43, Not 21

Author: Vivid Muse  //  Category: Chooch, Family, Friends, No Whining, Uncategorized

Yesterday was my birthday, and I’ve been spoiled by my husband for the last week or so as he drove me to see a few family and friends. Tuesday night (my birthday eve) I had dinner with my husband, oldest son (Naughty Bear), niece, sister, sister’s husband, brother and father. Due to some family drama, I had more than a little anxiety. I just simply pushed that aside and focused on the excitement I felt that they were all coming to my birthday dinner.

It was a wonderful time, although my brother announced his move far away in a week (?!?!!), and I was even more grateful to have gotten everyone together since we don’t know when we’ll see him next. Luckily, Chooch, my son and my niece are the kind of people that it’s impossible not to have a good time around.

When the waitress asked how old I was, my dad said, “21!” I was standing and taking a picture of someone when I heard, giggled and said “43! Woo hoo!” making it clear to all that I have no druthers about my age. Besides, how awkward would that have been with my 21 year old sitting at the table? No, I embrace my years, color my grays and smile at the laugh lines in my reflection, grateful for every smirk and belly laugh that’s contributed to them. 43!!!! In hindsight, based on his usual flirtatiousness, I think he wanted the waitress to think he was younger. Just kidding. I actually don’t think he knows that I embrace each birthday with such aggression. I love to level up to a new age. Have a giddy moment, even. Give a sigh of relief, even.

We slept in at a surprisingly nice, cheap ass hotel, and headed to the first fun item on the agenda: my annual *cough* physical. Regardless of where I live or how good my local general practitioner is, I always go back to Dr. E for this particular appointment. She’s thoughtful, very clever, empathetic (a rarity, I’ve found, in doctors) and a genuinely good person. She also keeps looking at all my symptoms and bringing up MS as a possibility, which scares the shit out of me. She keeps me honest, kicking me out of denial on an annual basis for well over a decade.

Then Chooch and I had lunch, which I inhaled since my appointment wasn’t until two pm (fasting bloodwork), made a grocery store run and headed home. Mmmm… jalepeno cheddar bread from Sweetwater Tavern … mmmm… Drunken Rib Eye (I don’t order the delish dish, Chooch does. It’s so rich, I only ever want one bite, which he sweetly shares.)

As planned, Housie Jen and daughters Tiny Expert and Feral Dancer joined Chooch in having a cake party for me, and the resulting silliness, giggles and feral impressions made the day special in a completely different way. They are at that amazing age where their full belly giggles and laughter are magical, stopping adults (is it just parents captivated by The Giggle?) in their tracks to stop and revel in the innocent sound. I was so happy to have had the time with them. It eased missing our kids a bit.

It was devastatingly difficult to leave, but TMC was running a special showing of Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds. I haven’t seen it since I was a teen and was startled and “migrained” by the difference. I don’t think I’ll ever view old movies the same, the ones I’ve only ever seen on a television screen. Never before had I recognized the tremendous difference between the two displays. Having the opening credits play over a wall of blurred images of attacking birds and over-loud screeching birds had my heart racing by the time the movie suddenly went silent and started.

It was something that had never blipped on my radar before, typically getting snacks or fussing with a blankie or whatever, waiting for the actual movie start. But I now see how movie theater viewers would have a much higher fear factor towards the flying murderers from the very beginning of the movie. On the tv, it’s like a commercial or filler (for me) that I only partially pay attention to and I had no fear of the birds at the start of the movie. I don’t know which is a better/more powerful, the lack of fear and seeing how they go from every day birds to killers? Or being immediately immersed into the terror to come?

Now I wish I could see all the AFI Top 100 movies on the big screen. I think seeing some of the ones I disliked may strike me differently. And it may eventually be possible with Turner Classic Movies dropping these tasty theatrical nuggets. My friend Andrea, just told me she heard they are brewing up a Karloff movie for Halloween.

There have been a few small birthday celebrations and toasts this year, no big party as circumstances just don’t accommodate it. And while Facebook doesn’t seem to allow me to reply for about 40 of the well wishes , I’ve read each of them and greatly appreciate each one.

Now, on an unrelated note, there’s a new Hobbit trailer! Yes, I’m annoyed it’s to be a trilogy. Yes, I pray McKellan’s role has been completely filmed. Yes, I’m FUCKING EXCITED. *swoon – Martin Freeman*

Health Blahs Update, aka Dragon*Con 2012, Part 2

Author: Vivid Muse  //  Category: Health, Uncategorized

I think it’s been awhile, and I have recently been known to attempt to steer recent conversations away from my health issues. I’ve done okay, with one regretted exception, where it was too much honesty for too long and I hastily began the backpedal out of health blah territory and back to the fun light stuff I went to Dragon*Con for in the first place.

History of what I call my Health Blahs (over the last 3 years): Sudden onset of vestibular migraines (and associated neurological symptoms), neurocardiogenic syncope (fairly common – I may faint under stress. Like approximately 70% of the population, reportedly.) TMJ and a Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever diagnosis (4 week RMSF treatment, no clue what to expect from it in the future).

Earlier this year, after a massive increase in pain, fatigue and many other symptoms, primarily pain hotspots hitting pretty much any joint I could identify at one point or another, I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia. There has been concern over the extreme pain and loss of flexibility and mobility in my hands and feet, and after x-rays gave no clear answer, I had an MRI of my right hand to try and diagnose the frequently painful periods in both hands and feet.

The MRI revealed that there is no evidence of rheumatoid arthritis in my right hand (Praise Baby Jesus); we don’t really know what’s causing the pain in my hands and feet, but some pain in my right hand may be attributed to a cyst I am to get checked out (wheee!); I’m getting physical therapy and a safe start back on the path to (crossing fingers) 5k’s and half-marathon training (Dammit, Mur. I’m not giving up.). I miss running and I intend to have another 500+ mile year. Soon.

So, in general, I had more tests run, have more tests being run, have extreme gratitude to my husband for providing excellent health insurance for us and our kids, have far more interesting Dragon*Con posts and no more real information but lots of options still open to me.

While some of these issues are chronic, they are not life-threatening. Sadly, I have many examples of those less fortunate than I to reflect on, and I am fully aware of how lucky I am and will take my hefty dose of pain over the things that others are dealing with health-wise ANY day.

I remain flabbergasted by the gestures of love and support I get from many that I have met once, two hundred times or never (in meat space).
For many reasons, those gestures pull me through some pretty dark stuff so if you think I’ve not noticed a kindness, know that I have.
I am unendingly uplifted and grateful for the kindness of the singularly amazing and fascinating people that let me call them friend.  Thank you, to those it applies to. Special thanks to Roomie For Life, P.G. Holyfield and my hubby. It’s not easy rooming with me, but they spoil me anyways.

Now, it’s really hard to write a self-indulgent, whiney post like this, even though the hope is to remove any need folks may feel to ask after my health. I am thrilled when it doesn’t come up, although I am generally happy to answer questions as long it doesn’t linger too long or turn too dark.

When you see me, I may have one or both wrist braces on. Same may be true of my knees or ankles. I may be using a cane. I don’t want to need them, but I’m accepting them as necessary tools for me right now, on occasion. And while I’m trying, I’ve not yet hit the “you have to be able to laugh about it” stage. It’s all still ill-fitting yet, but I’ll try not to spill Awkward on you.

I have to take breaks, the more strenuous the activity, the more often. That’s why I am so rarely out and about in the crush of the big events at conventions and spend a lot of time resting in my room recovering from or hoping to prevent some pain or symptom or another. Sadly, as was driven home again last Saturday, all the rest in the world won’t make my body able to get up and moving, but I fight really hard before giving in on time with friends.

But, I am fine.

Really.

Now, let’s get back to the giggles.  M’kay?

Tomorrow, Dragon*Con 2012, Part 3: Magical Friday, or, How I Met Jewel Staite.

Click here for my previous post on D*C ’12.

Dragon*Con 2012, Part 1

Author: Vivid Muse  //  Category: Convention, Friends, No Whining

I’ve decided the 20+ draft blog posts are going to be posted with some regularity, even if unfinished. Since our family podcast, Into the Blender is having drastic changes discussed, I’ve decided to brain dump family journal stuff here. Some will require what seems like unattainable bravery, so they may not ever see the light of day. But I have two memory journals that I’ve filled in the last year or so, maybe there will be something worth sharing there if I run out of things to post about.

Rather than grabbing a stale post I thought I’d do a (To The Best of My Memory)Dragon*Con Timeline in bits and pieces. I can’t work on my photos until my craptop is rebuilt anyways. I will work on the drafts as I come to them and as my mood strikes. Some may seem out of date, but that’s how I roll now, apparently.

Of note: No matter who you are or how I feel about you, I will likely have forgotten some of our time together. Part of the high cost of having a multiple health issues requiring loopy making meds? You don’t get to choose what or who you forget. That’s why photos are so important to me. I rarely drink alcohol because of the risks of interaction with some of my medications, yet I still have a faulty memory, far more faulty than ever before. If I don’t type it here, it doesn’t make the time any less special. And the photos I’ve seen so far from hubby and friends: Bruce Press, P.G. Holyfield, Tony Miller, Timothy LeGower and many others, have been both laughter and horror inducing (sometimes I have so much fun I forget to think about camera ninjas).

So, Day 1 of our trip, to be told in a rambling fashion as things occur:
Chooch and I left NoVA on Wednesday morning and after a DMV FAIL on our part (solely our fault for procrastinating), we arrived in Charlotte, NC that evening. We stayed at our BFF PG Holyfield’s lovely home, and he cooked dinner for us and some dear and local friends, Shawn and Jess Murphy, and also a new friend. We had lots of fun and laughter, and I always love seeing them. We got to share some extra wicked giggles, and even coined the phrase that would remain with us for the whole of the weekend and beyond.

Wonderful, clever people, but after they left I’m drawing a blank on the rest of the night. I think the boys did played Gloom while I tried to stay awake? I do know there were giggles, but that is nothing new when the three of us get together. Chooch had “night before” jitters for the long drive and couldn’t sleep on Tuesday night, but slept well on Wednesday night.

Thursday morning had us out the door for the drive to Atlanta (after doing the dinner dishes from the night before, fearing the repercussions would make it impossible to reenter the house upon our return. I think after two separate years, we can include Bojangle’s as an official tradition on our D*C road trip. (BoRounds, people!) After much enjoyment on my part on the long, but too short trip road trip, we got to the hotel and headed to the parking garage to prepare to unload.

I did have a moment of lamentation over having seen no costumers yet, chalked it up to being only Thursday and then heard an engine revving in the parking garage. We turned to find the Speed Racer car pulling around a corner. Yes, we were in the right place! *sigh* Dragon*Con!

We got checked in and got settled and headed off for con registration. At PG’s suggestion, we did onsite registration this year instead of pre-registration, and only invested about 10 minutes total as opposed to the over 2 hours we spent in 2009. (It was in the company of Patrick McLean, so don’t feel too bad for us.) Yay for Thursday arrivals! The line for the store was longer than registration, so we skipped getting lanyards and such.

We kicked off our arrival by splitting up – PG off to get prepped for the Star Party and us to meander and find food off property. I was greatly disappointed that someone I had planned on spending the rest of the day with had something come up, but we girded our loins and decided to  have a magical time regardless. First stop: Subway! Don’t laugh, it was the closest thing to real food that was packed full of people. Then to the room before heading to the bar.

Our permanent reset point was the Hilton hotel bar, which turned out to be where we ran into most of the folks we now. As we were being seated, the waiter excitedly told us that Lieutenant Uhura was at the bar and it was the most exciting person he’d ever seen in person. Working at the hotel that hosts Dragon*Con, that’s really saying something. Sure enough, there sat Nichelle Nichols, the original bridge hottie. She was there with another woman, but that beautiful face was impossible not to recognize. She had silver hair and this low-cut blouse on, fully rocking the ensemble and we were agog. Seeing THE LIEUTENANT UHURA within hours of our arrival? Toasts all around our table for our sighting, which she quickly beat out of there when she realized people were recognizing her.

We saw many friends. We made new ones. We laughed and giggled and told stories. We ended up in our room with hubby setting up the PS3 for gaming breaks between panels, etc., and we settled back and stayed up too late, as per usual.

There are hundreds of photos that document the weekend and I’d have to go through them to identify all we saw and when. I’m too impatient and will add another post linking to my photos in Flickr, with some going in to Facebook as well. I’ll also correct any faulty memory bits. But Nichelle Nichols? That was pretty bad ass. No pictures, because we respected her clear desire not to interact at that moment, but the memory remains.

Part 2 will be coming along soon, where I will likely be documenting what I call Magical Friday. Travel tip: I never stay away from home without the gorgeous and travel tested bottle set I bought from my beloved friend’s Nineteen O’Three Etsy store. Over more than a year of hard travel use, with no peeling, fading or bubbling of the labels. They are wonderful quality and the unique designs make the exact bottle I need easy to spot even if the text is out of sight.

I have a brand new set of these bottles to give away, even though I want to keep them for always. Watch future posts for info on how to enter.

Favor: PLEASE make comments here on the site instead of in Facebook or Twitter or G+. I may never see them and will certainly never see them when reviewing posts in the future. I would love pictures linked to, stories I’ve left out, anything that could make the memories come back or the ones I do have linger longer. To feel safe to do this, some of you may need to know that…

Of Important Note: I not only don’t capture email addresses to use, I wouldn’t know how even if I wanted to sell you out, which is not my style. Even if so, I would have to get Chooch to help me, and he would refuse. So, don’t worry about US using your email address, ever. They don’t go into my email address book or anything like that. Feel free to comment. Or not. Whatevs!