicago ghost tour.
The Biograph the night Dillinger was shot

Come on to Chitown and I'll take you here as well as some other infamous gangland sites. Happy A to Z ing with my fellow awesome challengers. Click on the image at the top right or here to visit them.

It's also time for the Insecure Writers Support Group. My insecurity this month is boredom. I struggle in the middle of my stories and get really bored with my characters. It's enough to make me scream and dive into a bottle of wine. I get sick of them and really wish they would hurry up and get out of trouble soon so I can move on to another part of the adventure. But it's all my fault that they are stuck!! I also get very bored with edits and rewrites sometimes. I just want to put the story away and never look at it again. Do you all ever get bored with your writing? I feel like a loser here.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Chicago from A to Z...A is for Adler Planetarium

Hooray!! It is the Big Kickoff for this year's A To Z Blogging Challenge and I'm giving you all a tour of my hometown, Chicago, complete with favorite places, mysterious places, colorful characters and historic sites. I'm kicking off this tour with a quick trip to one of my favorite places on the Lakefront, the Adler Planetarium. This place will take you to the stars as well as provide a trip back through the very history of astronomy.

Founded in 1930 by Chicago businessman and philanthropist, Max Adler, The Adler Planetarium is the first of its kind to be built in the United States. It is in fact, the first planetarium built in the Western Hemisphere and is the oldest still in operation. Located on Northerly island, just off the Museum Campus area, the Adler contains one of the largest collections of astrolabes, sextons as well as other ancient astronomical equipment. On the basement level, you can learn to make your own astronomical tools as you sit in a makeshift classroom from Renaissance Italy. They even provide the scholarly robes, how cool is that?

Amongst the other amazing exhibits housed at the Adler, there is the Atwood Sphere, which projects a view of the Chicago night sky from 1913 with a 180 degree view of enhanced photos from the time. There is also the  prototype for the current Mars rover on display along with the Gemini 12 capsule once commanded by Jim Lovell of Apollo 13 fame, who happens to be a local resident. The rare books collection houses 3000 texts on the history of astronomy as well as star charts.

Care to come for a visit? I'll gladly show you around as I never get tired of the place. Now let's get to visiting some of my awesome fellow challengers...

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

IWSG... The March Experience

Hello Imaginarians, it's your I-Keep-Disappearing Mel, here. I'm a putz, I know. I am sorry for being quiet again. This comeback trail is very difficult. Kind of like that first month at the gym. Anyway, today is the first Wednesday and it's time for the Insecure Writers Support Group, an amazing group that helps all writers with our fears, triumphs and general insecurities, etc.

I have a laundry list, but today I'm going to rant a bit. I'm feeling feisty. I write erotica and here are some things I've been asked, discovered through research and what people assume. It used to give me a complex. I was so bad I was embarrassed to talk about my work.

1. If it can remotely be used in a sexual way, someone will try it. Cue hand drills. Yes, you read that right and it all has to do with being able to attach different things.

2. I do not know which fruit flavor tastes better with body fluids. Strawberry, peach...Yeah no. But thanks for your question, please buy my book.

3. I am perfectly aware of what is in the Bible and no, I don't believe I'm going to hell. Have you read Song of Solomon?

4. No, erotica writer is not a synonym for porn star or slut.

5. Yes, my mother knows what I write. She encourages me.

6. There is nothing on this Earth that does not turn someone on at some point. Cue bug crushing. Something to do with stiletto heels.

I love what I write and people are always going to have a problem with it. Hey, to each their own. My experience has taught me that all people have their personal fetishes. No matter how much they may deny and protest. Trust me. Think on that the next time you're at a PTA meeting or at Church. So I don't let the haters in my head anymore. Write what you love, be proud and you will get where you need to be.

I know this has been a very strange encouragement post, but that is how my mind works sometimes. Please visit my fellow IWSG ers if you can. They are amazing and would love to hear from you.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Dead Speak

Today I am fired up and talking about last night's as well as last week's return of my beloved Walking Dead. All I can say is Oh. My. God. And issue a HUGE...

SPOILER ALERT!! If you are not caught up on The Walking Dead, scroll down until you see Spoiler Over.

Okay, where to begin? The premiere last week absolutely rocked. I loved Michonne's weird trip down memory lane and how she reverted to her old self by getting new pets. I also really dug how she found the will to go on and follow those tracks to Rick and Carl. What an impressive walker slaughter there in the woods. Especially when she killed her walker alter ego. And when she broke down in the diner, then gathered herself to move forward, that made me tear up a bit. Not too much, I'm badass. LOL

Carl...Can we say man and boy trapped together? It was amazing to see Chandler Riggs carry a heavy performance like that. Carl has really grown, yet there is still that boy, hot-headed, rebellious and making mistakes that nearly cost him. I wanted to slap him when he kept antagonizing and disrespecting poor, beat-to-hell Rick. However, my heart was in my throat when he thought his father had turned and he cried, realizing that he could not kill the last member of his family, that he could not truly go on without his dad.

And the ending was pure perfection. Michonne knocking and Rick telling Carl, "It's for you." High fives to the writers on that one.

Last night was beyond jaw dropping as we get to see what happened to the rest of our beloved Team Prison. Daryl and Beth were running through a mini horde of walkers. Those woods are a death trap, I'm telling you. It was kind of strange at first, to hear Beth's voice talk about finding the prison to her diary, but it was a good way for her to shed the last of the naive child. She was still hopeful, almost psychotically so as she fought walkers with Daryl, then forced him to track what she hoped was members of their group.  Then the railroad track walkers just broke her and the last vestiges of teen girl were smashed. She and Daryl moved off down the tracks and hopefully they were going in the same direction as our other group.

Then we moved to Lizzie, Mika and Tyreese, making their way through the woods and, AND Baby Judith is alive and well!! I gave a little fist pump in spite of knowing what a liability a baby is because now I know Rick and Carl have some joy coming. I was really sad for them as they saw that bloody baby carrier. Some truly heart pounding moments with this group. I thought sure they were one dirty diaper away from being walker snack cakes.

We also discover that Lizzie has become a little scary psycho. Those poor bunnies! She had me holding my breath when the walkers were bearing down on her and the girls. I thought she just might smother Judith. Yikes! There is some scary shit brewing there.

Enter my favorite moment of the night. CAROL IS BACK!! How fitting that she winds up with Tyreese's party. Talk about that awkward moment. And now they are following the tracks to Terminus to see what possible problems await them there.

The scene changes to Maggie, Sasha and Bob. Sasha just wants to find shelter and live, Bob is happy he's with two women and Maggie only wants to find Glenn. They find the prison bus, only to discover it's filled with walkers. Oh no...BUT Glenn is not among them. Maggie has a breakdown as she knows he's out there, but where the hell he could be just got scarier.

Poor Glenn had the worst wake up ever. He comes to, calling for his lady love, only to discover walkers everywhere and he's all alone. IN THE FREAKIN' PRISON!!! Props to him for shaking off the terrors, gathering supplies and heading out in full riot gear. Talk about total badass. That was some wicked camera work as we got a Glenn's eye view of a horde of walkers. Too cool. He's just about free when he spies Tara and goes back to get her, even though she was with the Gov.  I'm glad she's alive. Poor kid was snowed by a psycho, lost her girlfriend, sister and niece, all in one fell swoop.

Most poignant moment of the night... poor Glenn finding out Hershel is dead and realizing he is probably all that Maggie has left. Steven Yuen got the perfect look in his eyes for that whole scene. The ep comes to an end with Tara confronting Sgt. Abraham Ford and crew. Holy shit, the criss crossing of their paths, the near misses had me in fits. I cannot wait to see what happens next.

What did you all think?


Thank you all so much for visiting me. I'm sorry my comments and visits have been sporadic and in some cases non-existent. I'm still working through, but I'm getting better. I'll be around more, I swear. I did more writing this weekend than before and I'm feeling better. I love you all, my friends, my Imaginarians.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Screw Valentine's Day

Yep, you read that right. I hate Valentine's Day and all it stands for and I am here to provide the ranty antidote to all the saccharine sweetness today. I am proudly cantankerous and cynical when it comes to Valentine's Day. It's a Hallmark holiday created to sell crap. The constant commercials and signs urging purchases of jewelry, lingerie, cards, weekends away, dinners in restaurants (better make that reservation asap, gentlemen) and other material nonsense. Along with flora that will soon be dead and mountains of candy.

Dating services get into the insanity, along with bars and hotels with their V Day parties, all trying to pair you off with that special someone because God forbid, you don't have a date. Talk about pressure and mass hypnosis.

Hollywood adds to the craziness with their endless cycle of romcoms and romance movies they truck out this time of year. I'm not a big fan of any of them. The Adorable Schlub meets Hot Girl and tries valiantly to win her. Spunky Cute Girl determined to date Oblivious Boy Next Door she's always loved, but could never date and so consoled herself with Also Rans. Or Rich Naive Girl falls desperately for Bad Boy who changes his ways just for her. Blech! Puts me in diabetic coma.

Then we have the "wink, wink" spontaneous proposals on the local news shows and the daytime talk shows focus on wedding planning. Honestly, it is all a racket. Convincing us we have this One Day to show our love and God help us if the presents aren't good enough, the lingerie not sexy enough, the diamonds not big enough. Jewelers even recommend that you spend three months salary on the engagement ring. Come again. If me or my guy are spending three months salary on anything, we better be able to drive it, live in it or take a jet to it.

So no, I am not celebrating Valentine's Day and this year I am putting out a hit on Cupid. Any sightings of that diapered little bastard will be met with force. Instead, I'm getting drunk with my single friends.and watching some serious horror. Nothing like a bloody mess to celebrate the blackest day on the calendar.

Do any of you celebrate? Or are you a Valentine Hater like me? Talk to me, I promise I won't bite in my responses. ;)

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

IWSG: The February Files

It is the first Wednesday and time for the Insecure Writers Support Group, one of my favorite groups ever and boy do I need my writers around me right now. I've hardly written a word. But instead of whining, I'm going to go through some of my favorite quotes hoping to inspire not only my fellow writers out there, but also myself. I have got to change my way of thinking and break out of this shadow I've sunk into.

"Don't judge each day by the harvest you reap, but by the seeds that you sow." Robert Louis Stevenson

"It is never too late to be what you might have been." George Eliot

"There are two way to spread light: to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it." Edith Wharton

"Get it down. Take chances. It may be bad, but it's the only way you'll do anything really good." William Faulkner

"Exercise the writing muscle every day, even if it is only a letter, notes, a title list, a character sketch, a journal entry. Writers are like dancers, like athletes. Without that exercise, the muscles seize up." Jane Yolen

"I've learned from experience that the greater part of our happiness or misery depends on our dispositions and not our circumstances." Martha Washington

"To be beautiful means to be yourself. You don't need to be accepted by others. You only need to accept yourself." Thich Nhat Hahn

"Action is the antidote to despair." Joan Baez

"The greatest glory in living lies not in never failing, but in rising every time we fail." Nelson Mandela

I hope these quotes inspired you today. I felt better as I put this post together. And I will leave you with a little Girl Power.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Another Bout Of Depression And A Teenage Date

Hi again, Imaginarians. I'm so sorry I went away again for the last couple of weeks. I had another bout of depression and it hit me pretty hard. I'm taking meds but sometimes I get overwhelmed. I hope you will forgive the silence. I've been on Facebook, but even that has been sporadic.

Anyway, did you all enjoy the weekend? I went with my nephew on his date. He's only 14 and needed a ride to the theater. He and his young lady went in to see Ride Along and I went into Frozen. They enjoyed the film immensely and well, I liked Frozen, but didn't love it. The singing got to be too much. I did enjoy the fact that it was about sisters who save each other and did not rely on the trope of the kiss from Prince Charming. Afterwards, we met up with the girlfriend's mother and younger sister for dinner at The Dixie Kitchen, a wonderful restaurant specializing in Louisiana style food. Pulled pork and mashed sweet potatoes with fried green tomatoes. Yum!

As thanks for taking him, my nephew helped me shovel last night because, yes we got more snow. Again. Another 6 inches and yes, I'm still sore. We live on a corner lot so there is a lot to shovel. I'm really grateful for my nephew as his date pulled me out enough to be social and I've gotten a bit of spark again.

I also watched the debacle of the Super Bowl. I was so not into it this year and even the commercials annoyed me. Too contrived for direct emotional responses rather than about the products. I know beer can be a patriotic drink for some, but come on. And I will not even get into the sexism of some these ads. I've got plenty to say in a later post about the sexism that is certainly running rampant through this country, particularly in politics.

I have not written, but I did manage a few sentences yesterday and made some changes to another ms. I know, shoot me now. I can't wait for IWSG on Wednesday. HELP!!

So what is the good news around here. I've been so out of touch.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Friday Fun

Happy Friday, Imaginarians!! We made it through the week and I managed to write a few more paragraphs, which makes two whole pages into my newest creation. My good mood is also due to the fact that I am participating in my first blog hop since my absence. Michael Di Gesu is hosting The Coffee Hop, in which we describe what makes us want/need/desire that cup of amazing goodness each day.

My addiction isn't so much coffee as it is caffeine. Oh my God do I have an addiction. I alone, have a billion dollar habit. It is monstrous. I require gallons throughout the day to keep me functioning until I come alive at night like a vampire. Drink it, chug it, sip it or mainline it through an IV. Before I have my first hit, I very much resemble one of the walkers from my favorite show, The Walking Dead.

I can't think, I can't speak English and if you come near me, I'll likely chomp on you. Be warned before you approach me at anytime before High Noon. Wave a hand first. If I blink and growl, stay away or shove some caffeine into my zombie-esque hands.

Go visit the other participants of this hop. We're having a great time and there's some real Colombian coffee at stake.

So anyone got any big plans for the weekend? I'm hoping to get some writing done and watch some movies I have not seen from last year. Oh before I go, I watched the Oscar nominations yesterday and Bad Grandpa received a nomination for Best Makeup and Hair. This is so unbelievably awesome and the big surprise, no nomination for American Hustle in spite of Bradley Cooper's tremendous perm curlers. Johnny Knoxville can officially and forever say he starred in an Academy Award nominated film. Fucking brilliant! I highly recommend this film, it was the funniest damn movie of last year. It was so much better than The Heat, which I found spectacularly unfunny. Not one chuckle or hint of a smile from me through the entire two hours. Yikes! I also recommend We're The Millers for lots of laughs.

Have a great weekend and a terrific time hanging out at The Coffee Hop.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Hump Day

Hey Imaginarians, it's Hump Day and nothing much has been going on. I did meet with my crit partners for the first time in months and we did get a lot of stuff read, plus we had a terrific time talking as we had a lot to catch up on. I also managed to write a few paragraphs, not much, but I'm getting back into writing at least.

I want to say thank you to all of you who have stuck by this blog and me. I could not ask for a better group of  friends and supporters. I'm making my way to all of you, its just taking me longer than I thought.Coming back is hard and I still have my dark moments.

Sunday was a lazy day for me. I totally did nothing but watch old movies, then the Golden Globes. I watched Arsenic and Old Lace as well as The Thing From Another Planet, plus a Bob Hope classic, Bachelor In Paradise. It was a day for total relaxation around here. And yes, that means I did not watch football. I just don't care about any of the teams this season. I will watch the championship games and the Super Bowl, but these other playoff games were meh. I burned out my enthusiasm after watching the Packers lose at home in a close shave.

I can't wait for the Oscar noms tomorrow. I'm really hoping Leonardo DiCaprio gets a nom because he deserves it for his wildly brilliant performance in Wolf Of Wall Street. Loved that movie, it was so wrong it was epic. And most uses of the F word in a three hour period. Over 500 times. Now that is creative usage of a very versatile word, which also happens to be one of my favorites. I haven't seen it used so creatively since Goodfellas.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Happy Friday And What I Learned from 2013

Whoo hoo, it's Friday, my favorite day of the week. It seems it takes forever to get here sometimes, doesn't it? Do you all have big plans for the weekend? I'm hoping to get some writing done and catch up on American Horror Story because I missed the last four eps, so shhhh...No Spoilers! ;)

I can't believe 2013 is over. The year ended on such a downer, but I did have an amazing time and learned alot, good, bad and ugly. Here are just a few of those lessons...

I learned one of my favorite TV shows, Sons of Anarchy, has some of the stoopidest, most ignorant fans out there. Example, recently a dedicated fan site posed the question "Since the show is coming into its last season, who do you think will die?" Me: "Everyone. This is Hamlet set in a motorcycle club according to Kurt Sutter [the creator] and everyone died in Shakespeare's play." Ignoramus Fan: "Shut the fuck up U dum cow. This is about Jax and the mc and guns and shit,  not a story some old dude wrote like 40 years ago. Git fucked u bitch."  Ah the intelligent discourse to be found on the internet.

I must make a Murtagh list because there is definitely shit I am too old for. Like riding my once beloved Tilt-A Whirl. I was so excited at the Festival of the Lakes this past summer. I got on the Tilt-A-Whirl with my nephew and sister. We got a great car that spun like mad. Sadly, when the ride was over, I nearly fell half a dozen times before I managed to stagger down the stairs and off the ride. Thankfully, I did not embarrass myself by yakking all over. I was, however, dizzy for the next two hours. A sad, sad, day for me.

Apparently, I am broke enough for the Federal Government to be on Medicaid, but still make too much money according to the State of Illinois, who denied me the coverage.

One of my local movie theaters has the first showing of the day for $5. Methinks that I will be seeing a lot more features at 9:00 AM on Saturdays.

I learned how to use a Smartphone. Yes!

2013 was also a year of reunions. I also reconnected with a couple of very old friends. We had been MIA from each other' lives for 15 years and thanks to Facebook, we got back together and have hung out several times.

Last year was also a great one for movies and while I'm not going to compile a whole list, some of my faves were The Hobbit 2, Thor 2, Pacific Rim, Man of Steel, Iron Man 3, Fast 6, World War Z and God, help me, Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa. I have a very juvenile sense of humor.

One of the highlights of the year was me getting to drive a 2013 Dodge Challenger. I learned I do love to go very, very fast.

So what stood out from 2013 for you? Have a terrific weekend and I'll be be back on Monday. It sure feels good to say that.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Happy New Year, IWSG And Where The Hell Have I Been

Hello Imaginarians and Happy 2014!! Greetings from Chiberia. That's our new name around here. Yesterday we were officially colder than some parts of Antarctica. I haven't gone outside since Sunday afternoon when I trekked through thigh high drifts to clear a path from house to garage. I had to shovel in layers because the snow was so heavy and deep. Five, that's right five, scoops per square foot of snow. Made it all the way to the garage and around the side to the big door, only to discover a downhill ski run where my driveway should have been. My neighbor across the street came over and stood atop one of the drifts to avoid a passing snowmobiler (yes, they could ride snowmobiles on my sidewalk), then asked me if I needed help shoveling. Just then, her father stopped his snow blower and said "She ain't gettin that with a shovel." Bless them, they cleared our driveway so we can now get out. Chicagoans rock!

I hope these last months have seen you blessed and well. I've been gone so long I feel like it's been a hundred years. I have missed you all terribly. My absence was only going to be for a few weeks to finish some writing, but I got laid off, fell into a depression and got a respiratory infection. I got no writing done either. I've been miserable and I'm only now starting to come out of it. What a way to start a new year.

How fortuitous that my return has coincided with the Insecure Writers Support Group. My deepest apologies to Captain Alex J. Cavanaugh and the rest of you for being a very bad group member and not participating these last couple of months. I really needed to be part of this, be inspired by you all and yet, I shut myself out. In fact, I had disengaged from all creativity. I've been so depressed I could not put sentences together for a simple paragraph, not even stir myself to color or make a bracelet. Nothing. I became really isolated, doing only basic chores at home, looked for work and screwed around on Facebook and Twitter. And sleeping, God I slept twelve hours a day sometimes. I was and still am, a mess, but thanks to one of the sweetest friends ever, Michael Di Gesu, I am starting to get it together. He forced me out when I would have remained at home in my shell. I am more grateful to him than I can say. Thank you, Michael, you are the best.

It's amazing how deep you can fall into the dark and so fast, you don't even realize it. Creative spirits are especially vulnerable, I think to this creeping awfulness. I was to the point where I no longer cared about writing another word. I still haven't written, but I'm at least thinking about my writing again. I'm also going to be blogging again. One foot in front of the other starts the journey. It's a new year with new possibilities.