musings in mayhem

writer, mom, tutor, superwoman

Archive for the month “September, 2011”

spiders and bugs and shrooms, oh my

I’m not certain I’ll ever get used to south coastal Virginia seasons. We have long stretches of no rain, but threatening rain, but nope, still no rain, and just when we give up and water the garden after all, rain. For days and days and then muggy muggy muggy still in the 80s, and it’s fall.

I’m from New England: I just want a dreary rainy day, a bright day, a chill breeze, a sweater and trees full of yellow, orange, red and purple right about…..now.
So, in the past week or so, there has been a lot of drizzle then sun then drizzle drizzle when there was supposed to be major storm. The local news is giddy about all the mushrooms and no, people, please do not eat those mushrooms in your yard, even if they do look like gourmet chanterelles or oyster shrooms. 
It’s also a big spider season. Grandma says there are tons of tiny black spiders in her room. I am finding big orb weavers and other strange large spiders and – things on the deck, on the front of the house and in my gardens. A silverfish strode cockily across my desk this morning, too.
One day, a couple of weeks ago, we had a big yellow and black garden spider building a web on our deck. Toots misses her. I do, too. Then, a couple of days ago, I stumbled across a giant orb weaver a pace away from the other’s web, building a gorgeous enormous structure. After I yelled, “Holy Crap!” to my friend over the phone, I checked it out pretty well, then later, it disappeared before I could get a picture. 
We still have at least remnants of both webs on our deck.  I love spiders and their handiwork, so I haven’t removed them. They are big. Toots joined me on the deck briefly as she ran around the yard with her preschool class frog, Freddie, who is visiting this week. She looked up at the webs, and said very sadly, 
“Oohhh, where did our spiders go?”
She was quite forlorn. 
So was I.
But I wasn’t when I saw a giant Giger art looking bug on my garage the other day. After some unsuccessful googling, a friend sent me a link to Wheel Bugs. Bingo. 
And today, I went out to do some gardening maintenance to discover where that giant orb weaver took up residence: right between my bean poles that I wanted to remove. She was very active and pretty ticked off that I watching her work. She ran at me, and Mom didn’t raise a fool, I ran, too – away. 
So we’ve entered the season of creepy crawlies and mysterious mushrooms, and I may just grow to like it down here pretty soon because of this…but the leaves will never be like in Massachusetts. 
Advertisements

ode to the red sox

Oh, my Sox, I’m loathe to say,
Have broken my heart another day.
2011 season’s sudden and bitter fall,
In all estimation, is the worst of baseball.
The Spring, per usual, was lacking grace,
But fortitude steeled upon every fan’s face.
Papi’s homers sang past the Green Monster
And Gonzalez surprised with his hutzpah.
Pedroia and Ellsbury, ah my boys, are
The hardest working players in pro ball.
The beauty plays it as an art.
The littlest player pumps the biggest heart.
I love the rest of the guys, too,
But here’s the thing, you know it’s true:
As much as our team plays as a team like no other
These two play as determined brothers.
For most of the season we were number one
Then September stole all the fun,
With so many of our players on the DL
What could we do? What the hell?
Three weeks of watching torture,
The Yankees circled like vultures
And right at season’s end,
We began to rise, a bit slowly, but rise again.
Terry Francona chewed his gum,
He chewed and chewed until we won.
Extra innings lay in Papalbon’s hand.
Then we tied and lost again.
And then that Tampa Bay,
Who are these guys anyway?
I couldn’t watch, my husband yelled
How on earth? Again, I ask: What. The. Hell?
We rollercoastered our way through the final few.
The Yankees were rough, Tampa Bay, too
We took both series’ last games, and didn’t whine.
Then we lost to the Orioles in the bottom of the ninth.
A short season this year, tis true,
Maybe I’ll cower with the flu.
While other teams’ fans raise up cheers
I’ll stay away from October play, cause:
THERE’S ALWAYS NEXT YEAR.

pardon me

……while I realign, please.

Thank you. 

oops, i did it again

Remember das boot?

And the lesson I wanted to pass on to you?

Yea, I haven’t quite learned it yet.

Yesterday, I sang the Brahms piece in both Sunday services for a remembrance of 9-11 on its tenth anniversary. Our little choir had worked very hard on it, and for some reason, the music just looked foreign during first service, even though we had just had a really good last rehearsal of it prior to that service. I wasn’t the only one who had that experience. Our RE director (an alto) remarked between services that she had the same experience. In that conversation, she mentioned that it seemed the person who was supposed to lead the youth group during second service was not there yet. I replied, I’d be happy to go over there after we sang in the early part of the second service. The middle school leader was happy to get them started in the discussion, but had her own class to cover.

Second service’s rendition of the Brahms went much much better. It was beautiful.

Then I trotted over to the other building, stopping at my van to switch from the cute new heels (first pair I’ve worn in ages because the ankle finally felt like I could for a few hours) into my everyday flipflops.

Funny enough, I did great in the heels. I owned those sassy little pointy burgundy fake alligators.

Well, I got all the way to the other building, across a lovely grassy field peppered with spiky horse chestnuts to discover that the scheduled youth leader was there after all. I made a cheerful speedy exit to head back and join Honey for one of his rare appearances, having brought the kids for second service while I was on choir duty since earlier in the morning.

Just as I stepped onto the grass from that little parking lot, my ankle collapsed under me. I dropped and rolled, purse flying, travel mug of tea arching in a totally different direction. I remember a thought process along the line of I better just go with this, because if I try to fight it, I’ll re-injure the inside tendon.

I found myself lying in the grass, assessing damages and and realizing first, I was covered in yard scrap, there goes the outfit (I’m not much of a fashionista, but dang it, I’d put in some effort that morning), and then the pain kicked in. I had saved the tendon, but the entire rest of my foot was taking my breath away, briefly. Then I looked around for someone to laugh this off with, and discovered, not a single person had seen my stupendous pratfall. It was youtube worthy – an AFV winner.Then I wondered if I can or should get up and walk. Yes, I actually thought, I’ve fallen and I can’t get up! I did get up, but maybe I shouldn’t have.

The choir director and a smattering of choir members were chatting in the lobby as I hobbled back in the door. I confirmed, no one saw a thing. I went in to service, and joined Honey in the back row. Next thing I knew, choir director was leaning into the sanctuary to hand me an ice pack. He’s also a kids’ soccer coach, he knows about first aid.

Well, after service, we hung around for a bit, I chatted with another mom at the playground, who is also my belly dance teacher, and then we got into the two separate vehicles to head home. I did think briefly about having Mr. Cynic drive the van home, but he’s not comfortable on the main roads yet. So I drove wincing all the way home, stopping and hopping for gas. Only Captain Comic joined me for the ride in Bertha.

I put my foot up when we got home and took some naproxen with the sandwich that Mr. Cynic made for me. A couple of hours later, bruising and inability to walk finally made me admit the need to go to Urgent Care, while Honey called me a wuss and Captain Comic slapped him upside the head for the name-calling. Note to self: quit joking like that with the literal kid.

After a few hours there with Honey, and two rounds of xrays, I walked out with a latex free wrap, latex free crutches, and having given my info and Mr. Cynic’s to the xray tech because her son is a 16 year old drummer looking for a band, and mine is a bassist and songwriter whose band never gets together to rehearse. But they go to rival high schools, so we’ll see what comes of that. I also walked out with orders to get back in das boot and see my podiatrist (the one who gave me the steroid shot back in June). Oh, and  diagnosis of spraining all the ligaments across my metatarsals and a possible break in the second metatarsal.

I twisted that ankle like a pro. I do it often enough. I broke the 5th metatarsal doing so in three inch Mia clogs back in 1980 in my high school’s linoleum hall.

I think I just have to admit, that with all of the mayhem that is built into my life with three spread out kids, one with Asperger’s, and my attempts to write, take care of myself, help others out, like being in rotation as a youth leader, being in choir, etc, that adding something on the fly, literally takes me down for the count, and beyond.

My appointment with the podiatrist is in a couple of hours. Thanks goodness he could squeeze me in. I hope he doesn’t have the same results from spontaneity as I do.

safari part deux, belated

Now that I have half a chance to sit down and accomplish something while the boys are at school, I am heading back to vacation land of the first week of August. I am returning to the day I covered in this post, when we safari’ed in the morning, journeyed into the deepest caverns east of the Mississippi at midday then returned to the safari place in the afternoon. 
It was a very hot day. Before we entered the Natural Bridge Caverns, we sat and ate lunch outside. Toots said, “I will sit here, and you will sit there, and we can have a picnic!” to Mr. Cynic, who nicely obliged her.
I will eventually post some cavern pics, as soon as I have a good chance to go through them and single out a couple of not so dark highlights from Luray and this place. After a chill visit deep underground, we headed back to the Safari Village to walk around and feed some more animals. Thank goodness for all day leave and return tickets!

African Pygmy Goats and my somewhat pygmy teen

I can’t recall the name of this primate, but he was way too hot. Can you see his tongue hanging out?

African Pygmy Goat. They tickled.

Hot peacock. I love peacocks. This guy found a rare piece of shade.

Here is where he found the shade – in Kangaroo land. This Red Kangaroo looked like a playah. 

What?

Take your picture and get outta here.

Lorikeets! They are loud and sound cranky. 
A friend of mine in Sydney talks about the racket they make often in his yard.

Squawkity squawk squawk!

What are you looking at? Squawk! 
Rainbow birds
Captain Comic was fascinated by the warthogs.

Hot Tigers.

Hot Honey and Toots

These box type turtles – sorry can’t recall species – got very horny later and all three kids were like “ew!” and Captain Comic couldn’t stop giggling while he was repulsed.

Different kind of llamas. Thank you, Mr. Cynic for humoring your sister.
And okay, your mother, too.

I wish I could have gotten this shot in full context.
Captain Comic walked up and the lemur jumped right at him to say hello.

Spider monkeys!

This giraffe was very disingenuous. But he still ate from our hands after he huffed indignation.

De Brazza’s monkeys again, like at the other zoo earlier. 
They clearly did not want to be there or to have us look at them.
They do this cool thing where they turn from you and sit super still for hours at a time when they feel threatened. Hide in plain sight. 

You smell good to eat.

Tamarin monkeys are among my favorite. Creepy little humans.
After the overheated walk around, we got back in Bertha with Captain Comic in my old passenger seat from the morning. Why should I have all the fun just because the back windows don’t roll down? Honey was ecstatic to sit in the air conditioning and drive around again.
Captain Comic was a little fearful, but thrilled to feed the animals.

Especially the large “raptors”
Just look at his face in the side mirror.
I love that kid.
He loves Emu.

And Ostrich and Rhea, too. 
In fact, he didn’t want to feed anymore mammals after they pecked in his bucket, rather like dinosaurs.

Gorgeous Rocky Mountain Elk I fed in the morning.

Bison closer and in the shade after their morning plains walk.

I kind of forced him to feed the Elk. He was very intimidated, but I got him to pet the big guy.
Hello again.

Captain Comic ran off with my reference pamphlet since my last safari post. 
This was one of the Oryx. Jogged my memory hard for that one. 

Arabian Oryx

Wildebeast, I think.

Hotchatta-cha-cha Llama. 
And thus concludes our safari adventures in the mountains of western Virginia. Caverns coming soon.

i won!

Liz Hum is the author of Vampires Don’t Drink Wine, a new collection of short stories that put Vampires back where they belong, in your nightmares doing twisted murderous things – Not sparkling or dating humans while drinking synthetic blood.

She is an excellent and opinionated blogger here and here. She is married to a Viking and the mother of three Viking children in the suburbs of Chicago. Her No BS meter runs in the red zone all. the. time.

I was lucky and won a hard copy in her blog raffle. Please click on the book cover to purchase her book. I bet she’ll buy her neighborhood bike helmets if she sells enough of them. At 99 cents a piece in e-reader format, that’s a lot of books to sell to keep rabble-rousers safe and blood off the streets.

Maybe. She had to get the idea for the vampires from somewhere….

1st day of school

Yesterday was the first day of Mr. Cynic’s Junior year and Captain Comic in seventh grade.

Mr. Cynic has been riding the bus to high school for the past couple of years, though we live .4 mile from the school. That’s closer than I lived to my high school, to which I walked – up hill both ways in the snow. Seriously, I did. It was hilly where I lived growing up in Connecticut. Not here though, and only the occasional appearance of snow.

But back to yesterday, Mr. Cynic and the first day of school. He had the same bus driver for his first two years of high school. She could probably drive her route with her eyes closed. She retired and there was a new bus driver, who drove rather like a lab mouse introduced to a new maze. She had no idea where she was going in the morning. And again in the afternoon. At every intersection she turned the wrong way, according to Mr. Cynic. When his bus was significantly late on the way home, I received a text message: going to be late. bus driver doesn’t know what she’s doing.


When he finally arrived home, he declared he was never taking the bus again. I smiled. The boy who eschews exercise will be getting some. Every day.

Captain Comic’s bus involved less drama but more nerves on my part. He has been riding the SPED bus since we moved here five years ago. He stands at the end of the driveway in full sight of his peers at the corner bus stop to get on a different bus. Last Halloween, I found out that they all knew him, but he didn’t really know them. As we walked around the neighborhood, the common cry was “I see him at the bus stop.” Last spring, his IEP team and I decided it was time he ride with his neurotypical peers. And when I had an IEP team meeting last week, they all told me, “Mom, you cannot walk him to the bus stop. You cannot ask his friends if it’s okay for him to sit with them. He needs to do this himself. He’s thirteen.”

And while my instincts know this is true for any other kid, I still want to protect him, manage his interactions. So I stood at the window with the camera and watched him. He did alright.

Which one is Captain Comic? Look at the socks.


I checked in via email with his case manager and he had a great first day, even with a homeroom teacher change. 
Mr. Cynic is excited to have friends in most of his classes, and is excited to be taking Music Theory with most of his band mates. Keep in mind, they have not rehearsed all together once as of yet, so band mates is still a relatively loose term.
In the meantime, Grandma took Toots with her to her morning pool exercises, and after three weeks without even cracking the manuscript with all the mayhem here, I had an excellent edit session at the local library. I dove into the creative river, doused myself and completely rewrote two chapters really well! The session exceeded my expectations, especially since I felt so lost as I opened the document.
Honey, post-surgery, went back to work yesterday, even though I felt it was too early, but I can’t keep him from work. It’s his thing. It’s hard to see that he loves it sometimes, but deep down, I think this is his creative drive, even when used for others’ purposes and under crushing deadlines. 
So we have returned to the usual mayhem, and having a routine for it that’s a little stiffer than summertime benefits us all, especially after this area has been hit by Mother Nature with smoke from the great Dismal Swamp fires for weeks now, and an earthquake and hurricane last week. The ten to fifteen inches of rain that came with Irene did not douse the swamp fires. Yesterday afternoon, we had a good bit of buckets full rain while Captain Comic was walking Lucy, and with them came Tornado Warnings. And still there is smoke in the air. But we go on, relatively unscathed, unlike many of my friends and family all over the East Coast and inland. Some are still waiting for power after the Hurricane while others in Texas droughts and fire fields, are now without well water. 
I feel very blessed that we are back to our normal. Almost – Toots starts preschool next week.

things and school

Captain Comic’s birthday evening before Hurricane Irene. 
Pogo sticks are fun.

My head is spinning.

I haven’t been sneaker or school supply shopping yet.

Honey had surgery, and is recuperating at home. Now to wait for official biopsy results. But the surgeon said it looked good.

I had an IEP meeting with Captain Comic and his team this morning for the start of 7th grade. He made it about a third through before claiming, “I am about to have a freak out.” How’s that for self-advocacy?

We let him have a break in his case manager’s classroom while we went over the Accommodations.

We have our old case manager, which we were told at the end of last year wouldn’t happen, so we are extra grateful that he has a familiar anchor.

I can’t get over that Mr. Cynic will be a Junior this year. How……? He informed me yesterday that he is now the VP of the Anime Club. I know he’s still interested in the Writing Club, and he’s applying for jobs and is still trying to put together his band, writing songs, a book, and going to his bass lessons, starting to go to local music open mics…No wonder every time I see him, he’s merged as one into the sofa.

Toots is going into a 3 day/3 year old preschool class this year. She’s an old pro now and asking for swim and ballet lessons.

Captain Comic is asking to get back into a Martial Arts class. It’s been about and year and half since he was a blue belt w/2 black stripes in Tae Kwan Do. Now he wants Karate.

Looks like the usual mayhem is getting started and more mayhemic than it has been before.

And now there’s my bellydancing class on Mondays and Chorus on Thursdays….

That’s okay, I like the mayhem. I just wish writing didn’t drop out of sight so easily. It’s been two weeks since I opened my manuscript to try to finish this draft, and my writing group wants to meet on the first day of school. I’ll have to see how that works for my ability to concentrate.

Happy September everyone!

Post Navigation