musings in mayhem

writer, mom, tutor, superwoman

Archive for the month “June, 2010”

short and not so sweet

Tomorrow the boys leave for a month away at their dad’s, who lives several states away.

Today we pack.

They’re both holed up in their rooms this morning, doing who knows what, I seriously doubt packing, but it’s too quiet for me already.

A month without mayhem.  How will I ever survive?

Should I be careful not to wish for some mayhem?

I doubt it.

But I am hoping to use the quiet time to do more edits on the manuscript and continuing to write the new story.

I miss them already.

dream state

Toots did not want to go down for a nap yesterday.  So I lay down with her to help.  I was tired anyway after the weekend of furniture schlepping.  As her flip flopping subsided, words and images I really liked began to fill my head.  I thought, as soon as she settles, I have to get up and write this down. 

Next thing I knew, I caught myself snoring, poem gone.  I never nap.

About an hour later, I began to recall the initial images of the opening line and end lines, but not all the others in between with as much clarity.  Then I thought, did I really need them?

So here’s what I captured from the ether of dream land’s edge forest:

Another love poem

He said I love you like a cold beer and pocket knives.
She answered I love you like chocolate ice cream.
He said Honey, I love you like blueberry pancakes.

She said I love you like ice tea, potato chips,
and the sweet tang of bread and butter pickles
on a hot summer day.
He said But those are all side dishes, there’s no sandwich.
She answered Honey, you are the sandwich.


I have books.  A lot of books.  I’ve whittled down to two tall bookshelves and even those are still overflowing in the office as well as another shorter one overflowing in my bedroom.  There are more books I want to own besides the ones I already do.

This weekend we cleaned out our garage which acts as an attic as well as a basement because we live on a slab foundation.  We also rearranged my area of the office, including emptying and moving those two eight foot bookcases.  I got a new (used) desk – with drawers.  so a lot of little junk that was piled in front of the books on the bookcases is now in drawers, mostly office supply and baby barrette kind of stuff.  Stuff to have at the ready when needed.  It’s nice to have an actual desk as opposed to the table version without drawers I was using.  We sent that one up to Captain Comic’s room, as well as a file cabinet, because he was making his comics on the floor for the past few years. That stuff was all over his room.

Anyway, it became apparent just how much stuff we have, and we still have plenty more in storage several states away….

Personally, except for the books, I would be happy to get rid of a lot of stuff, but there’s sentimental attachment, logistical stuff, the sheer number of people in our home and all of their stuff…and the dog and cat, and their stuff, and stuff to keep all the stuff in…

I mean, it’s not like we’re hoarders, but it’s a lot of stuff. It’s a serious workout for everyone to move all that stuff around.  Particularly the books and shelves.  I think Honey is happy to go back to work today, so he can rest.

In the midst of all the stuff, Honey and I made a dump run, the back of his Element was stuffed with, you got it.  Even the back seats were pulled out to make room for all the stuff we were getting rid of. Poor Honey dropped the old kitchen counter piece on his toe and busted open his nail. 

So our big exciting date for the weekend was the two of us going to the dump.  Then we made a stop at the Hawaiian style snow cone place. We sat on a bench in the shade on the 100 degree heat and thoroughly enjoyed the cool refreshment and moment of quiet together. 

That moment was in the middle of the weekend of stuff. So we’re exhausted come Monday morning, but it’s a good, satisfying kind of exhausted for a change.

How was your weekend?  Productive like ours or nice and relaxing?

Fabulous news and a wondrous speech

For those who don’t know, I love the work of Neil Gaiman (I have been fortunate enough to meet him on a few occasions), and his most recent children’s book has just won the Carnegie Medal, the British equivalent of our Newbery Award, which it has also won.

The Graveyard Book really does deserve all the praise and awards it has received.  It is a simply told tale of a boy trying to understand the world around him and the wonder that is life.

Here is his acceptance speech in which he praises libraries and librarians, and their influence on ‘a bookish boy’ who read by the way the librarians pointed him.  He also tells why it took him essentially 25 years to write the book.  I can relate to that.

I have been recommending this little book in my right margin practically since it came out.  Really, please read it.  It is truly a lovely book.  And read it with your kids.  If I can get Captain Comic to sit still enough (as he did in rare form for The Phantom Tollbooth last summer) I will read it with him this summer.


Remember this list?

I spent the previous two days at writing camp with my writing group.  Two whole days dedicated to writing.  Yesterday I had a different meeting in the morning, but then I headed straight to  my writing camp’s day two, and thought I was going to have trouble, but amazingly got right to it!  I seriously surprised myself by what I accomplished in the last 48 hours! 

The List now looks like this:

DONE~ continue to edit Joe out/Mike into Thanksgiving and Observatory scenes

DONE~write observatory scene using A. H.’s notes

Fixed~pay attention to name changes for T. B. and T. N.

working on ~characterize supporting characters more through action and physical description

working on~make ‘thought bubbles’ action scenes or move them to more fitting scene

working on~ edit down cooking relevance

mostly finished, maybe a bit more at the end~more on comets

I also edited it a bit more in making sentences and paragraphs more succinct in the first 50 or so pages. 

I need to edit the observatory scene now, but at least it’s on paper – er, computer screen.  I think my next stage is to print and edit again by hand.  I read very differently on paper than on screen, and can see needed changes so much better.

I obviously need to be in a different environment than my office with my home distractions to be able to concentrate on my manuscript edits. 

The other five women I sat in quiet with for the past two days expressed the same thing.  Here’s the funny part:  I thought it was because of my kids, etc, but only half of us have children at home, and of varying ages.  I am the only one with a toddler or a special needs child, of course, I have one of each.  Two are grandmothers who live with their retired spouses, who are both very good at busying themselves.  And one is home while her husband still goes to the office. 

We’re all at a stage of editing a large work we’re committed to. All of our projects are middle reader or young adult novels.   Yesterday we planned that the rest of our usual twice a month meetings for the summer will be devoted to writing, no critique.

This way, when autumn comes around, we will all have work to critique.  How’s that for commitment?  I couldn’t do this without them. I am so grateful to my writing group and to the time we commit to working together.

4 years and still in it

photo credit: Joe Gallo
Sure, we have plenty less desirable moments…but we also still have plenty like this one. 
I love him, and he hasn’t kicked me to the curb, yet. 
I’d write more, but I’m still at writing camp.  Honey and I have to postpone our anniversary date for another night.  ‘Sokay.  We’re still here.


 And then I zoomed in on the itty bitty basil.

I’m at writing camp for the next couple of days.  Wish me fruitful writing and editing, please! 

I’ll tell you all about it when I return.

ain’t no cure for the summertime blues

Please bear with me as I continue to get the hang of the macro setting on this point and shoot style camera. I do hope to one day own a better camera again with good lenses, etc. I miss my old Pentax-K 1000 from my studying photography days, but it has been a long time, and I entered digital camera age kicking and screaming.
These marigolds came out with some nice up close and personal details.  I like the shadow in the second one.  A little too: in the hot bright midday sun, possibly.

I love how the itty bitty baby basil turned out.  Funny, same time of day, different garden plot. Light completely different.  These leaves aren’t even a quarter of an inch long.
As much as I’d like to claim a title such as Dreams of Jasmine, honestly, I really wanted to focus on the  blooms, not the base of the stem and glossy leaf.  This camera is a fickle one. 

Happy Father’s Day

I am thrilled to still be able to wish my father a Happy Father’s Day.  He taught us what mattered in life. 

Live your life with honesty and integrity. 

Work hard at what you love.

Make something by your own hands.

Pet your dog.

Hug your kids.

Grow your food, and eat it straight off the plant. Nothing tastes better.

Take time to sit back and enjoy.   

Watch sunsets.

Show up in life and stand up straight.

A little planning goes a long way.

There was plenty more, but isn’t that enough?

One thing I will always remember, and it is a metaphor for life.  My father loved to fish, but mostly for the quiet, for the methodical casting of the line.  He never expected to catch a fish, and was always thrilled when he actually caught one.

I also would like to wish Honey a Happy Father’s Day.  Because he does the good work of it, everyday. 

Who are these Mutant Spawn?

Summer, Day One:

Mr. Cynic has made lunches for everyone, stripped the cushion covers from the livingroom sofa, spot sprayed them, vacuumed his brother’s room, vacuumed behind the stripped sofa and the stray dog hairs in the sofa, and is ready for more, without arguing about any of it.

Captain Comic has loaded some dishes into the dishwasher, is unloading the dishwasher, watered the gardens, helped me strip the base cover for the sofa frame, and has cleaned the unnatural disaster area which is his bedroom, including the shelves under his bed. And he hasn’t thrown a tantrum or argued over any of it.  Of course, in watering the gardens, he mostly watered his sister.

Where has my Mayhem gone?  I want these clone mutants banished, and my real sons returned….Oh wait a minute, let me rethink this.

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