musings in mayhem

writer, mom, tutor, superwoman

Archive for the month “October, 2010”

i must be crazy

Last week, an old writing friend emailed to ask if I will do Nanowrimo again this year. 
What I emailed back to him I cannot repeat here for the sake of children’s eyes, but it amounted to a firm No Way. 
Last year, I drove myself insane. I resented when life took precedence in the form of repeated visits to the pediatrician for infinite reasons including the virus sent from the inferno below that I along with the entire family contracted, amidst the usual mayhem challenges to write that abound around here.  I also wrote a whole lot of crap, of which I haven’t opened the document to see the results of and edit.  The novel was supposed to take place in Ireland and 31, 000 words in, the family was still on the plane from Logan Airport, crossing the Atlantic and playing gin.
I am currently STILL editing the novel I wrote before last year’s Nano, and barely have the time and headspace for that, let alone start another project.
But then I was in the shower this morning – the only time and space I have completely alone to sort out whatever might be going through my head with minimal distraction – and a funny thought occured to me, which included a nonsensical opening novel line I could take in any direction. 
And as I said, no, no, no I will not NOT do Nano this year, the idea grew. A plan fell into place. 
I couldn’t help it, by the love of all things chocolate with caramel.  I have to do it now.
But first I am setting some ground rules:
1.Being likely a children’s novel, I will accept 35K words as a good win if that’s where it seems to end.
2. I will not make myself crazy if life gets in the way.  I have a very full life. I will not resent the vicissitudes and interruptions, because really Nano is an interruption to my everything else. And my everything else is mayhem enough, thank you very much.
3. As long as it remains fun, is a catalyst for inspiration and I enjoy it, I’m in. 
4. As soon as I break any of the above, and it becomes not fun, I am out.
Inspiration is my game this time, not racing to the finish line. 
Call me crazy, but I’m in.
Addendum:  I was remiss in defining Nanowrimo, thanks Christine E-E for pointing it out, so from the comments: nanowrimo is an online creative endeavor in which during the month of november, you join many others in the pursuit of writing 50,000 words in 30 days. please click the icon for it in my sidebar for the link to the website for more details.

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of pumpkins, ghoulies, and sundry

I’ve had a bit of a busy week between IEP prep and meetings, tutoring, pumpkin patch preschool field trip and Halloween approaching.  I also still had this lingering cold from last week, so tried to take it as easy as possible to take care of myself. But mostly I dealt with a good five hours an afternoon and night trying to help Captain Comic with seeing his homework through all subjects, and finally the past two afternoons and eves, that seemed mostly a success without as must angst involved.  It’s been tough, but I’m not complaining.  I consider it a success that he seems to be finally acclimating to middle school, and getting the accommodations in place at school that will ensure his success as a student.

Then yesterday, two solid hours were spent in a conference room nitpicking and better defining measurability of goals and how best to meet his needs in school and beyond as we rewrote his current IEP as a team.  I am hoping we came away from it on the same page.  It seemed so.

Toots led her preschool’s Halloween parade while I was at the meeting. Isn’t it cute that my widdo witch had a black cat in her class? Grandma joined the festivities and got a few pics before the camera batteries died.  The rechargeables are really on their last legs.  I had charged all of them overnight and half the day before she took it to preschool.  Like I said in the title, sundry detail.  But she managed to get a few cute shots before it died.
I did, too, the day before at the pumpkin patch field trip, sadly well before the tractor hayride, maze and pumpkining.  but here’s a shot from the puppet show.  The kids were fascinated while the puppet animals discussed farm life. 
This weekend has a packed agenda of activities I could particpate in, but I think I need to take it easy and hang with my family most of all.  I need to rest up before the excitement of trick or treating on Sunday.  I’m still like a kid about it – very excited.  It’s Captain Comic’s last legal go around the neighborhood for a haul, and he’s definitely going to make the most of it this last year.  That’s right, there’s actually a law here that you can’t trick or treat past age 12.  Mr. Cynic wants to go to the church youth group’s party, and I’d like to, too, especially since I am one of their ‘teachers’, but I think sticking with the younger kids is way more important this year.  This is essentially Toot’s first really aware Halloween and Captain Comic’s last.  I’m wistful for him and want to be there for him.
Honey and I have been really good.  I bought the candy over a week ago and we only opened the bag two nights ago.  But every night since the purchase, after the kids have gone to bed, this has been our conversation:
Honey:  I want a Kitkat.
Me: I do, too, but if we open it now, there won’t be any left to pass out.
Honey:  Get me a Kitkat.
Me: No.  Think of all the working out, and trying to be healthier…
Honey: Where did you hide them?
Me: I’m not telling.
Honey: C’mon, Get me a Reese’s, then.
Me: No!
Honey: Aw man…
Two nights ago:
Honey: I want a Kitkat.
Me: So do I.
Honey: You can’t have one.
Me: Please?  You know you want one.
Honey: Where did you hide them?
Me: In the cabinet down there. (points toward general location from the sofa.)
Honey: Well, go get ’em.
Me: No, you. I’m not opening the bag.
Honey: Oh, Okay.  (gets up shuffles to kitchen, opens cabinet, sound of plastic bag rummage, tosses a Kitkit at me)  But you only get one.
I love Halloween.
Welcome Spirits!

this morning

I slipped from room to room,

opening curtains and windows

for a breath of fresh air.

In first son’s room,

he who loves the dark,

I drew back the yellow curtain.

Dark of early morning mid fall, I

looked down to the deep grass,

wet dark fence,

jasmine vines still green tangle,

one burst of red among the leaves,

a cardinal alarm to wake the day.

Later, I return from drop-offs,

I find myself still alarmed,

want movement and more air.

I find the bicycle tires flat,

Forego resuscitation, and grab the leash.

I ran, the dog ran, too.

She wondered what to make of it –

rare beyond rare –

through the traces of fire in the trees.

The sky greyed up

more so than that early hour,

and the black birds repudiated

the gifts the sky brought in fat wet drops

to wake relief in the dank morning.

ransom note

Below is the content of an email I sent to Captain Comic’s teacher during particularly dramatic homework avoidance:

Apparently he’s willing to go to great lengths to avoid doing his homework. Currently, there is a missing ransom note to pay a mystery person $1000, no more, no less, that he received on fri, but threw out and forgot about until it was time to do his chapter 6 WYAR.

Now he wants to call in the SWAT team or the National Guard, or I’m going to die tomorrow, because we don’t have even 20 bucks, let alone $1000.

Gee, I thought I’d be worth a bit more than that to him.

And that about sums up what it has been like to do homework with him of late.  It included quite realistic and dramatic emotional expressions to go along with the concept that his mother was to be killed tomorrow.  He agonized about my death.  He wailed, he sobbed, he put on an excellent show.

I knew the theme of my prior post would not last long.

quiet

The rest of this week won’t be, so this morning, I am enjoying the quiet.  Then the mayhem will resume.

but for now, I can finally load photos again, so here are the purple mums from my front yard from last week:

I couldn’t decide which view, so here are two that are very similar.

witchery stitchery and reaper madness

I will start by saying I got walloped by a cold, and could not think straight all weekend to make the costumes I managed to basically finish today.  I had to consult with Grandma at one point, because, I could not for the life of me visualize what was in my head to apply it to the material in front of me.
How many ways can a snap be sewn on wrong?  Let me count the ways: inverse, reversed, not lined up well, ad nauseum.  I don’t even care that the Grim Reaper’s hood is inverse anymore.  Actually, I do, but he doesn’t, so I’m leaving it as is.  But you’ll have to wait til Halloween to see the results of Reaper Madness.
Reaper Madness resolved itself much more simply than anticipated.  Please understand I completely winged it in making these costumes, and I am no seamtress.  Four yards of wrinkly black material, I folded ‘in half’ to fit him from shoulders to feet, then cut off excess and cut a cross slit hole at the fold for his head to go through.  Then I sewed the edges down, sewed a part of each side of the yardage, so that he had a floaty effect, large arm holes, and enough room for his legs to walk, by leaving the seam open from above his knees down.  You’ll see, I think it came out quite effectively. Oh, and a hood from the excess.
Witchery Stitchery on the other hand, simplified as I went, but remained complex enough that I was ripping seams and redoing things repeatedly throughout the project. I lost the battle of fighting the cold, stuffles, coughs, etc, but managed to finish regardless.
 First, a band for the hat.
Then I pinned the waistband to match and pleated 2 layers of sheer sparklies, one black, one grey.
A day later I have this to show for all the ripped seams.
So Toots will have something to wear in her preschool parade on Thursday, and of course, for Halloween.
Done, phew!

of witches and reapers

Today I am finally going to go out to buy yardage of black material to accommodate one size 14 boy Grim Reaper and one size 3T or slighty smaller, Witch.

This makes me giddy.  Maybe I’ll find a skull pattern to belt them, too. 

And yes, the character choices are their own. Those choices are favorites of their mom, too.

why i typically don’t host writer’s group

I did today.

Lucy had to bark and click clack her terrier claws around the hard wood floors we recently put it.  She would not settle down for about the first half of the meeting. Of course this happened largely in the livingroom dining room area where all my guests were attempting to write or edit on their laptops.

I was in the office, trying to coax Lucy back with treats to stay with me or lock her out of the house in the back yard. It is a beautiful day, the sun is shining, and she scratched on the slider like her life depended upon being inside.

Captain Comic called repeatedly from school trying to avoid something, putting on quite a dramatic show of a stomach ache, with no fever, no vomit or diarrhea. 

Two of the writers needed to leave about thirty minutes earlier than usual, so I left to pick him up.  I got him home and he aimed straight for the brownies. He scarfed one down with a big glass of milk.  Promptly, he then corralled Lucy for a walk and flew out the door with her. Clearly he was healthy.

I did managed to knock a decent editing dent in my manuscript.  I also researched online about the locations of certain astromical asterisms for my book.  I found a lot of conflicting info and incomplete info for the purposes of my book.

Anyway, I did accomplish something more than I had before. I just hope the other writers felt they could work among the residual mayhem. 

Grandma picked up Toots from preschool today and took her out shopping so we could meet, so at least we had that slice of quiet. 

Hmmm, I wonder if we’ll meet here again anytime soon?

never say die

They heard me.  Captain Comic may finally get what he needs.

I took pretty pics of purple mums, and wanted to add here for a nice view.  But I am experiencing technical difficulties.

So enjoy your own view….it’s a beautiful day

Life is good.  Rock the boat.

crawling under a rock

I usually have a pretty good attitude, even when I’m grumbling.

Today I feel like crawling under a rock and staying there for a while.  Possibly setting up house.

I had a terrible allergy attack yesterday, still trying to breathe today and trying not to take more meds for it so I can sleep tonight.  I have also had many in the past couple of weeks, more than I’ve had in the past 6 years.

I have an IEP meeting at Captain Comic’s middle school tomorrow, and I feel like I have conflicting communications from them.  I get calls from teachers about problem areas, and I email with his case manager about her concerns as well as his teachers. Then when I put it in official language what he needs in place as to accommodate him, she backs off and says he is doing wonderfully, and they are accommodating.  When I reinforce that he needs a paraeducator in every class and with specifics details re: the para’s function to address the concerns that are brought to my attention by them, she backs off again and says he’s doing fine.

When my conversations with his case manager are not in an official documented capacity, she swears she is, and asks me to trust that she is really advocating for him.  As soon as anything looks official, suddenly I am a pita parent asking for too much, when I’m only asking for what has always worked for him.  When it’s not in place, we get what we are seeing now, and it will only continue to get worse until he has the support he needs in place. 

I’m not asking for anything for him, that I have not provided myself for higher functioning students than he is.  I provided classroom support and learning center support to students at the high school level.  He is in 6th grade, and I am only asking for classroom support. I am telling them exactly what works for him.  It’s four points of support.  Nothing extreme.  It’s less than I have provided for other students twice his grade level, who were more capable of self directed coping skills. 

I have worked in classroom support in a 5th and 6th grade classroom with a student who presented extremely similar to Captain Comic in his needs to function successfully.  There is no way, no matter how wonderful the teacher I worked with was, and how aware she was, that he was not going to miss instruction, assignments, understanding of material, if I did not keep an eye on where he was, what he was focussing on and if it was relevant to the task at hand.  I checked on his understanding of the material regularly.  And this is all I am asking for Captain Comic.

He is not going to fit a neat box of the types of supports they have for more remedial students.  He is extremely intelligent is some ways, placing him in higher academic classes.  If he were in remedial ed, there would naturally be para support in every class.  But he is not, so only receives it in certain classes.

He’s twelve.  He just started at a new school, with a new schedule, new team, new teachers, new everything, and he is lost at sea.  Because of this, he is struggling at home, too.  It’s tough on all of us, and I feel I have to translate what’s going on for him, and how to deal with it for everyone.  He feels like everyone at home is on his case, and in a way, we are.  But we’re only trying to help him. 

I’m exhausted and I just want to breathe.  But really, I want to clean house, go adventuring, love everyone a little more.  It’s been a tough week.  Thanks for listening while I try to work out some of this outside my head.

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