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Wet Kidlets, Playing

My friend on the bus with her newborn son, she tells me she just ran into the father of the child and they sat only inches from one another without acknowledgment. She tells me this was awkward, but I can tell it was upsetting and as tough as she is, she’s a bit rattled. A few minutes later and we tell her goodbye and I sit and look straight ahead out the steamy bus windows as much as I can. The diesel smell makes me ill. People smile at us a lot, perhaps because my children are cheerful and beautiful, perhaps because it is unusual to see a mother and school-age kids riding at this hour, perhaps it is simply because many people are having a Good Day today.

The bus fills up gradually and it lumbers through the wet grey streets it seems I’ve never not known, and after what seems like a long, long time, but a peaceful enough ride, we arrive at the grocery store. I pick up: red leaf lettuce, cucumber, mint, carrots, beef, rice noodles. Nels gets a complimentary cookie for himself, his sister, from the bakery. The children are hungry but we’ll have to wait until home to eat. We pack our groceries in my backpack and I carefully allocate things so the lettuce won’t get bruised, then heft the bag onto my shoulders and step out into the cold.

We walk several blocks along highway traffic and the rain has set in in earnest. Into the health food store and pick up the teas Ralph likes, along with fresh yeast, ten times cheaper here than anywhere else. Packed away and back outside and now the rain is horizontal into our eyes and the children suffer as we walk about a half mile, a little less, to the bus station. Phee puts up her collar but Nels falls behind and cries out. We pass the dancing Payday Loan employee, dressed as a Statue of Liberty a young man wearing a dazzling smile, even in this weather, but I am cold cold cold.

On the bus and even with the stench of fuel I am feeling relieved. I am cold, my body so cold it is tired simply from being cold. The kids are cheerful and have kept up their wrestling and singing and most of the time on the bus or on foot Nels has been holding my hand.

I get home and put my hands in hot dishwater and I’m a special kind of exhausted. I make a pot of hot tea for my husband and put it in the oven, after preheating then switching the oven back off. The cut of beef is cheaper than past cuts but Ralph transforms the rest of the ingredients into a delicious meal and we fold clothes and draw the curtains and a friend stops over to visit,

and Phee & I will finish watching the documentary on American whaling tonight,

fin

Wet Kidlets, Playing

amid verdant plains watered by wide streams, one inhales the purest air of heaven

Hutch & Phee

I stop and stare down at the trail. “What kind of ass leaves a cigarette butt on the ground in a public park?”

“A Deluxe Premium Ass?” my daughter suggests helpfully.

You know, in case I’d forgotten I was walking with the most AWESOME AND FUNNY PERSON ON THE PLANET.

It is not possible for me to accurately photograph, describe, or render in poetry and prose how wonderful, green, and alive it is here – year round. Our weather is perfect. Amazing. It is wet and grey and cold a lot for a big part of the year. But even that is incredibly cozy and alive and real. And all around the calendar, it is so crisp and beautiful and green. Just: greener than life.

Greenery

Fungi

Scarred & Burned

On the trail, some signs of human interference. “Courtney [heart]’Z Penis”:

"Courtney <3'Z Penis"

My daughter manages a small trickle of a stream:

Crossing

Hutch waits patiently. He ran a lot today. He loved being in the woods with us.

Bridge

Later: my friend C. has a big milestone today. I love her very much. I reflected for a couple days on what kind of thing I could buy her, or write for her, or make. Today I fashioned a loaf of the challah I knew she enjoyed and wrapped it fresh out of the oven, with a homemade card and my blessing.

For C.

Tomorrow: yoga, a visit to a museum. Maybe. We will see! Let not our plans get in the way of our life.

Kelly, Phoenix Fire, & Nels Hogaboom September 2, 2012

local as fuck

I was in the local paper on Sunday, regarding the zine – mostly (the new zine went on sale today & ships tomorrow).

Kelly, Phoenix Fire, & Nels Hogaboom September 2, 2012

Kelly Hogaboom has always had a creative heart. As a young girl, she sewed her own clothes. And, as an adult she’s become quite a writer, recently launching a new zine in Hoquiam called Tumblehome, focused on creativity and life-inspiring stories.

“My family moved here into my great-grandparents home in Hoquiam when I was 8,” she said. “I consider Hoquiam my hometown, although I took many years off to go to school and work in Seattle and then Port Townsend, respectively.”

Hogaboom, 35, is married to Ralph, an IT specialist at Grays Harbor College, who is well known in local music circles. She and Ralph celebrate 11 years of marriage on Sept. 8. Their children are Phoenix Fire, 10, and Nels, 8.

“I am a self-published and professional writer, a seamstress and craftivist, a homebirth and breastfeeding advocate, an anti-racist and LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexuals, and transgender) activist, a volunteer working with alcoholics and addicts, an engineer-cum-unschooling parent, and a B-movie fanatic,” Hogaboom said. “I have almost zero musical talent but secretly wish I was in a band, just like my husband is. I’m a good family-style cook and hustled my own micro-catering subscription service under the management of my children. My children are absolutely the most tender, fierce, and inspiring forces in my life.”

For the unitiated, explain what a zine is and the difference between that and a typical magazine. What’s the purpose of your zine?

Traditionally zines (pronounced like “magazine”) were small circulation, self-published, often countercultural, created without advertisements, and often produced on stolen time using pilfered supplies. I don’t steal anything but otherwise, that pretty much describes my Tumblehome project. The purpose of my zine is like the purpose of the millions and millions of words I’ve written: to make a connection with other human beings. In addition, this zine ships out all over the world and I’d like to think we bring some of Hoquiam’s awesomeness to those far corners.

This is not the first time you’ve done a zine in Hoquiam. What made you decide to bring it back and try it again and what makes it special? Where does the name Tumblehome come from?

I was asked by several people to start a zine back up again. Flattery gets results! Since this is my third zine project, I have learned a bit during previous iterations. I designed this publication to be within my limited abilities. The name Tumblehome comes from boat design; it’s a structural consideration that keeps a boat stable and safe. There’s nothing particularly special about my zine except I’d like people who read it to experience respite, gladness, humor, edification, courage and hope.

Is the zine exclusively written by you and your husband? If not, where do you find the content and how can someone submit content?

You can find current and archived issues at the website, tumbleho.me, or by contacting me via email or phone (kelly@hogaboom.org or 360-500-3287). You can also pick up printed copies at Gray’s General Store in Hoquiam, my sole distribution outlet. I am more than pleased to receive content; anyone with original images, artwork, photographs is encouraged to submit. If your submission is accepted you receive a paper copy gratis and my undying gratitude.

What inspires you in your design and cover choices for the zine? How much of what you do is automated?

I have always enjoyed graphic design. My greatest inspirations are my children and the other children I know, as well as the stunning physical beauty of where we live. Very little of my zine is automated. I keep track of recipient addresses and a ledger using Google docs; I personally send out thank yous to all who donate, and handletter envelopes personally. We do the folding and stapling. It’s a lot of work!

Where can I pick up a copy or subscribe and how often does it come out?

You can visit tumbleho.me/buy for the latest issue or you can contact me as per abovementioned contact information. I currently offer per-issue subscriptions or donations rather than annual subscriptions. 10 percent of all donations go to a local cause, which is then published at the website. All other funds go toward printing the next issue so my ledger balance is always zero. Donations of paper, 6-inch by 9-inch envelopes, or lovely cardstock are appreciated.

The zine comes out once a month during the summer months of June, July, August and September; then Nov/Dec, Jan/Feb, Mar/April. I print in small, hand-assembled lots, since our family spending plan doesn’t allow for large scale printing or professional services.

Besides your writing career, your creative styles spill over into the realm of sewing and producing your own clothes. Is that something you’ve always done since you were a young girl or a new talent you’ve picked up? What challenges have you faced in this arena?

I sew custom clothing, pattern test for companies, and design clothing and embroidery patterns. I’ve sewn since about age 8, I think; I can’t remember not knowing how to sew. I didn’t start getting serious about it until after my children were born (my children absolutely have brought out the best in me in every arena of my life). As for challenges, there is a misconception that home seamstresses adore sewing anything as a favor, and that they’re interested in sewing at wages comparable to overseas labor costs. I also get lonely as a craftivist around here. I make garments and it seems most crafters in this area quilt, crochet, or knit.

I teach a few classes at Grays General Store and I’m the sewing instructor up at Grays Harbor College, leading a course this fall for beginners and intermediates. I love teaching almost as much as I like creating!

You’ve also become quite an expert in the “unschooling” movement, while also explaining that children shouldn’t always be afraid of strangers. Can you explain these philosophies for people who may be interested in this line of thought?

The last time I was regaled as an unschooling “expert” I ended up featured in a national publication in the most unflattering manner! I am an expert in nothing except my own life experiences. As for strangers, far too many adults and children are taught to be frightened. Fortunately, we can unlearn these attitudes.

I’ve written extensively about unschooling at both my personal blog and my social well-being site (kelly.hogaboom.org and underbellie.com, respectively). I always welcome parents or adults who want to talk to me about raising children, frustrations and fears and the whole lot. Kids are hands-down my number one passion!

***

I received a few sweet emails during the day, and a few friends dropped off copies of the piece. Which is very nice. One of the emails:

“I am so glad I know you. You are the MOST creative person I know. When you list your activities and interests, I am astounded at the variety.”

Aw, shucks. Y’all are too sweet.

like a bee

Today:

Upcycled Wool Hat, Prototype

I posted a for-sale hat at Homesewn, thanks to my friend E.

Grandma Paints A Mural; Hutch Watches Over

Mural-sitting for my mother, who needs someone to watch over the manlift. I don’t get it as supposedly someone has to be there, but there is no training required or documentation. ANYhoo let’s just wait it out, she’ll be done in a few days.

Ladyfriend & perhaps future sisterwife hsofia posted her presentation of Unschooling as a Life Hack; she used a few photos of ours. Professional, human, warm and wonderful!

a child’s purpose is to be a child

First. Hard at work with my first ten list. I hope anyone who reads finds it helpful.

***

The first rain in a long while helped me feel better. We leave the front door open and our pooch Hutch sits on the porch. He travels over to my mom’s next door now and then as she has this kind of expensive dog-treat/jerky business over there. He has probably lost about twenty pounds at this point. He’s feeling more spry every day. Saturday on our walk he chased a deer (not coming close, of course) BEST DAY OF HIS LIFE

The children’s summer activities are mostly getting into business outside, bookeneded by long periods playing video games – Terraria, Minecraft, and MapleStory. They’ve caught several frogs and delivered them to my mother’s pond. Friends come in and out of the house and eat any food that’s not nailed down. The kids are all getting ready for school. We’re getting ready to keep catching frogs and such, plus celebrate eleven years of marriage September 8th and then, get our Halloween festivities together.

Some older photos from my phone, just uploaded.

Archive Photos: Nels, Post-Bath

Nels out of the bath, ready to watch a movie.

Archive Photos: My Daughter Sleeps

Phee sleeps. True picture of sleeping. Not fake-sleeping. Yes I smooched her.

Archive Photos: THAT'S A LOT OF CALZONE

Ralph receives a huge-ass calzone. Everyone reacts.

Archive Photos: N1SF

Phoenix drew this a while back. I liked it so much I kept it around. Recently she re-discovered it and gave it to our friend Emily; I’m told there it adorns her refrigerator and meets much approval from houseguests.

not trying to impress anybody

Yesterday: a linen dress.

Linen Dress With Reverse-Applique

Linen Dress With Reverse-Applique

Today: Nels catches a bumblebee. She races around on the coffee table, before we let her free. It was hard to get a picture of her. She’s really booking, here:

Bee

Tonight: we went on a cross-town bike ride with a group.

BIKE GANG!

Ralph & Phee (Phee eats an apple.)

At the end some people wanted pictures and we all gathered up. Except one: our daughter Phoenix sat in the gravel and said, “I don’t need my picture taken, to prove I did something.”

She’s frakkin BALLS-awesome.

little by little

Burger ATTACK!

I’m calling the color in our dining area, a lovely Marigold-something, TANGERINE DICK, because it is taking not two, not four, but (at least, as of this writing) five coats to cover the expansive walls. Reflecting on it now, I believe we were given bad advice by the paint specialists and while they’ve discounted and/or given us lots of extra paint for our problems, the amount of extra time this error has caused is a bit irksome. Today I don’t get too frustrated over things and so far the move is going really well. Every day I suit up and show up, good habits I’ve learned over the last little while.

We’ ve had a little bit of help each day for the last four days, from friends. The help has been wonderful for practical reasons, but it also feels lovely to spend some one-on-one time and allow them to help us. I’m not feeling bad about accepting help at all. It’s pretty good stuff.

In a few hours Ralph will be up and grabbing a truck to move most the rest of our belongings. It’s a tremendous amount of work and because of painting setbacks I’ll likely be painting more than moving. I’m also hoping to cook and sleep in our new place tomorrow. Heck, we’re pretty excited.

Today we took the kids and my girl Heather, our painting-helpmate, out to the Blue Beacon in Aberdeen (pictured). I was pretty amused as the last time I was there it was with Ralph, and we were seventeen. Today Nels ordered both a hot dog and some bacon. For some reason I find that very funny.

***

In other news, Friday the second we’re having both a housewarming get together and a birthday party for Phoenix (MY DAUGHTER IS TURNING TEN YEARS OLD PLEASE SEE BELOW PICTURE TO SEE HOW OLD SHE IS, IN MY MIND).

I made a very understated little invitation to this event. I am emailing it to friends tomorrow but – if you’re seeing it now, you are invited! Don’t make me Miss Manners the whole business because really, we want everyone to join us. It’s going to be a fun time. Promise.

Housewarming / Phee's 10th

 

then I got to listen to a lot, a LOT, of Lowellian cursing

Brrr!

By the time I’d walked a mile in an absolutely wet, windy, and rainy blizzard through piles and piles of snow, and waited and waited and waited for a bus, and given up after making phone calls and texting and other plans, while huddling wet and cold against the icy brick contemplating a plan, and realized I’d be unable to make my meeting, and finally gave up and headed home,

I admit, by then I felt a few tears rise in my throat. I mean after all the whole business was about two hours exposure without relief (yes, in light of certain anniversaries today, I know I am whinging, big time). And what was funny is to think as I first set off through the snow, I was wondering if maybe taking a few hours out of my day to make one meeting where a solid half the clients are nodding out from Suboxone, and I thought maybe I’m a fool, maybe I’m wasting my time. Well it seems the Universe was beating me into humility because after all that I didn’t even make it. Well, the Universe isn’t so unkind, I guess – it was my choice, I could either re-learn humility or just be pissed and cramped. I elected the former.

But at the beginning of the “adventure” I had a nice walk with Ralph. Our gonads were frozen solid by the time we got to the barren comfort of overhead shelter:

FROZEN

(Given GH Transit wait times the “No Loitering” sign seems a bit… ironic.)
(Actually, as previously discussed, I’m unsure what “irony” really is. Yes, I’ve looked it up.)

Ralph ran across the way to grab me a coffee; he went by himself in case the bus came by and I missed my opportunity. This was back when I had a backup plan of sipping the coffee and holding it close for warmth, while I waited. Back before he’d left and I’d gone on to wait an hour before a bus came, a bus that wouldn’t have gone near my destination, meaning there would be no time for me to make my appointment, and I had to give it all up. Yes, back when I was so naive. I had a lot of growing up to do.

Ralph Ventures To Get Me Coffee

I was bundled up well but the rain had soaked my jeans and that was my downfall. Wet jeans. Holy Shit.

So I eventually went home and the exercise, plus the high of dodging scary drivers sliding on ice, worked off my aforementioned upset.

And then after I got home it took a long, long time to warm up. I watched Reel Injun while waiting to feel my face again.

 
Then I watched The Fighter (although I’d already seen it a year ago) while finishing up the details on the last homesewn item for the upcoming magazine spread.

Several kids came and went, wet and getting fed and getting re-dressed in dry clothes. We washed and dried and hung things up. Ralph made a lovely dinner of turkey sliders on homemade buns, yellow tomato and avocado dressing with lemon, carrot sticks, and potato chips, and we fed whatever children ran through the house.

Then we set up all the outdoor stuff to dry in time for more snow adventures tomorrow.

Boots Upon Boots

quality to quantity

This year my family and I would like to attend the Life Is Good Unschooling Conference in late May, 2012. The cost for the conference is $175. The cost for the hotel is $90/night, and we would like to stay the full week. This would officially be the longest “vacation” our foursome has ever had. If we do take it.

~$900 (not including meals away from home) is a very high pricetag indeed for us Hogabooms.

At this point it is kind of a pipe dream that we may even be able to go.

Any donation is helpful. I have had some incredibly wonderful experiences in generosity and support from my readers. If you click the link “What’s all this, then?” below the big pink donation button to the right —>, you can read a bit more about ways other than cold hard cash to support myself, my blog, my writings, my work, and my family.

Thank you very much for being the most lovely readers and commentariat a woman could ask for.

***

So, I’ve been elbows-deep in Recovery work the last couple days and I’ve just about fried my brain. Running from doctors’ appointments to feeding and picking up kids, cleaning up around home, meetings and one-on-one help, answering phone calls from people who, if they don’t get help, well, they could die a horrid death. Plain and simple. I know it’s not my sole job to keep other people alive nor sober, as my own sobriety is enough in my hands, but it’s just the truth, people die, so calls I get are pretty important.

Today at the Treatment Center the topic is Anger. This is a good one. Hands-down the most honest conversations I’ve been exposed to have been in the rooms of Recovery. Never have I seen personal responsibility taken to the utmost level; never, concomitantly, have I seen the ugliness of the human condition, the kinds of depraved creatures we work ourselves into. Later in the day I’m laughing in a new cafe with two friends; my mom brings the children along to join us. During lunch I drink an espresso doppio. I’m pleased there’s a new place to get a great sandwich. It’s rainy and shitty and blowy outside.

More phone calls; more work. At the end of the day I’m so spent that if I could literally have any wish for myself I wouldn’t know what to wish for. This is not a good sign. I am completely tapped out.

I move through a small subsistence of activity. I show the children how to make an incense offering. Daily I teach my children a little more about housekeeping life (Phoenix recently learned how to clean the bathroom sink with Borax), and they apprentice with a willing spirit. A friend of Nels’ comes over and the two boys rough and tumble. Phoenix puts her arms around me and kisses me and whisper-snuggles, “I love you.” I wash, dry, fold and put away clothes. I take the lemon tree in for a long drink in the shower, and I clean the table. I pick up Ralph’s guitar and figure out a song. I haven’t played in something like twelve years.

Tomorrow I wake up a bit early to get my work done and head out to donate blood. At all places, the winery in Westport. I haven’t been there yet, although I remember biking past it on our camping trip a few summers ago. I hope the roads are good, and I hope my energy returns. I haven’t sewn in a few days and I feel a bit sad.