A Bold and Dashing Adventure, aka, We’re Moving to Albuquerque!

Author: Vivid Muse  //  Category: Family, Firsts, Friends, Health, Household, Kids


Brace yourselves, kittens, Chooch has been officially notified of his reassignment to Albuquerque, NM, and his start date is October 2nd!!!


The move will get us so much closer to Chooch’s 16 y.o. Son. (We haven’t made it to Cali yet, but we’re finally getting closer!)

Added bonus? Along with Chooch’s Son, his Mom, Dad, Step-Mom, Sister and her Husband all live in the same area! Where we’ll live will actually be close enough for a road trip to soooo many beloved family members (and their babies!), including our own GrandSon Little Bear! We are so very happy, life’s gonna get so cute again!

It should be a less-stressful position for Chooch, that we feel more fulfilling and less draining., and by all accounts (incl doctors), the region would hopefully improve how I feel with my health blahs. We don’t plan on living there forever, but we’re so very excited for this new adventure!

Locals, we’re moving in mid to late September, which is VERY soon. We want to see as many people as we can while we prep to move and continue to purge down our items. If you want to gather before we move, please let me know. I’m hoping to do little gatherings to see as many as possible.

It’s a very big change, but with our resident middle son and our pup Kaylee going with us, we are BEYOND excited at this new adventure!

I got this in a fortune cookie the night before we got the big news!

I got this in a fortune cookie the night before we got the big news!


The Holyfield Knot by Tony Miller

Author: Vivid Muse  //  Category: #BecausePGH, Firsts, Friends, Rules of Etiquette, Too Long For Twitter

I’ve seen and heard some amazing kindnesses demonstrated in honor of Patrick (P.G.) Holyfield since his fight with cancer began and ended in August.

I’m hand-picking this one specific kindness from Tony Miller to share, because it’s loving, touching, thoughtful and dignified. It’s so Tony. It’s so Patrick G. Holyfield.

And it’s something anyone can do to pay tribute, too, if you ever feel the urge or miss him or another wonderful man on any given tie-appropriate occasion.

Now, for background, Tony is a wonderful guy, a member of my own little Con(vention) Family and someone I am always thrilled to see because of the fond memories and also because of the way P.G. introduced him for the first time, as a trusted friend. That carries a lot of weight with me, as P.G. knew.

If you are also a friend of Tony’s, you know that he has a new job –teaching! Tony, I’ve already sent my congratulations to you, but I don’t know if I told you that I hated you couldn’t be one of our kids’ teachers. Even with the harm you cause shrubbery, you are an amazing person that I think would be a wonderful person for future leaders to learn from. You never cease to amaze me by breaking down stereotypes of men in general, but in particular, men from the south, except for the one about them being chivalrous.

Lately, Tony shares a new treat with us — frequent (daily?) photos or a demonstration video of knot ties he has learned, as well as those he is crafting himself. It’s very spiffy and the knots he makes are almost as awesome as the expressions he makes*.  I love the series and hope he continues it. I have sons that need to know these things!

As a long-time friend of P.G.’s. He recently named a special tie-knot after him. One that Tony himself created and then demonstrated how to do-it-yourself, by posting a video on Youtube.

This week begins three public events (see below) being held in honor of our dear dear friend, author and immensely lovable example of human kindness, P.G. Holyfield. And knowing Tony Miller and P.G.’s friendship to be genuine and reciprocal and stretching over years, this is overwhelmingly poignant and touching for this gal**, but as my own showing of respect for this and so many other kindnesses, I am hoping to master this knot myself for at least one of these events, using a scarf or ribbon. please take time to learn and wear this creation of PG’s longtime friend, Tony Miller, anytime you choose.

I’m personally asking for those interested to share in this tribute by posting pix of themselves wearing it. Please tag P.G. and Tony, as I’m sure they will bring comfort to those that are and will always be, missing P.G. and continuing to check his social media pages because, what else can you do?

At a later date, if enough pictures are sent donning the knot, they will be posted to the Memorial Page that will be polished and shared with content soon.

You will need to submit photos to BTW@SpecFicMedia.com to be included in that or any other public honoring of him.

Love you, Tony <3

*Most people look staged in similar poses, but Tony’s look genuinely awkward or humble. Not fake or staged, even if they are.

**Literally overwhelming. It’s taken me days to write and hit ‘Publish’ on this post.

Information on the Tributes:

Wednesday, 10/8 at 9pm – Online Vid Tribute from The Beyond the Wall crew:

On Wednesday, October 8th, 2014 at 9pm Eastern, the Beyond the Wall crew will be recording a live podcast show in which we will bid farewell to our good friend, P.G. Holyfield.

There is also an in-person gathering and aMemorial Service occurring on Oct 11th and 12th, respectively.

If you would like to attend one or both of those events, please check the links on this post atSpecFicMedia.com.

Of course, we understand that not everyone will be able to attend in person.

For so many, these podcasts are how they knew him.

So, the show on Wednesday the 8th will be a way for us, and for you, to express your feelings about this man, who brought so many people together.

We on the crew will be sharing our feelings and memories, but, we would also like to hear from you. If you have words, audio or video that you would like to share, please email it to us at BTW@SpecFicMedia.com.

Even if you have already sent something, please re-send it if you would like it to appear on this show. If you would like to send something that is just for family or any other private audience, please indicate this in your email.

And of course, if you are reading this too late or are just unable to put your feelings together before we record, please send anyways.

Also, please help us boost the signal, both for this announcement and the show event links that will follow, so that everyone that would like to can participate.

P.G. Holyfield founded a great community at SpecFicMedia, but now his watch has ended.

Our watch continues and so we will carry on our sacred duty, which is to talk about things we love – and people that we love – with all of you.

Thank you, from your friends at SpecFicMedia.com.

Saturday: A Casual Gathering and A Celebration of Life in Honor of Patrick G. Holyfield

October 11th from 6 pm – 10 pm – Come and go as you are available

Flying Saucer in Charlotte, NC
9605 N Tryon St Suite A, Charlotte, North Carolina 28262

Chooch and I will be hosting an informal gathering in Charlotte on Saturday, (October 11th), at The Flying Saucer. (It’s a craft brew honoring restaurant, that we’ve enjoyed with P.G. in the past.)

The official time is from 6 – 8 pm, when we are guaranteed use of the private room. If our numbers dwindle, we may move to a large table or we may be allowed to stay in the private room. They have been wonderfully accommodating and will do their best for us.

There will be self-pay dining and libation offerings in mid-price range

A brief video of memories from Chooch and I including some favorite Con(vention) Family will be available for viewing at any time. Otherwise, come as you are able as you arrive from other destinations or to spend the time together. We hope to highlight P.G., our friendship and shared world with him, in the podcasting and convention realms.

This will be a celebration of life, his life, and our con family experiences with him, but also a place for those that wish for grieving and remembrance, as well.

If you have ideas for this celebration of his life, please make pledges of time or assistance, please send to BTW@SpecFicMedia.com.

If you have pix or vid clips you love of PG, please send to BTW@SpecFicMedia.com, for possible inclusion in the video we are hoping to complete. (Time constraints.)

Also, if you are local and available to assist, please let me know at the above email to coordinate with needs for this unexpected gathering/weekend.

 

Sunday: The Memorial Service in honor of Patrick G. Holyfield

Sunday, at 12pm – Embassy Suites Banquet Room located at 4800 S. Tryon St (near Charlotte Douglas Airport–they will have shuttle service).

A special room block and rate have been reserved and is available until Oct. 5 at 4pm. Call the hotel at 704-527-8400 and use PHM as the code for the rate. 

Please forward any written sentiments, photos, audio or video you would like to make a part of my tribute to me (Kim AKA The Trustee) at kim@pghct.org.

Thank you so much for your thoughts and contributions. I truly look forward to seeing or hearing from all of you, either next week or in the future.

Kim

Happy Love Day

Author: Vivid Muse  //  Category: Chooch, Family, Firsts, Too Long For Twitter

First of all, first post from new (to me) hotness! Chooch refurbished a laptop for me that is the perfect balance of keyboard + larger screen for big font (I tell ya, meds these days…) and is waaaaay more light weight than last. But this also means that I no longer have The Penguin, which saddens me, but this really does serve more of the function I need faster. It also frees Chooch up from constantly helping me fine tune with cross-over programs for Linux.

My review of the Linux machine? Raving five stars of awesome. It only crashed twice, and that was surely due to overheating, a frequent problem with that laptop.  At one point, while working the photo archive, I thought I lost over 1k (or something equally horrifying) of photos from our recent trip to Hawai’i when the machine froze. Normally, I would have had an instant panic attack, but I remember the change to Linux and I immediately decided to put the laptop down and trust in The Penguin.

When I came back an hour or so later, it had finished processing and the photos were safe. If it had done as it had been running before the Linux change, the pix would have been lost after a blue screen of death and we’d have had to start prayers that Crashplan had indeed backed the batch up for retrieval. I loved it, but felt pretty useless with it. I was afraid to muck around and make it stop being reliable.

Hubby surprised me with the refurb, when I hadn’t even asked to switch back and I’m guiltily grateful. If I need a program or Chrome extension, I know I can find it for Windows. And with my memory issues, shortened attention span and brief computing time available before a migraine sends me off, these are tremendous benefits for the woman I find myself to be these days. But I do love supporting the “under dog” or “working class” over the hugely corporate The Man or his politically correct off-shoot. The first thing I do if I can reclaim some brainpower is to rock Linux. The second is likely yarn bombing the world.

 

Now, on to the mushy stuff! Happy Valentine’s Day!

Today is also my beautiful Li’l Sis’ 10th wedding anniversary! While we all still would have been excited, the health problems my baby (9 years younger) sister has had since last summer have me EXTRA SUPER HAPPY TERRIFIC that she is here with us as she and her amazing husband celebrate their love. I’m so proud and grateful that she’s doing the necessaries to live a healthier and longer life.

Our weddings are only 3.5 months apart and I’ve always felt a special bond with them as we were both at the marital starting gate at (nearly) the same time and I love sharing this with her.

As for my own valentine, Chooch, here’s our wedding day selfie, 10 years before it was called a selfie. New hubby and I snuck off to the front of the boat for a private snuggle and already traditional self-shot together.

Chooch said I should have the purple princess dress (I’d planned on plain and low-key, since it was 2nd marriage for both but fell in love with a bridesmaid dress while shopping with my Li’l Sis and Mom for LS’s wedding dress.).
Mom said I had to have the tiara to go with it and bought it on the spot.
I’m still so honored that they thought of me as royalty on that nearly perfect day. If only J (and even more family) could have attended, too. #StillVeryBlessed

Chooch, my love,
We spun just as much chaos back then and it was GLORIOUS then, too.
It was the happiest of days with you, and we’ve had so many since then and an infinite number still lie ahead.
Please, remember how much I love you when I’m kicking your ass during our gaming date tonight.
XOXOXO
~Me

Big Adventure

Author: Vivid Muse  //  Category: Firsts, Friends, Too Long For Twitter

Edit: Written on March 24th, this has languished in my drafts folder. Here it is, stale, mostly unedited and, for me at least, sparkly.

*******************

Sorry, Dear Reader, for the delay in posts, but it has been the most exciting/chaotic 2 weeks in the last several years.

First, we sold our house. And it was excruciating up until the moment the buyers signed off, over half an hour into settlement. I’m in the process of deciding whether or not to post some writings I have done along the way, but suffice it to say it stressful.

Second, there has been a blur of time spent in the company of some of my favorite people on the planet, lots of music by my favorite band and more laughter than is good for a throat, if current feel is any kind of a judge.

I was feeling particularly emboldened when I made plans on Thursday to do something completely out of my comfort zone on Friday. And I was anxious, and panicky, but necessity made me strong enough to follow through, thank goodness(?).   I had some particularly strong joint pain, persistent dizziness (I did not take medication as it makes me sleep. Enough sleeping!), nausea and my now-almost-constant fatigue from the pain. I soldiered on, Robot Girl style. *beep*bop*boop*

I had no idea that immediately following attainment of much need help for Chooch’s slumber (blog post, Chooch?), plans would change in such a way as resulting in what was already destined to be a successful and fun day, into a magical, healing and nurturing day. I did not expect such peace and tranquility amongst unfamiliar new friends. I was out in nature, and this was bold because we found yet another tick on me a week or so ago. I’ve eschewed nature since the RMSF diagnosis, deeming it Highly Hazardous to me.

But I ended up in this serene and beatific wooded and landscaped spot in heaven and rejoiced in the choices I made that led me to that afternoon of giggling, beautiful young girls (aka fairies) dancing and playing with flowers and leaves, pausing briefly to study a water fountain as they seek twigs and branches for the bonfire.

And to think, I almost chickened out of what ended up being a once in a lifetime afternoon.

You know you are an annoying “Shmoopy Couple”* when…

Author: Vivid Muse  //  Category: Chooch, Firsts, Too Long For Twitter

… standing at a self-pay kiosk awaiting delivery of cashback from a clerk (No, I don’t know why it doesn’t spit money at you.), you are approached by an employee asking to take your picture because “you two are soooo cute!”. Apparently, our snuggling to keep ourselves entertained while we waited, caught the attention of this person and they just couldn’t resist. I handed over my camera and the picture was snapped. I could not stop laughing at the flattering absurdity of it, forgetting that I didn’t even have make-up on.

Dorks in Lurve

The funniest part of all this (to me) is that the employee was very masculine and buff, late teens/early 20’s and, in my opinion, possibly on something.

Now, be honest, did we turn into the old version of the couple in “Up” when I wasn’t looking? If so, we best get to travelin’!

Best to get a passport, just to be on the safe side.

************
*Shmoopy Couple is a reference from a ‘Seinfeld’ episode in which Jerry entered into an annoyingly affectionate rela… You know what? If you don’t know the reference, I can’t help you.  I don’t even feel like I know you anymore.

Credit Where Credit is Due

Author: Vivid Muse  //  Category: Chooch, Firsts, Soulful, Uncategorized

My husband and I recently celebrated the our 8th wedding anniversary and our 9th anniversary of our first date. At that time, I reflected on how similar and, in contrast, how different we are. Events in the last month have clarified how much I treasure him and I want to make sure I never take him for granted. Note: while I won’t be going all “Shmooopy!” I will be pontificating on how awesome my mate is. Feel free to roll your eyes and click to another page.

If you don’t already know, one of the things Chooch and I have in common is our extreme social anxiety. The difference is that mine causes me to chatter nervously and his causes him to sit back quietly until he has a level of comfort. Some people perceive me as being extroverted and outgoing and him being withdrawn. In truth, the opposite is true. He is more likely to say yes to unfamiliar social engagements with unknown people. In many cases, I would simply stay in and miss out on the fun without him to urge me out into the world. In fact, that is exactly what he had to do to get me to go to any of the first meet-ups in 2008, including Balticon.

I frequently find myself speaking for both of us in the hopes that people will recognize just how amazing he is. This is a mistake, as it makes it appear as though he is with me, not that we are together, in what we do. Regardless of how it appears, he is NOT my tag-along, just “Viv’s husband” or an accessory. He is Chooch. A singularly magnificent man.

I get really pissed when I think he is overlooked or not getting credit for all he does, for our family and for others. I am shocked that more people don’t get that he is the reason the New Media parties we hosted in 2009 and 2010 were successful, along with countless other things for which I alone have gotten most of the praise. Possibly it’s because he’s busting his ass behind the scenes while I am doing more of the dressing and food prep. Just know that without him, little of what I dream up would actually happen.

To share with you who he is in my eyes, peep this list:

  • the reason that I am able to live in a loving home instead of a homeless shelter, since my health does not allow me to work and my disability was denied;
  • the enabler, builder and code monkey of my mostly goofy/sometimes creative musings;
  • the Yin to my Yang – I am emotional where he is logical and he is emotional where I am logical and I rely heavily on him for balance;
  • the first person that, when I have some hair brained scheme, actually listens and is supportive at the same time he is constructive in criticism and suggestions;
  • the fuel that feeds my craving to continually challenge myself, guiding me away from self-sabotage;
  • the kindest and most loving man I’ve ever known;
  • generous with his income on purchases for my children from a previous marriage, never saying that something they need is not going to be provided;
  • perfect in his imperfections;
  • glorious in his flawed humanity;
  • never out of patience with me, even when he has every right to be.

We recently rescued the ten year old dog of a family member that was no longer able to care for him. Only because my husband was willing, were we able to do the necessities that had been neglected for this loving pet (dental cleaning and removal of a diseased tooth, neutering/biopsy, analysis of a suspicious growth, vaccinations and grooming) that allowed for him to be adopted into an extremely loving family that will give him the best care and attention that could be hoped for any person, let alone animal.

Without Chooch’s generosity, this dog would have likely ended up at the shelter and after evaluation would have been put to sleep because of all his health issues. Especially with how “cage brave” (growling and barking at people) he was in his fear at what was happening. We were EXTREMELY lucky to have had the wonderful staff at the animal hospital, thanks to our future housemate, and the ability to afford to do even those basic necessities. Their kindness and love in taking care of this dog that needed so much and ensuring that he had it along with a healthy dose of love and affection is something I will never forget.

Because of this and countless other reasons, Chooch will always be the man of my dreams. A man that I was lucky enough to ensnare and trick into spending the rest of his life with me. A man that I made pinky swear on camera in front of Kaylee that he won’t die until after I do, because I love him so much that I cannot imagine life without him. She sealed the promise with a lick, by the way. Irrefutable contract in any court in the land, dontchaknow.  (Did you know I was so needy and high maintenance?)

So as the big world continues to rotate around the sun,

as people go about the hustle and bustle of their pre-holiday chaos,

I wake this morning knowing that there is one person that truly knows each and every one of my deep dark secrets, flaws and failings,

and he loves me anyways.

I am the luckiest woman I know.

 

Not Just Another Tuesday

Author: Vivid Muse  //  Category: Chooch, Firsts

Today is the fourth anniversary for the podcast my husband and I do, called Into the Blender. When we started out, we had my two sons from a previous marriage living with us and were negotiating the difficulty and hazards of long-distance, as well as navigating the frequently difficult negotiations required when co-parenting with someone that you very likely have massive piles of stinky baggage with.

Our lives have changed in a myriad of ways since that first upload, and it’s impossible to sufficiently explain why it has taken us so long to post a new episode. Our last one was our Live from Balticon! episode in early June. I will overly simplify things by saying that it has been an extremely chaotic summer. More so than any other of my life, save the one immediately following the departure of my now ex-husband. I think we are ready to re-enter the tubes, and I think I speak for my husband as well when I say how grateful I am for the friends and listeners that have asked for new episodes. Knowing that folks actually have an interest in our little corner of the world is pretty damned nice, I have to say.

Another reason it’s a big day is that I am finally doing something I should have done years, possibly decades ago: seeing a therapist. While there are a few parts of my life where I’m extremely private, this is not one of them. I have long supported friends and family as they have sought help, and believe that even if nothing else is gained, having someone to express your deepest and darkest thoughts to is a wonderful gift to give yourself. I am blessed in that my husband and best friend already provides this for me, but I now choose to seek help in dealing with my issues instead of venting them. I see repeating patterns, situations and relationships that I need to figure out. I have, like pretty much everyone else on the planet, issues from my childhood and first marriage that are still impacting me and having a negative impact in my current journey. And because I love my husband beyond measure, I want to find a way to finally work on these and other issues before I drive him running and screaming from our marriage. 😉

It’s a really big step, one that most people I know have already taken. I’m definitely a late bloomer, and am completely grateful to my the folks that have supported me in getting to this point. Whether you gave me a shoulder to lean on or listened to my insecurities or just smiled kindly when I veered off track, I thank you. I am writing this in the wee hours of Tuesday morning,with my appointment later today. I have no clear idea of what it will be like, other than what I’ve seen in movies and on TV. I think my motivation for writing this post was a preemptive tearing off of the band-aid, so to speak. A gesture of honesty before the pending anxiety attack provoking session.

I don’t know how much of the process I’ll share. Probably not much, because I do have difficulty in revealing such personal information. But I did want to let folks know that I’m doing it in hopes of encouraging others that are on the fence to take the plunge. I don’t expect that the first therapist I see will be the perfect fit or that all my issues will become crystal clear and I’ll be able to heal and change in short order. Instead, I expect that it will be a lot of hard work and that there will be a lot of pain involved. Most worthwhile things are just so. But I think I’m worth it.

Happy ItB Anniversary, Chooch. Can you believe the journey we’ve been on since we started it?

Definitions You Know: Family

Author: Vivid Muse  //  Category: Definitions You Know, Family, Firsts, No Whining, Soulful

My niece, her husband, her almost 3 year old son and 1 month old daughter are visiting from out of state. We’re hosting a celebration/baby shower for Baby M and a Welcome Home visit for the rest of them and another niece arriving today. None of these definitions exactly fit our relationship, as she and her sister are the daughters of my brother’s ex-wife. We have no blood or matrimonial bond, but try and tell me Baby M’s not family as I hold the sweet bundle in my arms and I’ll have to put a serious smack down on you.

As dear friend Heather Welliver says, “There’s the family you’re born into, and then there’s the family you create.” And we long ago accepted these girls into our hearts, where they remain regardless of the legal and blood-lines dictate.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

fam·i·ly

/ˈfæməli, ˈfæmli/

–noun 

  • a basic social unit consisting of parents and their children, considered as a group, whether dwelling together or not: the traditional family;
  • a social unit consisting of one or more adults together with the children they care for: a single-parent family;
  • the children of one person or one couple collectively: We want a large family;
  • the spouse and children of one person: We’re taking the family on vacation next week;
  • any group of persons closely related by blood, as parents, children, uncles, aunts, and cousins: to marry into a socially prominent family;
  • all those persons considered as descendants of a common progenitor;
  • Chiefly British . approved lineage, especially noble, titled, famous, or wealthy ancestry: young men of family;
  • a group of persons who form a household under one head, including parents, children, and servants;
  • the staff, or body of assistants, of an official: the office family;
  • a group of related things or people: the family of romantic poets; the halogen family of elements;
  • a group of people who are generally not blood relations but who share common attitudes, interests, or goals and, frequently, live together: Many hippie communes of the sixties regarded themselves as families;
  • a group of products or product models made by the same manufacturer or producer;
  • Biology . the usual major subdivision of an order or suborder in the classification of plants, animals, fungi, etc., usually consisting of several genera;
  • Slang . a unit of the Mafia or Cosa Nostra operating in one area under a local leader;
  • Linguistics . the largest category into which languages related by common origin can be classified with certainty: Indo-European, Sino-Tibetan, and Austronesian are the most widely spoken families of languages. Compare stock ( def. 12 ) , subfamily ( def. 2 );
  • Mathematics
    • a given class of solutions of the same basic equation, differing from one another only by the different values assigned to the constants in the equation.
    • a class of functions or the like defined by an expression containing a parameter.
    • a set.
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Rules of Etiquette, Lesson One

Author: Vivid Muse  //  Category: Firsts, No Whining, Rules of Etiquette

I have two continuing series that I’ve been toying with, and this is the first I’ve decided to jump into. I don’t intend to post those I find to be sexist or bigoted, unless they are so ridiculous that they must be pointed out to (hopefully) show progress made.

Expect them to be brief, as I find little nuggets to share along my way. I may or may not have further comment beyond the quote, but I believe this one speaks for itself.

“Beware of meddlers and tale bearers.”

 

March Fourth Is A Day To March Forth

Author: Vivid Muse  //  Category: Breast Cancer, Firsts, Friends, Mom, Soulful, Too Long For Twitter

I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned it before, but I hate posting twice in the same day. This second post is not one I can resist, so you’ll have to bear with me.

Earlier today I submitted my paperwork to establish my own small (teensy, really) business. This is extremely exciting, as it will hopefully allow for some income in a “work at home” way as well as allow us some creative opportunities.

Now, this morning I already announced that I now have the verbal, soon to be written, legal rights to publish my Mom’s short story and will be moving forward with my breast cancer charity anthology. Submission guidelines for written works as well as cover and inside art will be posted as soon as I have the details fine-tuned.

Then, around noon, I excitedly dropped off the business filing paperwork at the Richmond office immediately prior to picking up my visiting friend M.A. in PA from her mass transit delivery system.

She immediately told me that it was the perfect day for it because of March the Fourth being a day to March Forth, which is exactly what I had done. The crazy coincidence of it all swept me up in a giddy excitement. The perfect, unplanned timing of it was such a lovely surprise. Especially when I looked down to see that I had absent-mindedly put a t-shirt with “Realize” emblazoned across the front.

So take a moment today and be bold. Do something you’ve been putting off. Take on a new project or finish up an old one. Do anything, so long as it’s a step forward in some way.

Happy Fourth of March!