Balticon 45 Schedule

Author: Vivid Muse  //  Category: Convention, Convention Attendance, Cool Links / Clicky Linky, Podcast

The schedule is not in its final form yet, but here is my schedule as it stands right now.

Note: ALL of my events are on Sunday!

Noon in the Chesapeake ~ Paulette Jaxton’s book launch for The Empress Sword
Recently published by Dragon Moon Press, I’ll be helping Paulette serve up tasty nomz inspired by the book and there will be a reading from the book by Nathan Lowell!

6PM in the Chesapeake – Girls’ Rules Live! ~ Women in the Gaming World
I’ll be joined by Laura Burns, Christiana Ellis, M.A. in PA, and Jett Micheyl. I’m also hoping for a special guest!
It’s not just Felicia Day having fun in the diverse world of gaming, it’s women from all walks of life. Join this all-female panel discuss their experiences after years of gameplay. We’ll discuss all manner of gaming, as this panel reveals what it’s really like when boy discovers that “girl” doesn’t always mean Guy In Real Life.

7 PM in the Chase (lower level) ~ Reading from my Mom’s short story, “Grandma.”
This story is the inspiration and centerpiece for a (Breast) Cancer Anthology I’ll be publishing in time for her birthday in 2012. I’ll be requesting submissions for written works and artwork for the collection and will be paying for accepted works. All proceeds from the book will go to established cancer charities.

9 PM in the Chesapeake – Into the Blender Live: Take My Geek Card (I Dare You!)
Guests include: P.G. Holyfield, Marc Bailey and Rich Sigfrit
This time we’re taking on a touchy subject: There are countless arenas of geek affection, but some seem near universal: movies, television, and books. Whether it be Star Wars or Firefly; Lord of the Rings, or Buffy; Gaiman or Pratchet – there are things you are SUPPOSED to love as a geek. Well, we don’t love them all and I bet you don’t either! Come compare your likes and dislikes with an assorted panel of lovers and haters of every genre.

10 PM in the Chesapeake ~ Geek Parenting in New Media
Our panel of geek parents chime in with their thoughts on raising young geeks. What is the right age to show the kids Star Wars? Do you show them all 6 or only the good ones. What websites are good and safe for kids at what age? How do you teach your kids about Internet privacy? How do you prepare them for “Greifers” on gaming systems? When is it OK for them to use their real name?

I’ll then be attending the remainder of the Time Traveler’s Ball, hosted by Christiana Ellis in the Garden Room!

And if you are in need of promotional buttons NOW is the time to order them! There is no delivery charge for buttons delivered at Balticon. I will be taking my equipment to Balticon, but will have to charge a higher rate for any I craft while at the con due to time constraints. For information, check out my site, VividMuseCreations.com.

Chooch and I came up with this little helper to expand your social media dynasty ~ fully customizable w/your QRCode, $2 if ordered by noon Wednesday, $5 if made at Balticon. Viv@VividMuseCreations.com

 

Hectic Silence

Author: Vivid Muse  //  Category: Family, Health, Household

Apologies for the sporadic posting here, in Twitter, and in Facebook. We have so many things going on right now that it’s been hard to maintain contact as we’re in constant motion.

The house is still on the market, as the Open House yielded no offers. Nor have any of those that have viewed it before and after. We’re still waiting it out, and hoping it sells sooner rather than later, but it’s not encouraging.

There has been a lot of activity with Chooch’s band, Ditched by Kate, as they have been playing shows and are preparing for a fierce throwdown at Balticon on May 28th at 7:00 pm in the Garden Room.

We’re also really excited about their EP Launch Party on Tuesday, May 31st at Jammin Java in Vienna. There will be three other acts performing, and as soon as I know their performance time it will be posted on the official Ditched by Kate site. If you are unable to attend either show, we will be posting information on how to order the Stumble EP very soon.

In other news, I’m fulfilling button orders for Balticon and if you are interested in purchasing some custom buttons with either your design or a design that we create for you, please take a look at my fledgling business, Vivid Muse Creations, LLC.

As for non-business stuff, I’m excitedly planning out the summer visit for my youngest son, LT. It’s a bit chaotic with the house on the market, but we will have a wonderful time!

I’m having some issues with running after the Komen 5k, as the final hill has caused me continuing knee pain. That partnered with my flared up back pain (manageable) and some pulled muscles in my ribs have finally forced me to take a short break from running in the hopes of not doing long-term damage. It’s just fast-paced walking for me now, but I’ll be pulling out my bike this week as well. I’ve been afraid of riding it in case I get dizzy on it, but I won’t know until I get on it. With padding and helmet to protect me, I’m going to give it a try. I promise if I fall to take pix of the boo-boo’s and have a hilarious telling of it here.

I’m really bummed, because I signed up for an 8k for next Saturday, thanks to a $10 registration fee through Groupon, but I’m now thinking I won’t be able to even attempt it, let alone finish it. If I’m lucky and rest up and can restart my training, then the 10k in mid-June is still possible.

We are having great fun watching George R.R. Martin’s “Game of Thrones” series on HBO every Sunday night, and we hop on Skype with friends P.G. Holyfield, Christiana Ellis and Nuchtchas (Nutty) Nimlas on Monday nights to record our Beyond the Wall Podcast. We discuss the series, the books and it is always a lot of fun. I’m grateful the P.G. is bearing the brunt of the production work, as he’s doing a wonderful job and I’m very proud to be a part of it. He just created a promo for it from outtakes that shows how much fun we have, but I think it’s likely NSFW or kids.

We’ve sadly had little to no time for gaming. I’m having increased difficulty as I almost always end up extremely dizzy and nauseous during a gaming session and usually end up with a migraine. We treasure the time with our long-time gaming friends and I’m refusing to let that stop me. I’m learning some tricks to minimize it and will keep trying new ones.

On a teensy note, I willingly tried asparagus and portabello mushrooms last night and they were delicious in the pasta dish our dear friend Jenn made. I’m tentatively branching out as I am continuing my quest for healthier foods that may or may not make my pee smell funny.

Vivid Mommy

Author: Vivid Muse  //  Category: Breast Cancer, Chooch, Dizzy, Dizzy, Family, Friends, Mom, No Whining, Too Long For Twitter, Vestibular Migraine

Just like millions of other people, Mother’s Day is a rough one for me because my mother is deceased. I’m also a mom, which makes it a very bittersweet day. When you add that this year, for what I recall as the first time in 20 years, I won’t see any of our kids, it ensured that I’d be avoiding social media and anywhere that I’d be inundated with the message that I don’t want to be reminded of. Yep, I’m bitter. Then I realized I hadn’t checked in on friends since yesterday and decided to check Twitter and make sure all was well.

As expected, there was a deluge of Mother’s Day wishes being exchanged. One that really touched me was by friend and author Mur Lafferty: “PT has made me toast and yogurt and a can of selzer and brought it to me in bed. “i didn’t know how to make coffee.” I nearly cried.”

On the other end of the spectrum, brand new dad Cheyenne Wright posted “A bit out of sorts. This is the first chance I’ve had to celebrate a Mothers Day in 18 years.”

That one got me right in my vulnerable spot. I closed Twitter as I realized my dizziness had kicked in with an anxiety attack and now-standard accompanying trembles. It was not at all surprising if you understand my current health situation, and I cursed myself for logging in. My husband unwittingly helped my through the brunt of the symptoms (Hey Chooch, this is why I was upset earlier), but I still feel the need to share something about my Mom today. I don’t do this easily because:

  1. I’ve been told in extremely loving ways that I need to try and move on from grieving her as I do, out of concern that it may be unhealthy;
  2. I’ve been accused of talking about my Mom and/or my health issues to garner sympathy for some unknown purpose, either witnessed by me or as reported by others;
  3. I’m not entirely sure Mom would approve of what I want to share.

To those from item 1, I say a sincere thank you for your concern. But my highly remarkable Mom left a massive hole in my world, and it is simply taking a long time for me to heal. In some ways, I never will because I will always miss her. That’s simply the price of having a jewel like her for a Mom, and I’m willing to pay it. Know that I’m making progress and doing the best that I can, and you should feel free to delete any message, change the subject, or ignore any posts. I expect nothing from you when the need arises for me to talk about her.

To those from item 2, I say without hesitation ~ kiss my ass. You don’t understand me now and never did, regardless of what you may believe. Yes, yes, I know, “Never feed a troll,” as it only encourages them. But I’m tired of not defending myself when I’m being vilified and disrespected to those I care about. So I’m using this post to “balls up” and remind myself that my Mom didn’t raise me to be a doormat. In fact, she specifically counseled me on the need to stand up to some of the aforementioned “item 2” people. I feel no guilt over including this paragraph, because they will only be identified to themselves and to those that they’ve trash talked about me. It’s unlikely that most of them will ever read this, except for some that may be looking for ammunition, but this is my little corner of the internet and I’m tired of censoring myself when others won’t.

And for item 3, I mean that Mom would probably not like this picture because she’s not wearing makeup. She was intensely self-conscious and hid from cameras most of my life. I’m posting it anyways, because later in life she embraced her silly side in fantastic fashion and stopped running from cameras. Also, it’s one of my very favorite pictures of her, as it documents a very special moment in our lives.

The tiny hair clips were part of her 60th birthday gift from me. I had gotten a basket and decorated it with silk flowers and ribbons and filled it with brightly colored hair clips, ponytail holders, barrettes, hair bands and a tiara. I wanted to celebrate that the chemo for her newly diagnosed breast cancer wouldn’t make her hair fall out like it did when she battled it in ’91, and it was insanely fun (and cathartic) to pick them out in the girl/teen accessory section.

When we realized that some of the little clips matched her vibrantly colored shirt, my sister put her hair in the little twists that my then-early-teenaged nieces were known to wear for a time, and we couldn’t resist snapping a picture of the spontaneous hairstyle and her reaction to it. A few months later her chemo was changed because it wasn’t working, and her hair promptly fell out. Two and a half years later she was gone.

But I present you with photographic evidence that my Mom was highly remarkable. Even when faced for a second time with the same life-threatening disease that she watched eat away at her mother and grandmother until there was nothing left of them, she was still able to laugh. And when presented with a gift that in hindsight may have unkindly brought the cancer back to the forefront of her mind, she giggled and was delightfully silly. As only she could be.

I won’t exaggerate and say it was Great Bravery or Courage documented in this moment, because it wasn’t. It was just a silly and spontaneous moment. And damned if it’s not one of the most treasured moments of my life. Isn’t she glorious?
Funnest Mom Evah!

This post is written to honor my Mom, Nat, Jaimie, Terry and Zach ~ five people who are no longer with us that are at the forefront of my mind. The first three I miss terribly. The fourth and fifth I never met, but because of their impact on people that I dearly love, I desperately wish I had. You are missed.

Move Update with Pictures

Author: Vivid Muse  //  Category: Consumer Info, Family, Household, No Whining

Brace yourself, kittens. I held off on posting photos because I wanted to see friend MAinPA’s reaction to the changes firsthand. Since she has come and gone, here they are. If you’ve been to our house, you’ll notice a HUGE change, specifically in the former living room/now sitting room. And most of the belongings that display who we are and what our interests are now reside in a 10′ x 10′ storage space a few miles away.

Welcome to our shame of living in a home free of personality and color.

Yes, the 65″ tv is in storage. And it was Chooch’s idea! The first reaction we typically get when folks enter the house is, “I had no idea you had windows there!” since the tv was placed in front of the windows in the now sitting room.

It doesn’t seem fitting to continue to call it “Our Big Paradise,” now it feels like we’re staying in a hotel that we have to constantly clean.

Ah, well. At least we have memories and pictures of how it used to be. And it will be much easier to move, whenever that is.

Rules of Etiquette, Lesson Five

Author: Vivid Muse  //  Category: Family, Friends, No Whining, Rules of Etiquette, Soulful, Too Long For Twitter

This one does not come from a Victorian essay or etiquette book. And it may not actually be a lesson in etiquette per se, but rather a lesson in paying attention to what you say and type.

Let’s just shorten this to “Own what you say.”

I think after the recent deluge of misquoting Martin Luther King Jr, it’s safe to say that folks are more likely to pull the “Retweet” or “Copy/Paste/Share” trigger than they are to checking to see if it’s a true quote before posting to their social media site of choice.

In case you are one of the lucky few to not know what I’m referencing, allow me to explain. Almost immediately after the announcement of Osama bin Laden’s murder late Sunday night, the internet went crazy with opinions, thoughts and quotes. One of two (both now proven to be fake) quotes that was copied over and over and over and over in FB was:

“I mourn the loss of thousands of precious lives, but I will not rejoice in the death of one, not even an enemy. Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that” ~Martin Luther King Jr.”
~Copied from my sister’s FB page on Monday

We now know that only the ending was an actual quote from Dr. King:

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”

Very powerful stuff, although not distilled and specific enough to have likely gotten all the attention that it received. But I think it points to a more powerful issue. It’s so easy to podcast, Tweet and post on Facebook or on a blog, that I think words are starting to lose their power. How many times has someone said, “I remember what you (said/tweeted/posted) about (Issue XYZ),” and you have no recollection of it? I think people have a thought, instantly shout it into the abyss of the internet, and in many cases forget about it. As someone with over 33k tweets, I can assure you I doubt I can remember even 1% of what I’ve tweeted, retweeted and linked to.

And I don’t know that I think there’s anything particularly wrong about that. I’m deciding as I type this to contemplate that on another day, possibly in another blog. I just think we have to ensure that we OWN every statement we make, whether in meat space, Twitter, the blogosphere or anywhere else we express ourselves. Too often, people hide behind veils to give opinions, whether positive, invented, embellished or libelous.

Why not check a quote before retweeting it or copying it into your FB page? You’re on the internet already, the answer is just a few clicks away. I can’t even remember if I was one of those that retweeted it, but I can tell you that I take no joy in any man’s death, regardless of his crimes, so it is possible. If I did, I own that I shared without thought and I apologize. I, like many, need to think before I Tweet.

And as I read through various Dr. King quotes this morning, I came upon one that I really needed reminding of. Although I actively continue to embrace forgiveness* of those that have or continue to wrong me with lies and/or hurtful actions (intentional or unintentional), I also choose not to hate.

If that means I have to avoid current events to dodge the toxicity, so be it. There are more than enough people to rage in support or opposition to every issue, so I will bow out of conflict every chance I get. And no, you can’t make me argue that decision. 😛

“I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.”
Martin Luther King Jr.

~~~~~~
*Forgiveness is something I give constantly, although many of those I forgive will never hear me utter those words. The toxic nature of some people impact me too intensely. Besides, my words hold no value to them beyond twisting them to use as ammunition against me at a later time. Whether the hurt occurred a week ago or twenty years ago, there is typically no value of forgiveness for the transgressor, but it’s invaluable to the one that forgives.