Prom 1988: Did I Have the Time of My Life?

I had a very nice prom experience 25 years ago. My BFF John was my date. He was four years older than me so that was cool. He loved to dance so that was cool. He cut a dashing figure in his tuxedo so that was cool. And he was an out gay man so […]

The Niblings Call It Quits on #LGBTQFamiliesDay 2023

For as long as I’ve had this blog, I’ve written about my niblings – a gender neutral term to describe the children of our siblings, often referenced as nieces and nephews. We have six, ranging in age from 11 to 17. Two live in Philadelphia, four here in Pittsburgh. A few months ago, the youngest […]

The Easter My Dad Went Fishing Without Us

Easter brings to mind a lot of bullet point memories In 1983, things were bleak financially. I was 12 years old and in 7th grade. So, of course, my Dad decided to join my cousins on a spring fishing trip to the Outer Banks over Easter. They weren’t high end, but it was still money […]

Hypomania is Here

I didn’t know ‘dread’ is a clinical symptom. The difference between anxiety and dread is that anxiety is an unpleasant state of mental uneasiness, nervousness, apprehension and obsession or concern about some uncertain event while dread is great fear in view of impending evil; fearful apprehension of danger; anticipatory terror. So my spin through last week took me down a dark path […]

The One Year Anniversary of My Mother’s Death

I’ve written hundreds of memorial profiles. This one is not new news, it is the one year anniversary of my mother’s death. I’ve just cocooned myself here at home. I didn’t post about it anywhere because I don’t want to answer questions or make decisions. I don’t want good intentions to intrude on my careful […]

Our Groundhog Day Wedding Anniversary

Today marks two years since Laura and I had our backyard COVID-19 wedding. It was brief, simple, and cold. We made it into the ‘Society’ section of the Pittsburgh City Paper. We have a nice little registry and occasionally still get a surprise from it. And we have this Kai Devenitch original artwork to commemorate […]

I’m Taking a Forensic Genealogy Training

This is my 10th year of writing memorial posts for victims of lethal anti-trans violence. Over the time, I’ve tried to stay focused on the very original request from my friend Jacob, a trans activist. He asked me to write a “decent post” that contained information about the crime(s) but also acknowledged the life of […]

‘We Just Forgot How to Care for Ourselves’ A Widowed Husband Reflects on the Toll of Alcohol Abuse on His Family

Content Note: Alcohol, depression, death, grief In 2015, a woman named Heather completed the AMPLIFY Q&A and she caught my attention. This response in particular has stayed with me all of these years later. What motivated you to take part in this project? I don’t talk about this part of my life a lot, and when […]

How I’m Getting Familiar With Scotland

Jennie Tarleton

During my growing up years, my family wove a tale of our Irish origins leaving me with the mixed up understanding that I was mostly Irish Catholic with a wee bit of German. Oh, so wrong. I learned that my family had participated in a unique 20th century “forgetting” of their ethnic origins and cultures […]

No Crib For a Bed

Now I’ve heard there was a secret chord That David played, and it pleased the Lord But you don’t really care for music, do you? I’ve always known that my family moved to West Mifflin when I was a preschooler so while I can lay claim to that corner of the blue collar world as […]