musings in mayhem

writer, mom, tutor, superwoman

Archive for the tag “mother nature”

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. 

poem in one shot

 

It’s dark today. And wet.
But the greens and roses glow like living ghosts
refusing to give in.
The day is brooding and nostalgic,
Makes me think of springs to come and so many
that are imprinted like film negatives, carried with me,
For all my days, gathering wrinkled currents.

The wet lovely petals shining on the pavement
Of Commonwealth Avenue;
The sense of hope of the road before me
And all that was to come has come.
Some of it has gone, but so little, really.

I am full, my heart sings to the ghosts of hope
And it springs eternal,
The roses, the new green leaves glow.

snow

We went to Connecticut to visit with my parents and all the cousins between Christmas and New Year – the big post Christmas Coley Christmas, because that is the way we roll: two days in the car for a one day visit.

With the dog hopping from lap to lap.

We had lots of fun and Toots was very excited about the snow.

This is what winter looks like in Southeastern VA

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Toots, fresh out of the car in Connecticut, and so excited to see snow

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Immediate snow angel making night of arrival

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She’s just thrilled about her accomplishment

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“Yummy snow is so YUMMY!”

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Dawn over my parents’ back yard. I really grew up in a pretty place.

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Lucy loved the snow, too.

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Papa broke out the old Flexible Flyer and a slab of bacon to grease the runners.

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Toots would only let me pull her up the hill. She watched me ride down and determined it was too scary after great anticipation for DAYS and the whole ride up. All she wanted to do was go sledding before the actual sledding happened.

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I rode. A lot. and said, “Woohoo!!!”

2013.1.2 ct snow and stuff 063Here are my parents, Gaga and Papa, and all of their grandchildren minus the oldest, my one niece, who was working in Boston. She and Toots bookend five boys. Captain Comic is very silly.

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.

 

 

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.

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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.

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.

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.

 

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