musings in mayhem

writer, mom, tutor, superwoman

Archive for the category “progress”

slogging

At writing group yesterday, I continued to slog my way through the paper version of my manuscript with purple pen.  Still need to smooth some edges out here and there, but generally, I’m pretty pleased with how it flows.

How’s your latest project progressing?

We’re also prepping our house for the floor guys to come, they were due tomorrow morning.  We just got a call that they’re running behind scheduled and can’t make it here until Thursday afternoon rather than morning.  They promised they’d be in and out in one day.  Friday, we need to reassemble the living room and dining room because our guests are arriving Saturday morning, after driving overnight.

Hmmm.  Can’t wait to see how this pans out. 

Toots has suddenly become very possessive as we give her a headsup about her cousins’ arrival. While she jumped on the trampoline, Grandma asked, “Are you going to jump with Little M on the trampoline?” 

Toots responded by walking to the edge of the trampoline, placing her hands on her hips and announcing to the empty yard, “M – Dis is MY twampowine!”

I told her this morning that her big cousins N and Big M were going to sleep on the guest bed.  She responded with “No, Dis is Grandma’s bed and my piwwow.  Dey sweeping in [Captain Comic]’s bed.”

I told her Little M and Baby G are sleeping in Captain Comic’s room, but N and Big M are sleeping on the guest bed.  She insisted they were not. 

Hopefully, she will be less rigid about sharing and what belongs to whom when they arrive. 

Can’t wait to see how all of this pans out. 

stuff

I have books.  A lot of books.  I’ve whittled down to two tall bookshelves and even those are still overflowing in the office as well as another shorter one overflowing in my bedroom.  There are more books I want to own besides the ones I already do.

This weekend we cleaned out our garage which acts as an attic as well as a basement because we live on a slab foundation.  We also rearranged my area of the office, including emptying and moving those two eight foot bookcases.  I got a new (used) desk – with drawers.  so a lot of little junk that was piled in front of the books on the bookcases is now in drawers, mostly office supply and baby barrette kind of stuff.  Stuff to have at the ready when needed.  It’s nice to have an actual desk as opposed to the table version without drawers I was using.  We sent that one up to Captain Comic’s room, as well as a file cabinet, because he was making his comics on the floor for the past few years. That stuff was all over his room.

Anyway, it became apparent just how much stuff we have, and we still have plenty more in storage several states away….

Personally, except for the books, I would be happy to get rid of a lot of stuff, but there’s sentimental attachment, logistical stuff, the sheer number of people in our home and all of their stuff…and the dog and cat, and their stuff, and stuff to keep all the stuff in…

I mean, it’s not like we’re hoarders, but it’s a lot of stuff. It’s a serious workout for everyone to move all that stuff around.  Particularly the books and shelves.  I think Honey is happy to go back to work today, so he can rest.

In the midst of all the stuff, Honey and I made a dump run, the back of his Element was stuffed with, you got it.  Even the back seats were pulled out to make room for all the stuff we were getting rid of. Poor Honey dropped the old kitchen counter piece on his toe and busted open his nail. 

So our big exciting date for the weekend was the two of us going to the dump.  Then we made a stop at the Hawaiian style snow cone place. We sat on a bench in the shade on the 100 degree heat and thoroughly enjoyed the cool refreshment and moment of quiet together. 

That moment was in the middle of the weekend of stuff. So we’re exhausted come Monday morning, but it’s a good, satisfying kind of exhausted for a change.

How was your weekend?  Productive like ours or nice and relaxing?

Results!

Remember this list?

I spent the previous two days at writing camp with my writing group.  Two whole days dedicated to writing.  Yesterday I had a different meeting in the morning, but then I headed straight to  my writing camp’s day two, and thought I was going to have trouble, but amazingly got right to it!  I seriously surprised myself by what I accomplished in the last 48 hours! 

The List now looks like this:

DONE~ continue to edit Joe out/Mike into Thanksgiving and Observatory scenes

DONE~write observatory scene using A. H.’s notes

Fixed~pay attention to name changes for T. B. and T. N.

working on ~characterize supporting characters more through action and physical description

working on~make ‘thought bubbles’ action scenes or move them to more fitting scene

working on~ edit down cooking relevance

mostly finished, maybe a bit more at the end~more on comets

I also edited it a bit more in making sentences and paragraphs more succinct in the first 50 or so pages. 

I need to edit the observatory scene now, but at least it’s on paper – er, computer screen.  I think my next stage is to print and edit again by hand.  I read very differently on paper than on screen, and can see needed changes so much better.

I obviously need to be in a different environment than my office with my home distractions to be able to concentrate on my manuscript edits. 

The other five women I sat in quiet with for the past two days expressed the same thing.  Here’s the funny part:  I thought it was because of my kids, etc, but only half of us have children at home, and of varying ages.  I am the only one with a toddler or a special needs child, of course, I have one of each.  Two are grandmothers who live with their retired spouses, who are both very good at busying themselves.  And one is home while her husband still goes to the office. 

We’re all at a stage of editing a large work we’re committed to. All of our projects are middle reader or young adult novels.   Yesterday we planned that the rest of our usual twice a month meetings for the summer will be devoted to writing, no critique.

This way, when autumn comes around, we will all have work to critique.  How’s that for commitment?  I couldn’t do this without them. I am so grateful to my writing group and to the time we commit to working together.

The Universe works in mysterious ways

Sooo, I will kvetch no more – this week anyway – as after my last two days of considering every option and feeling like I had none left, suddenly:

a friend offered to barter my tutoring her 13 year old daughter for watching my 2 year old daughter on writers’ group days. 

aaaand!

drumroll, please…..

Honey’s cousin needs some of Honey’s professional expertise on a public speaking gig in Colorado in a couple of weeks.  And he offered to let me tag along, too.  I will go to his public speaking gig, but largely, I am going to blissfully sit in my hotel room, without any interruptions and edit the bejeez out of my manuscript on Honey’s laptop!!!

and Grandma offered to watch the kids for that weekend. 

I hope I didn’t die, because this sure feels like heaven.

Captain Comic

When Captain Comic arrives home from school each day, the conversation goes thusly:

Mom: Hey kiddo, how was school today?
Captain Comic: 18.5.

The teachers and special ed assistants that chaperone him throughout the day keep a chart that goes to a total of 20 points.  They make checkmarks in boxes for when he does well over the course of the day. When he’s inattentive or distracting (basically) the corresponding box is left blank.  At the end of the day, they tally the boxes.  Comments as to what his day was like are peppered throughout the chart.  It works for him, especially when home is on board with the process and has conseqences for falling below a certain level.  Right now, that means if he drops below 18, no down time videogame play when he arrives home.  This can be unfortunate on the days when he is having difficulty, as that down time really helps him center. 

Of course, another aspect of asperger’s we are working on with him is interacting and carrying on conversations appropriately.  The fact that his answer for how his day was is a number tends to limit the opportunity for an appropriate ‘circle of conversation’.  That is Speech Pathology jingo.  It means, someone makes an opening statement, the responder responds appropriately, and then back to the opener.  When he answers a number when someone asks how are you more often than anything, it makes it difficult for him to carry that conversation skill elsewhere.  When he meets someone new, or we meet up with friends, etc, and they ask how he is, he doesn’t have the ‘tools’ readily available beyond a reluctantly grunted “fine” at best, because every day he comes home from school and says, “19” to mean he had a good day.

Yesterday opened with the above conversation after school.  Then, per usual, I directed him to wash his hands, then, yes, he can play videogames.

He started playing a Spiderman game, and I saw he was in free play mode, or more appropriately, I asked because I couldn’t tell free play from story mode if you held a gun to my head. 

My brain started clicking away, he’s not playing for points, he seems pretty open at the moment, let’s try this from a different angle.

Mom: Kiddo?
Capt. Comic: What?
Mom: Can we have a conversation while you play?
Capt. Comic: U-Uh-(setting himself up to listen) Sure.
Mom: Can you tell me how your day was without a number?
Capt. Comic: grrrrrr
Mom: Well, what happened that it wasn’t 20?
Capt. Comic:  – Language Arts was hard today.
Mom: (now we’re getting somewhere!) Was it hard to pay attention?
Capt. Comic: No.  My brain was moving too fast again.
Mom: Can you tell me what it was moving too fast for?
Capt. C: We were supposed to write a paragraph on what period in History we wanted to live in and I couldn’t write down everything in my head.
Mom: (clearly identifying with him at this point regarding when I am feeling inspired and can’t get it down the way it is occurring in my head)  That must have been frustrating for you.
Capt. C: (sounding relieved that someone gets him)Yes it was!
Mom:  What period in History did you write about?
Capt. Comic: The 1960s.
Mom: (ok, I start to get excited that this might have something to do with Martin Luther King Day and Civil Rights, or Anything else about the amazingly turbulent decade of change and then I remember who I am asking)  What about the sixties did you want to write about?
Capt. Comic: I want to live in the 1960s because that was the decade Toho Studios made the most Godzilla movies. They made a movie year after year from 1962, through 1969, minus 1963, of course….(more information than I can process about Godzilla movies anymore) and it would be neat to watch TV in black and white and to dial a rotary phone.  Mom?  How does a rotary phone work?

I’ll stop relaying the conversation here except to say I told him how I used to know who Gaga (my mother, his grandmother, and yes she is) was calling by the pattern of clicks she dialed. He was very excited by this.

Ahhh… progress…the bottom line is we had an extended, appropriate conversation filled with multiple ‘circles of conversation’.  He only began to ‘download’ information near the end, and he stopped himself.  If you’re ever in a conversation with someone and they begin to tell you more than you ever considered knowing about a given topic, you can assume they have the aspergian trait of gathering knowledge about a topic they are obsessed with and wanting to share that information as soon as they have what they perceive to be a willing ear.  Because it is exciting for them, of course it is exciting for everyone else.
Captain Comic’s main area of interest (there are others but this is the biggie) is Godzilla movies. 

Anyway, that conversation was a lovely moment with my son.  They are few and far between, except for his bowl me over hugs. Although, those moments and conversations are increasing.

We also managed to continue that conversation into another about how he feels about transitioning to middle school next year.

Wow.  That was big.

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