musings in mayhem

writer, mom, tutor, superwoman

Archive for the category “accomplishment”

welcome the jungle

Whoa is me, I’ve had an emotional week, a lack of sleep throughout it and my weekend, once again, is packed to the gills.

Wah, Wah, Wah, I hate whining.

Mr. Cynic’s concert was incredible. His Jazz Choir is better even than my bragging about it. Toots bounced around her seat and between Honey’s lap and mine. Captain Comic had a sensory issue as the audience began to fill the front section around us. An old man kept looking at me like “Why can’t you discipline your kid?” So after a few attempts, I decided to let Capt. Comic do what his instincts dictated, and let him have a seat all the way in the back center of the auditorium rather than fight it. I went up to blackmail inspire him to not move from his chosen seat with a threat that if he did so, he would lose all access to screens for a solid week. He stayed put. I turned around to check periodically throughout all three choirs’ numbers. As long as I saw his knees hanging over the seat in front of him, all was good. Mr. Cynic’s Jazz Choir was on last. During the second to last number – after the Hanna- Barbera Spiderman theme, of course – I felt a tap on my shoulder. and a whisper right in my ear:

Captain Comic: Mom. I need a drink.
Mom:  Go.

The choices we mothers make. I went with finish watching one son as he excels and trust the one to worry about will be okay on his own to find a drinking fountain and not get into trouble. And guess what?  It worked out. I sent Honey to collect him while I took Toots with me to go find Mr. Sparkly Red Vest. It only took a moment before I spotted Honey with Captain Comic in the hall with all of the singers before I even had a chance to hug my singer. Captain Comic beat me to it, literally, with a not so stealth pounce and grab knockdown tackle hug that took down all three siblings, and nearly me as well, as I had nearly reached hug contact with my eldest when he was hug attacked.

Honey took this phone pic of a mom and her progeny after the attack hug. It’s really the perfect shot of us all, exhausted and proud mom with her eyes closed, sleepy Toots, grinning from his performance Mr. Cynic, and goofball Captain Comic.

Life is good. Hug your kids, if you’ve got ’em. Happy Mother’s Day.

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. 

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. 

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.

lazy sunday afternoon

After Saturday night’s storm, Sunday couldn’t have been more perfect weatherwise.
I parked myself under the wisteria with an interesting non-fiction read that I have renewed at the library for the third time. It’s fascinating, but I can’t or don’t sit down long enough to just read a good chunk of it. If you’re curious, it’s called Occult America: The Secret History of How Mysticism Shaped Our Nation by Mitch Horowitz. I was familiar with a lot of the material he covers, but I really like how he puts it all together and shows a real chronology of the history of faith in America in all of its complexity.
Honey came out and joined me for a cuddle on the chaise for a bit, as Mr. Cynic mowed the front yard. Then Honey went in and woke up Toots from her nap. She came out for a cuddle with me, too.
Toots then got busy playing all over the yard with her daddy and I looked at the wisteria’s wild dreadlocks, and decided to tame them a bit. I got out the ladder and string and started climbing and pulling at vines. While I was up there, someone came to chat, kind of.
Captain Comic: Hi Mom. What are you doing?
Mom: Hey Buddy, I’m fixing the wisteria. Whatcha been doing this afternoon?
Captain Comic: Stuff.
Mom: What kind of Stuff?
Captain Comic: Supercool Stuff you wouldn’t understand.
Mom: What kind of supercool stuff – drawing comics? 
Captain Comic: Groan growl.  
And he circle paced around once more and headed toward the trampoline from where I heard squeaks and jumps as I went back to the business at hand. 

The wisteria on the fence is still a bit wild, but at least she doesn’t look like Coolio circa 1994, or Weird Al Yankovic, for that matter. She smells a lot better, too, I bet.

reclamation

Lucy wasn’t much of a helper. 

Toots was, though.

Peas planted!
Sadly, while we were out playing with worms, I completely spaced Toots’s wellness appointment.  Oh well.
It’s Spring Break for the kids. I must take them on many adventures this week or we’ll all go stir crazy and whining will rule the roost.  
We’re off to one momentarily. Post to follow!

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. 

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

Pictures:

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?

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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