2012 Conventions

Author: Vivid Muse  //  Category: Chooch, Convention, Cool Links / Clicky Linky, Too Long For Twitter, Uncategorized

Two things I want to announce on the subject of conventions:

My planned conventions:

Chooch and I will attend Balticon, only one week away, at the Hunt Valley Marriott in Maryland. I am shocked and gratified that this will be my 5th in attendance and 4th as a panelist!

At this point, I’ve not received my official schedule, but as of now I know that I am scheduled to be at:

  • Friday’s Meet and Greet
  • Saturday at 8 pm (I believe) in the Derby A Live Recording of SpecFicMedia.com Presents – Beyond the Wall: A Game of Thrones podcast. Come join our entire ‘cast cast as we explore the HBO series “Game of Thrones” as well as the book series. We vigilantly try to avoid spoilers, but either the cast or the audience may drop one or two. Based on our recordings to date, expect more F-bombs being dropped than spoilers. *It is known.*
  • Sunday at 10 pm in the Chase, I will be joining authors Barbara Friend Ish and P.G. Holyfield as we do readings from our works. Nothing makes me more nervous than a reading, but I hope to do it up right for my breast cancer anthology, with a tentative July release date.
  • When feeling up to it, my standard meeting points are the foyer, the bar, the courtyard or the Dealer’s Room.  Is it true there is no

I will be attending Philly Comic-Con, June 2 and will remain in Philly until the 4th for a private celebration. At this point, it appears that work obligations make keep Chooch away for this one.

We hope to make the trek to Dragon*Con for Labor Day weekend, but we will not know until closer to September if we will be able to attend or not.

TuacaCon, hosted by P.G. Holyfield and presented by SpecFicMedia.com is a virtual convention with writers, artists, musicians and performers giving their all with no travel costs! The date has yet to be determined, but the last two years was great fun and free! It is rumored that it may occur in Northern Virginia this year, and have even more folks in the live audience than ever before!

Also, if we meet at Balticon, Philly Comic-Con, Dragon*Con and/or TuacaCon, please know that for many possible reasons that I am sometimes easily confused or overwhelmed, hopefully due to one or all of my Health Blahs** or treatments. Please do not take offense if you get a negative vibe from me, in nearly all cases I can assure you that it is not you. It’s me. I am posting this here in case I have trouble verbalizing or am unaware of the issue. I don’t want a fuss made, I just want to avoid causing any misunderstandings.

Otherwise, I’m shy but say hi if you recognize me. Or leave a comment, @ me on Twitter (@VividMuse) or whatevs to let me know if you will be at any of these and maybe we can meet up!


**Health Blahs – my term for my small collection of non-life threatening, yet problematic maladies.

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

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

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

Dorks in Lurve

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

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

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

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

Mixed Bag of a Day

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

Day of mixed blessings – House sale has inched forward a bit; I’ve likely had RMSF for over a year; see a rheumatologist; I’m “interesting”.
~posted on Twitter

I just finished a four week course of treatment for Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever (RMSF). Have I mentioned that? My future housemate and eternal soul sista Jen told me if I were a dog, she would run a tick panel on me. Since I’m not a dog, I asked my doctor to run it and she obliged. Because I have found 2 ticks within the last 2 1/2 years, she went ahead and started me on a four week course of doxycyclene. The test confirmed that I have RMSF and I went back today for a follow-up, since I have had no relief from the joint pain that started in the past few months.

The doctor said that my titer test indicated that I most likely had acquired RMSF over a year ago. She has referred me to a rheumatologist because she believes the extensive joint pain is due to something else going on in my body. I’m more than a little bummed that the joint pain apparently isn’t going to go away anytime soon.

It was during our conversation that she had to fetch my file from her desk. She said it was there so she could discuss it during a meeting with the other doctors in her practice. She thought they would find it interesting. Great, another doctor finds me interesting…

We also found out that our house sale is moving forward and we will allegedly have a date set for settlement soon. We are so excited about this that I very nearly pooped my pants upon receiving the news. Okay, not really. But I did get dizzy and had to wait for it to pass before I could get back into motion.

And after seeing Mur Lafferty tweet “bit.ly/xZDqBY I weep for the future. Who is Paul McCartney?”, I proudly shared the post my 15 year old son made on his Facebook page while watching the Grammy’s last night: “the day Paul McCartney dies will be the saddest day of my life.” I love that my son continues to grow as a music geek, just like me. Our other sons are tremendous music fans as well, and all three have pursued musical interests. Both exes (mine and hubby’s) are also heavily into music and I think the shared obsession has impacted them. And I do, with all my heart, hope that the worst thing that ever happens to LT is that a favorite singer passes away.

Jared Axelrod said I’m amazing (buffs nails on shirt), and then I watched Chooch play hopscotch with our housemates’ 2 year old daughter, nicknamed Feral Dancer. At the end of this day, how can I do anything but smile?

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.


From the Mouths of Podcasters

Author: Vivid Muse  //  Category: Books, Chooch, Friends, No Whining, Podcast

As I’ve mentioned here before, I’m part of a group of podcasters talking about the HBO Game of Thrones series, called SpecFicMedia Presents: Beyond the Wall, A Game of Thrones Podcast. Oi, what a mouthful. I’ll just refer to it as BTWPodcast forever more in my personal blog.

As the HBO series season has ended, so has our podcast. For now. During one of the episodes, P.G. Holyfield made an observation about all the plotting and planning over the span of years being undone in an instant by a random and unpredictable event. While I agreed with the point at the time, it didn’t really sink in.

While running and doing a QA listen to the podcast before posting, it hit me like a brick wall. Rather than just knowing that as a fact of life, the concept has been brought home in a very painful way and absolutely resonates with me. No matter how sure your footing, with no regard to the most honorable of your intentions, things happen that can change things forever. If you’re very very lucky, you can recover. If you aren’t, then you have to find a way to move forward, if possible. In both cases, there is likely a price to pay.

Happily, unlike many events in the the book and series, we have landed in a safe and loving place. And while things are not perfect or what I ever would have imagined for myself at the age of 42, I have to say that I think we are recovering pretty well.

The Wild Bunch, #79 on AFI’s Top 100 Films List

Author: Vivid Muse  //  Category: AFI's Top 100 Movies, Chooch


I have now attempted to watch this film twice and cannot make it through. My husband agrees and wouldn’t even give it another try.

There is actually nothing that compels me to finish the movie. I feel nothing for the characters or the story. I understand what is happening, I just don’t care enough to finish it.

I’m saddened because I intended to watch every single movie from beginning to end, but cannot expend any more of the rarest of all commodities – time – into this film.

I give the following as explanation for this movie being on the AFI list:

From Wikipedia:
The Wild Bunch is a 1969 American Western film directed by Sam Peckinpah[1] about an aging outlaw gang on the Texas-Mexico border, trying to exist in the changing “modern” world of 1913.

The Wild Bunch is noted for intricate, multi-angle editing, using normal and slow motion images, a revolutionary cinema technique in 1969. The writing of Green, Peckinpah, and Roy N. Sickner was nominated for a best-screenplay Academy Award; Jerry Fielding’s music was nominated for Best Original Score; Peckinpah was nominated for an Outstanding Directorial Achievement award by the Directors Guild of America; and cinematographer Lucien Ballard won the National Society of Film Critics Award for Best Cinematography.[2]

In 1999, the U.S. National Film Registry selected it for preservation in the Library of Congress as culturally, historically, and aesthetically significant. The film was ranked 80th in the American Film Institute’s 100 best American films, and the 69th most thrilling film.[3] In 2008, the AFI revealed its “10 Top 10” of the best ten films in ten genres: The Wild Bunch ranked as the sixth-best Western.[4][5]


Back to Netflix it goes, as I eagerly await the arrival of Modern Times, my first full-length Charlie Chaplin movie!

While I wait for the post office to bring on the goodness, I will definitely be checking out Christiana and Mike’s discussion on The Wild Bunch as they are always able to find and appreciate things I miss. I guess it’s a damned good thing they are doing a podcast and not me!

Not Just Another Tuesday

Author: Vivid Muse  //  Category: Chooch, Firsts

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

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

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

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

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

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

Spartacus – Number 81 on the AFI Top 100 Movies

Author: Vivid Muse  //  Category: AFI's Top 100 Movies, Chooch, Movies

Spartacus, 1960

Director: Stanley Kubrick

Writers: Dalton Trumbo (screenplay), Howard Fast (novel)

Stars: Kirk Douglas, Laurence Olivier, Peter Ustinov, Tony Curtis  and Jean Simmons

Overture and opening credits: You definitely get that they were trying to imbue a sense of grandeur and majesty, which usually makes me roll my eyes. Because I know the reputation of this movie, it’s probably well-deserved, so I only half-rolled my eyes.

In this film, Spartacus is a slave and is openly rebellious, as he demonstrates by hamstringing a guard that’s beating him by cutting into the tendon with his teeth. That my friends, is what you call A Bad Ass. He’s sold to a gladiator school for training, with the intent of selling him to win or die in the arena.

He develops friendships (or tries) to, and because of his success is given a female slave to enjoy. He is struck by her beauty and fragility and gently touches her skin and hair, admitting he’d never had a woman before. He’s incredibly smitten and she appears confused at what I’m sure is a completely different meeting than she usually gets.

They are then mocked by voyeur Batiatus which enrages Spartacus, causing him to shout, “I’m not an animal!”

“Neither am I,” Varinia says quietly. This is the first hint that although she is submissive, Spartacus isn’t the only one with some rebellion in him.

The training montage was more interesting than most. How do you train men to fight to the death when you only care a little if they live or die? You have them on a training machine with huge swords attached to give greater motivation to doing well, I suppose.

Burgeoning love growing between Varinia and Spartacus is believable and touching, and how I imagine it may have been a common development in the slave communities throughout history.

As two sets of gladiators at the school are forced to fight to the death, the guard says to those in the spectator box, “Those who are about to die salute you.” I thought I misheard until I saw it repeated with the second set of gladiators.

During that fight, Draba refused to kill Spartacus and instead attacked the spectators. This was quite surprising since he had refused to exchange names or befriend the other gladiators-in-training  since they would likely face each other in battle one day. The implication was that he would kill anyone he was put in the arena with, and did not want to make friends with any of them. In hindsight, it seems that Draba was trying to steel himself to be able to kill another in battle so tried to keep a distance, which he was unable to do.

The honorable Draba’s body was hung as an example to the others, “He’ll hang there til he rots” said the head guard and all-around meanie. All the slaves hung their heads as they passed by, but this instead seemed to  haunt and motivate Spartacus, and ended up being a big fat mistake on Batiatus’ part.

Evil politician Crassus said to Antonius as he was washing his back in the giant tub, “My taste includes both snails and oysters.” Because of the conversation surrounding that statement, this was only a veiled reference since it was literally spoken behind a veil. Crassus seemed very disappointed when Antonius took that moment to escape.Confession time:
Notes were abandoned after this as I became completely caught up in the movie. Yes, this movie. I’ve dodged it for decades, and it is magnificent. Here are my thoughts after watching:

The complete and utter love and devotion that Spartacus inspired was compelling and well-deserved.

The moment when he kills Antoninus (Tony Curtis) is particularly poignant as they are forced to fight to the death knowing that that victor will be crucified. They fiercely battle to kill the other, only because each wants to save the other from the agony of dying slowly in the heat without food or water while nailed to a cross. Spartacus wins, and you can see it takes all that is left of him as he believes all the people he loves to be dead.

Happily, in a traumatizing and devastatingly bittersweet turn, in the very last scene he sees his wife Varinia after she is freed with their son. She introduces him, and then begs him to let himself die. *ouch*

I remain glad that I avoided this movie until now, as I don’t know that I would have given it as much attention were I not convalescing from the wonderful weekend. All of the performances were perfection, I don’t have a criticism about any point in this movie.

It should also be noted that Kirk Douglas’ physique is insanely ripped in this movie. Insane!

My favorite thing about this movie is having discovered Jean Simmons. In the moment when she was reunited with Spartacus after separately freeing themselves, I found her to be exquisitely joyful and captivating. Her performance was perfection, and I am now picking through her movies and adding them to my Netflix queue. The list is long, and includes How to Make An American QuiltGuys and Dolls with Brando and Sinatra; Hamlet, when she once again teamed with Olivier; and many other movies which landed her alongside Gregory Peck, Burt Lancaster and Cary Grant.

More recently, she was on an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation and did voice work for  Thru the Moebius Strip, (Shepway), Howl’s Moving Castle (Grandma Sophie in the English version), and Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within (Council Member #2).

I couldn’t find a photo of her from Spartacus, but have included this one from 1959.

She had the kind of dark-haired ethereal beauty that I find similar to Audrey Hepburn, with a sprinkle of Vivian Leigh.
Shame on me for not having discovered her sooner. She was so very talented!

Next on the AFI list: The Apartment, also from 1960. I have faint recollections of this one, starring Jack Lemmon and Shirley MacLaine, so am guessing I saw all or most of it at some point.

Stupid Irony is Stupid

Author: Vivid Muse  //  Category: Chooch, Exercise, Friends, No Whining, Running

I’ve been on the fence about this weekend. There is hubby’s Ditched by Kate band practice, which is non-negotiable with a hot show coming up at IOTA on Saturday, June 18th.

Then there are two book events for dear friends on Saturday and a party I truly hate to miss on Saturday night. All are in different states, naturally. Then there is the 10k that I had been training for months for on Sunday morning. And an alleged get-together with far-flung members of my Mom’s family. There has been no information on that for two months, so I’ve no idea if it’s even happening, or when.

This does not count the other things on my to-do list: the 2 month procrastinated yard sale, writing the submission guidelines for the breast cancer anthology, scrubbing the house down, continuing work on launching both a record label and publishing house, and recording and editing for our own projects and planning future projects.

So, as we’ve just decided that we cannot afford the time or funds to travel to three states in one day and I’ve re-dedicated myself to the 10k, I of course catch Chooch’s cooties. He’s on anti-biotics, with the usual catch of the doctor not being sure if it’s viral or bacterial. I loathe taking them unless they’re absolutely necessary. If and when I create a super bug capable of ending life as we know it, it will be on purpose. Still, my lung capacity will frak up my hopes of success at the 10k.

I definitely won’t be running the entire 10k, but I’m hoping to be strong enough to go anyways. Not having run for 3 weeks means my knees and shins feel entirely healed, but it’s my endurance and breathing I’m now concerned about. Luckily, there is a half-marathon at the same time, so no matter how crappy my pace, I’ve been assured by race organizers not to sweat it.

I wish we could bag it and go to our friends’ stuff instead, but sadly, I’m not coughing up gold coins to pay for the gas, food, hotel  and kennel fees. Nor has a time turner cleared my esophagus to make it possible to actually travel to all these places in a very short time. At least not yet.

*It is irony, right? Feel free to correct me.

Vivid Mommy

Author: Vivid Muse  //  Category: Breast Cancer, Chooch, Dizzy, Dizzy, Family, Friends, Mom, No Whining, Too Long For Twitter, Vestibular Migraine

Just like millions of other people, Mother’s Day is a rough one for me because my mother is deceased. I’m also a mom, which makes it a very bittersweet day. When you add that this year, for what I recall as the first time in 20 years, I won’t see any of our kids, it ensured that I’d be avoiding social media and anywhere that I’d be inundated with the message that I don’t want to be reminded of. Yep, I’m bitter. Then I realized I hadn’t checked in on friends since yesterday and decided to check Twitter and make sure all was well.

As expected, there was a deluge of Mother’s Day wishes being exchanged. One that really touched me was by friend and author Mur Lafferty: “PT has made me toast and yogurt and a can of selzer and brought it to me in bed. “i didn’t know how to make coffee.” I nearly cried.”

On the other end of the spectrum, brand new dad Cheyenne Wright posted “A bit out of sorts. This is the first chance I’ve had to celebrate a Mothers Day in 18 years.”

That one got me right in my vulnerable spot. I closed Twitter as I realized my dizziness had kicked in with an anxiety attack and now-standard accompanying trembles. It was not at all surprising if you understand my current health situation, and I cursed myself for logging in. My husband unwittingly helped my through the brunt of the symptoms (Hey Chooch, this is why I was upset earlier), but I still feel the need to share something about my Mom today. I don’t do this easily because:

  1. I’ve been told in extremely loving ways that I need to try and move on from grieving her as I do, out of concern that it may be unhealthy;
  2. I’ve been accused of talking about my Mom and/or my health issues to garner sympathy for some unknown purpose, either witnessed by me or as reported by others;
  3. I’m not entirely sure Mom would approve of what I want to share.

To those from item 1, I say a sincere thank you for your concern. But my highly remarkable Mom left a massive hole in my world, and it is simply taking a long time for me to heal. In some ways, I never will because I will always miss her. That’s simply the price of having a jewel like her for a Mom, and I’m willing to pay it. Know that I’m making progress and doing the best that I can, and you should feel free to delete any message, change the subject, or ignore any posts. I expect nothing from you when the need arises for me to talk about her.

To those from item 2, I say without hesitation ~ kiss my ass. You don’t understand me now and never did, regardless of what you may believe. Yes, yes, I know, “Never feed a troll,” as it only encourages them. But I’m tired of not defending myself when I’m being vilified and disrespected to those I care about. So I’m using this post to “balls up” and remind myself that my Mom didn’t raise me to be a doormat. In fact, she specifically counseled me on the need to stand up to some of the aforementioned “item 2” people. I feel no guilt over including this paragraph, because they will only be identified to themselves and to those that they’ve trash talked about me. It’s unlikely that most of them will ever read this, except for some that may be looking for ammunition, but this is my little corner of the internet and I’m tired of censoring myself when others won’t.

And for item 3, I mean that Mom would probably not like this picture because she’s not wearing makeup. She was intensely self-conscious and hid from cameras most of my life. I’m posting it anyways, because later in life she embraced her silly side in fantastic fashion and stopped running from cameras. Also, it’s one of my very favorite pictures of her, as it documents a very special moment in our lives.

The tiny hair clips were part of her 60th birthday gift from me. I had gotten a basket and decorated it with silk flowers and ribbons and filled it with brightly colored hair clips, ponytail holders, barrettes, hair bands and a tiara. I wanted to celebrate that the chemo for her newly diagnosed breast cancer wouldn’t make her hair fall out like it did when she battled it in ’91, and it was insanely fun (and cathartic) to pick them out in the girl/teen accessory section.

When we realized that some of the little clips matched her vibrantly colored shirt, my sister put her hair in the little twists that my then-early-teenaged nieces were known to wear for a time, and we couldn’t resist snapping a picture of the spontaneous hairstyle and her reaction to it. A few months later her chemo was changed because it wasn’t working, and her hair promptly fell out. Two and a half years later she was gone.

But I present you with photographic evidence that my Mom was highly remarkable. Even when faced for a second time with the same life-threatening disease that she watched eat away at her mother and grandmother until there was nothing left of them, she was still able to laugh. And when presented with a gift that in hindsight may have unkindly brought the cancer back to the forefront of her mind, she giggled and was delightfully silly. As only she could be.

I won’t exaggerate and say it was Great Bravery or Courage documented in this moment, because it wasn’t. It was just a silly and spontaneous moment. And damned if it’s not one of the most treasured moments of my life. Isn’t she glorious?
Funnest Mom Evah!

This post is written to honor my Mom, Nat, Jaimie, Terry and Zach ~ five people who are no longer with us that are at the forefront of my mind. The first three I miss terribly. The fourth and fifth I never met, but because of their impact on people that I dearly love, I desperately wish I had. You are missed.