musings in mayhem

writer, mom, tutor, superwoman

Archive for the category “visitor”

all nine kinds of pies

 “But there were all nine kinds of pie that Harold liked best.” 
                                                      ~Crockett Johnson, Harold and the Purple Crayon

Easter with my in-laws is full of pie. On Friday, Grandma stood at the stove and stirred Italian cream in the double boiler by the batch. She got a workout and a half stirring homemade sweet Italian cream, at least three batches of vanilla and one chocolate. She also made two ricotta pies. Her sister from the DC area brought pies galore, and her sister who lives down the street made quite a few, too.

Let me see if I can catalog them all:

Grandma made:
1 Vanilla cream pie
1 Pineapple cream pie
1 Chocolate cream pie
2 Ricotta pies
4 Easter Breads

Auntie L made:
1 Vanilla cream pie
2 Barley pies

Auntie B made: 
6 Ham pies
Easter Breads (haven’t seen hers yet, can’t count them)
1 Veggie lasagna with homemade pasta (Thank you!)
1 vat of “Manest” (here’s Rachael Rae’s recipe for reference)
and a heck of a lot of other food.
I think her plan is for 2 more sweet pies, too.

I made the Good Friday vat of Pasta e Fagiola. The one day of the weekend that the rest of the family will join me in the vegetarian realm.

There is a ton of more food to be had over the course of Easter and time with all of my in-laws. All of it is made from scratch, and there are only twelve people to feed, one weighing in at a whopping 26 pounds.

Gotta love a family where food equals love – especially in pie form.

child of mine

Honey’s aunt and uncle are visiting for Easter from the DC area.

The uncle is 86. He reminds me a lot of my dad, Papa. He’s also very tolerant of Captain Comic’s early riser musings. I made a rule for Captain Comic not to wander downstairs and turn on the TV until 7:30am. 
Just prior to 7:00, I awoke to this line of conversation wafting up the stairs:
Captain Comic: What about those drug-dealing pimps?
I didn’t hear the uncle’s response, but the tone of his voice was full of patience. 
Thank goodness.

tired and travel photo

I am exhausted. I think I crashed long after our whirlwind trip.  I haven’t been able to muster musings of the trip, though it was jampacked with visits with friends and family, a foot led wander of my favorite city, Boston.
Here is an iconic tourist shot of Copley Square: Trinity Church reflected in the Hancock Tower.  I even captured a Duck Tour in it.  Toots was enthralled with the fountain and chasing pigeons as the adults who walked around with her wanted to collapse in the grass and shade, which we did, taking turns keeping her out of the fountain and off of Boylston Street.
The above photo is one I never would have been caught dead taking when I lived there.  Although, secretly, even then, I loved the juxtaposition of the old gothic revival stone church reflected in the modern blue glass and steel structure.  The difference now, is that I can’t just walk into Copley any old time I want and see the changing light of day and season.  That’s why I took the photo, because I always did love this particular aspect of Boston, the blend of the classic and modern architecture.  The Victorian flavor of remembrance of things past while looking to the future that is still very much a part of the general character of the city and its populace.  Boston is simultaneously, continuously Colonial through Current, old ships and new museums.
Since I’ve been back, I have not gone to bed at a decent hour, and not for any good reason. I have been doing heavy gardening and yardwork manual labor, which has been very satisfying, but exhausting, especially in the heat.  I have tried doing things useful and fun with the kids, but not too far reaching.  Before the trip, we had visitors, while wonderful to see, little Baby G did not sleep much during the night, and Little M was a nearly 4 year old ball of energy.  During the trip, Honey and I definitely ran ourselves down, and exhausted Toots, too, by packing too much into too little time.  We tried to not be too ambitious, but, honestly, the trip itself was darned ambitious. The day we left our friends’ place in Cambridge for Connecticut, and picking up the boys, poor Toots was wailing protest over everything, very uncharacteristic behavior for her. 
I am past wailing protest tired at this point.  Now I just want to curl up with a good book and escape the world a bit.  I am absolutely grateful to have the boys back home and am enjoying them, but after the current load of laundry finishes, and after doing quite a bit more weeding out back by the broccoli and pepper plants before it gets too hot and muggy, I may just curl up with the book I am currently reading, and disappear into its Belizean rain forest.  It’s time for the vacation from the vacation.

babies are good

Thanks for bearing with yesterday’s whining. 

For your efforts, in gratitude, I present babyness, utterly plump and nibbly and too many curls between Baby G and Toots for my heart to contain. 

The cousins from Connecticut have arrived.

floor guys, day 2

It was supposed to be done in a day.  Yesterday.

We’re on Day Two, Crew Two.  Yesterday was carpet removal day for our living room/ dining room.  We ordered pizza last night.  house is in disarray, and we don’t have an eat-in kitchen, so we ate our pizza out on the over one hundred degree heat index deck.  It had cooled of a bit by evening, but still muggy as a summer day is long.

Today, the wood laminate floor is being installed.  The dog is being contained and does not like this, especially since she has to bark at the floor guys until she gets a good sniff – up close and personal like.  And with the walls stripped of paintings and the concrete slab foundation exposed, her sharp little loud bark echoes.  Owie. 

I’m also not feeling so great today.  Toots seemed to have a bit of a stomach bug the other day, but we weren’t sure it wasn’t just something she ate.  Now I can confirm it was a little bug.  With the heat and humidity and minor stomach yuck, I’m feeling blechy.

Fun, fun, fun.  Aren’t you glad I shared? 

But the floor guys assure us the job will be finished today and we should be able to almost get our house in some semblance of order by the time our cousins arrive with their nearly four year old Little M and Baby G.  I can’t wait to meet Baby G tomorrow! 


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. 

aw jeez

This week entails cleaning out diningroom and livingroom furniture and walls of all breakables, etc before Thursday, because that’s when we are having the ugly old carpet removed and new flooring put in. 

Exciting, I know. 

But, when the guys are done with the floor, and move the furniture back in, supposedly all in the same day, we will have a new floor. 

Then early Saturday, couisins galore are coming to visit from Connecticut.  Buckets of baby smooshiemushies and kisses will ensue. Toots is approximately a year younger than one, and a year older than the other, and I believe the youngest outweighs ma petite fleur by half.  At least.

To say he is a chubby baby is an understatement.  I love chubby babies, but I’m not certain I’ll be able to lift this one.  I think my back may go out.  But I can’t wait to see those dimpled legs in person. 

So, manuscript awaits editing read through continuation at writing group tomorrow as I pack china and crystal away for the tumult of Thursday’s reflooring. 

And, once again, you may not being seeing too much of me this week.

Thursday’s goal is to be out of the house for the duration, if I can manage it.  What should I do with Toots while the flooring guys are here?  Hint: she’s lousy at movie theaters.


Cheeky little bugger, isn’t he?  I took this through my slider, from about a three feet away.
Where was my terrifying to rodents terrier?
Probably sleeping on the couch, on the pillow she has taken over but not yet chewed to smithereens.
Happy Earth Day, btw.  I’m actually quite thrilled to see the little rodent so comfortable on my deck table. 
I doubt Honey feels the same way.  He skeeves easily when it comes to where he eats and any possibility of contamination. Not that he’s OCD or anything.  He’s just a little quirky about his food.

A sunshiney day and a visit from afar.

I’m not certain how much you’ll see of me this week as, in the words of Captain Comic before he boarded the school bus this morning, “The grandparents and the college student arrive tonight.”

My parents decided to come down from Connecticut during my niece’s Spring Break.  She and Captain Comic have a really special bond, though there is a nine year difference between them.  Or maybe it’s because there’s a nine year difference between them. 

There was time, back before our move to Virginia, when we would show up at Gaga and Papa’s house about once a month from Massachusetts.  We were the excuse for everyone to get together as my brothers and their families both still live within a thirty minute drive of the house we grew up in, where my parents still live.  So my niece has really been missing the former usual family gatherings.  I think she’s also hitting that age of college students, where when she goes home, things are changing, she is changing, so the old familiar feelings make her nostalgic for what was.  She’s finishing her junior year and I recall that feeling well at the same age.  Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.  

I miss those regular visits, too, especially to watch my nephews and niece grow up and for my parents to see all their grandkids and for my kids to see where we all come from in my parents, and where I grew up.


Yesterday turned out to be gorgeous outside.  I moved from the cave like couch to a sunny lounge chair, with the intent of reading in the fresh air.  Toots and Captain Comic had other plans involving digging up my garden plots; running around dodging Lucy bombs all over the yard – time to break out the pooper scooper; sucking nectar from unidentifiable weeds – ‘clover only, kiddo!’
‘what?  i do this all the time!  these aren’t poisonous!’
‘how do you know? I don’t even know what those are!’

 and jumping on the ‘twampowine!’

I was heart in throat a bit concerned when he helpfully jumped off the trampoline with her in his arms, not very securely, inducing a whiplash like bounce of her head.  But she said her neck didn’t hurt, and she’s been acting normally since.  Sometimes that kid just moves too fast and doesn’t stop to listen about the best way to go about things until it’s too late.  He’s on a mission, you know, in everything he does. 

But the toddler lives and without the need of a neckbrace.  Intent is nine tenths of the law, but that last tenth is a doozy.

Visitor that came to stay

Warning: If you do not like creepy crawlies, move away from this blog! If you do not, I am not to be held responsible for the anxiety issues this may induce, up to and including PTSD – post traumatic spider disorder.

Last week we discovered a very interesting visitor on the house, near the grill, building her home between the house and the playset. It’s a big home – seems like it could serve as a condominium complex.

She definitely instilled fear in my husband and my younger son, who ran into the house, slammed the slider, yelling “WHOA!” He braced himself against the glass and panted, bug-eyed as if we had been invaded by aliens. Come to think of it, he would have preferred to have been invaded by aliens. He’s been making preparations for that. My mother-in-law has not used the back door since the spider’s appearance. Her fear is much more subtle.

My eldest son, my little daughter and I, however, have been fascinated to no end ever since her arrival. Kids after my own heart. My dad still speaks in awe of my spider collecting youth, how of all of his kids, it was the girl who collected spiders and bugs. So we watch from inside the dining room window. She doesn’t do much by day. She’s a third shifter.

Well, big as she is, about 3.5 inches in length, and with such distinct markings, she was easy to google. I found out she was largely non-poisonous, unlike the black widow spiders I found in my garden last year. She’s good for the garden, a common black and yellow garden spider. She has a big bite that can hurt, but for the most part, it won’t do further damage. Unless you have an auto-immune disorder, then the minimal venom could kill you, or at least be very painful. Here she is in close-up, demonstrating her very creepy skull-like alien head markings:

I must admit to a little shudder when I zoomed. I think it was more about the unshaven legs look, though. I emailed a friend, whose brother-in-law is an entomologist, and she said it was an Argiope aurantia. I just love Latinate terms.
Well, she’s still here, and she doesn’t seem to be interested in going anywhere else. As long as she doesn’t decide to start eating us out of house and home, like some other guests, she’s welcome, by my standards. I can’t say the same for certain family members. You can read that any way you want – invading family members or ones who live here and aren’t as enthused about her as I am. HA!
Although, after reading up a bit, I found out she could lay between 400 – 1500 eggs. I’m not so sure I’ll feel so confident when or if they hatch.
But oh, the tale I’ll weave….I know. I couldn’t resist.

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