Saturday, October 30, 2010

i must be crazy

Last week, an old writing friend emailed to ask if I will do Nanowrimo again this year. 

What I emailed back to him I cannot repeat here for the sake of children's eyes, but it amounted to a firm No Way. 

Last year, I drove myself insane. I resented when life took precedence in the form of repeated visits to the pediatrician for infinite reasons including the virus sent from the inferno below that I along with the entire family contracted, amidst the usual mayhem challenges to write that abound around here.  I also wrote a whole lot of crap, of which I haven't opened the document to see the results of and edit.  The novel was supposed to take place in Ireland and 31, 000 words in, the family was still on the plane from Logan Airport, crossing the Atlantic and playing gin.

I am currently STILL editing the novel I wrote before last year's Nano, and barely have the time and headspace for that, let alone start another project.

But then I was in the shower this morning - the only time and space I have completely alone to sort out whatever might be going through my head with minimal distraction - and a funny thought occured to me, which included a nonsensical opening novel line I could take in any direction. 

And as I said, no, no, no I will not NOT do Nano this year, the idea grew. A plan fell into place. 

I couldn't help it, by the love of all things chocolate with caramel.  I have to do it now.

But first I am setting some ground rules:

1.Being likely a children's novel, I will accept 35K words as a good win if that's where it seems to end.

2. I will not make myself crazy if life gets in the way.  I have a very full life. I will not resent the vicissitudes and interruptions, because really Nano is an interruption to my everything else. And my everything else is mayhem enough, thank you very much.

3. As long as it remains fun, is a catalyst for inspiration and I enjoy it, I'm in. 

4. As soon as I break any of the above, and it becomes not fun, I am out.

Inspiration is my game this time, not racing to the finish line. 

Call me crazy, but I'm in.

Addendum:  I was remiss in defining Nanowrimo, thanks Christine E-E for pointing it out, so from the comments: nanowrimo is an online creative endeavor in which during the month of november, you join many others in the pursuit of writing 50,000 words in 30 days. please click the icon for it in my sidebar for the link to the website for more details.

Friday, October 29, 2010

of pumpkins, ghoulies, and sundry

I've had a bit of a busy week between IEP prep and meetings, tutoring, pumpkin patch preschool field trip and Halloween approaching.  I also still had this lingering cold from last week, so tried to take it as easy as possible to take care of myself. But mostly I dealt with a good five hours an afternoon and night trying to help Captain Comic with seeing his homework through all subjects, and finally the past two afternoons and eves, that seemed mostly a success without as must angst involved.  It's been tough, but I'm not complaining.  I consider it a success that he seems to be finally acclimating to middle school, and getting the accommodations in place at school that will ensure his success as a student.

Then yesterday, two solid hours were spent in a conference room nitpicking and better defining measurability of goals and how best to meet his needs in school and beyond as we rewrote his current IEP as a team.  I am hoping we came away from it on the same page.  It seemed so.

Toots led her preschool's Halloween parade while I was at the meeting. Isn't it cute that my widdo witch had a black cat in her class? Grandma joined the festivities and got a few pics before the camera batteries died.  The rechargeables are really on their last legs.  I had charged all of them overnight and half the day before she took it to preschool.  Like I said in the title, sundry detail.  But she managed to get a few cute shots before it died.

I did, too, the day before at the pumpkin patch field trip, sadly well before the tractor hayride, maze and pumpkining.  but here's a shot from the puppet show.  The kids were fascinated while the puppet animals discussed farm life. 

This weekend has a packed agenda of activities I could particpate in, but I think I need to take it easy and hang with my family most of all.  I need to rest up before the excitement of trick or treating on Sunday.  I'm still like a kid about it - very excited.  It's Captain Comic's last legal go around the neighborhood for a haul, and he's definitely going to make the most of it this last year.  That's right, there's actually a law here that you can't trick or treat past age 12.  Mr. Cynic wants to go to the church youth group's party, and I'd like to, too, especially since I am one of their 'teachers', but I think sticking with the younger kids is way more important this year.  This is essentially Toot's first really aware Halloween and Captain Comic's last.  I'm wistful for him and want to be there for him.

Honey and I have been really good.  I bought the candy over a week ago and we only opened the bag two nights ago.  But every night since the purchase, after the kids have gone to bed, this has been our conversation:

Honey:  I want a Kitkat.
Me: I do, too, but if we open it now, there won't be any left to pass out.
Honey:  Get me a Kitkat.
Me: No.  Think of all the working out, and trying to be healthier...
Honey: Where did you hide them?
Me: I'm not telling.
Honey: C'mon, Get me a Reese's, then.
Me: No!
Honey: Aw man...

Two nights ago:

Honey: I want a Kitkat.
Me: So do I.
Honey: You can't have one.
Me: Please?  You know you want one.
Honey: Where did you hide them?
Me: In the cabinet down there. (points toward general location from the sofa.)
Honey: Well, go get 'em.
Me: No, you. I'm not opening the bag.
Honey: Oh, Okay.  (gets up shuffles to kitchen, opens cabinet, sound of plastic bag rummage, tosses a Kitkit at me)  But you only get one.

I love Halloween.

Welcome Spirits!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

this morning

I slipped from room to room,

opening curtains and windows

for a breath of fresh air.

In first son’s room,

he who loves the dark,

I drew back the yellow curtain.

Dark of early morning mid fall, I

looked down to the deep grass,

wet dark fence,

jasmine vines still green tangle,

one burst of red among the leaves,

a cardinal alarm to wake the day.

Later, I return from drop-offs,

I find myself still alarmed,

want movement and more air.

I find the bicycle tires flat,

Forego resuscitation, and grab the leash.

I ran, the dog ran, too.

She wondered what to make of it -

rare beyond rare -

through the traces of fire in the trees.

The sky greyed up

more so than that early hour,

and the black birds repudiated

the gifts the sky brought in fat wet drops

to wake relief in the dank morning.

Monday, October 25, 2010

ransom note

Below is the content of an email I sent to Captain Comic's teacher during particularly dramatic homework avoidance:

Apparently he's willing to go to great lengths to avoid doing his homework. Currently, there is a missing ransom note to pay a mystery person $1000, no more, no less, that he received on fri, but threw out and forgot about until it was time to do his chapter 6 WYAR.

Now he wants to call in the SWAT team or the National Guard, or I'm going to die tomorrow, because we don't have even 20 bucks, let alone $1000.

Gee, I thought I'd be worth a bit more than that to him.

And that about sums up what it has been like to do homework with him of late.  It included quite realistic and dramatic emotional expressions to go along with the concept that his mother was to be killed tomorrow.  He agonized about my death.  He wailed, he sobbed, he put on an excellent show.

I knew the theme of my prior post would not last long.


The rest of this week won't be, so this morning, I am enjoying the quiet.  Then the mayhem will resume.

but for now, I can finally load photos again, so here are the purple mums from my front yard from last week:

I couldn't decide which view, so here are two that are very similar.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

witchery stitchery and reaper madness

I will start by saying I got walloped by a cold, and could not think straight all weekend to make the costumes I managed to basically finish today.  I had to consult with Grandma at one point, because, I could not for the life of me visualize what was in my head to apply it to the material in front of me.

How many ways can a snap be sewn on wrong?  Let me count the ways: inverse, reversed, not lined up well, ad nauseum.  I don't even care that the Grim Reaper's hood is inverse anymore.  Actually, I do, but he doesn't, so I'm leaving it as is.  But you'll have to wait til Halloween to see the results of Reaper Madness.

Reaper Madness resolved itself much more simply than anticipated.  Please understand I completely winged it in making these costumes, and I am no seamtress.  Four yards of wrinkly black material, I folded 'in half' to fit him from shoulders to feet, then cut off excess and cut a cross slit hole at the fold for his head to go through.  Then I sewed the edges down, sewed a part of each side of the yardage, so that he had a floaty effect, large arm holes, and enough room for his legs to walk, by leaving the seam open from above his knees down.  You'll see, I think it came out quite effectively. Oh, and a hood from the excess.

Witchery Stitchery on the other hand, simplified as I went, but remained complex enough that I was ripping seams and redoing things repeatedly throughout the project. I lost the battle of fighting the cold, stuffles, coughs, etc, but managed to finish regardless.

 First, a band for the hat.

Then I pinned the waistband to match and pleated 2 layers of sheer sparklies, one black, one grey.

A day later I have this to show for all the ripped seams.

So Toots will have something to wear in her preschool parade on Thursday, and of course, for Halloween.

Done, phew!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

of witches and reapers

Today I am finally going to go out to buy yardage of black material to accommodate one size 14 boy Grim Reaper and one size 3T or slighty smaller, Witch.

This makes me giddy.  Maybe I'll find a skull pattern to belt them, too. 

And yes, the character choices are their own. Those choices are favorites of their mom, too.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

why i typically don't host writer's group

I did today.

Lucy had to bark and click clack her terrier claws around the hard wood floors we recently put it.  She would not settle down for about the first half of the meeting. Of course this happened largely in the livingroom dining room area where all my guests were attempting to write or edit on their laptops.

I was in the office, trying to coax Lucy back with treats to stay with me or lock her out of the house in the back yard. It is a beautiful day, the sun is shining, and she scratched on the slider like her life depended upon being inside.

Captain Comic called repeatedly from school trying to avoid something, putting on quite a dramatic show of a stomach ache, with no fever, no vomit or diarrhea. 

Two of the writers needed to leave about thirty minutes earlier than usual, so I left to pick him up.  I got him home and he aimed straight for the brownies. He scarfed one down with a big glass of milk.  Promptly, he then corralled Lucy for a walk and flew out the door with her. Clearly he was healthy.

I did managed to knock a decent editing dent in my manuscript.  I also researched online about the locations of certain astromical asterisms for my book.  I found a lot of conflicting info and incomplete info for the purposes of my book.

Anyway, I did accomplish something more than I had before. I just hope the other writers felt they could work among the residual mayhem. 

Grandma picked up Toots from preschool today and took her out shopping so we could meet, so at least we had that slice of quiet. 

Hmmm, I wonder if we'll meet here again anytime soon?

Monday, October 18, 2010

never say die

They heard me.  Captain Comic may finally get what he needs.

I took pretty pics of purple mums, and wanted to add here for a nice view.  But I am experiencing technical difficulties.

So enjoy your own's a beautiful day

Life is good.  Rock the boat.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

crawling under a rock

I usually have a pretty good attitude, even when I'm grumbling.

Today I feel like crawling under a rock and staying there for a while.  Possibly setting up house.

I had a terrible allergy attack yesterday, still trying to breathe today and trying not to take more meds for it so I can sleep tonight.  I have also had many in the past couple of weeks, more than I've had in the past 6 years.

I have an IEP meeting at Captain Comic's middle school tomorrow, and I feel like I have conflicting communications from them.  I get calls from teachers about problem areas, and I email with his case manager about her concerns as well as his teachers. Then when I put it in official language what he needs in place as to accommodate him, she backs off and says he is doing wonderfully, and they are accommodating.  When I reinforce that he needs a paraeducator in every class and with specifics details re: the para's function to address the concerns that are brought to my attention by them, she backs off again and says he's doing fine.

When my conversations with his case manager are not in an official documented capacity, she swears she is, and asks me to trust that she is really advocating for him.  As soon as anything looks official, suddenly I am a pita parent asking for too much, when I'm only asking for what has always worked for him.  When it's not in place, we get what we are seeing now, and it will only continue to get worse until he has the support he needs in place. 

I'm not asking for anything for him, that I have not provided myself for higher functioning students than he is.  I provided classroom support and learning center support to students at the high school level.  He is in 6th grade, and I am only asking for classroom support. I am telling them exactly what works for him.  It's four points of support.  Nothing extreme.  It's less than I have provided for other students twice his grade level, who were more capable of self directed coping skills. 

I have worked in classroom support in a 5th and 6th grade classroom with a student who presented extremely similar to Captain Comic in his needs to function successfully.  There is no way, no matter how wonderful the teacher I worked with was, and how aware she was, that he was not going to miss instruction, assignments, understanding of material, if I did not keep an eye on where he was, what he was focussing on and if it was relevant to the task at hand.  I checked on his understanding of the material regularly.  And this is all I am asking for Captain Comic.

He is not going to fit a neat box of the types of supports they have for more remedial students.  He is extremely intelligent is some ways, placing him in higher academic classes.  If he were in remedial ed, there would naturally be para support in every class.  But he is not, so only receives it in certain classes.

He's twelve.  He just started at a new school, with a new schedule, new team, new teachers, new everything, and he is lost at sea.  Because of this, he is struggling at home, too.  It's tough on all of us, and I feel I have to translate what's going on for him, and how to deal with it for everyone.  He feels like everyone at home is on his case, and in a way, we are.  But we're only trying to help him. 

I'm exhausted and I just want to breathe.  But really, I want to clean house, go adventuring, love everyone a little more.  It's been a tough week.  Thanks for listening while I try to work out some of this outside my head.

Friday, October 15, 2010

pure jack poetry

Jack Powers, 1937-2010

image source: 1999

Jack Powers is a Boston Institution. He was the founder of the long running poetry venue, Stone Soup Poets. Unfortunately, at this time, I can’t find an obituary to link to his name, because I am not going to write one here for him. When I find one, I will attach it. He passed away yesterday.

I am just going to share with you the ways that Jack personally influenced me. I would be lying if I said anything of this man that did not reflect how he influenced literally every aspect of my life. I absolutely would not be who I am today, personally, professionally as a writer and as an educator if I had not met him.

September 1989, not even completely fresh out of college, as I was still working on my thesis, I arrived in Boston, a 23 year old intent on making it as a poet and fiction writer. I spent a lot of my Western, MA college years in Boston but had not sought out the arts community until I arrived and unpacked everything I owned into a small apartment on the frat block of Beacon Street near Kenmore Square. In my first week there, I bought a Boston Globe and a Phoenix, and scoured the Events section for poetry venues. One called Stone Soup Poets called to me from the newsprint pages of both. The following Monday evening, I ventured across the river into Central Square and down a side street. Other than walking into a temp agency, this was really the first time I navigated my way around Boston and Cambridge and the T completely on my own. It felt epic. I felt as though I were the young hero of a novel about to be written, and it was my life. Little did I know that walking into Charlie’s Tap, an unassuming backstreet pub, and up its back stairs into the closed restaurant night would make me.

I was shy then, nervous, sitting at a corner table out of the way by the bathrooms, wondering if I was at the right place, because I was the first to arrive. Slowly the room filled with an odd assortment of people, young, old, gruff, quiet, smelly, clean and passionate. It seemed every facet of the character of this metropolis walked up the stairs into that small, smoky, covered in paintings of jazz musicians space. I wrote them down in my little notebook as I kept to myself. Eventually, a towering, salt and pepper haired man blew up the stairs and took command of the room and set up the microphone. I watched as everyone approached him, wrote their name in his book for the open mic, and chatted him up. He graciously, if somewhat distractedly paid attention to each of them with his frenetic, barely containable energy. He was obviously the man in charge. But also, his spirit was huge and filled the room. Jack Powers.

Months later, after attending the venue weekly, I finally worked up the nerve to walk into his orbit and sign up to read one short poem. I was in a sweat. My leg shook like an earthquake long before he called my name from the sheet. He still didn’t have any idea who I was as far as I knew. I barely made it through that poem without breaking the mic stand because of my right leg’s violent shaking.

The next week, when he read the list of upcoming dates and features, I heard my name cross his lips for the second time. I had no idea, except that a little bird name Gary Hicks had kind of taken me under his wing and wanted me to spread mine, so he convinced Jack to give this little nervous unknown a featured reading. The rest is a smidge of poetic history around Boston in the first half of the 90s before I started having kids. Because of Jack, I eventually became comfortable and confident reading my poetry in front of an audience of fellow poets. Because of Jack, I got a reading at the Cambridge Public Library. Because of Jack, I began to have a bit of public recognition. People on the street, in stores, on the T walked up, said “Excuse me, aren’t you that poet I saw read at [such and such venue]? I love your work!”

Because of Jack Powers and Stone Soup Poets I met my closest circle of friends for many years in Boston. I met still one of my dearest friends, Joe, who prefers a bit of anonymity. I met my now ex-husband, and father of Mr. Cynic and Captain Comic. We had a long, albeit half-life relationship. I met and was mentored by the poets Wally Butts, Peter Kidd and Bill Kemmett. Poets Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Ray McNiece, Billy Barnum and Brother Blue, just to give a range; songwriters Jan Luby, Jim Infantino, Don White, again, a range all influenced me greatly, including storyteller Raelinda Woad. Jenny Harrison from Australia amazed me more than most, she wrote of my life before I lived it as a mother, and I felt that when I heard her read.

At some point I found myself as part of an inner circle around Stone Soup that met periodically at Jack’s little apartment on Joy Street in Beacon Hill. Lots of laughter and deep conversations occurred there, running the gamut from politics and good works, to beauty, life, the nature of poetry, and always the rich well of stories from Jack and all his years around Boston. From that, I babysat his two boys a number of times.

I tired of temping early on in 1990, and amazingly, and I’m not exactly certain how this came about, but Jack Powers wrote me a letter of recommendation to begin working for the Boston Department of Education as a substitute. He gave a way in to the world of education, I always felt drawn to, yet simultaneously was unsure I could do. I remember distinctly all these years later, what a glowing recommendation it was, even though I felt we didn’t know each other well. He was much more confident in me than I was in myself. “She thinks well on her feet and has a good eye for the Big Picture.” I still remember that line from the letter and it is what gives me my confidence as I walk into every new situation. Professionally, I basically have done something in education ever since, if you just ignore my 3.5 years as a law firm receptionist.

I have felt blessed in my life to feel that I have two professional raison d’etres: writing and education. In writing, I never would have found my voice without the influence of Jack Powers and the faith he had in me. I never would have built the confidence I have in my writing if I had not stood by his holding me up in front of an audience for the first time, completely on faith and the continued support he gave me after. I never would have found my second raison d’etre, my career in education, such as it has been over the past 20ish years, if he had not suggested it and written that letter of recommendation.

And more importantly than both of those, I would not have my boys, my heart, if Jack had not created Stone Soup out of thin air, had not that place existed in that upstairs smoky back room above a bar where I first met the father of my boys.

I am terribly remiss in that I did not maintain contact with him as I moved on in my life after having the boys and moving into other directions and places. But when I heard of his passing this morning via a message from the boys’ father, I immediately broke into tears as the memories of all he did for me, as well as his laughter and energy came flooding into me. I honestly would not be who I am today in all aspects of my life, if not for Jack.

Jack Powers left many legacies, not just for me, in his wake when he left this earthly world yesterday. The reason for this is the passionate heart of a man who continually put the success of others before himself, providing at the very least, a place for new voices in Poetry and the Arts of Boston to bloom and be heard.

May he truly rest in Peace. His work here is done. But I bet he doesn’t think so.

image source:

Obituary Update: Boston Globe

Thursday, October 14, 2010

one of those days

1. I am not sleeping well this week.

2. Captain Comic is amping up re: school issues, again.

3.  The new middle school is resisting the supports he has always had in place and deny that he is having any troubles when I confront them about it. Yet, I always have to communicate with teachers re: issues that do come up on a regular basis.

4.  I shot off an email re: these issues again this morning. 

5.  The computer crashed sometime while I was out of the house this morning.

6. Checking my webmail at Honey's desk is awkward both because of the program, and his seat and desk stuff for my bad back issues.  I likely have some emails sitting in my harddrive now that I won't see until Honey can fix the computer tonight. 

7.  Toots didn't want to eat breakfast this morning and was a bit of a fusspot on the way to preschool today.

8.  So I made biscuits.  And there are still plenty of snickerdoodles I made from the other day.

9. Laundry

10.  Time to go pick up Toots. In the rain.

Calgon, take me away!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

nature walk in suburbia

We live by a little fingerlake.  My subdivision wraps around it.  When I walk the dog, and usually Toots, around the neighborhood, we stop and sit on the bench lakeside for a few minutes to rest and watch the ducks, geese, turtles and occasionally, a great blue heron or egret. Once or twice, I've even spotted a river otter here.

Along the walk, I am always cognizant of where we are in the season. After four years, I am still growing accustomed to the differences here in Virginia from New England.  For instance, if I were in Massachusetts right now, I would likely not be wearing shorts and a t-shirt.  I would not have just sent Toots off to preschool in the same, no jacket or sweater.

By now, the leaves are at or just past peak color in their fiery glory up north.  But here, the colors are in an earlier phase of turning.  The colors are subtler.  And many leaves are already gone, especially from my birches because of the super hot and droughtful summer.

Take a look at some of the sightings I made around the neighborhood yesterday. They made my heart jump a little.

just a smidge of color

Toots asked, "Ooo, berries!  Can I eat them?"
I had to tell her these were just for the birds.

pretty hanging branch even if the background isn't bucolic

palest lavender chammomile in the grass

I love Toots backlit.
She was running to offer me a little chammomile bloom.

Our little walks give me a sense of presence and meditation, even while Lucy tugs the leash to chase something or Toots is running to find trouble a bit too far out of easy curtailing range.  They make me happy.  And though I did not get a picture of the geese yesterday (believe me, I've taken plenty already), something about watching them scoot along the water's relatively still surface, their wakes broadening behind them, really sets my mind at ease. 

All is well for the moment.

Monday, October 11, 2010

the meaning of love

While making breakfast this morning, I opened a new maple syrup bottle.  Toots watched and gasped.

Toots eyes widened and vocal pitch raised exponentially:  Hah! Maple Syrup?!
Mom: Yes, this is maple syrup.
Toots sweetly:  Ooooh!  I love you, too!
Mom small chuckle: Maple syrup means love?
Toots: Hm-hmmm. 
Mom:  Aw, I love you, too.

Saturday, October 9, 2010


I did 3 90 minute yoga classes this week.  I also had 2 1 hour weights sessions with a personal trainer. 3 sessions came free with the membership, and I did the first last week.

I entered this regimen in the worst shape of my entire life.

I ache in places I had forgotten about.  I really enjoyed the Hatha yoga classes I had been attending for a couple of weeks.  And then I walked into a Power yoga class this morning, dragging Honey in with me.  He could barely lift his sandwich at dinner tonight.  I could barely do half of the yoga poses today.  He powered through them. 

"Is this the first yoga class you've taken, Hon?"

"I can honestly say it's not the first." 

His tone suggested to me it might have been the second.  And the first was likely over a decade ago.  The man has trained heavily in Martial Arts, sort of taught me some Tai Chi, has been working the weights for a couple of weeks since we joined the gym together.  But Yoga?  Not really his go to workout.

He went in skeptical of what it would actually do.  He left saying, "That was not wussy yoga!"  (I censored slightly)

It clearly wasn't.  My ankle and back are telling me so now.  We also got quite sweaty.

In my last of three training sessions with my personal trainer on Thursday, we were working abs a bunch, and my bad shoulder, among other things, and I kept laughing at myself for how weak I was when I tried to do almost anything and we had to drop weight. 

She was a great and gentle-on-me trainer, taking into consideration my surgery earlier this year, my old back and shoulder issues, and my most recent ankle injury.  But told me in her lovely Argentine accent,  "Stope laughing!  Be seriooz!" 

I mean it was funny, I was on the lowest weight settings for ab machines and shoulder/upper back machines, and the thing wouldn't move!

I tried to tell her I was taking this very seriously, I just felt really pathetic and self-conscious at how low my strength had become. It was laugh or cry, so I opted for laugh. Other than that last little scold, she and I did have a lot of fun training together.  I wish I could pay for more sessions with her, but I left with a good training sheet to start two separate workout regimens with weights.  Maybe down the line, I can get some more sessions with her when it's time to change things up.

I never thought I'd be working out in a gym.  I love walking outside, going for hikes, riding real bikes through scenery, but I need to get on target with taking care of myself now.  I'm not getting any younger, and If I don't start taking good care of mysef again now, I will not have a fun aging process into my later years, and likely not many of them.

So, the workouts are tough, but I'm going to stick with it.  I already feel more mentally alert.  And that's half the battle.  If I feel alert, I will easily want to do more. 

It's working already.  And you know what else?

It's actually fun.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

mum's the word

This morning, while Toots was in preschool, I had plans - grand plans - to edit my manuscript.  I did edit at my writing group on Tuesday, but I was not happy with my resistant progress.  So I was going to buck up and do it on Thursday, by gum.

I tried.  I fiddled.  I sought, I made a cup of tea, I wondered, I pondered, I did not have a stroke of editing brilliance. Then it occurred to me that I was so resistant because after already doing so much editing on this dang thing, I really do hate editing. 

I love writing.

I love those initial sparks, the strokes of inspiration, characterization, action, scene, description, beauty, warts and all.

I love the scratching out and reframing sentences and paragraphs and chapters in the beginning, as the story is developing.  But once it is 'fully developed' I really resist going back in for the umpteenth time and stroking it into a better form. 

And I know it needs a better form.  I've been tweaking it for ages.  I have a printed manuscript covered in my scribbles that all I have to do now is type those scribbles into place. 

But it was not happening today, no matter how much I tried. 

So I said, I need to get organic with it.  If I can't coax myself or it into functional work today, I need to do something else creative before I feel like I have done nothing with these precious alone moments I have left. 

So I grabbed the camera and headed out to the yard.  The mums are beginning to bloom.  Why don't I share some of the seasonal wonders around me. So here you go.  I may hate editing, but I love the beauty and light of this season.

Ch-ch-changes! Turn to face the strange changes.  I love David Bowie.

This one's for the birds.

I fell in love with the sunlight coming through the birch bark.

It was a lovely handful of minutes I had outside just enjoying the warmth of the sunshine, the past couple of days have been very dank and chill. The way the midday autumn sun makes for great contrasts in light and shadow, and colors pop.


How is your creative process going at the moment?

i spy: good big brother

So after Toots's big 1st day of preschool, and Captain Comic seemed to come home in a better mood from his school for the first time since September 7th, I made a small discovery as I took a breather in making dinner. These pics will not be great because I was in PI mode through windows.

What a good big brother he is becoming!  He lay on the ground and let her climb on his back. Unfortunately, I could only get a shot as she would climb off, digital camera delays.  I would love to know what games they were playing as they ranged all over the backyard.

But sometimes, as a parent, if you just let siblings do what they do together, and it makes them happy, it's best to let them have something that is just between them to enjoy.

These are the kind of moments I love best.  I don't have to interfere, as much as I may want to share their joy.

Of course, now I am going out to close the shed door that I believe has been sitting open through the rainy past couple of weeks!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

1st day

Preschool starts have been wondrous things for each of my children.  When Mr. Cynic was infant to toddler, etc, we underwent many changes in childcare from his going briefly to a box one to a couple of wonderful in home providers to my providing it for others, etc. until I had his brother when he was just shy of 3.5 years old.

I sent him to preschool when he was 4 years old with a lipstick kiss to keep under his shirt, so he would know I was still with him.  He was never a big fan of changes, and I think going to preschool in a high school was very intimidating for him.  Once he adjusted, he made plenty of friends and we had loads of playdates afterschool with a couple of families who had younger baby siblings, too.  It was an Integrated Preschool that provided services to children with special needs while exposing 'typical' students to all kinds of people.

I was never able to send Captain Comic to daycare of any kind for long before they said they couldn't handle him. He went to variations of Integrated Preschools from the time he was 2.9 years old until he entered Kindergarten, with an extra year of preschool.  For the longest time, they had to pry him off of me kicking and screaming, and he clutched two Godzilla toys for comfort, one in each hand throughout the day.  I heard his wails all the way down the halls of each school he attended.  First was the Early Intervention Program in Concord, MA. Second was the Integrated Preschool in the town we shared a public school system with, which was also the preschool Mr. Cynic attended. And the third was a new Integrated Preschool that opened in our little town's only public school - the elementary where his brother was.  Eventually he found an activity, usually puzzles or trains that interested him slightly more than clinging and screaming to me.

Toots has been so full of excited anticipation to start preschool since the boys went back to school in September.  She finally aged into a 2.5 year old two day a week program at a local church.  Yesterday was her first day.

I barely even got a kiss from her as the teachers unloaded the students from their carseats. She was gung-ho and full of smiles. 
Grandma  arrived early for pick up and was able to watch the class on the playground for a while before Toots noticed her.  She was so busy with all the toys, equipment and her new friends that she was the last to be corralled into line to leave.

My girl's got some serious spunk and independence.  I've got no worries about how she'll adjust to new circumstances, likely for the rest of her life.  However, once again I will say, I'm in trouble once she's a teen, aren't I?

Saturday, October 2, 2010

down by the rive-e-er

After a solid week of rain, we had a perfect day. We spent the afternoon at York River.

I don't know who was happiest.

 Honey and Toots. "I gotchoo Daddy!"
 Captain Comic walking Lucy or Lucy just thoroughly enjoying being taken out of the house for an adventure.

Mr. Cynic plucking his bass by the river.

Toots, "Can I watchoo?" 

I am writing. 
outside. breezy,
in the grass.  barefoot.  by water.
The sound of the waves lapping the breakers behind me.

The happiest really may have been Lucy. 
Wrestling.  Be gentle, Capt. Comic!
 "I gonna getchoo!"

The Alliance
We live near History. This is where the deciding battle of The Revolutionary War was fought and where Cornwallis was captured by Washington.

 Here is where he was imprisoned, affectionately known as Cornwallis's Cave.
We also walked the pier, saw someone's Blue Crab catch in a bucket, helped a kid get a splinter out of his foot, and then headed toward the little touristy township for ice cream.

We stumbled upon the wine festival that was advertised everywhere, but I had completely forgotten about it.
 And then we got ice cream. 
 And Lucy got a good drink.

Captain Comic made certain he said hello to every dog we met along the way, too.

Friday, October 1, 2010


I have 2 new ones:

1. My new gym's yoga classes. 

2. This fabric site for quilting:

Help me, please.  Is there a Quilters Anonymous?  or Yoga Anonymous? 

I may need them.