musings in mayhem

writer, mom, tutor, superwoman

Archive for the month “November, 2010”

list it tuesday: numbers

On the side of my monitor remains the Post-it list of photos I uploaded for my blog the other day about our hike on the Noland Trail.

Notice how I start the list at about halfway through, then return to the beginning?  I also apparently changed my mind from 11 to 12.

I seem incapable of doing anything in a less than cockeyed manner.  Then again, I wouldn’t be me if I did otherwise, right?

Go check out aimee’s post in artsyville to see more lists from around the interwebz. It’s fun, and some people are much more artistically adventurous with their lists than I am.

weekword: pyrophoric

I am hosting the Weekword Challenge this week and hope you’ll join in on the fun.  Weekword is a creative challenge that gets passed around the internet and each week a new blogger is asked to host and chooses a new word to inspire others to share their response. You can do anything: from poetry to photography to pottery to pensive ramblings. Whatever happens is good as long as it prompts you to do, to make, to create and then to share.


I flipped open my old red Merriam-Webster, and found this week’s word.  I like it.  It’s sparkly. In fact the official meaning from is

py·ro·phor·ic   /ˌpaɪrəˈfɔrɪk, -ˈfɒr-/ [pahy-ruh-fawr-ik, -for-]
–adjective Chemistry .
capable of igniting spontaneously in air.
1830–40; < Gk pyrophór ( os ) fire-bearing ( see pyro-, -phorous) + -ic Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2010.

World English Dictionary

pyrophoric (ˌpaɪrəʊˈfɒrɪk)
— adj
1. (of a chemical) igniting spontaneously on contact with air
2. (of an alloy) producing sparks when struck or scraped: lighter flints are made of pyrophoric alloy
[C19: from New Latin pyrophorus, from Greek purophoros fire-bearing, from pur fire + pherein to bear]

I hope it sparks something in you!  (I couldn’t resist.)  Please add a comment here to indicate if you are participating and I will post a link to your blog on Friday to share with others. 

Have Fun!


Here are some sights along our route on the Noland Trail in Newport News on Saturday. It turned out to be quite an ambitious afternoon hike. Five miles total,  4.75 of which Toots wanted to be carried, as we set out at her naptime.  Because that’s the way we roll.

Ducks.  They looked cold.  We saw a great blue heron, too, but he was too far for a good pic with my little zoom.

This is the first of officially 14 bridges we crossed.  There were many more little foot bridges, too, across dips in the path for watery days.  Toots counted all the bridges.

Captain Comic and Mr. Cynic were more focussed on the mile and half-mile markers, as they completely did not want to go on the Noland Trail that day, and had little to no knowledge of what it entailed ahead of time.  Heheheh.

A lovely jogger took a shot of us all together.  Very sweet of her to do.

There must be elves and fairies, etc. in this section of ivy covered forest.   At least that’s what I drew a lot of when I was Mr. Cynic’s age and was reading a LOT of sci-fi fantasy.

Sparkly!  It was a gorgeous, if slightly chill autumn day for a walk around and crisscrossing a big lake.

Rounding the bend ahead of me is the rest of the family.  I believe I was struggling with Lucy at this point, as well as trying to take a picture.  There were many dogs to meet along the path, and Captain Comic HAD to meet all of them. And Lucy had to read all their pee-mail.

We found a bit of a cove with some still and reflective water.  I love the blue.

 Another bridge, somewhere before the halfway mark. Exhausted Captain Comic, glaring Mr. Cynic. Lucy is still excited about the hike, but trepidatious about the bridges.

The Noland Trail runs through a system of parks around the Mariners’ Museum.  This one is called Lion Park.  The big stone lions look over the James River and wear wreaths around their necks at this time of year.
Toots did not want Honey to put her down at all, not even to stand in this hole in the tree where she would have looked like a cute like elf.  By the way, that red corduroy coat was mine when I was little.  My mother saved everything.  This is one of the few items that is still wearable, 42 years later.

All in all, a lovely afternoon with some chill fingers and some gripey boys who had their fill before we found the 2.5 mile marker.  Honey and I really enjoyed it, even if our knees, hips and backs had enough long before 4.5 mile marker.  And Toots was a real trooper for a napless tot. Of course, Honey’s arms were numb by the end.  He was a real trooper, too.  We all were, come to think of it!

weekword: lacuna

Carmen of Tails of a Biomouse chose a very interesting word this week for the Weekword Challenge.
la·cu·na   /ləˈkyunə/

[luh-kyoo-nuh] –noun, plural -nae  /-ni/ [-nee], -nas.

1. a gap or missing part, as in a manuscript, series, or logical argument; hiatus.
2. Anatomy. one of the numerous minute cavities in the substance of bone, supposed to contain nucleate cells.
3. Botany . an air space in the cellular tissue of plants.

The way Carmen talked about it earlier this week made me consider patterns that holes can create.  Probably because of the celluar references.
The photo is of a piece of saguaro cactus that Honey picked up in his travels in the Southwest many years before I knew him.  The shell I have had since I was a kid. I can’t even recall if I picked it up on my family’s travels to a various beaches along the east coast every summer of my childhood or if it was a gift, but I have always loved it.
Anyway, it made me think of holes in our lives that keep us from fullfilling our true potential, the things that hold us back, and what we can do to examine what our part in that is. 
So while we gathered for Thanksgiving with family, and cooked our butts off making pies, potatoes etc. for the past few days, this was my undercurrent process.  And it occurred to me that I have self-esteem issues that seem to crop up and prevent me from completing editing my original manuscript, for example.  My most obvious holding back, hole in my life.  If I just finish the edits, then I can move on to the next phase and seek agents and publication.
Without going into the whys of it all, I definitely feel the impetus to knit myself back together whole, and complete what I started.
Thanks, Carmen.
I am next week’s weekword person, so come back on Monday to see what I come up with!

list it tuesday: nothing fancy

I’m sure there’s more and this isn’t very original or stylized or particularly creative.  I’ll keep considering what else I am grateful for because it’s That Week.  You know, the one of Gratitude. The one where regardless of what else is going on in our lives to create mayhem, the week to pause, reflect and be thankful for your life, your ability to love in the face of it all and to count your blessings.

At least that’s what I’m doing.  Have a good Thanksgiving, y’all.

shifting back into focus

Nano is obviously a bust for me, again, this year.

It’s okay though, because I got the start of something that just needs a better catalyst.  I ruminate, I go elsewhere in my writing, and eventually it may return with the catalyst.  It’s time to let go for the time being at least, if not for good.  I do still like my characters a lot.  If they don’t live in this book, they may show up elsewhere.  I really like the main character’s best friend, and the dynamic between them. 

So I return to the original manuscript –  the one I’ve been avoiding editing the last thirty pages of since well before Nano.  Sure, I have plenty going on in my life to ‘distract from the writing’ as we say, but the fact remains, I want to sell this book.  I believe in it.  My trouble is I need to believe in myself.

While it has taken me years to write it, I always believed in it, but now I am at the point where I just need to finish prepping it for the real world.  For those other people to read it – the professionals. This is where it gets tricky, because I really don’t handle rejection well.  Rejection cuts like a knife.  And it has very little to do with writing.  This is something I’ve dealt with in pretty much all areas of life.

But I’m a smart girl.  I can reason it out and move forward.  I can do what I need to, and right now, that is edit.

for those about to rock: weekword

Maria of  Simply Cool Stuff is hosting Weekword this week and has selected ROCK for the prompt. 

So many ways to think about this.  I am an Earth sign, Capricorn.  I am a mountain goat who loves to collect rocks, mostly water worn.

My messy desk with stones that I collected from some waterway or another, Pemaquid Point in Maine, maybe York River Beach. Lava someone brought me from Iceland, and plenty of dust.  I keep the lava rocks on my desk to fuel the creative fire.  I keep the waterstones for my words to flow.

River rocks that Honey and I had as table decor for centerpieces on our wedding guest tables.  They now reside on my windowsill, with plenty of dust, and there is a vase of them on top of my bookshelf.
Funny this came up as the weekword.  Just last week, Honey said, “I don’t get the rocks all over the house.” 
I just reminded him the rocks and shells and driftwood were all over my place when we met.  He married me anyway, and therefore married them, too. 
I think rather than go into rocknroll, or rock the boat or foundation of life or musings on the earth, I’ll just keep it simple this week.  I love rocks and that is all. 

opera girl


I have at various points in my life been a fashionista.  Not a generally known fact and not one I am prepared to admit readily.

If it’s brought up, I usually prefer to mention my past as a thrift store junkie peacepunk cross between Deadhead, punk, and vaguely Audrey Heburn styling moments. In my clubbing days I had an awesome green with gold brocade jacket that would have fit Prince. Literally and figuratively.  Oh, and there was that one antique black lace over red satin 50s type number that usually ended up being used at Halloween for a flamenco dancer…

Not so much these days.  But last night I went to the Opera.  My current wardrobe consists of worn out jeans and go to stretched out comfy t-shirts covered in stains of 15 years’ worth of parenting.

And then I remembered I picked up one Calvin Klein black dress several months ago at Ross.  Serious rack dig moment.  I am not a good shopper.  I am very picky, it’s tough to find anything that fits me, and I can always find fault with whatever I try on, so I walk out empty handed if I walk into a store at all.  Mirrors and I have a difficult relationship at best. Especially since I still, on some level, expect to see a 95lb stick staring back out at me.  But I have had three kids and a lot of life since those days. Women’s bodies change.  I like the curves I have now, but they aren’t always exactly where I think they should be. The good part is a lifetime of chipmunk cheeks has finally left town.

I put on make up, wow!  I got dressed, including textured tights and heels I couldn’t walk in.  I had Mr. Cynic take the pic above for proof.  Hence, the shoes are cut out, but that’s okay.  The necklace and earrings are by Kelly Warren of Happy Shack Designs.  Go to her blog, she has the best attitude.  Then go to her Etsy shops, because her jewelry is gorgeous and fun and her photos are as bright and layered as she is.  Go ahead, I’ll wait. 

Good, now go start dropping holiday hints to spouses, etc.

And back to me.  Bottom line:  I cleaned up quite nicely, and besides the shoes, it felt good to spruce up for a change.  Every woman, mother, etc, needs to feel pretty now and then.  I suggest it  periodically even if you don’t have an event to go to.  It just feels good.  Now remind me I said this a few months down the line when I have a sucky winterized attitude.


I had the opportunity to go see the Virgina Opera perform Mozart’s Comedy Cosi Fan Tutti at Harrison Opera House in Norfolk, with Honey’s young cousin because no one else in the family wanted to go!  I leapt on it.  Live Mozart?!  Are you kidding?!  Pick me!

It was also her 19th birthday, and it was sweet to spend with her and talk about how things are different now than when I was 19 (ie drinking age changes, etc).  She also just got her motorcycle license the same day!  So she was excited about that, too.  But the cutest was when we finally arrived at the opera house – after a comical circuitous route which involved counting stoplights a la The Count of Sesame Street fame – we found ourselves in the balcony elevator with obvious lifer opera fans and she threw out that this was her first opera.  The sweet elderly couple told her what fun this one was and that she would likely enjoy it a lot.  And she did! 

And so did I.  The sets were gorgeous and simple, although there was a funny malfunction of a venetian blind.  The voices were beautiful, as were the costumes which had another malfunction. 

Mozart’s treatment of the rather silly libretto is stunningly gorgeous, and though what they were singing at times was rather bawdy, in Italian, it might as well have been singing to the divine.  Mozart couldn’t write a bad note if he tried.  It would still be fun.

So, if you haven’t ever tried it, I highly recommend going to an opera.  I hadn’t been in years, and loved it even more than I remembered!  Life is about the experiences we share, and sometimes going out to a live performance takes us out of ourselves for a couple of hours, and reminds us to laugh and love in community. Because that’s the best kind.  Art is good! 

some days are just like that

Many years ago, I used to doodle a lot – to cope, to meditate, to blow off steam, to sort my head, just ’cause.  Apparently I have started again.  I need better tools, though.

list it tuesday

I really should have been nanoing instead.  last week I had practically no progress in my word count. Busy Busy Busy week. I am not made for nano in the way that I live and write, edit, write, edit, thinkthinkthink, need a Pooh spot, have Captain Comic and Toots and dog and cat and Mr. Cynic, and everyone and thing else to distract me which is also why it’s good that I am attempting nanowrimo, just so when I CAN sit my butt in the chair and type and think and have quiet, and inspiration all at once…..I will actually write.
Still more than I am doing in my original manuscript edits….
btw, List it Tuesday is a prompt from Aimee at artsyville.  It’s fun, please join!

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