musings in mayhem

writer, mom, tutor, superwoman

Archive for the month “April, 2011”

of empires

Yes, I woke up to watch the royal wedding of Prince William and Kate.


I’m awake before six in the morning anyway, as the boys get up to get ready for school every morning. Just typically, I remain in bed a while longer doing that mom wants to sleep just a while longer but has one ear open to what’s going on in the house thing. 


This morning, I took over the TV at six. Captain Comic was not pleased, as he usually is watching cartoons or funny animal videos while he downs a giant bowl of milk with some cereal in it. I was just in time to see Kate get out of the car in her gorgeous Princess Grace styled gown. I thought it as soon as I saw it, before the media started discussing that. Let’s just say I have a distant obsession with weddings in general and gowns in particular. I am continually amazed at how the music and the pageantry, even when there is not much of it – which of course, today there was – just turn my eyes into waterfalls. I can’t control it for anything. Go figure. I acted a bit of a goofball at both of my weddings to try to avoid the tears like the plague. It only worked a little.


Mr. Cynic and Captain Comic peppered me with royal family questions.


Mom: Look, there in the yellow hat is the Queen Elizabeth II, the Queen of England and (switch to punctilious voice) Ruler of the British Empire.


Capt. Comic: The British Empire?! There are still Empires?! The only Empire I know is the Galactic Empire! You know – Star Wars?!




I just want to add that with all that pageantry, etc, I thought W&K looked very sweet and comfortable with each other. And that is really what that whole to do was about: love.

sixteen

My first born turns sixteen today.

Fall 1996, Gaga & Papa’s house in Ct.

Tears start now.

Not because I’m sad, not because so much of my life has passed in that time, not because I mourn the passing of his childhood.

But because I am very proud of the child becoming a man before my eyes, as only a mother can know. Love keeps cracking me open to my own vulnerabilities and strengths that I discovered through growing him inside sixteen years ago and watching him grow, as best as I can without interfering with his fully realizing himself.

16 on 16:

1. He’s a very old soul, and a very old soul is he.
2. He sneezes a lot.
3. He plays a mean electric bass.
4. He’s teaching himself guitar.
5. He smirks, always.
6. He sings, really really well, competitively well.
7. He writes songs.
8. He writes books, has since he was in kindergarten.
9. He’s fragile, in good ways.
10. He’s strong, of spirit, not so much in body.
11. He is very very protective of those he loves.
12. He oozes into furniture, merges, becomes one.
13. He’s kind of a space cadet.
14. He has a very dry wit. (Hence calling him Mr. Cynic here)
15. He has good hair.
16. The girls think he’s cute, kind of like a pocket rock star.

I love him very much, and I like him, too. He’s pretty darn cool. And speaking as his mother, I’m kind of glad he’s still a pipsqueak.

Valentine’s Day 2011, He let me do this.

I love you, K-Bear, Happy Birthday. 

read through

Writing group met yesterday, and it was small, only two of us. It was comforting to hear J typing away on her new idea, even a bit inspiring.

I was still stuck in the midst of that stubborn chapter I last complained  explained about being stuck in so I decided it was time for me to go go back to the beginning with a read through.

It worked. I finally finished that dang chapter and can move forward. The next chapter or so are my Wednesday goal.

As is baking a birthday cake for a newly minted sixteen year old as of Thursday. Yes, I shall gush that day, be forewarned.

gardening love

I love to garden. I didn’t say I was good at it, but I love it. Sometimes I am orderly and plan ahead well, other times I get ideas. Yesterday involved a bit of both.

First, I have been neglecting the front flower patch’s needs for a while and second, I really needed to redo the driveway pots. Captain Comic has picked all the leaves off of two sets of small evergreens, first juniper, then vertical japanese boxwoods. Some of the storms we’ve had did the final damages. We have flower pots with something tall in them so Grandma and I can navigate around the brick borders of the ‘bridge’ over the culvert. We can’t see them from our five foot two and three perspectives as we back out of the driveway.

Before: if you look way in back you can make out what I am replacing.
These are the pots, new plants,some homemade humus in the wheel barrow
 and some good potting soil with food.

After: left side of driveway, five leaf Akiba.

After: right side of driveway, Carolina Jasmine.
I planted white Star Jasmine which grows on my fence near the wisteria in my backyard a few years ago.
Yes, the brickwork is broken, no I didn’t do it.
 It was like that when we moved in. 
One of these days…when I get a Round To-It.
Anyone remember that old 70s truck stop souvenir? Tap-Tap?
I liked the little bird trellises at Lowe’s garden center, and they were the cheapest thing that wasn’t plastic and still fit my idea for replacing the evergreen skeletons.

Self-portrait of a gardener
I looked down at one point during mulching and discovered I was covered in dirt from head to toe.
Life is good. Go plant something and watch it grow. 

easter aftermath


Have you ever tried to get three families’ worth of kids of varying ages to pose together for a holiday shot? This was one of a handful of choices, all fell into the category of close enough. My favorite high school English teacher always said,”that only works in horseshoes and hand grenades,” but I believe it’s apt for group shots, too. 

We gathered at friends’ new home, seriously, they moved in Saturday, and we tried to help but showed up a bit late because it took me that long to empty and clean out my van. So I showed up in a dress with all of my kids and Honey, on Easter morning, and promptly decided I would move their bookcases into a different room. We were there for an Easter egg hunt. 

To back up a bit, we had a weekend full of family, my in-laws galore, not just the ones down the street, we hosted visiting aunt and uncle. Also in Grandma’s generation, was a vacationing cousin and all of his nine teenage granddaughters, his daughter, and his wife who were staying in Virginia Beach. So when I joke about the in-law invasion, there’s a bit of truth to it, at least in sheer numbers. Thankfully, I was lucky enough not to get the full dose of the nine teenage granddaughters. I managed to only meet two. I can’t say the same for Grandma and Toots who got a full dose with a botched and whiny trip to Busch Gardens and Colonial Williamsburg. It’ll remain in family lore for generations, I am sure. 

There was also a 50th birthday party for a friend this weekend, which was packed with cake and pies and Easter breads and a potluck, maybe two. I’ve lost count. And of course Easter baskets galore. I hopped on the scale this morning – hopped is a loose term, it was more of a floorboards creaked trepidacious step – and I have gained five pounds this weekend – even with helping with the move!

Toots love her twirly dress and enjoyed modeling it. Pardon the blur, I wasn’t awake yet. I don’t think the camera was either.


A lot of sugar was eaten, and not much else especially by a couple of my kids who would have done better to get some more protein and veggies in them over the weekend, and maybe a bit less candy and pies. There was some major sugar fallout this morning. Not that I should say anything, see confession above about gaining five pounds. 

But a weekend full of friends, family, food, fun and sunshine is worth a five pound gain. 

It occurs to me that with the amount of cookie posts, etc., I should have a food tag, shouldn’t I? Someday, I’ll backtrack and find all the baking and cooking posts and add them to it, but the food tag starts now. 🙂

I regret I did not get a pie picture. Grandma and her sisters really outdid themselves with the Easter pies this year, and I believe that is mostly to blame for culinary lapse of reason. Auntie B’s homemade lasagna may have had a smidge to do with it, too. And the vat of pasta a fagioli I made Friday night, and, and, and……peeps for one. 

Time to get back into an new exercise routine….

all nine kinds of pies

 “But there were all nine kinds of pie that Harold liked best.” 
                                                      ~Crockett Johnson, Harold and the Purple Crayon

Easter with my in-laws is full of pie. On Friday, Grandma stood at the stove and stirred Italian cream in the double boiler by the batch. She got a workout and a half stirring homemade sweet Italian cream, at least three batches of vanilla and one chocolate. She also made two ricotta pies. Her sister from the DC area brought pies galore, and her sister who lives down the street made quite a few, too.


Let me see if I can catalog them all:


Grandma made:
1 Vanilla cream pie
1 Pineapple cream pie
1 Chocolate cream pie
2 Ricotta pies
4 Easter Breads


Auntie L made:
1 Vanilla cream pie
2 Barley pies


Auntie B made: 
6 Ham pies
Easter Breads (haven’t seen hers yet, can’t count them)
1 Veggie lasagna with homemade pasta (Thank you!)
1 vat of “Manest” (here’s Rachael Rae’s recipe for reference)
and a heck of a lot of other food.
I think her plan is for 2 more sweet pies, too.


I made the Good Friday vat of Pasta e Fagiola. The one day of the weekend that the rest of the family will join me in the vegetarian realm.


There is a ton of more food to be had over the course of Easter and time with all of my in-laws. All of it is made from scratch, and there are only twelve people to feed, one weighing in at a whopping 26 pounds.


Gotta love a family where food equals love – especially in pie form.

child of mine

Honey’s aunt and uncle are visiting for Easter from the DC area.

The uncle is 86. He reminds me a lot of my dad, Papa. He’s also very tolerant of Captain Comic’s early riser musings. I made a rule for Captain Comic not to wander downstairs and turn on the TV until 7:30am. 
Just prior to 7:00, I awoke to this line of conversation wafting up the stairs:
Captain Comic: What about those drug-dealing pimps?
I didn’t hear the uncle’s response, but the tone of his voice was full of patience. 
Thank goodness.

love your mother

Happy Earth Day

conquer

Grandma is taking Toots to Busch Gardens with her cousins who are visiting in Virginia Beach. The boys are in school and Honey is at work. It takes a lot of work to have an empty house around here, but I have one for a few hours today.

I shall edit. This chapter will not get the better of me. I wrote it, I rewrote it a couple of times, and will finish it again today and move forward. It’s these sticking points and getting caught in the minutia that make the joy of writing more like a chore.

 I love writing. I can’t live without it. But sometimes, it can be the most frustrating thing in the world.

I feel the same way about it as I do my kids. Love with all of my heart, but sometimes, I just don’t know what to do. So after trying a bit too hard last week, I let it go for a handful of days. Today I will have fresh eyes, see a new way out, crunch the details down, extricate some unnecessary dialogue, and hopefully make it gel with what has gone before, and what follows.

Because what follows is really good.

spring surprises

 A friend and I took our little ones out yesterday because it was too beautiful to do anything else. At the park, they ran in opposite directions, and Amilicious and I couldn’t stand anywhere near each other to chat. I snapped a couple of shots as we crossed the footbridge on our way out.

 They were enthralled with a mama duck who was trying to snack in the mud below.

 Chive blossoms and buds:

 Here come the peas that Toots and I planted about a week or so ago.

Don’t ask, I stumbled across this when I was downloading shots in the camera:

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