musings in mayhem

writer, mom, tutor, superwoman

Archive for the tag “mayhem”

life and stuff

Thank you for reading or following my blog. Some of you have been with me since I started it when Toots was a baby.

Things have ramped up beyond the usual mayhem in the past year, and I have been pretty spotty in my posts. At this point, I am considering at least a semi-permanent breather if not completely ending the blog in this form.

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All three kids graduated this June: Mr. Cynic from High School, Captain Comic from Middle School, and Toots from Preschool. They are all starting big things in the fall and have activities all summer.  College, High School, and Kindergarten. It’s a big time for us all.

I still take pictures almost constantly, never did upgrade to a better camera. I am still seeking a publisher for my children’s novel, and working on a couple of new projects, though my time has been very full with the kids, life and stuff that my writing focus has fallen off for a while. I’ll get back to it, just a lot of focus on the spawn these days.

Who knows? I may post an occasional poem here from time to time. Or I may decide to reorient to more of a writing blog in general.   All I know is at some point, this became something that I felt obligated to do, then couldn’t keep it up as I would have liked to.

I still get out to appreciate nature:

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I’ve just lost the focus to regularly post, and don’t want to leave you all wondering why I stopped.

Thanks for keeping me company since May 2009. Much love to you all.

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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. 

18

Something of a rush of days and years has led to this moment. Well, really, to Sunday.

A womb cocooned time prior to that day for his bedrest pregnancy and suddenly, years, an entire childhood has gone by and he can vote in the next election. He is preparing to leave for college. He has spent the last two 2nd half of the weeks out of the house for Choral field trips. Last weekend in a competition in DC with his school’s Jazz Choir, also a day this week out of town competing with his school’s Jazz Band, and this weekend he is in the All-Virginia Choir in Richmond. He has a job.

How does this happen?

Here he is at 5, his little sister’s age, enjoying/putting up with a trip on Papa’s sailboat on a hot and windless day on Long Island Sound in August 2000.

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It is very him.

I am very proud of who he is, though I kid and call him Mr. Cynic. He is a well-rounded, talented, smart, compassionate, and passionate young man. He has grown up exactly how I wanted him to, with his eye on goals, his heart in tune with the world around him and ready to be a force for good.

18 for 18

1. Mr. Cynic is a loyal friend.

2. He doesn’t put up with crap.

3. He questions everything that should be questioned.

4. He plays 3 instruments and sings.

5. He writes songs. They’re catchy.

6. He was a pretty little guy, and he’s grown into a handsome young dude.

7. As a toddler, when he ran, he ran looking behind him and would run into walls, because he liked how the wind felt rushing through his hair. I guess he wanted to see it, too.

8. Mr. Cynic has a huge heart.

9. He speaks a secret language with Toots, consisting completely of raspberries.

10. He reluctantly and loudly puts up with Captain Comic, but if anyone else treats him with anything other than respect, he becomes as protective as their Mama Bear.

11. He strums, a lot, behind closed doors.

12. He will sing and play for anyone else, but hides it in the house.

13. But I hear him.

14. His head is on straight. I don’t think he’ll get into too much of the stupidity that some of us go through in college.

15. He knows he can call me if he does, and I won’t kill him. I’ll just let his conscience take care of that for me.

16. He has weathered many ups and downs and challenges in his young life. I think he’ll be able to handle anything life throws at him.

17. He’s at the edge of the nest, and while I want to go ahead and shove him out, I want to hold him near just a little while longer. Get in as many hugs as he’ll endure. Tell him how much he really is loved and how that will never change.

18. Something new is coming for him. And it’s him.

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break

My attentions are elsewhere, so I apologize for not posting consistently of late. I continue to find respite and gratitude daily while dealing with quite a bit that is beyond my control.

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Treasure moments of peace. I will be more consistent at a later time.

accidents will happen

Apologies to Elvis Costello as I give a brief update, since I really shouldn’t be sitting up at the computer:

Much has been going on here in the land of mayhem, and then a car accident, and I was hurt, no blood, no bones, but I hurt ten days later. A lot. Working on some things, and I start physical therapy on Monday.

While I was trying to heal and rest and being on meds, Mr. Cynic similarly got into another accident within days of mine. So now we have two totaled vehicles.

Working on figuring out everything, moving forward, while trying not to move, but the mayhem continues, and so must I. But I shouldn’t quite yet.

I can laugh about some of this, but it hurts. But the good news is I can laugh.

Writing is currently on hold, except I decided to toss the sermon I was working on for months and had several drafts. That’s right, chucking it completely. After the two car accidents, I found “the piercing arrow” that is discussed in writing circles. Now I have about two weeks to get it right. It’s okay, most of my better work has been produced under the pressure of a deadline. It’s epiphanous.

As Samuel Beckett said,

I must go on. I can’t go on. I’ll go on.

 

 

 

 

 

not exactly quiet

I know I’ve been pretty quiet on the blog lately.

The obvious place to start is with my grief over the loss of our dear sweet Lucy. It was so sudden, I think I’ve only begun to process it. I am not in a complete fog, walking through molasses and crying at the drop of a hat now. I think it piggybacked our autumn loss of Babette, which was within a week of the loss of my mother’s last living sister, and I couldn’t make it to the funeral. I lost a couple weeks of normal, quieter in some ways. In the meantime, we have been busier than usual in others.

Wrestling season ended for Captain Comic, but not before the number of hours spent in gyms across the Bay Rivers District increased exponentially.
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I am proud of him for trying hard, and always being game for a tough 1st season in the sport. Next year, maybe he’ll win a match from time to time.

Mr Cynic and I have been traveling to colleges and auditions for their music departments and Scholars Competitions, etc. and to have a look around. That has been a couple of adventures in traveling to Boston and to western Virginia.  That has been a bit of roller coaster of pressure, comic mayhem, not so comic mayhem, seeing good friends and my niece, sleeping on sofas, floors,  random beds and hotel rooms. We crossed many bridges, literally and figuratively.

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In the meantime, he has been involved in the Bay Rivers District Choir, and auditioned and won a spot in the All-Virginia Choir! The performance for that is the same weekend as his birthday in Richmond, at the end of April.

Toots is forever Toots, and a spark in our lives, and she apparently has a preschool boyfriend. I told her teacher on Valentine’s Day, that when I asked her who she loves after writing the family valentines, she answered, “D—?” sheepishly, knowing she should have said at least one family member in the context of the conversation. It was adorable. She also has been wanting to invite him over for sleepovers for a couple of months now.  The teacher cracked up and then told me she is always trying to get them to sit with other friends or at recess to play with other friends, but the two of them are stuck like glue everyday. I asked Toots at one point what she likes about D– so much and she answered, “because he is kind.” I couldn’t be happier, honestly, that she has found a best friend who is kind regardless of gender.

She has also been getting into trouble a lot at home, but she is approaching five, seeking independence or when we are preoccupied, seeking attention by plugging the sink, flooding the bathroom and soaking herself from head to toe. Or by poking the bear: Captain Comic, by doing the exact things she knows will trigger a negative response from him. Kazoos and pennywhistles she earns for good behavior in preschool are a big tool of torture for the noise sensitive Aspie.

But she is still our girl and how could we ever stay mad at this:

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One day, I will remember to hold this smartphone horizontally while recording…

Meanwhile, in the writing department, I have started sending out queries to agents, and the rejections have started coming in. At least I’m starting at the top:

1st rejection

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.

 

the amazing sasha

About 6 or so weeks ago, we adopted a kitten, Sasha, after our old lady Babette died. It took a while for him to come out of hiding because:

1. We locked him in Toots’s bedroom with all his accoutrement to acclimate to his new surroundings without having to deal with the Terrorizing Terrier.

2. We took a while to settle on keeping the outer garage pet door closed and just let Lucy out the back door when she needs to go, other than her walks, rather than blow $120 or more dollars on a magnetic door and collar for Lucy.

3. Toots and Captain Comic terrorized him with their love and curiosity. I’m just glad that didn’t kill him.

4. After I moved Sasha’s box and food to the garage beyond the inner pet door, he stayed out there in the storage stuff (we have no basement, living as we do, on a Coastal Plain) and we couldn’t find him, but his food disappeared and his box had regular evidence of use. I maintain, he became invisible for about a week or so. Cat’s have magical powers.

5. Lucy is still chasing him when he appears periodically anywhere in the house besides the bedrooms. That dog lives up to her breeding, even if she is a mix, she is all terrier. She chases anything smaller than her and some things that aren’t, Toots for instance.

There’s a cat in here somewhere, I can smell him!

6. So are Toots and Captain Comic. And loving him with a death grip that he weirdly relaxes into.

Anyway, he is starting to show his true playful kitten personality, and it turns out he is quite an active and clever cat, besides a stunningly gorgeous black ball of fluff with a tail bigger than himself. He has come up with some tricks.

I will wear a pair of jeans for a couple of days, if sticky peanut butter, etc hands haven’t left their mark. I laid the day old pair with items in pockets on my bed with my outfit the other morning, and Sasha deftly, and just for kicks picked my pockets.   He removed my lip balm first, and took it for a tour of the bedroom floor. Then he hopped back up and picked out the spare pair of ear plugs I usually keep on me for Captain Comic, when he needs to dampen the noise around him. I took it from him, telling him, no, he can’t eat plastic, while he was in the process of disemboweling the package to get to its guts. He immediately proceeded to remove, one at a time, two dimes and a quarter from my pocket.

I just wanted to get dressed, people. I did not think I was training a trick cat.

Last night, he came up with a new trick.

He hopped off the bed and closed the bedroom door, then he mewed and clawed under it like he wanted to get out of the room. I dragged my sleepy disgruntled self out of bed and opened the door for him, and tried to keep Lucy away from him, because, since the cat was on the move, the terrier had to be on the chase. Most nights they stay pretty well on the bed in different quadrants separated by two sets of human legs.

I managed to settle Lucy down back on Honey’s side of the bed. She’s really supposed to be in her crate right next to the bed, moved up from downstairs a couple of years ago because of the all night pleading barking and cage rattling she goes through periodically. We’re both suckers.

I got back under the covers, and almost had a chance to rewarm my pillow, when, sound of door being pushed closed, mews and clawing at door and rug. I got up, and here we go again. This time, I picked up Sasha and placed him outside the bedroom door, held Lucy back with my foot, so that Sasha might descend the stairs in peace, and he swished his pretty self back into the bedroom and behind the door. Settled dog, settled back into bed, wonder what that kooky cat was up to. Sound of door closing, mews, and scratching of wood and carpet.

By then, I wanted to kill him, I really need my sleep. But I would never kill a cat, especially one as clever and pretty as he.

I think we went through a few more rounds of what was clearly a game he was enjoying before I was able to get back to any semblance of sleep.

Clearly I have adopted a Trickster cat.

I needed that much more mayhem to bring me even more joy to my life.

 

off the rails

Since Captain Comic’s wrestling started, my schedule, as well as stuff for all of my progeny, has officially gone off the rails.

I’ve managed to hold the reins of the runaway train for a good long while and at least keep it on the track, but that time is over.

The horse power has run amuck. So amuck is that horse power that my train metaphor has turned into a wild stampede.

Yesterday, was a no school day, which SHOULD have slowed things down a little, but no.

I was going to take Captain Comic in for lab work early in the morning because he had to fast and so he would not miss school.

I told him not to eat anything at least 12 times between the night before and yesterday morning, then suddenly, from another room, my awareness grew of the sound of a spoon clinking rhythmically in a cereal bowl.

So that was out.

I was supposed to go to a preschool Parent-Teacher Conference for Toots at 9:30, but that went off my radar sometime before the lab work fiasco.

I took Captain Comic to see a dermatologist to deal with his acne, during which time, Grandma dropped Mr. Cynic off at work, which was after his driving lesson that I made him come home earlier from, because  I wasn’t certain when Grandma was due back in the house to look after Toots while I was the Captain’s appointment.

Then I had to drop off prescriptions, which weren’t going to be ready for lalala time, so then I drove Captain Comic to the late wrestling practice which was a workout equivalent to two days worth in two hours. It was awesome, and it completely wore him out.

This overlapped into my belly dance class I usually attend on Monday evenings, which was going to make me late for a one shot gardening class in another town which i really wanted to attend to help me with soil PH balancing, which is something I’ve been having a lot of difficulty with since my move south.

By the time I got home from wrestling and picking up the prescriptions, and stuffed some food in me, I knew there was something I was forgetting, but didn’t see the email that I missed the gardening class til this morning, which was around when Honey glanced at the calendar and saw the PTC appointment for yesterday morning.

It’s okay, though, because I still had to pick Mr. Cynic up from bagging groceries at 8pm, right in the middle of the gardening class. And then I was reminded that the few of us who are friends who were going to attend the class together had planned, at my inspiration, to go for margaritas after the class.

I was notified there was dancing.

So that was yesterday, which included the cat box being so neglected our new kitty has taken to using the space next to it to pee, which is under the desk in the garage where Captain Comic has his Art Studio, the floor of which is covered in tiny scraps of paper I asked him to sweep up last night. I need to hide the scissors from that boy again.

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So this morning, I woke up extra early (5:30) stuffed some coffee in my face, told Mr. Cynic to take the bus instead of walk to school before dawn in the pummeling rain, and drove the Capt to get his lab work done before school, hit Starbucks to get him some breakfast, dropped him off at school with a bottle of water and told him to refill it at least three times so that he might make calibration at wrestling this afternoon, and zipped home before Honey had to go to work, thank goodness, or he was going to drive Toots to me at the Labcorp near his office.

Then I started laundry, cleaned the cat box, the mess around the cat box and washed the dog.

Then I ate my lonely three hour old croissant from Starbucks while typing this and grinding my teeth from the latte after the two home mugs earlier, and now i am trying to sort out in my head how i am going to make it throught the rest of today, organize the Time Space Continuum in relation to my family, called Honey to tell him I may cry or have a breakdown today, and then there is college application process to stay on top of with Mr. Cynic, a new hygiene and med regimen for Captain Comic, a driving lesson, a bass lesson, and a parent meeting for the wrestling team when we usually eat dinner….

And nano? HAHAHAHAHAHAHAAahahahahaa….

nanowrimo

Shucks, I have neglected posting pics and telling stories from Halloween adventures, etc, but….

I swore I was never going to do it again.

I swore this is process is not conducive to how I write.

I have tried this little challenge twice before and only driven myself crazy while mayhem increased ten-fold around here with household epidemics of flu and colds and viruses galore.

I swore I learned my lesson and would never do it again under any circumstances.

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Yet, after professing much cheerleaderness to many friends who are participating, I got a waft of its heady perfume and became transfixed. On Day 2.

So I am a few thousand words behind, swore I will just use it to play, but in playing, I think I really do have something worth pursuing, and it’s another children’s novel.

What is wrong with me?!

Well, nothing really, I was bogged down in the edits of my ongoing manuscript, and I craved a little more creative freedom.

I am using it to get back in the habit of daily writing, of exercising my imagination, and I do not care if I make the 1667 words per day that nano made me insane with before.

Now the only thing driving me crazy is that I can only focus on the joy of this new little story in bits and pieces throughout my days of Continuous Interruptus.  And a little guilt that I am not wholly focused on the old project to finish its Draft 4.

But it’s not a lot of guilt. I feel like this is going to free up my brain a little bit so that when I do focus on the other project, I can be more creative where I’ve been stuck for so long.

Besides, I usually only give those edits a few hours once or twice a week at most lately even before Nanowrimo.

Why not add to the mayhem? At least this time, it’s for me.

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