musings in mayhem

writer, mom, tutor, superwoman

Archive for the tag “beauty”

flowers


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I have been experiencing technical difficulties with my old laptop. In the meantime, I have been taking a lot of pics of flowers blooming around my yard and outside Toots’s school via Instagram as I runaround in my day to day, as I am now back to, if a bit slower than I was before my accident in March.

For some reason, I was unable to crop out the Instagram stuff in my computer programs or in WordPress. One of these days, I will figure it out. 

Anyway, things down here in Virginia have been blooming madly and sweetly and it makes me happy to see.

Also we adopted another kitty. She is teeny tiny for a 7 month old, and about a third the size of Sasha. We are at the end of her med run and quarantine for kennel cough, but she still has a stuffy nose and sneezes. Toots keeps letting her out. Cecilia is ready to explore and make friends with Sasha, but we have to contain her just a bit more. She is full of spark.

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 I can’t wait until we can let her out of Toots’s room for good. 

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death of a poet laureate

Walter E. Butts, W. E. Butts, Wally. Old friend.

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photo source, drunkenboat.com

New Hampshire’s Poet Laureate has passed with absolutely no fanfare. I can’t find an article in my google searching.

His Wikipedia has been updated, though no mention of how he passed.

In a way, this is fitting for a man who was very private while he publicly wrote from his deepest self.

When I first moved to Boston in the fall of 1989, I sought out poetry readings and found him sitting at a corner table upstairs at Green Street Grille/Charlie’s Tap in the Stone Soup Poets run by Jack Powers. Wally was among the first and most influential people I met there. Later, two other poets who also became big in my life joined him, and I eventually dubbed them The Triumverate. They helped me find my poetic voice, whittled it down for me, and made me laugh a lot in my early days in Boston as a poet. They were Peter Kidd and Bill Kemmett. I will always remember them affectionately, but mostly it was Wally.

Wally treated me like his daughter, and talked a lot about his love for his daughter with me, as she and I were about the same age. I got the feeling their relationship, at times, was estranged, but after a visit with her, his whole spirit would be lit up and his distinctive laughter would burst out of him like a bull honking during mating or an old crow signaling others of a roadside kill. Tears streamed out from behind his thick glasses when he laughed. Peter and Bill, along with Dick Martin and James de Crescentis and occasionally Vincent Ferrini or some another visiting poet would join them, and I was mesmerized. I spent more time at that table in the back even when Stone Soup moved to TT the Bear’s, with a bunch of middle aged and a couple of old men, than I did listening to the poets on stage. Though we did listen. They respected the younger poets, and enjoyed their progress. I just happened to bask in their experience and turn of words, and occasionally felt I could keep up with them, but probably mostly entertained them as a hubris filled 23-29 year old. It was they, and again, mostly Wally, who said I had what it takes.

And then I had kids and largely disappeared from the scene, and Wally moved up to New Hampshire, joining Peter Kidd at the base of the White Mountains, and our lives took divergent paths. Wally became became Poet Laureate, and I started focusing more on my kids and fiction and wound up being a ball hit off a bat from the Boston area to southern Virginia.

Life is strange and unexpected, but I found Wally again about a year ago, and we emailed briefly, promising to keep in touch. He sounded happy. Happier than I ever knew him. We didn’t really keep in touch.

Wally was one of the most sensitive souls I ever knew. He shared it with the world in his poetry. He wasn’t a complainer, he wrote his depths like no one else, and everyone could relate. I will always consider him my poetic father. And Peter and Bill, to a degree, too. but mostly Wally.

I was lucky to know them when I did.

In about 1991, I wrote this awkward poem to him, when he was about the age I am now: photo (7)

I knew he was going through some big stuff at the time, but didn’t know what. But it bore him down.

I leave this remembrance with one of his poems from the days I knew him, from his Chapbook on Igneus Press, The Required Dance:

How We Pray

We walk through a place
where men sleep in elegant cars,
and voices flutter onto the street
like magnolias across a lawn.
At the Baptist Church, women
sing “Jesus. Jesus. Jesus.”
My three year old child
wants to know what those people
are doing. I tell her this
is how we pray, and then the spirit has faith in its body.
That is why there is dancing.
A hymn demands we go to a mountain.
The gleam of sweating faces,
and rhythm of clapping hands
will take us there. Not poverty,
need for grace is what
we believe. My daughter,
rich from her mother’s country,
doesn’t notice her father lives poor,
but understands flowers rise
from the mouths of the forgotten.

 

Postlude

A dear old friend emailed this to me on April 8:

http://thisweekinraymond.com/walter-butts-poet-laureate-of-new-hampshire-p1688-131.htm

she’s 5

Happy birthday, Toots!

chloe 5Easter dress Roller derby girl because Honey wanted to protect his little girl now that she has a big girl bike.

roller derby easter 5

Five things about Toots in honor of her fifth birthday:

1. She is a delight both day and night. Except when she’s not, because she is normal, but even then, she is so darned cute, aw forget it. She is a delight both day and night.

2. She makes up songs about everything and nothing. Her breakfast, imaginary friends, how much she loves you, whoever you is at any given moment, and whatever she likes at any given moment.

3. Purple is her favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavoriteSUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUperfavorite color in the whole wide world.

4. Look at that perfect point in the Easter dress roller derby pic. She is as flexible as I used to be. I should start her in dance. Maybe she has matured enough not to run around and around the whole room by now and will listen to the teacher.

5. She’s smart, she’s observant, manipulative, adorable, charming, shall I go on?

I love her. She’s my girl. She’s Daddy’s girl, too.

Happy birthday, Toots, my littlest.

white throated sparrow

Jets fly overhead, blasting us with noise,
Rumbling our bones, and we tune that out, too.

But a birdsong, a flit, an unseasonal aah!
So tiny, so inconsequential
to starting the car and rushing about,
I cannot let it go.

Lately, I have tried, but an unfamiliar bird,
white stripe by his eye has crossed my path so many times,
as if to say, hello! I am here!
Don’t you want to know me?
So much so, that yes, yes I do.

In this age of instant gratification, I go searching on the internet,
And wish I knew where my ornithology book was,
wish I had to hunt through the library for Audubon’s giant tome,
lug the tome to a table and flip the illustrated pages,
smell the musty age of pages,
just to slow down a bit more because
don’t we need this?

Don’t we need to be wrong and curious,
don’t we need to stop, light up,
don’t we need to let go of this rubberband life
and be present for an hour, a minute, a day?

We live too much for our slow DNA souls
and a bird needs us to wink
And say hello, because he is singing
the universe’s song in our backyards.

We need to feel the breeze,
even in winter, blow through our hair,
not because we create a wake of it behind us,
but because we must live in it now
to know the world goes on without us.
We are not so important as a white throated sparrow.

I must stop, hear his cheery, melancholy
Old Sam Peabody, Peabody.
Old Sam Peabody, Peabody.

Because to take this moment,
this reminder to live,
to know joy and love in a birdsong, a flit,
is everything.

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.

 

 

 

 

we begin again

We all miss Babette very much.

Toots asked sweetly if we could get a new cat. Captain Comic looked at me with big sad eyes and asked what he was going to do when he needed soft. My heart ached for a cat, I expected Babette in all the usual places. A small furry haunting giving us approval for wanting to continue her catness.

I have a friend who had to give up an older cat over a year ago. She had been fostered all this time and in and out of display at Petsmart through the Isle of Wight Humane Society, a no kill organization. She is 10 years old and solid black, two strikes against her in cat adoption, so I wanted to help. I called and left a message, didn’t hear back. On Saturday, I felt a pull to go to Petsmart to see if she was there again. Captain Comic was having a rough morning, doing more than the usual wandering in circles and hovering, so I took him and a cat carrier, just in case, when I dropped Mr. Cynic off at work at his new job with Kroger.

My friend’s cat wasn’t there, but they had half grown kittens in nearly every kennel. Captain and I decided to call the number on a couple of the kittens’ cards for the foster homes. The first call wasn’t available. My heart sank a little, but I thought, it is too soon, after all. I called the next number, and the woman the other end said the one we asked her about was already reserved. I asked about my friend’s cat’s status and that we were interested in her, and she said, “Oh, she was just adopted by a lovely family!  I am so happy for her!”

Having known that cat , she asked what we were looking for – a cat that could tolerate a small terrier on the chase, overly affectionate fourteen year old with Asperger’s and four year old girl. She then asked me if I had noticed the black 5.5 month old kitten named Salem.

He was tucked in the back corner of his kennel, and did not seem happy to be there, but looked very chill, like, “I may not like it here, but I’ve got this.”  Just a pair of spring leaf green eyes blinking in a shadow. The woman on the phone said, “Have you had a chance to see his tail yet? It is very regal.”

The woman on phone said she was on her way there, anyway, with more kittens and to run the adoption on the other kitty, could we meet her back there in about an hour or so?

Captain Comic and I were so excited, and  I wanted to confer with Honey (really for formality’s sake) and on the way home, Captain Comic and I were already falling in love.

Needless to say, I grabbed Honey and Toots after eating some lunch, and we headed back there to adopt him. The many tiny kittens that had arrived were a huge distraction for the kids, but we managed to adopt the older kitten for whom we returned.

 

He has basically been under Toots’s bed, sequestered in her room from Lucy, the terrorizing terrier since. Also under the bed with him almost constantly have been Toots and Captain Comic. And me, too, from time to time.

He purrs when we scritchy scratchy under his ears and chin. That tail is so regal, he made me think of a Russian Czar with a big fur collar. I asked Toots if she liked the name Sasha (a diminutive of Alexander in Russia – I read way too many 19th Century Russian novels in college). She immediately loved it for him, though she has a little trouble pronouncing it.

We’re letting him acclimate, and he seems to be warming up. We love our Sasha already. And he doesn’t seem to mind us, too much. This morning he came out of hiding and allowed Toots and me to pet him a bunch. He loves to be stroked long along his back and tail, he rolls and purrs into our hands. 

 

He even ate in front of a small audience. He may just decide to keep us, too.

 

 

 

 

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.

connecticut

After picking up our old stuff in MA, we headed a little south to Connecticut, the state where both Honey and I grew up, though we met in Massachusetts many many many moons later. He was a city boy in New Haven. I grew up south of there in more suburban bucolia. We both grew up on Long Island Sound.

We visited his brother, sister, niece and the rest of their family, including the two adorable little boy cousins who are closest to Toots’s age, but are the next generation. Funny how these things work out, huh? Toots is definitely a second stage of life baby. Her oldest cousins of her generation on both sides are in their twenties. My brothers’ and my kids are spread out pretty evenly from 23 down to 4. But I’m getting lost in my thoughts here, so pictures! Alas, I only seemed to get shots of her little cousins at Honey’s niece’s place.

Again with the two camera loads into the gallery, one of these days I will figure out how to reorder. From the cell camera, we have the little New Haven cousins and Honey’s sister, who is about to have a third grandson!  We had a nice afternoon visit on their father’s birthday, and then we scooted down to my parents’ house where that pic of my brothers and me from 1975 sits out for everyone to view that incredible wardrobe. 🙂

In the mid-80s, my dad, a big tennis player, built a soft court in the backyard. It’s a little hard to keep it up now that he hasn’t played regularly  since his knees and serving shoulder have given up the game, and the berry brambles are taking over from the borders of the yard. Toots loved picking berries with Papa and me and on her own. Mostly the groundhog, deer and birds have eaten the easiest berries to reach.

We retrieved the boys, and visited with my brothers and their families. The younger cousins picked berries together and roamed the yard, and the older cousins talked bands and such. We ate and laughed and shared old misadventures from when we were growing up. Then we got back on the road home and Toots crossed her eyes, and the boys huddled in the back and we crossed the Delaware then Bertha crossed the 100K mark, and eventually we arrived home.

But the day before we got the boys back, my old friend, also named Cathy -we’ve known each other since second grade when one of us was drawing the other’s name in the back baseball field dirt of the school I had just moved to and the other said, hey how did you know my name, and we can’t remember who was which Cathy in that fateful meeting – took Honey, Toots and I and her son to the beach where we grew up.

It was high tide, and that beach has always been popular, but holy cow, not as crowded as that day. But the boats and the swings and the sand and the Sound were the same, though the pavillion has grown and they’ve put weird breakers up in front of it so it seems the pavillion has eaten up half the beach, but I still loved it.We still had a beautiful day, catching little fish in buckets and playing in the sand and chasing sea foam and shooing gulls from our snacks, and just hanging out.

While things change, some things never do, and my daughter played on my beach the same way I did, and some things, like the wind and the sea and the sand rolling into each other are constant, and can always be counted on, even as I move away and grow up and become two families and then one, always one, because these are the things that matter, which is why I didn’t really get pictures of when my family was all together, and I am grateful they are still where I grew up, even if I am too far for many visits.

And that is the end of our epic Summer 2012 East Coast journey north that was only five days, but was just packed. I have the boys back, and we’re revving up to school already, making preparations.

I hope your summer has been full of wide open spaces and adventures and long hazy days, beaches, blue sky, berries, big rains, lightning bugs and night peepers.

little beauties

Apologies for pause in posting while I’ve been writing and summering.

Today is brutally hot here in Virginia again. I guess I’ll grow accustomed to the oppressive heat eventually. I maintain, I’d rather be housebound due to a proper snowstorm than due to heat. The sunshine is such a tease.

Wandering the yard with the hose, I ran into a lovely little blue tailed lizard.

He was too fast for me to capture a picture. If you click on this one, you will learn a bit about him from the source website of this pic. He was so skinkin’ cute! (I had to)

The following are my own pictures of little beauties I grew:

I want to eat this morning glory, it is so delicate and beautiful.

Slowly, a vining begins to establish itself.

I have been trying to grow this Japanese maple for years. My father gave me a sapling from my childhood home in Connecticut.

Can’t remember the name of this decorative grass flowering thing. A friend had too much in her yard and shared about four or five of them with me.

Crepe Myrtles are busting out everywhere here. They smell like cinnamon Necco Wafers. I have some saplings of purple from the same friend who gave me the grasses above, I can’t wait until they bloom. In the meantime, the whites of my established trees are really gorgeous, too.

Thanks for stopping by in my little corner of the world.

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