musings in mayhem

writer, mom, tutor, superwoman

Archive for the tag “autumn”

not quite nanowrimo

This was the third time -or the fourth?- I attempted Nanowrimo and had similar results, but this year I did not stress about it.

I’m not a big fan of the win or lose aspect of it. I will take that the number of words I wrote earlier in the month was a darn good number of words, and an excellent and imaginative new story start with a lot of possibility.

My reality is: I have three kids going in three different directions, at three high needs stages of their childhoods. Well, Captain Comic is always high needs, a given, and my presence is needed daily at his wrestling practices to keep him focused.

Toots is in an afternoon session of preschool, which seriously cuts into my writing mojo, as she and I have the house to ourselves most mornings…a prime time writing time for me if i did not have divided focus on her- some writers are night writers, some are early morning writers. I find my most productive writing time falls after I take care of setting up the minutiae of the day and when a regular school day ends, approximately 9am-3pm. so when I drop her off at 12:25pm, and can run errands alone, I fill the rest of that time pretty easily without much writing.

Mr. Cynic’s senior year first semester is full of college application stress (though he has already been been accepted to one!) and finally taking care of getting his driver’s license. He has a job and a music studio mentorship that happens up the highway in Williamsburg. He is now officially licensed, but I do not feel he is ready to drive that jaunt alone just yet. I feel better about him driving within a two mile radius to the house. I know, that is inverse reasoning when most accidents occur within a five mile radius of driver residences. But I’m his mother: if he’s going to be involved in a wreck, I’d rather it be close to home. Give me a few weeks of riding up the highway with him, and I might change my mind.

And then there are my other writing projects. So, I started off Nano pretty well, taking it easy on myself, so that I wouldn’t cause writer’s block out of word count pressure. I was really excited about freeing up my imagination after spending the last few years in pretty solid edit mode for my longest term project. I am really happy about what came out and where I may go with it.

Then life happened, as it always does, between this time of year’s onset of colds and flu, and the usual doctor’s appointments, etc…then Thanksgiving, etc, then I really felt like moving back to edit the old project. Then I got another great idea, and wrote a first draft of a sermon to give at my UU Fellowship.

So, I may not have ‘won’ Nano – but I sure didn’t lose. I have edited a little further toward the end of my first children’s novel, I have a great new next novel to work on, which makes at least two viable projects that have arrived because of Nano. And I wrote in a completely new genre that has a deadline presentation in the spring.

I call that a win. Maybe an incomplete one, but the bottom line is I wrote more this month that I did in the prior few, and got some writing mojo back.

My writing group hasn’t been meeting as consistently on Tuesday mornings twice a month since this summer. One of the two meetings per month was moved to evening, a precious time for my family, a time where I am mentally and physically crashing, and up the road in Williamsburg, so I have thus far bowed out. I’ve missed seeing my group regularly, partly because it held me accountable to set aside at least a couple of days of several hours per month to focus strictly on writing and do so in good company.

The two of us in the group who are most local to each other have made a commitment to each other –and to our writing– to meet every Tuesday morning, barring appointments for her aged parent and the mayhem we both have with our teens and Toots.

And that is a win, indeed. I wrote for five hours straight yesterday and barely got out of my chair. Quite an accomplishment for yours truly,  Ms. Highly Distractible.

 

Advertisements

after sandy

Hampton Roads, Virginia was supposed to be hit with an anvil with this storm. It was hit pretty hard, especially in flood zones. Overall, though, not as hard hit as the 100 years storm with no name a while back. Friends I expected to flood are all fine as far as I have heard. We’re fine. Cooped up for a couple of days, but fine.

All of my Connecticut family is fine, too, but without power. Not bad considering they are pretty much all in coastal towns, but one brother’s family, and he’s close enough and has plenty of potentially damaging trees.

Friends in other areas like NYC are reporting damages and power outages, but people are fine overall. Some are heart broken for their homes and blocks where families have lived for generations.

I am grateful that most of those I know seem to have weathered this weird weather – Hurricane, Tropical Storm, huge swath of of an ocean spiral Sandy – well.

Now we wait for the power to come back for much of the Eastern Seaboard, and count our blessings.

 

 

autumn haiku

Yellow leaf lays sun
on worn cabin porch step two
days windless mountains.

 

 

mayhem, good

Again, we have had a lot – a . LOT. – going on around here, so I will make this short and sweet and add a gallery of a few highlights via cell phone pics.

Last week, I threw Captain Comic into JV Wrestling at the high school. He is taking to it better than a fish to water, his enthusiasm fills me with pride and joy. He is still awkward and funny as he is learning, but he is challenging the toughest biggest guys repeatedly during these couple of pre-season conditioning weeks. Even the Varsity guys are proud of him. The coaches are great with him.

Thursday was Toots’s Pumpkin Farm Field Trip with her preschool class.

This weekend we went on a Fellowship Retreat up in the hills at Pocahontas State Park. It was beautiful, we canoed, roasted marshmallows and froze our tuckuses in the drafty cabins in summer weight sleeping bags. We saw Great Blue Herons, turtles, and a snake climbing a tree. The snake posed best for pictures. Toots was talking about going fishing endlessly from before the trip, and I kept responding that I didn’t know if that was going to happen, maybe someone would have a pole she could use. As it turns out, she found a young boy and his dad fishing at the docks when we went canoeing. The boy was about eight years old and very patiently showed her how to hook a worm and repeatedly dropped a line from the docks, for her to watch fish nibble at the worm. He even caught a sunny at one point, and let her hold it. She was in seventh heaven.

Sunday, we came back in time for the Wrestling Team photo shoot. I didn’t realize Captain Comic didn’t even know what a singlet was. 🙂 I love that there is a girl on their team.

I took all photos with a cellphone. It should be in order of Pumpkin Patch, Pocahontas State Park then Wrestling, but I think things got a little jumbled in the upload. For instance, the yellow leaf on the step of our cabin should be horizontal, not a vertical shot. Toots and Mr. Cynic are sleeping in the car on the ride home Sunday morning, we canoed on Satuday afternoon.

A friend from my fellowship took my boys out canoeing Saturday morning, and brought back a tale of a killer beaver, GNAWS, parodying JAWS that he said the three of them came up with and laughed about the whole time they were canoeing. Apparently he GNAWS trees to fall on campers…It’s funnier when they tell it.

We had a great weekend. I hope you did, too.

 

 

 

 

parenting 301

Saturday night, at Busch Gardens  Hall-O-Scream, Captain Comic is nearly out of his skin as we head into The Roots of Evil Scare Maze. However, Toots, 10 years his junior declares, “I’m fine, Mom.” Hands on hips. “Dere’s no such sfing as weal ghosts!”

Once inside, Captain Comic and I lose sight of Honey and Toots immediately, and we make our way through lots of hanging damp misty, spooky things. He squinches his eyes shut and walks through with his head down and his shoulders in his ears, anticipating Scarers jumping out at every step. I talk him through it. “It’s less scary if you open your eyes. You can see them before they jump. Lift your head, Open your eyes. Here comes a corner, someone might jump.” In the meantime he is screaming like a 3 year old girl, I am laughing til I am wheezing and a few Scarers understand. He really is enjoying this even though he seems like he may have a heart attack at the ripe old age of 14. So they jump again.

Later, Toots and Honey make it out. Captain Comic and I are catching our breath, me, from laughter, him from utter anxiety and excitement. I am still laughing, Captain is laughing, too, while holding his heart. “Oh boy. I’ve never been so scared in my entire life!” He chuckles again, I am hooting. I declare him the funniest person in the world to go through a haunted maze with.

Toots’s eyes are saucers, and she is clinging to Honey’s shoulder for dear life. Honey declares no one even jumped at them.

Later, we find some kiddie rides and the carousel to bring everyone back to a normal happy state. Toots is riding the horse ride in Scotland, just prior to our exit. She looks like she is falling asleep in the saddle. Captain is standing next to me, swinging from the fence, in a rocking motion. He is not typically a rocker in the Autism behavior spectrum, he’s more of pacer and hugger.

Me: Are you Okay, buddy?

Capt: Nnnnot really. I’m still traumatized from earlier.

He laughs about it with me. He’s going to be fine.

~~~~~~~~

Sunday evening, Mr. Cynic and I attend a show at the Ferguson Center for the Arts, a great jazz Big Band, called The Birdland. Please check if they are going to be playing anywhere near you. This is a live music experience that you should not miss. They are an incredible ensemble of musicians and they bring down the house!

Back to my story: So we get in the car, it is raining, it’s a cold night for southern Virginia. If you don’t know, we moved from Massachusetts in 2006, when Mr. Cynic was 11 years old, now 17.

I look at his short sleeves in the passenger seat.

Me: Really, Bud, no jacket?

Mr. Cynic: This is the weather of my Homeland.

 ~~~~~~~

Monday morning I spend in a frustrating chase of info regarding scholarship deadlines, etc for Mr. Fall of Senior Denial, with whom I had such wonderful time the night before. I also simultaneously am scheduling out the rest of my already insane week, when I track down that JV Wrestling, for which  Captain Comic is now eligible as an 8th grader has already started pre-season conditioning practices. He can start NOW– at the same time I need to drop Mr. Cynic at work at the grocery and pick up Toots at preschool, which is the same time Captain’s school bus drops him off on a good day from the middle school. Practice is at the High school.  Hooboy, how am I going to make this work? I shout it to facebook and between drafting Grandma to go pick up Toots while I play Runaround Sue for the boys, I pull it off.

Fair warning to parents of young kids: Enjoy them now, soon they become above insanity, most of which I did not mention, but I think I finally got through to #1 about scholarship deadlines. Another piece of advice: try not to schedule anything at 3PM. Ever.

~~~~~~~

Captain Comic has been craving physical outlets since he quit Tae Kwan Do a few years ago, and that has been taken out on us in hug attacks galore and wrestling a giant stuffed polar bear in the backyard, hence my searching out about JV Wrestling. Small problem: practices start before the middle school lets out, sport bus from middle school doesn’t start until the regular season starts, so I have a couple of weeks of getting him from middle to high school right when Mr. Cynic usually needs to be dropped off for work and Toots needs to be picked up from preschool. Among other chauffeuring needs…

Captain Comic went to his first practice yesterday. He flung himself into it, no holds barred. After many conditioning exercises, weights, and such, where the coaches and Varsity guys were coaching the new guys and girl on the team, they wanted to show him a few moves and matches so he could have an idea what he was getting himself into.

He took to it more than a fish to water. I’ve never seen anything like it. He didn’t stop, even when the coaches and other guys were out of breath. As soon as he hit the mat, he was back up again and crouched to shake hands to challenge the next guy. Finally I had to call out, “Have you guys had enough of Shea for one day? Because, obviously, he hasn’t had enough yet.” They all laughed and said “Yeah! We have!”

Then he said, “Ew, I’m all sweaty.” And they laughed again and insisted he hasn’t even begun to sweat.

Both of the coaches seemed to know about dealing with kids with disabilities. One coaches the town league, and said he coaches two kids with Downs Syndrome and one with Severe Autism. We confirmed that he would know exactly how to deal with Shea and his Asperger’s very quickly. Both coaches were really open to having him join the team.  He is so ready to do this!

I couldn’t be more exhausted this week, or more proud. And it’s only Tuesday.

equinox mantis

Happy Equinox, Preying Mantis.  Your camouflage is beautiful for the new season, but it doesn’t work very well at dawn with the frame of the slider screen.

That is the corner of Captain Comic’s sleeve in the the house. He was fascinated. “What the heck IS that thing?”

I’ve been seeing preying mantii (is that how to pluralize them?) since springtime, and this is the first time one had brown. The others were all bright green. Do they change with the seasons? Do they change with age? Are some this way and some that? I have know idea, but prefer to keep it a mystery for the time being. Besides, I really need another cup of coffee.

day one 2012-2013

Mr. Cynic is a senior. A cool senior.

This is how he really feels about it.

I swear I just gave him lipstick kisses on his belly to reassure him as he went off to preschool.

Captain Comic was up and at ’em well before dawn, but this is his official stance.

Me: So how do you feel about eighth grade?

Capt. Comic: Eh, cause it’s (counts on fingers outloud) nine and a half months of labor.

Toots has been ready to start at her new preschool since the day her old preschool ended back in June. Every morning of the summer started with an enthusiastic”Is it time for school yet?!” or a tentative, “Is summer over yet?”  She is in the PM program at what will be her Elementary School. but she was ready to go first thing this morning.

For her, it is all about the Dora backpack.

Sigh. They grow so fast.

seasonal prep

We put up the tree and much of the decor for the season today.

Toots was a good helper, even with her snoggy nose and chesty cough.

Mr. Cynic helped pull stuff from the attic.

He had to put her down to straighten the heavy star on the fake tree. I used to always get a real tree, but with pine allergies in the house, we have used a fake one for a few years.

Once all the ornaments are on, who can tell anyway, right? There’s a real piney wreath on the door and when the morning sun shines on it, the scent fills the house when we open the door. Smells like Christmas without sending certain sinuses in the house into misery.

In other seasonal joy, Mr. Cynic’s high school competitive Jazz Choir and the other musical groups, had their Winter Concert on Thursday night. Here’s a little taste via 1 min cellphone video.

My son is the pipsqueak on the right, wiggling to the beat.

sparkle

The best man is like water. Water is good it benefits all things and does not compete with them. It dwells in lowly places that all disdain. This is why it is so near to Tao. ~Lao Tzu

By the Water

I will always live by water
It is more than a drink
A bath
A pool to swim in

Water sustains me
Reminds me
Its ebb and flow
Cove’s stillness
Ocean storm violence
Have been here much longer than I
Longer than any of us

The amoeba the shark
Even the desert scorpion
Would not be
Without a drop

But that’s too deep
Too unfathomable
Will drive me to distraction

I walk by shorelines
Lake River Bay Sound Ocean
I am alive
I am grateful for the peace
I find in the murmur
By the water

sandy bottom

On Thanksgiving, we had guests and we ate a lot. On Friday, we couldn’t move, and half of those guests returned and we ate some more. On Saturday after two days of sitting around eating and bloating, we said, enough!  Plus it was a gorgeous day and unlikely to be too many more of these for some time.

Sandy Bottom is a nice little nature park tucked into the middle of Hampton, VA’s urban sprawl.  We love to go hike the trails, especially around the lake. Although the sound of traffic is loud enough to drown out conversation on one side of the lake.

Toots had something very important to tell her daddy on the fishing pier.

Someone is about to outgrow someone else. He is carrying his trusty Batman compendium of the old 60s television series.

There is a harmony in autumn, and a lustre in its sky.
~ Percy Bysshe Shelley

Two teens not quite growing like the trees.

My loves. Until moments before this shot, guess who had the bag of drinks  and stuff, camera and curious dog on a leash? Hint: I am not in the picture.

Toots wanted high piggie tails today. They are bouncing.

The rest and view deck on the opposite side of the lake from the fishing pier. There were ducks.

Someone started to get tired. She didn’t nap since Wednesday.

I love this guy. He is always seeking to learn. Just not always at school or while doing homework.

Love this girl. She is tracing her fingers in the sand.

I love this guy, too. He does not love having his picture taken.

Dog greeting committee: Their black one’s name was Lucy, too, just like ours!

A little artsy at the end of the day. I loved the long shadows.

Post Navigation