musings in mayhem

writer, mom, tutor, superwoman

Archive for the tag “music”

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.
2013.18. various and sundry 0152013.18. various and sundry 0162013.18. various and sundry 0212013.18. various and sundry 034

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.

2013.18. various and sundry 005 2013.18. various and sundry 007 2013.18. various and sundry 010 2013.18. various and sundry 013 2013.18. various and sundry 059

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:

toots 2013.2.17

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


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.


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!

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.


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….

squeaky wheel


Too long since I’ve poemed,
but this morning I saw a globe sunrise in the north.
It turned out to be a reflection,
the ceiling light in the kitchen window pane.
An illusion to muse by after
too long wandering in the wondering wilderness.

Only a little truth lives above, I have
stepped to practical steps around the kids.
A cup of coffee before the day, a hustle, a bustle
some seasons by moonlight, in that moonlight
sometimes daylight, sometimes halflight of storms,
I’ve been shuffling and dragging.
My body gets older, my mind gets foggy,
the earth rotates through light and dark.
Suddenly the days have carouseled the sun.
I was lost in orbit, a stationary mare.

Words dim elevator music at the dentist’s office,
in the grocery store, the labor room, and parent teacher conferences.

Love and heartbreak and ocean waves constant
unyielding beauty still walk with me through
practical steps. No sestinas,
a few improvised limericks and laughter
words clicking their heels, rolling their vowels
in the back of my mind like an old melody I could never cut loose.

Not anymore.


This is the first time I have tried to grow begonias.

I had heard legends of how temperamental and sensitive they are to grow. How they must be coaxed to grow, coddled, and reverenced to bloom.

Begonia growers I have known are selfish beasts who wish to keep this kind of beauty all to themselves, apparently.

There are begonias blooming under my begonias. I water them when I remember to do so, haphazardly.


Photo: begonias are blooming under the begonias!


They are as showy and layered as peonies and roses, but not nearly so delicate. Their petals are tough and waxy, solid, stolid, even.

They are Stevie Nicks, Imogen Heap.

No they are the Joan Jett of phanerogams. They are gorgeous, would ride a Harley, wear no perfume.

Begonias. Ah!


mr. cynic

Saturday is Mr. Cynic’s birthday.

I was talking with my friend Joe the other day.  He has known me since before I had kids, and seemed just about as thrilled to hold the newborn who became Mr. Cynic, as I was  – even as he grumbled, humoring me about washing his hands with anti-bacterial soap.

I was a new mom, whaddya want?

Anyway, Joe said, “17?! That’s no joke!”

Thanks, Joe, yes I am old enough to have a 17 year old. Older in fact, he didn’t make me a mom until I was 29.

This Mr. Cynic business was always a part of him. 1996, in Maine, flipping the bird, oh so subtly.

But he really always was a beautiful and sensitive boy. Later, 1996, at grandparents in Connecticut, the house where I grew up.

Just don’t tell him I told you he is sensitive. “Mom.” 2003, Massachusetts

A couple of elementary pictures from Massachusetts days. See what I mean? Beautiful and cynical, or is it skeptical?

There was a long long-haired period that started after the 4th grade pic on the right.

This is basically what I see of him now:

Only usually wearing a black rock band tshirt.

17 things about Mr. Cynic:

1. When it comes down to it, he’s really got a big heart.

2. Just don’t mention The Bush Years around him.

3. He claims to be doubly cursed with short genes. It’s probably true, but he and I both still hold some hope after his recent bone age test. My father grew taller after he graduated high school. Mr. Cynic may, too.

4. He goes about accomplishing things in his own way and time. Take his Driver’s License for instance, still in the permit stage, since he was 15.

5. But he does pretty much kill it academically.

6. We’re exploring braces. He doesn’t really seem to care one way or the other.

7. There is only one path he is considering: rock star. And he is serious about. Very serious about it. Berklee College of Music is his only college consideration at the moment. I have tried to broaden, but nope.

8. But when he was 4 he wanted to be a world famous marine biologist and paleontologist and discover the largest prehistoric whale remains somewhere in a desert.

9. He takes bass lessons, is self-teaching guitar, writes songs and is about to embark upon teaching himself keyboard. Yes, that is his birthday present.

10. He has also been writing books and worlds since he first imagined fighting dragons or riding them as a little one.

11. He shoots zombies. a lot.

12. He is quite erudite.

13. But silly, and likes cute bunnies. Mostly tigers – White Siberian Tigers – and wolves.  He seems to identify with those cool-headed, ruthless canines.

14. Grudgingly does what he is asked, but always does it, eventually.

15. Has a few really good friends and gives everyone a chance.

16. Mr. Cynic roots for and defends the underdog, even his brother, Captain Comic. except when he is annoying.

17. He has a special bond with Toots. Who knew having kids 13 years apart could work out so well for them?

I am proud to say that he is my kid. I think I did alright with this one.

Happy Birthday, Kiddo. I love you.


Me: Toots, Mr. Cynic is probably in Disney World right now. I dropped him off for the bus to the plane for his Jazz Choir trip in the middle of the night.
Toots: (three octave leap) WEALLY?! I want to go to Disney, too! Tan I go, too, Mommy?
Me: Not right now, sweetie, but we’ll see what we can do to go some other time.
Toots: AOooow. I wannu go now.
Me: I know, honey, sorry.
Toots: Betause they hab ALL de pincesses, and Middy Mouse and Minnie Mouse and I tan hug them!! Wouldn’t dat be geat?!
Me: (chuckles) Yes it would, Toots.


This past weekend, Honey and I started the stripping, power-washing, sanding and milk-painting of Toots’s new big girl bed, which will be her upcoming birthday present. A local friend had this project sitting in her garage long enough for her kids to grow up and then it sat in ours for a couple of years, too. Finally, we got to it. Toots was an excellent helper during the process. It took most of the weekend to get one set of head and footboards completed. On Saturday, St Patrick’s Day, Captain Comic made a brief appearance to ask what we were doing then disappeared. Mr. Cynic, the stealth teen, never appeared. I think a few grunts from the sofa and from the computer matched his vocal register over the course of the weekend. Guitar jangles and some singing were heard from on high, as well…from the deep recesses of The  Mess Which Doth Not Subside aka the boys’ room upstairs.

Toots even took a couple of photos above! Then she acted the Pin-up and wanted her pic taken. We’re in trouble later, aren’t we?


Yesterday, my writing group got down to business very quickly, and it was just what I needed! I finally FINISHED Draft Three of my manuscript!!!!

I will let it sit a couple of weeks or so, let my usual readers peruse it, and then assess whether it really is ready to be sent out. Then it is query letter time.

The best part about this stage of the writing is I think I will have more brain space and patience for my family, as I am so less frustrated with the writing process mingled with family and work, etc.

And then I will start something new! Because, I wouldn’t be me if I weren’t up to something.

Post Navigation