The State of The Muse Address

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

Chooch and I have been at a marathon pace of giggles (and pain) the last few months, with a nice 2 week bout of illness in there. We are trying to regain balance in our lives after, essentially a three week uprooting of our schedules.

There will be many posts about Hawaii, if I haven’t said so already. I have many thoughts and house rules now, because of my love of the natural beauty they protect so well on the island of Kaua’i, if not all the islands of Hawai’i.

Our middle son T, now 17 years old, looking out over the beauty of Hawai'i as we drove through Waimea Canyon.

Our middle son T, now 17 years old, looking out over the beauty of Hawai’i as we drove through Waimea Canyon.

Until I can manage the mischief, I am doing a lot of picture posting (visuals are my best communication tool at the moment) at my Flickr site, and because I haven’t bothered my most wonderful husband to help me get this blog, Flickr, Twitter and Facebook to update. And prolly G+ since I am resigned to our future Skynet overlords.

My handle at Flickr and most other sites is Vivid Muse (with or without spaces). I do filter pix of our kids and of the minor children of friends. You have to ask for me to not let a solo photo of your child be public, it truly is a big exception. If anyone finds that I’ve slipped, please message me and I’ll correct asap.

In case you haven’t seen elsewhere, I stopped all assistance to Ditched by Kate in April of last year. I finally admitted that I simply was not physically or mentally able to be representative of their image, so I resigned. Chooch also left the band, months later, for unrelated reasons. Our friendships with the band remain, which was a goal from the very beginning. I’m very grateful that’s happened. I will never forget my part of DBKhaos and wish them all the best, sincerely.

I have so many things to express, but am needing to organize them. The biggest thing I have to say is about the Charity Cancer Anthology, (title TBD) and my inability to publish it.

I have been battling ever-worsening invisible (mostly) chronic pain for four years now. There are different aspects and associated issues, but basically, my body is hindered by pain, and my mind is hindered by fog and long periods of inability to focus, remember and/or communicate coherently. I am not the person to do this job the way it deserves to be done. However, it must happen. For my Mother’s piece and the other pieces that will be included have amazing messages to share. And because cancer will not stop, neither can those that fight it.

Because my Health Blahs, as I call them, are chronic and not alleviating, I must assume that I must find someone willing to take this on. Chooch is unable to do it for work schedule and personal reasons of his own. Cancer is a common word in our lives, suffice it to say. Too soon, doesn’t begin to cover it.

I will be reaching out and seeking advice on getting someone else to re-promote, take additional submissions, edit, publish and market the book along with Chooch. I have stipulations, because of the excruciating personal nature of this publication, but he will be the one in charge of those.

Please contact Chooch or I at Viv@VividMuseCreations.com if you have suggestions, criticisms, or services you’d like to donate, since this is a non-profit charity book, and also if you have services that you think will help us spread the word far and wide to raise the greatest funds possible to wish this evil disease into the cornfield.

My deepest and most sincere apologies to those that in some case have been waiting years for this anthology to be published. It is in your honor that I show my gratitude with this public apology and embarrassing level of detail of by failings. Please direct any response to Viv@VividMuseCreations.com with ideas, criticisms, requests to add more selections, alter/add to your current submission or any other matter.

Please know that I’ve let myself down more than I’ve let anyone else down. In moving out of cocoon-mode, things have to be completed this year. Nothing that lingers because of fear/embarrassment/pain will see the dawn of 2015. This is my goal. (Warning: As part of my typical foolishness, I will be channeling Mabel Pines from *cough*Disney’s*cough* animated series, “Gravity Falls,” by embracing awkward and embarrassing things and putting them in my rearview mirror. I’m human. I make mistakes. I’m moving on. Feel free to join me.)

As a result, I have something similar to Write or Die in mind for this blog. I have to schedule the post when I begin writing it. I have 1 to 4 hours to hone it, since I get lost in Fibromyalgia Fog frequently or migraines take me down. If necessary, that means posting before proofing. (I can’t wait to see if I screw that one up. Future half sentences ahead!)

And I’m tired of looking at super short thoughts that I’ve captured that I feel like I have to expand on into a more coherent post. I am rarely coherent. If you know me in real life, you know this already. So, my misfires are a part of my “voice” or POV. (We’ll see how long this lasts. I’m coming off a great weekend.)

I think this will help with the 70 or so pieces of thought and 4 journals full of thoughts. Lose all my baggage and keep our beloveds and keep our human and material treasures close.

Oh and we my do a new Into the Blender Podcast, soon-ish. We did a google hangout on Nov 1, 2013, our 10th and 11th anniversaries, but the audio isn’t up yet. We will hopefully be able to do an occasional episode the same as PG Holyfield and Chooch produce our SpecFicMedia.com shows. Record a live show in Google+, while broadcasting live to YouTube channel and then strip out the audio and post in our podcast feed.

And because of another kind nudge, this time from Dave Slusher, I’ll attempt to talk into a microphone soon for my stale, sporadic at best Girl’s Rules Podcast. I have little control over whether or not I’m physically able, but I will try.

Maybe something will come of it that others can relate to and also help with my successful-to-date fight against isolation.

Happy New Year, kittens.
*rooster crow*

Not Just Another Tuesday

Author: Vivid Muse  //  Category: Chooch, Firsts

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

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

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

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

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

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

Second Honeymoon

Author: Vivid Muse  //  Category: Chooch, Exercise, Half-Marathon, Knitting, No Whining, Soulful

We lucked into a fantastically cheap but very brief “weekend” away. It actually began Sunday and ended on Tuesday when we packed up and left gorgeous Virginia Beach. It’s pretty chilly and deserted in early March, which suited us fine because it also meant fewer people. Besides, you just cannot beat the view if you’re an ocean lover.

We’ve been through a lot in recent months, with a lot more coming up and needed to recharge our batteries. We had no plans upon our arrival, although we had some toys to entertain ourselves, and just wanted to “be” without any demands. I don’t think I tweeted or FB’d much, except for a few DM’s to keep plans on track. The bass we brought for my lesson sat untouched and we didn’t even open Game of Thrones.

We emerged from a nasty rain storm, but the weather almost immediately turned sunny with temps in the mid-50’s. Warm enough for us, to be sure. Our hotel was beautiful and we even got a free bump to a larger, oceanfront room due to a low vacancy rate.  After hanging on our balcony and enjoying the sights, sounds and smells of the ocean and hanging in our room for a bit, we headed out for dinner at a place that I immediately envisioned Chooch’s band playing in, and would love to wave a magic wand and make that happen. (Ditched by Kate tours Virginia Beach? Sounds good to me!) We headed back and settled in for the night, door thrown open to hear the ocean in spite of the cold.

The next morning, I arose and headed out for a run. It was the single most invigorating run of my life, what with the view, the biting wind, and ocean sounds. My pace really suffered because I kept stopping to take pictures. With our “no plans” rule, I wasn’t sure that I’d make it back out with Chooch before we left so I took full advantage of having remembered my little all-weather camera.

I even found the spot from 2 (or was it 3?) years ago when I did a break-neck paced drive to Virginia Beach with a visiting friend from New Mexico. She’d never seen an ocean before, and I found that unacceptable. On the last day of her visit, we had just enough time to race down here, play in the sand for 15 minutes or so, and then race back to Reagan airport for her flight back home. It was a deliciously fun time, and reminded me of my teenage years where no plan was too crazy.

After my run yesterday, I inadvertently woke up Chooch when I returned to the room to stretch out my tight muscles. I ran for a bit on the sand for the first time, but even tougher was running into the very strong winds. My skin was very smooth after the sandblasting it got, but I don’t recommend it.

We got moving, and headed down for our complimentary restaurant breakfasts. (Did I mention this trip was cheap? That was partly due to breakfast being served until 11, which we decided meant we only had to pay for one meal each day.)

Chooch had some stuff going on at work, so we headed up to the room so he could plug in the laptop and get to it. We then remembered a beautiful spot next to the restaurant with an internet cafe/work stations so he grabbed his work stuff and I grabbed my knitting and we sat in this beautiful seating area with a wall of beach and ocean in front of us. Way better than a wall with a TV, don’t you think?

After that was done, we headed out to the aquarium. This is something that we do in every city we visit that has one, a tradition we started while dating with an aquarium on the Oregon Coast when I first visited him in 2002. Although it’s not terribly huge, we spent hours because we love marine life so much. Seals, jellyfish, sharks, rays, coral and all manner of underwater life were beautiful and charming as expected. I’d say the otters were the most fun to watch as they frolicked and played as only they can, but we also have a special affinity for turtles. My favorite was seeing both a pair of cardinals and the seahorses, for the significance they hold for me. <3

At this point, we were starving and we grabbed a tasty dinner and headed back to the hotel with some ice cream for later. (The room had a mini-fridge.) We chilled out with the ocean sounds serenading us and eventually we … well … it was romantic and all … so … we couldn’t resist… recording our podcast, Into the Blender. HA! You thought you were going to get some naughty time info, didn’t you? Not gonna happen, loveys! What happens in Virginia Beach stays in Virginia Beach. Mostly.

We actually are behind on our self-imposed bi-weekly schedule, partly because of my impromptu trip to Arkansas and partly due to social gatherings we committed to before I knew I would be traveling. So we sat and recorded enough content for either a two hour episode or three 45-ish minute episodes. The editing goal will be three episodes, which pleases me. I like having buffer for exactly the type of events that delayed our release this time.

Tuesday morning, I woke early, started writing this post and headed back to bed for a bit. We eventually got up, got ready for the day and grabbed our tasty free breakfast again. I grabbed some waffle sections from the buffet, and couldn’t help but giggle when the sign said “waffle sticks” as it brought to mind the South Park “fish sticks” bit. I shared that with hubby, and we recited the funniest joke of all time, slightly modified.

Joke Teller: “Do you like waffle sticks?”
Butt of Joke: “Yes.”
Joke Teller: “So you like to put waffle sticks in your mouth?”
Butt of Joke: “Yes.”
Joke Teller: “You are a gay waffle.”

Yes, that’s how my mind works on a romantic weekend. And yes, you should pity Chooch.

We then went for a walk on the beach, the first one for Chooch since we arrived. We went up to water’s edge, but I chose not to put my toes in considering how cold it was. We were bundled up in heavy coats and the wind was strong and stinging. We took some photos and walked along the beach as I wanted to show him a Neptune sculpture further down the boardwalk.

We chatted, cleaned up some trash on the beach and met a beautiful and loving dog that was being walked by the family that rescued him from near death by an abusive owner. The dog, Russell, was part Akita and part … breeds I don’t recall. Lookit, he was sweet and beautiful, I was distracted. Check out the photos below to see how he looks now. Shockingly, he was only 17 pounds when the family rescued him a few years ago and is now healthy and content with just a few remaining behavioral issues, none of which we witnessed. I’d have never guessed how terrible a start he’d had in this life if they hadn’t told us.

Being so close to the air base, every time a plane went overhead Chooch would look up and announce what type it was. After marveling at the Neptune statue, we made our way back to the car. It was a beautiful ending to our trip, as Chooch drove home and we hammered out some story ideas.

Home now, I refuse to sulk that it’s over. Instead, I choose to be joyful that we had this time away from most of the demands of our life and I feel even more in love and dedicated to my husband than ever before. I already was, but somehow feel those things even stronger, which I didn’t think was possible. We just needed to unclench from the stress we were feeling and experiencing and knew this was our only chance for a very long time. We also knew we’d never be able to do it this cheaply again, so dove in.

I feel more than grateful for him and our life together, and suggest that if you can steal a few moments away for yourself, either with or without a loved one, just to luxuriate in unstructured playtime, you should definitely do it. Take a day or two and slow down, sleep, relax and just be. It will serve you beautifully, at least it has for us.

I’ve loaded a bunch of photos (90 or so), about a quarter of those we took. There are also some videos. Most of the collection is from the Virginia Aquarium at Virginia Beach. Note: The very last photo is prolly NSFW or kids, but it is jokey in nature. I’ve marked it as restricted, but you’ll be able to view it if you click that you want to.

Our Place in the Hundred Acre Wood

Author: Vivid Muse  //  Category: Chooch, Friends, Podcast, Soulful

This is a blog post I started ages ago, which then became a conversation with Chooch that we ended up recording. It seems redundant to go into more detail here since we just posted it on Into the Blender.

I will say that there isn’t any specific person that was the inspiration for this dialog.  So if you think it’s about you, it’s not. I do think it’s great that you have such a healthy measure of self-esteem, and I’m sorry to disappoint. This was actually inspired by jumping from stream to stream and seeing a continuous tone within each stream, including my own.

Into The Blender: Episode 49: The Tao of Twitter

It’s not our normal format or recording set-up, which we explain in the intro. Apologies if the background noise is too distracting, if we do this type again we’ll try to make it quieter.

All Hail Balticon!

Author: Vivid Muse  //  Category: Chooch, Convention Attendance, Podcast

Balticon is a Sci-Fi/Fantasy convention held annually over Memorial Day weekend in the outskirts of Baltimore, Maryland. This will be my third year in attendance, and my second as a participant.

Besides attending countless other fascinating events, I will be participating in the following:

Into The Blender Live! -Friday at 11 pm in the Chesapeake
Come join Chooch and I as we do a live recording of our blended family podcast. Last year’s live recording included a discussion on family gaming.

NaNoWriMo for Noobs – Saturday at 3 pm in the Chesapeake
This discussion includes prior National Novel Writing Month participants P.G. Holyfield, Mur Lafferty, Nathan Lowell, Chooch and myself. Come and learn what it is, and how panelists either won or lost.

Live Metamor City – Saturday at 5 pm in the Chesapeake
Attend a live recording of a new story by Chris Lester in his Parsec winning story series, Metamor City.

Sci-Fi/Fantasy Prom, aka the Balticon New Media Party – Saturday at 11 pm in the Derby
Join Chooch and I as we again host the New Media Party and costume contest. Light refreshments will be served and costumes are not required to attend. Tee Morris will DJ, Podcasting’s Rich Sigfrit will be the Master of Ceremonies, and Phil Rossi will perform an acoustic set after the costume contest judging.  Judging for the costume contest is expected to start at 11:30 pm.

Girls’ Rules Live! – Sunday at 4 pm in the Chesapeake
My all-female podcast be recorded live with a very distinguished panel of published authors: Philippa Ballantine, J. R. Blackwell, Christiana Ellis, and Mighty Mur Lafferty. M.A. in PA and Jett Micheyl will also be there.

There are so many talented and magnificent people that participate, I highly recommend this convention to any that have a of sci-fi/fantasy interests, and especially those with a love for new media. By all accounts, this is the best gathering of those producing podcasts and/or podcasting their written works.

Please say hello, and I apologize in advance for my shyness 😛