Don’t Tell Me My Reality – Two Furloughs and Another Possible

Author: Vivid Muse  //  Category: /rant/, Too Long For Twitter, Work

I have so very much to say on others not knowing me well enough to tell my reality, whether it’s to me or behind my back. For now, I’ll focus on the possible furlough because I’m hot pissed about it as we are currently running various personal financial  scenarios with our crystal ball, so it probably won’t make much sense but I’ll feel better. (Identified- I regularly forget/drop/lose nouns when communicating. It’s very frustrating for me, at least as much as those bothering to try to understand what I’m saying.)

I’ve been too sick to tune in to the news today, so pardon my alarm, but if there is no Continuing Resolution signed for the budget and the gov’t shutdown/standoff happens, info on hardship assistance during that time is a struggle, so PLEASE share any you find. I’m adding links that we’ve gathered in preparation for the worst case scenario. (Links at bottom of page.)

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I’ve run back  to my blog because Facebook is too ridiculous.

I’m glad the rest of the country is keeping their eyes on the prize by focusing their intelligence and energy on the silly political reindeer games instead of making personal attacks on me and others living on the front lines of this fiscal crisis.

Oh, wait… that is what’s happening.
Well played, politicians, but… America?
I thought we had something special, but this is not the country I was told it was growing up. How can I be proud of my fellow citizens, with so much hate, judgment and cruelty — without even the ability to understand that they don’t understand, because they are not here trying to survive it.

They sit above us, knowing all, including that the food trucks and the restaurants in the region will lose their customers and that the nation’s capital is like a ghost town. Shopping for Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas will be impacted. Travel is expensive, so airlines will be impacted.

Thank goodness for their superiority in their distant lack of understanding, telling me that “we will be fine.”

Either give me your check and I’ll pay you back when hubby gets paid or acknowledge that you and I don’t have a problem with each other.

The problem is in our country’s leadership.

On both “sides of the aisle” it should have been curtailed long ago. The last example is too recent. The biggest complaint was about National Parks and Monuments, and it seems they’ve seen a workaround for that. No worries, your trip to see the big green lady in New York won’t be a waste of your time.

But what will trigger the end of a possible shut-down this time, when it seems they are literally and specifically targeting your government’s civil servants. Why? Because we have been turned in to punchlines by comedians and politicians for decades. I’m not willing to jump in a plane and kill a bunch of people in a war, not even for my country. Without a draft, that’s my choice. But I did serve my country in several different Departments of the Federal Government and all I can say is shame on all of you that swallow it so eagerly. I worked damn hard and the stress is immense when working for DoD, so fuck you very kindly.

We are Americans. We are just like you, with families and bills and insurance payments and have needs like toothpaste, milk and toilet paper. Hopefully the lights, water and heat won’t get turned off for any houses with young families in them.

The politicians hope this time they can again hurt us all for strategy, because if they have National Parks staying funded and open, not enough Americans will notice this time and they won’t get blamed.

It’s embarrassing that these are the people we chose to be in charge, with such a recent lesson clearly unlearned.

And when you laugh at jokes about Feds, you’re laughing at my husband and I. And we both had at least one parent and spouse and/or sibling that work(ed) VERY HARD in our libraries, Federal contract purchasing and oversight, Post-Secondary education, Native Americans, banks, and other positions that support military members fighting for our country and for our fellow citizens. And it’s a shitty work environment, my friends. Unless you are so high up that you make decisions like these, while removed from reality.

For us, serving our country in this capacity is more than a paycheck, it’s a family tradition, so don’t minimize us. When you mock our reality, you’re mocking my Mom, my Mom-in-Law, my sister, brother and father, and other family, along with me and my husband. Every generation has been represented in the military, as well.

Come pay our bills, because for us, it’s not just a news story on our television. It’s the child support we pay; the rent check; utilities; medicine; doctor appointments; medical expenses; fuel and tolls for Chooch to go to work, unpaid; my own inability to earn an income after countless tries, so far.

There are so many that are far worse off than us, from the loss of medical funding providing medication and treatment that is literally keeping people alive; single parents with small children in the house and having to pay for daycare, groceries and their needs while forced to work, if mission essential. If not mission essential, you save on daycare, but you still freak out on feeding your kids.

Is this really the country we want to be? The Incorporated States of America? Because that’s where our leadership is taking us and holding our countries efficiency and budget hostage for their personal politcal chess games.

The cruelty to the poor, young and weak is nowhere near what the Founding Fathers had in mind and yet we still use their words as weapons to further injure the “huddled masses.” Only puppets blindly follow puppet masters, and that’s not the country that I grew up in.

Remember that when next visiting the statue of liberty, which it sounds like will be open for tourists, but closed for employees already here, with families, seeking to earn their income, raise their families and pay their bills.

It’s the new American dream. Survival, please?

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Here are 2 few things I found for Chooch to read up on, hopefully it is unnecessary.
*fingers crossed*belts tightening*

Washington Post – A government shutdown: What federal employees need to know about their pay and benefits

2015 Shutdown Furlough Guide

 

 

 

Talk Like an Open Book: My Walker

Author: Vivid Muse  //  Category: Convention Attendance, Health, Too Long For Twitter, Whining

I planned to post this two and a half months ago. I wanted to post it before Balticon for friends that would see it in our room, as warning of sorts. I know my haircut seemed rash for some reason, after years of talking about cutting it all off. Here’s some warning on this one for future visitors to #TheSeuss (our silly nickname for our home.)

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My General Practitioner prescribed something last winter(? Spring?) that I am only now finally coming to terms with enough to post publicly — a walker. Even after the daily struggles that I described for basic self-care, let alone toning and cardio and strengthening exercise, the determination somehow still felt like an accusation and led to a variety of ridiculous thoughts. I joke about living a #VealLife, but denied the need for a walker, in spite of:

  • Using a cane/sturdy parasol for years. They either compensate for dizziness; strength; pain management; removing cob webs from my sometimes slow moving brain; and hooking stuff to pull toward me when necessities are slightly out of reach.
  • Using braces and wraps for a decade. The trigger for their use was over a decade ago and, really, it took a particularly long time to recover from a sprained ankle while dizzy on stairs in December of 2012. I’m now also alternating compression gloves (also a gift from Heather, they help so much!) and various braces to help with hand joint pain (the pain is similar to broken bones, at its worst) and carpal tunnel. They are necessary for any keyboard work, chores or for holding our sweet Little Bear.
  • For years now, when traveling on public transportation, I have been using all the disabled services available. I feel I’m entitled to since I’m also traveling with my handicap placard. Whether it’s seating on a bus or a requesting a waiting wheelchair after getting off of a plane after hours of my joints stiffening at high altitude (a particularly nasty combo). I’ve literally gone from running in 5k’s and training for a half-marathon in 2011, to now simply hoping to survive the luxury of travel beyond a 3 hour radius. (But that’s a whole ‘nother post.)
  • My refusal of scooters as an option to the extent that I have long told loved ones that if they ever saw me in a scooter that they have to knock me out out of it and make me wrestle my way back onto it, to stay strong. Meaning, I could use it, but only when I HAD to. And I had to be ready to demonstrate that I hadn’t given up the fight, not yet. And if I had given up, it would remind me that there still is a fight to be had, every day.

But… a walker?

My heart sank, as it felt a bit like going backwards so many more steps than having to stop running and then regular cardio exercise. But she explained that it would make me more able to move around with the further stability for my continual dizziness as well as balanced support for my lower body. For years now, I am continually switching sides because of the flare up cause by stress on one side or the other, for using the cane. It would lead to more movement, knowing I was supported no matter which symptom had me debilitated, or chose to hit me while crossing a room.

Reminder: None of my illness/conditions are degenerative or terminal. And I only really remember telling a handful of trusted friends, venting fear of what it might be signalling – the next phase in body FAIL. I was already lost in the maze of options of which type would be perfect for me and was frustrated and venting to Heather, an extremely supportive friend, who literally jumped in at offering not only moral support but … a brand new walker. It was one of my first conversations and I was griping and whining, I don’t want to use one and I can’t afford one anyways and making all the excuses possible not to sink to that use.

Heather said that there was an unused walker, a basic one with the tags still on it and everything, back at her home for a family member that ended up not needing it and they’d just never gotten rid of it. Knowing that the lower end was $50+ after a previous Amazon session, I gratefully accepted the gift after the briefest of hesitations. It happened so fast and was so generous, that it made me accept the need and begin using it. In hindsight, I guess I was ready to use one before I knew it.

Boosters at the ready.

I set it up in our bedroom and then didn’t touch it for months. I had to stare it down and get used it, and to measure if I thought it would help move more.

Then, I spontaneously put it next to the bed one night last fall after laying in morning “stores” (breakfast, drink, pills, cane), in the hopes that maybe the first and most painful steps of the day would have me, at least, better supported than the cane gave with the joint pain I had. I just dove in and didn’t think about what it meant.

It was the difference between crawling to the bathroom and walking, granting much peace. Yup, crawling. It’s that bad and you should know that about me. This is me, now and I use it throughout the day in our bedroom.

In the months since then, it’s been a great relief to have it, next to my bed, every morning. I haven’t left the top floor of our home with one, yet. I only recently have allowed myself to assess and decide I need to pass that milestone, too, which means getting a 2nd one for the main floor. It’s where much of my Daughter and Grandson spend the daytime hours and where I’m of my most use as a human baby monitor, when I’m able.

And as a few very kind people know, I had it at Balticon. There are some folks that kept its presence private and secret, after I voiced my embarrassment, or didn’t have to, and they have my thanks for their discretion. It did make the difference to me getting out of the room or having any productivity in our room when I wasn’t able to leave it.

The following week, I asked my Rheumatologist about the weight of it and differences, after she was so happy to hear my motion has indeed increased with the use of the walker in the bedroom. She agreed that I need something lighter because of my Fibromyalgia “hot spots” for the main level of the house making it more of a challenge to use. And because on days I’ll need it, I sure as hell wouldn’t be able to get the one I have downstairs without aid and I’m shopping for a wheeled option for downstairs. Sexy, I know, but better to know before you visit.

Our oldest son and wife are living with us, and they and my husband are kind to me and I haven’t had to make that move, yet. For that, I’m exceedingly grateful (although not nearly good enough at showing it), because it also allows me to “watch” Little Bear from the comfortable nest of my bed/desk/dining table/sofa in our bedroom. Chooch or Gal are always on the same floor with me, so if any needs arise that I can’t cover still have him safe, but they are free to roam.

I’m the baby monitor, when I’m able to be one, watching him while he sleeps if nothing else. Lifting him, now at 13.3 pounds and two months old, is a painful struggle, but the Baby Bjorn helps, although rarely after getting him in it with assistance. Otherwise, I only carry him a few feet at a time and never on the stairs. Ever. I’m terrible on the stairs now.

Now, as was offered by a dear friend for my cane when I first got it years ago, I could dress my walker(s) up and make it snazzy, but I’ve decided I like the medical/functional appearance of it. It’s a constant reminder that it’s not an accessory, it’s a tool to strengthen my body, and to be used only as needed, not to the extent of my tendency recently towards laziness from fatigue.

I use my current, hefty and solid gifted walker next to my bed, for stretching and light exercise, balance and strength boosting, as little as it is. It’s not as much as other friends have/are doing in the aftermath since brother-from-another-mother P.G. Holydfield’s passing last August. But I’m still fighting where I can, damn it. I have realistic goals that I aspire to so I can make them and feel empowered to aspire to more. That’s my process.

And with all the added stress of moving in difficult times, weight gain has hit this Future Fat Granny. I’m doing ok with little changes and minimizing calories and increasing nutrition in my sustenance (smoothies for TMJ relief). But motion is still so painful that my vascular is not as cardio as it once was. Or whatever.

I’ve got goals for this year, and I need to lose some of the grief and uber nesting weight gain and get as strong as many of my friends are getting, as my body allows. There won’t be a race, but there will be health improvement.

Okay, so, yes, I actually have challenged a few folks to a race to age 100, including my former M-i-L on my Son’s wedding day. She has a lead on me, which she pointed out, and I told her something along the lines of hoping I was there to celebrate it with her. Sincerely. She’s a wonderful grandmother to my sons and I’m so grateful for that.

April 7, 2015

Rushed hospital photos by professional photog. Epic cuteness, and here’s my fave with us.

The health goals are there, and post-Balticon 2015, with the last memorial we have promised to throw for our P.G. is done. So many planned things were not done, but that was because I aimed too high. Those things are stashed away in the hopes we (SpecFicMedia.com) get to throw next year’s New Media Party.

Lookit, with multiple setbacks, thanks to the chaos of our rental home and such, I didn’t go as strong into grand-parenting as I’d hoped. But I can get moving a lot easier with the walker, and once I’m in motion, I keep going until I can’t anymore. Which is, admittedly, not very far, but as satisfying as I can get for now, newly dedicated to enlarge my route beyond the bedroom, first floor and home.

The walker has improved my motion to be less of a burden, and so my new friend stays so that I can try and keep up with all the wonder and surprise that the future holds.

 

 

Don’t Be “That Guy/Girl” at Balticon, M’kay?

Author: Vivid Muse  //  Category: Convention Attendance, Cool Links / Clicky Linky, Friends, No Whining, Too Long For Twitter

Balticon folks, please look over the Harassment Policy posted on the Baltimore Science Fiction Society site.

There have been issues in previous years, as most folks know. I like to think we all want to gather and have fun together with folks that genuinely share interests, but either alcohol or missed social cues can and have created issues in the past.

Sadly, not everyone realizes how their actions can be seen as harassment. Consider reading this over to ensure you don’t cause upset to your fellow con-goers AND/OR how to handle behavior you deem as harassment you see or experience.

Also, if you see someone giving cues that there are in need of “rescue” please consider giving a distraction and/or exit assist. If you are not comfortable, please summon assistance as instructed in the policy. (Yup, gonna make you click that link and read it. #CliffHanger

Of note:
Other people or their personal effects should not be touched–this includes hair, clothing, assistive devices, bags, and service animals–without an express invitation.

If physical contact is wished, express this verbally or with a friendly gesture, and do not proceed without a positive verbal or physical response.

Holding a hand out for a handshake and waiting for the other person to reciprocate is good example.”

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After seeing hotel renovations last week, I say this can be a fantastic experience yet again as our community gathers together to share, learn, contribute and geek out with our dice out!

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

Medical Update (FAIL)

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

New medication FAIL and I’m back to square one on Fibromyalgia relief and my neurologist won’t give me anything for the migraines. The Fibro meds worsen them and they also increase the frequency of them. Yes, he was right to, but now I am back to periods of time where I’m losing my mind a bit, to the persistent pain. I can’t work, watch tv, cook, bear light or noise and frequently the pain itself is so bad I can’t sleep. Over the last several years, having Soma was one of the very few thing that kept me sane and away from “dark places.” I could end the pain. I would be knocked out for half a day and useless for the other half, but the pain would stop for a little while. Long enough, to recharge for the next round.

I halted the latest medication last week, Cymbalta. The side effects were, let’s say, far ranging and intense. As bad or worse than the Nucynta, which I didn’t think would be possible. I’m not trying to be melodramatic, but the resulting feeling was akin to post-chemotherapy. Even when taking into account what August and September were for me both  emotionally and physically, with my emotional/neuro triggers wreaking havoc on my physical pain and fatigue and nausea and dizziness and migraines, blah, blah, blah.

I had continued on the new meds, and doubled it as instructed. Last week or so, I halted it, because I cannot keep pumping that poison into my body when it’s not helping any of my symptoms and worsening others to the point of being unable to leave bed for anything but the bathroom, some days.

When I see my Rheumatologist again and make the next plan, I will follow-up again with the Neuro to look at migraine relief. I trust him, as he’s done right by me from the start. Even when he pissed me off by taking away my “nuclear option” for maddening and dark days of pain that won’t release, he only did it because I could die if I don’t take precautions on what I mix them with, so I really shouldn’t be mad at him. But I can’t be mad at my faulty body with any positive result, so I’ll be mad at him for just a bit longer before I cave in to logic.

But my latest medication attempt is done.
So, my vestibular migraines, fibromyalgia, tmj, other personal issues and the mixed bag of hilariously painful symptoms remain. It’s all worsened over the last six months, primarily due to medication changes and higher than normal stress and loss with continued worry on other fronts.

Or maybe it’s because I haven’t hit what Chooch has me referring to as “rock bottom” on my pain level. Meaning, the Fibro pain is at some point supposed to stop increasing, and then that’s what my expected pain level should be for the rest of my life. Unless it gets worse again. It seems I haven’t hit it yet, sadly, and winter is coming, along with stiff and jagged joints and less freedom of movement outside. Accommodations are being made to make it more comfortable and to hopefully be useful, too, even if just briefly.

But for the blessings of time with dear friends and family (my sister’s surgery went great and she’s recovering at the speed of light!!!!); three devastatingly handsome sons; an ironically delayed, yet glorious wedding for our oldest son; two new babies born PLUS a grandbaby on the way? I would’ve surely gone mad. Praise Baby Jesus for (evilsssssessssss) Facebook and the ability to see pictures of the faces so far away that are so deep in my heart. I still don’t trust ya, but thanks, Zucksy.

As my body is recovering as that nasty medication leaves my body, I don’t know if there are any medications left to try.

This one was put off for years as others were explored. When you know that a liver is a terrible thing to lose to prescription medication, you worry about how much they think is “safe enough” to pump into me with some of the fierce reactions I have. But there is much to do and many things to prepare for, so the search continues.

I’ve decided to attempt to incorporate the least stressful form of martial arts or yoga, depending on what’s available to me, once I’m able to regain some flexibility and strength. Even modified for my debilities, I must regain movement, regardless of the pain. An object in motion, stays in motion, after all. I had hoped to leap into a friend’s Krav Maga class, but that would be madness, I must now concede.

I’ll be starting smaller with yoga or tai chi via DVD initially, just until I’m more stable on my feet trying for balance. It’s not a strong suit for most dizzy people.

And just I’m hitting the Fifth anniversary of when the debilities became debilitating, but I also seem to approaching what appears to be the end of the road on what Western medicine has for me to try.

So all you skeptics are going to get to have loads of future fun at my expense as I delve further into dietary supplements, alternative medicine, meditation and regimented schedule. I do better when I am free to be on a tight schedule, so I’m attempting that in coming months. Hopefully, my memory will help me to set the reminders for it to be more effective. *crosses fingers*

I’m taking on some personal challenges after having watch a remarkable person fight death with literally every cell in his body and more strength, will, soul and courage believable. Some projects I’m dreaming of will get finished and some won’t.
I’m figuring out my limitations and working around them instead of hiding from them. The process will be messy and I’m going to do stuff wrong and poorly and ineffectively and the results will either be brazenly unpolished or over-wrought.

I can’t wait.
#BecausePGH

Dragon*Con 2014

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

Note: There were so many tears, hugs and things happened that the trip is a haze, other than overwhelming and unending kindness, that I am literally relying on photos, as is true for all of August and most of September. I’m trying to make my way through it, so bear with me as I will be editing as I am better able to fill in my timeline.

The Original Plan

Earlier this year, after Chooch, P.G. and I decided again against attending Dragon*Con this year and planned instead to spend a frugal and fun weekend together again, and planned for all (as possible) future Labor Day weekends, whether we could swing Dragon*Con or not. Same as Balticon would forever be our “home con(vention). Roomies for Life and all that.

We knew we could re-consider, same as he had the year before, possibly making the drive to Hotlanta if we made the coveted “Short List” of actual nominees for the Parsec Awards.

Then P.G. was feeling sick in July.

Somewhere around there we found out we made had indeed made the short list for both our P.G.-created podcasts, SpecFicMedia.com Presents: Beyond the Wall, A Game of Thrones Podcast, as well as SFM.com Presents: Consumption (discussing all entertainment media we were consuming).

Obviously, Dragon*Con was the last thing on our mind, so when doing our battle planning for his fight against cancer, which included physical and emotional support, we included in our plans a cathartic and community-building opportunity. Blogs, video podcasts, Kickstarter, books, music, games, everything was possible when you had so little to lose.

And then, before it could even sink in that he had cancer – OUR Patrick?!?! Are you fucking KIDDING me?!?! – and *poof* he was gone.

We were then asked by many friends and peers and members of P.G’s family to please go and honor him at Dragon*Con. And while not having any desire to be drenched in sadness, but in desperate need of seeing people that understood better what the Con Family loss actually was. People that understood how we were feeling, in the weird no-family-land of our Con Family, and they would be there. They said they had hugs awaiting us. If you know me, I can’t resist a hug. Especially in days like these.

The Revised Plan
So, we  plotted it out. Originally, Kim, Chooch and I were to drive there on Sunday, attend the Parsec Awards, possibly stay for dinner with friends and drive home the same night.

The Again Revised Plan
Learning of the fundraising tribute event Scott Sigler and AB Kovacs were planning for P.G. at Dragon Con in the Hilton Hotel bar on Saturday is what got Chooch and I to Atlanta and Dragon*Con a full day earlier than planned, with the tremendous kindnesses and free beds, thanks to the Cosmically Sainted folks at Cosmoquest, which is what gave us the ability to make the long trek on no sleep and adrenaline long run out. Pamela Gay and her esteemed peers and staff are the very best of people.

The Event
Mr. Sigler spoke of P.G. Holyfield in a way that would have had him gruffly mumbling a self-deprecating comment and pointing out someone else as being more deserving. Because that’s how P.G. rolled. Always humble about how awesome he was to oh, so very many of us. I have proof in my inbox of just how awesome that an impact he had on folks, so much so that I’m struggling to pull it all together in time for the memorial weekend, planned October 11th and 12th, right around the corner.

One of the best parts was the “surprise” that Ms. Kovacs planned for Sigler with — a surprise gathering inspired of costumed fans of his galactic football book series, “The Rookie,” which I know someone will correct if I got details wrong.

The Result
People came in lovingly hand made, full galactic football league costumes, and many faces I feared seeing grief on were wearing costumes that made the whole thing even more surreal. But it was immensely easier for me to see their pain and hold their hands until we both felt better.

Some that came for that portion, knew Patrick and some didn’t, but they lifted a drink anyways, as Scott Sigler commanded.

His challenge was to make an additional donation based on how many showed up to toast in tribute* to the Patrick G. Holyfield Children’s Trust. He donated $5 per Toaster (not Cylon, the people that lifted a glass.) and $6 if they wore a hat like PG’s, which was a signature look for Patrick in all the areas of his life, I have discovered.

And Sigler blew me away with the resulting donation amount, based on 69 people, gathered in person to pay tribute. Seriously, the trusted toast counter ( John Cmar) said it and I had to roll my eyes. I mean, really?! LOL, yes, really.

The resulting donation? I don’t even think there were that many people in the entire restaurant. But that’s how Sigler rolls.**

Pictures from the Saturday night event are available for purchase from Bruce Press Photography. I covet the one with my clinging and grieving with Nicole, wearing what in hindsight reveals spider-like aspects I didn’t even notice until now. 

(Here is a peek at that specific picture. It’s kinda embarrassing, but very honest, so I lurve it.)

Our own pictures to follow, I have hundreds to sort, still. There are a few posted in my Flickr already, username Vivid Muse.

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

* with that damned Tuaca, Patrick McLean

** In my heart forever, that Scott Sigler is. Even though most of his books scare me too much to read and the rest are sports-ball in space, somehow. The sports-ball part was a major hurdle, but it’s done. He’s in. Done deal.
And AB, aka A Real Girl, was already there. AND she told my way my fave story of Sigler’s will never be published.

 

Wash That Ass, Every Day + “Raise Your Glass” by Pink

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

 

Photo yoinked From "Buddhism" Facebook Page

Photo yoinked From “Buddhism” Facebook Page

For this disabled and wander-lusting shut-in, there are necessary steps before attempting a “never give up,” assessment to see if I can overcome the necessaries to leave the house. (HA! at the notion that it’s a choice for EVERYONE, by the way.)

I have three rules, particularly important when in troubled times:

  • Clean clothes – No negotiations. Well-kept armour is key when dealing with social anxiety and neurological triggers.
  • Wash that ass, every day – Grants a minimum of +3 to Confidence and major increase to your Social Anxiety, due to toxic aura. (Plus, snuggling options for later.)
    Required: If you’re doing math to decide if you need a shower, the answer is always YES. NOW. (F*** the Con Rules. Wash. Your. Ass.)
    Remember: Some of us have overpowering olfactory senses and ass stank physically impacts me and likely many others, even if you don’t detect an odor. It’s not you, it’s your smell, kinda thing going on there. (This is typically only an issue on Dragon*Con elevators, because people don’t want to miss a second of the weekend.)
  • If you like to set your hair or wear make-up, wear your preferred hairstyle, warpaint and/or chapeau. EVERY time. Depending on level of effort, this step grants a +2 to +5 to Confidence and -3 to -5 well-intentioned questioners asking about your health when you are fighting super hard just to be there, but want to forget it and have fun. (At least 75% of the time, I apply mine in the car on the way, with uneven eyeliner and frequently forgotten mascara as a result and reward. #InMotion is better than #Still , in my book.)

Now that I’ve identified it, time to assess it and wrangle it. Life is short, as I’m so constantly reminded, and I don’t have time to waste on time-wasting issues.

Baby steps to the bedroom door…
Baby steps to laundry room…
Baby steps to the top of the stairs…

Grateful to be awake and well enough to type, for now. Happy Monday, beyotches.

In that vein, I’m sharing a song that’s been haunting me for months. It incorporates a lot of things/people/events/place, from Dragon*Con’s countless glass raisings in honor of fallen “brother,” Patrick G. Holyfield to snuggling with his Eldest Flower moments after his passing, including fist bumps over punched cake and gummy bears. And from hearing dear friend Nicole’s perfect way of saying “Noisy” when describing herself (TMI: it’s what I hear in place of “loud” in the actual lyrics.) AND the mix of costumes, tears, laughter, embraces, reaching out to build connections where there were none, simply because of the sincere kindness and peace they granted him as he was dying. And as he was trying to come to terms with it.

Also, I’m going to start linking through our affiliate store when I drop the little audio tidbits in, as soon as Chooch “Makes it so.” This is one of the few things I actually do, so the needs of our growing family (Grand Baby on the way) and greatly increasing expenses, I’m going to start trying to find ways to have money come in the door. Or figure out a road trip to see everyone before I hop on an ice floe near my birthplace, with the aurora borealis lighting up the sky. Hahaha, but actually, what a way to go!

The donate button is here on the site and I’m trying to figure out how to create income in ways that tangibly give and receive.

For now, just really really listen. You know if you are one of my achingly beloved “dirty little freaks,” as some may have been made to feel like during your years of not perfectly fitting in to societal norms. It’s one of the reasons con families exist. <3

Video link in youtube PLEASE note that this is not the clean version:

 

 

Lyrics by LyricsAZ :

 

“Raise Your Glass”

Won’t you come on and come on and
Raise your glass!
Just come on and come on and
Raise your glass! 

[Verse 2]
Slam, slam, oh hot damn
What part of a party don’t you understand?
Wish you’d just freak out
(Freak out already)Can’t stop, coming in hot
I should be locked up right on the spot
It’s so on right now
(It’s so fucking on right now)Party crasher, panty snatcher
Call me up if you’re a gangsta
Don’t be fancy, just get dancy
Why so serious?

[Chorus]
So raise your glass if you are wrong
In all the right ways,
all my underdogs

We will never be, never be
anything but loud
And nitty, gritty, dirty, little freaks
Won’t you come on and come on and

Raise your glass!
Just come on and come on and
Raise your glass!
Won’t you come on and come on and
Raise your glass!
Just come on and come on and
Raise your glass!

[Bridge]
Oh shit! My glass is empty
That sucks!

So if you’re too school for cool
(I mean)
And you’re treated like a fool
(You’re treated like a fool)
You can choose to let it go
We can always, we can always
party on our own

[Chorus]
So raise your (oh, fuck)
So raise your glass if you are wrong
In all the right ways,
all my underdogs

We will never be, never be
anything but loud

And nitty, gritty, dirty, little freaks

(So raise your glass if you are wrong)
So raise your glass if you are wrong
In all the right ways,
all my underdogs
We will never be, never be
anything but loud
And nitty, gritty,
dirty, little freaks

Won’t you come on and come on and
Raise your glass!
Just come on and come on and
Raise your glass!
Won’t you come on and come on and
Raise your glass for me!
Just come on and come on and
Raise your glass for me!
For me

 

Chronic Illness Bingo *yoinked* from Facebook

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

 

Dear friend Nobilis Reed shared this photo on Facebook, with his comment, “I know too many people this applies to, alas.”

Chronic Illness BINGO by HealingWell.com FB post

But my personal fave is missing: “Did you get a diagnosis, yet?”

Yet? Yet?

I’ve had them for years. Literally. It is one month before the fifth anniversary of when my body first got down so low that I couldn’t overcome all that was wrong with me. Five fucking years. I know it’s not as long as some, but it’s been a lifetime of limitations and poor decisions based on poor assessments and lots of regrets* in those five years.

The number grows as more issues are identified. I had no idea that all the stuff I’ve been working around my whole life wasn’t normal, so I burned myself out early trying to keep up. Note: no matter what you go to a doctor with, if you are overweight, that is the first diagnoses – with the instruction to stop being fat. It took a total physical and neurological collapse, but no, fat’s not the only thing wrong here.

Maybe when folks don’t get a known answer, and how you’ll be cured of “what’s wrong with you,” and with all they have to manage in their own lives, they just don’t retain it. It just gets a little old re-explaining things to the same faces over and over, saying the same things that they clearly didn’t retain, through no intended harm at all. What doesn’t have a clear villain, doesn’t exist, maybe?

The biggest things wrong with me are:
vestibular migraines (neuro – pain, dizziness, fatigue, nausea, light-headed);
neurocardiogenic syncope (neuro + cardiac – I’m likely to faint when under physical or emotional stressors);
fibromyalgia (neuro and constant physical pain, body-wide),
tmj (jaw joints, makes talking, eating, existing more difficult);
a mixed-bag of symptoms that I don’t know where to attribute anymore (neuro – comprehension, memory, cognitive, tremors, stutters, twitches, loss of control of facial muscles, sleep interruptions, and yeesh, more.)

I don’t get a cure, I get chronic pain and just-as-debilitating treatments for my disabilities. (Note: I like to call them my No-Longer abilities. It reminds me that I wasn’t always broken and of a life with more usefulness.)

But I also don’t get a death sentence.

So I’m taking it as a WIN and reminding those that don’t get what’s wrong with me, that there’s something that prevents me from doing all I want to and used to do for loved ones.

It’s not you not being loved, it’s me struggling with how to show love, in current days. Just staying sane is one of my fave accomplishments to date.

*Regrets. Yes, I have them. I don’t fear them. I embrace them to learn from them. I accept them as a way to prevent foolish mistakes in the future, through blindness to my past mistakes. I dunno if it works or not, but it’s my way.

So, the point? THINK before you speak. There are no guarantees in life and I didn’t used to be disabled NOR did I have clear warning that it was coming. (I have been having doctor’s appointments for some of these issues since I was a teenager, and always told that everything was fine. Well, it wasn’t.)

My reality now is that I can’t do physical. I can’t do mental. I get ideas but cannot execute them. I struggle with finding usefulness, because others’ expectations of me are too high.

And it’s not a competition either. Everyone has stuff. This is just part of mine.

Peace.

Spoilers, Sweetie – Guardians of the Galaxy and My Communication FAIL

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

I dunno if anyone else does this, but do you identify with anyone in Guardians of the Galaxy?

I see Naughty Bear as the Star Lord, partly because of facial similarity. (Yes, Star Lord is THAT handsome.)

That kind of thing. Do you do that? If so, who do you most identify with?

For brief reference, I tend to see movie team-ups broken down into the necessary gaming group requirements. Using City of Heroes MMORPG (RIP) as my examples:
a tank, a blaster, a controller, a healer, and a scrapper. (I may be missing a few and don’t know the City of Villains versions, but do you get what I mean?)

For myself, I am Groot. Because of his creaky body that could sometimes do cool stuff under extreme duress (and pay for it later, lol) , his limited speech (mine is self-limited due to neuro stuff) , his need to do other things that would cause him harm if it would save or help another to survive (oi, the bruises I came home with, lol.), my need to make circles around ones that I love and include sparklies was almost too much to bear at the theater, upon my second viewing. And so on, with my empath need to identify with an empathic character.

Also, after much self-examination, and what the last three weeks in August was, I find I was dropping my filter for brevity in urgent moments and then almost disappearing as I “translated” (as Pamela then called it).

I am having difficulty filtering now. It started over the summer. And in August it was ripped off my face. There was no choice. I have less tolerance for bullshit, and I don’t mean that in a judgmental way. I mean it in a physical condition impacting way.

Emotional stress triggers physical stress in my f***** up body.

When you add the lowered filtering, which LITERALLY only appears to be working on a fairly good level when I’m around kids, to the many many many many communication difficulties I was having at times, which many people can attest to (sadly), what I was putting in the public stream sounds to be gibberish and scared some friends, I may as well have been simply saying “I Am Groot.”

For that I am both sorry and humbly grateful for your concern.

#FuckCancer #BecausePGH

Cancer, Confusion and Hope?

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

I’ve not really done a full blog post for my friend, P.G. Holyfield, who we left this world far too early at age 46. It was cancer that hid in his body so long, we only had weeks when we thought we had years of the fight to support him through.  His second and final opinion was on a Friday, and he left us on the very next Wednesday. Although I am spending a lot of time talking about it, it still doesn’t feel real and likely won’t until we walk in the hotel for Balticon next year. I’m “planning” on going, but my health is such that it could be a disaster for me to attend. I don’t want to make it harder for anyone else.

Balticon Beats: The New Media Dance Party

In another place or time, possibly as a book I am writing as a result of seeing what real bravery is in a young-ish man, I will discuss how my dear friend has changed my life and my outlook on it, finding hope, love and compassion encircling someone that has been diagnosed. It’s a horrible way to go and I’ve seen it twice now (Mom and P.G.) and I no longer fear it. It steals our dignity, not who we are. It’s a big killer, I’m not down playing that. But I won’t give it my life AND my living, too. Fuck cancer. I have stuff to do until it may be my own turn.

When P.G. started talking in scary terms, I finally got off of my ass and went back to my ob/gyn for the genetic breast cancer marker test. Again. Last year my insurance wouldn’t cover any of it, so the entire $4k would be coming from our wallets. Being disabled, denied benefits again while unable to work, means that we have financial difficulty and will for some time. So, as the insurance company decided, they would test me for the marker if/when I am diagnosed with cancer. Brilliant, no? They’d have to run the fucking test anyways.

Sometime in February, I got a call from the lab itself, saying that Health Care Reform, aka Obamacare, now means that my insurance company HAS to pay, and with my fun maternal-side family history (Mom, Grandma + at least one of her sisters and my Great-Grandma all died of breast cancer), they may pay for the ENTIRE test.

When we got the scarier and more scarier sounding test results coming back, cancer fears kicked in. We were already talking about me staying with him at the house during post-chemo recovery. Been there, done that, and he was so strong after getting in to peak shape in the last year or two, we never doubted we’d be playing board games and watching movies and I could do my goofy cheerleader crap, too.

But we were all really scared, too. I turned my fear into action, and went back to my doctor to give another sample and to see what our copay on the BRCA genetic testing. I got a call last week, but … last week was still foggy time. I answered the call today and while I was expecting a financial discussion, I instead was told that …

… I do not carry any of the genetic markers for breast cancer (that they have identified and have tests for).

I don’t carry them.

So, I don’t know why all the women on my Mom’s side died of it. My Grandma and my Mom both had horrific recurrences years after their initial diagnoses.

Mom’s two sisters have not been diagnosed, but one went on a clinical trial in the mid-90s for a hopeful “prevention” of breast cancer medication. The other had a radical mastectomy after my Mom died (the surgery would have happened anyways, there were other health issues that are private).

So, I can’t say if it was something in the environment or some gene not discovered yet. And I’m just as confused about what to do as ever. But my next step is a risk analysis for getting it. I am three years younger than my Mom was at her first diagnosis, and it was advanced.

So, even though the person I thought I would be having chemotherapy with and laughing at our horrific symptoms instead of crying over them, well, he’s now gone.

I started this process because he made me brave enough to feel like I wan’t going to be facing it “alone,” even tho Chooch will be with me. It just would’ve been a support group with history and short-hand, and so I’m surprised to not have that as I’m moving forward.

And I am. I’m moving forward. I’m not alone, I’ve learned that in the last month. And I know cancer survivors, unfortunately.

And I doubt that I am facing cancer. I’ve been extremely vigilant. But I’m doing the risk analysis and seeing what lies before me anyways.

Somehow, I have so many people that are kind to me that I want to stick around longer.

And because I must finish on an “up” note, I’m also happy to announce that my oldest son, codename “M” or “Naughty Bear” is now married to a wonderful young woman.

I have an amazing family, with a new daughter(-in-law), codename: Galadriel (Gal for short).

And they are expecting their first child end of March. We don’t know the sex yet, but the baby has been nicknamed “Little Bear,” and according to my baby countdown app, is now the size of a lime. A LIME.

So, after the horrors of August, I look forward to the life that’s on its way, already growing and I can’t wait to meet him or her.

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