musings in mayhem

writer, mom, tutor, superwoman

Archive for the category “random”


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.

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.


I’m having a weird week. I wake up every morning feeling very weepy. I want to put it down to exhaustion and possible perimenopausal stuff.  It’s odd, like a biological impulse to cry. I don’t feel sad or anything, just as if I will burst into tears over the slightest thing.

Then there was Toots’s Preschool Art Show this morning and “Muffins with Mom” event, where I received a bunch of little hand and footprints accompanied by sweet little rhymes.  I swear they’re trying to kill me with the cute. I couldn’t even read the I leave my Handprints everywhere out loud for Toots when I unwrapped it, without catching a lump in my throat and my eyes becoming inexplicable fountains.

Tonight is Mr. Cynic’s high school jazz choir – the one that was Grand Champion in the Myrtle Beach regional competition – Spring Concert.


I will need a large box of tissues.  I couldn’t even make it through my niece’s dance recitals over the years. I suppose I can just bring Captain Comic and Toots and go into parental management mode. Nah, it’ll never work. Not this week. I think I will just let the tears roll.

Happy Mother’s Day to the other weepers out there.


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.

without warning

Grandma and I were minding our own business when it started to get quite dark in the office. Then we heard the sirens, and looked out the window to see big black billowing smoke across the major route that runs behind the house. Grandma grabbed Toots and coats, and ran out to the back fences.

I grabbed camera and coat and ran to the corner.

Still running, I tried to get shots from a distance, across the street.
Blur due to running, but I wanted to show the Deputy for a sense of proportion.

By then we knew it wasn’t just the spit of woods, but a house behind them.

Thankfully, the fire department assured us no one was home.

Still.  The house is a total loss.  I don’t know who lives there, but I sure feel for them.  Can you imagine?  You drop your kids off at daycare, you go to the office, just like any other day. And then this happens.

I took this from the opposite corner from our house, but still on the same side of the highway. I talked with a woman who said they were driving by and her husband jumped out of the truck at the sight of the flames, to go help. She hadn’t heard from him yet. This is about ten minutes after it all started.

And then my next door neighbor came running, yelling about the truck on fire.
While we ran back to check on the truck and get the baby out of it (I didn’t know he was in there), she conferred with the Deputies who ran with us and found that her husband was accounted for at the house fire site.
I invited her to bring the baby inside to keep him warm. Told the officers our address to let her husband know, and wow, what an exciting piece of the morning.
Have I mentioned I live in Mayhem?
Toots fell in love with Baby Gunnar. He was not quite two years old – May – and she will be three on April first. He towered over her.
She still wants to show him all of her toys and Playdoh.
Oh boy, do I appreciate our little home right now.

looney harvest moon

This week marks the first full moon Autumn Equinox since 1991. NASA calls it the The Super Harvest Moon.

Last night, Mr. Cynic and I saw her rise over Kmart as we ventured out to purchase sodas on sale for his Jazz Choir to contribute to Homecoming. 

The Moon was a big, round peach in the prussian/ultramarine blue twilight.  She was gorgeous and looked exceedingly happy for Fall to come. I tried to get a good picture, but this was the best I could do with the camera I had.

This has been a challenging week.  Random odd challenges that have no business conspiring to make me go batty.  Looney. 

Here are a few examples:

1. Toots has decided that potty training is more fun if she refuses and purposely pees on the rug when we just repeatedly tried to persuade her to use the potty.  I won’t mention how poop aspect is going.

2. Can’t find the envelope of family birth certificates that have been in the exact same file for over 15 years and never lost before, through umpteen moves. I will add, that is where the savings bonds for the kids are, too. I spent two hours yesterday searching every file in the home business file cabinet.  Honey spent 2 hours searching for it last night, as I not so sweetly, frantically blamed him.

3. 1 & 2 are necessary to register Toots for preschool this week.  Preferably today.

4. Mr Cynic’s girlfriend since early December 2009 dumped him on Facebook within a week before Homecoming. By the next day, she had a new date to the dance.  He’s basically fine, no teen melodrama about it, but feels a bit humiliated and betrayed.  “Mom, I’m 15.  It’s not like I was going to marry her.”

5. I work with the youth group at my fellowship on Sundays, usually a couple of times a month.  There is a girl there who sidles up to Mr. Cynic quite a bit.  During check in when we share a bit of our week with everyone, Mr. Cynic shared the Homecoming dump.  This girl pounced. “Well, I’ll go with you if you want a date for the dance.”  He said okay, and I found on the ride home that he was totally clueless as to the extent of how much this girl is into him, in the way only a 14 year old boy crazy girl can be.  I recognized it right away, because, um, let’s just say it looks familiar.

6. There’s paperwork involved.  She goes to a high school in a different town.  Paperwork involves parental and principal of her school’s signatures.  It’s due today. I heard about it Tuesday afternoon. How the heck….Stroke of brilliance: digitize via scanner and email!  Got it all done last night except for two minor details:  my printer decided to stop communicating with my computer once again and I haven’t signed it.  I fired it off to the teacher in charge as is and emailed that I would swing by the school to sign it today.

7.  Haven’t heard back yet from the teacher in charge.

8. Tuesday erupted re: Captain Comic because Monday he erupted on me because of something re: school.  Phone calls and emailed letters galore over the course of about 24 hours – in the midst of which was my writing group – as if I’d be able to concentrate on my writing.  Literally walking out the door at the end of writing group, Mr. Cynic’s frantic call came about having to cancel his bass lesson for that afternoon because we had to drive around creation to get that paperwork signed and in.  My stroke of virtual documentation brilliance occurred on my short ride home.

9. Special needs parent advocacy super powers week. See above.  Sorry to be vague, I’m pooped and some of this should remain confidential.

10.  Yesterday, Mr. Cynic awoke with a sore throat, but decided he could go to school.  Last night, he started stuffing up, but this morning, though he sounded kind of miserable, he decided he felt fine besides the annoying stuffiness and cough. 

11. Captain Comic awoke this morning with the same sore throat and decided he did not want to risk infecting the whole school so that they have to shut it down. 

12.  He seemed verbal and non-feverish enough to go to school to me, so I pushed him out the door.

13. Also on Tuesday, a pen exploded all over our dryer – Inside – which looked like black blooded carnage. 

14. In seeking advice how to remove stain, I instead received too many wiseacre comments and helpful hints on how to train my family to empty their pockets. Believe me, I use tools every time I do laundry, which is often, to ensure this happens, to no avail. Periodically, something turns up in the washer or dryer that I wish was cash, but is usually something like an exploding pen, cellphone, tissue scraps, load of melted lip balm covered clothes, legos, candy wrappers or rocks. Or all of the above.

15.  There’s more.  I know there is.  Beyond the usual mayhem. 

I blame the moon.  It’s the only way I’ll survived the remainder of this looney week.

hurricane earl and sundry

Hurricane?  What hurricane?  We got drizzle after I battened down the hatches.

Quilt?  What quilt?  Oh yea, that one. I’m working on it, slowly – quilting about an hour a day this week.

Been going to a lot of orientation type thingies, haircuts for boys, new sneakers, etc.  Busy week, while still trying to keep it low key.

School starts Tuesday for the boys.  Finally got schedules straightened out, etc.  That took a bit of doing.

Preschool orientation for Toots this week, too.  She loved meeting her teachers and exploring the playground.  A lot. Tough prying her away from it.  Now to potty train with a deadline of October 5th.

Novel edits?  What novel edits?  Nope, didn’t even open the document this week.  Writing group meets on Tuesday, though, so I will work on it then.  Promise.

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.

two things, i’m not much good for more

1.  I have a really bad case of road head and am out of coffee.

2.  Even with number 1, waking up to the the smiling greeting of ‘Hi Mommy!  It’s You!” from over the crib edge was an incredible way to start the day…now to go buy some rocket fuel.


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?

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