Not Back To School, reason #1

Being Assholes
It’s that time of year – my social media stream is full of parents and teachers making jokes (?) at the expense of children. Teachers groan about having to return to their jobs. Parents are glad they get a break – finally! We’re all in agreement: caring for children is really exhausting and annoying and teachers should be sainted for having to put up with it!

Yeah. It’s kinda ugly.

Lest you think I’m a humorless scold (um… do you even read here?) let me acknowledge a few truths. First, I think very loving grownups can make jokes like this. Whether they should, well, let’s talk about this.

Second: I don’t deny, everyone needs to blow off some steam. As a parent for over thirteen years, I can attest there is a dark side to the hard work of being a parent. Sometimes we just need to vent. In fact, older entries of this very blog reveal that edge. Go ahead and look, if you like. It’s not pretty, although a lot of people seem to think it’s funny.

I am not writing this piece for those who’d read and feel offended, flustered. “How dare she pick on how I talk about my kids!” Or: “Well I don’t like kids. That’s just my preference.” (Not even touching this one, today!)

Yeah, yeah. I’m not trying to pick on you. I’m not even writing for you.

I’m writing for the children, teens, and adults, who see these “jokes”, and feel uneasy. If you do, please read on:

The problem with public venting is: children hear it. And it is damaging. There is no question about either of these things.

So then it becomes time for us truly to earn that title of GROWN UP. Because we are grown. We have rights, freedoms, protection under the law, and access to support – at least, far more than children as a class do.

So – are we going to act grown, or not? Is our right to vent more important than the collective self-esteem of our new generation? Does our right to vent trump our responsibility to weigh our words, while we steward this world and show, by example, how best to care for it? Are snark, memes, and barbed anecdotes – about our children or others’ – our only avenues to vent? Is it possible there are ways to get our needs met, that aren’t destructive to others?

Children read this stuff. They see it. Children get the gist. Teenagers especially learn that: we think they’re silly, dramatic, stupid, and annoying. And look – here’s another article proving how “teenage brain” is totally different than – *cough cough inferior to* – the grownup brain. Ouch!

Is it possible for children to fully understand these memes and snark are “just jokes”? Studies say, not so much. Empirical evidence and anecdotes reveal: not so much.

Even as adults: we all have a person or two in our lives, who seems to pick on us, although we can’t absolutely prove it. How does that feel?

Yeah, not too great.

Children are human beings, and they deserve respect – as individuals, and as a class. Our pastors, close and trusted friends, counselors, and the supportive family members who can keep a confidence? These fine personages are who we should vent to.

And when we’ve had enough support from these professionals and loved ones, we can better clarify what, if anything, we need to change. We can speak to our children in a constructive manner. We can dance that special dance – of self-care, while discharging our responsibilities.

It’s never too early, or too late to start.

I’m looking forward to these “Not Back To School” months with my kids in my home. I can truthfully say: these ten plus years of immersion have been the experience of a lifetime. I am so glad I did it, and so glad we continue. I am so glad I took the plunge, even after so many told me it wasn’t possible. That only a certain class of (unambitious, unintelligent, lifeless, and financially-privileged) women could do it, and stay happy.

Nah, son. If you want to do it – you can. Prepare to learn a little – or a lot!

And – I’m here to help.

save the date: Jalie hoodie sew-along, October 1, 2015

Save The Date: Jalie Hoodie Sew-Along
It’s time for another sew-along! Save the date for October 1st, and plan to finish your new hoodie by Halloween. My next posts will over the next week – supplies posts. If you’d like to join the sew-along and receive a fabric coupon (see below), please comment here!

October is a wild month, both in terms of weather here in the Pacific Northwest, and lovely Halloweeny fun! So to that end:

Save The Date: Jalie Hoodie Sew-Along

Cotton velours in Halloween colorways!

Those of you who join the sew-along, I have a 10% coupon for you to use from Nature’s Fabrics (with their blessing), should you want to buy one of their amazing fabrics. They have a wonderful selection and are very accommodating.

As to the pattern: after some queries to the sewing public at large, I selected Jalie 2795: a zip-up, raglan-sleeve, offering with gender-neutral detailing. Jalie’s drafting is perfect, and their size range is huge: 27 sizes (a size 2T to a 50″ bust). If you are new to sewing, you can get your feet wet by making a small-size hoodie for a child or a friend’s child (consider a freezer-paper motif!). The larger size range also means you can buy one pattern and sew for the family!

Best of all, perhaps: Jalie is converting more and more of their catalog to a PDF form: which means you can buy the pattern from where you sit, and print it from home.

Early September I’ll post a supply list, so we all have plenty of time to get what we need before adventuring forth. In the meantime, if you have any questions you can email, @kellyhogaboom on Twitter, or comment here.

Jalie 2795: Pattern Front
Jalie 2795: Pattern Back

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verily i am unstoppable!

MONDAYS! (The Strange World of Planet X - 1957)

So today was really great, in about a half-dozen ways. Mostly I was tremendously focused on learning a few new things, which feels wonderful. The kids had friends over, then got up to their own projects – artwork. About halfway through this I forced them out on a walk with the dog so I could focus on some tailoring work: making a muslin and custom shoulder pads in a fabulous Harris tweed jacket for a delightful client. Then, while Ralph made dinner, cutting into the thick, scratchy high-end fabric and block fusing, the steam from the iron not feeling great in the summer heat, even with the A/C on.

Tomorrow is payday. I’m short about $500 this pay cycle. We’ll see!

pump up the jam, pump it up!

TweedyI’ve been working double-time on my B-movie site and community, to my great satisfaction. My efforts included, today, tagging my film entries and making a bunch of little click-through banners to help organize my content. I remain committed to eschewing ads or sponsorship in my endeavors, although I am currently developing a way I might get paid.

My children are officially staying out of school this school year. It’s been two years since I had them both here.  I am thrilled, naturally. They will get better food, exercise, sleep, and have more time to study their passions deeply. To that end I can feel them thawing out from school, which wreaks havoc on kids’ self-confidence – yes, even for the kids who come from healthy homes. This week I’ve been helping my daughter with some of her artistic development (including a new comic, a social media community, and a website), and yesterday Nels started shooting on a film. It looks super-promising. Obv:

Starting A Film

And, we’re buying a house.

So, I’ve been busy.

How about you?

waiting for a gift from the sea

My son tells me, upon waking, he thinks he may have developed a case of mycelia. “It’s a state, often observed in ants or other insects, where a fungus uproots the function of the brain.” He is very serious, very sedate as he shares this horrific thought with me – before breakfast, even. Then, he adds thoughtfully: “It’s either that or a highly emotional fever.”

(JEEBUS!)

I am amazed I can get up to a body of work – both professionally, artistically – with the kids in the house. Yesterday while I tried to sew I couldn’t get five minutes without an interruption; on days their friends visit it can be even worse. Feeding extra kids is Extra. I don’t mind, but I also have to give myself credit for how much I do get done.

“Do you work from home?” a child asked me today. I got to tell her. Maybe she will stay less ignorant than so many Grown-Ups.

But today, “working from home” took us on the road, as it often does. We spent the better part of the sunshine on a little highway and back again: delivering a child to a counseling session. It was hot out, and my car – clocking over 200,000 miles – has a busted A/C long since fallow. The windows down, and the air roaring through, it’s good enough. Tying my hair up into a couple buns and wrapping with a headscarf and still by the end of the day I feel wilted. Hot shower and into pajamas a little early, methinks.

The children and I enjoy a late-night walk with the dog, most nights. And every time we do at least one of our cats – and sometimes up to four of them! – follow us. Our little tuxedo Herbert Pocket races alongside, flashes of her white grabbers at the end of sleek black legs. She waits in a dusty lane for us, and I know coyotes or even a mountain lion could meet her there – it’s remote enough. Life is scary!

We’ve always had the highest quality air here, but this summer has had some wonderful, beachy breezes. I’m aware as we walk that we are approaching the end of our turn in this neighborhood: off to a new house, a new adventure soon. I make my preparations: sewing a quilt, selling bits of furniture, putting together a wishlist, going through our clothing:

Working From Home.

Night Walk

hot fun in the summertime

vacation

I just returned from a short vacation, and it was pretty fabulous.

Actually, in the last couple weeks we’ve been on two sojourns to our family cabin on Mason Lake. Last week we took a day trip to spend time with my mother’s side of the family, as they’d gathered for a reunion. And today we returned from our second trip: just our little foursome. We had a few visitors, strategically scheduled for a certain window. And the rest of the time we just did nothing, to ourselves.

A very modest, very inexpensive vacation as – what with house-buying shenanigans – that’s all we could afford. And that was just fine.

The kids are growing older, and in no way do I lose sight of this for even a day. They still play for hours on end in the water, but their deportments have shifted. My son is ever more serious, less childlike, and more directly argumentative when his needs and ours seem to conflict. He has already grown out of the jeans I purchased him under a year ago – purchased with growing room.

My daughter posts an eloquent – and fierce – Facebook disquisition on her vegetarianism (she was bullied about it at school last year). She and her beau are increasingly more recognizably girlfriend-and-boyfriend, casually draping their arms around one another or leaning together watching a movie. I can act like it’s no big deal but all of this means I’m dying on the inside, a little. I’m so proud of her as she navigates territory that I found baffling, and terrifying. I know I support her better than I was myself supported. I think that’s pretty incredible.

So, things are pretty good. We are buying a house, which seems kind of incredible. It seems to be going well! I don’t worry too much about the future because I have learned if I can care for these little ones, for our life – I can probably manage just about anything.

The next chapter is going to be great – because they all have been so far! It just takes me a while to catch up, sometimes.

vacation

octo-AWESOME!

Cotton + Steel Octopus Dress
Yeah, so this happened.

While fabric shopping for fabrics I need, I occasionally find the fabric I “need”. And this, a lovely Tokyo Train Ride Lawn Octopus (Teal) by Cotton + Steel, certainly qualified. Isn’t it fabulous? Also, as a lawn: very very lightweight. A perfect summer dress!

Cotton + Steel Octopus Dress
Cotton + Steel Octopus Dress

As per usual, finishing is perfect: including an invisible zipper…

Cotton + Steel Octopus Dress

and vintage buttons from my stash.

Cotton + Steel Octopus Dress

For more, you can dilly-dally through my Flickr tagset, or read my pattern review, to know more. For now – let’s just sigh at my pretty young daughter in her pretty li’l dress!

Jury’s out on the quality of Cotton + Steel fabrics. I haven’t heard anything bad yet, and I haven’t researched. They certainly have some of the loveliest designs, at least to my aesthetic. This yardage wasn’t the first, and certainly won’t be the last!