musings in mayhem

writer, mom, tutor, superwoman

Archive for the category “joy”

he’s a teen

It’s hard to believe sometimes that 12:31am thirteen years ago and today are part of the same lifetime.

But it is, and constitutes the whole life so far of one of the most interesting, funniest and challenging people I have ever known.

At 1, 2.5, and with his brother at 1.5 years old.
Mom: Smile.
Capt. Comic: I don’t want to smile. At least I’ve got a thumbsup.

Mom: Don’t you dare laugh.
Capt. Comic: Pbbpbpb!

Capt. Comic: C’mon, Mom, I don’t want to smile. I can do what I want now that I’m a teen.
Mom: Pikachu!

Seriously, Mom. Just take the picture.
Mom: Then give me an old movie star smile, like Clark Gable.

I love this kid.

I usually post a birthday blog in which I list a number of things about the kid whose birthday it is equal to their age. This time, it took three days to get Captain Comic to come up with a list himself, and in the end he drew it in about 10 minutes. Click to zoom, they’re fun drawings.

Just in case you can’t tell what he is representing:

1. Making movies.
2. Godzilla.
3. Drawing.
4. Making people laugh.
5. If you don’t know, you’re lucky. (oops, mom’s commentary) Pokemon.
6. Other people singing hurts my ears, “it’s like my Kryptonite.”
7. Videogames.
8. Star Wars
9. Need I say more? (mom again)
10. Pugs are my latest obsession.
11. The Hill (really a berm at the back of our neighborhood baseball field)
12. Jaws
13. I like fights in movies, like Jackie Chan.

Captain Comic is becoming a teen.

I wonder if that’s why Mother Nature is bringing this epic Hurricane Irene?

He’s a great kid. He’s big, he’s loud, he’s talented, he’s an original and the next handful of years of my life will be epic indeed. I love him.

Happy Birthday, Kiddo.

Advertisements

oh the adventures we had

I don’t even know where to start.

I have a lot of photos. A Lot.

I have a foggy head, an achy back and a lot of laundry to do. A Lot.

I have my boys back, and my memories of jampacked days of hiking, swimming holes, zoos, safaris, caves and old diners and a drive-in movie under a nearly full golden moon. I hear crickets, peepers and cicadas all the time. I see mountain vistas, stone stair cases and rocky trails up and down to waterfalls. I see a natural bridge carved by glaciers through a mountain, and lots of cascades.

I see Toots twirling ballet in the middle of camp, at the edge of a waterfall and wiggling her hips to oldies pumped from 61 year old speakers and finding perfect marshmallow sticks. I see Captain Comic building first fires, begging to just go home please, between swimming and hiking and caving that wasn’t quite spelunking. I see Mr. Cynic pretending to not be interested in anything, while secretly enjoying the facts of long ago Monacan people, weird geological things and bizarre animals. I see Honey setting up camp, grilling, breaking down camp loving the kids, laughing and finally saying, “I love an adventure!” in other words, relaxing.

I still smell of campfires.

I promise I will not inundate you with a family travel slide show over the course of the week, but I will share highlights of the past week over the coming week or so.

Honey, breakin’ the law and putting his feet in Crabtree Falls just to cool off after climbing up and down the mountain.

And somehow finish my book in a two day Writing Camp that my writing group is holding tomorrow and Thursday.

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.

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.

Super 8

Go see it. Now. If you ever loved movies the way I love movies, go see  this one. I will not discuss it for fear of spoilers, but I will tell you I was thrilled all the way through it. The writing was great, the filming was great, the acting was great. It was JJ Abrams homage to Spielberg circa 1977-82.


My cynical teen thought it was the best movie he ever saw in his life and less than a week ago, he said the same thing about Heathers, a dark satiric twist on the John Hughes 80s teen genre. But his enthusiasm for Super 8 far surpassed his Heathers enthusiasm. This is the most deadpan guy you would ever meet, and he was downright joyous leaving the theater. I can not even tell you how excited the monster movie making 12 year old was. He’s a credit watcher, and he was like 


“Hey, Michael Giacchino wrote the music!” 


Silly me asked, “Who’s that?”


“He. wrote. the music for. Ra-ta-touille!” in his best duh mom voice.


Besides my own feelings about the movie, I am riding high on what Super 8 did for my kids, and they are pretty savvy movie viewers. It runs in the family. My mother raised me on the greats from the golden era, and now I raise mine on greats from the silver era.

So trust me, I know what I’m talking about. I am a moviephile. 

basenji central

My friend CW loves Basenji dogs so much that she fosters puppies regularly. She has a houseful right now and wanted us to come by and socialize them. Originally I gave a pretty hard no, because I knew I wouldn’t be able to be around puppies and walk away without one.

Of course, I came around and we visited. The one in the upper left corner is one of CW’s adult Basenjis. The rest are the foster puppies. I fell in love with the brindle, named Amber (upper right corner), but I was good and did not bring her home. Just so you know, as I write this, my heart is totally breaking about having left her there instead of coming home with us. Another friend of mine has already adopted one of the tawnies. She’s a big Basenji lover, too.

Someone else has claimed another one of the puppies, but wanted to be sure she was gentle with little ones, and that’s where we come in. Toots and this shyer of the pups were wonderful together. In fact all the puppies really gravitated to Toots because she is just about their size. Captain Comic noticed and commented about it.

Captain Comic loves dogs and researching about different breeds. He was really looking forward to going today. He was especially interested in hearing the barkless dog’s yodel.

Mr. Cynic didn’t say much, but I just know he was totally squeee-ing on the inside.

Here’s a bit of our adventures in Basenji Central:

Here’s Captain Comic waiting for a puppy attack. He wanted it so badly. But Toots got it instead. Sorry, I was fending off puppies from her and couldn’t take a photo.

This is Amber, with whom I fell in love. 
She was pretty keen on all the kids, too.

Circling pups and Toots, squealing in delight.

Puppy kisses galore.

Captain Comic was so excited to make the puppies come running.
Just look at that giggle face. He’s holding it in so hard.

Puppy love! And CW’s adults, too. 
The big one is a Basenji mix, all the others are Basenji through and through.

Apologies for the dog butt. Toots and Captain Comic were in seventh heaven here.

See how Amber just seems to belong to us already? NO, wait, stop that! 
Breathe, Cath, leave the puppy be. 
If you love something set it free….
Meanwhile, at home, not long before we went visiting the pups, a certain troublesome terrier raised a bit of hell. I heard the dog door through the garage, and immediately, half a house away, was blasted with a stink so bad… I never smelled anything quite so odiferous in my life. It was the stink of a thousand rotting corpses. It was hideous beyond belief. Captain Comic wrapped his shirt around his face as we tried to chase her out of the house. Lucy was clearly very proud, happy and excited about whatever she had just rolled in and apparently ate. We chased her out, we locked all pet door access to the house. She managed to get back in as we tried to get shampoo and green dog treats galore out to her. We chased her out again, grabbed her and hosed and shampooed her down. The treats didn’t help her lethal breath. I went into the fridge for some cilantro, anything full of chlorophyll to fight the stink of rotting zombie off of her breath.
The stinker after we tortured her with bath and breath fresheners.
She is clearly still stoked about whatever she attacked and possibly devoured. 

snack selection brought to you by dayglo pink

I swear, even with all the baking I do, that I try my darnedest to feed my family healthy snacks, made from scratch, with whole ingredients.

But Honey and I went shopping in a specialty store together yesterday and came home with bags of sugar crap, including this:

It’s exactly the color of my bedroom until age seven, which permanently put me off to the color pink. It’s Pepto Bismol. It’s darker than cotton candy, but cotton candy flavored, in a cute box, marked half off.

I think that was what did us in. Half Off.

 I feel sick to my stomach looking at the batter. I think this was the moment that Mr. Cynic said, “Brought to you by Barbie.”

Of course, he was riffing from my, “Today’s snack selection brought to you by the color dayglo pink!” in my best announcer voice.

 And then the frosting.

But they smelled really good coming out of the oven.

Sorry, used cellphone camera again, this is cupcakes after pink sprinkle sugar. Note how the frosting is kind of melty? Someone couldn’t wait for them to cool before frosting. I’m not telling who. I plead the fifth.
Someone else couldn’t wait to eat them. Even if they are pink.

Neither could he:

The one to enjoy the pinkitude the most had just awakened from nap, and was a little slow to eat them.

I am not telling you how quickly mine disappeared. Nope, I just won’t.

five

photo: j. gallo

That’s my guy, Honey and me, five years ago today. I think this was taken right before our first married kiss.

Everyone should be so in love and able to do this. Sure, marriage isn’t all happiness and light, contrary to what fairytales would have us believe, but it is worth the work it takes when you love your partner and can be recognized fully in that, no matter how that love is packaged.

breakfast

A little while ago, I brought the corn husk materials from last night’s dinner out to my compost pile. I perused the pickings around the peas. I popped one pod in  my mouth. I’ll let the others linger and grow another day or so. I strolled by my little swiss chard piece of a plot in front of the okra,  and was struck with an idea for breakfast. I picked a few leaves thinking of combining them with eggs, and considered what else to add as I reentered the house.

Last week’s storms broke Grandma’s hanging tomato plant. The remaining tomatoes are ripening on our kitchen counter.

I chopped some garlic as I started to scramble the eggs. I gave the swiss chard a few licks with the knife and tossed those in. I took a small tomato from the opposite counter did the same. A little salt and pepper later, and voila!

Garden fresh swiss chard and tomato scramble, from garden to plate.

This is why I love to garden. Everything you grow yourself inspires and tastes better, from plant to table in ten minutes.

Post Navigation