musings in mayhem

writer, mom, tutor, superwoman

Archive for the category “expectations”

sssssshhhhh…be vewy vewy quiet

I’m hunting words.

I’ve been pretty quiet over here in the past few weeks under the guise of focusing on the final few laps of this draft of my manuscript. Really, a lot of mayhem has been going on in my home and outside of it that has prevented as much concentration as I would like, but it is nearing the finish line.

Promise. So if I stay quiet here and around the blogosphere in general, that’s my excuse.

I’m sticking to it.

Thanks for your patience, adorable pics and quotables from my family, etc to resume in the near future.

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:

tell it like it is

My life, in a nutshell, or rather two fortune cookies:

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. 

asperger’s syndrome and bikes

Asperger’s Syndrome presents some unusual challenges as a parent that most parents never have to deal with. Certain things most parents accept as a given can never be assumed to operate in the same seamless and joyful sense.

Bike riding is one of these things. It involves both fine and gross motor skills, quick and accurate reaction time, muscle memory, and a wide variety of other things most people take for granted. Most neurotypical kids learn to ride a bike by the time they are six years old. Usually it involves one parent secretly letting go from behind and tricking the kid into the ride alone.
In my conversations with many parents of Aspies, I have found typically, if ever, they put together the pieces of learning to ride a bike when they are about twelve to thirteen years old. Captain Comic is that now. Some parents have found alternative bikes, like the leaning back three wheeler, a better way to go for their kids. Some never learn to ride, some learn to ride via an attachment to their parents’ bikes, but Captain Comic had gotten too big for that. 
He has recently made friends with a couple of boys in our neighborhood who tool around on their bikes and scooters quite a bit. Yesterday they came knocking, and asked him to join them. 
I was arriving home from the second trip to the dump with loads of branches that I, Mighty She-ra of Yardwork had trimmed from the big weeping birch on our corner. 

This post is not about me, it’s about Captain Comic, but I had to share that I singlehandedly trimmed the entire tree’s bottom rungs of branches that reach to the ground all by myself by hand, old school with clippers and handsaw. My friends on Facebook know this already. I was quite braggadocious about my muscley feat over there. I made Mr. Cynic hang from a particularly large branch over my head that I was sawing, so that he might pull it down quicker – all ninety-five pounds of my sixteen year old son. The pipsqueak, I love him.
But enough about me.

So as Honey and I arrived home from the dump, Captain Comic was bursting through the front door, with a bike more suited to Toots’s size than a kid who is practically my size, with training wheels and flat tires.
Later when I asked him what his friends thought of that first bike, and his riding along with them on the tiny, flat tired, training wheeled thing, he replied, “They were cool with it. They didn’t care.” 
This makes me very happy: as nutty and oddball as he is, there are peers right here in our neighborhood who accept him just the way he is. sniff

But back to the topic. After inflating the tires on another dusty old thing in the garage, I didn’t give up on him, even when he gave up on himself and the process. I threatened and cajoled, as nicely as possible for him to just keep trying. I whipped out Nelson Mandela’s tale when Captain Comic declared he was, “Hopeless, I tell you! HOPE-LESS!” And he fought and yelled and fell and threw the bike and ran away, and I threatened no screens (tv, computer, videogames) unless he tried into a side cul-de-sac and back to the house.  
And then the magic happened. He stopped fighting me. He stopped fighting himself. He stopped fighting the bike. He listen (sort of) when I talked about feeling his core muscles tell him how to correct the balance. He told me to stop talking and he kept trying, past our house, across the busy intersection and into the other cul-de-sac, and then back home again. 
He is this close (fingertips together) to taking off in freedom and speed around the neighborhood.
If you turn the volume up you can hear him tell me to stop speaking, and what happens when I say okay, then sorry.  He’s so funny. I love this kid.
Nothing is hopeless. Not even a child with a form of autism learning to ride a bike. All you have to do is keep trying.  


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?

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.

shifting back into focus

Nano is obviously a bust for me, again, this year.

It’s okay though, because I got the start of something that just needs a better catalyst.  I ruminate, I go elsewhere in my writing, and eventually it may return with the catalyst.  It’s time to let go for the time being at least, if not for good.  I do still like my characters a lot.  If they don’t live in this book, they may show up elsewhere.  I really like the main character’s best friend, and the dynamic between them. 

So I return to the original manuscript –  the one I’ve been avoiding editing the last thirty pages of since well before Nano.  Sure, I have plenty going on in my life to ‘distract from the writing’ as we say, but the fact remains, I want to sell this book.  I believe in it.  My trouble is I need to believe in myself.

While it has taken me years to write it, I always believed in it, but now I am at the point where I just need to finish prepping it for the real world.  For those other people to read it – the professionals. This is where it gets tricky, because I really don’t handle rejection well.  Rejection cuts like a knife.  And it has very little to do with writing.  This is something I’ve dealt with in pretty much all areas of life.

But I’m a smart girl.  I can reason it out and move forward.  I can do what I need to, and right now, that is edit.

opera girl


I have at various points in my life been a fashionista.  Not a generally known fact and not one I am prepared to admit readily.

If it’s brought up, I usually prefer to mention my past as a thrift store junkie peacepunk cross between Deadhead, punk, and vaguely Audrey Heburn styling moments. In my clubbing days I had an awesome green with gold brocade jacket that would have fit Prince. Literally and figuratively.  Oh, and there was that one antique black lace over red satin 50s type number that usually ended up being used at Halloween for a flamenco dancer…

Not so much these days.  But last night I went to the Opera.  My current wardrobe consists of worn out jeans and go to stretched out comfy t-shirts covered in stains of 15 years’ worth of parenting.

And then I remembered I picked up one Calvin Klein black dress several months ago at Ross.  Serious rack dig moment.  I am not a good shopper.  I am very picky, it’s tough to find anything that fits me, and I can always find fault with whatever I try on, so I walk out empty handed if I walk into a store at all.  Mirrors and I have a difficult relationship at best. Especially since I still, on some level, expect to see a 95lb stick staring back out at me.  But I have had three kids and a lot of life since those days. Women’s bodies change.  I like the curves I have now, but they aren’t always exactly where I think they should be. The good part is a lifetime of chipmunk cheeks has finally left town.

I put on make up, wow!  I got dressed, including textured tights and heels I couldn’t walk in.  I had Mr. Cynic take the pic above for proof.  Hence, the shoes are cut out, but that’s okay.  The necklace and earrings are by Kelly Warren of Happy Shack Designs.  Go to her blog, she has the best attitude.  Then go to her Etsy shops, because her jewelry is gorgeous and fun and her photos are as bright and layered as she is.  Go ahead, I’ll wait. 

Good, now go start dropping holiday hints to spouses, etc.

And back to me.  Bottom line:  I cleaned up quite nicely, and besides the shoes, it felt good to spruce up for a change.  Every woman, mother, etc, needs to feel pretty now and then.  I suggest it  periodically even if you don’t have an event to go to.  It just feels good.  Now remind me I said this a few months down the line when I have a sucky winterized attitude.


I had the opportunity to go see the Virgina Opera perform Mozart’s Comedy Cosi Fan Tutti at Harrison Opera House in Norfolk, with Honey’s young cousin because no one else in the family wanted to go!  I leapt on it.  Live Mozart?!  Are you kidding?!  Pick me!

It was also her 19th birthday, and it was sweet to spend with her and talk about how things are different now than when I was 19 (ie drinking age changes, etc).  She also just got her motorcycle license the same day!  So she was excited about that, too.  But the cutest was when we finally arrived at the opera house – after a comical circuitous route which involved counting stoplights a la The Count of Sesame Street fame – we found ourselves in the balcony elevator with obvious lifer opera fans and she threw out that this was her first opera.  The sweet elderly couple told her what fun this one was and that she would likely enjoy it a lot.  And she did! 

And so did I.  The sets were gorgeous and simple, although there was a funny malfunction of a venetian blind.  The voices were beautiful, as were the costumes which had another malfunction. 

Mozart’s treatment of the rather silly libretto is stunningly gorgeous, and though what they were singing at times was rather bawdy, in Italian, it might as well have been singing to the divine.  Mozart couldn’t write a bad note if he tried.  It would still be fun.

So, if you haven’t ever tried it, I highly recommend going to an opera.  I hadn’t been in years, and loved it even more than I remembered!  Life is about the experiences we share, and sometimes going out to a live performance takes us out of ourselves for a couple of hours, and reminds us to laugh and love in community. Because that’s the best kind.  Art is good! 


I did 3 90 minute yoga classes this week.  I also had 2 1 hour weights sessions with a personal trainer. 3 sessions came free with the membership, and I did the first last week.

I entered this regimen in the worst shape of my entire life.

I ache in places I had forgotten about.  I really enjoyed the Hatha yoga classes I had been attending for a couple of weeks.  And then I walked into a Power yoga class this morning, dragging Honey in with me.  He could barely lift his sandwich at dinner tonight.  I could barely do half of the yoga poses today.  He powered through them. 

“Is this the first yoga class you’ve taken, Hon?”

“I can honestly say it’s not the first.” 

His tone suggested to me it might have been the second.  And the first was likely over a decade ago.  The man has trained heavily in Martial Arts, sort of taught me some Tai Chi, has been working the weights for a couple of weeks since we joined the gym together.  But Yoga?  Not really his go to workout.

He went in skeptical of what it would actually do.  He left saying, “That was not wussy yoga!”  (I censored slightly)

It clearly wasn’t.  My ankle and back are telling me so now.  We also got quite sweaty.

In my last of three training sessions with my personal trainer on Thursday, we were working abs a bunch, and my bad shoulder, among other things, and I kept laughing at myself for how weak I was when I tried to do almost anything and we had to drop weight. 

She was a great and gentle-on-me trainer, taking into consideration my surgery earlier this year, my old back and shoulder issues, and my most recent ankle injury.  But told me in her lovely Argentine accent,  “Stope laughing!  Be seriooz!” 

I mean it was funny, I was on the lowest weight settings for ab machines and shoulder/upper back machines, and the thing wouldn’t move!

I tried to tell her I was taking this very seriously, I just felt really pathetic and self-conscious at how low my strength had become. It was laugh or cry, so I opted for laugh. Other than that last little scold, she and I did have a lot of fun training together.  I wish I could pay for more sessions with her, but I left with a good training sheet to start two separate workout regimens with weights.  Maybe down the line, I can get some more sessions with her when it’s time to change things up.

I never thought I’d be working out in a gym.  I love walking outside, going for hikes, riding real bikes through scenery, but I need to get on target with taking care of myself now.  I’m not getting any younger, and If I don’t start taking good care of mysef again now, I will not have a fun aging process into my later years, and likely not many of them.

So, the workouts are tough, but I’m going to stick with it.  I already feel more mentally alert.  And that’s half the battle.  If I feel alert, I will easily want to do more. 

It’s working already.  And you know what else?

It’s actually fun.

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