musings in mayhem

writer, mom, tutor, superwoman

Archive for the month “December, 2009”

a poem


On the very edge of darkness
I looked Death square in the eye, and smile.
He points two fingers at his eyes
and then at mine,
to say like a bad comedy gangster,
I’m watching you.
Then with those same two fingers,
he thumps my sternum,
tips me off the edge of the precipice.
I fall into the nothing, into the void,
and back home to my body.

I am home, I have been there
with Death a few times,
and somehow at that crucial moment,
something in me awakes,
shines the light back out
and says, I’m not done yet.

I fall like a meteor,
come back home
To earth
To my body
growing more achy
with the years
but still whole.

The vision doesn’t end
when I open my eyes.
I now know what to do.
I find the knot that stitches
my ribcage together, pull it,
and it comes apart –
an easy bow at the wrist of a boxing glove
the arch point of a sneaker
the back of a laced up wedding gown.
My chest opens like a robe,
and from in me
all the darkness of night
all the stars held in it
come pouring out.

I remain open,
a conduit to the infinite we.

Promises, Promises

It’s that time of year. You know, the one having to do with quitting this, starting that, losing this, scrapping that.

So here’s mine:

In 2010 I resolve:

to breathe first, yell later, and only if it’s absolutely necessary.

to devote myself, my time and my gumption to finishing the edits and that one stubborn hole of a chapter in Felix the Comet.

to seriously rewrite the companion middle reader novel to Felix, starting with an outline. My fourth grade teacher, Mr. Cubelli would be so proud.

to hug my kids more, especially the big ones.

to get outside, even when it’s cold and wet.

2009 lessons learned:

Southern fleas are uber SOBs.

Listen to my body. It’s telling me important things.

I can do anything I set my mind to, when I don’t get distracted.

Stop second guessing myself. I’ve been around long enough to know better.

NaNoWrimo is a gas, but needs a better engine for me to really accomplish something good with it, like an outline for starters, and for kids and self not to catch a flu from hell.

Here’s to new and better things in 2010, and farewell 2009. What are your resolutions?


To protect the innocent and not so innocent in my family, I have been using first initials. I was never keen on it, but at the time I started, I wasn’t feeling very imaginative about the kids’ names or anyone else’s for that matter. We do have a bevy of nicknames around the house, but I knew those would just be embarassing, especially for the teen.

At times, it can get quite confusing what with my eldest child, both my brothers and most of eldest child’s friends starting with K. I tried a numbers system K, K2, K3 for his closest friends, and then in some blog post, my brothers entered the picture, and I can’t recall what I did with them. Oh yeah, I opted for the three inital mode for them, which never felt right as my older brother is definitely a K name and not a WKC. My wacky parents called him by his middle name. His official first name is his son’s name, and… oh forget it!

And Baby C is hardly a Baby anymore. S as a name always fell flat. Honey, however will remain Honey, because he is my Honey, even on days when I am feeling less than sweet toward him.

So I have been considering the options that best suit each child’s personality. When Baby C entered the world, S said, Hey Toots! upon meeting her, and it is safe to say that that nickname stuck from the sheer old fashioned, Speakeasy fun of it. My daughter, the toddler gangster’s moll. We do call her Toots, among other things, around home. It is a fitting name for her here.

Therefore, may it be proclaimeth that Baby C shall henceforth be referred to and known as Toots. And sometimes I even call her Toots and the Maytals – a throwback to a reggae band I saw in the 80s. Ooooo, I just googled and they’re apparently still touring!

But I digress.

Baby C is now Toots.

K has oft prided himself on his cynical nature, which I find extremely amusing, since he’s been trying to be a cynical teen since he was about four years old, so he henceforth shall be known as Mr. Cynic.

Ya hear that, Mr. Cynic? yeah, that means you, dude.

(I just wanted to embarass him a little more anyway)

S is the toughie. He has an unabiding love of Godzilla and all things giant monster, especially ushered in from Toho Studios. He has recently declared his adult career of choice is comic book artist, and I’ve shown some examples here. I certainly do not want to caption him as his Asperger’s Syndrome alone, because there is so much more to him than that. Maybe that’s it: Captain Comic – to be used thusly as in The Further Adventures of Mr. Cynic and Captain Comic. Sure, that fits. Captain Comic it is. He is a very funny guy, too.

So that takes care of the kids. Mr Cynic, Captain Comic and Toots. They’d make a great alt comic gang, don’t you think? But guess what, they’re mine. And so is their particular mode of mayhem.

Inspiration deferred

Last night I was popping with Ideas. They were magical, they were inspirational, they were….last night and I didn’t write them down.

During the night a stuffy Baby C had to cuddle. Through the night she began to resemble a hot water bottle..which slowly heated itself more and more until she was a wiggly fussy constantly nursing very hot water bottle.

Needless to say, I have not slept. I feel like a wad of cotton has replaced my brain. C’s pediatric appointment is scheduled for later this afternoon and with the exhaustion I slipped my disc first thing this morning.

This is what happens when I complain that it is too quiet now that the boys are with their father for the rest of the school break until we get on the road for the long haul to retrieve them halfway up the East Coast from here next Saturday.

C’est la vie. Maybe she’ll nap off of me long before her appointment. Though I won’t count on it. At least the sense of writing remains. Maybe tomorrow, a poem, something to do with opening my ribcage to find the starry skies within pouring out.

Moms who blog

It sounds like a support group for mother’s who can’t help themselves from blogging, a twelve-step program.

But it’s a growing population of those of us who need to tell our stories, lament the woes and record the triumphs of our day in and day out, a way to be creative when we feel we have no mental space for thinking more deeply in order to write our great american novels or capture the image of our masterpieces, like in the days before we had children and we still had brains capable of more than routine tasks and singing Old MacDonald for the 300,000th time, or reading Tikki-Tikki-Tembo until we are blue in the face.

It seems from where I sit anyway, that there are more of us in the blogosphere than most, and father’s too, recording the amazing and most common thing humanity shares, the raising of our children.

Some of us are special needs moms, some are moms of teens, tweens or small children, some moms of blended families, some young moms, some who waited until later in life, and some of us are all of the above. And yes, I am talking about me in that last group. 🙂

We share a lot, with each other and of ourselves with the world at large. I think, besides the outlet for creativity, we do so to say, like the Whos on Horton’s dustpeck, We are here! We are here! We are here! To say, we matter, I am doing something with my life, and it’s important. We do it to say, I am not alone, are you out there, can you hear me? I want to hear your story, too!

The old trotted out line that it takes a village to raise a child is very true, and one of those reasons is to keep the mother who is caring for her kids from feelings of desperate isolation. It may be the mother who is running from work to home and racing to the store for dinner in between, who is lacking a serious connection with her friends she used to see all the time or stay up all night talking on the phone. It may be the mother who is going mental thinking the last time she had a conversation that didn’t involve diapers and their contents in graphic detail was she can’t remember when. It may be the mother who seems to have moments of sheer joy at the developmental milestone her child just sailed past, who wants to call out, Hey! Did you see that?! It may be the mother who found a moment of quiet and beauty with her child that cracked her open like an egg to the wonders of the universe.

Some people, even in this day and age, still have their coffee klatches and playdates, some of us don’t. In the twenty-first century, we have our blogs. Our neighborhood is the whole world and whoever happens to click in and say hello, I see you, and that sounds just like me! Sometimes readers click in, and if you use a tracker on your blog, you can see them and know you’ve been visited from Brazil, Ireland, Russian, Japan, or across the the US or even from the next town. I feel validated when I see my tracker or when people, I still haven’t met but who feel like friends comment. I feel like what I’m doing matters. That sometimes talking about the tougher stuff helps someone else, or sharing a joy lifts someone’s spirit. But mostly I feel like the fact that I am parenting matters. That I’m not doing it in a void. That doing what I can for my kids is the best thing I can do.

I’ll just write the great american novel later. When I’ve had some more sleep.

Collapse of Christmas Present.

I can’t wait to figure out which part of our crazy christmas to blog…it involves candles at church, refused homemade lasagna by rude kids, several declarations of I hate church, and one pyromaniac…or possibly, two, one slippery dress on a wiggly toddler and lots of lovely singing peppered with chasing my family back into the sanctuary while in the choir…and a 5:45am visit from an overexcited kid.

This was a quick note I saved to try to encapsulate all the mayhem that was Christmas Eve and Christmas this year.

Then too much time went by with not enough Christmas Eve sleep, and plenty more mayhem, so for the moment I can’t recall a darned thing to write about Christmas 2009 other than the blurr of slightly trying moments mingled with lots of joy.

Although, there was one moment, in church last night, when a few of the choir members were held back from getting to seats with their families, I among them. There we were, in front of the congregation of our little modern church, with my family in the back row by the light switches. The handheld candles were lit all around, the lights went out, and I listened to the other voices, all of my friends and peers, elders and children singing Silent Night, normally so accustomed to hearing my own voice during Sunday hymns or in a lifetime of choruses, and it filled me with presence and memories of my big old fancy church I grew up in, and the other big old fancy church in Harvard Square I was a member of when the boys were younger. I thought, our humble little modern fellowship carries on the same tradition as every church, and every family in a church that night and for many others going back into the past, and more into the future.

Yep, there is something to be said for traditions and the emotions they stir, and then I read e.beck’s post and thought, wow, I was thinking the same thing. And though I wanted to write about falling asleep before getting presents wrapped and waking up to the ending once again of A Christmas Story, right about when he shoots his eye out, and how S pounced on us about four hours later and ran up and down the wooden stairs forty-seven times the one morning he actually put his shoes – usually lost before the bus – on, until he woke the whole house, and about how delicious Grandma’s lasagna was and how I got to crank the handle of the pasta machine, and the yummy zappoli, and the cookies galore, and the sugar and flour and honey coating every surface of the kitchen and then some, and so much more besides, but I wrote about the candles, too.

And then there was a toddler dancing with the jingle bell rock Santa that cracked me up, which was after the present opening carnage and going to the wrong house on the wrong street because it was the same number in the same place on a street that was parallel to my friends’ whose cats I was taking care of…

Hope you all had a very Merry Christmas filled with joy. And that it’s so fun, it ends somewhat like this:

Merry Christmas!

This is S’s favorite part of Christmas:

Merry Christmas everyone!

May your gatherings be plentiful and your family be full of peace today and tomorrow. And if you are spending it quietly alone or just keeping it simple for your immediate family, enjoy the simplicity.

holiday prep

Today is all about rolling out the cookie dough and making homemade pasta for the Christmas Eve lasagna. Yum.

I do love the traditions I grew up with, and the traditional foods, too, but I’m sure glad I married into a family that makes homemade lasagna for Christmas Eve and zeppoli for Christmas morning.

Don’t worry, I’ll still make eggs and grits for Christmas brunch, but who doesn’t love lasagna and honey-soaked doughnuts?!

I love my son S

He is highly quotable. For instance yesterday he approached me for a hug and said:

(looks at me sweetly)

“You smell like daffodils….but only when I hug you…sniff sniff…but by your mouth you smell like snickerdoodles. (sniffs my knee) yep. daffodils.”

Life is good.

Have you heard anything good lately from your kids?

quiet before the storm

There is quite a lot I could and should be doing right now, but this morning and much of this afternoon, already, it has become apparent that I seriously need more down time.

I’ll start making cookies later.

My famous sugar cookies and gingerbread mini-men get doled out to neighbors and random people like teachers and bus drivers, and brought to my family up north every year. This year we’re not heading north, and I do realize that if I make them in the next 36 hours, they’ll be late for christmas if I send them, but I’m planning to do so anyway. Heck, I bought the tin.

S is pleading Santa’s case for chocolate chip this year, insisting repeatedly that chocolate chip cookies are Santa’s favorite. We’ve always given Santa the sugar and ginger cookies. Trust me, Santa loves those.

S has been informed in the past six months about the whole Santa business that shall go undivulged here in case my savvy toddler goes archival in the next five years or so. But he insists he still wants to believe even though he knows the deal.

He’s eleven after all, and the magic of Christmas is in the believing, regardless. I believe, do you?

Do not be fooled into believing that I am a domestic goddess by this post, however. I mean, I am domestic, and I am a goddess, but by no means do I have a spotless house and an A-frame skirt covered by a contrapuntally colored apron. I just love to bake cookies.

Although, yesterday I handed the recipe book to K to make snickerdoodles for his Chorus class and Biology’s ‘spontaneous cultural gatherings’ as holiday parties are forbidden at his high school. Don’t you love how his teachers are teaching him to be subversive? I do. I also love that I passed off baking for his classes to him.

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