musings in mayhem

writer, mom, tutor, superwoman

Archive for the tag “spring”


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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.


 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.


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.



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

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.


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!


on writing life

1 – Sometimes I need to recognize when to leave well enough alone, hence taking a two week or so break from THE MANUSCRIPT.

2- Sometimes, like spring, I need to concentrate on yard work, which is my giant canvas, instead.

3 – Sometimes, I have to let the kids lead, and stop telling them to stop while I just take care of whatever it is that I am putting before them for the time being. For instance, at this moment, Toots is hitting the brim of my hat with her lip gloss to get my attention while I am typing this.

4 – Sometimes, I just have to take them to the community pool, because it is open, and festivals between here and the beach are causing prohibitive beach bound traffic and it’s too far to travel this late, after the dump run and the yardwork, anyway.

boston and berks

Life is crazy mayhem lately, including kitchen renno (post to come, I won’t say soon, based on how long it took me to get to this one) and trying to manage the garden plots, reconfiguring the flower and bush beds out front and finally planting some vegetables out back, which I am still in the middle of…okay, okay, I’ll get down to business and make it quick, too.

I love Boston. I love it like it’s my spiritual mother, my home, my long lost love, my raison d’etre, my weather report, my seasonal compass. I know its seasons and weather  by the ionic change in the atmosphere, I can tell you exactly when the pussy willows out Beacon, by the Charles Street Extension, just before you reach Kenmore will bloom by it, I can tell you when the tulip trees along Comm Ave will burst in an explosion of petals and when they’ll rain down and coat the sidewalks. I’m giving you spring examples, because this is the current season…but I can also tell you when it will snow, when the February winds will take hold and not let go, when the September leaves will burnish and flame into October by the shift of light and the scent change of metal in the air, the charge of life, the ionic existence of the city I love.

Along  I-90, The Mass Pike, as the Boston City Limits road sign rolled by Bertha’s window, I hooted, I hollered, and then I burst into tears.

My kids and spouse think I am crazy, but that is how much I love this city.

Most of these are taken in Copley Square, where we met friends and my niece for lunch, which was too much to squeeze in, really, and it was great to see all, though our visit was cut even shorter by events that transpired including the passing of a kidney stone by one of our party and a call to 911. It’s not for me to spread their business, or who it was that passed a kidney stone, but this just goes to show, even when the circumstances I set up are mayhemic already, random unrelated mayhem will happen in my vicinity. It’s guaranteed. Life’s an adventure, what can I say. I will ride those three bucking broncos, hanging on by a rope til the day I die. I am well practiced already, so I’ll just keep hanging on and see what happens next.

The purported reason for our ‘side trip’ to Boston on the way to my college reunion in the Berkshires, was to take Mr. Cynic to tour Berklee College of Music, the one place he wants to go. I took no pics, becasue we were too busy keeping the couple of Berzerkers, Toots and Captain Comic from getting into what ever they were going to get into with each other, which wasn’t fun for any of us, and highly distracting for Mr. C. Also it was Freshman registration day and the place was crawling like ants with people who didn’t know where they were going, either, and we had no tour guide, just the gaggle of us and a map with highlights, given to us in the Admissions office.

Needless to say, mayhem. Did I mention that the “campus” is integrated into the city? Luckily, a couple of decades ago, I hung out with a band in the practice rooms a lot, so I had a vague recollection of where buildings were…

A note about the couple of pics at the end of the Boston portion of the gallery, Toots is standing with a lion at the Hynes Convention Center, and he is a fendyee yion and those horse statues by Neiman Marcus are part of Honey’s photography portfolio from eons ago…he was commissioned by the artist to photograph them before their installation and create an exhibit poster with one. Sorry, don’t have a reference pic, if I did, I’d put it here. If I find one, I will edit it it in. 🙂


We headed out to the Reunion and I saw so many great people, and was so happy to see them, I didn’t take pics of them, but I did take pics of frogs that as soon as I told the kids not to poke, they poked. Mr. Cynic did not want to be on my old campus for anything. Toots made friends with everyone else’s kids in her age range, who danced or ran while adults ate. And Captain Comic mostly just wanted to go home and let everyone know about it, particularly on the last day we were there.

Again there were mishaps, misadventures and mayhem, because I was involved, but it was fun, steamy, beautiful and wonderous besides. A couple of weeks later, the exhaustion is wearing down, but I am still riding the highs, having somewhat gained control of those broncos that gallop my life through everything.

I love my people and places and these two places are influential in my life, because of their landscapes, the times I spent in them, becoming, and the people I love within them…

bridges, back home, trip part 1

Last Thursday, we piled into Bertha and headed North. After we were on the road a while, I recalled the location of the camera…back home on my desk.

At the juncture of routes 17 and 301 (this route we have discovered avoids clusters of traffic around Richmond and DC and a good chunk of I-95 and other traffic hazards) we usually make a pit stop and tank up at a place called Horne’s. Apparently they have started producing their own bottled water.  All pics from here on out taken with a cell phone camera.

We crossed a lot of bridges, including a tenuous bridge I feel very trepidatious about while crossing the Potomac, even though its name is Nice. Click on its name for an example why, and read the description. It gives me chills every time I cross it, a handful of times per year.

DMB, not Dave Matthews Band, the other DMB

Here we are crossing the Delaware Memorial Bridge headed toward Jersey and the George Washington Bridge headed into NYC.  When I was growing up, we trekked annually at minimum from Connecticut to visit my grandparents and extended families in Georgia and Florida. So now that I live in Virginia, I find myself making the opposite trip. Once when I was about 11 years old, our station wagon broke down in the middle of the DMB. I will never forget coasting in neutral to the Delaware side and the picnic on the side of the highway as my father walked to an emergency call box and we waited for a tow truck and the adventure that ensued from there, but that is another story for another blog, maybe, eventually. Needless to say, every time I cross the Delaware, or almost any other big bridge, I think of that day and pray.


For the record, I detest the traffic (and because of the fog, we couldn’t even distract ourselves by viewing Manhattan skyline) from North Jersey through Southern Connecticut to my parents’ house. Someone always needs to pee, and there’s no way to get over or stop or anything but grind your teeth and pray a car seat doesn’t get soaked. This time, it did. I was just thankful that it wasn’t mine. Poor Toots, she tried really hard to hold it for hours and hours. I swear that that traffic zone is always about half the time of the whole trip.

She’s going to hate me for putting that on the interwebs in a permanent way, when she finds and reads this at age 14-40, right?

First official stop: my parents’ house in Connecticut. 

Not sure I fully appreciated how nice it was to grow up here, but I did appreciate the trees to climb, the back yard hill to sled with the glacial erratic in the midst of the sled hill that all the neighborhood kids loved to jump then land in the pricker bushes just past it,  I broke my arm going off it on a bike one time, too. Now I appreciate the free roaming around the neighborhood and well out of bounds of the 70s and early 80s by bike or on rollerskates, with dogs.

My nephew stopped over for dinner with us. Can’t believe he is 20 now.

I always thought there’s a resemblance between Mr. Cynic on the left and my nephew. For one, they are both skinny as all get out, but there’s something in the jawline, general placement of features.  They share a smirk, too. My parents are camera shy these days and I wasn’t thinking a whole lot about taking pics without an actual camera. Most pics I took on the whole trip were pretty random and spontaneous and a bit nonsensical considering all the shots I should have taken.

Our trip timing prevented our seeing my brothers and the rest of their families. Biggest nephew has a new habit of eating dinner at Gaga and Papa’s house a couple of times a month or so, and playing poker with them after. So good to see him and hear him and Mr. Cynic connect on bands and stuff.

We washed Toots’s car seat, spent the night and headed further north to Boston and the Berkshires for loads of mayhem and adventure, which you will see in part two.


Toots is hanging from the slider door handle sucking on a juice cup…

Mom: Do you want to go somewhere?
Toots: Yesh.
Mom: Do you want to help me water the gardens?
Toots: No, I wanna fing.
Mom: What’s a fing?
Toots: I wah – nna fing on da fingset.
Mom: You want a fing on the what?
Mom: OH, you want to swing on the swing set!
Toots (giggles) Yeah!
Mom: Say Sa wing.
Toots: Saaa Wing.
Mom: Good! Now put it together – swing!
Toots: SSSssssswing! (giggles with pride)
Mom: Yay, now say swing on the swingset!
Toots: FING ON THE FINGSET! (happy dance)
Mom: (chuckles) try to say SWing on the SWingset.
Toots: I don wanna say it again. I wanna fing.

strawberry jam and letters

Last year, when a bunch of us went strawberry picking for Mother’s Day, we got together later in the week and made jam at my super friend’s house. She is super busy this year and the next thing I knew, my berries were starting to go, so I hunkered down, bought Ball jars, found a simple recipe online and went at it.

Below is a pot full of layers of berries, sugar and lemon juice. What we make is more of a saucy whole strawberry preserve thing than a jam, and when you spread it on toast or pour it on ice cream or waffles or pancakes, the berries smooosh or melt in your mouth, succulent, sweet and tart.

Toots was an excellent helper. She stirred. Grandma helped, too, my time window was shrinking quickly as I hulled a gazillion strawberries. So while Toots stirred, Grandma and I were elbow to elbow, with berries and sharp instruments. FYI, the burner was off while Toots stirred.

I love when the berries start to weep from the lemon juice and sugar and turn all glossy.

As the strawberries started to heat up, Grandma went out for the mail, and found a letter for Toots from her youngest cousin on my side, D. He was about 3 when she was born, and used to call her his baby. He has adored her ever since, and we don’t see enough of my family since they live in Connecticut and we live in Virginia, the southeasternmost part of Virginia. We’d probably visit a lot more if we lived closer to DC.

He even drew a map to show where we live and where they live. He really is a sweet kid, and how wonderful for Toots to get an old fashioned letter! Thanks, D! The sweetest part about it is the date on the letter is my brother’s birthday. I wonder if D was inspired after we called to sing to his dad?

Double, double toil and trouble; 
    Fire burn, and caldron bubble.  ~William Shakespeare

This smells like heaven.

Toots and I ran off to our mommy & me belly dance class and Grandma jarred up the jelly after the jars finished being sterilized.

Don’t they look luscious?

Pardon the cell photos, phone was handy and I didn’t plan to blog it, but  we had so much fun creating the jam together, I had to share.

When strawberry season hits your area, please go pick and jam it. So easy and worth the trouble to do it yourself rather than buy a jar in a store.

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