No Whining Too Long For Twitter Uncategorized

Well Played, Alanis Morissette


A dear friend shared a link to an article in Facebook, with a thumbnail of Alanis Morissette in a bikini. She’s not rocking a super tight body. She’s a real woman. And although I’m envious of her figure, I knew immediately that it’s a photo that the press will put in everyone’s face for mockery. To what end, I’ll never understand, other than giving young woman eating disorders and a need for plastic surgery.

Only, and I mean only, because I trust Bree’s p.o.v. did I click on the link. The blog on the other end was reporting *skim*skim*bikini bottom*something*something*Alanis Morissette. (If you don’t know her, Google her. She’s amazing.)

Looking again, I could see something written on the ass of her bikini and was COMPELLED to click on it.

I have nothing else to say, other to share my amusement at the surprise on my incredibly empathetic husband’s face. He was shocked at my getting choked up while reading it to him, but was still impressed by her statement. I had to remind myself that no matter how much Chooch tries, he’ll never understand what it’s like to be a fat chick in this modern age.

Spreech it, Alanis.

Self Love, says Alanis

California Dreaming, One

**Edit** Written yesterday.

I have blissed out beyond what I hoped for the entire trip after learning that my beloved Sister In Law, who I will for now refer to as “That’s Unfortunate” (TU) because of how she schooled me last night. Three therapy sessions in one sentance: Oh, you always feel like you have to please people? Me: Precisely. She: Oh. That’s unforturnate.

Truth nugget, that I’m still laughing at while I process. Meanwhile, she is someone that innately pampers and spoils everyone she can. So I’m taking it with a grain of salt.

Then we find out that J (Chooch’s son, who I hope to have a better moniker for by the end of this trip.) time will be plentiful and are now blissing out watching him play Rocksmith, which we brought, with his own guitar. He’s an amazing musician, we’re blown away as he’s acing The Dead Weather.

While talking throughout the day, many times returning to music, I realize the while I can play no instrument, I have been surrounded by musicians my whole life starting with my dad, who played acoustic guitar from as young as I remember, then stopped at some point (I wonder where that guitar is now?).

Then my brother started playing percussion in middle school through high school.

Then dating musicians.

Then marrying and later divorcing a singer and guitar player, now married to a musician of multiple instruments, with a son that that sang all four years in  high school choir, another son that has played percussion off and on since he was 6 or 7 years old (We provided a practice pad and drum sticks so he could get used to how it should feel since he was beating pencils and or his hands on everything anyways.) and has recently and seriously informed Chooch and I that he wants to be a musician as a career, and seeing J playing Rocksmith after more than 3 years of guitar lessons, several years of piano lessons, and now playing trumpet in the school orchestra. How joyful am I that my whole life I have been surrounded by music, enveloped in it, and will continue to, by people that I love and take such pride in their accomplishments.

Definitely counting my blessings this day, after blissing out oh-so-many unforgettable moments.



My Eternal happy place.

Too Long For Twitter Uncategorized Whining

Stray Thoughts

I’m wondering why it is so hard for some of us to take our own journey. Even when lucky enough to have a partner, I hesitate before stepping on the path of another for fear that my footprints will leave an unwanted mark. It’s happened in the past. And I know it’s my fault because they told me it was (Haha, yes. I’m working on that, too.).

Now, I excel at finding silver linings and rainbows. I do it at every turn now. It makes a difficult process or period of time a bit easier, sometimes. Sometimes, not so much. But when feeling adrift and buffeted on all sides by storms, where does one turn? Speaking for myself only,

I get lost in the rhythm of the waves. It’s mesmerizing, don’t you think? And by studying them, you can learn from them. Hopefully something that makes the storm worth bearing. Most storms come and go without us ever learning such a thing, like what caused it or how it can be prevented in the future.

But, eventually, I find myself looking up, so the sky analogy works really well for me. (Religious notation: I was raised Roman Catholic; gave up on the preachings of old white men long ago and am currently researching Buddhism. I look up because that is where I instinctively look when talking to my deceased Mom, who is the person I “pray” to.).


I have been assured that I have strong intuition. I have an overwhelming urge to believe this, as so many come to me for advice. Why, I have no idea. I’m as lost as sea as the next poor bastard.


Why does parenthood have to be SO hard?
It’s like that film in middle school about body changes and sex and stuff, before you can grasp any of it (if you’re lucky), because you’re at an age when it’s biologically possible to get pregnant.
It’s that terror-filled moment of: “I can’t wait to see him” alongside the fear that I will negatively imapact his journey. That I’ll say the wrong thing.
It’s like, in the words of a very wise man, grape on the outside and salty on the inside. (Yes, I’m working on it… ^-^)


I find it un-fucking-believable that nearly no one I see regularly, as life finds me now, ever met my Mom.
How is it possible that so much of my life is utterly separate from hers?!?!
That what was, when she left, is now gone.

*sends up a red balloon*
Frakkin’ holidays.

Health Uncategorized


I’m thinking out loud here, sharing a few experiences during this, Breast Cancer Awareness month. It’s been a blur the last few weeks, as we face many unknowns on many fronts, nearly all in the control of others, but the constant thread throughout the year has been cancer. Not just my own brushes with it as doctors run various tests and even, just this last summer, for our middle son, LT. Nope, MANY others that I love have dealt with the terror of cancer recently– a staggering and heart breaking number.

And normally I wouldn’t write a confessional like this for fear of poking at anyone’s wounds on the subject of cancer. So if you’re one of those people, you’re just going to have to stop reading here or continue knowing that I’m raw and writing with little censoring.

I’ve been digging in deep in therapy, facing my cancer fears and, as my Momma taught me long ago (after 3 known generations of a breast cancer death sentence), exerting control over it where I can:

  • by vigilantly performing breast self-exams;
  • by staying up on new possible risk factors;
  • ensuring that what I consider to be essential dietary requirements are met;
  • never, ever missing an annual physical or mammogram.

So, as it happened, this year my annual exam best worked out on my 43rd birthday. It was just one of many things that defined the day in a special way, particularly because of the love and patience my husband showed me.

While at the appointment, I was given an order for a mammogram. I have them annually and have for years. I don’t fear them, I welcome them. Find the little fuckers before they can spread to my lymph nodes, because Holy Hell you don’t want to happen.

I put it with an order I already had for back x-rays, deciding to make the appointment within the week.

Then I got a call from my doctor’s office, relaying my extremely trusted doctor’s need to discuss abnormal results from the pap test portion of the exam. I wasn’t terrified, because it was the second one I’d had, the last being 15 years ago and the follow up testing and annual testing in the intervening years have been normal. I was also terrified, because it was the second abnormal and if it had been missed all this time then it had 15 years to secretly fill my body.


I already had a full day of laundry, and shopping for baking and an already too-full To Do list, but the plans went out the window and the race to see her began. She explained it was likely nothing, but she doesn’t mess around when it comes to me and reproductive cancers. After she opted for a pelvic ultrasound, I snatched the order for that test and the other two and dragged my dazed and raw self to the imaging center I prefer. (A phrase I hoped never to say.)

The ultrasound, with a fresh 32 ounces in my distended bladder was unpleasant but over quickly, and with great relief I headed off to tinkle when I was then told of the shocking (to me) internal component that I was not warned of. Again, ever seeking more information on life-threatening matters, I leapt into the necessaries, and was beyond relieved when I was given the all-clear on Monday. (Huzzah!) In related news, my left ovary is bashful.

One down, two to go, and I don’t really know what to wish for regarding the back x-rays. That left me with the mammogram results to sweat out. I try to act like I wasn’t worried, but I always am. After leaving my doting husband, and his comforting hand in mine (Thank God for Chooch), in the waiting room, I liken the feeling I get to being a little girl reaching up for my Mom’s hand to guide me through it the rest of the way. Luckily, although she died almost 7 years ago from breast cancer, she never disappoints. (Thank God for Mom.)

So a phone call from my doctor today, followed by a notice from the imaging center that there is again an area of concern in a new location, and I have to go back for a breast ultrasound and what I think of as a targeted compression mammogram. I’ve had multiple ultrasounds over the years and one targeted compression mammogram. That year, I had photographed the room, the machine and different steps involved in the hopes of de-mystifying the mammogram experience of an ordinary patient.

Before I could even edit the photos and write the post, I had gotten the notice of the area of concern and need for further testing. Even having gotten the all-clear, it felt like tempting the fates to post it. This year, I again stopped myself from taking my camera to finally write a blog post. No jinxies.


Am I getting better at handling and processing terrors? Is therapy helping? Or, with all the other nasty surprises the year has brought our direction, am I just burned out?

Tomorrow I schedule that test, hopefully Monday. Now, how many tests can you have come back negative before the odds send home a positive? As in, “You have tested positive for cancer.” Wait, don’t tell me. I don’t want to know.

Even scarier, what if something is wrong and I hadn’t gone for my annual exam and/or mammogram?

And yes, I know, everything is going to be fine. In fact, I’ve even been able to find a thin sliver of a silver lining, if you can believe my gall, if the worst is true. So, there’s that.

Please, everyone, if you haven’t gone for your annual physicals yet this year, schedule them now. 

There is more than simply breast cancer to be vigilant against, Dear Reader, so give yourself a fighting and well-informed chance on anything you or your doctor are concerned about.

I don’t mean to diminish what is likely a hefty co-pay, but I would certainly prefer knowing that a loved one nixed gift giving over the holidays in exchange for a health screening.

Promise you’ll at least think about it?


P.S. For those expecting a Dr Who reference, here ya go — if I do get breast cancer, send the Weeping Angels my way if it starts to win. Cuz I have no intention of being the 4th generation with that particular cause of death.

Everything came back negative and WOW that’s a long and gnarly post.  Ah, the wonder of me.


A Lesser Geek No Longer

I’ve never played D&D, despite having a brother, an ex and a husband all devout in their worship of the game.

I’ve never sat through a Dr Who episode before the glorious Christopher Eccleston took up the mantle of the sonic screwdriver.

I only remember a few scenes from ANY Star Trek, be it TV show or movie. (Tribbles! Nagging clone wives! Khhhaaaaaaaaan! Beautiful bald chick! Ear wigs! )

In spite of seeing every Star Wars movie countless times, I can’t name all the secondary characters, geek out on Death Star specs and have no clue who shot first.

I’ve only gotten heavily into gaming since being with Chooch. Other than when I was a kid, gaming was primarily something I did to entertain kids — my sister, then my kids and the kids of others. Now I am always seeking fun games to play, and Chooch and I recently revived our forgotten habit of playing quick start/easy to finish games (Bananagrams, Zombie Dice, Gloom, etc) while waiting for food at restaurants.

I always explain at conventions that I love Firefly/Serenity and Dr. Horrible, but cannot sit through Buffy, Angel or anything past the first few episodes of Doll House. So while I am a Joss Whedon fan, it’s only a small percentage of the characters he’s created that I care about. (Yes, I have tried. No you won’t change my mind, it’s not for me. I won’t insult you by listing why I dislike it, if you won’t insult me for not being a fan. Deal?)

I have passion, as anyone that saw me after the Big Damn Heroes panel or meeting Jewel Staite can attest. But I typically just take the easy way out and skip the “How Much Could You Know?” discussion since my knowledge usually peters out long before the questions do anyways. I’d just claim myself to be a Geek by Osmosis and bail, seeking fun rather than judgment.

Then I saw a post from creative genius and overall grantor of peace, J.R. Blackwell.  It’s not a kindly,  upbeat post. There is exquisitely descriptive profanity. There is rage. And there is hope for a gal like me.

I no longer just “<3 my geek.” I proclaim myself to be a Geek. And not just in the music realm, but in the realm I now frequent the most – True Geekdom – sci-fi conventions, board games, podcasting, audio editing, photo ops with stars that are obscure at best to most of the people not in this realm, movie memorabilia and a long-standing need to let my freak flag fly, no matter who it scares off. For goodness’ sake, we named our dog after a fictional space ship engineer.

THAT WE MET LAST MONTH!!!!! ZOMG!!!! <3 Jewel! <3 Kaylee!


Another Dragon*Con post is likely coming. But as usual, don’t expect too many facts. I go where the giggles are, and sometimes the things that cause them are best left in confidence between those present.

Chooch Family Friends No Whining Uncategorized

43, Not 21

Yesterday was my birthday, and I’ve been spoiled by my husband for the last week or so as he drove me to see a few family and friends. Tuesday night (my birthday eve) I had dinner with my husband, oldest son (Naughty Bear), niece, sister, sister’s husband, brother and father. Due to some family drama, I had more than a little anxiety. I just simply pushed that aside and focused on the excitement I felt that they were all coming to my birthday dinner.

It was a wonderful time, although my brother announced his move far away in a week (?!?!!), and I was even more grateful to have gotten everyone together since we don’t know when we’ll see him next. Luckily, Chooch, my son and my niece are the kind of people that it’s impossible not to have a good time around.

When the waitress asked how old I was, my dad said, “21!” I was standing and taking a picture of someone when I heard, giggled and said “43! Woo hoo!” making it clear to all that I have no druthers about my age. Besides, how awkward would that have been with my 21 year old sitting at the table? No, I embrace my years, color my grays and smile at the laugh lines in my reflection, grateful for every smirk and belly laugh that’s contributed to them. 43!!!! In hindsight, based on his usual flirtatiousness, I think he wanted the waitress to think he was younger. Just kidding. I actually don’t think he knows that I embrace each birthday with such aggression. I love to level up to a new age. Have a giddy moment, even. Give a sigh of relief, even.

We slept in at a surprisingly nice, cheap ass hotel, and headed to the first fun item on the agenda: my annual *cough* physical. Regardless of where I live or how good my local general practitioner is, I always go back to Dr. E for this particular appointment. She’s thoughtful, very clever, empathetic (a rarity, I’ve found, in doctors) and a genuinely good person. She also keeps looking at all my symptoms and bringing up MS as a possibility, which scares the shit out of me. She keeps me honest, kicking me out of denial on an annual basis for well over a decade.

Then Chooch and I had lunch, which I inhaled since my appointment wasn’t until two pm (fasting bloodwork), made a grocery store run and headed home. Mmmm… jalepeno cheddar bread from Sweetwater Tavern … mmmm… Drunken Rib Eye (I don’t order the delish dish, Chooch does. It’s so rich, I only ever want one bite, which he sweetly shares.)

As planned, Housie Jen and daughters Tiny Expert and Feral Dancer joined Chooch in having a cake party for me, and the resulting silliness, giggles and feral impressions made the day special in a completely different way. They are at that amazing age where their full belly giggles and laughter are magical, stopping adults (is it just parents captivated by The Giggle?) in their tracks to stop and revel in the innocent sound. I was so happy to have had the time with them. It eased missing our kids a bit.

It was devastatingly difficult to leave, but TMC was running a special showing of Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds. I haven’t seen it since I was a teen and was startled and “migrained” by the difference. I don’t think I’ll ever view old movies the same, the ones I’ve only ever seen on a television screen. Never before had I recognized the tremendous difference between the two displays. Having the opening credits play over a wall of blurred images of attacking birds and over-loud screeching birds had my heart racing by the time the movie suddenly went silent and started.

It was something that had never blipped on my radar before, typically getting snacks or fussing with a blankie or whatever, waiting for the actual movie start. But I now see how movie theater viewers would have a much higher fear factor towards the flying murderers from the very beginning of the movie. On the tv, it’s like a commercial or filler (for me) that I only partially pay attention to and I had no fear of the birds at the start of the movie. I don’t know which is a better/more powerful, the lack of fear and seeing how they go from every day birds to killers? Or being immediately immersed into the terror to come?

Now I wish I could see all the AFI Top 100 movies on the big screen. I think seeing some of the ones I disliked may strike me differently. And it may eventually be possible with Turner Classic Movies dropping these tasty theatrical nuggets. My friend Andrea, just told me she heard they are brewing up a Karloff movie for Halloween.

There have been a few small birthday celebrations and toasts this year, no big party as circumstances just don’t accommodate it. And while Facebook doesn’t seem to allow me to reply for about 40 of the well wishes , I’ve read each of them and greatly appreciate each one.

Now, on an unrelated note, there’s a new Hobbit trailer! Yes, I’m annoyed it’s to be a trilogy. Yes, I pray McKellan’s role has been completely filmed. Yes, I’m FUCKING EXCITED. *swoon – Martin Freeman*

Health Uncategorized

Health Blahs Update, aka Dragon*Con 2012, Part 2

I think it’s been awhile, and I have recently been known to attempt to steer recent conversations away from my health issues. I’ve done okay, with one regretted exception, where it was too much honesty for too long and I hastily began the backpedal out of health blah territory and back to the fun light stuff I went to Dragon*Con for in the first place.

History of what I call my Health Blahs (over the last 3 years): Sudden onset of vestibular migraines (and associated neurological symptoms), neurocardiogenic syncope (fairly common – I may faint under stress. Like approximately 70% of the population, reportedly.) TMJ and a Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever diagnosis (4 week RMSF treatment, no clue what to expect from it in the future).

Earlier this year, after a massive increase in pain, fatigue and many other symptoms, primarily pain hotspots hitting pretty much any joint I could identify at one point or another, I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia. There has been concern over the extreme pain and loss of flexibility and mobility in my hands and feet, and after x-rays gave no clear answer, I had an MRI of my right hand to try and diagnose the frequently painful periods in both hands and feet.

The MRI revealed that there is no evidence of rheumatoid arthritis in my right hand (Praise Baby Jesus); we don’t really know what’s causing the pain in my hands and feet, but some pain in my right hand may be attributed to a cyst I am to get checked out (wheee!); I’m getting physical therapy and a safe start back on the path to (crossing fingers) 5k’s and half-marathon training (Dammit, Mur. I’m not giving up.). I miss running and I intend to have another 500+ mile year. Soon.

So, in general, I had more tests run, have more tests being run, have extreme gratitude to my husband for providing excellent health insurance for us and our kids, have far more interesting Dragon*Con posts and no more real information but lots of options still open to me.

While some of these issues are chronic, they are not life-threatening. Sadly, I have many examples of those less fortunate than I to reflect on, and I am fully aware of how lucky I am and will take my hefty dose of pain over the things that others are dealing with health-wise ANY day.

I remain flabbergasted by the gestures of love and support I get from many that I have met once, two hundred times or never (in meat space).
For many reasons, those gestures pull me through some pretty dark stuff so if you think I’ve not noticed a kindness, know that I have.
I am unendingly uplifted and grateful for the kindness of the singularly amazing and fascinating people that let me call them friend.  Thank you, to those it applies to. Special thanks to Roomie For Life, P.G. Holyfield and my hubby. It’s not easy rooming with me, but they spoil me anyways.

Now, it’s really hard to write a self-indulgent, whiney post like this, even though the hope is to remove any need folks may feel to ask after my health. I am thrilled when it doesn’t come up, although I am generally happy to answer questions as long it doesn’t linger too long or turn too dark.

When you see me, I may have one or both wrist braces on. Same may be true of my knees or ankles. I may be using a cane. I don’t want to need them, but I’m accepting them as necessary tools for me right now, on occasion. And while I’m trying, I’ve not yet hit the “you have to be able to laugh about it” stage. It’s all still ill-fitting yet, but I’ll try not to spill Awkward on you.

I have to take breaks, the more strenuous the activity, the more often. That’s why I am so rarely out and about in the crush of the big events at conventions and spend a lot of time resting in my room recovering from or hoping to prevent some pain or symptom or another. Sadly, as was driven home again last Saturday, all the rest in the world won’t make my body able to get up and moving, but I fight really hard before giving in on time with friends.

But, I am fine.


Now, let’s get back to the giggles.  M’kay?

Tomorrow, Dragon*Con 2012, Part 3: Magical Friday, or, How I Met Jewel Staite.

Click here for my previous post on D*C ’12.



Yesterday I realized that my nearly two decade habit of always having quarters or a few $1 bills in my wallet had somehow ended.

I had learned early on that after a long day of running errands with me, for my kid(s) and I, the difference between sanity and the heart of a screaming inferno, begging for release via insanity was as thin as a quarter. Yes, this was before smart phones/tablets/iDistractions and I’m also talking about the ages before Gameboys were appropriate.

One quarter (usually) could turn an impending meltdown from a miniature human into a happy child, when spent at a machine rack dispensing tiny rubber balls, wall walkers, miniature football helmets, fake gold chains, etc.,.

And of course, video games. The quarters and tokens typically got used up before I could steal a turn or turn away from a wee one and towards a distraction, possibly putting them at risk of getting into danger without a vigilant eye. Even with backup, I could rarely bring myself to take fun from the kids.

Back to yesterday, as we exited the theater after watching The Dark Knight Rises (Review: Bane = Cancer. Possibly in a future post?), we separated for a quick Rest in the appropriately appointed Rooms.  I didn’t see Chooch upon my exit, so I headed over to the theater’s game room to see if he was waiting there.  I saw the video games and smiled at the thought of our recent trip to Barcade in Philadelphia. For the first time in a long time (They are extreme dizziness and migraine triggers), I played video games.

I still don’t know if it was my recent game time  in Philly or my spirit rebelling against the spasms in my back, but I found myself reaching for my wallet. It was then that I discovered — no cash.

No quarters.

No quarters?

No quarters?!?!?!

Surreal but true, as the quarters sat unused after the boys moved out years ago. At some point, I just stopped carrying them, along with $1’s. Now, anything under a $5 bill goes in the Family Fun jar.

But wait, a glimmer of hope? Maybe the change machines take bank cards? Alas, $1 and $5 bills only. Stupid archaic machines. Swiper no swipey.

I surveyed the room and realized I’d have to cross the very large lobby to the ATM, then cross back to the Rest Rooms to try and get that broken into $5’s at the snack bar. Then, not to be forgotten in the calculation, the aforementioned back spasms made sure I knew they were still in attendance.

So, no games.

Newly Resurrected Rule:
Always have quarters in my wallet.

‘Cuz it’s my turn to play.

Chooch Convention Cool Links / Clicky Linky Too Long For Twitter Uncategorized

2012 Conventions

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 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 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.

Mental No Whining Uncategorized Vestibular Migraine

Mental Health Day

Chooch and I spent Friday night through last night purging, packing and cleaning our home in anticipation of going to closing in the next 2 weeks. The non-stop work was driven by our fear that we would cause a delay in closing due to not being finished. We worked tirelessly and through exhaustion and countless complications.

Because we are moving to a much smaller living space, we have to do an extensive, two-step purge. Step one gets the house empty, while step two gets our remaining belongings moved out of storage (where the are now) and into our new home.

We are purging as we go, but as the family archivist/museum, I have thousands of photos (not an exaggeration) to sort through and choose which will be digitized and then do so. There are also family items that I will no longer have room for and that my family does not want. Those items I will photograph before selling/donating. Since I’m bearing the time and financial brunt of this process, it is taking a long time. Progress is halted for now as we have to prep for the move.

I cannot express how hard this has been, as it is the first true purge since my divorce. Even so, I am finding boxes that I packed over 20 years ago that need their fates determined. And of course, nearly every box has a ghost or two inside, either of my Mom, grandmother, my kids or my ex-husband. Finding the hand-made calendar that documented the last month of my Mom’s life was particularly hard.

We arrived on Friday night and intended to stay until the house was done. We were approximately 8 – 10 hours away from being done with clearing out and cleaning for the buyers when we finally received a tentative closing date. Instead of the beginning of March, as we expected, it looks as if we may not go to settlement until March 31st.

That revelation sapped our momentum, as it was already 7 pm and we were going to have to work through the night and then sleep a few hours and return to NextHome in the morning. We instead took our third cargo van full of donations and final trip to storage before returning  to our future home and beloved house mates.

After some brief but intensely awesome time with Tiny Expert and Feral Dancer (our housemates’ daughters), I went for my weekly therapy session. It was a great session, and just in time. She continues to support me giving back as good as I get, meaning if I am treated poorly I do not bend over backwards in hopes of getting better treatment. I put a period and move my energies to where they will matter and be appreciated.

If I am treated lovingly, I reciprocate. Now, I continue to do acts of kindness, but have learned that some will never appreciate or reciprocate. And I am getting to where I am fine with that. I know that if that were the sole requirement for my acts, that I would have a precious few to do those for. I allow myself to feel good in doing the act, rather than in holding my breath for any type of acknowledgement from the recipient.

I find that I still have a long way to go with accepting the now long-term limitations that I have. I now acknowledge that I cannot just jump in my car and go run errands, or make plans that involve me driving, or to even be the sole adult when caring for the young and extremely intelligent and active girls I live with for extended periods of time. As a result, it doesn’t ever feel like I contribute enough to those around me, especially my husband. I feel intense guilt when I am unable to do the things that I must do, let alone the things I want to do.

At the end of my session, my therapist always asks how I’m going to be kind to myself / what am I going to do for me every day? I don’t know why I never have an answer ready, and the question always takes me by surprise. I guess that’s proof I still need to go, huh?

All I can do is to continue to work around my limitations, put one foot in front of the other and never stop trying to be a better person. And only I get to define what that means.