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

Unguarded, Within Castle Walls

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

Edit: I’m hoping to post a review of Ravenwood Castle itself, but I first wanted to share thoughts from the social experience point of view, since that was the point. Since I never know how long a post will take me to finish, I will say that I recommend it highly. The board games on hand and the atmosphere of the great hall made it impossible not to enjoy the experience. In short, I can’t wait to go back for another relaxing visit.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
About a month ago, my husband and I were invited to join in on surprise birthday festivities for a friend. It turned out to be more fantastic than we could have hoped, in spite of our high expectations and my Health Blah aggro. There were old friends (comparatively speaking, back to the beginnings of my Twitter experience in 2007), but also new friends. And it takes only a tiny bit of bravery to say that, because I feel the bond of a shared experience, even if I didn’t get to spend much time with each of them.

And while I wish I had been less shy and gotten time with everyone, I prefer to err on the side of not being a pain in the ass (whenever possible). Besides, I cannot imagine being able to retain even ONE more memory or survive one more breathless and teary-eyed laughing fit. As I was trying to gather my scattered and grateful thoughts together to do a post commemorating the heart-container-filling weekend, something triggered a recurring thought, and I’ve decided to use our weekend setting to better noodle through what I keep returning to:

Human interaction is an unpredictable roll of the dice, as ALL parties imprint on shared experiences, depending on their mood, behavior and personality.

And in this case, it was tasty. 

Invited party guests were asked to keep it all quiet, both to keep the surprise from the honoree and to avoid hurting the feelings for those that space did not allow to include. It was excruciating not sharing more, but I will say that with the right combination of people, anything is possible.

The only downside was that we were “roughing it” without internet, cell signal or HD TV’s blasting ticker tape news over a reporter talking in another direction. An insulated bubble was in place around us and we were (primarily) our only distractions. Phone calls were not easily made, people (myself included) were not constantly reaching for their devices to check for messages, tweet, post or otherwise spend their time with a mental foot in the outside world. I found myself grateful to be disconnected with others that were more appreciative to be there than to waste any real time watching for connectivity, save those with important matters to address.

More frequently, people expressed gratitude for the experience and the efforts made by all to keep it truly special and just embraced it. There were some jokes and comments made, but I don’t remember anything other than general statements like, “Well, I’d check IMDB.com to tell you what else Ryan Gosling was in, but I can’t!” Which was typically met with laughter rather than kvetching.

In regards to my Health Blahs, the weekend reinforced in me, after several occurrences, that taking the time to meditate, nap or whatever else is needed to be on an even keel, MUST be done. Not only was my experience improved by trying to manage my neurological symptoms as they arose, but I found it easier to do so knowing that my “energy” or “mood” or whatever you choose to call it, could have a negative impact on the experience for others. 

When I wasn’t feeling well, I could easily take my leave and return recharged and ready for the next fascinating and/or giggling adventure. And although he offered, it would have been unkind to allow Chooch to come with me to give comfort when I was fine, just in pain or managing some symptom or another.  Better to leave he and the others to their fun and come back to watch or join in on the gaming, if and when I was feeling well enough to, for the greater enjoyment of us all.

But as for the impact of everyone’s mood, I think it’s the same kind of thing that all that advice from the Dog Whisperer and other animal trainers (as well as those that do Super Nanny/rescuing children in unhealthy situations) all boil down to — demonstrating how crappy behavior by those in charge directly impacts the behavior of their (fill in the blank). If your emotions are in conflict, you are likely create chaos in those around you. “Taking Five” or a “cigarette break” or a “mental health break” all fall into this as well. It’s a kindness to all, practicing self-care. This is kind of an epiphany for me, since I always put my energy into helping others and then straggling to keep up when things are in motion again. 

It also helped knowing that I wasn’t alone in the need to occasionally isolate myself. Others have similar health issues, anxiety issues, creative projects to work on, or whatevs, so I wasn’t mocked or teased for being a light weight. Or any other weight, for that matter. Even without a moat, I felt utterly safe.

I don’t know what my point is, other than total relief at having found myself in the middle of a group of people in a castle in the woods that were all of a similar mind, all being respectful of everyone else’s needs for the Greater Good. All being fascinating, extremely clever and open to the experience.

And, as always, the kindness demonstrated towards my husband always makes me appreciate the giver more, since I don’t think Chooch has revealed even the tiniest fraction of just how magnificent he really is. I’m an instant fan of anyone that gets that his Greatness. I mean, just look at him, for Glob’s sake!

Again, happy birthday to all we celebrated! Especially to my beloved Chooch, whose 42nd birthday was days later. Here’s to you, my love, and a birthday we’ll never forget.

(Photo taken by the stunningly talented and utterly captivating J.R. Blackwell. Many thanks for an image that we’ll treasure forever.)

Chooch Schubert at Ravenwood Castle in New Plymouth, OH. 03/09/13

Chooch Schubert at Ravenwood Castle in New Plymouth, OH. 03/09/13

 

Where’s My (Memory)?

Author: Vivid Muse  //  Category: Fibromyalgia, No Whining

Memory is an extremely problematic thing for me now. Even worse is the typical belief that if it were important enough to me, I would remember whatever it is. I submit the novel notion that I have no choice in what I remember and what is forgotten. It has nothing to do with my adoration or loathing of the subject.

In my great frustration, I glommed on to a new-to-me blog, Chronic Curve, linked by dear friend Andrea, who suffers fro many of the same health challenges as I. The blog is written by someone battling the effects of RA, which I do not have. I have Fibromyalgia. But the similarities in our situations are astonishing and I can’t stop reading the posts. 

So, memory, right. One of the posts has a number of pointers for those dealing with brain fog, fatigue, pain and cognitive problems. In reading it, I believe the tips useful for everyone, particularly those in a place where they must retain knowledge for current income or a diploma (future increased income). The learning techniques are fascinating, and I intend to try to remember to use them and report successes, if any. I’m already working on the Method of Loci to hopefully relieve a social issue of mine that has recently worsened. *fingers crossed*

If you do give it a try, report back? Pretty please?

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*

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!

Time Heals All Wounds? Meh.

Author: Vivid Muse  //  Category: Breast Cancer, Family, Mom, No Whining, Whining

Today is my Mom’s birthday.  Somehow, the math shows that she would have been 70. It doesn’t seem possible for her birthday and not her to make it to a new decade and new things that the public would allow for her to complain about. Aches, pains, less patience with the horrible people that you encounter during a random day. All the stuff society deafens an ear to, but doesn’t disrespect them for. She would have met her first two great-grandchildren and would be rubbing her granddaughter’s belly in anticipation of the one on the way. It’s unfathomable to me that these beloved children were never held in her arms. Surreal.

I was going to choose today as my first time intentionally not going to her grave on a significant day. (I certainly haven’t made it for every birthday, Mother’s Day, death day and Christmas, so don’t try and paint me with a Sainted Daughter brush. Illness or other issues sprang up and prevented me on those occasions that I did not make it. This is just the first time I made a decision to not go.)  Kind of a tip of the hat to all the progress I’ve made in therapy, by honoring her here instead of at her graveside, where it honors her death, not her life. But LT wants to go, so we’ll go.

As for the title of the post, I was reflecting on how we had to do math to figure out how old she would’ve been. And we did it several more times because the milestone aspect of the year was like a kick to the babymaker. So, I guess time “heals” all wounds, if you mean that you forget just enough to feel a bit guilty. I’ve also recently discovered that I couldn’t remember the final chemo (clinical trials) primary drug name that I believe shortened her life by at least 3 months, so good was it at destroying every living thing in its path, including most of my Mom’s remaining abilities. (No, I’m not litigious, she knew what she was signing up for. But I remain pissed.) I remember it now, but the fact that for even a few weeks, I couldn’t recall it –I was stunned.

Whether because of time or my terrible memory lapses, I’m forgetting things about her. Hopefully just the unpleasant things, but even if I do lose more, there are a kajillion wonderful and loving memories there. I really only need a few, preferably the ones with her arms squeezing me in a tight hug. That and her laughter are the things I miss most. I guess I’ve reverted back to being a little girl where she is concerned. It really is the stuff I miss most. Hugs and giggles from a woman long gone, but wow, did she leave a mark on those that loved her.

I write this guiltily, as I have loved ones that have lost their Moms, too. Some that have been grieving as long as I have and may still be in or just coming out of the denial phase and some who are just starting to fear the grief coming their way.

A little girl, far too young, that has found maternal nurturing in her step-mother, Thank God. I still miss her Mom, tho’, as our friendship was only just reaching full bloom. The young girl is immeasurably happy in her new life, and the memory of her mother is respected and kept alive.

A beloved friend of mine, with the loss of her Mom so fresh that I am at a loss on what to say and can only seemingly give physical comfort. I remember what that feels like when you have a bond as close as theirs, and I remember that nothing anyone could say could soften the blow. All I can suss out to do is hug her a lot and say, ‘I love you,’ as much as possible.

Another loved one, who lost her Mom around when I lost mine, is a Mom herself. She had a biopsy yesterday, so we are praying and waiting out test results. Additional prayers are welcome!

A childhood friend and former sister-in-law has had a recurrence of breast cancer, she’s a Mom of two and their Dad died previously this year. The cancer is spreading quick and I don’t even know what to pray for anymore, other than peace and no-pain for her and her family. Okay, and a miracle that cures her. (Dream big or go home.) My Mom loved this woman, too, and I know she’s fighting for those babies to keep their Mommy as long as possible.  Any positive energy you can spare her way would be immensely appreciated.

If the urge strikes, maybe you could throw out a prayer, energy, vibes, best wishes or whatever you feel appropriate to any or all I’ve listed, or to women or men in your life struggling with loss. It’s pretty fucking ridiculous that I know this many, but in truth, I know of even more fighting for their lives or supporting someone in the fight to survive. Having been a support system during such a time, I know it takes a toll. I’m sending out positive energy, strength and peace your way. And hey, don’t wait as long as I did to get help with all you are seeing/experiencing. It’s a real mother fucker to dig out from under years later.

Tonight we honor her by having dessert first. LT has requested an ice cream cake, and we are picking it up on our way back from Arlington Cemetery. Today we celebrate her life, laughter, joy and love for her family.

I’m the wee one in the middle of the picture. It’s the earliest I have been able to find of her holding me, with my adorable brother happily taking the Big Brother moniker.

The mimosas are indeed in bloom. Love you forever, Pocket Mom.

 

**Apologies for any spelling or grammatical errors. I don’t have it in me to proofread this.

Fave New Album Title

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

When Life Gives You Lemons, You Paint That Shit Gold by Atmosphere.

~~~
Naughty Bear (21 y.o. son) played a song or two from this album during our Philly trip, and I frakkin’ LOVE the album title. I don’t recall anything else about what the music was like or if I even liked it. Hell, I had to Google it to make sure I had it right.

I’m not saying I actually want to superficially improve something (painting) rather than attempting to truly improve something that I don’t like, for whatever reason. But I still love the title. It clearly and simple simply instructs you to take an action, rather than sitting around complaining and waiting for someone to fix it for you.

So, when life gives you lemons, you: mend it, replace it, get rid of it, break into the emergency funds, burn it, whatever — as appropriate, natch. But…

Manage that mischief!

Handle that shit!

Yeah, it’s definitely the commanding motivation to DO SOMETHING that I appreciate. Sometimes that will mean walking to the pharmacy for a pain pill prescription refill, allowing yourself to grieve something unpleasant to fight your way back to healthy mindset, taking a tiny space and making it work, getting on a plane, not getting on a plane– again, whatever.

And for <insert deity, deities, or complete lack of either)’s sake, COMMIT. Really really really COMMIT. Don’t waste anyone’s time by half-assing. FULL-ASS IT! Yes, you may still fail, but you failure shall be glorious and well-earned rather than something that just kinda happened to you.

So, um, yeah. That’s my fave new album title.

What I Learned When I Wasn’t Looking (in 2011)

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

I actually wrote this the day after Christmas and never remembered to post it. Other than some grammar corrections, I stand by the original, hastily written post:

  • I can almost always find joy no matter how tough things get. Even when I’m sure I’m surrounded by darkness, there is always light to be found if I squint really hard and tilt my head to the side. It’s very similar to the puppy dog head tilt, now that I think about it.
  • Similarly, laughter is always on the tip of my tongue, I just have to give myself permission to lose myself in the moment and experience it.
  • I noticed that I could see the search terms that folks use to find posts on my site. It seems I get traffic from folks looking for porn. I credit that to the Vivid company that puts out all the celebrity sex tapes. The grossest search term I’ve seen (so far) is “vividmommy and daughter sex”. Very freaky folks out there, so be sure and keep your eyes peeled for creepers like that.
  • In 2011, a very dear friend of mine had a drug of some sort slipped into her drink. We were not at a frat party, and this is something we are vigilant about already. We missed it, but luckily were there when it kicked in and were able to watch over and protect her. Watch your drinks, because rapists are still pulling that crap.
  • In spite of recent posts that would lead you to believe that people suck, there are many amazing and loving people in the world. Trust your instincts. You have them for a reason. With that advice you should be able to dodge the douche bags and find the awesome people.
  • I am a guilt sponge. I will absorb the guilt and shame of every bad event if I do not guard against it.
  • You are never too old to discover soul mates.
  • 20 is not the age when you can stop worrying about your kids. I’m starting to think I’ll still be worrying even when I’m in the ground.
  • People you know extremely well can surprise you. In good ways and in bad. Learn from the bad, but focus on the good. If they will let you.
  • Respect is earned. And has to be re-earned, sometimes.
  • I am not in control of the happiness of others. I can do acts of kindness for them, but they are responsible for their own lives. I am powerless.
  • Because I am unable to fully embrace the above, I now put the things I cannot control in a red balloon and watch it float away. Even if it takes 10 times.
  • Because the above doesn’t always work, I sometimes visualize bb’s getting shot through the aforementioned red balloons.
  • The giggles of children is medicinal and energizing. Okay, this one I already knew, but I’m happy to relearn it every chance I get.
  • Love is all you need.

Mental Health Day

Author: Vivid Muse  //  Category: Mental, No Whining, Uncategorized, Vestibular Migraine

Chooch and I spent Friday night through last night purging, packing and cleaning our home in anticipation of going to closing in the next 2 weeks. The non-stop work was driven by our fear that we would cause a delay in closing due to not being finished. We worked tirelessly and through exhaustion and countless complications.

Because we are moving to a much smaller living space, we have to do an extensive, two-step purge. Step one gets the house empty, while step two gets our remaining belongings moved out of storage (where the are now) and into our new home.

We are purging as we go, but as the family archivist/museum, I have thousands of photos (not an exaggeration) to sort through and choose which will be digitized and then do so. There are also family items that I will no longer have room for and that my family does not want. Those items I will photograph before selling/donating. Since I’m bearing the time and financial brunt of this process, it is taking a long time. Progress is halted for now as we have to prep for the move.

I cannot express how hard this has been, as it is the first true purge since my divorce. Even so, I am finding boxes that I packed over 20 years ago that need their fates determined. And of course, nearly every box has a ghost or two inside, either of my Mom, grandmother, my kids or my ex-husband. Finding the hand-made calendar that documented the last month of my Mom’s life was particularly hard.

We arrived on Friday night and intended to stay until the house was done. We were approximately 8 – 10 hours away from being done with clearing out and cleaning for the buyers when we finally received a tentative closing date. Instead of the beginning of March, as we expected, it looks as if we may not go to settlement until March 31st.

That revelation sapped our momentum, as it was already 7 pm and we were going to have to work through the night and then sleep a few hours and return to NextHome in the morning. We instead took our third cargo van full of donations and final trip to storage before returning  to our future home and beloved house mates.

After some brief but intensely awesome time with Tiny Expert and Feral Dancer (our housemates’ daughters), I went for my weekly therapy session. It was a great session, and just in time. She continues to support me giving back as good as I get, meaning if I am treated poorly I do not bend over backwards in hopes of getting better treatment. I put a period and move my energies to where they will matter and be appreciated.

If I am treated lovingly, I reciprocate. Now, I continue to do acts of kindness, but have learned that some will never appreciate or reciprocate. And I am getting to where I am fine with that. I know that if that were the sole requirement for my acts, that I would have a precious few to do those for. I allow myself to feel good in doing the act, rather than in holding my breath for any type of acknowledgement from the recipient.

I find that I still have a long way to go with accepting the now long-term limitations that I have. I now acknowledge that I cannot just jump in my car and go run errands, or make plans that involve me driving, or to even be the sole adult when caring for the young and extremely intelligent and active girls I live with for extended periods of time. As a result, it doesn’t ever feel like I contribute enough to those around me, especially my husband. I feel intense guilt when I am unable to do the things that I must do, let alone the things I want to do.

At the end of my session, my therapist always asks how I’m going to be kind to myself / what am I going to do for me every day? I don’t know why I never have an answer ready, and the question always takes me by surprise. I guess that’s proof I still need to go, huh?

All I can do is to continue to work around my limitations, put one foot in front of the other and never stop trying to be a better person. And only I get to define what that means.

*beep*bop*boop*boop*beeeeeyyyyouuuup*

The Grand Purge

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

I realize I haven’t posted here in awhile. I have multiple things to blame for this, primarily my brain fog. I honestly forget to write here because I am now journaling in a notebook and am lucky enough to have people around me all the time. Previously, the stuff I had no one to tell, or was too long for T/FB, would get posted here. I am actually doing more writing than I’ve done in decades, other than that November in 2010 (NaNoWriMo).

I will endeavor to make it a habit to do all my digitally, and if too personal simply won’t post it. It is exactly what my new life requires of me, after all.

Here’s the skinny: in the last month, my husband and I have come to truly embrace the changes occurring in our lives and to use the opportunities presented to really shake things up.

We have decided to shed the ancient artifacts of our lives, at least the ones that no longer “apply” and only keep the treasured items that mean so much to us that they merit space in our tiny new living space. We had initially decided on paying to store what doesn’t fit in our rooms, but have since decided to simplify. Everything.

For me, this means a hefty purge, and will only be keeping:

  • Items we have utilized within the last year;
  • Items we wish we had on hand within the last year, since most beloved items have been packed away while the house has been staged to sell;
  • Digital representations of beloved items whenever possible, obviously meaning photos, childhood art projects, anything flat OR taking photos of important items that no longer serve us. For example, I have a decorative planter that my mother received when I was born. I have no idea who sent it to her, nor has it seen the light of day more than twice in the last 30 years. With a *snap* of the camera and trip to a donation drop-off site, I will have easier access to the image of this item and someone else can have a planter for a new baby gift on the cheap;
  • Streamlining for efficiency of time and space are a HUGE focus of mine.
    • For the house, I keep visualizing the micro compact houses. It makes it easier to decide what is extraneous and what is necessary. No, our space isn’t quite that limited, so I’m keeping frivolous and decorative items that I feel enrich my daily experience;
    • For my life, minimizing, where I can, situations that stress me out because I typically have to retreat because of the physical impact, creating pain and chaos;
    • For my form, it means altering my daily rituals.
      • Not having the ability to work currently, I have been toying with two extremes involving my hair that will minimize the upkeep time – dreadlocks or cutting off all my hair. The hair buzzing will resolve multiple issues for me, including giving me a boost in available time immediately. It will also likely trigger the wish that I had done dreads first, so I will likely do dreads knowing that I intend to buzz them if they don’t “fit” my life. This is becoming more likely as my friend and I plan “Dread Play,” which is playing with my hair and determining if I can live with it. Plus, a friend, Jason, said he would refer to me as “The Dreaded Viv” and I don’t think I can pass that opportunity up! Seriously!
      • Continuing my hunt for foods that have a negative impact on me (food intolerance). Peanuts have proven to make me feel terrible. Although I’m not fully satisfied with my testing, to date it appears that I also have an intolerance to gluten and oats. Once I feel more sure, those foods will be banned and only ingested when I decide it tastes better than not possibly being in pain. High cost on that trade off, to be sure.
      • The above item, as well as the treatment for Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever that I was diagnosed with 2 weeks ago, should allow me to resume exercise. My joint pain has been excruciating, along with another new health issue, making exercise impossible, including walking for long distances. Talk about sucky! This time last year I was training for a half-marathon run. Now I just want to be able to run a mile again!

I have already encountered backlash from this new way of living: one item I offered to others caused them to question how much I valued the persons represented by the object. I was judged harshly, but I decided that it was more important to live the way I choose than to cart around a physical item (that I have a digital representation of) because it satisfied a need in another person. If I cave to the thinking of others, that adds about 10,000 more items for me to retain in boxes in storage. For those that judge, my standard response is either a shrug of my shoulders or a “Suck it up, cupcake.”

This has been the greatest discovery during this ultimate era of change – I find it easier to disregard other people’s opinions and to only do what makes sense for us. And if you think that means we don’t take in other people’s opinions you are wrong. We just won’t do as told out of obligation, but rather if it is the right fit or us. I’m thrilled that my husband and I are embracing this period of change and growth both individually and as a couple. It’s definitely strengthened us, and has given us much enjoyment as we question every “can’t” and “shouldn’t” that we encounter.

We have freedom in ways that I have never before experienced. I intend to make the most of it while I can.

What major changes have you implemented that have improved your life?