“While we try to teach our children all about life, our children teach us what life is all about.” –Angela Schwindt
Aidan came to bless my life on December 30, 2002. He is my sunshine. It’s fascinating to watch him develop and grow. He’s really funny, snarky, and silly. He’s creative, very smart, and can do spot-on imitations of many people and characters. He’s also cuddly and sweet, free-spirited, and fiery. In short, Aidan is AWESOME.
“A happy marriage is a long conversation which always seems too short.” – Andre Maurois
Adam’s funny, quirky, full of the strangest facts, and a real smart aleck. He’s a critically acclaimed author of several books, a Chicago historian, a tour guide and ghost hunter for Chicago Hauntings, and he’s the proprietor of the Smart Aleck’s Guides – Study Guides for Kids, an ebook company designed to make learning more fun. You can read all about Adam here, and read all of his research about Chicago history here.
“The family. We were a strange little band of characters trudging through life sharing diseases and toothpaste, coveting one another’s desserts, hiding shampoo, borrowing money, locking each other out of our rooms, inflicting pain and kissing to heal it in the same instant, loving, laughing, defending, and trying to figure out the common thread that bound us all together.” –Erma Bombeck
Greggy & Mommy
This is my mommy, Lenora, and my stepfather Greg. I really don’ know what to say about Mommy. I love her very much! And she is thrilled to be a grandmother to Aidan.
She is spoiled ROTTEN, and loves collecting dolls, crystal, and clowns. She lives in Twinsburg, Ohio, which isn’t too far from Cleveland.
Greg passed away April 30, 3015. He loved to play poker and birdwatch in his spare time. He wa great at picking out gifts and he was very funny and mischievous. He is very missed.
My wonderful grandmother, Madia (her real name was Bessie…Madia is our version of “Ma’Dear” which is a shortened version of “Mother Dear”) was a wonderful, strong woman. She bore eleven children, lived longer than two of them, and my God, wasn’t she beautiful?
I sometimes sit and think about her and can’t really believe she is no longer of this earth. She visits me in my dreams frequently and those are the times that I have the best days. My grandmother went to a better world in August of 1996, and even though I was prepared for her death, I think that I’m less strong now than I was back then. I’m often surprised at how much I miss her, but I know that she is watching over me.
Say “hi” to my sister Leah. Believe it or not, she’s two years younger than I am!
Leah can drive a hard bargain. You will know right away if she likes you or not, but if she likes you, you’ll have a great time with her. She thinks of the best phone pranks, skits, and characters. Her imagination is off the chain. She also loves to eat. And man, can she eat!
Rich & Sharon
Rich and Sharon are Adam’s parents, and my in-laws. They are awesome. They’re the type of people who will drive 16 hours to attend a 10 minute wedding ceremony, the type of people who will sing along to the RENT movie with me, and they both enveloped me in bear hugs the second they met me. They’re very warm and welcoming and loving, traits their son definitely inherited.
Cassidy & Lola
Cassidy and I were friends from the beginning of my and Adam’s relationship. We’d been calling each other “sis” long before the thought of marriage even entered Adam’s mind. Cassidy gave me all the lowdown on Adam’s ex girlfriends, told me stories of Adam as a little boy, and used to spend hours IMing with me about any random thing. Now, she’s a cool girl I get to hang out with and actually call my sister, and little Lola is the cutest thing ever!
Melissa & Eli
Thanksgiving 2007, I got to meet Adam’s brother Eli and his wife Melissa. I was nervous about meeting Eli–he and Adam are pretty close and I really wanted Eli to like me. Well, I had nothing to worry about. Eli is just as warm as his parents, and Melissa is simply awesome. They live in L.A., where they get to go to Disneyland as much as they could want. This is good for Eli, as he’s a Disney geek and knows all sorts of things about the park and the history.
Grandma Bel. Where can I even begin? She’s just incredible. That warmth I keep talking about? It definitely is a huge part of the family. She goes out of her way to make special dishes for me (I LOVE her baked beans and her spinach casserole), and she picks perfect Christmas gifts. Grandma Bel seems to know me better than I know myself.
Matt & Chris
Chris is Aidan’s dad, and Matt is Aidan’s step-dad. They live in Columbus, Ohio, and Aidan stays with them during the school year. They like horror movies, True Blood, and all sorts of other scary things. Chris and I get along really well, which is good for Aidan and for the both of us. I love that we are all friends.
A friend is someone who knows all about you…and likes you anyway.
They say that friends are the family you choose. Some people come into your life for a pre-destined amount of time, then they leave because they’ve served their purpose. There are those I consider my friends, even though we don’t speak or hang out as much as I’d like. Still, I know that the next time when do talk, we’ll just fall back into our old relationship as if no time has passed at all. I’ve had a lot of friends over the years, but these are my shining lights. I can’t imagine life without any of them.
I met Rena at work. She’d trained me to be her backup for a job that is, frankly, not fun at all. I had no idea when I agreed to take on this extra work that I’d get a bestie out of it. I remember, sometime during the summer, seeing her standing in the hall by the elevators talking to someone. I was so intimidated by her. She was tall, and confident, and gorgeous, and dressed nicely. I remember thinking, as I walked by in my jeans and sweater, “I should be more like that.” Months later, we had a training session that turned into a long conversation, and many more long conversations. Now, almost 18 months later, we talk almost every day. We have sleepovers and go on trips together. We became fast friends, so to this day, I’m grateful for corporate review for bringing us together. Rena is fun, smart, and loyal, and I’m so lucky to know her.
I met Wanda online many years ago. I believe it was through a mutual friend’s LiveJournal. I don’t even know how long I’ve known her, just feels like she’s always been there. What can I say about Wanda? She challenges me, she’s funny, she is warm, loving, complicated, and kind. When she talks, it sounds like music, and being around her is energizing and uplifting. Wanda is wise beyond her years, and a steady rock in my life. I’ve been lucky enough to hang out with her in New York City three times, and every time is never long enough.
Jen and I met through mutual friends because of New Kids On The Block and our mutual crushes on that blue eyed cutie Joe(y) McIntyre. Now, nearly twenty years later, she is still one of my closest friends. What was weird is that we both lived in Cleveland all our lives, yet, we didn’t hang out regularly until we both got to college. What else is weird is that she was two rows behind me at the November 25, 1989 New Kids On The Block concert yelling “I LOVE YOU JOE!” about a month or so before we became phone/pen pals. She comes up with great quotes, such as “I’m so good looking I offend people” or the wonderful “Oh, for the love of mashed potatoes!” Speaking of mashed potatoes, Jen eats more than anyone I know. The girl can put it away, but she works for it, doing insane workout programs like P90X and enjoying it. She *loves* dresses, and has pretty, pretty hair. Doesn’t she look great? Of course she does. Are you offended yet?
One summer day in 1998, I opened AOL to check my email. There was a message from someone new and the subject was “I saw your Web page!” Of course, I had to check out who it was, and it turned out to be a wonderful human being with a great heart, good advice, and tremendous talent. Ivy is a sweet pagan who loves DDR, writing, and drawing. She’s an activist, an aspiring Newbury Award winner, and my favorite little elf/faerie friend. She is also the author of The Invisible Orientation: An Introduction to Asexuality. Ivy is one of my best friends, and having the opportunity to meet her in March of 1999, and having her spend the week with me in September of 2004, and having her in my wedding were great experiences. Visit her site to learn more about her.
Andy used to hang me upside down in Physics class while a pleased Mr. Felon looked on. (We went to an *interesting* school.) Thank God he never hung me out of the window! Ever since then, he has looked out for me and pulled me out of crazy messes that I can’t even describe. He is intensely loyal and extremely caring. No one could ask for a better friend.
My Kitty Cats
Things Crazy Cat People Do #365: You made up a voice for your cat
Fi is my oldest kitty. He’s a sleek, black beauty with green eyes and a black nose. I got Fi in 1999 when he was four months old. He sits beside me while I peck away on this here computer, and I will just reach over and rub his little head so I can hear him purr. He’s a very good cat. The voice I gave him is spoken in a dignified English accent.
I inherited Crookshanks when I moved in with Adam in 2008. Crookshanks loves everyone, and he’s never met a stranger whose lap wasn’t fair game. He has quite a yowl on him. He’s extremely cuddly and friendly, and he “speaks” with a New Orleans flavor.
Helena, my angel kitty
Helena came to live with me in 2008. I adopted her from Paws Chicago, a no-kill animal shelter. It was rough going with her at first. She’d come from a hoarder situation, and she was very untrustworthy. It took about 18 months to get her to mellow out and stop peeing on everything (and she still falls into old habits from time to time), but one day it seemed, she just super sweet. She started off be a shy one, tending to hide when strangers first come around, but soon she had no qualms about marching up to someone and demanding a rub. Helena was rare because only one in four orange cats are female. She and Crookshanks often battled it out for the alpha position in the house, especially when it came to the cat bed. The voice I gave her was high and sweet, but in actuality, she probably would’ve sounded like a heavy smoking lounge singer. Helena passed away suddenly in March of 2017 and she is very dearly missed.
Lucy, my angel kitty
My little Lucy was a teeny tiny little thing when I first got her, and she was always on my lap or climbing on my shoulder. She used to hop on the toilet and watch me get ready every morning, and she loved to lick the cheese off of Doritos and Cheetos. Poor little Lucy got very sick and passed away shortly after I moved to Chicago in 2008. I’m still not quite over the death of my squeaky voiced cuddly little kitty. I miss her. RIP, my sweet little kitty. You’re loved forever.