life in a northern town


I drive a gal, and her infant child, up to the treatment center where I do my Wednesday volunteer thing. I remember her coming through treatment, pregnant. She’s still clean and sober today, and she looks and sounds amazing. More wonderful still, she has a beautiful baby and watching her haul that little one around town while she does her thing is just – inspiring. Fucking amazing. A few minutes after we arrive upstairs she slips out and returns with a blanket over her shoulder, breastfeeding. It’s a real sort of stunningly-beautiful thing. Words can’t describe. She has so many things against her but she is meeting the world with a smile,  and she’s pulling others out the Pit. For real.

An hour later: my kids gird their loins to receive influenza innoculations. The nurse comes in and tells them they can opt for the nasal spray. They’re thrilled. I snap a picture (Nels is saying, “TRoooooOOOLOO!“):


In the afternoon: we travel to the pharmacy where I get my influenza vaccine – an injection. The kids crowd in the little cubicle with me and give me comfort, full of beans now that their vaccinations are over. Tomorrow I give blood; another needle. Ugh!

In the afternoon: I find out someone I care about is staying sober. Sort of, I amend my statement, as I think they’re smoking pot. This person is opening up to me more, probably because they know I don’t look down on them for what they’re going through. It’s wonderful because I have the freedom to just enjoy today, just enjoy this person when I see them, not start plotting their life or figuring out their problems. Not taking territory that isn’t mine, that wears me out. It’s hard to let people have their problems, though. Well anyway, it’s hard for me.

Later: my kids, mother and I walk the dog along the bay. It’s cold as hell and the wind has picked up. Hutch is happy to cavort in frost-chilled terrain. Our dog has lost forty, that’s 4-0, pounds. He is a MAGNIFICENT SON OF A BITCH, as it were.

Tonight: a friend comes over so we can show her how we make pan cubano, and share a vegetarian meal. Neighbor kids come in and out, and sometimes I lose count of who is over until we set the table which is when I gotta figure it out. A girl from a block away joins us for dinner and it’s so cool to listen to the kids’ world, how they see things, what’s important to them. Phee lectures our younger guest about proper etiquette and hygiene during the flu season, including differentiation between a live and killed vaccine, and guidelines for family members who have infants in the home.

After dinner my daughter does the dishes and my son makes up a large labeled jar for us to deposit spare coins; passionate about gaming, especially platform games, he hopes to buy a Wii U. A few minutes later and Ralph and the kids are out to take the dog on his last walk of the day.

Life is really good.



We are still accepting donations through Paypal. I have been using these funds through my new Paypal card, which means I am buying groceries and food on the same days we get donations. It is a fabulous system and every dollar has been a dollar received and spent, in gratitud. (As far as I can tell though, I will need to seek paid employment; I have to write about this and soon, too!). The support has meant a great deal to us in a month with a doubled-up electricity bill (and yes, we know about the averaging program and have used it in the past).

Long story short: this means if you’ve donated here you are “the village . Raising not just my kids, but the neighborhood kids, the people I (try to) help, the community I’m a part of, and now so are you.

So: thank you.

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