My Occasional Steed – A Wheelchair

Author: Vivid Muse  //  Category: Health, Soulful, Too Long For Twitter

It feels weird to make an announcement post of this, and it’s taken me days to write somewhat coherently (still fighting cooties), but I’m pushing publish as is. Apologies to thems that want one, but I’d rather do it this way than do it personally or have anyone surprised or worried, and have to console them, because that’s not what this is about.

It’s about accepting a tool and empowering myself with it, as I face an arduous drive to visit family in Texas and enjoying it as fully as physically possible.

But, you know me, it’s really about chasing giggles and my refusal to stop when my body fails but otherwise am well enough to go. And since I’m currently fighting cooties and feeling like an exposed raw nerve, I may as well be transparent before I change my mind, in case it helps someone else someday, somehow.

Similar to my previous post about using a walker at home, I’m not doing this until I feel like I have to, but with my health issues, including Fibromyalgia, I’ve long relied on wheelchairs at arrival gates at airports for the ability to get in motion faster. Being seated for the length of a flight with the other hazards to be navigated, I struggled and it slowed us down, so I started utilizing a provided wheelchair to stay out of the way of others and to make it to the next gate on time.* As health issues fluctuated, it’s become a tool I use with less hesitation and with Balticon coming…

So, last Labor Day weekend, 2015, I was in bad physical shape with lots of pain. I was also unwilling to miss out on a planned trip to the National Zoo, however, with family and dear friends. My choices were to either miss out and stay in bed OR swallow my pride and use a wheelchair loaned to me recently by dear friend, Lisa.

Our son, his wife, and their son were moving away the next month and I just didn’t want to miss a second with them. It was a glorious and happy, yet inconvenient day. And spending that time seated allowed me to physically feel well enough to attend a friend’s birthday celebration the next day, where Chooch and I introduced our grandson to friends that hadn’t met him yet. Although migraine stuff made me miss some of it, but, hey I was there! But I was embarrassed and it was so inconvenient for Chooch and the rest that I chose to kind of forget about it.

Until visiting friends earlier this month beyond The Wall, aka, the Canadian border. It was a delayed November anniversary prezzie to each other, delayed for passports and the promise of spring. We had stuff we wanted to see, but mainly visit with old and new friends we don’t often (or ever!) see in a less-chaotic-than-Balticon setting. We arrived Friday and did a bit of walking but retired early for recovery and fun the next day. I was fighting neurological stuff on Saturday until later in the evening when the physical pain and intense fatigue was hitting hard. We collapsed as soon as possible, but it was clear I pushed too hard while distracted with Niagara Falls, Toronto, a casino, a FrankenBurger King, butterflies, poutine, a romp through a Hollywood wax museum, but mainly enjoying our small group vibes in Buffalo + Canada to the point of addiction. They were all so kind and cautious about my health issues that it made them even more irresistible.

We had plans on Sunday to go to an aquarium, a lifelong passion of mine. It’s a shared passion and Chooch and I visit in every city, and drag along kids, whenever possible. But I found myself unable to walk beyond minimal needs after the excursions the days before, essentially because of my refusal to halt them earlier. I did the usual triage, heavy meds and leg elevation and soaks back at the hotel, but my body simply needed more recovery time before doing any walking and I was facing a day alone in the hotel room. In bed again, just a different place. Chooch would have offered to stay but I’d have kicked him out.

I was pretty devastated, so when it finally occurred to me, I scrambled to the Ripley’s Aquarium in Toronto website and yes, they lend wheelchairs for free on a first come, first serve basis. We weren’t even sure there would be a wheelchair available until we arrived and I really had no back up plan, other than napping in the car, but I was so swiftly and kindly accommodated that I only remember it as a blur of kindness until I found myself just inside the entrance – warm, seated comfortably with Chooch in front of the first sea life display as friends Nutty and Tek arrived. They’d had very little warning of my situation, but I know they are utterly accepting of my disabilities, and they were more kind and patient with the inherent inconvenience and delays.

I chose to go to the aquarium and risk embarrassment (few wheelchair riders seem to have cotton candy colored hair apparently, so I really stand out!) and am now choosing to share more pix, to show what I look like when in a chair and that I’m fine!  But more importantly, to show what I gain when I choose to swing from the chandeliers by bracing for stares and inconveniencing the HELL out of those that let me.

FACT: When you’re this age and this size, many adults assume you’re being lazy. It’s why I never go to the store if I need an electric cart. Nope. Parking in handicapped spots, legally, is bad enough.

But since I handily put away fears in face to face interactions, with family, friends, strangers and their kids, I’m also putting aside fear of ridicule by or accusations of sympathy and attention seeking. Becoming disabled at 40 with an invisible illness has been quite educational in teaching that no matter how intelligent, respected and seemingly kind people can be, in real life, that’s not always the case. Nothing stings quite as badly as when it’s someone I care about, but time heals all wounds, so don’t waste any more of my time if that’s your opinion. #HarshlyWorded? Can’t tell, #PainCranky.

A wheelchair won’t work every time to get me where I want/need to be, and that’s okay. I know I reach for every brass ring, and if others doubt that, I just will not waste energy on defending myself further.

I also hereby affirm that I stand by the pinky swear to a specific few about what to do if I find myself only mobile via a scooter thingy. A random sampling of statistics seem to show that for chronic conditions, once you get in, you don’t gain back full mobility again. Remind me to fight if I ever forget, but don’t judge me for using this tool, only as needed, I promise. *raises pinky* #YouKnowWhoYouAre

Clearly, it was a big deal for me, so I’m getting my own travel chair in case of need, to make it more possible for me to be out of my room and enjoy the special bonding time with far flung friends. Especially at the new, larger, more spread out convention hotel. If anyone has recommends for a lightweight travel wheelchair, plz and thank you link in the comments.

Here’s me, having no regrets, with wonderful people, out in the light of day. #NoShame #NoSadness #SilverLinings #ExtendedGiggleChasing

Click on the image below to go to the full Flickr album, if you like. That’s where the good stuff is… yup, my grandson at five months old, last Labor Day weekend at the zoo.

Giggles on Wheels

*For those that may be now considering a wheelchair for travel, I’m writing another post with my views in the next few days.

New Nest!

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

 

Chooch and I have a wonderful opportunity and we will be moving at the end of this month to a new home we are making with Eldest/Naughty Bear/M and his wife, our daughter(-in-law), who is too cool to be believable. Seriously, she can even herd Eldest, it’s glorious!

I can’t express how excited I am to be able to see them so often and to be there when Little Bear comes home from the hospital, safe in their arms at the end of March.

We have not yet picked out the next place, but because hubby’s duty station was changed (again!) from Reston to DC, we are looking at MD for a shorter commute for Chooch.

And we’ll finally be able to live in a place that, going in the door, we can ensure accommodates my physical debilities / Health Blahs. It sucks not being able to see daylight (one window in our comfy basement) or go to the kitchen or ask others to let Kaylee out for potty breaks. We are being super picky about those little comforts in the hopes of streamlining things for everyone, after all.

I’m saddened to leave Ashburn after calling this home for three years and surviving oh, so much, while we battened down the hatches against sadness, illness and death and helped each other heal many owies. We happily shared our lives, laughter, experiences, company, and our children, with our former and remaining Housies. My ears will always ring with the remembered trusting giggles and madcap adventures.

I can’t imagine not seeing Jen’s Wee Flowers as often as we do, and to miss out on all the fun as we have watch them grow since summer of 2010. But I also know that our bonds and love will survive. We’ve been through too much and won’t allow our friendships to die now. I can’t wait until we gather again to continue our baking traditions after the move.

I’ll also miss her father, grumpy as he is, for I love him, too. He’s one of the few people that you always know EXACTLY where you stand with him and he doesn’t lie or bullshit. I love that in people. Honesty is the information I seek, not sugar-coated air. Oh, and for always letting our dog live after eating his stuff. Sandwiches, pizza slices, cheese, crackers and dentures. #DamnDog

And it’s a big deal for me that I’ll be living out of Virginia (barely) for the first time since 1987, when I moved here from Central Texas. The few family members that remain live near enough to visit, although we are still much farther from Chooch’s son than we’d hoped to be, with this move. We were shooting for the stars, but the employment situation where our youngest sweet son is makes it impossible, but only for now.

But straight ahead?

New roads, new home, new hearts under our roof, new chapter.

Bring it on.

A Loss, A Wedding, A Baby and a Donate Button

Author: Vivid Muse  //  Category: Hauntings, Kids, Soulful, Too Long For Twitter, Whining

WARNING – EDITED but still rough draft, LMAO!!!
*Note, I have no time for spell-check. Apologies, I’m doing my best. Derp!

THE LOSS

Patrick G. Holyfield, passed away on August 20, 2014. Less than a month after I knew that long-growing cancer had spread to a secondary organ. Less than 2 months since he started getting tests done (beginning of July) because he wasn’t “feeling well” and had “fatigue.”

He chose to leave this world on his own terms, fighting for those he loved, especially his children. His bravery was and remains EPIC in my mind.

 

*You can click anywhere above this note to go to the GoFundMe.com/PGFund to make a donation.

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

THE WEDDING DAY

After a mad dash to the Sonic for a grape slushie and a greasy burger, we went next door to Super Target, because it had everything on my list. With great glee I spent too much money because we were rushing to go home and look glamorous for my son and new DiL.

I didn’t look glamorous, here’s the only pic I took of myself. I wore a Target dress thing with purple and green, (my fave colors in the world). I only had foundation, blush and mascara on and looked like I’d been crying for a month, which I have. Every unattractive thing about me, is my badge of honor for how I was able to pull it together that fast. Because Love AND

And I wore the most badass shoes I could find. Gal and Eldest and Chooch, they know why already — because of the shoes Gal wore the first time we met.

They were surrounded by the six people they invited that could attend, and even the officiant clearly knew Eldest for a long time, somehow.

The service was beautiful. Perfect, even.

They spontaneously had it on a bridge, with his Dad’s parents, my sister and her husband, the officiant and his wife. Because I had just seen a family come together for a man they loved. It was… Precisely So. Perfection. Accidentally more awesome than a Royal Wedding.

I’ve asked the officiant for the readings he did, as part of the perfect soundtrack of the day. Every word was bonding them and healing me.

My beautiful and badass daughter is codename: Galadriel, Gal for shorter typing, lol.

Eldest may even be Naughty Bear again, since now we have another bear to love on. Not sure yet.

Sidebar: I didn’t even take pix. Um, yeah… ME. Too much joy, I couldn’t hold my camera phone. But my former Mother-in-Law had a camera at the ready and was snapping pix the whole time. I’m finding comfort in patterns, rather than saying “It’s the coincidences that are driving me crazy.” I can’t wait to see the pix she took, whenever I see them.  More on why htey had to rush off, later.

Apologies and gratitude to J.R. Blackwell. We scheduled to take engagement pix in June or July (?), when last week, they decided to do the wedding Sunday because they didn’t want to spend money renewing the Marriage License and it was about to expire.

I never even had time to contact J.R. to change the long planned shoot and ask if she’d be able to do a 6 pm wedding. I knew she couldn’t (or shouldn’t try), so I’m glad I never got to ask. It was impossible for me to wrangle the details. And this made it all about my kids, which they deserved.

Praise Baby Jusus that they did! To survive this, I am crying, breaking down and grieving. I got to laugh and love and cry from joy.

I shall contact you soon, J.R. I want, if there’s a way, to do their shoot in Philly. Eldest, Chooch and I love that city, partly because of those we love that live there. Also, because we want to share Philly (and you guys!) with Our Gal.

THE BABY

The wedding was LONG planned and long-delayed when they discovered the pregnancy, and they went (and made us go) on the cheap. Because a baby is coming, and they know what that means — money and lots of work.

If a plane crashes on my home and I die today, it will be knowing my Eldest son is happy in love. Son “LT” started his senior year of high school with plans laid for collete. “Crazy J” who needs a new codename now that he’s ten + years older than when I assigned that code name. All three sons need to pick new ones, I suppose.

All this to say that Little Blessings are all we need to survive, somehow.

It was true when in battle mode and now it’s true in recovery mode.

It is appreciated beyond words.

It is known.

And at midnight, pulling in front of my sister’s house the night before the wedding, my Grand Baby countdown to delivery app (Fuck yeah, I have one!) turned our little raspberry into a Green Olive.

New marriage.

New life.

New love.

Hope.

#BecauseLove
#BecausePGHolyfield
#BecauseLifeIsFragile

 

THE DONATE BUTTON TO DONATE TO CHOOCH AND VIV FOR FUND RECOUPING FOR FUTURE EVENTS HONORING Patrick G. Holyfield’s Children’s Trust.

Note: Anything left after that (HA!) will go to the ramp up of the newly revitalized biz, that Chooch will have to head, to get all these creative ideas out in the world. Vivid Muse Creations, LLC is open for biz, we just have our hands full right now to do work for payment. If you’d like to help but can’t, in an email addy to be provided soon, you can send offers of paid work, when we can get to it, in roughly 3 months to start. Maybe. It depends on what the Holyfield and our own families need from us at this time, as Patrick has inspired raw despair and the result is that lots of relationships in my own life are being healed. It’s a PG Miracle.

When I started the biz, it was completely inspired by the Podisphere and all the unrecognized (by the ‘Verse) creative geniuses. It was to be a harbor for those with creative talent that want to get their books published.

That was 2011. This is 2014.
Chooch and I recently decided to pull the plug on VMC, LLC, since he’s working so hard and can no longer do even the small amount of work coming in from two long-time customers. We were at our max, this was months ago, so never closed the business.

Now, we are considering opening it back up. The harbor needs some construction, but with the help of good people with leet skillz, I hope to make this a business that allows creatitivity to flourish and blossom and inspire others, the way the Balticon/Podisphere/Twitter & FB families inspired me to be brave enough to not only open it, not only promote it (humbly, you know me.), but broadcast it for the world to know. My big challenge to Myself.

3 Year Old Girl Dancing to Sia’s Song, “Chandelier”

Author: Vivid Muse  //  Category: Health, Music, No Whining, Soulful

I think it’s safe to say I’m at least mildly obsessed with this song and have a sisterly crush on the artist herself, at this point. I’ve already posted once about this song, have another half written in my head, but since I just came across this YouTube vid, tweeted from @Sia’s verified twitter account, I had to stop and share immediately. It now has me wanting to play Sia’s video for our Wee Flowers (housemate Jen’s daughters, nearly ages 7 and 5), since they love to dance so much.

It would be bittersweet, because of their skill and epic cuteness and the downer reason that is the reason  I relate to the lyrics so much. Coming from the aspect of being broken physically to the point that physical or even emotional stress can trigger the worst of my Health Blahs’ symptoms, as I explained previously, the efforts I have to take to go out and about in public can be pretty Herculean. That means, when I am able to get out and am having fun, I typically resort to any means necessary to stay in motion and keep on making memories.

And, no, it’s not about the alcohol, other than as a metaphor (and because I used to be able to drink socially before recent medications) for the assumption people make about me and how I always have to be altered by medication to get out of isolation and to where people are. It’s not like or want, it’s need and must. I am no alcoholic, never have been. I used to drink socially, and now if I have more than one or two drinks, I risk immediate migraines and life-threatening liver damage, because of the work my liver has to already do for all the meds. Not looking to die quite yet.

Enjoy the cuteness! I completely adore the singer, more on why I relate so much later, but it totally plays to my desire to live vicariously through those that can do the things I wish I could do.

To view the original music video, you can view it here. It’s what the 3 yo is dancing to.

Sia’s Chandelier, Because “Tomorrow” is Recovery Day

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

 

Chandelier by Sia

Just saw this video and was drawn out of hunting airline bargains for T’s summer visit and tha socialz from Balticon 48. The song grabbed me and then the video compelled me to rewatch from the beginning, and WOW does it resonate with me! Only after the second viewing, with tears running down my eyes, did I realize I should read the lyrics because I was clearly having a visceral reaction, so I decided to find them and when it resonated further, I chose to steal a selfish moment for this post.

The next thought, thanks to my “distortion filter” (per T-Pain, my nickname for my therapist)? What if I had continued in dance instead of wussing out when the toe shoes came out? Maybe staying in motion would have prevented at least SOME of my health issues. Did I cause or worsen my current and chronic pain conditions? Or did I prevent an earlier onset? Was I too undisciplined for too long? Luckily, since I’ll likely never know the answer, I’m letting the blame and guilt go on that since I can’t go back in time to fix it.

I feel a physical yearning, a hardly irrepressible urge to leap up and start dancing (I was sort of a dancer in my younger days.). I have to immediately squelch it because of Health Blahs. It resonated so deeply that I’m sharing both the original video, the artist’s lyric video and the lyrics, in case you don’t want the data hit to watch the videos.

Note that I specifically interpret “tomorrow” as what I call The Reckoning, or recovery day(s) I’m “prescribed” to take after stressful periods. Good stress or bad stress, emotional or physical, it doesn’t matter the type of stress or stressor, they all deplete my body to the point I can’t control it. Adrenaline and cabin-fever-driven needs to spend time in the sunshine (or moonlight) with friends and/or family are my favorite of all the stressors.

“Chandelier”
by Sia

Party girls don’t get hurt
Can’t feel anything, when will I learn
I push it down, push it down
I’m the one “for a good time call”
Phone’s blowin’ up, ringin’ my doorbell
I feel the love, feel the love
1, 2, 3 1, 2, 3 drink
1, 2, 3 1, 2, 3 drink
1, 2, 3 1, 2, 3 drink
Throw ’em back, till I lose countI’m gonna swing from the chandelier, from the chandelier
I’m gonna live like tomorrow doesn’t exist
Like it doesn’t exist
I’m gonna fly like a bird through the night, feel my tears as they dry
I’m gonna swing from the chandelier, from the chandelierAnd I’m holding on for dear life, won’t look down won’t open my eyes
Keep my glass full until morning light, ’cause I’m just holding on for tonight
Help me, I’m holding on for dear life, won’t look down won’t open my eyes
Keep my glass full until morning light, ’cause I’m just holding on for tonight
On for tonight

Sun is up, I’m a mess
Gotta get out now, gotta run from this
Here comes the shame, here comes the shame

1, 2, 3 1, 2, 3 drink
1, 2, 3 1, 2, 3 drink
1, 2, 3 1, 2, 3 drink

Throw ’em back till I lose count

I’m gonna swing from the chandelier, from the chandelier
I’m gonna live like tomorrow doesn’t exist
Like it doesn’t exist
I’m gonna fly like a bird through the night, feel my tears as they dry
I’m gonna swing from the chandelier, from the chandelier

And I’m holding on for dear life, won’t look down won’t open my eyes
Keep my glass full until morning light, ’cause I’m just holding on for tonight
Help me, I’m holding on for dear life, won’t look down won’t open my eyes
Keep my glass full until morning light, ’cause I’m just holding on for tonight
On for tonight
On for tonight
‘Cause I’m just holding on for tonight
Oh I’m just holding on for tonight
On for tonight
On for tonight
‘Cause I’m just holding on for tonight
‘Cause I’m just holding on for tonight
Oh I’m just holding on for tonight
On for tonight
On for tonight

 

And NO. I’m not relating “drink” to alcohol. I’m referring to all the tricks I use and the “mask” I try so hard to use to hide it when the pain gets overwhelming because it’s such a downer for those around me.  Besides, I have to take heavy medication to be able to leave the house/hotel room at all, and it makes me feel just as wasted as anything. It’s just without the pesky side effect of triggering my death by adding alcohol to prescription medications. You know it’s serious when I repeatedly turn down anything but a sip from Alchemist Extraordinaire, John Taylor Williams, aka @wryneckstudio on Twitter.

Instead of “drinks” or alcohol, I’m actually referring to fun, friends, love, giggles and adrenaline, and what I choose to sacrifice with a “rally hour (or 2)” for less resting and more socializing or for actually being coherent for the Beyond the Wall Live! show at Balticon and actually remembering the experience this year through a better balance with my medication and minimal alcohol, if any.

(Tip: Carry a full drink with you to prevent friends from surprise-buying you old faves. It seems to only occur to people when you have an empty glass! I have such generous friends that this is actually a problem!)

Miss you already, Balticonners, and all the chandeliers to swing from. <3

Chandelier by Sia
(Video with lyrics)

Confusion and Communication

Author: Vivid Muse  //  Category: Soulful, Too Long For Twitter

From Facebook

The first half, I totally agree. When people, circumstances or both dry up all the kindness out of you, always be kind to yourself first, until you feel back in balance there again, IF you ever do. Think of the air mask on an airplane safety schtick, they instruct you to secure yourself so that you can provide assistance to others. If you do the 2 kids first, you may not get to the second kid OR yourself. How’s that image for your kids to grow up with after you die? 

But the second half seems passive aggressive for me. My point being: I do not like withholding when others do it to me, nor do I like to do it to others. Fear of rejection plays into the timing (usually delayed), but dammit, I’m human. Sometimes I am simply wrung out and I struggle to react, no matter how powerful what I am presented with is. For various reasons, many of them relationship based, I’m exhausted from self-inflicted and collateral damage from Other People’s Drama and am taking a vacation from those people. It’s a necessity if the ebb and flow of our relationship will ever flow again.

I dunno, am I thinking too hard? I’ve been working on healing myself to be able to be kinder in our shared world and to smooth the paths of others, wherever possible. It’s not a religious thing, it’s a philosophical thing. I don’t see a difference in praying the Catholic rosary vs. a Buddhist chant vs. guided imagery vs. tranquilly watching birds eating birdseed vs. a conversation with a deceased beloved vs. a song that makes you THAT happy. A mini spa-day for the soul, invigorating you for your next foray into the breach. 

And some things I don’t share from these feeds for various reasons, on seeking a kind and peaceful path (crucial for neurological symptom management, YMMV), but with this one I am stuck. Is Mandy subtly attacking by withholding? Trying to “teach someone a lesson?” That is a kindness to no one. If stinky stuff doesn’t get aired, it will always be stinky. TRUST ya girl on that one.

 (And as we all know the Silence will fall.)

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.

 

Do Me A Solid?

Author: Vivid Muse  //  Category: Breast Cancer, Breast Health, No Whining, Soulful

So, I like boobs and I’m guessing you do, too. Because of this common bond, I’m going to ask the following favors of you:

1) Get a mammogram if advised or, if not advised (male or too young), encourage a woman that has been putting it off to get one.
2) Only buy pink crap in October if you are buying it anyways. Otherwise, donate the money directly to a worthy cause. Then 100% of your money will go to the charity, instead of 2%.
3) Do a monthly breast screening, females and males. In the shower, with soap, grope yourself. Men get it, too. And boys, check out your danglies while you’re at it!
4) Realize that you are your own hero in cancer prevention, breast or otherwise. If you see something suspicious, regardless of where it is, GET IT CHECKED OUT!

I personally thank you for following the above steps, if you choose to. ♥

Unlike my FB and G+ posts, I’m going to add an additional favor:
Please give a moment of thought as to whether or not you have anything you would like to voice in my Breast Cancer Anthology. I have a few amazing works already, and have been promised more. I would love to include more writing, however, including images. If you are afraid you will not make it into the book, write it and send it along anyways. Sometimes sending things out into the world can be very cathartic. Also, you can submit as Anonymous, although, if selected, it adds a level of complication for the compensation.

Rules of Etiquette, Lesson Five

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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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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