musings in mayhem

writer, mom, tutor, superwoman

Archive for the category “progress”

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.

mayhem, garden, creativity, sing

The blur continues through the week, hence my absence here.

I did manage two library sessions of over two hours a piece. Tuesday, I finished edits to the chapter where I had left in the middle, a longer one, and Wednesday I edited the following, shorter chapter. I left after that because a man joined me at the table where I sat and proceeded to attempt games of footsie with me. I would have thought that the 5th time I kicked his foot way and said excuse me in a very annoyed manner, that he would have gotten the hint.  Dude, I may be friendly, but I’m not THAT friendly. And there were plenty of other tables in the room. But I finished editing a whole chapter, regardless, and feel like I won that little confrontation.

In the garden this week I discovered snap pea pods, and Toots and I have been enjoying them straight from the plant, in the hot sun. She eats them like some people eat Oreos. She peels them open, eats the peas out then consumes the pod sides individually.

That’s another thing, it has been super hot here, very demotivational when there is so much going on. I feel for my little black dog, whose fur feels as hot as stove burner to my touch. I have been sheathed in sweat when outside for very short periods of time. Summer has arrived early and fierce. Somewhere is a piece of paper with a poem half-written about it, written upon my steering wheel outside of Mr. Cynic’s bass lesson.

Speaking of Mr. Cynic, last night an awards banquet was held for his school choirs. His teacher/choir director has a great relationship with his students. The seniors saying goodbye to him called him a second father figure. In his words to them, he had to pause from the emotion of sending them off. Of course, it didn’t help that his daughter is one of the graduating seniors. I am very happy that Mr. Cynic will be under his tutelage for his whole high school career. Everyone should have a teacher who loves and lifts his students as much as Mr. P. I hope in my years in public schools that I was half that for mine. Some of the toughest ones thanked me, and that means a lot, and will for the rest of my life.

At some point this week, I found a forgotten piece of Memorial Day’s events in my purse:
Captain Comic discovered the free photo booth at the WHRO tent at Town Point Park in Norfolk. It took a while for him to warm up, which of course just makes it funnier. He also folded and stuck his in his pocket.

And then he tried out some ninja moves:

And then he told me about it and some of us got very silly, while he played it straight. He always has to do the opposite. 

 And then Toots had to do it herself. The woman running the booth expressed she probably wasn’t tall enough without my lap, but that didn’t stop her, the little nutball. It took a minute for her to realize it was taking her picture.

Yesterday, I fell in love with my garden. Sorry, cellphone again, batteries still dead in other camera.
There is something very sexy about bean plants tendrilling up poles, especially when I grew them from seeds. Every gardener knows what I am talking about.
This weekend is over-scheduled, too. Next weekend, I hope I can quit this. Part of this week’s mayhem was a two day scramble session to get things in place for my solo singing this Sunday morning. The pianist got sick, we hadn’t rehearsed together, turns out the music I scrambled to get was in a different key from the recording, which Mr. Cynic, on bass, and I had practiced. His bass teacher kindly and late one night, after receiving a flurry of panicked texts from me,  transcribed three different keys for him just in case, but in the end, I am going to do the number a capella.  
I am going to get up and sing in front of two ‘audiences’, essentially, naked – without accompaniment. 
The reason I never became a rock star is I was too chicken to sing by myself in front of an audience for the past twenty-five years. I have no trouble as long as I stand with a choir. I’ll even sing a solo line as long as I am surrounded.
But my voice, alone?  
And then I turned forty-five, and no longer feel chicken, just a bit nervous and excited, and that’s a good thing. Wish me luck. Please.

progress

I made some headway during a writing session at the library this morning. I’m in a section that just needs some tightening, mainly. But mostly, I am happy to be in a part of it that I am really pleased with already. Now if I can just commit to type-type-typing away.

I did a little bit more research on Galileo again, too. Just a refresher that helped a lot, because I had made up a comet that he spotted in 1603. That wouldn’t have happened. The telescope wasn’t invented until 1608, and he made improvements to the first in 1609. So 1603 became 1609 in my manuscript.

I am all about accuracy, even when I am making it up.  It’s the little things that you pay attention to that really make a work of fiction believable.

excerpts from both ends of a candle

Friday:
Teen Lock-in in Richmond.
Good youth, good combined fellowships
games, conference, identity discussion, chaperoned
yes I’m crazy and incredibly sleep deprived.

Saturday:
Commute back to Hampton Roads,
drop off someone else’s young person,
home to empty house, worn out teen and me.
Shower, near tears tired,
buy present, go to housewarming,
hug people, leave before utter collapse.
amuse friends with wild hair and falling out eyeballs.
home, old twilight episodes viewed through napping ears,
odd dream narrated by Rod Serling
rest of family returns from Busch Gardens,
Honey and I have a date night,
Eight years since our first date.

Dinner out, epic fail, every point of service missed,
given wrong food, missed romantic comedy showing
so we watched a later showing of 3D Thor instead, fun
home, collapse, 6 hours later:

Sunday:
mother’s day begun in annoyance, I was first up
except Mr. 6am – Captain Comic.
All three kids, highly uncooperative.
Child Dedication service for Toots

tears, weepy from 3 weeks of sleep deprivation.
Thank goodness I didn’t have to sing with the choir.
Go to Lowes, find potted plants for grandma and rose bush for me to plant
Mr. Cynic helped while Honey waited in car with other two who were NOT
getting along.
Catch up with friends and driiiiiive to go
strawberry picking –
perfect, beautiful afternoon, sunripe strawberries
bursting with flavor, friends, kids, homemade strawberry ice cream
Captain Comic hurdled the rows of groundling berries,
Toots ran and ran and ran,
Mr. Cynic ate the best strawberry of his entire life
mutant, twoheaded thing he picked,
kids still arguing on car ride home.
It had been a long ride to Surrey.
Long ride home.

Captain Comic swore he was not going to pick any, do you hear me, mom? None. ha. 

There was more, I just can’t recall it all. My brain has leaked out of my ears. And today is my second day of dental work this week. I am not a fan.

But yesterday?  My muse let me grab a comet by the tail. It was a surprising and excellent ride. Gave depth to a critical scene in the manuscript. Yea me!

There’s more, plenty more, including gardening and job prospects, but I’m still trying to recover from weeks of go go go. Maybe tonight I’ll go to bed early. Please remind me.

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?

slices

Still working on upstairs, mostly my room. I swear I am not a hoarder.  Where did all this effluvia come from?

Boys’ room is now disaster of their making. They are forces of chaos each that when combined, react much like a baking soda and vinegar volcano – instant production of mess exponentially increasing by the second. But less wet and frothy. I knew there was a good reason why I separated them five years ago. Besides the fighting.

Toots is loving her new room. It is now the least crammed with furniture room in the house. She can wunawound and wunwound and wunawound! She has also discovered the long hidden Marble Run Game. We must build interesting towers of Rube Goldberg proportions. She must drop a gazillion marbles through them. It’s fun. But there is more to life, like my room reconfiguration being completed, making dinner, making Irish soda bread for St. Pat’s and how about some pesto pizza to go with that? Of course, and laundry – my name is Sissyphus.

Mr. Cynic has a bit part in his high school’s musical, Urinetown. Opening night was last night. He is in the back and cursed with two sets of short genes. He is invisible on stage. But I can hear his singing.  He’s good.  Mom is proud of her invisible son.

Give me a minute.  Captain Comic said something yesterday that fell into the interesting things Captain Comic says realm.  I’m exhausted. I have been moving furniture, cleaning out furniture and closets for over a week.  I’m not cut out for this. Okay, I’ve got it now:

Captain Comic looked at me in an examining fashion yesterday.  I waited for what he was obviously considering may be an inappropriate thing to say, which is a step up from his prior lack of awareness regarding blurting out a perfectly innocent and factual observation that may hurt someone else’s feelings.

Mom: What’s on your mind?
Capt. Comic: Mom…..I think you should dye your hair again.  You wouldn’t look so old.
Mom: Well, how about I stay true to myself and how I was made, instead of changing myself to please others in a societal expectation of women not aging gracefully? Besides, it gets expensive to keep up the pretense.
Captain Comic: Uh-huh.
Mom: [Capt. Comic] honey, would you want to make yourself different from how you really are, just to please someone else?
Capt. Comic: Oh. No. I see. Okay, you don’t have to dye your hair.

None of us is adjusting well to Daylight Savings.

I did manage to squeeze in some good and effective writing time on Wednesday amid this week’s extraordinary mayhem. 

Go out and get a good look at this extraordinary Super Moon this weekend. It’s closer to the Earth than it has been in about twenty years.  Last night, she was gorgeous.

Also, everywhere around me, the trees are blooming: pear blossoms, cherry blossoms, forsythia, you name it.  I must say, though I miss New England burst of spring awakening a lot, these long extended and rolling blooming springs of southern Virginia are truly stupendous. When I can leave my house for more than quick errands and kid shuttling, I will get some photos, especially of the cherry trees along Canon Blvd.

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?

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’.

creaky

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.

Expect Delays Ahead

This was a sign we thankfully only saw blinking on rare occasions as we made our way North to visit my Beloved Boston, friends and family around Massachusetts and Connecticut as well as retrieve Captain Comic and Mr. Cynic from a month with their father. 
However, my head is about as useful as a puddle of cotton candy melting in the rain, so please bear with me as I try to sort out vacation yays and respites along the way.
One beautiful respite happened at Miranda Hersey-Helin’s lovely home in MA.  In the late afternoon, kids running around everywhere as a few of the Studio Mother cohorts got together, Toots decided to make a run for it up the grassy slope back toward the house.  Sunlight hit her and the grass just right so Honey snapped a bunch of pictures.  This shot reminds me of Andrew Wyeth’s painting, Christina’s World – in a good way.  The painting is more heavily wrought with meaning than Toots’ climb up the hill is, but I like the contemplative, view from the back resemblance, the long golden grasses, the breeze and sun in her hair.
I know, I said I’d give a full report, but the way I feel after air mattress surfing with Toots between Honey and me for 5 nights running, driving hither and yon, over hill and dale, and walking Boston, etc, then rash watch, I can’t do it in one shot.  Not that we didn’t appreciate the hosting, we are just still feeling the aftereffects, because we are no longer in our twenties and able to crash on people we love’s floors with the same bounceback these days.
So welcome to vacation replay week of highlights. 
Consider it like stop and go traffic on I-95: eventually, progress will be made.
I will also spare you the slide show.
Since we have been back, I have taken Captain Comic to the pediatrician for 2 days running, with two calls in between, for a mystery rash around his mouth.  He is now on a course of prednizone taper with bactroban ointment because between the pediatrician and me, we determined he’s having a pretty strong reaction to poison sumac and poison oak from the yard at my big brother’s new house.  And Impetigo seems to have joined the party.  They see a lot less cases of sumac and p. oak down here than up north, so first pediatric inspection was a bit un, un, oh I can’t think of the word. see?  melting cotton candy brain.
It’s actually an old house Big Bro and his significant other are restoring.  There was a lot of brush clearing involved.  And there’s still more to go. As we were at a big family picnic for both families, Captain Comic found some solace hovering around the edges of the yard at times, and if he did what he did to my little potted juniper in our driveway last school year while waiting for the bus to come in the morning, then he probably plucked some sumac and poison oak leaves, then touched around his mouth.  Bingo – rash.  Then picked at it, opening a door for an opportunistic bacteria to move in.
Lovely, isn’t it?  Glad I spared you the actual visual now, aren’t you?
So, please enjoy the shot of Toots. I’ll be replaying it in my mind as I find a way to get through the rest of today which includes more laundry and an aspie on prednizone.  That medicine made me insane when I took it for an allergic reaction years ago.  I can only wonder what it’ll do to Captain Comic. 

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