Well Played, Alanis Morissette

Author: Vivid Muse  //  Category: No Whining, Too Long For Twitter, Uncategorized

 

A dear friend shared a link to an article in Facebook, with a thumbnail of Alanis Morissette in a bikini. She’s not rocking a super tight body. She’s a real woman. And although I’m envious of her figure, I knew immediately that it’s a photo that the press will put in everyone’s face for mockery. To what end, I’ll never understand, other than giving young woman eating disorders and a need for plastic surgery.

Only, and I mean only, because I trust Bree’s p.o.v. did I click on the link. The blog on the other end was reporting *skim*skim*bikini bottom*something*something*Alanis Morissette. (If you don’t know her, Google her. She’s amazing.)

Looking again, I could see something written on the ass of her bikini and was COMPELLED to click on it.

I have nothing else to say, other to share my amusement at the surprise on my incredibly empathetic husband’s face. He was shocked at my getting choked up while reading it to him, but was still impressed by her statement. I had to remind myself that no matter how much Chooch tries, he’ll never understand what it’s like to be a fat chick in this modern age.

Spreech it, Alanis.
from HelloGiggles.com

alanis-morissette-600x450-300x225

Self Love, says Alanis

Cover Reveal for Maven by S.A. Huchton

Author: Vivid Muse  //  Category: Books, Cool Links / Clicky Linky, Friends


Maven (The Endure Series, Book One), by S.A. Huchton
Genre: Science Fiction Romance (New Adult)
Release Date: June 3rd, 2013

How far would you go for love?

Since losing her parents at 14, young prodigy Dr. Lydia Ashley has focused on one thing: an appointment on the Deep Water Research Command Endure. Now 21, she’s about to realize that dream, but nothing is how she imagined it would be. Her transitional sponsor forgets her, her new lab is in complete chaos, and, as if that weren’t enough, she’s about to discover something so horrific it could potentially destroy all life on the planet. 

Daniel Brewer, a noted playboy and genius in his own right, may be exactly what she needs… Or he may make everything worse.

Has she finally found a puzzle she can’t solve?

Maven, by S.A. Huchton. Available on June 3rd, 2013

If you’re wondering why I’m taking part in a cover reveal for a SciFi Romance, blame the author, S.A. (Starla) Huchton. She is an award winning author, award nominated podcaster, graphic artist, vocalist, book designer and friend. Over the years, I have been many times impressed by her incredible talent, her strong female voice as a creator, her incredible energy and tireless work ethic.

So, while not my usual genre, I’m greatly looking forward to reading Maven, just to see what Ms. Huchton can enchant me with this time.

All you get today is the cover, but the book will be available on June 3rd, 2013.

Links:
Twitter: @riznphnx
MAVEN on Goodreads
S.A. (Starla) Huchton’s Home Page
Designed by Starla Website
S.A. Huchton’s Facebook Author Page

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My introduction to Ms. Huchton’s work:

I can’t recall if I met Ms. Huchton before or after listening to her podcast novel, The Dreamer’s Thread. But I do remember how she lured me in to listening: Cheyenne Wright. He was one of the voices she assembled for the audio production. I “met” Cheyenne through Twitter and my old podcast, The City of Heroes Podcast. Cheyenne was also a player of the superhero MMORPG, and we discovered that we also share birthdays. His voice is rich and powerful and I was curious to hear what he had lent it to. No slouch himself, Cheyenne has won no less than three Hugo Awards for his work on the web comic/graphic novels/novels over at Girl Genius.

Pretty quickly, I fell in love with the world Ms. Huchton created in The Dreamer’s Thread, characters and story. Yes, I of course loved Cheyenne’s contribution, but the story and imagery held me enraptured. I devoured it, and still recommend it to any that are interested in fantasy.

What Starla doesn’t know is that back in my 4-days-a-week running days, I would take a longer route home because I didn’t want to stop listening to her podiobook, The Dreamer’s Thread. (Yay, extra calorie burn!) And in recent months, the images Ms. Huchton brought to mind in The Dreamer’s Thread have helped me on my current quest: finding silver linings, regardless how dark the circumstances. I have even been using her descriptions of finding the “thread” in one of my guided meditations (helpful with my Health Blah related stress management).

Many thanks to Ms. Huchton for her literary and personal contributions to my life and for all she brings to the world.

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Author Bio:

Starla Huchton released her first novel, The Dreamer’s Thread, as a full cast podcast production beginning in August 2009. Her first foray went on to become a double-nominee and finalist for the 2010 Parsec Awards. Since her debut, Starla’s voice has appeared in other podcasts including The Dunesteef Audio Fiction Magazine, The Drabblecast, and Erotica a la Carte. She is also a voice talent for Darkfire Productions, and narrates several of their projects, including The Emperor’s Edge series, This Path We Share, and others. Her writing has appeared in the Erotica a la Carte podcast, a short story for The Gearheart, and an episode of the Tales from the Archives podcast (the companion to Tee Morris and Philippa Balantine’s Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences series), which garnered her a second finalist badge from the 2012 Parsec Awards. Her second novel, a Steampunk adventure entitled Master of Myth, was the first place winner in the Fantasy/Science Fiction category of The Sandy Writing Contest held annually by the Crested Butte Writers Conference. Maven is her third completed novel and the first in a planned series of four.

After completing her degree in Graphic Arts at Monterey Peninsula College, Starla opened up shop as a freelance graphic designer focusing on creating beautiful book covers for independent authors publishers. She currently lives in Virginia where she trains her three Minions and military husband.

There’s No “App” For Pregnancy

Author: Vivid Muse  //  Category: /rant/, Rules of Etiquette, Too Long For Twitter
Unverified Tweet from Robin Williams that is circulating on Facebook.

Unverified Tweet from Robin Williams that is circulating on Facebook.

Let’s be clear, the Kardashian empire has not directly made a dime off of me. I have none of their celebrity endorsed products, nor do I seek out their shows. I have frequently questioned the impact of their behavior of girls and young women, and that of others on the covers of the same magazines.

And now, dammit, I have to speak out for one of them. Thanks a hell of a lot, Robin Williams.

Note: I haven’t verified that this image being circulated on Facebook is accurate. I am happy to volunteer the possibility that it could have been photoshopped. I’d rather write this explanation than go to his Twitter account and verify it, simply because it doesn’t matter if he did or if he didn’t.

Some ass decided to copy/paste it and share it. Because hey, it’s not only making fun of a woman for getting fat! It’s also poking fun at a media celebrity. A reality show celebrity. They’re fair game, right?!?

I say nay.

When there’s a baby on board, I believe that allowances should be made. The sheer fact that, whoever she is, I think she should be allowed leeway on a cray-cray flower patterned snug dress. It could have been a gift. It could have reminded her of a deceased beloved one’s garden. It could have been material made from pictures of a bouquet from her man congratulating her on the pregnancy. It could have been the only thing she could bring herself to wear as she left the house, knowing she’d get sliced and diced regardless of what she wore. Or maybe she’s dealing with the horrific changes to her body by trying to channel Mother Nature, being pregnant and all. Who the hell knows?

My point is, who the hell are we to judge what she’s covering her body with or how that body looks? If there is any time period when a human should be allowed to wear whatever the hell makes them happy, it’s people with terminal illnesses and pregnant women.

Period.

In both cases, there is shit going down in their bodies that would keep you up nights, terrified. In the case of pregnancy, the gestational host, err, I mean, the mother, faces tremendous changes to her body. In my experience, from head to toe.  Literally. My hair changed from waves to curls and my feet changed, widening along with other body parts that typically widen during pregnancy to accommodate the birth. I’m told this is common, which I think means that shoe stores need to increase their ratio of wide-to-average width shoes. (Am I right, ladies?!? …??? … No? … *hangs head* … I knew it.)

Lookit, whether we like her or not, she has chosen to grow a human. Inside of her. She is sustaining another life from within her body. She didn’t adopt. She didn’t hire a surrogate. If unplanned, she didn’t have an abortion. She’s created life and now she’s feeding herself and her baby, as pregnant women all over the world are encouraged to do.

Except for Kim Kardashian. She gets laughed at for gaining weight during a pregnancy. Clearly, the popular opinion is that she should have taken this opportunity — a heightened metabolism and another, separate life siphoning off calories and nutrition — to go on a crash diet, starving herself and her unborn child. All for the hope of gaining cheers of approval from the media and America for being back in a bikini 2 weeks after delivery, smiling at us from the cover of a magazine.

Silver lining? Since the baby would likely be in PICU, being kept alive by feeding tubes and a team of specialists, Ms. K will have plenty of time for tanning sessions and photo shoots.

Oh, and keep in mind, there are millions of young women that have grown up with Ms. Kardashian all over TV. Like it or not, they are learning. I wonder how many more young women will under-eat, rather than risk being called a fat ass, to the detriment of her child.

This is my one share of the picture and I don’t hate on anyway that has done so or will do so. If it were Tom Cruise, I’d have shared the hell out of his fat, pregnant ass. But since I don’t hate/idolize Ms. K, the first thing I thought of was something else that recently made the rounds of social media:

A post written by Geek God, Wil Wheaton, that was circulating in response to some cruelty a man with MS recently suffered, and included a Tweet quote from Joel Watson @hijinksensue:

“you make games and comics and books. They make comments.”

So, in this case, Ms. K is making a baby. And I say, comment away, World.

She’s gaining weight, but she’s also celebrating life.

She wins.

A Few Solid Nuggets / Fave Links

Author: Vivid Muse  //  Category: Cool Links / Clicky Linky, Music, TV

  • 515b1a759554d


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    Queen’s Don’t Stop Me Now vid

  • Shaun of the Dead is on while I fold laundry. Queen’s Don’t Stop Me Now is featured during a zombie fight, and as always when I hear this song, I kinda lose my mind. I really love it. A quick search led to the vid below, by JRescalvo. The lyrics are shown along with some nifty representations of the late Mr. Mercury, but the images freeze completely around the 1:30 minute mark while the song plays on. It’s far more interesting than the lyric-only vids and has none of the sad stuff, unlike when watching videos of Queen before Freddie Mercury passed away. Twenty-something years ago and it still feels like too soon…

 

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  • School of Thrones

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  • It’s okay to not like things…
    ‘Nuff said?

 

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  • Grownups by Randall Munroe
    I‘m a long time fan of the web comic and this is my second favorite strip of his, which is saying a lot. I have a few dozen favorites bookmarked, but this one speaks to the life I tried to embrace four years ago when we found ourselves in an  empty nest. I can’t recommend the web comic enough, but at this time, there are over 1,200 strips posted. There’s a handy search bar if you prefer to pop in a keyphrase or word. I recommend you also hover you mouse over the strip, since hides further awesome in the “hover text,” which I replicated here, just for you!

 

November 1st, In Great Detail

Author: Vivid Muse  //  Category: Breast Cancer, Hauntings, Mom, Whining

Lots going on, kittens, but I am still determined to clear out my Draft posts. Only relevant ones, natch, and I decided to go from oldest to newest. I flinched and nearly fled from this one during editing, but for reasons I won’t explain here, it is miraculously timed.

The last edit date was mid-November, 2010. It’s very, very stale but I’m powering through it because I don’t want to ever have to remember it in detail again.

Apologies for the scattered nature as I try and capture the chaotic and ancient thoughts to pin them down to the page. I don’t know why I started writing about the bittersweet nature of my wedding anniversary the way I did, but I’m honoring my old draft by way of keeping the format and filling in holes.

I’m also creating a Kamikat Alert to warn when emo is flowing freely. I give this one the highest possible. I’ve been crying nonstop while reading/editing it.

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On November 1, 2002, Chooch and I went on our first official date. The following summer, we became engaged and then my mother told us her cancer had returned. A few months after that, we married. Completely by accident, we were married on the same exact date, a year later, on November 1, 2003. (When I say by accident, I mean it. Chooch would have to confirm, but I think it was well after our first wedding anniversary that we realized that it was a double anniversary.)

In the fall of 2005, my mother was over two years into her second occurrence of breast cancer. Nothing had worked, and as a last resort she had pushed really hard to get into a clinical trial for a new medication that was in its first round of human trials. She was that determined to live. I watched her fight like a battle-hardened warrior, but she couldn’t beat it alone. She needed the medical community to fight for her, too, so she got them.

This chemo ‘cocktail’ was particularly nasty, and while I won’t go into details beyond that, we realized too late it was killing her instead of the cancer, which continued to grow and spread. She was hospitalized in early October 2005 because her body functions were shutting down. At the time, it was just one more hospital trip that I drove her to, in a very long line of them in the few months since I quit school to help her and my dad as they were overwhelmed and I worried for my dad’s health. I am still haunted by the fact that when she walked into the emergency room that day that we had no idea that she would never go home, or that it would be the last few steps of freedom she would ever take.

Her body barely recovered and we almost lost her at one point. She went in and out of a sleepy/coma-like state and lost the ability to walk. She slowly emerged and then on November 1st, we finally got the answer we were bugging her oncologist for – we were told that there were no treatment options. One of us must have asked what was next, if not chemo, because he started talking about “making her comfortable” and “managing her pain” and that he believed she may have as long as six months to live.

As was common at this point, Mom and I were alone when we got the news and after he left us we grieved as you might expect. We clung to each other and wept. I reassured her and she reassured me. I don’t really remember much more of the day. I know we told my dad, but I don’t remember it. I got home that night, and don’t remember much other than picking up the phone to resume my usual evening activity after spending time with her during the day — spend the next few hours on the phone with my siblings and Mom’s siblings and whoever else wanted an update. I knew I was lucky to be able to help her and it was important to me to relay the news, in whatever detail they needed, to family and friends.

The first person I reached was my Mom’s sister. Needless to say, this particular pronouncement required an excruciating retelling of every detail. She knew that I would be on the phone with this news for anywhere from 2 to 4 hours, explaining, reassuring and relaying requests and information to and from my Mom.

Mom’s sister offered at some point to make the calls so that Chooch and I could find some time to celebrate our 2nd wedding anniversary, which was also that day. I was hesitant, but also in desperate need for a reprieve from it all.  I agreed and she promised to call my brother and sister as well as her brother. I didn’t know how much I needed to not be the messenger of this particular message any more, until she moment that she took the task from me.

Tangent: I can still remember seeing the bag of candy she had on her hospital table as we talked about what the oncologist talked. The day before had been Halloween, and she’d wanted to have candy to give out in case any kids that were stuck in the hospital were trick or treating. To my knowledge, the only trick or treater she had was my son L.T. He was eight years old. Once in his costume, we went to visit her again and she loaded him up. When I looked at that nearly full bag of candy the next day, I was thinking how impossibly wrong it was that her last Halloween was spent in the hospital. She always loved Halloween and the joy it brought kids, all kids. I still wonder if that thought occurred to her, too, the next morning as we hugged, cried and tried to make sense of it.

Back to my wedding anniversary night, and not even an hour passed before I got a call from my sister. I don’t even think we’d had time to decide whether to go out to dinner to celebrate or order in and coccoon. My baby sister (9 years younger) was crying inconsolably from my aunt’s call. Some of the information got confused and it scared the living hell out of her. At the time, my sister was living with her husband was in the Army and stationed in Texas while all the rest of us were in Virginia. She carried a lot of guilt about this, and it’s possible she still does. I really wish I could take that from her. Mom was over the moon that my sister was starting a new life married to the man she loves, rather than sitting in the hospital room, watching as she wasted away. Their mother/daughter bond was so strong, she never once questioned my sister’s love or loyalty. In typical fashion, Mom saw beyond herself and could only grin with joy for the happiness sis found and still finds with her husband of now nine years.

But when I heard the terror in my lil’ sister’s voice, I was immediately shamed. Yes, of course, I realize that I was entitled to a night off to catch my breath and stay sane and have some joy for ourselves. Just not at this price. I was grateful that she called, as the thought of having gone off for a romantic dinner while she sobbed desperately would have haunted me forever. Chooch and I agreed that it was more important that I untangle the information. I don’t even remember what exactly it was that upset everyone, it’s too deep in the shadows.

I soothed my sister and called my brother. Sure enough, he was reeling, as well. I again went over all the information and gave reassurances. I then called my mom’s brother and cleared up his questions. Finally, I called Auntie, to reiterate the information to her to make sure she understood, because what she relayed wasn’t completely accurate. I was frustrated, but never at her. After all, she’d just found out her big sis was really and truly dying now, of the same thing that took their mom and their grandmother before that. Her intentions were the very best and I remain grateful for the love she demonstrated by trying to give me a night off.

Hours later, I finished the last call and vowed to myself to never delegate that job again. Somehow, when there was something that needed to be done, I was able to push my fears and horror at what I was hearing and seeing to the side and get things done. Maybe it was because I was the one “in the trenches” with Mom, and in every way we were at war. It was every day.

A few days later, my parents celebrated their wedding anniversary. My dad snuck a bottle of wine into her hospital room and they had as romantic a dinner for two as possible. It was hard, lifting the mood before I left, but we all did our damnedest. I can’t imagine how bittersweet that dinner was, and I love them so much for celebrating their last anniversary.

Do you want to know what I think was the hardest? The cancer was already in her bones, had spread to her Mom’s skull, and we believe, to her brain. We aren’t sure because the scans and most non-life-supporting testing stopped. When it’s terminal, why continue putting her through it? We already knew from DNA testing that it was the breast cancer from 1991. It had returned and was in her colon, bones, stomach and skull. We knew she was going to die, just like her mom and her grandma had, from breast cancer.

Our suspicion that it spread to her brain was because she started losing memories, when her mind had always been sharp as a tack. Just another horrible degradation before she dies, why not? Grateful that you still have your mind while you’re dying from cancer and unable to walk? Not for long, with this disease. It’s when I first got a taste of the cruelty of a failing memory, at least as I experience it. You don’t get to choose who’s face you’ll forget. Hell, you don’t even get to remember that you forgot them to apologize later!

But the possible spread of cancer to my mom’s brain was confirmed, in my mind, by her question upon my arrival one day. The only silver lining was that LT was not at my side as he frequently was, since it was a school day.

Her question? When her oncologist would be coming to meet with her about resuming her chemo? The cancer was growing unchecked while we did nothing. Would I call him to her room to discuss it?

I froze. I blinked. The words made no sense. Wait, I thought, what’s wrong with my brain? Nothing. I just couldn’t accept what her question meant. Tears sprang to my eyes. She didn’t remember the death sentence she was given, weeks earlier. I don’t even think I took a breath.

I wanted to say, “Okay, Mom. I’ll get him here as soon as possible. Want a pedicure? How was breakfast?” Deflect, distract, redirect. Sure, it would be a lie. But it seemed like a kindness. Maybe she’d remember on her own? Was that kinder? Maybe, but I feared what would happen when she found out the truth. In my mind, it was more cruel to waste what little time we had left with deception and lies. She took great pride in being a strong woman. She hated lies and had never been a delicate flower in need of babying. She was NiNi, Warrior Queen, and she hid from nothing. Khaleesi, would’ve been more fitting, if she’d known the reference.

Yet… silence. No words came out. Just her looking up at me with those beautiful, trusting eyes.

Ah, yes, another blow, just so. I immediately understood. Our roles had switched. She was the innocent and helpless one now, and I was the one in charge (by family agreement) of protecting her. Keeping her safe. Casting out her fears. Comforting her.

But, how? She was my touchstone and my source of unconditional love, my central support beam my entire life. She was my mommy! Then, when I needed her more than I have ever needed her, to be stronger than I could ever hope to be on my own, I couldn’t reach for her hand to comfort mine.

In my head, I screamed, cried, kicked and fought against it all.
I refused.
I would not do it.
No way am I strong enough.
Nope, the doctor can come back and tell her.

Instead, I found myself holding her hands in my shaking ones as I told her, again. We cried as we had the first time, because to her, it was the first time. I don’t even know what I felt. I just curled up with her on the hospital bed, tightly clinging to each other, with vigilant and respectful eyes checking on us from the door from time to time by the palliative care staff. We grieved again.

And when she asked a few weeks later, I told her again. It’s foggy after that, I don’t know how many times I had to tell her, in total. I’m grateful that I was there for her, but she was drifting further and further away from me, one shimmery silvery wisp at a time.

By way of bringing it current, and possibly to a point (*gasp*), the intervening years has let go of our anniversary as a bittersweet day. I do think of Mom, but instead of sadness and tears from the hospital room, I now see her laughing and smiling with us at our wedding. I picture she and Chooch killing the bottle of Dom when my parents toasted our engagement. (Damn, she was adorable tipsy, although I rarely saw it.) I remember her teasing me that Chooch was using me to get to her because they were the true soul mates — straight faced and with a wickedly cocked eyebrow, as only she could do. And letting me know what I needed to know most, because she knew the three of us (my two sons and I) better than anyone else: that she approved of him as my husband and as step-dad to my sons.

She told us in a hundred different ways that she thought he was right for me/us, but most poignantly when she asked us to move up the wedding to ensure she would be alive to attend. We did, and she did. It was a chaotic and magnificent day that I treasure all the more because she was there. She was beatific, at peace over my sons and I with Chooch in our lives and the knowledge that my sister would be soon married to the love of her life. My brother and his wife were happy and strong. Everyone else was healthy. What more could a mother need to know before she dies?

She passed away in the wee hours of January 13, 2006, a little over three months after that walk in to the emergency room. She was 62. She and my father were together over four decades. She had three kids, seven grandkids and, since her passing, three great-grandkids. She wrote, painted, baked, worked gardened, taught, played and gave hugs that could make you forget why you needed one in the first place.

 

I’ve reclaimed November 1st as the celebration of love and family, as it’s intended. Chooch and I celebrate our love, our bond and our marriage, with number 10 later this year. Times are chaotic, but our love is like Valyrian steel baby, folded a thousand times in fire. Besides, Mom would kick my ass if I let anything get in the way of celebrating our anniversary. She certainly set the example on that one.

There are several songs that are intertwined with Mom in my mind. This is one of the most powerful. I didn’t find a video by Colin Hay for the song I first heard on the Garden State soundtrack, but this is my favorite of the fan submitted videos I viewed. I almost didn’t include it for fear of being accusations of being maudlin, overly sentimental or pity seeking, but…

Fuck that. I really miss my Mommy today. I’m going to treat my broken heart to a good cry.

“I just don’t think I’ll ever get over you”
Song by Colin Hays, formerly of Men at Work
Video submitted to youtube by EmjayTulip.And as always, Mom was right. Chooch is my soul mate. No one else could have given my laugh lines and wrinkles in the intervening years.

How To Destroy Angels at the Fillmore

Author: Vivid Muse  //  Category: Chooch, Music

I promised myself I would write a blog post for every concert I go to, after wishing I’d already been doing it. I’m doing a hit and run with no research, so consider yourselves warned!

Last night’s How to Destroy Angels (HTDA) concert was originally a present for Chooch’s 42nd birthday in March. He’s a huge Trent Reznor fan, dontchaknow.  I never got it on the calendar and it was only because of a brief Twitter break yesterday that we even stood a chance of attending. (Take that, Twitter critics!)

Because of work stuffs, Chooch was stuck late at work which resulted in us missing the opening act. That was a bummer since I almost always find great new music this way. We got there with about 20 minutes to spare, finding bathrooms, beverages and our spot. Just as we started to look around, the show started. Perfection!

This was my third time seeing Reznor, but my first seeing him with his new band. The visuals are what I’ve come to expect, brilliant and startling and overwhelming. Between the dizzying visuals and the intense music, I had to miss about half the show to closed eyes. The room pulsed and the audience was mesmerized. Occasional peeks made it clear that I was missing out on some serious eye candy, but it was either that or bolt and I was enjoying my hubby’s hand in mind as we swayed together to the amazing live music.

The lightness that his wife brought to the stage and the music is heavenly. Her voice was crystal clear, a shocking perfection that I repeatedly questioned if it was live or lip synch, but the emotion in her voice showed itself and I eventually just relaxed into it.

Although one of the shortest concerts of my life, partly due to our lateness and partly due to their short list of songs (to date), it was immensely enjoyable. Every concert I go to with Chooch is joyful, even when the acts aren’t great. But seeing him so happy last night, moving to his favorite musician’s music was exquisite.

For our new interest, I’m happy to add the Fillmore as a venue I’ve been to, as it’s clean, well-appointed and laid out and has ample parking in the area. I’d have loved some vid screens, as my height prevented a clear view of the stage, but we didn’t get a chance to really explore to see if there was a more comfortable place to watch. Next time!

Happy birthday, Chooch. I pledge my turtle love!