musings in mayhem

writer, mom, tutor, superwoman

Archive for the category “rain”

spiders and bugs and shrooms, oh my

I’m not certain I’ll ever get used to south coastal Virginia seasons. We have long stretches of no rain, but threatening rain, but nope, still no rain, and just when we give up and water the garden after all, rain. For days and days and then muggy muggy muggy still in the 80s, and it’s fall.

I’m from New England: I just want a dreary rainy day, a bright day, a chill breeze, a sweater and trees full of yellow, orange, red and purple right about…
So, in the past week or so, there has been a lot of drizzle then sun then drizzle drizzle when there was supposed to be major storm. The local news is giddy about all the mushrooms and no, people, please do not eat those mushrooms in your yard, even if they do look like gourmet chanterelles or oyster shrooms. 
It’s also a big spider season. Grandma says there are tons of tiny black spiders in her room. I am finding big orb weavers and other strange large spiders and – things on the deck, on the front of the house and in my gardens. A silverfish strode cockily across my desk this morning, too.
One day, a couple of weeks ago, we had a big yellow and black garden spider building a web on our deck. Toots misses her. I do, too. Then, a couple of days ago, I stumbled across a giant orb weaver a pace away from the other’s web, building a gorgeous enormous structure. After I yelled, “Holy Crap!” to my friend over the phone, I checked it out pretty well, then later, it disappeared before I could get a picture. 
We still have at least remnants of both webs on our deck.  I love spiders and their handiwork, so I haven’t removed them. They are big. Toots joined me on the deck briefly as she ran around the yard with her preschool class frog, Freddie, who is visiting this week. She looked up at the webs, and said very sadly, 
“Oohhh, where did our spiders go?”
She was quite forlorn. 
So was I.
But I wasn’t when I saw a giant Giger art looking bug on my garage the other day. After some unsuccessful googling, a friend sent me a link to Wheel Bugs. Bingo. 
And today, I went out to do some gardening maintenance to discover where that giant orb weaver took up residence: right between my bean poles that I wanted to remove. She was very active and pretty ticked off that I watching her work. She ran at me, and Mom didn’t raise a fool, I ran, too – away. 
So we’ve entered the season of creepy crawlies and mysterious mushrooms, and I may just grow to like it down here pretty soon because of this…but the leaves will never be like in Massachusetts. 

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.


I did it again. I overloaded a weekend and its lead up, and paid the price physically. And then I woke up with a cold this morning. I did more yard work last week than one somewhat broken down (back, shoulder, ankle) middle-aged person should ever attempt on one’s own. I think I amassed fourteen hours on Wednesday and Thursday alone, of serious manual labor. 

But Captain Comic slept in for the first time in his life well past six o’clock this morning. He made a premeditated decision to do so, and it worked. This makes me extraordinarily happy.  Ask me another day if he kept up his plan to sleep in this summer for more that one morning. It’s been a long childhood of pre-dawn waking. 
Friday night we had a big cookout with a bunch of families with young kids. Mr. Cynic invited Goldilocks. I totally forgot to break out a camera. Must have been having too much fun. It rained briefly and Honey saw a rainbow while he was grilling.  The kids were all over the trampoline, swings, house, dog…and poppers and snaps: 
I think most of the adult males had more fun with these than their kids. 
Father’s Day, the boys thanked Honey for providing and Toots woke up a very sleepy Daddy with hugs and kisses and a card. And then we left him the house to himself for several hours. I had a very busy Sunday at our fellowship. Poor kids had to stick around for a choir rehearsal and two services. There was a cookout scheduled, too, but I had church burnout. Captain Comic had it much worse than I did, so we came home to spend the afternoon with our resident Dad. Honey grilled again and Toots was excited about “Wayermelyen!” 
Or did I take this shot on Saturday evening? I can’t remember anymore. 
At some point this weekend, I looked out our front window and discovered I had grown a sea horse in my driveway:
I am sort of collapsing this week, and have a gazillion doctor appointments lined up. No new worries, just back on the specialists wheel I hopped off of about a year ago re: old stuff.  It is exhausting and expensive, even with insurance going to one after another only to have them tell me to go see yet another. But hopefully I will start to get some real answers. However, I just found out a new bellydancing class is starting tonight and I really want to join it. I need to do something about my belly, and why not have fun getting it into shape?
The weather is kicking into high gear as I type this up. I hope it doesn’t get too bad, coming in from the Midwest….but we sure can use the rain.

between downpours

The King’s Ransom rose bloomed in my front garden by the driveway.

Even with blight, he’s gorgeous.

And that was the cutest little spider friend he had hanging out with him, looking for a safe haven to not be washed away. (click and zoom!)
And then I dove either back into the house or van with my cellphone captures as the sky poured a bucket down my back.

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. 

three ring birthday mayhem

In this Ring: Cake Mayhem

You know, I really have done a lot of work on calming my life and myself down quite a bit since I was in college, and those of you who knew me then can probably attest to my rather spastic hyperreactive nature back then…

But I think I truly just have to face the fact, that the calmer I try to make it all, the more chaotic it gets.

Take for instance, this whole baking thing. I love to bake. I bake multiple batches of cookies, I bake multiple cakes for my kids’ birthdays, etc. It’s something you’d think I had a good handle on by now, but lately I just can’t seem to measure out the ingredients and mix them properly to save my life.

Friday my cakes went volcanic in the oven after a run to my neighbor’s for more sugar, which turned out to be too much sugar because I just flubbed the doubling.

So after my mil came home and declared, first, oh dear, then just bake a little longer and they should be fine, more like a sponge cake, then my next fb status looked like this:

could anymore mayhem happen today? why yes of course. our minister arrived to give toots a birthday card, captain comic came to the door and stated ‘i think the british are still angry over, you know that revolution thing back in the 1700s (rev. andrew has a lovely accent) and the barky dog got out at the same time, which was also when i was attempting to get the cakes, such as they are out of the oven…


After it was determined there was no salvaging them, or two of the pans, I abandoned the fancy Kitchenaid mixer and hand mixed – by spatula – the new batter, in single batches. Family celebration cake was moved to a bundt pan. It turned out beautifully.

I added homemade blue (by special request since Christmas) pomegranate frosting. Everyone loved it.

 At the Kid party on Saturday, the special request was for orange frosting. I flavored that tangerine, but apparently my volume was a bit slim, hence the bare spots…However, even the parents were oooing and aahing. One dad, who had stayed with his kids, prodded his wife and mother-in-law to have a piece when they arrived after their dog’s vet appointment. Rave reviews of fluffy and moist. 
I may not make the prettiest baked goods, but they sure taste good when I get it right.
Speaking of getting it right, a while back, I think I spoke of completely messing up cookie dough by miscounting too much flour into the doubling batch. I need more sleep and less family members speaking to me while I try to add ingredients to batters and doughs. So the cookie dough I finally fixed finally became butterfly cookies for Toots to celebrate in preschool.  This past week was crazy with dental appointments, etc so in the end, Grandma and Toots  rolled out, cut baked and decorated the cookies. The kids loved them! so did our family. Yum!  
In the Center Ring: Celebration
Family Friday night

 “Silly Daddy!”
Silly Daddy and his young cousin E.


Um, I just liked my hair in this shot. More cousins.

 Friends, Saturday: Theme: Princess Baseball, baseball got rained out as I demo’d the game in the sun shower afternoon. Most of the party was had inside, Her new Princess Car was the hit of the party.

We played pin the tail on the unicorn, we painted it. 

How many little kids can we fit on an old trampoline? 
The alternate game when baseball was rained out became freeze dance, and was only a little successful.
Then we opened presents and Toots thanked all her friends with big hugs.
This is my friend Amilicious’s son. He’s a big flirt like his dad who shares a name with an astronaut.
So, when my friend Amilicious walked in the door with her kid, I thought great and crazy minds think alike. I drafted Honey to take a shot of the couple of Witchypoos (anyone old enough to remember HR Puffnstuff?).  I just wish he warned me of the angle for my belly’s sake. Time to start working out again! She and I are quite nutty, especially when we’re together.

And in the final Ring: Circus!
After Toots’s party, she had a good nap, and then we headed to Picadilly Circus at Hampton University.
They had a few acrobatic acts that were impressive.
 Captain Comic was a very serious audience member. I forgot to bring earplugs for him. His favorite was the Boxing Kangaroo. He cracked up at the clowns, especially when one appeared to be farting smoke around the ring.
 Toots and I got up close and personal with the elephant at intermission.
It was a bit tough to get pictures during the circus, but we had fun and the animal handlers seemed to treat their friends with kindness and love. I have mixed feelings about circuses because of the wild animals in acts business. But they really seemed alright. All in all, from Thursday at preschool with the cookies, all through family and friends and circus fun, Toots had a stupendous birthday celebration!

planting in the rain

I bought these and a couple of pretty and perfumey plants yesterday, as well as some dark tarp to try to kill off weeds in my garden plots before I try to plant.
This morning, I planted the flowers in pots I bought as it started to sprinkle. It’s raining properly again now, and frigid, too. 
I also covered the vegetable plots with the tarp and strategically placed bricks to hold them in place for about a week, until I can have some sunshine to really get out there and do a good job of plotting the vegs. 
I also spread the african daisy, cosmos, and catnip packets along my back fence where no grass or anything else I’ve tried repeatedly to plant will grow, especially grass. 
I spread the viola packet along under the boxwoods and holly out front. 
I can’t wait to watch the colors come up. 


Dear Rain,

I love you, but please go away. The cold, too.  I thought I moved South?  This is looking more like a Boston March at the moment. I really appreciated the sleet, rain and hail yesterday.  So much so, that I remained in bed all day. Of course the doubled over lower bellyache lent to that, too. But I enjoyed reading an actual book. A couple of chapters anyway. And watching Dirty Harry, and Pretty in Pink. I love Ducky. It made my day.  Yes, I went for it.

Toots’s birthday party is at the end of the week, and I have serious work to do in the backyard. Serious work. My plots are overgrown with things I didn’t plant. I want to get the spring peas in, and there’s a lot of Lucy poop scooping, too. It’s been a mostly cold and long winter.

So, please, Rain, can you take this week’s forecast, and skeedaddle? Please?

It would help make for a really fun princess baseball birthday party.

One overwrought mother with no sunny window in sight.


Did everyone on the eastern half of the country survive the storms alright?  We had some pretty astounding rain, but overall are fine and not flooded.

Before it got really going, I managed to take this of my first bulby blooms:

They are mini jonquils, about the diameter of a quarter, perhaps a bit less.
Then Captain Comic and I began the excavation of his London after the bombing bedroom.  Four plus hours, and there is still more to go. I did not take Before pictures, but here are some durings:
I curse the day I purchased this IKEA bed with deep shelves for scads of detritus to collect in, and behind, along the wall. I found the floor on easily five separate occasions. My back and shoulder will ne’er be the same after my squeezing in there to retrieve stuff from the deep recesses. Look at my poor Captain Comic.  We were both exhausted after the first hour.  But we kept at it.
I sincerely apologize to thousands of trees who met their demise for my son’s art, only to be recycled. So far: two buckets this weekend, one last weekend, and one the weekend before.

Closet vomit, Phase 2. I was too overwhelmed and embarassed to capture Phase One.
Um, don’t ask.  I have learned not to often. Most likely a distracted reprieve from his slavery.
Closet, After. That’s a lego exclusive bucket (well, a few other things like playmobil may be in there, too) and a vehicle/creature bucket.  Two large vehicles and a nerf gun are in the corner. That’s it. Phew!

This morning, the creep is beginning to show already: an eraser, a shirt, an encyclopedia. I can not tell you how often I went over use one thing, put it back before you take another out. His desk surface still needs a thorough going through. That file cabinet is empty, has been since I slid it into his room for saving his artwork. Sigh.  Below are three examples of heartbreak I tried to rescue:

Just look at that detail, that crumple.  He has no recollection of drawing it. sigh.
This is a storyboard page for the ‘sitcom’ he and Mr. Cynic are making. So much effort, into the trash. sigh.
Ninja Boy.  sigh. This was an entire bound drawing book at one point. It was filled with full color, plot filled, great storyline, beautiful comic book artistry, funny, funny, funny. Gone but this sliver of pages I managed to find. sigh.
Some things, I will never understand about Asperger’s Syndrome and how it presents in my son.  So much gorgeous work, just trashed and all over his room.  Intensely involved in it while working on it, out of mind once it’s finished. Sigh.
*All art concepts belong to Captain Comic.

of rainy nights and whatnot

My writing group met yesterday, and though we got off to a late start, I was surprisingly productive on the manuscript.

Not the edits I intended, I seemed to dig a little deeper into the new beginning and edit out a bunch of unnecessary phrases and wrote in a new scene that seemed to take care of some other awkward aspects mentioned in my critiques.

Otherwise yesterday seemed to be kind of awash in just bonechilling dank which was demotivational the rest of the day. But I felt good about what I accomplished at the writing group.

Then it rained last night, hard, and dripped from the overfull gutters onto the awning case for the deck – right outside our bedroom wall, and is still rather drippy, so I am out of it today. Seriously interrupted night. 

This morning I had a meeting with some friends, and we had a very interestingly deep conversation even though we all expressed feeling really out of it with the rain and cold. I was glad for it. I think it made us all feel a little closer.

It’s a weird week, the boys have half days all week and I strangely have more appointments than usual.

Anyway, just a little something when I don’t have much else to say. Some days are just like that.

Life is good. Watch for robins. I’ve seen a bunch this week!

Japanese Maple buds, today about 1pm.

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