on an uncharted atoll in the Pacific!

My daughter glides in the door and puts her arms around me. “How are you?” she asks, and she means it. Maybe no one is as kind, considerate, and loving as this child.

Sometimes I think she’s this way (in part) because of the effort I have put into being a good mother. Sometimes I think she’s this way (in part) because of all the mistakes I’ve made.

Sometimes I know I need to love her fierce while she’s here, and just be thankful.

My daughter shares her private life with me – so far, just me! – and this is truly incredible. I treasure her trust, and her disclosures, more than I can say.  I am humbled, honored, and glad. She’s going through Big Stuff right now and I know lots of her peers and classmates are going through The Shit, so. I am glad she thinks I’m safe.

So she asks me How Are You and the truth is, I am still tired and I’ve been tired a little while. I’ve had my ass handed to me by a fatigue that doesn’t make sense. Kidneys, maybe? I don’t know. I’m not anemic; today’s blood donation (re-)assured me on this. I can’t afford doctor care right now but if and when things settle down a bit I will make a move in that direction. For now: chin up. Drink water. Try: patience. Today I read a tweet online, an actress ran her first twelve miles and was ecstatic – I feel (a rare and) strangled kind of envy. I would love something different than what I have.

Actor Russell Johnson passed today; my fellow B-moviephile and author Scott wrote up a post and I had a nostalgic smile over last March’s Attack Of The Crab Monsters embroidery project. I haven’t sewn, not a lick, in about two weeks – which for me, is a Forever. If I had food in the pantry and gas in the car I could sew maybe, but even then I’d have to feel less tired.

Times like this I have to practice my patience. That kind of earth-shattering, centered bit of patience. Maybe things will get better; no matter what, I know they will Change.

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.

“Two tears in a bucket, motherfuck it.”

You know for as many hours as I’ve logged with addicts, people who are either still on the stuff or getting off it or in some kind of maintenance program (either medically-overseen or… not, as a couple I talked with yesterday were), and the hundreds if not thousands of testimonies I’ve heard, I actually, daily, realize how little I know. I mean don’t get me wrong, I think I know a hell of a lot more than your average Joe who sees this sort of thing as a very Other People thing, and I think I know some elements more deeply than your average television show and documentary. As an alcoholic in Recovery I have an insider view in a thousand ways. But still. There are lots of drugs and lots of family upbringings and lots of of lifestyles I never lived. And this isn’t just about drugs or alcohol, this is about understanding the multitudes of people out there and sharing in a human way. It’s about me growing compassion and learning not to judge, but to listen. The world is an amazing education. Really. I think I am getting better about participating, and deeply loving people, and learning a lot from them.

Today for the second day in a row I got to talk with my dear friend S. whom I love to bits. LOVE TO BITS. She is tough as hell and she has been through so many kinds of hell. She has been through it and done it all, I remember early on knowing her, hearing her talk about getting water out of puddles in a trailer park in Moclips to load her needle. And a hundred other stories.

S. has rock-solid Recovery and because of where she’s been, she is in an extraordinary position to help so many people that most of society would write off – people in the throes of all kinds of legal, familial, mental, emotional, spiritual, and existential crises. She is one of the strongest and most beautiful women I know and I’m privileged to know her – like so many I’ve met in Recovery. She recently had her sobriety anniversary (or “birthday”) and I told her across the room, “I Love You”, because I really really do. Anyway anytime I talk to her I understand how little I know, and how small my world really is. I am expanding it and sometimes it blows my mind. Sometimes it wears me out.

Today after listening to some of the stuff I came home and got on the bike; Hutch followed me for a two-mile run. It helped a lot to work up a sweat, and imbued me with gratitude my body can do this for me.


Earlier though, I had an odd day.At noon I biked to an appointment with the dentist; when I got there they discovered the filling I was scheduled for, well I already had it. The dentist was pissed at his employees but he masked this as professionally as possible and apologized to me – took full responsibility. The more I see the guy the more I like him.

Then this afternoon I went off to a blood drive – I had an appointment. Like the last time, my iron was too low (not low for a woman – healthy – but too low to donate). They stabbed me again and the second time the number was lower. I couldn’t donate today. This really bothered me. So I will be eating rare steak, shrimp (maybe), molasses, green veggies and try again in a week, the 1st of August. Because sumbitch I’m used to being able to donate and it means a lot to me.

And it was all kinda awkward because I had shuffled the kids and borrowed a car etc. etc. just to do my various things today. I was a little out of sorts about the whole blood-#FAIL. But I have this Buddhist adage I use on days where things don’t go my way. I believe I mentioned it in my post title.

In other news I’ve been listening to some kick-ass ladies while I sew (today – six t-shirts for my little girl).

I wish I was glamorous & had the wardrobe to match, & Peggy Lee’s clear, effortless, and sexually-frank voice. & could sing in a band. I love singing. & I’ve always wanted to let my inner Floozy have some more breathing room. She’s a pretty funny lady.

it’s just a question


A blood drive out at, of all places, Westport Winery. I gave blood almost exactly a year ago in the same bus (and interestingly when I checked just now, I see last year’s phone photo shows the same American Red Cross worker; he had longer hair then). Today I practiced the meditative breathing I always find helpful before being poked, swabbed, and stabbed. Ugh.

Meanwhile the kids raided the bus’ fridge of juice and granola bars.

After Raiding The Bloodmobile's Fridge

Probably my favorite moment today was about four minutes after the above photo, inside the Winery restaurant where I was talking to a perfectly nice young man, and Nels, who was wearing his “tuxedo” jacket and looking quite formal in demeanor, politely walked up and asked this man and I, “Are you going to cheat on my dad?”

SERIOUSLY I am rarely at a loss for words but I had just given blood without hydrating first. Before I untangled myself (because, Conversation Over at that point) Nels had informed this man how he had the Best Dad Ever and he didn’t want anyone getting in the way of that. Holy god.

I drank tomato juice, water, coffee, and had a half a sandwich. It was a nice lunch.

Nels In Contemplation

Phoenix, Lunch

I love Phoenie’s little emo-mullet.


Nels lost his first top tooth on New Year’s Day. Yes, I am just about dying because his smile is so cute. Yes, I no longer have babies if all their baby teeth are falling out everywhere. Can you believe Nels’ smile? It reminds me of someone.


Skating at the Harborena, where they are keeping costs trim by not heating the place, and I had to go home early. Ralph pretend-grew a beard for two days and got my hopes up.





I got a little bit of sewing done today, but frankly I was a bit tired out. I don’t think it’s that normal to be tired after donating blood, but I might just be down after a lot of work lately. I’ve been low energy. I would like to get back to sewing a few things, as I have a special deadline on February 1st. We’ll just have to see how it goes.

“Try to think of a more boring sentence”, yes I know.


Babies thrive on real meat!

“why is partying and having a good time bad?”

Friday links! Short and sweet.

I set up my next blood donation appointment online (here in Hoquiam/Aberdeen there’s one at Walmart on August 11th). All types are needed. Red Cross has been assclowny in a few ways in the past, but their online setup is pretty good.

“Amy Winehouse: Death and Addiction” by Kendra Sebelius (who is also @VoiceinRecovery on Twitter and writes on eating disorders; she does great work).

“Addiction is a serious issue, one that requires serious discussions. I feel people still have the tone of “well, she had a choice to stop.” Choice is such a hard word to even address in this whole thing. […] Rehab didn’t keep me sober, any more than it does for many people. […] This doesn’t mean a person is bad or a failure or unwilling to get better. It means it is hard to not only get sober, but to stay sober. I had to change my environment, ask for help, and find a new way of doing things. Rehab is just a starting point. You don’t go to rehab and automatically get better.”

Further on Winehouse: apparently a HuffPo article was needed because so many don’t understand alcohol withdrawal. This is kind of rattling to me.

OK, onto lighter matters: Special Report: Star Trek The Next Generation: A XXX Parody; even from giggly curiosity I can’t bring myself to watch something like this. But the review? GOLDEN.

Common rumors about lesbians I would like to dispel

The Just-So Stories complete text poster. Pretty fabulous. I’ve acquired this book and a few other Kipling tomes for my kids; they love them.

From M’s blog: “Mistakes”; a wonderful post about a child’s ever-broadening assessment of the world around him.

Make: Cucumber Lime Mint Agua Fresca at Simply Recipes

And – guess what? Babies thrive on real meat! From vintage-ads on Livejournal:

Babies thrive on real meat!

Babies, on behalf of parents everywhere, I’m really sorry if anyone offered this to you.


the mouse and the bat

Goodness gracious, I’ve had a busy last few days. Some of which I’ve written on, as I’m sure readers will notice, more or less privately. And that’s just that. I cannot share the password at this time: this is for the sake of others, and I promise I do not withhold for creepy reasons. I will have to throw this disclaimer up top of my blog somewhere. I’ll get to it soon – promise.

In the meantime, here are some pictures:

Weird/terrible/oddly fun show in Elma.

Giving blood. No longer terrified, once the prick-test is done, the needle is in the arm, etc.
Giving Blood

Josie quite helpfully gets so much cat hair on my latest sewn creation. Thanks, Ass.

Nels is beautiful.

The YMCA lifeguard the other day was so incredibly insensitive, annoying, and – what’s that word when someone seems to get off on enforcing pissant and arbitrary rules? I don’t know. But the kids had fun, and I took a picture of their nudie awesomeness when we were getting ready to go. They really were lovely.
YMCA Nudies

Last night I was able to get away from the family for a bit while Ralph cooked, so I could watch Billy Wilder’s The Lost Weekend (1945). I cannot get across how much I love this film, most specifically the performance by Ray Milland, an actor who thrills me in every fiber of my being. The film has so many others on the same subject, dead-beat. Everything about it is perfect; it has been called a noir-style (which I frankly do not get) – but the atmosphere, performances, writing, the wardrobes, the theramin-enhanced score, “delirium is a disease of the night”! Ye Gods I wish they still made films like this, most frequently so. Watching these old classics, I think I’m going to have to indulge in my James Mason crush here pretty soon.

And speaking of Milland, I mean – the shortest Oscar acceptance speech on record. He’s just fan-fucking-tastic.

And finally, an announcement: week eleven of the Conch Shell went well; this week the Conch Shell is on hiatus.

son of a bitch is dug in like an Alabama tick

I gave blood yesterday, and today we spent our eleventh consecutive week making up food for the Conch Shell Deli. I guess when it comes down to it I often enjoy doing things I’m scared to do. Those things, well, not everyone would understand why they scare me, and maybe they seem like very little to someone else, but they are a lot to me.

And on point, I suppose, I should put forth I’m a bit tired. I’m scrambling to complete a few art projects, I’ve sewn two shirts in my spare time (for The Boy), I’ve got a graphic design job (kind of a largish one) with a looming deadline, and going on my tenth year I’ve been cleaning and feeding the family and loving up the cats and kids and trying to be helpmate to my husband and not to act like an asshole.

So I guess what I’m saying is.


I do, however, have time to watch the riff on The Crater Lake Monster, which will commence… NOW.

P.S. Nelsie. At the coffee shop. He is lovely.

Mostly Friendly

All the soarings of my mind begin in my blood.


As I believe I have on occasion expressed before, I have a love/hate relationship with giving blood. It’s scary and upsetting and uncomfortable but only at a few specific junctions and not enough to be a deal-breaker. It feels good to help but I won’t lie, it feels even better to have Phoenix’s esteem. She was happy to accompany me today in her little white fleece leggings (a cozy and lovely gift from my mother) and big boots and sweater. An old man flirted with her in this condescending but affectionate way and she handled that just fine. She kissed me and told me “Good luck” and told me she was proud of me and I was “smart”.

The Big Stick (BOOBSCAPE 3000)

I was their last “customer” and when I finished (8 minutes) they pretty much told me to fuck off, get out of there. I know they have a lot of work to get done after the blood-cattle leave. I’ve always been treated so well by bloodworkers. An impressive record considering they have to work long hours in a cramped space, in an, ahem, charming town like Aberdeen.

Short entry today as I have a fair bit of laundry; Ralph and I are also finishing up a batch of matzoh ball soup. No one is sick but that doesn’t mean delicious preventative measures aren’t a good idea!

(Small Stone #6*)

I don’t know why you’re especially cheerful today
But I’m not joining you.

Small stone project