i know who i want to take me home

My child has a standing group-counseling event miles away once a week; this means I drive even more than normal to pick the child up, early, from a rural school. As well this week I am running back and forth for a sporting season (basketball: Nels). I am logging hours on a backwoods road which regularly yields heron, bald eagles, elk, and the occasional owl – but rarely-to-never deer or hawks, more often seen alongside the thoroughfare highways.

I have not yet adjusted to having the children out of the home during daylight hours. I have been working on sleeping more – discovering, half a year ago, that even when I did not need to rise at a particular time, I could only sleep six hours at a stretch. (Thanks to practice, patience, and some supplements – calcium, magnesium, wild lettuce, and melatonin – I’m up to nine!)

With more sleep comes a (seemingly) less productive schedule. Made (seemingly) less-productive still by my practices of meditation, volunteerism – and resting while I recover from a deep cough.

My son wants me to take a job at his school: his idea of paradise is to play kickball (or this week’s fad: sproutball), selectively partake in hot lunch, play with friends, and get cuddles from his teacher/playground-aide mama. His simple demands for childlike needs tug at my heart. My son is remarked upon by strangers often for his advanced vocabulary and speech patterns, his good manners, his dress – but at the same time, his younger nature. While other boys have followed suit of their peers and the television programs in their home, Nels is still childish in some ways. He dresses his own style; he is quick to cry publicly. Gentle at heart with animals and small children. As excited today as he was years ago – at a common snail or dun-brown snake:

My daughter has developments in her personal life as well; her age, and the increasing sophistication of interaction between boys and girls in her peer group, require that I am less forthcoming in sharing them here. You can imagine, reader, how honored I am she shares with me, privately – that I am her confidant.
By way of illustration: each child, on separate whims, affixed a valentine above their bed in a position of honor. Nels elected the cheerfully silly card I made him (“You’re The Shark To My Tornado!”) – while Phoenix displays a folded handmade heart, with words handwritten in a cribbed boys’ hand. The children are two years apart, and as close as siblings can be. But as ever, they have their own separate worlds.

“Let’s pretend we’re a mama and baby jellyfish, cuddling. Jellyfish can’t sting one another.”

Phoenix, Sketch

(one of Phoenie’s latest)

Phoenix, don’t think I can’t hear you glaring at your little brother!

Yes, I actually said this. And yes, I was right (of course!), as the sudden cessation of movement and whispers from the kitchen confirmed. The kids are putting away dishes and doing laundry while Ralph and I work on a few projects we believe we need to finish before we head to the Unschooling Conference. Our children have already packed. They are super-excited.

It’s all good, but I’m teetering on being overworked. Our houseguest/housesitter/CATsitter had to cancel last-minute. I’m worried about money (but thanks to much support here and there I think we’re going to be okay). Both Phoenix and I are teaching wee classes at the conference, and we aren’t quite prepared. I got my times mixed up and I missed an appointment for the kids and I was super-bummed for a few minutes. I’m not as organized as I’d hoped to be for our trip. I’d like to deep-clean the house a bit more before we leave, but I also have the day-to-day I get to do.

However, I’m handling things about… oh, a thousand percent better than I used to. I am genuinely grateful for all the goodness in life and the challenges, well I know things will come if I take it easy. I like my life today. I have more room for other people and their concerns, in my heart.

Today, before swimming. A cupcake date, and Nels in his latest mama-sewn togs (shirt fabric from Gray’s General Store).


Lemon Drop! Then:

Preppy Stripe & Acid Wash

Just for reference. Here is Nels in some other Homesewn, exactly two years ago.


I die a little inside when I realize how fast my kids are growing. Yes, I have realized the solution to this pain. More kids, adopted kids, some other dude’s kids, whatever. The husband isn’t going for any of it. ENNUI>>>

Sewing: I’m really proud of the garments I’ve been making and (some of them) designing. In the case of today’s offering at Homesewn, I’m offering three garment sets. But besides the fun of making these clothes, mostly I had a good time travelling down 80s lane and  may do some again shortly, any recommendations and inspirations are welcome. (Speaking of, check out my friend Dave’s new bike! Radsauce!). Oh and I was pretty proud of my little Google form to help clients out.

Things are good. I can’t wait to blog our trip for y’all. I’ll go there this year, and maybe next year more of you will join me. xxx ooo

about a young lady

Today was a day full of many good things. I was underslept and hungover and wretched this morning but I had the presence of mind to feel blessed because I thought of my children, sleeping and getting what they need, and how soon they would be awake and I’d hear their voices and I’d make them breakfast (a very amusing turnout of a grape pie, and I think I missed the mark a bit), and we’d take care of one another. In the afternoon as I watched a little Netflix and finished a sewing project and somehow stabbed myself about fourteen times with pins. My mom stopped by unannounced and we had coffee while she ate lunch.  I finished up all the relatively large amount of handsewing and we had a long, long talk, and a good one.

So the weather may be damp and cold and my daylight hours more severely constricted than I would have thought possible (thanks to a very short day and very late schedule) but some days just work out. Case in point, today I spent money on only two things: books, and food. I picked up a super-secret Christmas present at the bookstore and while there found a $4.50 copy of hardback Just So Stories, a collection of children’s tales by Rudyard Kipling. These are close to my heart as my father read us these stores (as well as the novel Kim) to my brother and I when we were children. I was very gratified my daughter immediately opened the book and began reading and walked into the house shrugging off winter gear with her nose in the book (“… and his little girl-daughter’s name was Taffimai Metallumai, and that means, ‘Small-person-without-any-manners-who-ought-to-be-spanked’; but I’m going to call her Taffy”).

Nels stayed up all night last night so today he slept and slept and slept and as the day wore on more and more cats lay claim to the warm form in the bed. Eventually I saw the child’s ghostly form stirring from through the French doors and he came out with his little skinny body and his blonde mop of hair and crawled into my arms and began happily talking about samwiches.

My son:

Lovely Nels

My daughter:

Beautiful Phoenix

Phoenix… so beautiful. Tonight Ralph told an anecdote about someone who put new kittens in a sack with a rock and tied up the sack and threw it in a river. Our daughter immediately recognized this for what it was – a true story of heartbreaking cruelty – and burst into tears. Despite the sadness of this little vignette (Ralph felt terrible, of course, and regretted sharing the story), my children’s empathy is just about the healthiest thing I can think of and as sad as she was I was there beside her as she clung onto my arm and wept and Nels’ deep hazel eyes got large and somber and he apologized and said it was his fault, because he brought up the subject of kitties (though certainly not murdered ones), and he told her he was sorry.

And we had a moment of silence and recovery.

Today I found and blog-published a brief piece I wrote on my daughter’s weaning – almost six years ago. Go ahead and read it and then cry a little.

3rd Birthday, Sophie / Phoenix

the secret ingredient is LURVE

Last night, playing “school” at the kids’ request:

This morning, first thing when Nels woke up. And by the way. You might think this is boring but I am on the EDGE OF MY SEAT for every second of this film.

Now this? This is some trifling shit.
August 15th, 2010

Earlier in the day: chicken soup from leftover roast chicken and garden veggies (I cooked down the breast bones/remainder along with veggie goodness as bone-broth to freeze):

Chicken Soup For My SOUPTAKER

It was my mother’s birthday today: she turned 61. She was so pleased to see we didn’t forget her day and rather came bearing gifts and spaghetti and meatballs and a fancy dessert (trifles are decidedly not fancy but look and taste gorgeous). I had a couple glasses of wine and soon I was tearfully talking about my longing for another child (non-bio) and she was tearfully telling me to go for it. Ralph looked and listened on and didn’t seem too annoyed with me.

We left the kids to sleep over and Ralph and I came home and spent our evening in a pleasant enough way (note: TOTAL SHAG-ATHON) and now? It’s just about bedtime.

I almost forgot in the excitement of everything the last few days I was featured yet again in Sew Mama Sew! My sewing, with the heat and the last few days’ various excitements, has fallen to the wayside. We leave for our vacation tomorrow and it’s anyone’s guess if I’ll get my sewing projects finished before we go – my original goal.

For now, it’s close to midnight and time to fall into bed with my spouse, who is currently being chewed up by our two very frisky little kittens.

Two years ago: my father was dying. I’ll be re-visiting those writings over the next week. I wasn’t able to read them last year.

it’s friday i’m in love

It’s 12:30 AM and my daughter is taking a bath on her own. My son is sitting at the kitchen counter eating a bowl of basmati rice topped with roasted chicken. After a few bites he stands up and does his “zombie walk”, husss husss through his teeth, his hands out before him in claws – and stalks to the counter where I have the CSA donut peaches resting to further sugar up. He takes one and says, “Yum!” quietly under his breath – to himself – and bites in, his posture set in determined pleasure.

Ralph and I spent much of the day cooking and cleaning, carefully preserving and preparing the share harvest from the farm (which starts to swell this time of the summer) and washing dishes and making dinner ahead for tomorrow as it promises to be a busy day (we made a double-batch in case anyone joins us).

Needless to say the children have been enthralled with their new computers. By “enthralled” I mean they came to bed at 4:30 AM, happy and loving and snuggly, and the minute they got up they went back to them.  While they were so engaged – after we’d invited them out and they declined – Ralph and I went on a date to the Salvadorian restaurant for the most economical and delicious fare in town (horchata!). Afterwards we got groceries and enjoyed the sunshine together. I wore the thinnest tiniest cotton dress ever because it was just too hot for me. Windows down, sunroof cocked.  Back home I cut a little of my cotton linen blend for the kids’ nightshirts, but it was so warm it was hard to work. Instead I got on the bike with my daughter balancing produce boxes and we ran errands together.

Later children ran in and out and music swelled through the house, windows open but blinds down and a fan set up in the kitchen (our only defense given the Pacific Northwesterners’ typical lack of air conditioning); I visited a friend briefly and caught up with exciting developments in her life then brought her oldest child over on the back of the bike (as well as a lovely jar of homecanned raspberry preserves, my favorite kind of jam!). Family friends stopped by after a dinner date and we shared green tea and mircrobrew while our children peacefully played on the laptops and the kittens got up to their bullshit.


It was a good day and I think we’re going to have another one tomorrow. Just call it a hunch.

Archives. Five years ago. I break up with a friend.

spaceship earth, circa 1983

In part in response to my previous post, a friend sent me “The Bitter Homeschooler’s Wishlist” from secular-homeschooling.com.  I must admit I laughed a bit (although in general I do not consider it a part of my mission to spread snark) which was then replaced by fervent noddings at numbers 21, 22, and 23. In reading this I also felt quite grateful to be surrounded by friends and family who are generally supportive and don’t say too many silly things regarding my kids’ exemption from school.

Oh and:

From the archives: I grew up in a bus.  I used to call myself “So Cal hippie trash” before I decided I should not use the word “trash” to refer to anyone, my own roots notwithstanding.  My parents smoked pot and sort of parented all groovy (which means: assily), but they fed us and loved us pretty good.  So here I am, rockin’ the raspberry beret and breaking the hearts of my brother and some other boy we met at Yosemite Park.

El Autobús Mágico

It’s hard to see, but beneath the white wave-like motif on this bewheemoth drift the words “Inner Space”; this must be before my mom added planets as well.  Yes, that is a real wooden door with stained glass (my mom handcrafted that too).  Click on the photo if you’d like to read a bit more about our exodus from sunny CA to rainy WA.

ETA: Ralph told me this post made me sound like a hippie who was kind of proud of being a hippie.  I pulled out my cloth menstrual pad and slapped him across the face. And then I went and ate some bark, or something.