musings in mayhem

writer, mom, tutor, superwoman

Archive for the month “March, 2011”

planting in the rain

I bought these and a couple of pretty and perfumey plants yesterday, as well as some dark tarp to try to kill off weeds in my garden plots before I try to plant.
This morning, I planted the flowers in pots I bought as it started to sprinkle. It’s raining properly again now, and frigid, too. 
I also covered the vegetable plots with the tarp and strategically placed bricks to hold them in place for about a week, until I can have some sunshine to really get out there and do a good job of plotting the vegs. 
I also spread the african daisy, cosmos, and catnip packets along my back fence where no grass or anything else I’ve tried repeatedly to plant will grow, especially grass. 
I spread the viola packet along under the boxwoods and holly out front. 
I can’t wait to watch the colors come up. 


The sun came out. Briefly is the rumor. But, I found these in the front patch this morning:

Miss Peony is making a comeback. I bet hers will be better than Britney Spears’s.

Japanese maple.

Juniper berries.  Time to make some gin?

These are currently taking over the lawn. 
 I think they’re a type of chammomile?  
Please correct me or confirm if you know. Thanks.  
This morning I thought I would try to write at home amid laundry,etc. which never goes very well.  But then this unfamiliar bright light blinded me on the drive to drop Toots off at preschool.  Slowly it dawned on me that it was neither overcast nor raining. Time to garden!  or at least weed, and weed, and weed some more.  and now that it is officially over 40F, as of 10:14am, I should really get out there. And I want to, too. 


Dear Rain,

I love you, but please go away. The cold, too.  I thought I moved South?  This is looking more like a Boston March at the moment. I really appreciated the sleet, rain and hail yesterday.  So much so, that I remained in bed all day. Of course the doubled over lower bellyache lent to that, too. But I enjoyed reading an actual book. A couple of chapters anyway. And watching Dirty Harry, and Pretty in Pink. I love Ducky. It made my day.  Yes, I went for it.

Toots’s birthday party is at the end of the week, and I have serious work to do in the backyard. Serious work. My plots are overgrown with things I didn’t plant. I want to get the spring peas in, and there’s a lot of Lucy poop scooping, too. It’s been a mostly cold and long winter.

So, please, Rain, can you take this week’s forecast, and skeedaddle? Please?

It would help make for a really fun princess baseball birthday party.

One overwrought mother with no sunny window in sight.

spring springing

My daffodils 
Camellias, varigated
Pink and white from the same branch. 
There’s a red camellia tree just beyond a Crepe Myrtle along my fence.
This tree used to be all white.
Daffodils by my subdivision entrance, behind my yard.
Holly buds 

These purple stars begin with A. It’s a very sciency name. 
Broccoli blooms from last year’s ‘crop’

Hi Chives

Welcome back, strawberries

Hello Wisteria buds

And pull back

Jasmine’s not ready yet, but I love this curl.
My azalea’s run about two weeks behind all the others in the area.
Welcome back Hydrangea

back to writing

Okay, I sidelined greatly with the room switching, but today I had writing group.

My friend and I carpooled up to Williamsburg and saw all kinds of lovely blooming things along the way. I saw some gorgeous redbuds. I was too transfixed by their purple purple blooms along dark bark before they disappeared sans camera to my eye. Some magnolias are just stunning now, too. Forsythia is turning from yellow bursts to green. But here’s another cherry tree speeding by:

And then I thoroughly edited a single chapter, Chapter Eleven of somewhere above thirty. Don’t worry, they’re short. It is a middle reader book. It was a difficult edit. I was previously very attached to what I had, but looking at it today, I saw what I needed to do: tighten, cut effluvia, add main character’s internal thoughts during scene to make it matter, and such. I believe, for now, that it was a very successful edit.

as promised


Cherry blossoms along Canon Ave, Newport News, VA

Honey grabbed the camera one day and took these in a bit of a rush or he would have done more with them.  But just look how they wrap all the way around the bend! Happy Spring everyone!

Toots is very proud to show off her new room. you can see where the ginormous bed of Captain Comic embedded itself into the carpet. One day the carpet will be torn up and the walls will be painted. That piece of furniture to the right is an armoire that Grandma and I foolishly with our respective joint and back issues moved up from the garage in two pieces. That rocker was given to Mr. Cynic by Gaga and Papa (my parents) when he was a baby. It has been loved by three kids, and three, no wait, four cats.  Very loved by the cats. One day, I fully intend to restore the straw or at least make a cover for it. Please don’t mention a certain road built of good intentions.  I know it well, thank you.

Toots is showing you Big Puppy. She loves Big Puppy vewy much. Another intention: this toddler bed converted from her crib will one day be replaced by two milk painted and restored antique acorn head and foot board twin beds that are currently in the garage. 

Now she is showing you her Marble Game. We have to play this a lot. It’s an old game of the boys, but a new and wondrous discovery for her. 

Boys’ room. It’s packed. Jam packed. But they’ll live, they have shared a room before.  I curse these giant IKEA beds.  Curse them down that road of good intentions. Warning: giant beds with tons of shelving under them may seem like a good idea before you actually buy them, but you will rue the day of the purchase.  Just walk by them through the IKEA habitrail and focus on something simpler, and less apt to collect a hoard of clutter the likes of which you have never seen. I found lost library books from three years ago, for one. Don’t. ask. me. about. the. rest. Or the suicide turtles. Please don’t ask about the suicide turtles hanging from the fan chain. Suffice it to say that I have raised a morbid teen. Intention: remove carpet, paint walls a lighter robin’s eggish blue.

Captain Comic’s ‘light table’ Honey built it for him for drawing from and old photography light and a piece of an old computer desk.

Mr. Cynic’s side: bass and guitars galore and clutter starting on the bookcase and dresser.

Captain Comic’s side: I swear, there is only so much a mother of an aspie can do. 
Why didn’t I get an OCD type? 
See that empty corner?  Ahhhh…..just ignore the Easter stickers on Honey’s armoire. I try to.

This is what used to be crammed in that empty corner – My meditation center. I have a thing about nature. It calms me, even bits and pieces of it collected in my house. Now it is not covered in two inches of dust bunnies that could get up and walk away. and it’s where I can access it and see it when I wake up in the morning. This is the wall where Toots’s crib was.

This is under my antique shaker dresser. Look, there’s space! It’s the little things in life.

But the thing that makes me happiest, I think, is that I can open the doors we installed on the balcony and roll out my yoga mat under the sunlight coming from the living room sky lights! This is where her wide dresser/changing table/armoire thing was that is now in the garage. Not sure yet if I can fit there to do yoga, but it’s a start. Again, this rug will go bye-bye eventually. And those tapes will go out to my van which is old enough to still have a tape deck, yes.

Yes that is an alligator on my bed, what of it?

japan and christchurch, nz

I have not written of what happened last week and prior, and what continues to happen there.  It’s not because I don’t care.  I may care overly much and feel there is little I can actively do from such a distance. I have made the Red Cross donation call. I donated a bit to send rescue dogs to Japan to look for survivors, and not survivors. I’ve found out about everyone I personally know and others I know in the this weird new virtual realm that has shrunk the world to even smaller than it seemed before. Small world, indeed. I also spent a couple of days trying to keep abreast of the whereabouts of a local friend who was caught on a train between Yokohama and Tokyo. I called and kept his wife company even before the disaster for the week plus he was away, but spent last Friday night with her and other friends, doing what we could to distract her, and keep their young son occupied after we all found out he was safe. By Sunday he was home safe, only about 24 hours late.

My thoughts and prayers, of course, go out to everyone in Japan and in Christchurch.  I am concerned about the nuclear reactors. I am concerned people aren’t getting food and water. I cried over the dog that stayed by his other dog friend who was hurt and I’ve cried over the four month old baby who was pulled out of the rubble. I bawled over the parents of the eighteen year old girl whose car was swept away in the wave when they discovered her. I have watched video of the water overwhelming the land, the awesome power, the utter devastation. I have contacted anyone I know who was in the potential west coast tsunami zone that, thankfully had little affect.

I get overwhelmed by things of this magnitude easily.  It’s Haiti, Indonesia, New Orleans, and 9/11 going back to the San Francisco earthquake in 1989. In the meantime, there’s the people of Wisconsin and it seem much of the Middle East and beyond starting revolutions and trying to be free.

I think right now, the best I’ve been able to do is not get so overwhelmed. I am going about the business of my life,and while I’ve personally piled more on to my own kind of mayhem, and gotten through the majority of it in the past few weeks, I have been extraordinarily grateful that my little corner of mayhem is mostly just full of life and family and love and a little frustration, aggravation with a lot of laundry thrown in.

Peace and goodwill to the people of Japan and Christchurch, New Zealand.

In my little corner of the world, I am taking Mr. Cynic to work in a soup kitchen today. It’s what I can do.


Still working on upstairs, mostly my room. I swear I am not a hoarder.  Where did all this effluvia come from?

Boys’ room is now disaster of their making. They are forces of chaos each that when combined, react much like a baking soda and vinegar volcano – instant production of mess exponentially increasing by the second. But less wet and frothy. I knew there was a good reason why I separated them five years ago. Besides the fighting.

Toots is loving her new room. It is now the least crammed with furniture room in the house. She can wunawound and wunwound and wunawound! She has also discovered the long hidden Marble Run Game. We must build interesting towers of Rube Goldberg proportions. She must drop a gazillion marbles through them. It’s fun. But there is more to life, like my room reconfiguration being completed, making dinner, making Irish soda bread for St. Pat’s and how about some pesto pizza to go with that? Of course, and laundry – my name is Sissyphus.

Mr. Cynic has a bit part in his high school’s musical, Urinetown. Opening night was last night. He is in the back and cursed with two sets of short genes. He is invisible on stage. But I can hear his singing.  He’s good.  Mom is proud of her invisible son.

Give me a minute.  Captain Comic said something yesterday that fell into the interesting things Captain Comic says realm.  I’m exhausted. I have been moving furniture, cleaning out furniture and closets for over a week.  I’m not cut out for this. Okay, I’ve got it now:

Captain Comic looked at me in an examining fashion yesterday.  I waited for what he was obviously considering may be an inappropriate thing to say, which is a step up from his prior lack of awareness regarding blurting out a perfectly innocent and factual observation that may hurt someone else’s feelings.

Mom: What’s on your mind?
Capt. Comic: Mom…..I think you should dye your hair again.  You wouldn’t look so old.
Mom: Well, how about I stay true to myself and how I was made, instead of changing myself to please others in a societal expectation of women not aging gracefully? Besides, it gets expensive to keep up the pretense.
Captain Comic: Uh-huh.
Mom: [Capt. Comic] honey, would you want to make yourself different from how you really are, just to please someone else?
Capt. Comic: Oh. No. I see. Okay, you don’t have to dye your hair.

None of us is adjusting well to Daylight Savings.

I did manage to squeeze in some good and effective writing time on Wednesday amid this week’s extraordinary mayhem. 

Go out and get a good look at this extraordinary Super Moon this weekend. It’s closer to the Earth than it has been in about twenty years.  Last night, she was gorgeous.

Also, everywhere around me, the trees are blooming: pear blossoms, cherry blossoms, forsythia, you name it.  I must say, though I miss New England burst of spring awakening a lot, these long extended and rolling blooming springs of southern Virginia are truly stupendous. When I can leave my house for more than quick errands and kid shuttling, I will get some photos, especially of the cherry trees along Canon Blvd.


1.  I want to edit the manuscript.

2. I am still working on the upstairs room switch. My room is the worst mess right now, especially my little worship space which needs to move out of a dusty cramped corner and to where Toots’s crib was.

3. I am so exhausted I can cry at the drop of thought.

4. I have the second of many dental appointments to come today, because I did not go for years.

5. It is a sunny beautiful day and I need to do something about this:

I have an issue in my lavender. I have bulbs that would like to bloom there. I have wild flowers taking over the driveway edge.

I think I will opt for garden gloves, spade and vitamin D absorption right after I finish this egg.

It is the Ides of March and the forboding I feel is not exactly on par with Ceasar’s, but close. I feel like there is not enough time or energy for all that I want to accomplish.  But I’ll be fine, eventually.

And when Toots comes home from preschool, she wants another game of marble run in her new room that is “mine so stay out, [Captain Comic]!”

To be fair, the three of us really enjoyed a marble game yesterday. But boy, am I going to be in trouble when she’s a teen, right?

not quite there

Remember my enthusiasm about doing the bedroom shuffle back here?

Well, things have not lined up with the big thinking, building projects, etc that we planned, but for the moment there is a nearly three year old girl moved out of her parents’ bedroom and a twelve year old brother moved back in with his nearly 16 year old brother after four years of exile of separate bedrooms. 

We haven’t painted, but we have spent two weekends thoroughly cleaning out two boys’ disaster zones.

I honestly did not realize the extent of the garbage hoarding going on behind furniture and in closets, especially in Mr. Cynic’s room.  I mean, I expect it from Captain Comic and had been in there a handful of times over the years for a whole weekend clean out. But I never went into the teen zone to assist when I asked him to clean.

Never again.  Standing house rule: HIDDEN DOES NOT MEAN CLEAN.

So the bedroom shuffle has been done, but not thoroughly completed as of yet.

Last night was Honey and my first night alone (well, the cat is in there, too) in our room since Toots was born.  She did a good job staying in her room and the boys survived the first night sharing theirs again.  Captain Comic said he woke up a few times during the night, though.

Their room isn’t quite big enough for anything beyond their two beds, two book shelves, two dressers, three guitar stand and amps (Mr. Cynic) and a file cabinet with a lightbox for drawing (Captain Comic). Slowly, I am still trying to clear stuff out Toots’s room that belonged to Captain Comic.  Desk does not have a place to go in the boys’ room.

I have a very busy week ahead, starting with a meeting I am too exhausted to be motivated to go to at the moment, dental work tomorrow, the usual mayhem, and Mr. Cynic is in a play for the last three nights of this week. 

And I want to write? 

When things are a bit more finished in both rooms, I will post photos.

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