Wednesday, March 30, 2011

planting in the rain

I bought these and a couple of pretty and perfumey plants yesterday, as well as some dark tarp to try to kill off weeds in my garden plots before I try to plant.

This morning, I planted the flowers in pots I bought as it started to sprinkle. It's raining properly again now, and frigid, too. 

I also covered the vegetable plots with the tarp and strategically placed bricks to hold them in place for about a week, until I can have some sunshine to really get out there and do a good job of plotting the vegs. 

I also spread the african daisy, cosmos, and catnip packets along my back fence where no grass or anything else I've tried repeatedly to plant will grow, especially grass. 

I spread the viola packet along under the boxwoods and holly out front. 

I can't wait to watch the colors come up. 

Tuesday, March 29, 2011


The sun came out. Briefly is the rumor. But, I found these in the front patch this morning:

Miss Peony is making a comeback. I bet hers will be better than Britney Spears's.

Japanese maple.

Juniper berries.  Time to make some gin?

These are currently taking over the lawn. 
 I think they're a type of chammomile?  
Please correct me or confirm if you know. Thanks.  

This morning I thought I would try to write at home amid laundry,etc. which never goes very well.  But then this unfamiliar bright light blinded me on the drive to drop Toots off at preschool.  Slowly it dawned on me that it was neither overcast nor raining. Time to garden!  or at least weed, and weed, and weed some more.  and now that it is officially over 40F, as of 10:14am, I should really get out there. And I want to, too. 

Monday, March 28, 2011


Dear Rain,

I love you, but please go away. The cold, too.  I thought I moved South?  This is looking more like a Boston March at the moment. I really appreciated the sleet, rain and hail yesterday.  So much so, that I remained in bed all day. Of course the doubled over lower bellyache lent to that, too. But I enjoyed reading an actual book. A couple of chapters anyway. And watching Dirty Harry, and Pretty in Pink. I love Ducky. It made my day.  Yes, I went for it.

Toots's birthday party is at the end of the week, and I have serious work to do in the backyard. Serious work. My plots are overgrown with things I didn't plant. I want to get the spring peas in, and there's a lot of Lucy poop scooping, too. It's been a mostly cold and long winter.

So, please, Rain, can you take this week's forecast, and skeedaddle? Please?

It would help make for a really fun princess baseball birthday party.

One overwrought mother with no sunny window in sight.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

spring springing

My daffodils 

Camellias, varigated

Pink and white from the same branch. 
There's a red camellia tree just beyond a Crepe Myrtle along my fence.
This tree used to be all white.

Daffodils by my subdivision entrance, behind my yard.

Holly buds 

These purple stars begin with A. It's a very sciency name. 

Broccoli blooms from last year's 'crop'

Hi Chives

Welcome back, strawberries

Hello Wisteria buds

And pull back

Jasmine's not ready yet, but I love this curl.

My azalea's run about two weeks behind all the others in the area.

Welcome back Hydrangea

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

back to writing

Okay, I sidelined greatly with the room switching, but today I had writing group.

My friend and I carpooled up to Williamsburg and saw all kinds of lovely blooming things along the way. I saw some gorgeous redbuds. I was too transfixed by their purple purple blooms along dark bark before they disappeared sans camera to my eye. Some magnolias are just stunning now, too. Forsythia is turning from yellow bursts to green. But here's another cherry tree speeding by:

And then I thoroughly edited a single chapter, Chapter Eleven of somewhere above thirty. Don't worry, they're short. It is a middle reader book. It was a difficult edit. I was previously very attached to what I had, but looking at it today, I saw what I needed to do: tighten, cut effluvia, add main character's internal thoughts during scene to make it matter, and such. I believe, for now, that it was a very successful edit.

Monday, March 21, 2011

as promised


Cherry blossoms along Canon Ave, Newport News, VA

Honey grabbed the camera one day and took these in a bit of a rush or he would have done more with them.  But just look how they wrap all the way around the bend! Happy Spring everyone!

Toots is very proud to show off her new room. you can see where the ginormous bed of Captain Comic embedded itself into the carpet. One day the carpet will be torn up and the walls will be painted. That piece of furniture to the right is an armoire that Grandma and I foolishly with our respective joint and back issues moved up from the garage in two pieces. That rocker was given to Mr. Cynic by Gaga and Papa (my parents) when he was a baby. It has been loved by three kids, and three, no wait, four cats.  Very loved by the cats. One day, I fully intend to restore the straw or at least make a cover for it. Please don't mention a certain road built of good intentions.  I know it well, thank you.
Toots is showing you Big Puppy. She loves Big Puppy vewy much. Another intention: this toddler bed converted from her crib will one day be replaced by two milk painted and restored antique acorn head and foot board twin beds that are currently in the garage. 

Now she is showing you her Marble Game. We have to play this a lot. It's an old game of the boys, but a new and wondrous discovery for her. 

Boys' room. It's packed. Jam packed. But they'll live, they have shared a room before.  I curse these giant IKEA beds.  Curse them down that road of good intentions. Warning: giant beds with tons of shelving under them may seem like a good idea before you actually buy them, but you will rue the day of the purchase.  Just walk by them through the IKEA habitrail and focus on something simpler, and less apt to collect a hoard of clutter the likes of which you have never seen. I found lost library books from three years ago, for one. Don't. ask. me. about. the. rest. Or the suicide turtles. Please don't ask about the suicide turtles hanging from the fan chain. Suffice it to say that I have raised a morbid teen. Intention: remove carpet, paint walls a lighter robin's eggish blue.

Captain Comic's 'light table' Honey built it for him for drawing from and old photography light and a piece of an old computer desk.

Mr. Cynic's side: bass and guitars galore and clutter starting on the bookcase and dresser.

Captain Comic's side: I swear, there is only so much a mother of an aspie can do. 
Why didn't I get an OCD type? 

See that empty corner?  Ahhhh.....just ignore the Easter stickers on Honey's armoire. I try to.

This is what used to be crammed in that empty corner - My meditation center. I have a thing about nature. It calms me, even bits and pieces of it collected in my house. Now it is not covered in two inches of dust bunnies that could get up and walk away. and it's where I can access it and see it when I wake up in the morning. This is the wall where Toots's crib was.

This is under my antique shaker dresser. Look, there's space! It's the little things in life.

But the thing that makes me happiest, I think, is that I can open the doors we installed on the balcony and roll out my yoga mat under the sunlight coming from the living room sky lights! This is where her wide dresser/changing table/armoire thing was that is now in the garage. Not sure yet if I can fit there to do yoga, but it's a start. Again, this rug will go bye-bye eventually. And those tapes will go out to my van which is old enough to still have a tape deck, yes.

Yes that is an alligator on my bed, what of it?

Saturday, March 19, 2011

japan and christchurch, nz

I have not written of what happened last week and prior, and what continues to happen there.  It's not because I don't care.  I may care overly much and feel there is little I can actively do from such a distance. I have made the Red Cross donation call. I donated a bit to send rescue dogs to Japan to look for survivors, and not survivors. I've found out about everyone I personally know and others I know in the this weird new virtual realm that has shrunk the world to even smaller than it seemed before. Small world, indeed. I also spent a couple of days trying to keep abreast of the whereabouts of a local friend who was caught on a train between Yokohama and Tokyo. I called and kept his wife company even before the disaster for the week plus he was away, but spent last Friday night with her and other friends, doing what we could to distract her, and keep their young son occupied after we all found out he was safe. By Sunday he was home safe, only about 24 hours late.

My thoughts and prayers, of course, go out to everyone in Japan and in Christchurch.  I am concerned about the nuclear reactors. I am concerned people aren't getting food and water. I cried over the dog that stayed by his other dog friend who was hurt and I've cried over the four month old baby who was pulled out of the rubble. I bawled over the parents of the eighteen year old girl whose car was swept away in the wave when they discovered her. I have watched video of the water overwhelming the land, the awesome power, the utter devastation. I have contacted anyone I know who was in the potential west coast tsunami zone that, thankfully had little affect.

I get overwhelmed by things of this magnitude easily.  It's Haiti, Indonesia, New Orleans, and 9/11 going back to the San Francisco earthquake in 1989. In the meantime, there's the people of Wisconsin and it seem much of the Middle East and beyond starting revolutions and trying to be free.

I think right now, the best I've been able to do is not get so overwhelmed. I am going about the business of my life,and while I've personally piled more on to my own kind of mayhem, and gotten through the majority of it in the past few weeks, I have been extraordinarily grateful that my little corner of mayhem is mostly just full of life and family and love and a little frustration, aggravation with a lot of laundry thrown in.

Peace and goodwill to the people of Japan and Christchurch, New Zealand.

In my little corner of the world, I am taking Mr. Cynic to work in a soup kitchen today. It's what I can do.

Friday, March 18, 2011


Still working on upstairs, mostly my room. I swear I am not a hoarder.  Where did all this effluvia come from?

Boys' room is now disaster of their making. They are forces of chaos each that when combined, react much like a baking soda and vinegar volcano - instant production of mess exponentially increasing by the second. But less wet and frothy. I knew there was a good reason why I separated them five years ago. Besides the fighting.

Toots is loving her new room. It is now the least crammed with furniture room in the house. She can wunawound and wunwound and wunawound! She has also discovered the long hidden Marble Run Game. We must build interesting towers of Rube Goldberg proportions. She must drop a gazillion marbles through them. It's fun. But there is more to life, like my room reconfiguration being completed, making dinner, making Irish soda bread for St. Pat's and how about some pesto pizza to go with that? Of course, and laundry - my name is Sissyphus.

Mr. Cynic has a bit part in his high school's musical, Urinetown. Opening night was last night. He is in the back and cursed with two sets of short genes. He is invisible on stage. But I can hear his singing.  He's good.  Mom is proud of her invisible son.

Give me a minute.  Captain Comic said something yesterday that fell into the interesting things Captain Comic says realm.  I'm exhausted. I have been moving furniture, cleaning out furniture and closets for over a week.  I'm not cut out for this. Okay, I've got it now:

Captain Comic looked at me in an examining fashion yesterday.  I waited for what he was obviously considering may be an inappropriate thing to say, which is a step up from his prior lack of awareness regarding blurting out a perfectly innocent and factual observation that may hurt someone else's feelings.

Mom: What's on your mind?
Capt. Comic: Mom.....I think you should dye your hair again.  You wouldn't look so old.
Mom: Well, how about I stay true to myself and how I was made, instead of changing myself to please others in a societal expectation of women not aging gracefully? Besides, it gets expensive to keep up the pretense.
Captain Comic: Uh-huh.
Mom: [Capt. Comic] honey, would you want to make yourself different from how you really are, just to please someone else?
Capt. Comic: Oh. No. I see. Okay, you don't have to dye your hair.

None of us is adjusting well to Daylight Savings.

I did manage to squeeze in some good and effective writing time on Wednesday amid this week's extraordinary mayhem. 

Go out and get a good look at this extraordinary Super Moon this weekend. It's closer to the Earth than it has been in about twenty years.  Last night, she was gorgeous.

Also, everywhere around me, the trees are blooming: pear blossoms, cherry blossoms, forsythia, you name it.  I must say, though I miss New England burst of spring awakening a lot, these long extended and rolling blooming springs of southern Virginia are truly stupendous. When I can leave my house for more than quick errands and kid shuttling, I will get some photos, especially of the cherry trees along Canon Blvd.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011


1.  I want to edit the manuscript.

2. I am still working on the upstairs room switch. My room is the worst mess right now, especially my little worship space which needs to move out of a dusty cramped corner and to where Toots's crib was.

3. I am so exhausted I can cry at the drop of thought.

4. I have the second of many dental appointments to come today, because I did not go for years.

5. It is a sunny beautiful day and I need to do something about this:

I have an issue in my lavender. I have bulbs that would like to bloom there. I have wild flowers taking over the driveway edge.

I think I will opt for garden gloves, spade and vitamin D absorption right after I finish this egg.

It is the Ides of March and the forboding I feel is not exactly on par with Ceasar's, but close. I feel like there is not enough time or energy for all that I want to accomplish.  But I'll be fine, eventually.

And when Toots comes home from preschool, she wants another game of marble run in her new room that is "mine so stay out, [Captain Comic]!"

To be fair, the three of us really enjoyed a marble game yesterday. But boy, am I going to be in trouble when she's a teen, right?

Monday, March 14, 2011

not quite there

Remember my enthusiasm about doing the bedroom shuffle back here?

Well, things have not lined up with the big thinking, building projects, etc that we planned, but for the moment there is a nearly three year old girl moved out of her parents' bedroom and a twelve year old brother moved back in with his nearly 16 year old brother after four years of exile of separate bedrooms. 

We haven't painted, but we have spent two weekends thoroughly cleaning out two boys' disaster zones.

I honestly did not realize the extent of the garbage hoarding going on behind furniture and in closets, especially in Mr. Cynic's room.  I mean, I expect it from Captain Comic and had been in there a handful of times over the years for a whole weekend clean out. But I never went into the teen zone to assist when I asked him to clean.

Never again.  Standing house rule: HIDDEN DOES NOT MEAN CLEAN.

So the bedroom shuffle has been done, but not thoroughly completed as of yet.

Last night was Honey and my first night alone (well, the cat is in there, too) in our room since Toots was born.  She did a good job staying in her room and the boys survived the first night sharing theirs again.  Captain Comic said he woke up a few times during the night, though.

Their room isn't quite big enough for anything beyond their two beds, two book shelves, two dressers, three guitar stand and amps (Mr. Cynic) and a file cabinet with a lightbox for drawing (Captain Comic). Slowly, I am still trying to clear stuff out Toots's room that belonged to Captain Comic.  Desk does not have a place to go in the boys' room.

I have a very busy week ahead, starting with a meeting I am too exhausted to be motivated to go to at the moment, dental work tomorrow, the usual mayhem, and Mr. Cynic is in a play for the last three nights of this week. 

And I want to write? 

When things are a bit more finished in both rooms, I will post photos.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

non-sequitur boy

After my phase one dental trauma this morning, I really wanted a treat to take the kids out for a treat.

Did you know it's Starbucks 40th birthday?  They are giving out treats on Thurs, Fri and Sat afternoons this week with purchase of a drink.  So I took the kids.  I really don't take them out for things like that enough.

Captain Comic usually tosses out some good non-sequiturs any old time, but he was in rare form today.

Piece of convo in the car on the way to treat:

Mr. Cynic: But mom, Frappucinos are so sweet they make me want to throw up, except the bottled ones.
Captain Comic (from the wayback in the minivan): Did you know that one milligram of antimatter costs three hundred billion dollars?

Captain Comic and I were walking through Starbucks to get some milk to cool off his hot chocolate. A man in a black trench coat and tie stood waiting for his drink to be made.

Captain Comic (mutters without eye contact as he walked past): Nice suit.
Man (looks around): Oh, thanks. It's really more of a sport coat.
Captain Comic (having already moved on): What's half and half?  Why is it called half and half? What is it half and half of?

Back in the van, KT Tunstall disc comes on.

Captain Comic: IS THAT LADY GAGA?!
Mom (bursts out laughing): I love you!
Mr. Cynic: OHMIGAWD! You are FAIL!
Capt. Comic: Why am I fail?
Mom and Mr. Cynic in unison: Because that's KT Tunstall!
Mr. Cynic: and if you FOLLOWED the MUSIC Industry AT ALL, you would know the difference IMMEDIATELY.

Mr. Cynic: Mom, if you EVER get a Lady Gaga CD, I will have to slap you in the head with it.

Toots (listens quietly to the many exchanges, briefly pulls her two sucky fingers out of her mouth): CannI hab a sip uff yer toffee?
Mom: Sure. (it's decaf - hands it back to her in the middle row)
Toots: slurp noise
Mom: Is it good?
Toots: It's dee-wicious! (passes coffee back up and promptly returns sucky fingers to their original position.)

New song starts

Captain Comic: Is THAT Lady Gaga?!
Mom (bursts out laughing)
Mom and Mr. Cynic: It's KT Tunstall!
Captain Comic: Oh riiiiiight. Mom?
Mom: What?
Capt. Comic: Do you laugh so much because I'm so random?
Mom: Absolutely. You are the most random person I know.  (chuckles)
Capt. Comic laughs with pride.
Toots: Ahre we ahmost home yet?  I want my juice.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

writing surprise

Grandma took Toots out with her this morning, which means I should be able to write in the house. But first I need to clean off my desk so I can spread out the critiqued pages. And I have to keep myself from being tempted to do other cleaning or gardening futzing.

Yesterday at writing group, I did what I hadn't been doing as I rewrote this draft - a pretty thorough read through of what I have so far, and I took care of minor corrections I missed along the way.  I made it to the nurse scene. The scene I had stopped at three days before. The one I had trouble rewriting because it will change things down the line in the manuscript and I don't know quite how to rewite those yet.  I mean I do, but you know, I don't.  I know what needs to happen, but haven't actually put it in the document yet.  I just have my list of things to change.

So today I will rewrite the nurse scene in which the main character's mom previously rescued him from further embarrassment by picking him up. Now he's going to have to go back to class in the embarrassing borrowed sweatpants and shirt. As if things weren't bad enough for the kid there already.

I had a bad habit of protecting my main character in prior drafts, finding outs for him rather than writing the tough scene that would progress the plot forward.

But this rewrite is going to change a couple of other threads I'll need to deal with another day. Hence the avoidance yesterday. Okay, my breakfast is almost finished, so, time to get to it!  Thanks for 'listening to my thinking aloud'.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

look what she did

While I was sequestered away with Captain Comic on Sunday afternoon for hours, look what my little Toots did all by herself:

Looks like we have another writer in the house. She won't be three for another couple of weeks.

Proud mom. 

Monday, March 7, 2011


Did everyone on the eastern half of the country survive the storms alright?  We had some pretty astounding rain, but overall are fine and not flooded.

Before it got really going, I managed to take this of my first bulby blooms:

They are mini jonquils, about the diameter of a quarter, perhaps a bit less.

Then Captain Comic and I began the excavation of his London after the bombing bedroom.  Four plus hours, and there is still more to go. I did not take Before pictures, but here are some durings:

I curse the day I purchased this IKEA bed with deep shelves for scads of detritus to collect in, and behind, along the wall. I found the floor on easily five separate occasions. My back and shoulder will ne'er be the same after my squeezing in there to retrieve stuff from the deep recesses. Look at my poor Captain Comic.  We were both exhausted after the first hour.  But we kept at it.

I sincerely apologize to thousands of trees who met their demise for my son's art, only to be recycled. So far: two buckets this weekend, one last weekend, and one the weekend before.

Closet vomit, Phase 2. I was too overwhelmed and embarassed to capture Phase One.

Um, don't ask.  I have learned not to often. Most likely a distracted reprieve from his slavery.

Closet, After. That's a lego exclusive bucket (well, a few other things like playmobil may be in there, too) and a vehicle/creature bucket.  Two large vehicles and a nerf gun are in the corner. That's it. Phew!

This morning, the creep is beginning to show already: an eraser, a shirt, an encyclopedia. I can not tell you how often I went over use one thing, put it back before you take another out. His desk surface still needs a thorough going through. That file cabinet is empty, has been since I slid it into his room for saving his artwork. Sigh.  Below are three examples of heartbreak I tried to rescue:

Just look at that detail, that crumple.  He has no recollection of drawing it. sigh.

This is a storyboard page for the 'sitcom' he and Mr. Cynic are making. So much effort, into the trash. sigh.

Ninja Boy.  sigh. This was an entire bound drawing book at one point. It was filled with full color, plot filled, great storyline, beautiful comic book artistry, funny, funny, funny. Gone but this sliver of pages I managed to find. sigh.

Some things, I will never understand about Asperger's Syndrome and how it presents in my son.  So much gorgeous work, just trashed and all over his room.  Intensely involved in it while working on it, out of mind once it's finished. Sigh.

*All art concepts belong to Captain Comic.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

brotherly love

Mom: ... please clean your room, decide what you want to keep [etc] so we can move you into [Mr. Cynic's] room next weekend. We'll try to make a partition asap.

Captain Comic: How 'bout an electric fence?

Mind you, the boys shared a room for the first seven years of Captain Comic's life, and I just convinced Mr. Cynic to accept the return to prior format. That took a lot of work.

Toots is going to be in Honey's and my room forever, isn't she?

Friday, March 4, 2011


Stomach bug is marching through house and self.

Worm has taken over my pc, can't access my photos or many documents and very important emails with schools, etc.

The laptop does this weird jumpy typie thing. I'll be typing away and suddenly it's typing into another line of text.

So much for my self-imposed mid-March deadline. Think I can rewrite two thirds of this manuscript in one week with many appointments scheduled for this and that?

And we want to revamp the kids' room and do a spring clean of the yard, etc. before Toots's birthday on April 1.

Anyone recall the old Dr. Demento radio show?  They're coming to take me away ha ha ho ho hee hee.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

down for the count

Now Honey is down for the count. He never calls in sick and has a huge and urgent project at work right now, but he called in.  Poor guy.

Toots still had a mild fever last night, so she's home from preschool, too. She's still pretty low key for her.

I have a million things I 'need' to get done. I had planned earlier this week to write at the library today and run a bunch of errands, but looks like that will have to wait while I play nurse and catch up on school emails, etc.

Yesterday, Captain Comic was particularly loud coming in from the schoolbus. I asked him to quiet down as Toots was napping:

Capt. Comic: Riiiiiight, she threw up all night last night......Can I see her vomit stains?!

Thankfully, they had already been laundered.  Gotta love his brand of curiosity, though.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

yes, even this

Poor Toots yakked her way through last night, poor iddo thing.

Honey took care of the bulk of flying her to the toilet and changing out pjs and sheets.

Even as I was aware of the events of the night, through sheer pushing through the stomach bug (i didn't yak) and overscheduled prior several days, last night I couldn't move as quickly as the yaks occurred.

I cuddled her while he changed sheets, he cuddled her a lot more, took temps gave meds, and generally took excellent care of her.  I've been through plenty of nights like this when the boys were little, and not so little, but this was Honey's first go with having a sick all night kid. 

And I have to say, he was a natural.  He cuddled her sweetly. Her complete trust of him was beyond evident, as was his love for her.

This is why I married him.  I knew he had this in him. He's not the most demonstrative guy in the world, but when it really counts, nobody cuddles better.

And now he's off to work, where a big and urgent project awaits....what a trooper.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

spring is trying

Lately we've had warm days, we've had cold days, we've had wet days, and the yard is a mess. The leaves clung to the local trees for most of winter, brown, and have slowly been releasing themselves as the buds appear. Especially the great oak on the corner. Oak leaves are strewn everywhere and the daffodils are struggling through.

I've been pricing rakes online because I want to get out there and rake.

Apparently our rake was a giant monster and has been subdued to pieces by Captain Comic.