Do you know who you are? Do you understand what has happened to you? Do you want to live this way?

These are the three questions that the character Christina Yang asked on an episode of Grey’s Anatomy.  Leave it to the brilliant writers to tie in important life questions into the show.  I chose these three questions as this posts headline for a few reasons, the biggest one being that I ask these three questions of my self daily.   So much has happened this month that I barely have had the time to stop and reflect.  My birthday, a loss, getting back into the dating scene, concerts, a cruise, a visit to my best friend in Washington, D.C. for the July 4th holiday.

Another year older in my mid-thirties. Hard to believe in some respects and yet not so hard to believe.  I had my usual birthday dinner at Mama Ricotta’s surrounded by great friends.  I also was lucky enough to meet another one of my new favorite bands from Brooklyn – Oh Honey!  I met them before the show and had a blast chatting with them for a few.  Mitchy and Danielle were even so kind to let me take a selfie with them!

After years of on and off dating, I’m trying to give it a go again and put myself out there to find a soulmate. I have never been stellar at dating, and I have had a few great relationships on my life. This time I want to find the person who wants a lifetime of experiences together. Is that person out there? I sure do hope so.

Over the many years I have struggled with depression. A while back, I put a post on Facebook asking for people to lift me up. Here is why I asked for that request. Even though Mom is done with the major rounds of chemotherapy, she still is on a chemo drug for five years. This is not a drug that is a fix all. It is a nasty drug that still gives many of the same effects that IV chemo gives. Although any people have said they can tolerate the drug while working, many others have said that it is just as bad as being on IV chemo. My Mom seems to be in the latter grouping.

There are many days that I have spent wondering why the hell this has happened to our family.  Where did we go wrong in life?  Is this a punishment for things past?  Or is this another test of character and strength?   These are just a few of the questions that race through my head when I actually have a little time to stop and reflect.

This past week I spent the week with my dearest friend Topher and his husband Jay.  More and more I have come to rely on the relationship I have forged with Topher.  We balance each other in so many ways.  I come to depend on his advice, his wisdom and his uncanny ability to just ‘keep it real’.  I also have come to depend on the advice from my friends here in Charlotte as well, especially in my knitting circle.  It was also great to experience the Independence Day holiday in our nation’s capital.  From where we were, we had an up-close view of the fireworks and they were nothing less than spectacular!  I also had another first in my life – I traveled with drag to D.C. and took some photos of Lana in front of The White House.  It was an amazing experience and has truly allowed me to become more comfortable stepping out as Lana.  She can bring out the best in me and when I turn her on, I can live a temporarily UN-complicated life. Seeing the general public’s reaction to a drag queen walking around downtown D.C. was also a little humorous.  From photo bombing to flirting with the secret service police – Lana did it all!

At the beginning of June I went on another cruise with Mom.  It was so great to back on a cruise ship for 8 days!  We were on the Carnival Sunshine and had an absolute blast.   Our itinerary was Aruba, Curacao and Grand Turk.  We were in an aft balcony room on the starboard side of the ship right under the Lido deck.  All-in-all the room was good, and we couldn’t have been happier with our service and wait staff.   We made some new friends again while we were on the cruise and I can not wait for the next one that I book.

So getting back to the questions at the top of the post, here are my answers so far on my life journey…

Do you know who you are?  - I know who I am in pieces.  I find that it is a constant journey of self discovery to truly discover who I am.  I am a helper, a healer, a listener, an entertainer. 

Do you understand what has happened to you?  - Not all of the time.   From day to day struggles, to longer periods of struggles, I know for the most part what has happened.  I am a very forward and direct person, so when others are not as direct it really can confuse me.  When this happens, I find it hard to just move on not really know what did happen.

Do you want to live this way? - Yes & No.   I want to continue to surround myself in new experiences and the joy they can bring, but I do not want the drama that continues to plague my family and social relationships.

So there you have it, my post to catch up on the past six months.   I really need to get better about blogging more…  maybe I should make this a mid-year resolution?

And we’re off!

Hello all of my readers!

I have been meaning to write a blog post and keep forgetting so there is a lot to tell in this update.

In my knitting world, things are coming along slowly but surely.   I am almost done with my Leafy Fingered Gloves and I am very happy with them so far. This is my first attempt at producing gloves with fingers, and I must say, I am pretty happy with the way the first one turned out.

I love the way the leaves pop out on this design

I love the way the leaves pop out on this design

Once the gloves are done, I will be starting on two major projects – my Celestarium shawl (represents the night sky) and my Entrelac blanket made out of Noro Spring Garden.  I have definitely come to the point I have to be on a no more yarn purchasing diet, since everywhere I turn around there seems to be yarn!   The trials and tribulations of a knitter I suppose.

So much has happened since I last wrote, so lets start with the best news – I was promoted into a new position!  I started my position on Feb 28th and I am absolutely loving it!

Then night before the promotion was awesome too.  Lake Street Dive came to Charlotte again and it was a packed theatre.  I was determined to get some good photos, and was able to score a better group photo this time.  If you do not know who this band is, head on over to and check them out – I promise you may just fall in love with them and their music!

IMG_1338 IMG_1328

My sister also was married back in February.  That day is extra special due to the fact I also performed in a dear friend’s jazz show at Petra’s as Lana.  That classy lady just knows how to put on a good show!

IMG_0987IMG_0928  IMG_0921

IMG_0916 IMG_1074In addition to all of the happenings, I also was able to meet the fabulous Ann Walker who played LaVonda on Sordid Lives!  It was such a great surprise to meet her at the annual HRC Takeover Friday event.  IMG_1263

All in all it has been a pretty good start to the new year!

More to come later.




Humble by fault, honest and fiercely loyal.

Those were the words that my dear friend Chris said to me yesterday while chatting. To quote “you are humble by fault, honest, fiercely loyal…and truly an amazing person!” This came up because I am re-writing my profile in hopes of finding that special someone who will be there for 50 years or more. A lady-boy can dream can’t he?

In today’s world, it is rare that you find friends who are willing to tell you exactly how it is, accept you for who you are and truly commit to keeping the friendship alive – through the good and the bad times.

I was honored to be in Chris and Jay’s wedding this past year and the wedding reminded me that there is someone out there who will love me for all that I am! To quote another movie “May the odds be forever in my favor!”

Me & Chris

Me & Chris

So what will 2014 hold for me? Knitting is one thing for sure. Now that the commissioned work is done, I can focus on finishing up my Leafy Fingerless Gloves and the hat to match. I also have a sweater to frog and start over, along with hats for two very special people in my life, a blanket and some more socks.

The first Leafy Fingerless Glove in process...

The first Leafy Fingerless Glove in process…

There will be more volunteering, more laughing, more celebrating and most of all – more time to self improve. I am excited to get back to the gym and be more active. I have not ridden The Little Sugar Creek Greenway yet, so that will definitely be in the outdoor activities list along with more time spent at the National Whitewater Center. I might even try yoga! (Actually, I have tried it before and liked it!)  One thing is for sure, I am most certainly going to be more active.

The Greenway

The Greenway

So here is to a happy and healthy 2014!

Reflecting on 2013…

On Monday October 28th I had lower back surgery to correct a ruptured disc that was pushing on a nerve causing my left leg to either go numb or be in excruciating pain. The surgery was a success as far as we can tell and the doctor is optimistic that the problem will not resurface, although there is a chance the disc can rupture again.  My recovery was good, I had to take a small leave from work heal.

While I was out for the recovery, I was able to work on some Christmas knitting that I have been commissioned to do.   Behold the Bernat Christmas Stocking from the 1950′s

The stockings were a huge success and I even have orders for next Christmas!   If this keeps up, I may have to get a knitting machine to crank out the tubes for the socks!

A couple of weeks ago, our family suffered a loss of a friend.  David was such a special guy, and we enjoyed having his company at our house along with his little girl.   RIP David Locklear, you will be greatly missed.

So here it is Christmas Eve and I find myself reflecting on the past year.  In short, this one was pure hell.   Filled with cancer, surgeries, broken appliances and more.  I am ready to put 2013 behind me and focus on a better and awesome 2014.  The one bright spot that I do love is the creation of Lana Cane and hosting Trivia Tuesdays.  Those nights are my wonderful escape from the world, even if it is only for a few hours.

So here are some pics from some of my favorite moments this year!




The Tale of the Argyle Scarf

A few years ago, when I was really getting adventurous with my knitting skills, I decided to knit up an argyle scarf from a pattern that I found in Debbie Stoller’s book Son of Stitch n’ Bitch. My first double-knit and chart following pattern all rolled into one. After a few months, the scarf was finished and I wear it any chance I get once the weather turns cold.

The past two years have been extraordinary to say the least. Taking care of Mom and all of the responsibilities that ensued put a little bit of a strain on my social life and friendships as well. But there are two lovely people who have been there and stepped up when I needed it most.

So as a thank you to my dear friends, I made up another argyle scarf as a small gesture of how thankful I am for their help. I finished it while on the ship, and was able to give it to the recipient last night.  I think he was happy to get it, what do you think?

Preston loving his scarf!

Preston loving his scarf!

Many thanks to you both Jet and Preston!  I am so blessed to have you in my life!

With much love…


Crusin’ on the Dream

Mom and I had a wonderful time on our cruise to the Eastern Caribbean on the Carnival Dream this past week. We met so many wonderful people on our trip and really we’re able to just enjoy ourselves without having to worry about things back home. Here are some highlights from the trip.

Day 1 – Embarkation Day
I woke up early and looked out our hotel balcony to see the ship in port. Imagine my surprise when I saw a rainbow right next to the ship! A good sign we would have a great trip. We grabbed breakfast and headed over to the ship to board. Since we had early boarding, we were able to go right to our room and then grab lunch early up on the lido deck. From there we explored a little of the ship and the went back to our room to unpack. Then off to the muster drill for the safety briefing. Back up to the lido deck to say hi to our Whoop! Whoop! group for an informal meet and greet. We went up one more deck to wave goodbye to people as we pulled out of Port Canaveral. We stayed up on deck and talked with some other cruisers until dinner. We were in the Scarlet Dining Room during our trip and had a wonderful wait staff.  We sat at a four top booth with another couple from Fayetteville who wanted to be with their family.   We had a great dinner (Prime Rib!) and a wonderful evening just exploring the ship a little.

IMG_0589Leaving Port Canaveral – That is the Disney Fantasy in the background.

Day 2 – Nassau, The Bahamas
Day 2 of our trip brought bright sunshine and a beautiful view of Nassau, The Bahamas.  We had breakfast in our room, and prepared to head off the ship for a little bit.   We took our time to let most of the people get off the ship, and then went into the shopping area just past the port city.   After exploring for a couple hours, we headed back to the ship for lunch and some rest before our first formal dinner on the ship.  After my little nap we went to the dining room again to find out that we have been moved!  Our new table was right at the back of the ship next to the window.  I was esthetic at this change and loved every meal we had in the dining room.  The sunset’s were absolutely amazing.   After dinner, I changed and went back upstairs to the Ocean Plaza and met some new people from Atlanta who were on their honeymoon.   We went to the comedy club and then it was bed time for me.

IMG_0591Leaving Nassau… see the rain in the distance?   We avoided it!

Day 3 – Fun Day At Sea
Day 3 was our first full day at sea.   Knowing that if I wanted a good spot on the Serenity Deck I needed to get up there early.  I had breakfast and made sure Mom had hers delivered to the room, and then found my favorite spot on the deck.   I read my book for a couple of hours then went and got in the hot tub.   Pure bliss!   Back down for lunch and then our meet and mingle for the Facebook group.   I played some trivia and won another trophy for being the top person at general knowledge trivia.  Day 3 is when we also found out from the captain that we had to turn around during the night and go back to Nassau to disembark a passenger who had a medical emergency on-board the ship.   Because of this, we would be arriving late into Puerto Rico.  For dinner that night, I had booked us into the Steakhouse.  It was wonderful, and I am proud to say that I have now had Steak Tar-Tar due to the compliments of the chef.   Mom and I ate so much, we couldn’t even eat our dessert, so we took that back to the room.

IMG_0599 IMG_0598This was a good thing to wake up to!  A Rainbow that expanded across the back of the ship!

Day 4 – San Juan, Puerto Rico
I spent most of the day hanging out in the Ocean Plaza working on my knitting project I brought along with me and participating in the trivia’s that were scheduled for that day.   Won another medal for winning the Top 40 music challenge, and had a blast just catching up with some of the people we met from the Cruise Critic/Facebook group.   Went we arrived in San Juan, Mom and I took a carriage ride through Old San Juan first.   The carriage ride was really fun, and our driver was awesome.  After the carriage ride, we decided to shop around a little to see what we could find.  Mom found a nice sun dress that looks really good on her!  Back to the ship for a late dinner, and then I played for a little bit before heading back to the room to watch us leave port.   We re-fueled then, so the fuel barge was on our side of the ship.  It was neat to watch the guys work and they were friendly and waved and chatted a little bit.   Once they pulled away, we were on our way to St. Thomas.

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Day 5 – St. Thomas, US VI
St. Thomas was were we hit the shopping goldmine!  I wanted a new knock-off Louis Vitton wallet and bag, and some new sunglasses, so we hopped on the taxi bus to the downtown shopping area hand found the vendors who were selling them.   I found exactly what I wanted and Mom found a Michael Kors bag she liked as well.   I was able to get all that for $120 and felt pretty good about my bargaining skills.   Knowing that if we stayed we would want to spend more money, we went back to the ship for lunch and then some exploration before dinner that night.

Day 6 – Grand Turk, Turks and Caicos
Best day of the cruise!   We decided that it would be a true shame if we did not get in the water while we were on this vacation, so we headed down to the Carnival beach and enjoyed the day there.   I quickly found two chairs, and rented a cover for us, then immediately hit the water.   Parched, I figured it was time for a tasty beverage so me and Mom had a couple of Margaritas and some lunch.  Then back in the water until it was time for us to leave to get ready for dinner.  Check out the view of the ship we had from our little spot at the beach!

IMG_0619Our view from the beach…  don’t those ships look pretty next to each other? 

Day 7 – Fun Day At Sea
The last day of our trip was nothing but pure laziness.   I got up and finished the scarf I was knitting, and then just meandered around the ship.  We hung out in Ocean Plaza (trivia spot) and on the Lanai and chatted with some new friends we have made.   We looked at our on-board credits and picked up a few things for my sister, nieces and nephews.  I also took the time to see what pictures the Carnival photographers had snapped of us, and purchased two of our photos when we were getting off the ship in port.  We had our final dinner where we said goodbye to our wonderful waitstaff and they sang a very special goodbye to us.  Back to the room to back and put our suitcases out for arrival back home the next morning.

IMG_0624Our sunset that said goodbye from the ship… 

I simply can not express how much this trip meant to me and Mom.   To those who have supported us over the past two years, THANK YOU!

More pictures will be posted soon.


A Gay Old Weekend Wedding in D.C.

This past weekend I had the honor of being a part of my best friends wedding to the love of his life.   I can not express the beauty and joy of this weekend.  The weather was perfect, (and so was my outfit) and the location of the wedding was pure bliss.  We had time to cut up a little and time to support the two wonderful grooms.  I met some amazing new friends while I was in D.C. too!  Check out the pictures from the wedding below…

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Favorite comment of the weekend:

Hotel Staff: “Oh!  She is so pretty!  Is she the bride?”
Wedding Party Member:  “She is the bride everywhere she goes”.

I will have to say, I was not worried out keeping a face on for 12 hours, but more worried I would not take a flying leap off the stairs as I was making the entrance during the wedding.  I practiced, and practiced and made the grand entrance just like I rehearsed with a wonderful man on my arm (Thanks Greg!).

Many thanks to everyone at the wedding and special shout outs to Chris, Jay and Sister Creason.   I love you all dearly.


The “Rising Sun” Icons

The Rising Suns of Eastland Mall

The Rising Suns of Eastland Mall

I grew up on the East side of Charlotte and Eastland Mall was one of many happy memories of my childhood.   When we were looking for a house to live in, I did not expect to be back in the same neighborhood that I once lived in as a child.   I love the East side of Charlotte and one of the icons that always made me feel at home was Eastland Mall and it’s “Rising Sun” signage.

Yesterday, members of City Council and Charlotte E.A.S.T. met at the mall with a local demolition company to salvage the “Rising Sun” medallions for preservation and future use as public art.  I am thrilled to see a team of volunteers coming together to help preserve an important part of East Charlotte history.  When Eastland first opened in 1975, the developers of Eastland selected the design to reflect the location of the mall (in the east, where the sun rises) and to symbolize a “new day dawning” in the city.

With a little hope and effort, in three years the signage will be used to welcome people to the East side of town.  I can just imagine a few ideas in my head now writing this post!

Congrats to Martique Lorray, Mayor Kinsey and Councilman John Autry on this historic event.

Read more about the project:

The Team

Know Your Farms 2013 Tour

What an absolute fabulous weekend!   Yesterday, I went with a group of Friends to the annual Know Your Farms tour.   We selected four farms to visit and they were all awesome.   By far my two favorites were Underwood Family Farms and Beam Family Farms

If you have never had fresh meat from a farm, you are totally missing out!   Michael and Christy Underwood have a beautiful place that overlooks the mountains of NC.  When we arrived there, Christy had out snacks for us to try.  One pleasant surprise was the sausage balls that she made with spinach!  These were the bomb!  She also had sugar cookies with bits of bacon in them, and molasses cookies.  Being that we had not eaten by the time we arrived that this third farm, our group of ten nearly wiped them out!  Michael gave us a horse drawn buggy tour of his farm, which was absolutely stunning.   Michael gave us a little history of his farming experience, and also told us about future plans for his farm.

Our last stop was to Beam Family Farms a little down the road from Underwood.  Luke’s family has owned this farm for several generations, and the original farmhouse that his grandparents built is still standing and in use!   His wife, Kathy, and their children were awesome hosts to our group.   Kathy had cooked up plates of beef kabobs and veal chorizo for us to enjoy (along with salad and baked potatoes).  I had the chorizo and instantly knew I would be buying some to take home.

The tour organizers will be hosting two tours next year, a spring one and a fall one.   Check out their website for more info.

That’s is all for today!


“The Perfect Beat”

“When I have had all that I can take of life’s realities, turn on the music the only thing that helps me keep my sanity.  I close my eyes and I can fantasize who I want to be.  Now I’m I star and the rhythm let’s me live up all my fantasies.   Can’t explain why I feel this way, but a voice from above just keeps on calling… it says to find the perfect beat so I can dance my life away.  I’m searching for the perfect, the perfect beat.  Reflecting what’s around my soul
and inside of me. 

I never stop to think of nothing other than to dance all night.  But I need a beat that’s going to take me into overdrive.  I don’t know why this feeling deep inside makes me want to dance.  For the sound of a rhythmic beat keeps me in a trance.   Can’t explain why I feel this way, but a voice from above just keeps on calling… it says to find the perfect beat so I can dance my life away.  I’m searching for the perfect, the perfect beat.  Reflecting what’s around my soul
and inside of me.”  — Perfect Beat by Kristine W


Last Night I Cried

Last night I cried for the first time in a very long time.   This was one of those “get it all out” episodes.   There has been so much that has been happening in my life (good and bad) that I just reached the breaking point and let it all out.   Do I feel better?  Yes and No.  Last night should have been a wonderful night for me.  It should have been filled with friends and a concert.  A concert I paid for, but could not go to due to a friendship that no longer exists.   The friendship no longer exists due to some hard times, a broken hot water heater and a text message.   I was speaking with a friend earlier this week about how in today’s world, people would rather text than actually dial a phone number and talk to a live speaking person.   For here is the problem with texting…  you can not understand the tone of a conversation by reading a text.   The tone that you think you are understanding is coming from your head, not the intended party’s voice.   This as you could image can cause issues in any kind of relationship – be it a friendship or a significant others relationship.

I sadly, have been a victim of this exact situation and quite frankly it sucks.   In today’s world we tend to hide behind our mobile devices and texting, rather than facing what we perceive would be a potential confrontational conversation.   Texting makes us afraid on confrontations.   Texting is like our warm security blanket – we know that the other person can not really see or hear what we are feeling just by reading a short string of words on a screen.  Unless of course your personality type is one that questions everything.  For when you are this type of person, (as I freely admit I am) you wonder if there is an implied infliction behind that short string of words.  You might ask for clarification on the last message, causing the sender to fly back in a fit of rage because they do not know that you are simply looking to gain a better understanding of what was just said.

Instead we should be opening up our minds and our hearts to actually respond to people by seeing them in person or calling them and actually listening to them.   But as a society we retreat back to those mobile devices that we schedule our lives by and simply put off having the conversation in the first place citing that we are “too busy”.  This as you may suspect, sets up the relationships for failure.

So what does this have to do with the lyrics above?   For starters, Kristine W is one of my all-time favorite singers.  Her lyrics are often on point for many different reasons and situations.   To me – searching for the “Perfect Beat” is finding that happy medium between technology and real live interactions.   An iPad can not knit a garment for you.   An iPhone can not generate the subtle hum of a sewing machine as you glide your freshly pressed fabric through it.   Social outlets (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) can not give you the peace that comes from just sitting quietly in a coffee shop, park, or field and to have a great conversion with a friend who also wants to get away from technology.

Today while gathering my thoughts for writing this post, I came across a blog that I immediately but on my “first things to read every day list.”   (   There is one post in particular that struck a chord in me today and that is what I shall leave you with.   Thank you Robert Pavao and Jason McGuire for having such an awesome blog.  I look forward to reading more of your blog in the future.

Here is the post..

Love to you all.