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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hauntings Kids Soulful Too Long For Twitter Whining

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

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


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 to make a donation.



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 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.





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.

Consumer Info Kids Our Kids Too Long For Twitter

A Gift-Giving Plea From This Parent

This was the best Christmas in a very long time, and I think the only Christmas that will top it will be when we can finally have all three of our sons together on Christmas morning. Other than that one shortcoming, I could not imagine a better day. It was pure heaven, from beginning end, in spite of some pain and anxiety.

My motivation for this post is not to describe the day in more detail or pontificate on what the true meaning of the holidays or tell you how you should have spent yours (hint: it’s different for everyone, so there is no right or wrong).

No, the intention of this post is to serve The Greater Good. My hope is to inform those with the kindest and most generous of intentions of a gift trap that some of us parents find ourselves in year after year, after year, after year.

It’s gift cards. The loving and thoughtful family and friends that give gift cards to my sons that they so genuinely appreciate are a bane of my existence. The day after Christmas is spent online determining the value and then buying those same gift cards off of them so that the items they are saving up for (a set of cymbals for LT’s drum kit at a mom and pop store in his home town and the necessary bits for Naughty Bear to build his own kick-ass gaming rig from various vendors) can be achieved.

Yes, indeed. It’s possible that the gift card at Target or Best Buy or WalMart will instead get buried in the wallets of the parents of the children you bought them for, after they shell out the face value so the kids can attain their saving goals sooner.

Should I do this every year? Maybe not. But when your kids are miserly in their saving for these expensive goals and being careful with every expenditure to find their way to what their hearts desire, they can think of nothing else to spend money on and it feels almost frivolous with where their minds are to extensively search for something to spend the card on.

Please, I beg of you, on behalf of other parents that may be finding themselves in the same boat as I am again this year, find out if the kids would prefer cash towards a large purchase they are planning. Especially if they are older than 10 or 11, because they will definitely be starting to set their eyes on more and more costly items at those ages.

Yes, they may spend a small portion frivolously instead at a movie theater or buying a pair of red jeans. But it *is* the holidays and if you are giving them cash value to buy something, why not just give them cash and make it easier for them? And their parents?

Happy Holidays to all that celebrate at this time of year, and Happy Monday to those that don’t. I sincerely wish each of you Dear Readers the very best health and happiness as this year comes to a close and we await the New Year.

Kids No Whining Our Kids

In the Blink of an Eye…

… LT has come and gone back to where he lives with his father and family out of state.

He was here almost six weeks, and it was a wonderfully harmonious time. We only raised our voices in laughter, and that was done with great frequency.

He’s over six inches taller than I, and his voice is as deep as my father’s. He hunkers down to hug me out of kindness, because he doesn’t want me to strain my back reaching up. He’s thoughtful, considerate and intuitive, which he demonstrates by putting things away and doing chores without being asked. Out of the blue he walks over to me with his arms stretched wide for a hug, and frequently says that he loves me.

In short, I wonder where my surly teen went. I think he either thinks I’m dying or he’s just become aware of how much I miss him. I suppose it’s possible he misses me, too. Nah, I won’t get my hopes up. *giggle*

We’ve not had much money for a grand and adventurous visit, but we did eke out money for an afternoon at King’s Dominion with his cousin, the Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 midnight show, and attendance at the Van’s Warped Tour. He spent about a week at his dad’s parent’s house, and the rest of the visit he spent with me, Naughty Bear, Chooch, other family, a friend from school and hubby’s band, Ditched by Kate. All low-key stuff, nothing crazy, but he said he had a great time.

He says he loves Kaylee and seemed a bit choked up about not having her around all the time. They are so cute together. As he was sorting through his old Legos, karate pads and old toys she was happily sitting in the corner sniffing what had to be a very stinky sock (judging by the look of it).

I decided not to get maudlin, but would instead try and better document his visit by trudging through my posts in Twitter, Facebook and Google+. No one will find these interesting but me, and my feelings won’t be hurt if you close the page now as it is quite long.

Here’s what I found, oldest to newest:

  • June 18 – Awesome texts from LT, he’s as excited to get here as we are to see him! ♥ He’s counting down the hours! My cup runneth over!
  • June 20 – Aiiiiieeeeeeeee! Ten hours and 25 minutes until I get to see my baby boy’s brown eyes again. Happy!
  • June 20 – Medicating migraine and hitting the road. Glad Naughty Bear is driving!
  • June 20 – NB, Roboto Dude (14 yo nephew) & I almost at airport. They’ve made me play @ditchedbykate‘s Stumble ep & practice recording, they LOVE it!
  • June 20 – Aiiieeeeeee! Waiting on my boy! 30 minutes!
  • June 20 – Flight delayed half hour, loooosinnnnnng my miiiiiiiiiinnnnnnnd!
  • June 20 – LT’s flight just landed, about 3 minutes until I see how much taller he’s gotten and how the buzz cut looks in person! *squeak*
  • June 20 – Heading to dinner for dad’s 75th bday. Naughty Bear, LT and RD in tow. Yay!
  • June 20 – Although GK had other plans, these 3 are making enough noise for 4. They are over WoW (for now) and out renting games for PS3.
  • June 20 – Exhausted. Recurring migraines and spins due to excitement over son coming home. Crashing. Hard.
  • June 21 – Dizzy but happy. LT arrived yesterday, had a fun dinner with my dad to celebrate his milestone birthday (sweet 16), and returned home with loud men where there used to be boys. Happy that Naughty Bear and RD (nephew)  joined in the fun! Bliss is the word of the day!
  • June 21 – We were waiting for the heat to abate before running, now hoping we can get running shoes for LT before the stores close. #PlanFail
  • June 22 – First trip to grocery store since LT’s return, $300+. This incl feeding NB and nephew RD, but WOWZA.  #Locusts
  • June 24  – Crashing hard after what LT called “a great day”. Hoping for more of those. ♥
  • June 24 – Went for a run with LT yesterday and both boys ran with me today. This makes me very happy. Then they packed up and went to Mark’s place to hang out and play games, this is bittersweet. Love that they’re friends, hate that they’re not here. Oh, and I’m greedy, just in case you hadn’t noticed… 😉
  • June 28 – Migraine is back. In related news, Thomas rocks the drums on Rock Band! *thud*
  • June 28 – LT walked to next door to store for mozzarella cheese, came pack with parmesan. Now his first solo exchange! #TeachEmYoung #ShoppingLevelUp
  • June 30 – I will not be a cranky mom. I will finish my podcast production in spite of LT playing Rock Band drums 15 feet away.#LetNoMigraineHappen
  • July 1 – Happy to be chilling with my babies on our DBKation! Tonight vegan sushi followed by brownies, followed by rock and roll! 😀
  • July 1 – First night of DBKation was a wild success. Now camping in with my guys. Joy is off the charts.
  • July 7 – LT hit with nasty poison ivy. Thanks to Jennifer Lyle Taylor and Keith Taylor for natural remedies (Hyland’s and domeboro) to boost healing along with what the doctor prescribed (steroids). Tremendous change, just since he got here at 2 pm!
  • July 8 – LT’s trip to VA Beach with his best pal canceled because of his nasty case of poison ivy. Is it wrong that I’m enjoying the low-key time with him? No plans, so just chilling out. Heavenly.
  • July 8 – Viewing in the morning and realtor meeting too. Chilling out after dinner and scrub down with @choochus and LT. Great evening of convo!
  • July 9 – Waking up LT ~ Me: Your room looks great! Him: It took FOREVER to get the birds together. Me: What birds? Him: (sleepily) Huh? What birds?
  • July 10 – Leaving the party, had a great time. Saddened by how time has aged these no-longer-little ones. Adore who they’re becoming.#BlinkOfAnEye ~~ (After a BBQ thrown for BFF’s 16 year old daughter’s birthday.)
  • July 10 – Harry Potter 7 with the lads, post-homemade pizza. So easy to get lost in this world, so heart-breaking a story.
  • July 11 – Spent Mom’s birthday with hubby and LT as we took roses to her and had dinner at the restaurant she and LT began the “eat dessert first” tradition. She gave me more love during her life than I could ever use up in mine, so I’m luckier than most. Her absence still really pisses me off, so MANY thanks to my beloveds that helped me through it. ♥
  • July 11 – Took flowers to Mom, then had dessert first at the restaurant where the tradition began, Cheeseburger in Paradise. And guess what? They switched their ice cream to BLUE BELL!!!!! What power Mom wields! You would be wise to stand against none that she loves. Also, the hawt waitress fell in love with LT, but he dumped her. He’s a loner, Dot. A rebel. Just as well, I think she was a vampire.
  • July 11 – Praying that the flickering power goes out. I need a break from rock band drumming taking place 10 feet or so away.
  • July 11 – @DDog LT’s going thru drum kit withdrawals, so it’s the only release he has. We can’t bring ourselves to ask him to stop.
  • July 13 – Back at the doctor with LT, his poison ivy has spread like crazy and am worried about allergy to meds. My poor baby!
  • July 15 – I just got to play chauffeur to LT! I’ve missed that!
  • July 15 – Fantastic day in spite of all the work done/to get done for tomorrow’s yard sale. I love my boys, for they are unique and HILARIOUS! Dude. I got a random hug from a FOURTEEN YEAR OLD BOY. No one even told me this was POSSIBLE!
  • July 15 – Just got home from seeing Harry Potter 8 with my awesome family. Only disappointment is that I meant to take a pic when we were all together. The movie was masterfully done, although (no spoilers) Niece A was right with her nitpick. It’s soo worth the extreme spins and other symptoms from the 3D. Thank to J.K. Rowling, for all the tears of joy and heartbreak over the years.
  • July 16 – My kids have become fascinated with a tennis ball. Playing catch with it for the second time today. #CrazyKids
  • July 16 – Best phrase of the day: “AFK, skinny bands.” Lesson learned: Unexpected hugs are the best hugs. ♥ our fam.
  • July 17 (Twitter) – Grabbed a bunch of curbside cardboard boxes from newly moved in neighbors. LT and RD acting like they pulled off a heist and are giddy.
  • July 17  (FB) – Thanks to LT and RD (nephew)  for the late night cardboard box heist. Ninjas! I am blessed to have them in my life!
  • July 18 – … been spoiled ALL day by 14 y.o. LT. Spontaneously bought me Dove chocolate from store and unending hugs. No clue why I’m so blessed.
  • July 19 – Love my kids, mesmerized by hubby, and embracing the day with positivity. And I shall kick Tuesday square in the danglies if it balks.
  • July 19 – Only 9.5 days left with my brown-eyed boy. I refuse to get sad, but will instead have all the fun it’s possible to have. He’s so much more awesome than you’d ever imagine.
  • July 19 – Errands, haircut and chauffering skate punks in the realm of the big ball of hate in the sky has brought back migraine. Not amused.
  • July 19 – Dear Baby Jesus, please let me be migraine-free the next few days so I can get all my stuff done. I have been a very good girl and tried to help others whenever possible. I’d just like the weekend free to play with my family since we have less than 2 weeks left before my son leaves again and Christmas is very far off. Pretty please with sugar on top?
  • July 20 – My 14 year old “Liked” Sid Vicious in Facebook. Yep, the end of civilization is upon us.
  • July 20 – Spur of the moment trip to King’s Dominion with Thomas and Taylor. Hotter than Hades, but now the sun’s gone down and it’s nice. Fireworks in 30 minutes! They’re off running amok and chasing honey’s while I’m parked in a quiet spot with hubby’s Chrome netbook. No rides for me, can’t risk getting dizzy when I’m the driver! Love these boys to pieces!
  • July 20 – I’z excited! I get to see fireworks for the first time in years! 22 minutes and counting! *squeak*hop*giggle*hop* Aiiiiiiieeeeeeeee!!!!!
  • July 20 – This day was AMAZING! My heart containers are full from laughter, frolic and adventure!
  • July 21 – Last night LT told me he wants to work at the Renn Faire near where he lives with his dad. He was told he would need to take classes in order to do so, and he’s still willing. I’m… so … proud…!sniffle+Chooch Schubert don’t be surprised if he has questions for you about your experiences. Keep it clean, babe! 😉
  • July 22 – LT and @choochus off to see Captain America. I’ve got work to finish up tonight so I’m skipping it for now. #MoMoneyMoMoney
  • July 22 – Hubby and LT rolling in LoTRO style with a late night pie delivery. Yay! A wee piece as reward for my hard work! Stay away, nosy hobbits!
  • July 23 – Stellar night!!! LT chose to hang with us tonight. Watched him throw down beats on a drum kit for the first time! Such a happy Mom!
  • July 24 – Planning out the meals for the week with much sadness. @choochus leaves Mon and LT leaves on Fri . Not ready for my brown-eyed boy to go.
  • July 24 – If I don’t go to LT’s going away party, then he isn’t going to leave, right?
  • July 24 – Getting ready to head our for LT’s farewell party (he leaves on Friday) and birthday party for nephew RD. Feeling revitalized after time with family last night at band practice which had a spontaneous and amazing jam session by Ditched by Kate.
    I also got to watch my son play drums for the first time on an actual professional drum kit (thanks, Keith!) rather than just the rockband set at home. He is amazing and I’m so proud of his dedication to music at the age of 14! I can’t wait until he puts together a band so I can sign them to the label I’m creating!
    Bittersweet days, people, but I’m clinging to the sweet and ignoring the bitter for now!
  • July 25 – Kids are going to Warped Tour tomorrow, so they are gathering here for a Scott Pilgrim viewing and dinner. Got to send them off in the right frame of mind. I’m hoping they’ll get themselves off in the morning so I can sleep in for the first time in weeks.
  • July 26 (FB) – Herding cats, err kids, out the door for Warped Tour. Hope they stay hydrated!!!!
  • July 26 (Twitter) – Up and herding kids out the door for Warped Tour. Slumber party with my niece was fun. Always want to spend more time with her, must do so.
  • July 26 – Kids had a great time at Warped Tour. All of them ignored sunblock and are burned, dehydrated, exhausted and broke. I’m envious.
  • July 26 – BTW, kids will crush your soul underfoot, eat it, and then poo it onto a plate on your nightstand. (Hat tip to Mrs. @PhilRossi.) ♥ my kids!
  • July 27 – …2 days til my brown-eyed boy flies away for 5 months! Gotta make ’em count!
  • July 27 – Ughhhhh… been dreading this part. LT packing up his room for the house (cross our fingers) sale. Sad to see childhood things tossed aside.
  • July 27/28 – (Just after midnight) – #NoEmo Last full day w/LT tomorrow, but also have to get house prepped for weekend viewings. I hate juggling and want to goof off w/him.
  • July 28 – At Famous Dave’s with LT, our big splurge on his last day. Love my big man!
  • July 28 – I may explode into unicorns and pixie dust if this day with LT gets any better. Or at least have rainbows shoot out of my butt. ♥ him!
  • July 28 – … Watching Across the Universe with mah babies. ♥ them so much.
  • July 28 – Movie was awesome. Head pounding. Several more hours of work to do before bed. Getting up at 7am to take LT to the airport. Tomorrow is gonna leave a mark. Can’t wait for the hard part to be over and I can get snuggled until I’m not sad anymore.
  • July 29 – If I don’t take him to the airport, he never has to leave. Right?
  • July 29 – ♥ (LT) is safe and sound at home with his dad and family. Yay for safe travel. Miss my baby already! ♥

It’s taken me a long time to start to get my groove back, for a lot of different reasons.  Thanks to those that still check in here.

Family Health Kids Running

Happiness, Thy Name is Viv

L.T., my 14 year old son, flew in yesterday from his dad’s house for his summer visit. My oldest son, Naughty Bear, offered to go with me and we also picked up my 14 year old nephew, codenamed Roboto Dude. Because of my overly excited self, NB ended up having to drive because of a migraine and mild dizziness.

A few rough patches later and my baby boy strolled off the plane with his deep voice saying “Hello, Mother.” It’s always hard to remain upright when I see my babies after such long spans, but to see my youngest biological child approach in the guise of a man-sized human? Nearly impossible to reconcile with the mental image I carry between visits.

Add to that the text messages I got from him on Saturday night, and I was completely twitterpated at his arrival. His excitement at getting here, down to knowing how many hours remained, had me over the moon. After that, a full migraine hit and NB had to drive home, as well. We met my dad for dinner to celebrate his 75th birthday and had a wonderful time. He and I were quiet at times, just watching them. I finally asked him where our babies went, as we were faced with three young men. Each one is taller than us and have deep voices and facial hair. He shrugged and looked as confused as I at the passage of time.

I sometimes wish that Chooch and I had a child together, and that it was a girl. It has more to do with wanting to selfishly have a tangible symbol of our love than any real desire to have another child, which is why we won’t have one. Besides, and I say this without hesitation, I never want to mess with the relationship we have with our boys. To have another child would mean we’d have to turn our eyes from the three loves of our lives. Our bonds are extremely strong, unbreakable by distance of any kind.

LT, NB and RD all want to go with me to the track for a run later today, my sons insisting that they want to lose weight. LT, already fit butwanting to get healthier said, “Who better to ask how than you?”  Instantly, the exercise rut I’ve been in since Balticon is over. Maternal need to set a good example has pushed me out of it. Today I run. With my sons.

It’s the morning I’ve been waiting all year for: my boys sleeping in after staying up all night gaming, laughing, and playing music too loud.

Pure bliss.

Family Kids No Whining

Prodigal Niece Returns

We got some troubling news on the living conditions of my oldest niece, which was immediately followed with news that she’s returning to live in the area. She will move in with a friend and get settled into a new job and resume life, hopefully none the worse for wear for what she’s been through. No, this is not the niece that just gave birth to Baby M, it’s her older sister.

I’m crazy excited to see her and it’s had me floating around during this chaotic period of house prep and never ending work in getting this place ready to list for sale.

So, instead of whining about something, I thought I’d share that happy bit of news.

“On a scale from one to awesome I’m the shit. Get over it.”
~A Gym Class Heroes quote that always makes me think of her.

Friends Kids No Whining Soulful Too Long For Twitter

Bathroom Epiphany

Three days ago, I was at a Super Target helping a magnificent woman herd two young children as we shopped for my husband’s birthday party. The spins and brain fog had me in their grip and I was feeling more like a hindrance than a help. While taking a snack break during our wait for reinforcements of the fatherly persuasion in the store cafe, I made a break for a tinkle and a quiet moment. No matter how well behaved and beautiful children are, they just flat-out exhaust me in the most delightful way. (My jaws were sore from laughing and smiling so much at their antics!)

While making like Tinkle Bell, I noticed the style of shoes under the next stall. I wondered what the rest of her looked like, and imagined her to be someone that had an appearance that would make others turn away. Having been a gal that dressed… strangely… in my teens, I remembered the looks of disgust and eye rolling that would occur. People would assume I was a juvenile delinquent and possibly even a drug addict just because my blue black hair shot out in an unnatural way and my pale white skin, black painted eyes and bright red lips and streaked hair looked different from the way the 80’s pop culture dictated. Throw on vintage clothing and jewelry, rhinestone dog collars and my little sister’s toys strung as earrings and it was an interesting look.

In my small Texas town, my friends and I were definitely looked upon as if we weren’t normal, but rather some sort of mutant. We were gleeful, as it meant we didn’t fit in with the cowboy hat/giant beltbuckled or bleached/permed/tanned.  I’m hopeful that it’s more acceptable now, with stores like Hot Topic making it so much easier to attain the mass produced items, and people dressed in this way are certainly more prevalent.

But people may still be asking, as they did in when I was doing it, “Why would someone go to such lengths to make themselves look unattractive (by society’s standards)?” Speaking for myself, that’s a long story and would rely on introspection and speculation on someone that I no longer am, so I won’t bore you (or me) with that.

I will reveal that my friends and I laughed at the derision from those that worked extremely hard to make themselves attractive to everyone, thus turning into carbon copies of each other. As they did, we took great pride in how we looked, but still, hello hypocrisy! We were judging them for looking normal just as they were judging us for looking different.

Still in the stall, I grabbed my camera phone, made sure it was silent and took this photo to document that, no matter how someone dresses or how different or bad-ass they may appear, they are human. We’re all here, sharing this space and going about our lives. We do the best we can as we deal with emotional, physical, psychological and  biological needs.

So the next time you feel like mocking someone for dressing differently, being too tall, being too fat, or holding different beliefs or values than you, just remember there’s a real person in there. And probably a really magnificent one, if given half the chance. After all, everybody tinkles.

Edit: I actually took this photo a few weeks ago with my camera phone, but it sat forgotten until today. I giggled at my forgetfulness, because when I was in the environment that allowed the shot I was immediately struck by  a NEED to behave crassly and take the photo. Meeting at the sinks after our business was finished, she was a woman, and we discussed her love of Gir and Invader Zim, as evidenced by her t-shirt, hoodie and messenger bag. My kinda gal, to be sure.

Kids Music No Whining

Justin Bieber. Why the Hate?

There has been such a backlash against the young singer that I have to wonder if he would he be more liked by adults if he were talented, but utterly self-destructive like Lindsey Lohan?

Or maybe if he were known purely for being known, like Kim Kardashian or Paris Hilton?

I own none of Justin Bieber’s songs. I haven’t seen his movie. I only know of one song of his that I’ve actually heard, called “Baby.” I do have to say that I’m impressed (from the clips of the movie I’ve seen) that he appears to actually play a variety of musical instruments. Is it possible he’s a musician and not just a cute face with a pre-pubescent voice and stylish hair cut that’s been propped in front of a microphone?

Yes, the music is bubble gum pop. If it were more than that, he’d likely be judged for singing beyond his understanding and being a puppet. Of the songs I’ve heard, they seem appropriate for his age. You know, 16?

Yes, he’s a phenomenon. Girls scream around the world for him. But he’s a cute and wholesome (for now at least) kid. Are you more or less horrified when the tween and teen girls scream for Paris Hilton and her porn tape or Miley Cyrus on the stripper pole at a teen awards show at 16? Nice role models, dontchathink?

But as the parent of a teen, I’m perfectly happy to have this clean-cut-for-now kid be an example for my 14 year old. And have you seen him on Saturday Night Live? He was very entertaining in the skits I saw him in, much more so than many of the musical acts the plop into the skits.

At the ripe old age of 16 years old he’s so despised that he’s already had people float rumors that he’s dead and that he has syphilis. Hackers even redirected viewers from his youtube page to adult websites and posted an adult photo on his site, according to Wikipedia. All because of his popularity with tween and teen girls. Oooh, string him up by the balls, how dare he! Forget how repulsive it is that tween and teen girls were forced to view the pornographic sites when all they wanted was to see his videos.

Being the mother of two sons, age 14 and 19, that seems pretty damned harsh to me. So how about everyone just cuts the kid a break until he actually does something other than sing songs that you don’t like. Or at least until he turns 18 and has control over what he does and sings, rather than what his management tells him to sing.

Chooch Family Kids No Whining Soulful

Love Tangents

There are so many people that want to define love and when you can feel it. Some want to tell you that you can’t love someone from another race. Or from another religion. Or from another “social class.” It seems that their issues with people that are different mean that you can’t love them. Unless you love someone that is the same gender as you. That’s even MORE taboo.

And some people even think that love can’t exist long distance. My marriage is proof that it can. Chooch and I fell in love on the phone, and didn’t have our first date until well after our hearts were given to each other. Yet eight years later, I love him more now than I did then. Sickeningly so, some might say. And my sister and her husband will celebrate their seventh year of marriage on Valentine’s Day, and they met online. To hell with those that say that it’s not possible to find love that way, because they clearly did.

Lookit, love is precious when you find someone to give it to and rare when it’s given freely back to you. I’ve always believed that definitions of love and happiness are up to each individual. What I think is happiness, others may not agree and vice versa. I don’t care what anyone else thinks, and neither should you.

Growing up in a military community may have helped my view, because even though it was a small town in Texas I was surrounded by “mixed race” marriages. I played with the children of those marriages, so trust me they are no different. As we grew, some friends discovered their homosexuality and I accepted it as natural. I feel really blessed to hold these points of view and pity those who don’t. They miss out on some magnificent people, and it’s solely their loss.

After all that, I am simply writing to announce that I’m in love with my great-niece. The only hitch in our relationship is that she hasn’t been born yet. Not only that, but my pregnant niece is a couple thousand miles away and I haven’t gotten so much as a rub on her growing belly. Because of financial issues, I won’t see them until after Baby M. is born. We’re hoping for summer. It’s breaking my heart into pieces to not be there for my niece to make sure she’s eating enough and to help out with Baby J. to make sure she’s getting plenty of rest. He’s 2 1/2 now, and a smart and funny handful.

Happily, my niece did as I begged and has been posting belly pictures. One candid photo of Baby J. and Baby M. (in her belly, natch) had me tearing up in December. (Click here to see it.) The most recent one (below) blew me away, even though it was actually another candid shot of Baby J. When I look at these two photos in particular, my heart swells with joy at the little life growing in there. Baby M. will have existed for at least a year, with a few months of that as a separate life from her mother, before I get to embrace her. This saddens me greatly. It also excites me for the future and what summer will bring.

A dear family friend is planning a long distance/Skype baby shower for her, and I’m helping. This wonderful woman is more like a mom to my niece, and Baby J. even calls her Grandma. We’re sending her presents, party food and decorations and her husband will handle things on that end. We’re going to gather on our end and watch her open gifts and celebrate the joyous occasion. We are gearing up now, since Baby M. is due the end of March.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that it’s a very joyful time. I’m full of hope for the future and my heart is literally overflowing.

If you’ve made it this far after trying to follow tangent after tangent as I ramble on about love, then I would ask one thing of you:

Forget the things that aren’t going right in your life, just for a little while. Take that time to embrace and celebrate the hundred little things that are.

Family Kids Soulful

Baby J and Baby M

I mentioned my niece in yesterday’s post, and how much I love and miss her and her family. My great-nephew Baby J is almost 2 1/2 years old and is a clever and rambunctious child. He’s also very excited about the arrival of his baby sister, expected in early April.

Yesterday, my niece posted this in Facebook:

“(Baby J) was rubbing my belly and the baby kicked his hand. He got so pissed and said, “No kicka my hand (Baby M)!”

It seems he was very irate because everyone know you shouldn’t kick others. I predict much hilarity in their house in coming years as he makes the adjustment from “Baby” to “Big Brother.” Yes, I totally melted and started praying even harder that I’ll be able to see them soon.

Here’s a photo of Baby J, already loving on his sister.