musings in mayhem

writer, mom, tutor, superwoman

Archive for the category “creativity”

some days

….are just like that.

I am thinking of people who need to be thought of.

I am appreciating the beauty in tiny moments, but I can’t upload the pictures from this morning’s drive to preschool. In fact, I lost my header photo and can’t seem to retrieve it.

I wanted to do more edits, had an awesome session of it yesterday and finally completed for the thousandth time the emotionally relevant chapter that is twice as long as the rest of the chapters, but I finally accepted that it was okay, because a middle reader can handle one 10 page chapter in a book of 35 chapters that are 3-5 pages each. But see people statement re: doing more edits today, but maybe I still can. And there is laundry, of course.

I wanted to go to a retreat this weekend, but it isn’t in the cards. I am sending Mr. Cynic, and he is cool with that.

It’s a gorgeous day, the library book I was waiting for was finally in yesterday, and I checked it out. I feel like going outside to watch the blue jays and cardinals flit between the changing trees, listen to the wind rustle them, too, and maybe, just maybe read for half an hour uninterrupted, outside, where there is beauty to be found everywhere, if you just look.

That last option is sounding the most appealing at the moment….

And then I will go pick up Toots, and the mayhem will resume. Captain Comic is having a rough first quarter of the school year again, and Mr. Cynic still needs to pack for the weekend and I am not sure when his ride is coming for him.

But yes, tra la la – opting for some time in the warm autumn breeze and light and colors.

distracted and frustrated

This post is kind of a way for me to work out hitting a wall in my manuscript. All I want is to finish it. In my heart, I still love it. But after so many edits, this edit is really a bore to do. In my house, two kids are gone for a month, including the most distracting one. In and around my house is a lot of neglected house stuff, largely due to my trying to focus on the manuscript.
When I try to write at home, even if I have my mother-in-law take the three year old out of the house for a couple of hours, invariably I putz around finding other things to do until, lo and behold, they return, and I haven’t even pulled the critiqued manuscripts out of my tote bag.  Like the day last week, when Toots decided waking up throwing up was the way to go that day rather than out of the house with Grandma. I sank her into the couch with Netflix streaming kid videos, and the next thing I knew, I found myself hacking branches in the yard in 100 degree heat, because that apparently was immensely preferable to actually finishing my novel.
And I had a good session on it the day before when I did my usual Tuesday routine of packing everything up and taking it to the library to edit. Okay, so the next day, off to the library I went, and knocked through two chapters in a fairly painless edit session.
As I write this, I look back over this very morning, noting that, yes, I had an early doctor appointment, from which I left a bit upset, mostly just burnt out on doing the specialist shuffle, so I gave myself permission to see another human being, I mean tea chat with a friend, and then another friend who is back in town visiting from far far away showed up, and finally I trotted myself off to the library. I couldn’t settle in as the place was teaming with people, and then the summer camps came tromping through in droves, so I turned right around, having never even opened the laptop.
Home again, Toots was getting a dose of the one program I don’t let her watch, which frustrated me, because I thought I was pretty clear about that to Grandma, but I didn’t make a stink about it. (Do we really need one more show for her to request immediately and often?) I preferred to focus and to attempt to write during and after lunch, Toots’s nap time, and when Grandma typically goes upstairs for a reading rest of her own.
Well, then I started getting ideas. My, isn’t it a lovely day out there, not a hundred degrees, now that we had a good thunderstorm last night. I know! I’ll go out to the picnic table around the side of the house that has a little privacy and an outlet! I got all set up and touched my black keyboard in the sun – youch! like a stove burner that has been left on.
Trot everything – drink, lunch, boiling laptop back inside, two trips – turn on the a/c in the office, and try to “white noise out” that Toots is not interested in napping at that time. Stare at my laptop screen and start typing this instead.
So what is my problem? Why am I having such difficulty with starting a single editing session? Any session for that matter? The excitement is inside me to Git ‘er Done!  Yet instead, here I am devising ways to rearrange the office so that I can work better, more comfortably, get more organized, etc. Frankly, I have rearranged the place a dozen times, and nothing seems to work, and that box of papers that grows and shrinks but never disappears is still in more or less the same spot – not in the file cabinet – it has sat for the past five years since we moved it to Virginia from Massachusetts. Don’t ask me how many residences that thing has moved from or the decades involved, I implore you! It is my my little hoarder albatross. It’s a smallish box, I swear.
I have little over a week before I retrieve the boys and my mayhem returns to its full tilt, after a camping trip with all the kids.  I have about twelve, albeit, short chapters to go, a bunch of query letters to write and send, and a writing group twiddling their thumbs to see this last draft before I send it out.
Maybe just putting it down where I can see it: twelve chapters in about as many days, is what I needed to do. I sure hope so. Once I get started, I’m good for at least a chapter a session, so now, I just need to do it. Hello five a.m. for the next week?   Any suggestions would be appreciated. 

gardening

I think my favorite thing about growing okra (besides frying it up and eating it) is these beautiful blooms. They bloom for one day, then the next you have the beginnings of a pod and within 48 hours, you have an edible delight. I tried my best to capture the deep buttery yellow petals and burgundy center. Temporal nature of beauty at its best. Tough to do the other day, even making some digital adjustment. I’ll get one soon with a better than cellphone camera. Macro that baby up.
Tonight I’m frying up a batch with my grandmother’s recipe (but I sub peanut oil for her bacon grease.). I can’t wait.
Blurry Cucumber Babies

A Green Pepper

Yay Tomato!

But this is what I am most excited about. Right now that striped beauty is about the size of a large grape. Soon enough, it will grow to the size of , that’s right, a watermelon! After the squash bugs decimated my beautiful bevy of squash, I was really worried they would get the cukes and watermelon, too. But both waited to fruit until after I got rid of the hordes of death. At least, I hope so while crossing fingers. 
I have also been picking quite a lot of beans and basil, two kinds. I think tomorrow night’s dinner will be pesto. 

innovation by kids

We planned on the kids playing SlipnSlide.

 They waited pretty patiently for my friend to blow it up. In the oppressive heat, it eventually dawned on us to use the bike pump, but it didn’t work so well.

Then we discovered, by the two older girls’ turns that playing SlipnSlide the way it was intended could be very painful.

And that’s where toddler and dog innovation came in.

And then the school aged girls figured out the physics of squeezing the tube on the side, making a sprinkler.

Pardon the Adirondack block. Come on now, it was hawt! Cut me some slack. I’d already done a bit of yard work and all I wanted to do was sleep right about when I took this shot.

Something else proved much more fun, as the toddler and preschooler initiated a new game.

I was just happy to be sitting in in the shady yard. Shady was nice, but I still melted into a my very own puddle.

walkin the dog

It’s hot.
I walked the dog.

What’s that?

Get in for a closer look, but not too close. Sorry, only had the cell phone, again.

 Egret!

Yesterday, on my fence, a lizard skittered. By the time I got the yes, cell phone, out of my pocket, he was replaced by this dragonfly.
And then I found these Kentucky Wonder Beans under the tangle of vines covering my posts. I found quite a bit more than those. I think I’ll cook them tonight. If Toots hasn’t eaten them all in refrigerator drive-by snacking.
Today, I spent a few hours at the library, editing another chapter and a half. I hope to make more good headway tomorrow. I am making good, if slow, progress. 
Kinda like walking the dog in muggy Virginia mid-July.

my other boys

I stayed up way too late last night.

The Red Sox went into a 0-0 16 inning game against Tampa Bay. My endurance gave out in the 15th, before Dustin Pedroia made the winning RBI and then Papelbon’s and Gonzales’s close.

But in the 11th inning, Josh Reddick made a thing of beauty catch against the wall and rolled, keeping it in his glove. That’s just darned good baseball.

I’ve been watching Pedroia play since he was a pup. He still kind of looks like one beside his teammates, but no one in the game has played with more heart and fire than him in the past several years. If anyone was going to bring that endurance match home last night, it was my boy Pedroia. Ellsbury comes close, and now Reddick, too.

And you know what? That is why I love the Red Sox. These guys are highly fallible guys, prone to injury, because they put everything they have into the game. Each moment matters to them in a way you don’t see with some of the other teams. The Red Sox players, individually and as a team, have more heart even than their deepest loving fans of any sport. I give my kudos to Terry Francona for keeping that kind of spirit alive in them from game to game. It’s not just the skill, the talent and the know-how, the calculations and the play. It’s the pure love of baseball.

I love these guys like they’re my own.

quiet & things

Back from camping, this week was mostly much needed downtime. 


My writing group had a lunch meeting after a hiatus period due to travels of each, and surgery of one. We had a logistics meeting discussing where we all were at the moment in writing, how we want the group to function, and dare we invite some new blood in after loosing two members to moves somewhat cross-country in the past year. We all agreed on new blood, some of us moaned about the current transitory state of publishing world, the other members all recently submitted works and are in that sea of rejections and non-responses. I ended up being the cheerleader to keep them all from quitting writing, and thankfully it worked. They are all too good to not be read out. 


One had to remind herself of why she writes besides trying to publish. I not so eloquently put it, “If I’m not writing, I am miserable to be around. Might as well shoot me it the head.” And the rest, thankfully, recognized that in themselves.


Speaking of writing and rejections, I saw a bit of an interview last night in which the author of The Help claimed to have received 60 rejections over the course of three years. Now she’s a best selling author with a highly anticipated film on its way to release. 


So there’s always hope.


I had one good writing session this week. Polished up another chapter. I am hoping to get more in this week, especially while the boys are out of state with their father. I really want to knock this revision out and get it in the same state as my writing group compatriots. Although, if I feel as hopeless as they did before my cheer session, maybe not. Who am I kidding? I want to get the book out of my hands and into the public. And I have other starts and ideas to work on.


It’s quiet. Too quiet. I find it disorienting, though it is what I loved most about my pre-motherhood. I really loved just curling up with a book because I felt like it and no one interrupted me for anything darn thing. Or just going outside for a walk to clear my head. Not that it needed much clearing then. And writing for endless hours because my head had empty rooms to wander around in.


Now I want to be interrupted. Curses.


I miss the boys. I miss my grown up talks with my really perceptive teen. I miss Captain Comic yelling and stomping through the house because I am ruining his life or crushing his dreams because I won’t buy him a real movie camera. Hm, just Googled, looks like that would run me about $67K, used. I would sooner replace Big Bertha, my rusty year 2000 minivan, and the fence. Or maybe try to put in that second master suite to the house.  Or sock it away toward the kids’ college educations, half of one of them anyway. I miss how he always makes me laugh.


Other than that, I have been battling weeds and squash bugs, a Normandy style invasion of which destroyed my beautiful squash plants, again. And Toots and I have been having fun with each other and with friends. 


So this Saturday is an extra quiet one, and I almost – note almost – feel a smidge ho-hum. 

mountain adventure

I arrived home with West Virginia mountain soil ground into my skin, everything smelling slightly musky and very smokey from rain and campfire and feeling more alive than I’ve felt in a long time. Hot, sore, soaked, dirty, smelly and utterly alive.

Honey and I have this little thing. When we’re in sync about something, any little thing, we have kind of a slide-five, confirmation of everything right between us. We did that a lot more this trip than we have for a long time.

I had dreams, amazing dreams of people far away but near to my heart, as I slept with my head in a Civil War trench on a hilltop, in a damp tent, surrounded by RV city. One friend currently working, far from his family and friends, in Argentina. Others in a far off land…I think it’s called Wisconsin. 😉

This is who I am. I am of the land, mountains, rivers, sea and sky and night fires. This is where I am happiest, most content, completely myself.

And I haven’t been camping in over 20 years. Now, I know why I feel such discontent. It’s not the suburbs. It’s not my family circumstances, or other minute aggravations of the day in day out or the lack of writing time to myself.

It’s that I haven’t fed my soul the way it loves to be fed most in such a long long time. A lifetime. A roasted marshmallow soul under the moon and stars soul. A sun on my skin, rain on my hat, kid in a backpack on my back soul. A dog leash carabiner’ed to the backpack soul.

This is the seven year old Cathy, who when my family couldn’t call me in from dinner so easily, my mother sent my brothers out to look up the nearest tree for me.

But I seem to be starting at the end here, rather than the beginning. and this is probably going to be a very long blog with lots of pictures. So maybe I will leave the end here, at the beginning, and give you the beginning to the end tomorrow, and maybe the day after, and again, after that.

I am happy, my family is safe. I love my spouse, and my daughter camped for the first time. Her favorite part was ‘camping’. Parental translation: sleeping in the tent with Mommy and Daddy and Lucy.

“Can you see the real me, doctor, doctor?”

Honey and Toots at the confluence of the Shenandoah and Potomac Rivers

I obviously need to do this more. The boys are coming next month.  Life is good, go for hike. Roast a marshmallow over an open fire, under the moon.

new paint

Toots and I had a wonderful time with some new paint I picked up on Friday, 
while birds twittered in the trees

I think I like the palette cleaning tissue the best.

new fave thing & convo with the captain

Captain Comic: How’d they DO that?
Mom: I don’t know, but it’s really creative and innovative, don’t you think?
Capt. Comic: But how did they do it? Did they like draw it with a stick burning into the toast?
Mom: The images are so consistent from one piece of toast to the other, I wonder if they have some kind of a stamp thing they add lines of something to, and heat up to burn into the toast…
Captain Comic: That wastes a huge amount of toast!
Mom (falls over laughing)

Post Navigation