Ahhh! So, That’s What’s Wrong With Me

Author: Vivid Muse  //  Category: Hauntings, Mom, No Whining

I realized the day after writing my last post, WTF is up with me?, exactly what was wrong with me: it’s January.

Over the years, it has become a month full of emotional landmines, one right after the other. My son LT has flown back to his father’s, the 5th is the anniversary of the death of a dear friend and also the birthday of Chooch’s deceased brother, the anniversary of my mother’s death from breast cancer, and my son’s 15th birthday (won’t get to celebrate with him this year either, thanks to finances) is in a week.

It was six years ago, also a Friday the 13th, that my brother called me and said the words I had feared hearing since her first occurrence of breast cancer in 1991.

I was fresh from the shower, rushing around and getting dressed to stay with my Mom so my brother could go home and sleep after spending the night with her. We knew she was near the end of her life and in clear moments she knew it and was scared. We never left her alone. It was bittersweet that she spent less and less time clear of mind as the cancer had spread into her skull and brain.

I was half-dressed and rushing to the kitchen to make a PB&J to eat in the car on the way to the hospital. I didn’t have a scheduled time to get there, in fact, in hindsight I’m no even sure I was expected that morning. I just felt an urgency to get to her as quickly as I could, waking hours before my alarm was set and bolting out of bed.

The phone rang and I immediately collapsed to my knees mid-stride and started crying and praying. My husband woke up instantly, which never happens, and answered the phone. He then came to find me and wrapped his arms around me on the dining room floor, telling me that she was gone, crying just as hard as I was. (I now have a begrudging smile, because I again recognize that there are no two other arms on this planet that she would want comforting me more than my husband’s. She adored him on sight.)

I knew what the call was (why else would the phone ring at 6:30 am) and immediately went from praying for her release from the horror of her life to begging for her to come back because I wasn’t ready to be without her. I needed her to teach me more, to make me a stronger woman. The kind of woman that could lift a burden from the heart of my children the way she could do for mine. Tirelessly and full of unconditional love. And I mean unconditional, because I was not an easy person to parent. I frequently rebelled, still do, even against myself. But I still needed her and suddenly was unable to imagine life without her presence.

Shortly thereafter, I reflected that to be in the room where your Mother is and know that this body, the one that you had been pampering, comforting and consoling, is no longer your Mother… well, it is the strangest bit of surrealism that I have ever experienced. My Mother was literally 2 feet away from me, but she was no where to be found. Still, I couldn’t help tucking the blankets around her feet as I always did, because they were always cold. I felt a fool when I realized what I was doing, but no one mocked me. Hell, wrapped as deep as they were in their own grief, they probably didn’t even notice.

So the subconscious knowledge that this day was coming, along with all the other anniversaries, good and bad, are what I believe to be my huge sense of being swallowed in negativity. In talking with my therapist about the dates mentioned above, the excruciating negotiation process in selling our home, an devastating ongoing family crisis that I am not free to discuss here (we are fine), frantically packing and selling everything we own without sentimental value in preparation for downsizing to a smaller living space, having a near-death experience with Kaylee and missing another birthday of my son’s – these have all managed to make this a real crapper of a month to get through after the stress of Christmas.

Happily, we have no fewer than four loved ones born in January to celebrate. And we got to ring in the New Year with people that rejuvenate us. Moving forward we also have the unexpected joy of taking part in the daily lives of powerfully close friends, and by extension, two beautiful young girls. This includes watching a dance recital for 3 and 4 year olds that was so magically rejuvenating that I could feel the weight of sadness falling off of me in chunks as we giggled and cheered their performances. I told their father that I wished for a pill that could impart what we were feeling as we watched these vibrant little spirits dance and twirl in front of us. Nearly all of the adults to a one were shiny-eyed watching not only their child, but also being charmed by the other girls, all of them working so hard to be brave with such nervousness and barely controlled frenetic energy. I found that it filled my heart containers to over-flowing and used the memory of the two sisters dancing together to pull me out of a panic attack the next day. The memory is truly powerful and medicinal to this old girl.

The highs and lows of this month, in addition to new health issues for myself and for my husband (we’re fine), have me both hiding and clinging to the people that give me strength, whether we talk about the hard things or the good things going on in each other’s lives. It’s just the being with them, the contact with them, that soothes.

I will go to Arlington Cemetery to take my Mom flowers and will return home to work on the book I am creating in her honor. I will survive the emotional landmines of January as the tough chick she raised me to be. And I will take time to revel in the joyful moments that occur along the way, exactly as she raised me to do.

I will love you forever, Pocket Mom!

WTF is up with me?

Author: Vivid Muse  //  Category: Hauntings, Mental, No Whining

Sorry for the lack of posts here. I’m having an internal crisis of late, and am torn in different directions. I’ve been starting posts and leaving them unfinished. I’ve been writing titles that interest me, never to go back and write the post. I’ve been outright deleting posts after I start them, due to their lameness or lack of interest to even me, the writer. I respect your time too much, Dear Reader, to post anything more than mildly boring, rather than an outright snoozer.

I’ve been wondering to myself about the recent months of perplexed thoughts and actions, and have come to no conclusions. I turned 42 last year, and know that if I’m to find the answers to the great questions, I’ll have to find them myself. This has grown even more necessary recently, and I feel that I’m having to discover myself all over again. This is a surprise as I’ve already done that a few times in the last decade:

  • When my ex-husband became my ex;
  • When I finally met my soul mate and resigned myself to an ever-expanding blissful existence at his side;
  • When my Mom died;
  • When our home no longer had my children living in it.

I had thought I had all points mastered, in spite of occasional but intense bursts of sadness from the last two. But it’s possible I’m still in the midst of the identity crisis of not being a “Daily Mom.” Yes, my kids live, laugh, breathe and have experiences every day, but my role is no longer daily. I’m still haunted in our over-sized home by the silence that used to include game sounds, arguing about homework, and footsteps or music pounding from above. That is something that we have made progress on, as our next home has a combination of characters each more magnificent than the last.

Lately, I’m coming to think that it’s hormonal changes, triggered either by my weight loss and subsequent regain, or perimenopause ~ the beginnings of menopause. *tick*tock* I don’t fear that change any more than I’ve been fearful of any of life’s other mileposts. I just have to find a way to organize around it an move forward.

I have more love in my life than ever before, and am accepted for who I am by more people than ever before. And yet, I’m finding that some of my old stumbling blocks still cause me to stumble, and the old insecurities still leave a nasty mark when they come out swinging. When folks have installed our panic button, they can tap it easily and often if they so choose.

Many of these things were so private that only my husband knows about them since I keep nothing from him, no matter how gruesome. Although I’d love to share more here, I’m afraid that while I am wholly honest , I can only be so revealing. We don’t know each other that well, after all, so can you blame me?

I’m trying to rapidly sort myself out, especially as I’m letting those around me down. At least, I feel I am, but I’m told that those that really love me are never as hard on me as I am on myself. That being said there are many strange currents in my life right now, and with fewer than a dozen exceptions, I find I don’t know where it is safe to expose my heart put my trust any longer.

With all the changes occurring in my life right now, it would have been awesome to have had stability in some corner of my life. Well, I do have it and I know I’m blessed. It’s one corner of my life, but it’s a big one. There is no passive aggression, there is no negativity directed at me, there is only love and support shared from person to person. If I am to be judged harshly for finding joy and appreciating it, so be it. Just because things are hard doesn’t mean you can’t find laughter along the way. In fact, I am very sorry for you if you cannot find it when you need it most.

The focus for me now is therapy. To figure out all that is causing me to continue self-destructive behavior. To fight some lifelong demons to the ground and disarm them once and for all. To live and laugh without occasionally stop to rub my head from the weight of all the guilt and stress I feel over things I have no control over. To try and make failing relationships work with those I love and miss.

So, it’s late. And I don’t know what I’m trying to say. But, I will say goodnight now and hope that my next post makes more sense.

Oh, and see Paul, if you haven’t already. It’s freaking brilliant. Simon Pegg, Sigourney Weaver, Sci-Fi conventions, ’nuff said.

Resolutions for 2012

Author: Vivid Muse  //  Category: No Whining

I have not made any New Year’s resolutions since 2008. I did not meet ANY of my goals that year. Hell, I still have one I haven’t completed, but the others I happily finished.

You are wondering how lame I am? This lame: I am making resolutions for 2012 that I will fulfill. They are all things I will do for myself, without question.

  1. Publish the breast cancer anthology, with a goal publication date of July 11th. Having never done this myself, I’m willing to allow myself some slippage, but not much. I give myself the gift of making my Mom a published author and hopefully raising some money towards the disease that ended the lives of her, my beloved grandmother and great-grandmother.
  2. Reach my goal weight. Enough of this yo-yo crap. I am getting to the source of my weight issues via therapy and discovering my food intolerances.  I’m considering a reward/punishment system, something along the lines of $10 per pound lost going into a special event fund for my own selfish use. For every pound gained, I will lose $15 from said fund. Yeah, I’m liking the sound of that. If I have a net loss, it will come from budgeted birthday and Christmas prezzie funds for my gifts. To be decided…
  3. I will begin half-marathon training again, if and only if, my joints are willing. Otherwise, I will find another athletic goal to strive for. Movement is key for my emotional and physical well-being, and a gift I give myself.
  4. I will be better about staying in touch with those I love, so long as they do the same. I can no longer bear all the guilt of relationships that have fallen by the wayside. I have to remind myself that phones and email connect in both directions, and I alone am not in control of the status of the relationship.
  5. I will remember that, especially in the midst of the most hectic and chaotic times, I must always do something to take care of myself, too.
  6. I will realistically determine if I can do something to help ease another person’s burden. If I can, I will. If I cannot, I will not carry the guilt of failure and uselessness. I will instead put it in a red balloon and let it float away. Even if it takes ten times.

Wish me luck! These won’t be easy for me, but are things that I must do to grow as a person.

Happy New Year’s Eve Eve! Please be safe and do NOT drink and drive!


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.

Do Me A Solid?

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

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

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

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

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

In the Blink of an Eye…

Author: Vivid Muse  //  Category: Kids, No Whining, Our Kids

… 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.

Zombies, Harry Potter and Healing

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

I had previously never given zombies much thought, but recall that as a teen my friends and I watched every B-movies our tiny Texas town’s video store had. The grosser the better. Naturally, many of those had zombies of one type or another. I had certainly seen many more nasty movies in the intervening 19 years. And while I became more squeamish after my children’s separate but critical health issues, I don’t recall any zombie anxiety until Halloween of 2006.

While out shopping for Halloween costumes and decorations with the kids at a cheesily and spookily decorated party store, I realized I was shaky and freaked out by the skeletons and zombies. Although none of them resembled her, I envisioned my Mom in their place. Even worse, I was unable to stop picturing her in various stages of decomposition in her coffin, wearing the clothes she had been buried in. It was the first Halloween since her passing away, and I can assure you it freaked me right the fuck out. Happily that effect has eased immensely, mostly due to being inundated with movies, TV shows, songs, audio dramas, games and apocalypse preparedness plans. And I’ve been working hard with meditation to shut it down when it start to creep in.

But at my core, zombies still freak me out. It’s not something I like to think about, and have worked really hard not to hate those that make Zombie Jesus jokes and stuff like that. Especially those that continue to make them when they see my discomfort. But they don’t realize it’s not a religious issue for me. The Christian/Catholic in me doesn’t care. I reconciled that bit long ago. But having those images in my head? It’s why my zombie preparedness plan only has one constraint: Are our kids relying on me for survival? If yes, I’ll fight tooth, nail, blood and tears for their lives. No? Self-destruction. If my kids aren’t with us, then I want to be a goner in the first wave. I don’t want to see my loved ones like that. Yes, that’s very literal and takes the fun out of it. But that’s how my brain works. When I visualize it, it’s extremely hard to un-visualize it. This is true for all things. Chooch and I even have it as part of an “In Case I Become Undead” Pact: Zombie = bash my brains out. Vampire = join me.

But when hearing about zombies, I almost always return to  standing next to Mom’s coffin at the cemetery at her funeral.  I tried to be a solid and calming influence on all the kids, as I calmly put a rose on her coffin and gave the cold, hard wood one last touch. But on the inside, I felt like a four year old, screaming and throwing myself on the coffin and begging for Mommy to wake up. Not having to be brave or strong or a good example, and just being able to grieve and let it all out in one hysterical rush.

My family rode together to the cemetery in two limos and, to my comprehension at the time, were wanting to leave pretty quickly after the ceremony. But I had to force every step away from her. I didn’t want to leave her alone. I wanted to stay and keep her company the same way I had during her chemo treatments and for all those months in the hospital. Even when she was unconscious.

I wanted a blanket to cover her, as it was so cold that morning. I knew what she was wearing was lovely, but had no warmth. I worried about the rain and the snow, and her being left out in the elements without even an umbrella to keep her dry. Crazy, right? But I’d spent the last five months in constant care of her. I even carried her pain pills with me that morning, knowing she had no use for them but unable to leave them behind.

My whole life her feet were always ice cold, and I was suddenly mad at myself for not remembering to wrap the blanket I had been crocheting for her for months around her feet to keep them warm. I remembered too late and still have the unfinished blanket.

As we slowly walked to the cars, I remember telling Chooch how mad I was at myself, for not having anticipated the need to stay and driving separately. The family needed to leave, to be in motion, to have this part over. But I needed to stay and watch over my Mom for just a little bit longer. I curtailed my time and headed to the waiting car.

It doesn’t come as a shock to anyone who knows me that I have an undying love for my Mom. She was not perfect, and she made a lot of mistakes. I don’t see her through rose-colored glasses. But I still miss her everyday, and I don’t care one whit if anyone else thinks that it’s “unhealthy” or that I should be “over it” or that I’m “using it for sympathy.” My loss is my own, and I expect no one else to fully understand it. Not even my husband, and he knows everything about me. It’s a multi-faceted issue, one that is very private and inexplicable. I don’t see it ever completely fading away.

Today would have been Mom’s 68th birthday. I’ve been pushing it out of my mind with lots of activities and stuff going on, but now I can’t ignore it any more and the blues have arrived full force. Part of it is because of the big part that Harry Potter played in our lives. The first three books had a tremendous healing power after my divorce, and it was also a huge bonding thing for me and my boys. My oldest son, Naughty Bear was the perfect age to be spellbound by it, and we were just reminiscing about playing hooky to see the first showings on opening day for the first few movies to watch it together with my Mom and my Dad. We even had an Epic Harry Potter Halloween party. And I do mean Epic.

Chooch and I watched Harry Potter 7 tonight with LT and NB in anticipation of watching the final installment at the midnight showing on Thursday night. It pisses me off that she only got to see the first four movies, but at least she got to read all the books. Having it come out the same week as her birthday stirs up a bunch of sadness at what she’s missed in the last 5 1/2 years, but I’m working really hard to shift my attention instead to all she did experience, as well as the tremendous impact she had on the lives of her family and friends.

While DM’ing with a friend about it in Twitter, she reminded me to celebrate Mom, enjoy Harry Potter and have dessert first. That last is a tradition that had slipped my mind, based on my Mom taking LT to dinner one day and randomly deciding to have dessert before dinner. So I’m deciding on her birthday dessert in the morning.

I also want to toast Mom, but, and here’s the irony, when trying to think of a wine or liquor that she preferred, I suddenly remembered that the drink I most remember her ordering was a Zombie. She did order one or two Long Island Iced Teas in my memory, but over the years when she was in the rare mood for a drink in my presence, it was a Zombie.

Isn’t she a kick in the pants? It feels as if even now she’s pushing me to toughen up. I don’t even get to hold on to a weird weakness! So, yes. Mom. I get it. I need to do some more healing. Message received, loud and clear. The family I embrace is helping me to come to terms with a lot of things, including not having your physical presence in my life any longer.

I guess at this point I should apologize to anyone that’s bothered to read this far. I don’t have any grand closing statement or clear train of thought. I’m just clearing out the shadows in my brain and dumping ’em here for my own purposes.

So, Happy Birthday, Pocket Mom. I was damned lucky to have you as long as I did, and I know it.

Mom and Me on my wedding day, 2003

Move Update: Nothing to Update

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

Since our price drop a little while ago, we’ve had renewed interest in the house but still no offers. I am continually tweaking out about this, but remind myself that it’s only been on the market 2 1/2 months. While it makes me stabby, it would’ve been remarkable to have sold before now.

It seems insane that it hasn’t been longer, but when you’re doing constant scrub-downs on a house with 4 bathrooms (3 used continuously), a kitchen, 4 bedrooms (2 used continuously) and living spaces it gets exhausting really quickly. Plus, the last minute tidying every time I get notice that someone is wants to view it.

We’ve no choice on the need for the move and will keep the house on the market until it sells. Our realtor is being less communicative with us, but I’m addressing that this week.

I am glad to say that I no longer have to worry about having to move while L.T. is here, but there is potential that the house will sell and we’ll have to move over the holidays. This only stresses me minimally, as we hope to be in California over Christmas. If we can fund the trip to visit Chooch’s son and other family, it won’t be an issue if the Christmas tree is packed up with no ability to decorate.

On a related note, I’m happy to say that I have friends that either just finished or are in the process of buying new homes. It’s a wonderful, although stressful experience, and I wish all of them the best of luck. This is a much better market and I’m sure you’re getting a great deal on a great new chapter in your life. May your purchases go quickly and without drama, and let no bad happen!

My Good Thing: I Don’t Have Heart Failure

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

At least, not currently. I found out after my insurance company put me in a premium bracket because they were sure I had been diagnosed with it.

Color me intrigued!

After over an hour on the phone with the insurance company nurses, we were able to determine that one of the bazillion tests that were run on me must have triggered the system to spew me into the premium bracket. At the end of the call, the very sweet nurse (Jan), apologized for having to remove the extended services. I, on the other hand, thanked her for confirming that my heart’s not failing due to lack of treatment after a very scary diagnosis.

Nice lady.

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.