1. I carried around a picture of Anima Sola for many years.
2. I finally decided to get it tattooed on my right arm.
3. Anima Sola means "Lonely Soul." It represents the soul in purgatory.
4. My real name is Valency.
5. It is pronounced VAL--en--cee.
5. I was named after a character from a made-for-TV movie that aired the year I was born, called The People.
6. The People starred William Shatner.
7. The movie was based on the sci-fi book series by Zenna Henderson.
8. A college professor of mine gave me a copy of the book. I lost interest about half-way through.
9. The character Valency was an alien.
10. I was born in San Francisco in 1972.
11. My parents were hippies. They were married 2 weeks after I was born.
12. They divorced when I was 6. I was raised by my father.
13. I have a younger brother, with a completely "normal" name. Also, a half-sister and half-brother from my Mom's remarriage.
14. My mom is a red-head. I have brown hair like my dad, but I got my mom's freckles.
15. I get a sun-burn after about 15 minutes in the sun.
16. I went to six schools between Kindergarten and 1st grade.
17. I skipped 2nd grade. But then I got put back toward the end of the year because we got a new principal who didn't believe in grade skipping. I transferred to a Catholic school.
18. I had 10 years of Catholic school, the last 4 at an all-girls Catholic high school.
19. I begged my dad to send me to the all-girls school, because I was sick of boys.
20. After high-school, I took a year off to follow the Grateful Dead. I hitch-hiked with two girlfriends to New Jersey. We went to a truck stop in Indiana and got a ride with a trucker. He ditched us in Ohio when he realized we weren't "those" kind of girls. We got another ride with a real gentleman.
21. I imagined I was a whirling dervish when I danced at Dead shows.
22. If I could relive any time from my past, it would be following The Dead that summer.
23. I got married when I was 23. It lasted for 10 years.
24. Part of the reason my marriage ended was that I realized that I was a lesbian.
25. My mom and her mom are also lesbians.
26. I wonder which one of my two daughters might be a lesbian.
27. I was also a practicing pagan for 15 years. I started attending a Catholic church again to get the parishioner discount in order to send my oldest daughter to Kindergarten at the parish school.
28. I was hooked when I heard Delle Chatman give the Gospel and Homily one Sunday morning. I knew that my parish had gone renegade!
29. When I heard Delle speak, I cried. I swore I saw a halo above her head. I knew I had found a spiritual home and that I had to get to know this woman.
30. She became a spiritual-mother to me.
31. I began this blog in her memory. She told me that she thought I was very talented and should write more. She passed away in 2006 after a 4-year battle with Ovarian Cancer.
32. The tagline for this blog, "Your chains are broken darling, so why are you still standing here," I heard Delle say to me a few months after her death.
33. I don't often hear the voices of dead people, so I took this as an important message.
34. I am a graphic designer by trade, but I also have a few articles published.
35. I knew I wanted to be a graphic designer when I was in high school.
36. I inherited my artistic ability from my mother. She can draw a straight line without a ruler, perfectly.
37. It took me nine years to get my BA in Graphic Design. I worked and went to school part time, and took time off whilst having children. I scheduled my second child to be born during summer break.
38. Both of my children's names start with the letter M. I didn't do that on purpose.
39. I'm single...still searching for my soulmate. I'm a little weary from the search, but my heart, I have found, is pretty resilient.
40. I refer to my house as "The Estrogen House of Doom." Me, 2 girls and 2 female cats. Need I say more?
41. We generate an enormous amount of laundry, which is my absolute least favorite chore. I don't mind the washing part, but the folding and putting away part is horrid. Matching all-white socks will be my punishment in hell.
42. Along with the smell of tar. If I'm going to hell, there will be lots of burning tar.
43. I think I'm going to heaven, along with everyone else I love.
44. Otherwise heaven would not be "perfect."
45. A grade school teacher told me that Heaven IS perfect, and that if everyone I love wasn't there, then it meant I didn't really love them. I knew she was full of it when I was 9.
46. I've never stopped questioning authority. I have a finely-tuned bullshit detector.
47. Though in recent years, I've put up with more bullshit from those that I love than I should have. I've got a bit of a "suffering saint" complex.
48. Although I attend a Catholic church, I consider myself "christo-pagan." I don't image a solely male Deity, and I am keenly tuned into the wheel of the year. But I also feel a deep connection to the Mass, the saints, and the rituals of the Church.
49. Most pagans and most Catholics don't see how I can reconcile the two belief systems. I found it to be quite easy and natural.
50. I haven't found any religion that has a monopoly on truth. But seeds of truth lie in all of them.
51. I fainted when I got my first Holy Communion when I was 9. Some of my friends joke that this makes me a "mystic saint." I'm no saint, but I definitely tend toward mysticism.
52. I don't think I would continue to worship in the Catholic church if not for the many like-minded people I have encountered in my parish, particularly gay families and advocates for women's roles in the church.
53. I am a hard-core lefty. As in, I am left-handed and politically far left.
54. I worked as a graphic designer for the Communist Party for 3 years. I didn't join the party though, because I'm not THAT far left. I found their philosophy to be naive.
55. I am a dyed-in-the-wool Democrat. I voted for a Republican once for Governor. My vote was validated when the Governor halted executions in our state. I am firmly against the death penalty.
56. I worry a lot about the state of our world, and what sort of future my children will have. I hope that they won't have to struggle as hard as I have had to.
57. Editing this list is harder than I thought it would be. I'm removing a lot of references to my ex-girlfriend and our life together — I truly believed we'd get married someday. Alas, we were not meant to be.
58. I'm going to turn 40 next year, and I'm still hoping that it's not to late to find my happily-ever-after. Call me a romantic sucker.
59. When I was a baby, I went to Hawaii and lived in a tree house for about a month. I'm not kidding. Did I mention that my parents were hippies?
60. The only time I have left the U.S. has been to go to Canada. World travel is on my list-of-things-to-do-while-I'm still-young-enough-to enjoy-it. Did I mention that I'll be 40 next year. Sigh.
61. I would like to visit India, Ireland and Paris, just off the top of my head.
62. I believe in Reincarnation. I have had Past-Life Regression, and it revealed two past lives.
63. I don't like to exercise. But I enjoy biking. Lately I've started biking to work, which I can convince myself is "commuting," not "exercise."
64. I have a rather large collection of sea glass from Lake Michigan.
65. I also collect crosses and Mary's. I love Catholic kitsch.
66. In addition to the Anima Sola tattoo, I have two others. The first one is a blue crescent moon with a sunburst over it. The other one is a pink and blue closed lotus flower, which symbolizes transformation.
67. I don't wear earrings or have any piercings because I am allergic to nickel.
68. I have a fetish for finding out about people's allergies, particularly if they are lethal.
69. I also have an odd fascination of cults and Free-masonry.
70. I think I would get a Masters of Theology degree if I thought it wouldn't be a total waste of money.
71. I think I'm very lucky to have found my passion in life and the ability to follow it (thus far).
72. Money isn't very important to me. It would be great not to struggle financially, but I can think of dozens of things that I value more than money.
73. My favorite magazine is Adbusters. For years I fantasized about moving to Vancouver and becoming the Art Director for Adbusters. Now I think that Vancouver is too far and too cold.
74. I am a total type-geek. I can usually point out fonts by name when I see them, and wax poetic about typographical characteristics. I am wild about em dashes. I'm told that Emily Dickinson had a thing for them too.
75. I designed my own font and named it after my daughters. It is a lowercase only font called "m & m."
76. I've always been a total cat person, but after adopting a dog with my ex-girlfriend, The Nurse, I crave and miss the dog every day. I may have been converted.
77. In addition to converting me to being a dog person, I will give The Nurse credit for steering me toward another passion — singing with Aria, an LGBTQA choir that has brought me more joy than I can express.
78. I had an evil-step-mother. She was married to my dad for 3 years. She used to give me the finger when no one was looking when I was 7 years old.
79. I swear a lot. My parents didn't care if we swore, and I ended up with a mouth like a truck-driver. I tell my kids that I don't mind an occasional bad word so long as it's in the right context: you can swear if you drop a jar of mayonnaise on your foot, but you can't call someone a name.
80. When I'm alone, I see it as an opportunity to sneak a hot bath. There are few pleasure in life as fine as a hot bath.
81. In winter, I take a hot bath almost every day. I can't stand being cold.
82. Although I hate the cold, I think Chicago is the best city that I've ever been too. The only other city I've seriously entertained living in is Boston — which is arguably colder.
83. Whenever I'm in Boston, I visit Salem, Mass. I have the odd sense that I've lived there before in another lifetime. The first time I was in Boston, I walked all around the city by myself (which is not at all on any kind of grid) and somehow knew I couldn't get lost there. In Salem I felt the same way.
84. Music is one of the most important things in my life. Nothing grounds me better or feeds my soul in the same way that music does.
85. I already have the music picked out that I want played/sung at my funeral.
86. I am increasingly fascinated with death, but not at all in a morbid way. I am interested in death as a process and spiritual transformation — something that we all must surrender to someday. I am more afraid of losing the people I love than I am of my own death.
87. I think that I must have been Middle Eastern in another life, because I could eat middle eastern food every day.
88. I also love sushi. And Ethiopian food.
89. I can't stand the taste of anything grape or cherry flavored. It reminds me of cough-syrup.
90. But I like real grapes and real cherries.
91. I'm allergic to red wine, but I drink it anyway. Some types don't affect me while others give me a 24-hour migraine that begins after just a few sips. I continue to experiment.
92. If I'm drinking hard liquor, it's likely Vodka. Anything other than Russian Vodka is swill.
93. I am very opinionated and I talk too much. But I strive not to be judgmental. I've learned over the years how to admit when I'm wrong, too.
94. I am very smart. Most of my friends are even smarter.
95. I pray every day. God answers, always. I've had strong faith since I was a small child, though neither of my parents were religious. My grandma used to take me to church with her occasionally when I was little. When I was 7, I asked my dad if I could become Catholic, and signed up for CCD classes.
96. I don't exercise every day. I wish I did. It's a personal failing of mine that I hope to remedy sometime before I keel over. I keep telling myself that if I just do it, I may grow to enjoy it. But I seldom do it.
97. If I had to guess, I would say that I'll probably die of Cancer. It runs in my family.
98. Family is pretty important to me. There are a lot of things that I hope to pass down to my kids. I'm pretty traditional in that regard.
99. I was born on the cusp of Taurus and Gemini. I thought I was a Gemini my whole life, with clearly more Gemini traits. But as I get older, I see quite a bit of Taurus too.
100. I can't really believe that I'm in my late 30s. I still feel like I did when I was about 17 most of the time.
101. I am fabulous.