musings in mayhem

writer, mom, tutor, superwoman

Archive for the category “decisions”


Due to technical difficulties, I have decided to move to WordPress.

Please come see the mayhem continue there, and be patient with the appearance and set up while I figure out the new place.

Thanks for your continued readership, and I still love to see your comments!

pardon me

……while I realign, please.

Thank you. 

before & after

It was a process that took days, and woman hours, and a few man and kid hours, too.

I had another over-scheduled weekend to try to squeeze the most important thing to me into – because, really I should have done this about a month ago.

I moved the shadiest garden plot to the sunny side of the yard. a 4×8 plot.

Here is where it was:

Of course I took the before shot when the plot was in its sunniest hour of the day. Those birch trees, and others absolutely cover this plot in shade for most of the day, especially the back end of it.
Yuck, right? All the grass and crap growing under the plastic is largely because once upon a time, I bought a truck load of dirt from a guy. Turns out it wasn’t good garden dirt. And then I was on bedrest pregnancy, and recovering from it, and had surgery because of it, and so forth and so on, and it sat in my side yard growing things I had no intention of growing in it for a couple of years. Even after I’ve been weeding it mightily and feeding it mightily for few years, it still just likes to grow crap, not so much what I try to plant in it.
Target, sunny side of the yard. That chaise is where you can find me for a little while most sunny days. And Toots likes to picnic there for lunch. The plot is going to move in next to the plot you see to the right. the wisteria is finally filling in, wall like, after the bloom cycle, to the left of the frame.

I tried, but couldn’t loosen the frame. I couldn’t get it to budge at all. Honey did it by himself with a proper lever system he rigged up. Flipped it right over. I love when he gets all manly.

Then he had something going on and I tried to move the frame across the yard with my bad back and ankle and reluctant Mr. Cynic. We couldn’t budge it, except to get it up on its side.

The next day, Honey got back on it and after a failed attempt with positioning on the flat tire wheel barrow, 

we recruited Captain Comic and the three of us worked with cinderblocks and my garden supply Radio Flyer.

It worked! 

And then we maneuvered it into place on the barrier tarp over the grass.

Then we went out to Lowe’s for more good dirt and some garden path stones, and stopped for Hawaiian Ices with Captain Comic and Toots. Mr Cynic was working on a school project at a friend’s house, but I saved him some of my ice and he thanked me.  Toots climbed her first tree while The Rapture did not come except for me, because I was always up a tree as a kid. That’s my girl!
When Mr. Cynic came home shortly after we did, I drafted him to move the dirt and stones from the van to the plot. I told him he could count it as a work out for his independent gym credit. Six bags of dirt and four concrete stones.

Then this morning, I finally got back to work. But my bad back and ankle did not like me before I did, and even more so now. 

That’s some good dirt.
Apologies for the awkward angle.

It’s still a bit shallow. but I planted watermelon seeds toward the back, yellow straight neck squash seeds in the middle, and a tomato and a cucumber seedling in the front. The fat rain drops began to pelt me. But I decided I could plant one more thing and get all the tools, etc back into the shed in time.

And I managed to plant a pepper in the new plot with good earth. And I believe that completes my plantings for the year.

But of course now I am dreaming about bulbs…..


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?

writing surprise

Grandma took Toots out with her this morning, which means I should be able to write in the house. But first I need to clean off my desk so I can spread out the critiqued pages. And I have to keep myself from being tempted to do other cleaning or gardening futzing.

Yesterday at writing group, I did what I hadn’t been doing as I rewrote this draft – a pretty thorough read through of what I have so far, and I took care of minor corrections I missed along the way.  I made it to the nurse scene. The scene I had stopped at three days before. The one I had trouble rewriting because it will change things down the line in the manuscript and I don’t know quite how to rewite those yet.  I mean I do, but you know, I don’t.  I know what needs to happen, but haven’t actually put it in the document yet.  I just have my list of things to change.

So today I will rewrite the nurse scene in which the main character’s mom previously rescued him from further embarrassment by picking him up. Now he’s going to have to go back to class in the embarrassing borrowed sweatpants and shirt. As if things weren’t bad enough for the kid there already.

I had a bad habit of protecting my main character in prior drafts, finding outs for him rather than writing the tough scene that would progress the plot forward.

But this rewrite is going to change a couple of other threads I’ll need to deal with another day. Hence the avoidance yesterday. Okay, my breakfast is almost finished, so, time to get to it!  Thanks for ‘listening to my thinking aloud’.

superwoman has left the building

See  that caption under my blog title?  I’m not feeling very superwoman of late.

I overbooked the weekend and I am an awards show junkie, so as much as I should have gone to bed by like 9:30 last night, there I was couch surfing to dresses and accomplishments until very late.  It was a low key affair this time, but for Melissa Leo’s emotional speech and fbomb. I loved screenwriter David Seidler’s mention that his father always told him he’d be a late bloomer.  So did mine, and at the rate I’ve been working on this manuscript, I may be as old as Mr. Seidler before I finish.

That’s not really fair to myself and I know it, but this past week was spent well away from the manuscript. It’s time to get back to it.  I have had a low level stomach bug for about three days, it has hit others around me significantly worse. I’m worn out, but everything I committed to this weekend were really great experiences. Just the rest of last weekend didn’t work toward writing the way I had hoped. Alas, something’s always got to give with all these kids and laundry and a computer that gets a worm and, and, and.

I have two weeks. My goal was to complete the manuscript by mid-March, Maybe I should make my personal deadline the Ides of March for certain, although with Julius Caesar’s history, I’d like something a bit less forboding.

So for now, while the mess of my file cabinet and the mess of my room, and the mess of the boys’ rooms and Toots’s crib in my room still wait, I need to focus on the manuscript.  Then I will take care of the rest.

But I’ll still take care of the laundry. It needs it bad.

2 good

Hmm..maybe this should be my first List it Tuesday for the year? 

1. The boys are home and the twelve hour road trip was an adventure, starting with the giant donut and cup of milk at eight am. Toots ingested it faster than I’ve ever seen her eat anything in her little life, and it was bigger than her head. Her eyes were like glazed donuts when she spied its removal from the Dunkin bag.  Since Halloween, she essentially has forgone all foods but sugar. All she asked from Santa was candy. I can’t wait til there’s no more candy in the house. She has been wired.  Only tantrums she’s had have been during this sugared up quarter of a year. Back to the story:

Then she dug into a roll of raspberry Pez. An hour later, as I drove, we heard a little voice say, “I haf a bewwyache.”

Thank goodness I was driving.  Honey turned around in time to see Toots’s cutely pathetic face reveal a repeat appearance of the Donut and milk combo streaked pink by Pez. 

I’ll spare you more details, particularly the smell – which was something else.  Poor kid.  we pulled over on the side of the road and while Honey got her cleaned up in the grass with cars and trucks whizzing by – thank goodness the weather wasn’t frigid, I made good, if gag-inducing work of her seat.

Later, Honey vowed he’d never hand her a whole donut again.

We retrieved the boys in Delaware, a halfway meeting point with their father who lives in Rhode Island, and got back on the road around two pm. Later, as we considered a dinner stop, Toots who is about ninety percent potty trained, peed in her seat. Poor kid.  That was the main reason I was considering the stop, I knew she was due. So there went the towel she was sitting on, and her second outfit.  Good thing we packed three.

The kitchen staff of the restaurant very nicely gave us some clean dish rags for her sit on for the two hour ride home.  So if you’re ever traveling along Virginia Route 17 through Port Royal, stop at Buster’s Place. Good seafood – my oyster Po’ Boy wasn’t quite a New Orleans one, but the oysters were tender and perfectly light battered and fried –  reasonably priced and the staff was great.  A good family place.

But mostly, the boys are home now, and that is good. 

2. Aimee Doolich at Artsyville asked about resolutions and offered a doodled prize to go to a handful of commenters on her post. I won the little piece below!

art and photo, aimee doolich

It couldn’t have been more perfect timing as I am committed to finishing the manuscript’s third draft and getting it out ot agents and publishers by spring.  I can’t wait til it arrives via snail mail!  I’ve loved Aimee’s doodles from afar since I came across them.  They are reasonably priced and come as small prints, magnets and larger prints, but they are all bright, cheery, beautiful, fun and motivating. Please go check them out.  Be better than I am at ordering something for yourself.  They are extremely reasonably priced. Treat yourself now.  Go ahead and give yourself permission. Give up 2 double latte mocha whatevers at Starbucks, and get yourself something permanent, creative, and motivating. Because they are really good.

Addendum: I have been remiss lately about linkage to what List it Tuesday is all about.  Aimee at Artsyville posts a list of her own on Tuesdays, and then the commenters post links to their pieces of art.  I wasn’t super artful this week. The lists are meant to be handmade. Please click on the colorful box List it Tuesday in my right margin and that will lead you around a very colorful web of lists…

one resolution, 2011

Tis the season for new year’s resolutions and the blogosphere is rife with them.  This year is about focus for me so I am going to focus on one thing and one resolution:

In 2011, I will finish what I started.

Sounds simple enough, doesn’t it?  But if it were that simple for me, I would not have to make a resolution for it.  I would have finished the umpteen first novels I’ve started that are languishing in file cabinets and old document files as outlines and first chapters galore. 

But there’s this one.  If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you know about it.  If not, here’s something like an introduction:

In 2003, I started writing a middle reader novel about a kid who is being bullied and a few exciting things happen along the way. He confides in his dog, keeps the bullying from his parents and any other authority figure.  He questions his parents and friendships. He discovers a comet, is thrown into a media frenzy, and eventually gains the confidence to be able to confront the bully. In the end he recognizes all the support he really had all along, when he was trying to handle it all by himself.

Not the best start to a query, but that’s what I have for a summation at the moment.

I had many adventures along the journey of writing this book, such as dealing with schools and IEPs, and dealing with Captain Comic’s Asperger’s Syndrome at home, too. I took a while to divorce the boys’ father – that was quite a journey in itself, in which, of course, both the boys were incredibly affected.  I worked three part time jobs from classroom and learning disabilities support to retail in order to support the boys. I met Honey around the same time I started writing the book, and because of him, I was able to modulate into one fulltime position in a high school in learning disabilities support. Life started to seem perfect, I loved my job and my vocation (the book), him and the boys. In 2006, we got married and promptly followed a decent job lead for him to a more affordable area of the country. We bought a house with the help of his mother, we all moved in together. I started privately tutoring. I got debilitatingly pregnant three times, once lasted and became Toots when I was 42 – largely because I stayed in bed for the entire pregnancy. I was unable to move or think, ill beyond belief and her pregnancy wrecked me physically.  I slowly am still climbing back from that and surgery, and she will be three come April 2011.

In the meantime, through Miranda at Studio Mothers (we had gone to college together and ran into each other many years later in the toy store I worked in when my life was more mayhem than it is now), I met many other woman who were trying to balance life with kids and creativity. Miranda, Brittany and I were all pregnant at the same time and bonded well over their births and the early baby struggles with older kids. I think a few other moms, like Liz Hum, and Kate Hopper and Kristine Koblitz were in that baby and writing boat, too. Kelly Warren, Lisa Damian, Jennifer Johnson and E.Beck were among the other creatives who gave excellent encouragement.  I opened my manuscript back up and cranked out the ‘first draft’ in fits and starts between 2008 and Summer 2010.  I hope I’m not forgetting anyone…I know there were many more women involved in that website over that time, and their names are coming to me, but these, I think were my main cheerleaders. As well as Jacqui Robbins, I stumbled across her through Studio Mothers, too, though she wasn’t a contributor.  I had other supportive friends back in Boston and Connecticut who cheered me on and were first readers. Thank you to you all.

I am now finishing the second draft.  I really want to get it done before the end of the year, the next few days, in order to get it to my local writing group before we head to our annual retreat in mid-January.

Toots is still sick but getting better and Honey is off work tomorrow, so I may be able to hand her off to him and Grandma for the day, and lock myself in the bedroom with the scribbled upon manuscript and the laptop to made some headway for a few hours.  I hope. 

Anyway, back to my one resolution. 2011 is to really actually and truly send that puppy out, after one more draft.  This draft will happen in the earliest part of the year, starting with that four day retreat in the Outer Banks. Then I will send out that draft, whether or not it is perfect. I think it nearly is. But then again, I don’t really believe in perfect, do I?

Spring, baby.  Agents, here I come.

walk across america for pancreatic cancer

BJ Timoner is one of the first people I met when I arrived on my college campus a hundred years ago. At the time, he was very welcoming, and made me much more at ease in my new surroundings. He is going to walk from San Diego to New York starting on Christmas Day, December 25, 2010. He is doing this to raise funding for pancreatic cancer research through The Lustgarten Foundation

BJ lost his father at the age of five to this disease which still does not have early detection testing.  When someone is diagnosed it is generally already too late.  BJ is just reaching his father’s age of passing, 41, and decided to do what he could so that future families will not have to live the life his family did, without the presence of a parent or other loving family member.

Pancreatic cancer comes in fourth in the statistics of cancer fatalities. 

Fourth, people.  That is too big to not have early detection tests available.  By now, through the success of other cancer tests, for prostrate, colon and breast cancers for instance, we know that early detection is the monumental key to treatment and therefore survival of formerly guaranteed to be fatal cancers. 

Please, friends, go to his website:

to learn a little more and to donate.  Every dollar goes to research only, none to support his endeavor or him personally.  Remember, even if you barely have enough to get by during this Holiday Season, even a little bit from each of us can go a long way together. 

Thank you.

new leaf

I tend to start new things in September, with the start of the school year. Always have.

This weekend, Honey and I joined a gym.  It’s a struggle to fit it into our already stretched budget, but we both recognize if we don’t prioritize our health and wellbeing, everything else falls apart, too.

Honestly, at this point after the myriad health issues I’ve had for the past few years in order to bring Toots into our lives, I’m so back at square one physically that I really don’t have the stamina or physical capability to work at a job on a regular basis. I need help getting back into a normal gear.

We found a gym that has personal trainers who are also Physical Therapists.  I signed up for one of them to start me off gently and consider all my weaknesses, both generalized weakness and specifics from my back issues, surgery healing and my torn ankle tendon that is resisting healing.

Wish us luck!  My PT health assessment appointment is tomorrow morning.  Today, I am going to go to the morning Gentle Hatha Yoga class for a kickstart.   Let’s see if I fall over in Warrior Pose, like I did at home last week….

My objectives with gym membership:
1. strengthen and build endurance
2. lose 15 pounds
3. reshape body parts and put some back where they belong – or  a close approximation to their past positions.

Honey is looking to lose weight and feel more on top of his physical wellbeing.  We both know we have let things go way too far while we were trying to take care of everything, everyone else. For Honey, that included me a lot, too. 

Thanks, Hon, I really appreciate all you did and still do.

Addendum:  Back from yoga class.  Great class, but I must say my ankle is the worse for wear after that.  I tried very hard to not wonk it, but it is highly wonkable at this point. 

Post Navigation