musings in mayhem

writer, mom, tutor, superwoman

Archive for the tag “summer”

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.


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:


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.








At 12:31am on August 26th, 1998, my baby, my little monster, the funniest kid in the world came into the world. He had a mug like Edward G. Robinson. He got better looking.

Now he’s bigger than me.

Here are 14 things Captain Comic would like you to know about him:

1. I have a huge collection of Godzilla DVDs and figures.

2. I use the figures to make stop motion movies.

3. I am currently working on an action comedy animatic.

4. I tend to wander, a lot.

5. Mom tells me not to hold the cat, but she’s  SO FLUFFAY!

6. When mom tells me to do something, something else always pops in my head to go do first.

7. Sometimes when Toots bugs me, I want to crush her like one.

8. But I don’t. Mom would kill me.

9. Mr. Cynic is the antihero in my life. He sometimes is a jerk, but also has my back.

10. I love slapstick and campy stuff. The picture above is an example of my humor.

11. I am compulsive about hugs.

12. I wrestle a giant big polar bear plush in the backyard.

13. I feel sympathy for the dog. Well, any dog. People, not so much.

14. THERE DOESN’T HAVE TO BE A FOURTEEN! Scratch that. My favorite thing to do is draw comics and make movies on the computer.


Happy birthday, kiddo. I love you and have got your back, too.


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.


philly a deux

Some more shots of Philly from the other camera!

Every shot is SOOC, except  I cropped the last one.

Miss Independent was getting a little too rangy in her urban explorations, and too close to the street. She didn’t want me to take a shot of her at the Liberty Bell. I love the shot of the people taking pictures across the garden of her (the Liberty Bell).


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.

dolphin moment

Yesterday morning I awoke and realized I had a day to just relax with Honey and Toots. This is a rare gift, and I decided to accept it.

Then Toots decided she would not pee for well over twelve hours since the night before, which was great that she stayed dry through the night, but by 11am, we stuck her on the toilet and she screamed and cried, and described why she didn’t want to pee til I suspected a UTI, and we piled in the van and headed to the Urgent Care place, because you know these things never happen when the regular pediatrician is open…

As we approached our destination, she declared she now needed to pee – she is going to hate me for this post later, right? – so I ran her in to pee in a cup while Honey checked us in and as she peed like Niagara Falls, she said she felt fine, and I declared false alarm, now let’s go to the beach, thankfully without paying the copay.

I never leave the house without a drink, even in the dead of winter, but I did yesterday, with a heat index of 113F. I left the house with only a swimsuit in a bag for Toots. Honey and I were fully dressed in tshirts and shorts, no swimwear. We thought we would just stay for a bit, let Toots dunk and play at the local river beach, then go get snow cones. A pleasant enough hour or so jaunt on a Sunday afternoon.

But then we met a young family and Toots helped them with their ditch pool at the water’s edge, and the girls became friends, and I got talking education with them and the mother was even chattier than I am. They had just moved here a week ago. They homeschooled  where they last lived, and I know a few homeschoolers, so I said I’d put them in touch, etc.

So as I started to feel brainfried and sick to my stomach from the heat and like I would pass out, I started splashing water on my neck and back, because I couldn’t cool off enough just standing in the bath warm water. I declared, let’s get going.

Then the other mom said, “Look! Dolphins!”

So we stayed. I couldn’t get a shot of the them as their fins and backs crested out of the water with my slow cell cam, but we saw about three pods pass us by, very close to the shore and docks. They seemed to be checking out the fun all those legged creatures were having on shore and in the water.

Of course, after that we stayed much longer than our intent, and Honey got his shorts and belt wet hovering for Toots in the water….and we were all completely brain fried…

But you know what? If we hadn’t risked the heat, we never would have seen those beautiful creatures, so playful, so like us, yet unlike us, so alien and familiar, so close to us.

How precious is this earth and all of its creatures.


It’s hot out. That’s right, I am mentioning it again. I went outside to water this morning and accidentally sprayed this fledgling out of the camellias.

Are you looking at me?


I tried to help him over the fence, he wouldn’t let me near enough to do so.


One balcony garden I had at a condo in Massachussetts days of old, I grew a ton of morning glories. When I moved to a new one without a balcony, they began to die, so I gave them to my mother in Connecticut, and they still grow up the corner of the house at my parents’ patio.

I have tried to grow them here in Virginia every year….the voles always eat the roots, or the sun fries them in the droughts. I finally got one to take this year in a pot on the fence. I hope she lasts, because she is gorgeous.

Look at me, please…

I planted my gardens late this year. Here are my first tomatoes saying


Speaking of fledglings, look how this one stays cool in the heat.

breaking the block, life and stuff

It took a while, more like a month, possibly more, before I could really engage with the manuscript. On Tuesday, at my writing group, I seem to have finally broken through the block.

It took until then before I could even read it without going crosseyed and my brain shutting down in the first paragraphs. I’m not sure if a channel remains that puts the rainbow stripes up and that tone at a certain hour of the night, when programming ends. I am not sure if any of you remember awakening on the sofa to that sound that happened after a rendition of the national anthem and a stock photo of the flag flying, but that is what happened every time I opened my manuscript until Tuesday. Minus the flag and anthem.

In the mean time, I have been trying to stop staring at the computer so much and engage more with Toots and when the heat wasn’t thoroughly oppressive (index of 113F one day last week, and near that for about two weeks) walking the dog, since Captain Comic isn’t here to do so.

I had a moment when Toots seemed more discouraged that I could rotate my hoop so easily, and rethought buying one in my size with the idea I could teach her to hula by example. She hasn’t gotten the hang of it, yet, but I will keep trying with her.

I am off to the library today to edit some more, going to try to treat my writing more like a job, and get myself out of the house and someplace I can focus on it with minimal distractions. When I try to work on it at home, I can find anything to do instead far too easily – because things need doing.

I hope you had a happy Fourth of July, if you’re American. I am pretty happy to live here, even if there is a lot that I would like to change. Both sides of my family have been here since colonial days and longer, and though I have strains of the Celtic and Anglo-Saxon folks of old running in my veins, I don’t think you can get anymore of a place than my family roots in this land.

a little more

Rock Hall, MD

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