"You ever drunk Bailey's from a shoe?"

mark allen hand embroidery on linen

Posted by on Jun 29, 2014 in sewing journal | 5 comments

A rarity for me: some hand-embroidery. Piece a simple download from Sublime Stitching, by an artist named Mark Allen. The piece is fine work, using only two strands of cotton DMC. As per usual here are some EXTREME CLOSEUPS!

Mark Allen

I made most of this piece while resting. Hand-embroidery is a useful work to have around for the times one needs to sit and rest. It is different than knitting – and I don’t knit during hot months anyway. That said, hand-embroidery, like knitting, does require night. It isn’t necessarily a good night-time occupation.

Mark Allen

The whole piece:

Mark Allen

I have about six pieces of hand embroidery stored up, that so far do not have a destination. This is now one of them. All of the pieces would be wonderful on tiny decorative pillows but I kind of think tiny decorative pillows are bullshit!

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no such thing as junk, not really

Posted by on Jun 28, 2014 in dailies | 2 comments

Today I was responsible to prepare food for a large group of people – two full meals, and beverages, and seventy cups of coffee, and cream and sugar, and all of that kind of thing! I had spent the last week planning the repast and finding the best, most economical, and heartiest solutions I could. I spent a couple days arranging and shopping for, and storing, the ingredients for these meals.

A labor of love.

Yesterday I made up the lunch centerpiece – a massive pot of chili. Four kinds of beans, hominy, corn, chiles, tomatoes; garlic and spices. Between that, and caring for my children, my pets, and a few other kids, it was a hard workday. In the evening I thought, Well at least I got through all that!.

Then last night at 11 PM, shortly before bed, I adjusted the burner under the chili. And within five minutes, I’d burned all of it horribly. The entire pot. Past the point of serving. Past the point of donating to a soup kitchen, or doing anything but throwing it out.

When I perceived my mistake I put my head in my hands and cried – only for a moment. I quickly realized I was very angry with myself for making a mistake. Once I realized why I was angry, I knew I didn’t have to be angry.

And a few moments later I knew with clarity, There must be a reason. There must be some purpose to this error. Of course I can’t see it. I don’t know why. I don’t need to know. I simply don’t understand. Not understanding, the incident passed into the past, where it needed to be.

I made a new plan. I went to bed, and slept as well as I could.

Today’s event – with the help of three individuals – went well. A new pot of chili was made, and served alongside everything else – fresh fruit and pastries, bagels and cream cheese, homemade honey cornbread, coleslaw, pico de gallo, sour cream, onions, cheddar cheese, pop, juice, coffee. Everyone was fed and happy. I worked hard in a well-equipped kitchen, and after the attendees left I finished my duty by loading up the dishwasher over and over and putting everything away as it emerged sanitized.

After, I came home and rested.

Then later, in the evening, I was asked to speak about faith to a group of women.

This was funny because I’d been thinking about faith. I’d been thinking about it, because of the soup. What possible purpose was there in ruining that food? It was a great deal of time, and no small expense. While I was reimbursed for all food costs, I did not feel right adding in the new soup ingredients, as it was my error. Some of our grocery money – gone. A waste. A total loss.

And in turn, the soup had reminded me of another story about faith. A story close to my heart, that of a friend who’d been sexually assaulted as a child.  Years ago when I sought her counsel – because I admired her way of life – she had told me, incredibly, that the sexual assaults she’d experienced as a young child helped her survive a later assault as a slightly older child. The details are unimportant. I remember sitting at her dining room table and looking at her flatly. I said, “—–, I don’t have the faith you have.” I meant it then. I saw the faith was real for her. It wasn’t real for me. I wasn’t angry or offended, but I found it incredible she could have peace with her painful experiences, as she so clearly had. I remember that day like it was yesterday.

And yet, over time, I came to see she was correct; or rather, that the way of faith was the correct way for Me. And I have come to see things as my friend does.

See, that’s how I knew the soup was burned for a reason.

So tonight, when asked to share on faith, I shared my friend’s story (without her name or details – of course). And I shared my soup story.

See, faith is simply a choice. There isn’t a “have” or a “have not”. There is a choice. I can’t talk you into it. And I no longer try. But now that I know it’s a choice, things are simpler for me.

I ended my story with – something like - “I’m a Buddhist. I know now there aren’t really big or little problems. There are just Problems. Once you see that, it’s a choice of faith or fear. It’s simple. If you aren’t here to learn about the way of faith – why are you here?”

I was so tired after I shared. I knew I’d spoken from the heart. I knew I hadn’t spoken suavely or with much decorum. I rested my head in my hands. There was a small beat of silence in the room.

Another woman responded, a woman I’d never before met. With her voice shaking, she began to speak slowly. She said I had shared the exact thing she needed to hear. Her past had been haunting her. She said she’d never understood until that moment, the purpose of three rapes she’d endured, as a younger woman. She said she’d forgiven these men, she’d done her healing work, but she’d never understood the point of it all. Then she said she now knew the purpose was to prepare her for what happened to her in her twenties. She said, “Tonight… I’ve received enlightenment. From listening to a woman I don’t know and have never met before.” She nodded, looking right at me. The room was silent as she nodded. She looked right at me, with my frazzled-out hair and my dead-tired eyes and my nearly completely faulty memory of what I’d shared in the first place. She nodded and I felt smashed flat. I had nothing to offer anyone but she seemed the better off that I shared my little twig of a life.

Later, I hugged this woman and we parted. I’d never seen her before and I don’t think I’ll see her again.

What is funny is of course I didn’t really help this woman. Because I only know about faith, as other people taught me about faith. I have no original ideas. I know this today.

But you know what? As I made my way home that evening I thought of this woman and how she said she’d been helped so much after years of trauma and I realized,

Oh, that’s why I burned the soup.

It took me so long to figure it out I almost laughed aloud.

There are even more reasons -

But most of them, though, I never really will know.

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diez y seis

Posted by on Jun 28, 2014 in dailies | 2 comments

Ralph & His Son

Today Ralph and I have been together sixteen years. What is there to say about this time together – of growth, of quarrels, of many laughs, shared tears, anger, confusion, solidarity and strife? The kinds of sorrows that bring one to near collapse. An elation between two human beings who stick by each other – no matter what. Two children who’ve chosen to walk this very scary path through the dark forest together.

I guess what I want to say is, intimacy is worth it. And you might as well go for it anyway because you will crave it the way my dog craves a giant sandwich. You will come to hunger for it so deeply, if you try to eschew that drive.

And don’t be so shamed if you’ve tried and failed before. Shit, we’re all human.

Out On The Lake


Ralph & Phee
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your bible and your gun / & you love to party and have fun

Posted by on Jun 26, 2014 in dailies | 0 comments

The weather is so gorgeous right now. It’s raining, but it’s also sixty-five degrees out. A summer rain. Just deepened from gloaming into night. So lovely. My potato plants are going to yield produce early. I can walk on a soft lawn through summer. Barefoot.

Today: a lot of work, all of it good. But I’m tired, and afflicted with nausea. In waves, it comes and goes.

& poor sleep the night before.

Distraction. An argument with my son, after he breaks something precious of ours. He leaves the house for a date with friends, hot on the heels of exchanged cross words. I clean the bathroom sink and as I hear the car pull out the gravel driveway I put him in my prayers (again). I love him; he is such a struggle for me at times.

My children are especially bright, especially clever. They notice that I have a hard time forming a completed thought. That housework and errands and groceries and cooking and cleaning (and writing and sewing) distracts me. I can work in my own world; the kids are by turns patient or angry. I apologize for my scattered-ness; maybe this is one reason I hold them so often, so many times during the day. I’m here, dear one. I want to stay.

At five o’clock Nels tells me he wants to go to Vacation Bible School – the last night – after all. I’m standing in the kitchen doorway with a clean kitchen towel and feeling despair. My car isn’t running, I can’t ask anyone to take the child; I have a large meal to get to another family way across Aberdeen. But I told my son to make up his mind and he’s made it up. The lasagna in the oven and a sink full of dishes and I drive him across town.

On the way home and police lights on the side of the road. I’m grateful we are all safe. I have been trying to drive more carefully, noticing others seem more careless during the summer weather.

We are safe. Right? I don’t feel safe. I have been re-living a trauma over and over again, and this has been sapping my strength the better part of a year. I pray, I meditate, I work, I rest, I help others, I am kind to myself. And yet I still haven’t gotten over it. I hear all the correct words in my head – the people who know more than me. They say, “Remember, this happened to your child – it didn’t happen to you. Don’t make it about you.” I know there are people who have the key, who are more correct than I.

And yet I feel a kind of terror I’ve never felt.

I think I sourced it, about three weeks ago in a gathering of relatives and friends of alcoholics. I think I know why I don’t feel safe.

Believe it or not, knowing why I feel so unsafe actually helps. It isn’t something I can share while certain parties are alive. But it is something I can know and share with trusted friends.

Unsafety. I can live in Unsafety. I can do this thing.

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in retrospect, most films with the title “Cyborg” in them don’t really work out so hot

Posted by on Jun 25, 2014 in dailies | 0 comments

I know y’all missed #BondBFFs. But you know what? My friend Court and I are at it again! By the way there are PRIZES associated with this wonderful venture! (Read on:)

Follow @BmovieBFFs & I next Tuesday 7 PST for…


American Cyborg: Steel Warrior

which we will be watching and tweeting (and FBing).

Yeah you heard me. AMERICAN CYBORG: STEEL WARRIOR! This 1993 gem (33% on Rotten Tomatoes… and that’s a stretch) is basically a straight-up Terminator rip-off. The “Sarah Connor” figure however carries her future-hope-of-man fetus in a glass jug in a backpack (if memory serves) and the film features such dialogue gems as, “You’re a cyborg! You lied to me!” (son of a BITCH how many times has this happened to me?! Men!), and “You want me to take off my pants?”

If you can’t find a copy – (although you can rent or buy it on a few streaming sites) – let me know. I can hook you up.

I have a VHS COPY of this film. If you want it, enter your name by PMing, texting, emailing (kelly AT hogaboom DOT org), the word “CYBORG-ERRIFIC” at me. I will be doing a drawing and mailing out the VHS in a timely manner so the “lucky” winner can watch with us next Tuesday!

Get your best post-apocalyptic greasy-hair, leathers, and denim vest on and LET’S DO THIS!

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merry go round broke down

Posted by on Jun 23, 2014 in dailies | 5 comments

My car went kaput today. At least we pulled over safely. We weren’t that far from home. I’d paid the bills, dropped off the mail, and fed myself.

I got the kids home and set them up with food. Ralph and a few generous friends hauled my car home.


*slowly lowers head to desk, gently sobs tears into plastic fake woodgrain*

Here’s the thing though. The secret. Life is good. Life is good because I like myself. I like myself because I’m at peace with the dharma.

“It’s boring. But it’s part of my life.”

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gimme some slack! post five: fly front

Posted by on Jun 23, 2014 in sew-a-long, sewing journal | 0 comments


Aw yeeeeeah. Sh*t’s about to get real.

Our progress so far: last month I posted the supply list and timeline, and earlier this month I posted our preparations, including creating our pattern. On the sixth I posted our methods for marking, cutting, and interfacing our fabric pieces. For post four we constructed the darts, front and back, and the pockets, front and back.

Now before we get started, I ain’t gonna lie. This will be the trickiest session. We are putting together a TOTALLY BOSS fly front, using my favorite method. It’s gonna get intense, y’all.

Before we proceed: thank you to all who’ve participated, and emailed or commented suggestions and corrections to this sew-a-long. And remember – I am available to support via email, blog comment, and Skype! I will Skype support any stitcher through the months of June and July 2014.

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