Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Living up to intentions

Yesterday I said,

So today, my goal, and it's a small one, because I never have time to myself at home, my editing is going to happen for the thirty minutes I sit outside Mr. Cynic's bass lesson. In the car. Blissfully alone with my manuscript and a purple pen.

And I did it.  I edited right up to the big scene I still need to write.  Guess what's next?  After tomorrow's special person birthday, and the weekends' festivities, of course...

I may even squeeze a little writing in on Friday morning before the half-day of school lets out, during Toots's Sesame Street session.

Wish me luck!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Not feeling very chatty lately, how unusual.

I've noticed I have short posts lately.  I really want to be editing my manuscript, and haven't had a whole lot to say, anyway.  I mean around here is the usual mayhem, but I'm feeling quieter about it apparently. 

Although, this morning, Toots proclaimed , "Oh Sh*t!" repeatedly as Honey headed off to work today, which has been rather stressful of late. Developmental milestone met in a very appropriate manner, even if it wasn't an appropriate thing for her to say.  Still she was very cute about it.  Even when she's tantruming, this kid is adorable.  Makes it difficult to ever feel particularly disciplinary re: her.

And now I feel I must apologize to Mr. Cynic for his early years...jeez, no wonder the kid has such a 'tude.  (kidding!)

So today, my goal, and it's a small one, because I never have time to myself at home,  my editing is going to happen for the thirty minutes I sit outside Mr. Cynic's bass lesson.  In the car.  Blissfully alone with my manuscript and a purple pen. 

But in the hours between now and then, I shall regale you with the following tale of the weekend.

Grandma noticed some mysterious broken glass on the deck, and swept it up.  We thought, we inquired, and among three adults and three kids, no one admitted culpability for the mysterious broken glass appearance upon our deck. 

Deductive reasoning concluded it must have been Captain Comic, but how?  and why? and what were the origins of the broken glass?

In search of the truth of the matter and in an attempt to solve this mystery, I called the young likely perpetrator to me.  He declined any knowledge of broken glass, even when I asked for the truth, the whole truth, so help you...and even after stick a needle in your eye.  He maintained his innocence - even after being sent to his room until such time as he was ready to speak the truth, which included the inevitable lost viewing of AFV.

I confronted him again later in an attempt to allow him to come clean. 

"Kiddo, C'mon.  Who else can it be? The evidence laid two floors below your bedroom window.  If you broke something by accident, it's okay.  Lying is not okay."


"No buts.  Tell me the really real truth."

Captain Comic heaved a sigh of guilt brought about under duress.  He caved. "Okay.  Here's the deal.  It was an accident I swear. And I was afraid I'd get in trouble if I told the truth."

"The truth shall set you free.  Lies are always a bad idea and get you into more trouble, right?"

"I guess so."  He was contrite.  His eyes pleaded innocence for the accident.

"So what happened?"

"I swear, I was just trying to turn the ceiling light on, and when I jumped up to pull the chain, my finger hit it, and it flew, I mean flew...and hit the glass globe on the ceiling fan and broke a hole in the glass."

"Now why did you throw it out the window onto the deck?  That broken glass is dangerous for any of us, you know, especially Toots."

"I didn't want to get in trouble."

"Next time, just be honest, okay?"


"And remember, if you try to get rid of evidence by throwing it out your window, it just lands on the deck where we'll all see it.  If we don't hear the crash."  I laughed.  He laughed, realizing how dumb that decision actually was. 

I mean, at least when I threw the evidence out my bedroom window when I was a kid, it was on the side of the house we rarely walked around...

Monday, March 29, 2010

A good week

Last week, I did not live up to my writing intentions. 

This week, I just might.  I really want to.

This week also has a few other good things to offer:

1. I will be able to watch my beloved Boston Red Sox on my local sports station, playing against the Washington Nationals.  I don't get every game they play in this neck of the beach, because I can't get NESN, the home station in Boston.  And I am not going to get dish tv or whatever, or join computer viewing, etc... if I'm going to pay, I'd rather be at the game...But yay!  Saturday!  Red Sox!  I mean it's not like I'm a crazy fan, I just love them. 

2. Somebody special has a birthday coming up on April Fool's Day.  You can read about this then...tune in Thursday!

3. The Easter Bunny is coming on Sunday!  Jelly beans!  Chocolate!  And Italian cream pies!  Grandma's annual specialty...I like the chocolate cream pie the best...

4.  Friday, April 2nd is World Autism Awareness Day.

Today is all about the boom-boom rumbling thunder all night long, the pummelling rain, the late school bus and one soaking wet kid sent to school. I really want to get a few things done, but I may be joining Toots for a goood relaxation on the sofa with PBS kids...gotta love what a low pressure system does for motivation...

Friday, March 26, 2010

If only this were mine!

Jacqui Robbins's proscratination tactics are so much more productive and creative than mine. 

At least she got a poem out of it.  And what a wonderful one for me to hear.  Yes, I need to put all else aside to write.  I need to tell the world I am working. Mostly, I need to tell that to myself.

Any writers out there need to hear it, too?  Please click on the linkipoo around her name.  It's worth the extra one and a half minute distraction.

Trust me.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Procrastination station

I really had good intentions when I set out earlier this week to work on my children's novel in progress's current draft. 

Really I did.

Then I had a variety of appointments for myself and for Toots, and bass lessons for Mr. Cynic, and, oh nope, I pulled Captain Comic from Taekwando for my convalescence months of February and March, so no excuse there.  And then the sun came out, and I had a book to finish reading, and with family in one car mode, I was driving Honey to work, and then I putzed around getting rid of the Lucy in the snow picture above, and then I had to get a new spring photo up, which meant I had to go take spring photos and the sun came out and the urge to garden became overwhelming and... aw forget it. 

I didn't really dig into the manuscript as intended.

When Toots naps today, I will.  Promise.  I mean, it's only Thursday, right? I can make up the hours I skipped earlier in the week before the week ends, right? 

Knock, knock?  Anybody there? 

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Spring is in the air.

A plethora of blooming trees are currently exploding with color in these here parts which brings one solid question to my mind, anyway.

Where are the Boston Red Sox? I need a good view of a ball hanging high in the air just inside Pesky's Pole before sailing off into the stands...Or bouncing off the Green Monster...

on TV of course.  I live considerably further than a block away these days.  It seems my interest in the Red Sox is in direct proportion to how far I live from Fenway Park.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Gone Writing

You may not see much of me here for a while.  I may pop in now and then, but mostly, I will be working on the hole in the novel and the character merge in the coming weeks.

I've got a good start for both problems.  Wish me luck!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Highs and Lows

High: Cherry Blossoms!
Low: Mourning a beloved character I had to write out of my manuscript and began to do so yesterday.  I didn't think a made-up someone could be so important to me.  I love him, and yet I wrote him out of existence. Some of my favorite writing I have ever done involved him, but in the end, didn't serve  the children's book as well as he should have.

Goodbye, Uncle Joe.  You are missed.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

It's officially more than official.

Mr. Cynic turns fifteen at the end of next month.  If I previously doubted I had a teen (I really haven't doubted since he was like four, really, but who's counting), a few things occurred within about twenty-four hours which proves this fact beyond a shadow of a doubt.

Sunday morning, I co-led the teen group at church, in which it was pointed out that as a teen and parent go, we get along better than most.  Then I dropped him off at his girlfriend's house for the afternoon. Yes her parents were there.

He came home about six hours later and the energy in the room significantly changed.

So I asked, "Did you finally kiss her?"

"Why yes.  Yes I did."

"Was is everything it was cracked up to be?"

"Why yes.  Yes it was."

I inquired further and immediately regretted having as open a relationship as I do with my son, so promptly ended the question and answer portion of our program.  However he was flying high for the duration of the evening.  Note to self: revisit discussions of not rushing into things you're not ready for even if it feels like you're ready for it in the moment.

Monday afternoon, he came home from school, and emphatically stated a reply of no to everthing I asked, though he did walk the dog without a reminder.  Eventually he unloaded the dishwasher, nearly breaking every dish as well as slamming every cabinet in the process.  But it took Toots and an army of cuteness to get him to refill her empty cup as he was occupying the kitchen as if defending with troops and refusing to do so when I asked.

And to think he blamed his Geometry teacher's not clarifying the lesson when he so clearly raised his hand and called her name like fifty times to say he didn't understand it for this mood he wrought upon me.

So I thought, rather than get into it with him, it was better to let him roam and kvetch to his friends in the neighborhood rather than endure another moment of his angst.

Oy, next Fall he starts Driver's Ed. I'm not so sure we'll make it that far.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Happy St. Patrick's Day

The Irish soul is partially mine, and I believe of any of the influences of my character, the Irish part leads.  Of any of the Irish Ballads, this one may explain the Irish character best.

Dark humor abounds in the Irish heart.

I have  mixed emotions re: St. Patrick's Day.  My family is very proud of our Irish heritage, though we have been in the United States since the first migration waves of the 17th-18th centuries, which was largely Irish protestants.  I am also not too keen on celebrating the man who 'drove the snakes out of Ireland'  which means he actually drove the indigenous people's religion out of the land. 

But all of the world's Irish diaspora is proud of coming from the harsh and green fertile land surrounded by cold sea, dank and dark, and small.  The history is longer than it is written, and it hangs in all our hearts with a pride of survivalists of a homeland under almost constant seige since the time of the Vikings.

So regardless of religion, regardless of red hair, blond or black, Protestant, Catholic or Pagan, where we live in the world or how we got there, by religious persecution or famine or an eye on prosperity to be had elsewhere, we are Irish through and through.   St. Patrick's Day is our day to celebrate the land which gave birth to our grandfathers and grandmothers, and therefore ourselves.

In the words of Edna O'Brien:

When anyone asks me about the Irish character, I say look at the trees. Maimed, stark and misshapen, but ferociously tenacious.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Back to the book

I have received excellent notes from someone in a position to discuss observatories in a way that I need to fill the hole in my manuscript.  For this, I am extremely thankful, and feeling the impetus to write that one hole in the book.

I basically have not been able or free to write or edit in the manuscript since the retreat in January and the surgery in February.  The fact that my toddler is way too busy now at times when other than her, I have the house to myself, and therefore should have no distractions...  Yeah, right, that's a good one! 

So much for writing during morning naps.  Buh-bye!  Actually that was gone about six months ago.

Then, two other things put a kink into the process:  My mother-in-law started a diet support group with her exercise buddies on the same day as my critique group; and my critique group bumped the timeslot from 12-2pm to 10-12pm.  Same time as her regular exercise classes she has committed herself to for over three years now.

This prompted me to start seeking inexpensive daycare services to try to cover Toots for at least two half-days a week, so I would have time to write and time twice per month for the critique group.    She turns 2 on April 1.  All the basic church basement type preschools in the area start at 2.5 years.  Otherwise, it's parent accompanied playgroups.  I felt really SOL.  But I have committed to putting my writing on the map.  Think, think, think.

So I got a message late Sunday night to request a change for this week's group meeting to Thursday from the usual Tuesday meeting. And it was to be a writing rather than a critique meeting. I was half-ecstatic.  Only half, because while it did not conflict with my mil's diet group, it did conflict with her usual exercise classes. 

Yesterday morning, I shored myself up and asked if she would mind watching Toots on Thursday morning instead of going to her class. 

Not that she typically says no, but it's not like I typically feel I can ask, because I want to respect what is important to her.  She said sure. 

Maybe a week by week check-in is what it will take to get my writing on the chart, to coordinate around a household of six including toddler.  At least for now.  And in six months, maybe I can start her in a regular preschool, if we can figure it into the non-existent part of the budget.

Baby steps.  For now, I will write, in the committed company of other writers on Thursday for two hours.  That is two hours of writing I did not have before.  One week at a time.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Weekend Update

First an aside:  I have been visited from Tasmania.  That is so cool. 

Second, another aside.  Yesterday was Pi Day, but it will be more accurate in 2015.  The government declared it to be so eventhough 3.14 isn't The Real Pi Day.  Of course, this means only that I wanted to eat pie all day.  And now I have more days to consider pie.

Thirdly, once again, I am very proud of my children.  Mr. Cynic and Captain Comic brought home interim report cards sporting all As and one B per kid.  To celebrate, on Saturday, which was beautiful, we went to DQ and ate ice cream cones outside, the sun roasting my back, our voices echoing under the fiberglass umbrella.  They got one of our order wrong, so Captain Comic ate Two.  "Jackpot!"  While we were there, he also shouted, "Hey! That's B----!" as a father and son got out of their pickup truck.  A boy from his class.  It was a good day for ice cream.  Then it stormed a lot on Saturday night, as it had on Friday night.

Fourthly, last week was Scholastic Book Fair week at Captain Comic's school.  He picked up Nerds and Diary of a Wimpy Kid.  While his grandparents and cousin visited, he finished both.  So they didn't see a whole lot of him, but he read!  Fiction! Not Encyclopedias or Godzilla or Calvin and Hobbes!

Fifthly, on Sunday, daffodils.  Life is good.  Check your mirrors.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

This excites me

Isn't this what it's all about?

Thursday, March 11, 2010


The oldest and youngest of my parents' grandchildren and the only girls.  They are 18 years apart and between them are five boys.
York River Beach 3.10.2010

My parents and niece pulled out of the driveway this morning from their very relaxed visit with us.  We did get out one day, yesterday, when I showed them where the boys go to school, and took them up to the historic district for a little touristy action. 

We had one beautiful day of sunshine, which was spent sitting out back and playing around on the trampoline, etc.  I got a sunburn.  Yay!  Sunburns on me are brown the next day. 

We had a lot of fun, mostly just hanging around the house and eating lots of sweets.  A few political 'discussions', a few remembrances of things past...

Time for me to go lie down.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Fun with Cat

Contrary to my belief, I am not a Cat Lady.  However over a lifetime, I have parented or been in servitude to dozens.

Currently there is one who resides with and is generally cared for by me and my progeny, whether she wants it to be that way or not: 

Babette, the Killer Queen.  She is 13, will be 14 years on May 1. 

Yesterday, in a bout of trying to get good cat photos to send to the contest happening on Pioneer Woman's blog - see sidebar for a link because she's fun, and I'm being somewhat lazy about inserting one here - I took these and discovered Babette's current plot line.

yawn, no, intimidate!

i must kill you for waking me.

on second thought, yawn again.

seriously, go away.

i'm too old for this sh@*.

For those who recall my worry over her a while back, she seems to be doing pretty well for the time being, gained back some of the extreme weight loss, but there's still no indication of what was wrong besides the anemia due to the battle of the uberfleas, autumn 2009 edition.  For the winter, she essentially took up residence on my bed, which is where these were taken.

By her reactions above, and the fact that I no longer feel her shoulder blades like actual blades is a good indication she's her old self now, just older than before.

Monday, March 8, 2010

A sunshiney day and a visit from afar.

I'm not certain how much you'll see of me this week as, in the words of Captain Comic before he boarded the school bus this morning, "The grandparents and the college student arrive tonight."

My parents decided to come down from Connecticut during my niece's Spring Break.  She and Captain Comic have a really special bond, though there is a nine year difference between them.  Or maybe it's because there's a nine year difference between them. 

There was time, back before our move to Virginia, when we would show up at Gaga and Papa's house about once a month from Massachusetts.  We were the excuse for everyone to get together as my brothers and their families both still live within a thirty minute drive of the house we grew up in, where my parents still live.  So my niece has really been missing the former usual family gatherings.  I think she's also hitting that age of college students, where when she goes home, things are changing, she is changing, so the old familiar feelings make her nostalgic for what was.  She's finishing her junior year and I recall that feeling well at the same age.  Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose.  

I miss those regular visits, too, especially to watch my nephews and niece grow up and for my parents to see all their grandkids and for my kids to see where we all come from in my parents, and where I grew up.


Yesterday turned out to be gorgeous outside.  I moved from the cave like couch to a sunny lounge chair, with the intent of reading in the fresh air.  Toots and Captain Comic had other plans involving digging up my garden plots; running around dodging Lucy bombs all over the yard - time to break out the pooper scooper; sucking nectar from unidentifiable weeds - 'clover only, kiddo!'
'what?  i do this all the time!  these aren't poisonous!'
'how do you know? I don't even know what those are!'

 and jumping on the 'twampowine!'

I was heart in throat a bit concerned when he helpfully jumped off the trampoline with her in his arms, not very securely, inducing a whiplash like bounce of her head.  But she said her neck didn't hurt, and she's been acting normally since.  Sometimes that kid just moves too fast and doesn't stop to listen about the best way to go about things until it's too late.  He's on a mission, you know, in everything he does. 

But the toddler lives and without the need of a neckbrace.  Intent is nine tenths of the law, but that last tenth is a doozy.

Friday, March 5, 2010

200 and fun

For my 200th post, Something so thoroughly enjoyable, I must share. 

OK Go really knows how to have fun.

Otherwise, keep having fun, and hopefully you keep coming here to do so.  As long as you are having fun, so am I.

Thursday, March 4, 2010


Love Poem Now We Are Older

Some nights, the dim light
of a single lamp
is so keen upon your face
as you, weary,
begin to doze, drowsy
of the long day,
that though I am alone
in the awareness, my heart breaks
only for you.

I love you again so much,
selfishly, selflessly
I let you sleep a moment longer.
Sitting up
there in your chair,
your head bobs in repose.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Seven Things

Christine McCombe invited her readers to try this simple exercise of sharing seven things that inspire you.  I'll give it a try, but this may take a good long while for me to think about, since, there is plenty that inspires me everyday, but they often seem to be such little things.

1.  Having said it's little things, i'm going to start with a biggie:  The moving light and dark of the sky. It's a little, too, or a gazillion littles, because absolutely every moment of day or night, light in the Universe and how it shines toward me in any given moment or the darkness swallowing light is the essence of change.  Miracle moments of scientific analysis remaining mystery. Constantly elusive, yet so present.

2. Where sea and shore and sky meet.  the feel of tidal sands being swept between my toes, from under my feet, sinking while still; ocean breeze in my face, sun hot, moon cool, screech of a seagull, lull of a wave.

3.  Laughter.  When someone else is cracking up, I can't help but be swept away in their joy.

4. Small, quiet cuddles  with my children or my husband.  The scent of hair, skin, and peace between us.  The feel of breath and heartbeat.

5. Really good spontaneous conversation.  I love getting to know people and their stories. 

6.  Seasonal delights and travails:  Flowers from bud to bloom to browning.  Full leafed trees of summer, abundance, heat and rot. Autumn blaze and fall, cool snap and frozen rain.  Barren winter, frozen, snow and bite.

7. Creativity others and my own.  When I'm really inspired, I just keep getting more and more ideas springing forth seeming endless sparking off of each other.  And speaking of sparking off of each other, being in creative community with others, allowing them to pop and crackle - reading a Robert Penn Warren poem, enjoying an excellent meal, seeing a Botticelli in person, steeping in an Alice Walker novel connecting with others currently making their art, whatever it is, really turns me on.  The sheer act of someone else's ideas coming to fruition is an inspiration.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

I wouldn't trade him for anything

Okay, so sometimes (read often) Captain Comic can be ....a challenge.  But then he comes home from school grinning from ear to ear and tells me to guess what kind of day he had. When I reply, looks like a 20,  he jumps for joy and displays pride in this accomplishment rather like when Shaun White won the gold and did the double mactwisty 1260 whatyacallit, just because he could.

Or something like the following happens:

I got a call from my mother yesterday, proposing she and Papa come visit next week along with my 20 year old niece who Captain Comic adores and who will be on Spring Break.  Now that's the kind of young woman she is.  She would rather travel 12 hours in a car with her grandparents to come visit her younger cousins than go to Cancun or Ft. Lauderdale with debauching the crowds.

Anyway, he was so excited, I said why don't you call them to let them know how excited you are?  Whereupon, he grabbed my cell, called Libberon and screamed in her ear,

"I'm so excited, my heart explodes with joy!!!!!"

Tell me, is there anything better than that? 

Monday, March 1, 2010

Hope in Disasters

I have a friend who grew up around Valparaiso, so when the news hit about the recent earthquake, I could only think of him and what he and his wife must be going through wondering about their family in Chile.

Of course, they weren't the only ones I thought of. I, like many others, am still stunned by the one that hit Haiti not so long ago. 

But this one came closer to home.  Thankfully, I did get pretty regular updates from his wife. First, that there was no communication, then, last night, finally some good news.  There's no power or water, but his mother and the rest of his family is all ok and safe.

I love my friends P&P very much though we are now geographically separated.   They are part of my Boston roots. I've always felt a strong connection to them, and they throw the best parties!   But more than that, once you have their loyalty, you're family. 

Here comes the woo-woo part, which I usually avoid writing about here.  I seem to have a weird sixth sense about the big natural disasters, and just the night before I saw news of the quake, I was dreaming of P&P and of Chile.  Just before Haiti, similar dreaming, The big Indonesian Tsunami, Katrina, same story. 

I hadn't spoken to them in ages, had fb'd to P the She, 'girl, we need to tawk this weekend!' on like Thursday.  Then I woke up from this dream, turned on the news, and of course, called her immediately to see if they knew anything.  At that time, they didn't.  but P the She was great about keeping friends posted as they received news.  We only spoke briefly in that first call, she needed to keep phone lines open for obvious reasons, but I assured her, while I had her on the phone, that I didn't have a dangerous or dreadful sense about P the He's family.  I told her they are probably okay.

She can take this kind of talk from me, because she's a bit like that herself and we respect this about each other.  She agreed, I don't feel like they're in a bad way either. 

Then last night she texted he had received word from his niece that everyone was okay. 

So here is one bright spot in this seeming chain of disasters recently. May there be many many more.