musings in mayhem

writer, mom, tutor, superwoman

Archive for the category “obsessions”

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.

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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:
THERE’S ALWAYS NEXT YEAR.

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.

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. 

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.

Before:
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.

During:
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.

After:
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…..

gardening love

I love to garden. I didn’t say I was good at it, but I love it. Sometimes I am orderly and plan ahead well, other times I get ideas. Yesterday involved a bit of both.

First, I have been neglecting the front flower patch’s needs for a while and second, I really needed to redo the driveway pots. Captain Comic has picked all the leaves off of two sets of small evergreens, first juniper, then vertical japanese boxwoods. Some of the storms we’ve had did the final damages. We have flower pots with something tall in them so Grandma and I can navigate around the brick borders of the ‘bridge’ over the culvert. We can’t see them from our five foot two and three perspectives as we back out of the driveway.

Before: if you look way in back you can make out what I am replacing.
These are the pots, new plants,some homemade humus in the wheel barrow
 and some good potting soil with food.

After: left side of driveway, five leaf Akiba.

After: right side of driveway, Carolina Jasmine.
I planted white Star Jasmine which grows on my fence near the wisteria in my backyard a few years ago.
Yes, the brickwork is broken, no I didn’t do it.
 It was like that when we moved in. 
One of these days…when I get a Round To-It.
Anyone remember that old 70s truck stop souvenir? Tap-Tap?
I liked the little bird trellises at Lowe’s garden center, and they were the cheapest thing that wasn’t plastic and still fit my idea for replacing the evergreen skeletons.

Self-portrait of a gardener
I looked down at one point during mulching and discovered I was covered in dirt from head to toe.
Life is good. Go plant something and watch it grow. 

all nine kinds of pies

 “But there were all nine kinds of pie that Harold liked best.” 
                                                      ~Crockett Johnson, Harold and the Purple Crayon

Easter with my in-laws is full of pie. On Friday, Grandma stood at the stove and stirred Italian cream in the double boiler by the batch. She got a workout and a half stirring homemade sweet Italian cream, at least three batches of vanilla and one chocolate. She also made two ricotta pies. Her sister from the DC area brought pies galore, and her sister who lives down the street made quite a few, too.


Let me see if I can catalog them all:


Grandma made:
1 Vanilla cream pie
1 Pineapple cream pie
1 Chocolate cream pie
2 Ricotta pies
4 Easter Breads


Auntie L made:
1 Vanilla cream pie
2 Barley pies


Auntie B made: 
6 Ham pies
Easter Breads (haven’t seen hers yet, can’t count them)
1 Veggie lasagna with homemade pasta (Thank you!)
1 vat of “Manest” (here’s Rachael Rae’s recipe for reference)
and a heck of a lot of other food.
I think her plan is for 2 more sweet pies, too.


I made the Good Friday vat of Pasta e Fagiola. The one day of the weekend that the rest of the family will join me in the vegetarian realm.


There is a ton of more food to be had over the course of Easter and time with all of my in-laws. All of it is made from scratch, and there are only twelve people to feed, one weighing in at a whopping 26 pounds.


Gotta love a family where food equals love – especially in pie form.

it was a dark and stormy night.

 ~ Snoopy


Last night was quite the storm. It pummeled, it rumbled, it alerted often on TV.
Captain Comic was in a panic.
Lucy was in a panic.
Both periodically hyperventilated. 
And whimpered, there was a lot of very high pitched whimpering.


Toots crawled under the dining room table at one point, “to be safe under heyah”. I had been cataloging all safety procedures to assuage Captain Comic’s blood pressure. 


Captain Comic: I can’t believe we’re having a tornado warning. This is so scary. You shouldn’t have made me clean my room earlier, that only made the day worse.


After the tornado warning was over for our area, I had to call Mr. Cynic and ask if he was still alive as the tornado warnings continued for NC where his bus was on the road home from his Choral Competition in Myrtle Beach, SC. 


Captain Comic cried, But I don’t know if he’s alive or dead! He collapsed to the floor and shook raised dramatic hands to the sky. 


On the phone:
Mom: Are you alive?
Mr. Cynic: No mom, I’m calling from death.


Gee, I wonder from whence he acquired his sardonic sense of humor.


All kidding aside, I am extremely grateful that Mr. Cynic made it home safely and the bus only had to pull over once for safety’s sake. My heart goes out to many others who did not come through this storm nearly as well as we did. In the next town, three people died.  


I am also very proud that his Jazz Choir is Grand Champion! The trophy is as tall as my pipsqueak nearly sixteen year old. Poor kid, doubly cursed with short genes. 


I went out quite late to retrieve Mr. Cynic. By then the storm had passed and I walked out to the driveway under a brightly deep prussian blue sky full of stars and moonlight from a full, full glorious moon. The world, rocked by the moods of spring, once again, lay forever changed, and yet unchanged as the ages.  


Life goes on and I am grateful for the ordinary. 

as promised

Pictures:

Cherry blossoms along Canon Ave, Newport News, VA

Honey grabbed the camera one day and took these in a bit of a rush or he would have done more with them.  But just look how they wrap all the way around the bend! Happy Spring everyone!

Toots is very proud to show off her new room. you can see where the ginormous bed of Captain Comic embedded itself into the carpet. One day the carpet will be torn up and the walls will be painted. That piece of furniture to the right is an armoire that Grandma and I foolishly with our respective joint and back issues moved up from the garage in two pieces. That rocker was given to Mr. Cynic by Gaga and Papa (my parents) when he was a baby. It has been loved by three kids, and three, no wait, four cats.  Very loved by the cats. One day, I fully intend to restore the straw or at least make a cover for it. Please don’t mention a certain road built of good intentions.  I know it well, thank you.

 
Toots is showing you Big Puppy. She loves Big Puppy vewy much. Another intention: this toddler bed converted from her crib will one day be replaced by two milk painted and restored antique acorn head and foot board twin beds that are currently in the garage. 

Now she is showing you her Marble Game. We have to play this a lot. It’s an old game of the boys, but a new and wondrous discovery for her. 

Boys’ room. It’s packed. Jam packed. But they’ll live, they have shared a room before.  I curse these giant IKEA beds.  Curse them down that road of good intentions. Warning: giant beds with tons of shelving under them may seem like a good idea before you actually buy them, but you will rue the day of the purchase.  Just walk by them through the IKEA habitrail and focus on something simpler, and less apt to collect a hoard of clutter the likes of which you have never seen. I found lost library books from three years ago, for one. Don’t. ask. me. about. the. rest. Or the suicide turtles. Please don’t ask about the suicide turtles hanging from the fan chain. Suffice it to say that I have raised a morbid teen. Intention: remove carpet, paint walls a lighter robin’s eggish blue.

Captain Comic’s ‘light table’ Honey built it for him for drawing from and old photography light and a piece of an old computer desk.

Mr. Cynic’s side: bass and guitars galore and clutter starting on the bookcase and dresser.

Captain Comic’s side: I swear, there is only so much a mother of an aspie can do. 
Why didn’t I get an OCD type? 
See that empty corner?  Ahhhh…..just ignore the Easter stickers on Honey’s armoire. I try to.

This is what used to be crammed in that empty corner – My meditation center. I have a thing about nature. It calms me, even bits and pieces of it collected in my house. Now it is not covered in two inches of dust bunnies that could get up and walk away. and it’s where I can access it and see it when I wake up in the morning. This is the wall where Toots’s crib was.

This is under my antique shaker dresser. Look, there’s space! It’s the little things in life.

But the thing that makes me happiest, I think, is that I can open the doors we installed on the balcony and roll out my yoga mat under the sunlight coming from the living room sky lights! This is where her wide dresser/changing table/armoire thing was that is now in the garage. Not sure yet if I can fit there to do yoga, but it’s a start. Again, this rug will go bye-bye eventually. And those tapes will go out to my van which is old enough to still have a tape deck, yes.

Yes that is an alligator on my bed, what of it?

ugh

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?

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