living on the water 5ever

On Phee’s last day, of her first year, of school:

Such a wonderful girl. I have more to say about that, at a later date. But with this photo we also mark the fact I DID NOT EVER EVER MISS THE BUS, PICKING HER UP! I am so beyond impressed with myself on this one. So impressed. I drove 8.4 miles per day to get her from the bus stop. It worked out every time. I am a goddamned champion because lots of times I can’t do anything right.

At the Chehalis today:

Aberdeen, Washington. I love where I live, down in my bones. I may live and die here; I may travel and park myself somewhere else for a while. Who knows? It is beautiful here, so beautiful.

The Little Ones. They spent their first summer break day today being very tender to one another. Nels missed her very much this last year. I think the hard work of school made her cranky, too. He had a lot of angry tears this last year. We shall see!

A random apple, floating in the river. It was in perfect shape, and just bobbing away. A bright hard ball of lovely red in a sea-bleak riverscape.

By Ralph, whilst chaperoning the end-of-year fieldtrip with our children and Phoenix’s class. Cloud-cover and sunburns:

 

I welcomed a sunny, peaceful day today. Yesterday I was hit with the worst kidney stone I’ve had in a little under a year. I was sitting in a meeting when it came up. I gently rubbed my thumbs over one another and I felt myself sweating and shaking. A friend kept leaning over and offering me “help” but I was in my own little pain-world. It was bad enough I considered the ER; I gave it time, and after an hour and a half it abated. It took a lot out of me, though. Today the pain was so much less that I felt incredibly grateful.

Another day; another few steps on this spaceship Earth. Did I make the most of it? Was I loving – was I kind?

I meditated in the morning and asked for help, and inspiration, and tact. I met with a friend to help her, and served her pie and coffee. I called two other friends to check in on them. I manned my Wednesday volunteer shift. I took time out of the day for my children, and my husband, and my mother. I performed a bit of housework, I cared for our pets and plants, and I put a B-movie on while I did some sewing work (yay!). I thanked my husband for the wonderful dinner he made. And now: a hot shower, candles lit, a bit of journaling, and to bed with my lovies.

There’s nothing else for it!

only the young can say / they’re free to fly away

A project I’d dreamed up a while back: custom athletic “school pride” hoodie. Here ya go, my lovely daughter of mine. You are one thousand percent f*cking awesome so. Here you go!

Wishkah Loggers Hoodie

I had some trouble with this garment, but not the trouble I thought I might run into. The original pattern instructions had some errata and I was a bit frustrated, and the back center panel was missing a few helpful notches. I made some changes to the pattern – specifically, in the hood, the pockets/pocket tabs, and the cuffs – and I omitted the facings. But then there were fabric issues – the stripe fabric. I made a quick purchase online and neglected to get yarn-dyed stripes. So these stripes are printed on. Kinda ass, quality-wise. They look great, because A. the print was printed properly and B. I am a bad-ass at matching stripes. But next time I might do a little more hunting for a great stripe.

And on that note, let me talk about hoodie fabrics a bit.

I used to joke about old rock and roll bands who’d leap around stage and do high kicks while wearing ball-framingly tight DENIM jeans. Ralph and I will still say, “touch of Lycra” when, say, a Journey song comes on our Google Music radio. Then we laugh because SERIOUSLY

Touch Of Lycra

Now those are snug.

Now, I’m no stranger to 100% cotton knits. I’ve made an awful lot of great garments with the 100% cotton Michael Miller knit stripe.

But hoodies, like Mr. Perry’s grape-smugglers above, benefit from the performance only provided by a bit of synthetic fiber. Even six percent (or less) of spandex or some other stretch fiber, can give the hoodie a bit more wearing comfort and a better drape. Now I am such a natural fiber snob (wool, linen, silk, cotton) – but sometimes SCIENCE delivers us seductive advances. So yes: spandex is my friend (or in this hoodie’s case – 4% lycra is my friend).

More pictures of today’s piece:

Wishkah Loggers Hoodie
The back. Looking great. Perfect stripe-lining! BOOM

Wishkah Loggers Hoodie

I like the size of the hood – and I like the overlap at the neckline.

Wishkah Loggers Hoodie

I sewed the seam allowances of the thumb holes together before turning them, which made for a non-topstitched thumbhole. Better looking than topstitch efforts IMO.

Wishkah Loggers Hoodie

Construction: a zig zag, then a three-thread serge finish. Very tidy hoodie interior.

Wishkah Loggers Hoodie

My old-skool freezer-paper-and-Solvy method, for the “screenprinted” lettering.

Wishkah Loggers Hoodie

More Fabri Sticky Solvy, everywhere everywhere, for a good-looking applique “P” on this very thin knit.

Wishkah Loggers Hoodie

Peeking inside the pocket. A nice, roomy, kangaroo-style pocket.

I just ordered fabric for my next custom hoodie: self-drafted, for my son. I have some artistic plans and I only hope the fabric comes arrives such that I can complete the project in time for his birthday.

I’d love to just sew people hoodies pretty much all day long. VERY FUN

 

the Littlest Boss!

Noelle AKA No-No

We are currently fostering Noelle (or “No-No” as Nels has taken to call her) in our home for two weeks while she recovers from her feral beginnings. My plan is to post “kitten-pr0n” pictures of this awesome little kitty such that when she’s ready to go to a home, she has a wonderful family to go home to. I don’t think I have too much hard work ahead of me – do you?

Noelle AKA No-No
STAYING VIGILANT

Noelle AKA No-No
(ZOMG… getting sleepy…)

No-No and her family hail from South Aberdeen. She and her feral relatives are currently being humanely trapped, medically-treated, cared for, and will hopefully be relocated to forever-homes. In the meantime she needs to be loved, fed, vaccinated, and socialized with regards to grown-ups, children, cats and dogs!

This is our first kitten-foster. This should be obvious but I will say it anyway: unlike fostering human children, one doesn’t get paid for the work – but the food and medical care are supplied by the rescue organization. I will be interested to see how the experience plays out. Hutch is of course the PERFECT dog for cat fostering! And I believe all of the kitties, the rabbit, and the adults and children who come through our home should help No-No have a wonderful, much-loved kittenhood so she can develop into a secure and loving kitty.

In the meantime. Our other pets are doing pretty good.

Seems Legit.

Exploring

Bunny Murder Mystery

This last picture is awesome because it is from a Bunny Murder Mystery.

Me, A While Back

reservations

small stone #26
I did not look up
once today.

Today I wasn’t so hot. I got up, stretched and worked through my yoga, sat meditation, prepared my shrine and took refuge in the Three Jewels. Then I got on my knees and made a private and earnest prayer, all of my own. I made up my medicinal herbal remedy for my kidney. I spoke with civility to my children (mostly) and I brought my husband coffee. I pet the animals in my home. I put forth some correspondence, writing the ones I love.

My mind raced most of the day and I had to breathe deep many times to return to myself.

Ralph, the children and I visited the newest restaurant in Aberdeen where, as promised, we selected from a very limited opening-night menu. I was very tired and my daughter, across from me, seemed the same. Tall and willowy and her coarse-honey hair in two sprigs of pigtail.

My son sat next to me, smiling up at me, smelling good and warm in his flannel shirt. He chattered along near-incessantly, cupping a ludicrously-blue beverage in a white wine glass and freely discussing the food. He looks a lot like I did at his age. But he smiles more than I did. He’s tough. He has this wolfpup-thin little body but he’s tough.

And it feels like a long time ago I was his age. A lifetime ago.

Me, A While Back

tired tired tired

small stone #27
fresh bread
a plate, with olives

what hath night to do with sleep?

It’s cold and I’m cold on the ride home. I’m cold on the bike most the year, especially on my return trips. I think I get chilled on the trip out, then I sit in my own sweat a bit and get clammy indoors, then back on the bike. Barring proper cycling gear that’s just how it is. For now. I was bringing quarts of hot water which helped a little but not much.

Just after eight, before I set back off to Hoquiam, my friend Charlie accosted me about biking. “You got any protection?” he asks all surly. He means like, a firearm. He’s seventy-something, grew up in the Appalachian mountains, and he is hardcore. He still plays with guns. He’s been shot. By friends and enemies both, I think. Anyway now he says he’s worried. “I”m worried someone’s gonna grab ahold of you,” he tells me. Yeah, I’m thinking. “It hasn’t happened yet,” I tell him, hiking my leg over. “No – but it could!” He is stubborn. He’s a little pissed. “Yeah…” I say. “There are a lot of sick people out there. – Goodnight!” and I’m off.

The streets are cold, crystal-clear, a great big moon. Near-deserted. Past Myrtle and there’s a loud altercation. I can hear angry screaming, abuse, for a full mile. I am sobered at the thought of all the suffering in the world.

Across the bridge and I pull up to Simpson and a red light; another person on a bike is waiting as well. He turns in partial profile and I recognize him. I got to know him a while back when he had a spell clean and sober. He’d put on weight and lost the hardened look in his eye and he was becoming that sweetheart he is, the one that lives within.

Now though, he doesn’t look great. He’s attending a huge plastic garbage bag with presumably all his belongings, somehow balanced on the bike’s handlebars. He turns and I smile at him and greet him by name. He’s trying to figure out who I am and I notice with a crystal-clear delight two items in his overstuffed backpack – a pair of miniature dachshunds peeping me with large, liquid eyes. I ask about the dogs. He tells me their names – mother and daughter. He asks me how he knows me and I tell him. I tell him I have an eighty-pound dog and can’t pack him in a backpack.

The light turns. I tell the man to Take Care and I’m off into the night. Amber streetlight. Smell of ozone and deep green grass. Almost home.

I pull up to my house to a crumpled dog hair-infused afghan swaddling a huge pile of leaves on the porch. Fancy, I think. And sure enough when I walk in the door my nine year-old tells me: “Mama did you see the leaves I put on the porch? Because they are fancy.”

I lean the bike against the coffee table and stride into the kitchen and greet my husband. And I stand at the stove and eat like three lentil tacos and take a swig of Mexican Coke.

Home again, home again, jiggity-jig.

A "Fancy" Porch

Nels, Pho

letting it rain

It’s like, already enough of a slog to get by bike to the treatment center in the rain. A lot of rain. Over the Riverside bridge the storm is severe enough to threaten my balance. I’m thinking, OK well through the town streets it might not be so bad. I just have to proceed more slowly, with caution.

I’m leaving a little late, too. I don’t like being late. So knowing what time it is, and deciding not to obsess about it, I settle into acceptance. I practice knowing I will get there on time. Even if I’m late, I am actually on time, because I cannot be there sooner than I can be there. About this time, just starting out on Cherry, I realize my back tire is pretty flat (I’d been thinking my sluggish pace was the wind). That’s when my sense of humor kicks in. Biking on a flat isn’t super-fun. Especially in a biting-cold storm rain.

The way I go, I disembark and walk up Scammel. No matter how much I bike, my knees don’t benefit from biking up hills. So I walk the steep ones. The tree-lined hill is blowing fierce with that warm storm wind – it’s quite thrilling in fact, and for a brief moment I feel very alive. I am amazed only a short time ago I was biking in as little clothing possible, to withstand the heat of the ride.

Treatment center work is a rock for me. For a few minutes I can get out of my own troubles. I cannot believe how grateful I am that I didn’t shirk on volunteer work while life was really good. I cannot believe how much I could have screwed up, if I had.

Today I am grateful because the weather created both perilous driving conditions (earlier in the day) and biking ones as well. Today I am grateful we are all safe, we are at least safe today. I try to tell myself this even if I don’t believe it.

Gratitude is not always effortless, I am finding.

Nels, Pho

Earlier in the day: pho with Nels. Nels who is my absolute treasure. Nels who got up this morning and came in the kitchen. And I said, “Someone rumpled you.” And he said, “It was you, Mama!” as he then hid in my arms for a hug. Nels who is now almost up to my shoulder in height and who’s hair smells dusty-sweet. Nels who one day will live out in the big scary World and incredibly that’s what’s supposed to happen.

I can’t exactly handle this but I literally pray that one day I will be able to.

“I don’t like men with… too many muscles!”

if you know the retort to my post title, I will make out with u

Opening night was lovely. Phoenix and Nels were the only, and I mean only, children in the audience. It’s sad how many people don’t know how to raise kids right, you know?

In Li'l Ol' Aberdeen, Even

Poster – the “picture” is omitted from the performance’s title, I guess, to let people know this is not a cinematic version. Or at least, so it seems to me.

RHPS Production Stills

Opening Night, After The Show

Most of the cast, after tonight’s performance. Everyone did a lovely job. The energy of the cast is incredible!

"Brad" Asks Nels How He Liked The Show

“Brad” asks Nels how he liked the show. Guess what, Nels liked the show. Actually, as I type this Nels is still partying at the cast party. If he can’t find a party, he starts one.

Another weird thing. I did not know what a geeky little fangirl I was of the show, until Ralph started participating in this and I felt every bit as giddy as I used to. I mean I still get teary-eyed at parts of the production! It’s so funny because I will probably always deeply love RHPS in all it’s glorious, glorious trashiness. What can I say? I think I was just exposed to it at a time in my life where I was ready to love it.

Don’t dream it – be it.

stuff that happened

Opening Night!

Tonight is opening night for RHPS by the Driftwood Players, and I am so excited to go to the first official performance. I can tell you, if you are a local, you should check it out! (Or even if you’re not that local!) As for the bouquet, I am faithful to a local florist and I adore her. She continues to impress me both in quality of work, and in generosity. This little bouquet is fitted with lots of glitter, fishnet, exotic purples and reds, and shiny black boa-feathers. I love it!

Dinner Date

Last night, out late, very tired – but cheered immensely by the company of my family.

Meemerd

An inside joke between my Friday-date children and I. Little E. drew a “Meemerd”, and I adore it.

***

Last night we had a total of six “extra” kids in and out our home. I made a slow-cooked chili, honey cornbread, a fudge-frosted zebra-stripe cake, and served iced wild cherry Pepsi. At the end of a long night five of the six did not want to leave, and a few of them outright begged to stay.

Ralph and I are doing something right.

Thank you for that experience.

At the bus stop:

TWEEKERS
SUCK
then, clearly added later,
YOUR
[BITCH]
TITS

It’s cold as hell and the bus “shelter” provides no respite. I tap on my phone and look online expecting to see the bus here any second; instead I find we will have to wait fifty more minutes and I’m like, stunned with despair.

I want to cry. My serenity vanishes and I am completely pissed. I will spare you the details; it’s ugly and trifling, but yeah I’m angry and I’ve already figured out how everyone is to blame. And with every ounce of self-restraint I do not say or do anything shitty out of this mental place and instead I zip my coat and I walk alongside my husband and I tell him, “I’m very cold.” He’s a cheerful bastard and has his metabolism so in a single-layer cotton hoodie he’s fine. He and my kids, I’m telling you. Their bodies ramp up and they are like hot little bread loaves in the bed at night, ask me how I know this. But I’m cold, cold, always cold.

A man gets on the bus and then another, and I recognize them from Treatment. They perhaps don’t know me or are too busy. One looks good though like he might not be drinking. Last time I saw him he was all yellowed up even in his eyes.

One thing about being wet and cold and out in the elements, we’re finally home over an hour later, and I am so pleased to be back inside. My daughter brings me a blanket and a pillow and asks if she can remove my shoes, and I’m so grateful and she blushes, pleased with herself she could make me so happy.

My daughter. This morning, first thing she said to me, she pulled me in close while she was still in bed and whispered her good dream she had. It was the most stunningly beautiful handful of words I’ve heard in a while. And I knew it was a secret only for me the moment she told me. It brought tears to my eyes; the dream and its sweetness, and amazing thing that she shared with me because she trusts me.

Things were different for me when I was her age. It’s hard to believe in something better, even when it’s right before my eyes.

I wrap up in blankets and I rest. A friend picks me up and takes me home, later. Simple things, those little things that help me. I am very grateful for these.

***

I haven’t been posting too many links lately, but I wandered across this today and I got some good laughs, mostly from the rebuttals. Like “Dave”, and SOYFUCKER omgggggg lolz

***

Ralph’s project this evening: