musings in mayhem

writer, mom, tutor, superwoman

Archive for the category “summer”

time out

I have a lot to do.

I have a lot on my mind.

So this morning, Toots and I took a breather, and just played in the sunshine. I think it helped me to not obsess quite so much, sort things out a bit.

It’s also our last day of Toots only. Tomorrow, we retrieve Mr. Cynic and Captain Comic. Mayhem will return to its usual full capacity.

“Don’t take my picture, Mommy!”

“I said, stop taking my picture.”

So for now, some quiet girl time.

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a few highlights, low key

Pretty low key weekend, but we found a watermelon growing in the cukes.

 Toots had a haircut on Friday, but with the humidity, you would never know. Many women in the salon pleaded for a head of hair with her natural caramel highlights and those curls. Of course, they don’t have to comb them out three times a day. I do, or dreadlocks.

 It was too hot to even blow bubbles, but we did.

 “”But I done wanna yook at you, Mommy. I’m busy here.”

I walked Lucy, also known as The Goo, Goose, Goosie, Lucy Goose. We sat by the lake for a bit. It was cooler than it has been, a few clouds rolled in and spit on us today. I wouldn’t exactly call it rain, but it made things about fifteen degrees cooler. Again, poor cellphone camera capture, but that lump on that branch on the tree across the inlet? That’s a great blue heron. He was magnificent in person. I know, bad tease. I’ll try to remember a better camera next time.

Mostly, this weekend was spent wandering in a big box store, watching a three year old who has been full of beans lately, and reading Sookie
I have come to the conclusion, that I like the books better than the show. The show mucks with perfectly good material way too much. They need to leave a good thing well enough alone. Although, I do love the show, too, but now that I’m well-ensconced in the books, I love it just a little less.
I’m really ready for the boys to come home.

innovation by kids

We planned on the kids playing SlipnSlide.

 They waited pretty patiently for my friend to blow it up. In the oppressive heat, it eventually dawned on us to use the bike pump, but it didn’t work so well.

Then we discovered, by the two older girls’ turns that playing SlipnSlide the way it was intended could be very painful.

And that’s where toddler and dog innovation came in.

And then the school aged girls figured out the physics of squeezing the tube on the side, making a sprinkler.

Pardon the Adirondack block. Come on now, it was hawt! Cut me some slack. I’d already done a bit of yard work and all I wanted to do was sleep right about when I took this shot.

Something else proved much more fun, as the toddler and preschooler initiated a new game.

I was just happy to be sitting in in the shady yard. Shady was nice, but I still melted into a my very own puddle.

walkin the dog

It’s hot.
I walked the dog.

What’s that?

Get in for a closer look, but not too close. Sorry, only had the cell phone, again.

 Egret!

Yesterday, on my fence, a lizard skittered. By the time I got the yes, cell phone, out of my pocket, he was replaced by this dragonfly.
And then I found these Kentucky Wonder Beans under the tangle of vines covering my posts. I found quite a bit more than those. I think I’ll cook them tonight. If Toots hasn’t eaten them all in refrigerator drive-by snacking.
Today, I spent a few hours at the library, editing another chapter and a half. I hope to make more good headway tomorrow. I am making good, if slow, progress. 
Kinda like walking the dog in muggy Virginia mid-July.

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.

balance points

This week, between the kids’ first week home from school and a gazillion doctor appointments – no worries, just getting updates on old stuff – I have not written or edited, seen only a couple of friends for thirty minutes, and the continuing hovering forecast of rain and wearing a boot have prevented trips to the neighborhood pool. We’re all a bit stir crazy, one week into summer. And Grandma caught a bad cold and has been off of her usual exercise routine, too.

I think this week was an exercise in finding a routine amidst overall changes.

I have not watered the garden consistently, because it seems the rain will really pour, then not much happens. Then I think the rain will come overnight, and it really doesn’t. And it’s tougher to drag the hose around the yard with this dang boot.

Captain Comic wants to learn poker, badly, and I want to teach him. Poker was a big influence in my family life when I was a kid, I love playing cards, especially with my dad.We sure had some good Gin tournaments, mano a daughtero. But I know I need a good visual aid for Captain Comic to see all the levels of win, etc. Somehow I need the time and focus to teach him the multi-step processes of poker, when he is compromised in multi-step processing. It will take more than one session, that is for certain. Much frustration will have to be abated, on both parts.

Honey and I had a late night date at a combo pub cinema place last night for our fifth anniversary. We arrived a bit early for the showing of Bridesmaids, and sat at the bar. While we waited, I learned the difference between us and how that difference is a good thing. We were quiet for a moment, so I asked, “What would you like to see in the next five years?

Honey: What do you mean? I can’t see into the future.
Me: What would you like to see. What do you want in life?
Honey: I don’t know, I’m pretty good. A hot meal, a warm bed, a chance to relaxed a little more.
Me: Really? That’s kind of nice.

See, I am always looking around the bend, aiming for something, having big dreams, wanting something, looking for the next adventure. In his way, Honey is content to just be.

At times, this can be a source of frustration for both of us, but I think, at other times, it works to both of our advantages that we come at the world and each other from different angles. I get him off of his butt for an adventure. While it may take a little initial effort, he always seems to appreciate it after the first push. Conversely, he gets me to stay in the moment and just chill and realize that not everything needs to be done right now, not everything needs to be planned or in constant motion. A little stillness is a good thing.

So we find our balance.

I need to find a way to fit writing into the week while the boys are home. I think I will manage that a little better next week, when I don’t have so many appointments. Also, Grandma seems to be feeling a little better today and will likely get back to her morning exercises routine, away from the mayhem of home. I know how important her exercise routine is for her. She’s better about keeping one than I am.

I have written a summer daily schedule and hung it up for Captain Comic to have a reference as to what this hour of the day is for. Poor guy kept floating around not knowing what to do with himself, leaving a wake of difficult relationships, snack scraps and random detritus until I did.

Toots needs a little more interaction than I’ve been giving her this week, while I’ve focused on my medical stuff and whatnot. There’s been a bit too much PBS and Netflix children’s program selections going on.  I think if the forecast perks up to the sunny side, we’ll get to the pool more next week. This will be good for the Capt., too.

Mr. Cynic has been a big help this week, and found ways to hang with his friends and girlfriend. He’s getting more and more independent, even if he is still hesitant on the learning to drive sessions.

And, even after all these years, Honey and I continue to learn each other, and how to negotiate what it is that simultaneously drew us to each other, and what drives us most crazy on a daily basis.

Ain’t love grand?

It’s summer. I think by now, all schools across the country are out for the season, the days are long on light and open hours. Don’t forget to enjoy them for what they are, a chance to relax a little more…and maybe have a good adventure,or two.

first real beach day

At the beach, the world is bright, the waves lull, even when there is a strong riptide, and everything that has gotten under my skin for the past year rolls off of me in the breeze off of mother ocean.

And Captain Comic stops talking when he hits the water, for hours at a stretch, or when he’s buried in the sand. His synapses reset from the sensory input he gets from being wholly contained over most of the surface of his skin, whether sand or water. Sensory ReIntegration. I think he and I are alike in that manner, he’s just more so, to the nth degree. Other than when he sleeps, the beach is the one environment in which he does not talk endlessly.

I loved the beach for a lifetime before he was born, but for him, I love it even more. At one point, he and I took a walk on the pier to see the fishermen’s catch. Toward the end of the pier, one young man had caught a skate! That was really cool for us to see. As we talked with him, he said in the past week, a couple of sharks had been caught at this pier. You should have seen Capt. Comic’s eyes bug out when I said, “Right where you were swimming in the same waters!”

It is a struggle to get him to put on sunscreen before he hits the surf. In front of the woman in the white top from right to left is Captain Comic, Mr. Cynic and Mr. Cynic’s new gf. She’s cute and very nice, also very blonde, hence she is now known as Goldilocks. They had to move away from the pier zone by 200 feet, partly due to riptide, partly the fisherman’s lost hooks. We kept the encampment by the pier, so it was a little walk to the swim zone. Toots decided she didn’t like the ocean after it hit her in the face when she was with Honey. But I got her there a couple times later to rinse a ton of sand off and to cool down. We got hit with a good sized wave, too, But when I laughed about it, she laughed about it, too. She still would rather go to Water Country.

Here is the gang of youngins all helping out to bury Capt. Comic in the sand. Goldilocks was a good sport in entertaining him, and Toots, who is completely enamored with her.

He emerges to rinse off:

 Honey, soaking up the sun. looking up the pier. It’s nice to see him relax. It’s not nice to see how easily he sunburns, even with 45SPF.

Toots, when we first arrived planted herself in the sand and proceeded to swim in it and douse herself with it.

After a couple of hours, and Captain Comic and my walk on the pier, we discovered a playground near the parking lot.

Toots kept up with the teens, fearlessly. I swear she is a girl after my own heart. There was a time I rock climbed, before I totally wrecked my back, shoulder, etc. Captain Comic, after some initial Parkur moves in preparation for making his ninja movie, decided the puddle between the bathroom and play space was the most attractive place to be. Yuck.

 Play is very serious business for a three year old.

All in all, it was a perfect beach day. Life is good. Wear sunscreen.

hot hot hot

It’s supposed to reach one hundred or so today. My morning shower was a waste of water, as I am now covered in sweat, from just a little gardening.

I fed and pruned the roses and other flowering bushes. I am way late for feeding them, should have put a post-it about it on my forehead. As I cut back dead branches and tied up the hydrangea, I found a chrysalis. I think it’s a swallowtail, but I don’t know what type. We get a lot of swallowtails around here, state butterfly and all.

Sorry, still stuck with cellphone shots, until I figure out a better camera situation that doesn’t eat batteries.
Here’s some lavender by the driveway. I should really trim it back. Grandma parks on that side of the driveway and it attacks her as she gets in and out of her car. 
The crepe myrtle I planted street side a few years ago is blooming. The white blooms smell like cinnamon Necco wafers this morning. 

I think I mentioned before that I didn’t realize the sprig was spliced with pink when I bought it. The little pink bloom smells like cinnamon, too, but in a different way, a larger, more mellow scent, not as sharp as the white blossoms. Kind of like when I used to take a fireball out of my mouth as a kid once it was licked white and my tongue was on fire – after I drank something to cool my tongue.

Besides the chrysalis surprise, I found something Lucy left in the yard. She’s been digging a lot lately because we have moles, again. She left me a present of a dead one by the deck.

Well, I”m too hot to write much more. How’s the weather where you are? 

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.

toots has a great idea

Toots started riding her bike.  I will post evidence below.  In the meantime, this evening, she rode her little bike around the house and:

Toots: See ya later!  Bye!
Grandma: Where you going?
Toots: I’m going for a ride!
Mom: Where to?
Toots: I’m going to ride to summer!  Okay, Byyyye!

I wish I thought of that.

Last night she peddled herself for the first time. Witness:

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