musings in mayhem

writer, mom, tutor, superwoman

Archive for the tag “art”




Toots abandoned her Valentine necklaces before preschool.

Looks like I get to wear them today.

Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone. Be kind to those you love.


Creativity is running rampant around here.

I got sick over the end of last week, and it laid me out pretty thoroughly on Saturday. My family was kind enough to cater to me in bed while I watched back episodes of Dr. Who on the Tablet.

But then, yesterday morning, I got down to business and cranked out

– composed over several hours with infinite interruptions because it was a day off from school and Captain Comic had to ask me a gazillion questions like, “Who do you think would win in a fight, Batman or Goku?” or tell me his next movie or comic idea, which was a new one about every minute and a half –

a query letter and sent the first ten pages to the first agent on my list. Today I plan to send it out to two more. Tomorrow and Thursday another each and that is where I will leave it for a little while.

I was invited to send this poem to a newsletter where a bunch of friends will see it.


Captain Comic drew this up for his coach (see #4 in this post) to approve before making a poster.

2013.1.17 chicken dance 021


Mr. Cynic has loaded his next professionally produced song.

This song was his productive response to his brother being bullied at school last year. Considering some of the lyrics, I am really glad he has music for a creative outlet. 🙂 I remember well his reaction when he found out what was going on before it was resolved. Mr. Cynic looks like a pretty cool cucumber most of the time, but he is extremely passionate about any kind of injustice, and this was brother.


I don’t talk much about Honey’s work, but he designs staging and a bunch of his designs are currently being built around New Orleans in preparation for events surrounding the Superbowl.


Toots is always bursting with creativity. She sings little ditties about everything. When asked if she made that up, or what’s that from? She responds, “I wrote it.”  She has worlds of imaginary characters she walks around the house acting out costumed scenarios with and she loves to draw and paint and dance around the house. She plays architect with anything she finds that she can put on top of something else in interesting ways, like Jenga blocks. Oh, to be four and a half years old again.

I couldn’t be happier about what my family is up to these days.


good news

1. Yesterday I completed the fourth draft of my manuscript! I am going to start submitting query letters to agents this week.

2. I wasn’t going to have any of my readers go over it again, but I had one late offer for a fresh eye to it recently, and after thinking I shouldn’t, I went ahead and sent it to him. He is someone whose opinion re: writing is one I value, especially one for humor and action elements. I suppose I wanted to be certain those elements were present after so much reworking over so long a time. I’m nervous, but it will be good to hear what he has to say about it. To paraphrase, I basically asked him to tell me if it was crap or not. I am not up for another draft at this point.

3. Captain Comic did not wrestle in last night’s home tournament, but he did last a good long time supporting his team in a loud gym, and he did a good job assisting setting up. Ear plugs helped.

4. One of the coaches asked him to draw up a poster concept of a wrestler hugging a cactus. He did two versions as soon as he got home. Both were good. He is an excellent artist with a lot of humor inherent in his work.

5.  While at the tournament, I was talking with another parent who suggested I contact the other closest high school in case a paraprofessional position opens up. His sister works in the special ed department there and he said he’d put a good word in for me.

6. I did. There is a little more to this story, but I have a good feeling about it and some things are best left to happen organically rather than discuss so much.

7. Mr. Cynic had a quick turnaround from his application to Berklee College of Music, his first choice, and his audition is in 10 days!

8. In the meantime, we all have colds, and it seems like it has been raining for eternity. The colds aren’t too bad, and the rain should help restore the water table from the recent summer droughts, and it hasn’t been a monsoon to flood, as how it usually seems to occur in recent years. But it sure would be nice if Mr. Sun would peak out from a cloud once in a while.

Things are moving right along for many in our family, and it feels good. The past few years, even with all the mayhem, has felt rather stagnant, and it’s nice to feel like progress can happen.


first pro track

My oldest, known here as Mr. Cynic, has shown desire and talent for music since he was a baby, but didn’t really start to do anything with it until he started taking bass lessons at 14.

This is three years later. He wrote all the music lines, plays them all, except the drum tracks are prerecorded sounds, and he sings the lyrics he wrote, too.

I couldn’t be prouder. I always knew he had it in him, and am nicely surprised by what he is doing with it. He really rocks and has alt rock commercial appeal. Yes, I am his mother, but it is true.

This is his audition piece for Berklee College of Music.

the epic failures


Captain Comic and friends when left to their own devices while their mothers were occupied elsewhere came up with this little gem. Not bad for 14, almost 13 and 10!


Yes, the mics are off.

Best little unintentional birthday present ever!

surprise in my pic file

Captain Comic created another.

He has been storyboarding in pencil like crazy for a short film to make in stop motion, but he seems to have moved into computer graphics a bit.


I just love his expressions.

western mass

Hello, I say sheepishly. Things have been gearing up toward the start of school, and so I am belatedly continuing to post pics from our trip a couple of weeks back or so.

After Philly, we headed north to Western, MA and made it close to Albany, NY when we realized, it’s 2am, we better stop before this gets dangerous. We ended up stopping overnight somewhere in a motel by the Rip Van Winkle Bridge. Across the the street in the morning, we got our breakfast from a convenience store gas station. We thought we were going to be picking up bad coffee and stale sticky buns, but it turned out to be one of the best roadside breakfasts we’ve ever encountered. If you’re ever in upstate NY, hit a Stewart’s, best breakfast sandwiches ever. Their milk and eggs are all local dairy fresh. The coffee was a joy with that farm fresh milk!

Our first stop once we crossed the border was to pick up a trailer so we could get the last of our belongings out of storage in my friends’ barn. We moved from MA to VA six years ago, and left behind a few antiques and a sundries. So glad that is not hanging over our heads anymore. Anyway, little miss wildflower loved the wildflower fields and growing in the cracks in the parking lot while we waited for the man at the trailer place and Honey hitched up the trailer to Bertha. Then it was off to the barn and my friends’ kid and Toots had a blast while we loaded the stuff, and then we had the late afternoon to spend at Mass MOCA with the girls just crazy about each other. The art inside was all very interesting and unusual, very contemporary. While chasing 4 year olds, not very easy to appreciate. We enjoyed the outdoor elements of the old mill factory location of the museum best. Swings under Route 2, an outdoor stage area and the workings of the old boiler room that had a music installation ‘inside’ and an airstream alien landing art installation on its ramparts. I definitely felt like we became part of the airstream installation, it was very intricate, and again, hard to get pics while trying to keep 4yos from falling from precarious old steel footbridges 3 stories up.

After the museum adventure, we were all ready for dinner, and our friends led us across the center of North Adams on foot, to a great restaurant called PUBLIC. Good basic food done gourmet. Good drinks, too. 🙂

The next morning, as we passed through Lee, MA, we hit an institution, Joe’s Diner. One waitress was quite colorful in her interactions and the others, especially ours, who honestly may have been an original waitress, rolled her eyes and grinned at the angry waitress’s antics. If you find yourself at Joe’s, the food is good, the prices are great, but be sure to bring cash.

The gallery is a little out of order, some of the outdoor Mass MOCA pics are at the end, because I loaded the cell pics then the regular camera. Chasing Toots became priority to taking photos in unfamiliar territory. Enjoy. I wish I had taken more pics of the ride through the Berkshire Hills, I love those hills, and I think I got caught up in just looking and strolling through memory lane from my college days spent among them.



We’ve been traveling, and it took me a bit to recover before I got to posting.

We had two main purposes of our trip:

1. to collect the boys back from their dad while we visit family in Connecticut and

2. to collect the last of our belongings in storage back in Massachusetts. We moved to Virginia six years ago. The time had come.

But the first stop for Honey, Toots and me was Philadelphia, PA. I had been emailing with a couple that are college friends of mine from the late 80s. I hadn’t seen them since then. They offered, why don’t we meet you as you pass by? Initial thought was that we don’t usually go north by way of Philly, we usually go an easterly route, but as we were aiming for Western Mass, why not? They have a couple of boys closer to Toots’s age than to my boys. Besides, why not show Toots the Liberty Bell? I think I saw it when I was about six years old and maybe again when I was looking at colleges.  Boy, has that part of Philly changed since I can recall!

So enjoy some pics of our minute wanderings from Chinatown to the Historic District. These are all cellphone shots. I have yet to go through what I got with the other camera.


It was nice to have a break on the road, eat some good food, see some old friends and meet their kids. Their boy #2 was very sweet and protective of of Toots. Both boys were loads of fun.

And then we got back on the road, more pics to come.


on writing life

1 – Sometimes I need to recognize when to leave well enough alone, hence taking a two week or so break from THE MANUSCRIPT.

2- Sometimes, like spring, I need to concentrate on yard work, which is my giant canvas, instead.

3 – Sometimes, I have to let the kids lead, and stop telling them to stop while I just take care of whatever it is that I am putting before them for the time being. For instance, at this moment, Toots is hitting the brim of my hat with her lip gloss to get my attention while I am typing this.

4 – Sometimes, I just have to take them to the community pool, because it is open, and festivals between here and the beach are causing prohibitive beach bound traffic and it’s too far to travel this late, after the dump run and the yardwork, anyway.

boston and berks

Life is crazy mayhem lately, including kitchen renno (post to come, I won’t say soon, based on how long it took me to get to this one) and trying to manage the garden plots, reconfiguring the flower and bush beds out front and finally planting some vegetables out back, which I am still in the middle of…okay, okay, I’ll get down to business and make it quick, too.

I love Boston. I love it like it’s my spiritual mother, my home, my long lost love, my raison d’etre, my weather report, my seasonal compass. I know its seasons and weather  by the ionic change in the atmosphere, I can tell you exactly when the pussy willows out Beacon, by the Charles Street Extension, just before you reach Kenmore will bloom by it, I can tell you when the tulip trees along Comm Ave will burst in an explosion of petals and when they’ll rain down and coat the sidewalks. I’m giving you spring examples, because this is the current season…but I can also tell you when it will snow, when the February winds will take hold and not let go, when the September leaves will burnish and flame into October by the shift of light and the scent change of metal in the air, the charge of life, the ionic existence of the city I love.

Along  I-90, The Mass Pike, as the Boston City Limits road sign rolled by Bertha’s window, I hooted, I hollered, and then I burst into tears.

My kids and spouse think I am crazy, but that is how much I love this city.

Most of these are taken in Copley Square, where we met friends and my niece for lunch, which was too much to squeeze in, really, and it was great to see all, though our visit was cut even shorter by events that transpired including the passing of a kidney stone by one of our party and a call to 911. It’s not for me to spread their business, or who it was that passed a kidney stone, but this just goes to show, even when the circumstances I set up are mayhemic already, random unrelated mayhem will happen in my vicinity. It’s guaranteed. Life’s an adventure, what can I say. I will ride those three bucking broncos, hanging on by a rope til the day I die. I am well practiced already, so I’ll just keep hanging on and see what happens next.

The purported reason for our ‘side trip’ to Boston on the way to my college reunion in the Berkshires, was to take Mr. Cynic to tour Berklee College of Music, the one place he wants to go. I took no pics, becasue we were too busy keeping the couple of Berzerkers, Toots and Captain Comic from getting into what ever they were going to get into with each other, which wasn’t fun for any of us, and highly distracting for Mr. C. Also it was Freshman registration day and the place was crawling like ants with people who didn’t know where they were going, either, and we had no tour guide, just the gaggle of us and a map with highlights, given to us in the Admissions office.

Needless to say, mayhem. Did I mention that the “campus” is integrated into the city? Luckily, a couple of decades ago, I hung out with a band in the practice rooms a lot, so I had a vague recollection of where buildings were…

A note about the couple of pics at the end of the Boston portion of the gallery, Toots is standing with a lion at the Hynes Convention Center, and he is a fendyee yion and those horse statues by Neiman Marcus are part of Honey’s photography portfolio from eons ago…he was commissioned by the artist to photograph them before their installation and create an exhibit poster with one. Sorry, don’t have a reference pic, if I did, I’d put it here. If I find one, I will edit it it in. 🙂


We headed out to the Reunion and I saw so many great people, and was so happy to see them, I didn’t take pics of them, but I did take pics of frogs that as soon as I told the kids not to poke, they poked. Mr. Cynic did not want to be on my old campus for anything. Toots made friends with everyone else’s kids in her age range, who danced or ran while adults ate. And Captain Comic mostly just wanted to go home and let everyone know about it, particularly on the last day we were there.

Again there were mishaps, misadventures and mayhem, because I was involved, but it was fun, steamy, beautiful and wonderous besides. A couple of weeks later, the exhaustion is wearing down, but I am still riding the highs, having somewhat gained control of those broncos that gallop my life through everything.

I love my people and places and these two places are influential in my life, because of their landscapes, the times I spent in them, becoming, and the people I love within them…

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