musings in mayhem

writer, mom, tutor, superwoman

Archive for the category “letting go”

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:


When I was a kid and teen, I spent a lot of time on stages in dance recitals and in choirs, specialty choirs, and in a few plays. I had dreams of being a Broadway star or a movie star, or rock star in the way that any fifteen year old girl dreams what she dares to dream.

The drama teacher I had in high school had an approach that was very intimidating for me at that time. She terrified me. She terrified me right off of the stage. I don’t know why I let her get to me so much, well I have an inkling, but I don’t really want to get into here, this is not a therapy session, and I think I’ve done a pretty good job of battling my personal demons.

After one play in which I had a decent role, and one background chorus part in a musical my freshman year, I never went back. My mantra for years afterward was, if I have to deal with another director like that, I don’t even want to do this anymore.

I continued to do chorus in college, but didn’t seek out solos anymore. I was terrified anyone would hear my individual voice. I hung around a bunch of bands and musicians, secretly wishing I would just jump in and join them, but I never did. I was a party to infinite jam sessions in college and beyond. I even felt intimidated to learn to play guitar, though I carried one from one dorm room to another, to apartments in Boston and beyond. It was an old one my mother had picked up in a pawn shop in the mid-fifties that never held a tuning.

After college, I still longed to do something like that, but was too chicken. Slowly, I was led back onto  a stage of sorts, reading my poetry at coffeehouses and getting featured gigs. I was still terrified, and anyone who saw me give those earliest readings especially, can tell you how much my leg shook, which was violently. My teeth chattered, too. Not so great an effect when you’re baring your poetic soul into a microphone.

I never did get used to mics. I learned to tolerate the presence of one in front of my face, but, never enjoyed hearing my voice hovering around my words as I spoke them.

I have always sung at home, and in my car. But I’m self-conscious about singing in front of others besides my family. Captain Comic’s sensory sensitivities also put a damper on my singing, as I can’t sing freely, without him suddenly and vehemently saying he can’t take it, stop!

But something happened as I reached my mid-forties. I didn’t care so much about what I couldn’t do anymore. I didn’t care about intimidation I felt when I heard someone with a beautiful voice do a solo on Sunday morning, I didn’t feel particularly intimidated by professionals when I went to concerts. I just felt like I wanted to get up and sing again, after over twenty years without a chorus, only singing in the shower, in the car, or in the kitchen, with someone screaming for me to stop it. I joined the choir at my fellowship. I was comforted and felt the joy of blending voices again. I did a solo line in a song surrounded by them last year, and another, actually the same one, again this spring.

And then the music director said, if anyone wants to do a guest song during a Sunday service, he would help make it happen.

And then I got an Idea. And it grew, and I sent a song to the minister, choir director and music director. And then things started to happen. For Real. It wasn’t just an idea anymore. In the end, it didn’t happen quite how I thought it would, but it happened, this Sunday. I sang a capella in front of an audience, on a mic, with virtually no rehearsal. I faced my fears square on, and loved it. And then my heart did arrhythmic flip flops after the second service performance.

Honey took a bit of cellphone video, and I find it incredibly hard to listen to or watch. I do not have the control of my voice I once had, when I sang with a lot more practice twenty some odd years ago. I think I do, and then I heard this. I am going to share it, because I need to face my fear and embarassment because only through doing so, will I be free of it. Besides, I did sing in front of people. On a microphone. All by myself. If Toots can be proud of jumping off a curb enough to say, “Yay! I did it! I did it! I jumped off the curb!” Then I can be proud of myself, in all my imperfections. Because I faced what most terrified me in my life, and did it anyway.

It’s just a piece of the piece, but this is me, as is.  Thanks for listening.


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?


Stomach bug is marching through house and self.

Worm has taken over my pc, can’t access my photos or many documents and very important emails with schools, etc.

The laptop does this weird jumpy typie thing. I’ll be typing away and suddenly it’s typing into another line of text.

So much for my self-imposed mid-March deadline. Think I can rewrite two thirds of this manuscript in one week with many appointments scheduled for this and that?

And we want to revamp the kids’ room and do a spring clean of the yard, etc. before Toots’s birthday on April 1.

Anyone recall the old Dr. Demento radio show?  They’re coming to take me away ha ha ho ho hee hee.

later the same evening

Have I mentioned before that I had a brief stint as a professional baker?  After a couple of months trying to manage the biorhythm shift to go to sleep at four in the afternoon and wake up at half past midnight while mothering a kindergartener and a toddler with unknown as of yet form of autism, I realized I really couldn’t handle it.

But I did learn one very important thing while stirring batters and rolling doughs at a stupifying hour: baking is not for improvising.

I forget this now and then. Witness:

Many years ago I made great spiralled snickerdoodles one christmas because I followed a recipe. A friend emailed me a recipe for them last week and it gave me an idea.  Rather than print hers, I improvised with the usual Better Homes recipe for standard snickerdoodles, and put the cinnamon sugar mixture you’re supposed to roll little balls of dough in, along the top of the rolled out sheet of dough, then rolled it into a tube and refrigerated it, as I recalled doing previously.  They were huge and fell apart. Not very snickerdoodly, and while tasty, they just don’t measure up in presentation.

For years, my gingerbread men have been minis, about an inch and a half long. Great little mouth poppers, but I wanted real gingerbread men.  My hand cramps every year from cutting scads of guys out of dough with my crab claw tip of the fingers grip. Honey brought home a beautiful standard size copper cookie cutter yesterday.  I love him.  I love Toots, too.  She’s cute. She does some things on cue.
Unfortunately, as I bemoaned yesterday, I screwed up measuring as I doubled the recipe. Then I attempted to fix it in a rush, didn’t add enough corrective sugar and wound up with these puffy fall-apart-if-touched, pale for a spice cookie cuties.
Today, I have a holiday lunch with my writing group, during which I will hand back end chapters sections of two critiqued manuscripts that I stayed up way too late trying to focus on last night after the all day cookie (and laundry) extravaganza.  I was exhausted – concentration nearly nil.  But I enjoyed the stories.  They’re good.  I’ll let you know about them when they get published.
Anyway, after that, I will make the icing and bake the sugar cookies, the dough of which awaits in the fridge. It was the first dough made yesterday, and the last dough to go.  Thankfully, I did not improvise or mess it up to begin with.  Then I will ice them and the gingerbread men.  Maybe the icing will save the poor little guys. Save their arms and heads falling off as well as boost the sweet factor. 
My adult family members always complained my cookies were too sweet anyway.  Let’s see how they like these.
Perfection was always overrated in my book, anyway.

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.

crawling under a rock

I usually have a pretty good attitude, even when I’m grumbling.

Today I feel like crawling under a rock and staying there for a while.  Possibly setting up house.

I had a terrible allergy attack yesterday, still trying to breathe today and trying not to take more meds for it so I can sleep tonight.  I have also had many in the past couple of weeks, more than I’ve had in the past 6 years.

I have an IEP meeting at Captain Comic’s middle school tomorrow, and I feel like I have conflicting communications from them.  I get calls from teachers about problem areas, and I email with his case manager about her concerns as well as his teachers. Then when I put it in official language what he needs in place as to accommodate him, she backs off and says he is doing wonderfully, and they are accommodating.  When I reinforce that he needs a paraeducator in every class and with specifics details re: the para’s function to address the concerns that are brought to my attention by them, she backs off again and says he’s doing fine.

When my conversations with his case manager are not in an official documented capacity, she swears she is, and asks me to trust that she is really advocating for him.  As soon as anything looks official, suddenly I am a pita parent asking for too much, when I’m only asking for what has always worked for him.  When it’s not in place, we get what we are seeing now, and it will only continue to get worse until he has the support he needs in place. 

I’m not asking for anything for him, that I have not provided myself for higher functioning students than he is.  I provided classroom support and learning center support to students at the high school level.  He is in 6th grade, and I am only asking for classroom support. I am telling them exactly what works for him.  It’s four points of support.  Nothing extreme.  It’s less than I have provided for other students twice his grade level, who were more capable of self directed coping skills. 

I have worked in classroom support in a 5th and 6th grade classroom with a student who presented extremely similar to Captain Comic in his needs to function successfully.  There is no way, no matter how wonderful the teacher I worked with was, and how aware she was, that he was not going to miss instruction, assignments, understanding of material, if I did not keep an eye on where he was, what he was focussing on and if it was relevant to the task at hand.  I checked on his understanding of the material regularly.  And this is all I am asking for Captain Comic.

He is not going to fit a neat box of the types of supports they have for more remedial students.  He is extremely intelligent is some ways, placing him in higher academic classes.  If he were in remedial ed, there would naturally be para support in every class.  But he is not, so only receives it in certain classes.

He’s twelve.  He just started at a new school, with a new schedule, new team, new teachers, new everything, and he is lost at sea.  Because of this, he is struggling at home, too.  It’s tough on all of us, and I feel I have to translate what’s going on for him, and how to deal with it for everyone.  He feels like everyone at home is on his case, and in a way, we are.  But we’re only trying to help him. 

I’m exhausted and I just want to breathe.  But really, I want to clean house, go adventuring, love everyone a little more.  It’s been a tough week.  Thanks for listening while I try to work out some of this outside my head.

end of the season

This year, the gardens were a lot of work for not much produce or beauty.

July was basically like living in the Sahara – sustained state of well over 100 degrees and no rain. And there was the ankle in June, which still makes gardening a challenge, though it is significantly improved from then.

August didn’t improve much. And by then, it was too late:  if the gardens grew at all, I wasn’t going to be getting much from them.  Tomato plants started off really well, but a rabbit got in the fence. Between the rabbit and the temperature, they never recovered.

I got some mini bitter broccoli, and a green pepper or two early on, but nothing since.  Only a few snap peas early in the season.  Never saw but a couple of microscopic spinach leaves, but the lettuce did alright early on.  Cucumber and zucchini were my best crop, but they were decimated quickly once again by the nasty evil squash bugs, no matter how I battled them.

Right now, I am still picking the occasional okra pod and frying it up in a pan with cornmeal batter, the way my mom and grandmothers did  – minus the bacon grease from the coffee can under the sink – I use peanut oil instead.  Everyone looks forward to it, but it’s rather like the Donner party’s enjoyment of their last food parcels before they moved onto desperate measures. We each get one, maybe two bites.  It’s a tease.  A horrible tease of southern fried okra deliciosity. And I never had enough pods at one time to make my Jambalaya.

Dang this July.  Dang this southern heat and drought.  I could never water enough without burning plants in the process.  Even my flowers out front were skimpy this year, and most of the bushes died or half died.  The proud gladioli were droopy and fell over if they bloomed at all from their blade leaves. I trimmed every dead bush part back, dug a lot up, and am hoping for a resurrection next spring.  My rose bushes look pathetic. I cut my rose vines all the way back and reset a new trellis for them to cover by next spring, and they are starting already.  No matter what, that tangle of rose insanity always does well.

This weekend, Honey moved the brick border into the front garden plot by about two feet from its original position.  My wonky back couldn’t manage it though I tried. I transplanted marigolds out front. They were serving as border patrol around the cukes and zukes out back  against the squash bugs, to no avail.  So there are now a couple of bright spots of yellow and orange as well as the weird, I call them fire lilies, in the header pic above.

So here’s a last toast to this summer’s struggles:

I still don’t have any idea what this is, but they come up every year. Very sparse this year. If you know what they are, please let me know!
King’s Ransom Rose. In other photos, last year, he’s much more yellow with a rosy blush. (example)
Zinnia never fails, but they were few this year, and only one hue.

Here’s a transplant marigold.

May next year be more fruitful.  I’m already planning resetting the vegetable plots deeper, reconfiguring the whole deal.  Just don’t tell Honey. Yet, anyway.

How did your garden do this year?

this week random

The quilt is sitting on a folding table in the living room awaiting a fabric hoop.  It has been patiently waiting there since Sunday evening.  Although I drew in the design yesterday.

School Starts September 7th around here.  I have three orientations/open houses to attend – high school, middle school and preschool – this week. I have already attended a  Booster Club meeting for Mr. Cynic’s jazz choir.   Toots will start preschool in October when she ‘ages into’ the 2.5 year old program.  Thankfully, they are holding a spot for her.

The edits are once again in a holding pattern, because my kids are bouncing off the walls and I am obsessed with a quilt.

Captain Comic is a spinning top of transitioning to middle school anticipation/ anxiety. A case of sick tummies has been making its way through the family in an unpleasant way, too.

Today, I am taking all the kids out to buy sneakers, socks and underwear for the boys.  I am setting my goals small and late.  I’ll go out for school supplies later in the week – if Hurricane Earl doesn’t stop by for a visit. In that event, I will go during Labor Day weekend.  I take Mr. Cynic for a haircut on Friday.  He is currently resembling my older brother circa 1978 with the curl of bangs across his forehead and wings flipping away at his temples.  Captain Comic had his cut last week.  I never would have survived both in the same week.

I know.  I am nuts – school supply shopping on Labor Day weekend. My life is mayhem, and I like it that way.  At least the mayhem is somewhat manageable these days, and when it isn’t, I throw my hands up, I yell,  and I laugh myself silly.

short and not so sweet

Tomorrow the boys leave for a month away at their dad’s, who lives several states away.

Today we pack.

They’re both holed up in their rooms this morning, doing who knows what, I seriously doubt packing, but it’s too quiet for me already.

A month without mayhem.  How will I ever survive?

Should I be careful not to wish for some mayhem?

I doubt it.

But I am hoping to use the quiet time to do more edits on the manuscript and continuing to write the new story.

I miss them already.

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