i could make the sun shine from pure desire

A little bit more money came in Saturday. We are on the home stretch. If we can somehow afford food and gas until Friday, we will have made it to another paycheck. You think I’m being a jerk but I’ll tell you, I didn’t think it would even work out this far. But by last Monday I was faithful and I prayed over it and I trusted the law, the dharma, I trusted God, I trusted the Universe to continue to support us and I even started looking forward to what surprises awaited (sorry if you were hoping for something less boring on my part!). For one thing I found out today we have a donor taking care of 1/5th of Hutch’s vet bill. That is wonderful news. Every bit helps a great deal and teaches me the meaning of gratitude and humility. It’s like living on a different kind of fuel. Available to me all day tomorrow, too.

But, I digress. I’m standing now in the bulk food / health food store and all I need is bulk yeast, a little curry powder, cashews. Vegetarian korma. Sorry kids, more goddamn vegetables and rice, because I still cook vegetarian even when I’m baffled on a daily basis as to why I make shit hard on myself. My kids are amazing because they have nothing but humor and grace about it all, the vegetarian thing. They peaceably eat what they choose anywhere else they go and they tell us Thank You for every meal and we laugh about it.

So I’m here now and as I’m collecting my stuff I am aware there is a couple here, an older couple, and they are looking for something specific and the employee is trying to help them find it. The couple has a strong accent and speaks between the two of them a rich, floral language I do not recognize. They are dressed well and kind of have that moneyed, on-vacation air about them. I have OKAY manners today so I don’t stare but I prick my ears because I’m wondering what language it is. The shop employee is having a hard time finding them what they need but whatever they need, it is a bulk item and there isn’t enough, and they’re trying to sort it out.

I finally get what I require and wander down the aisle to see if I can afford honey (and afford the other stuff I need today) and Nope, then I look at the sales, and when I get to the register the couple is across from me and we are both paying. They pull out a card and the shop employee tells them I’m Sorry, We Don’t Take Cards, Just Cash Or Check and I know right away this couple, kind of beleaguered at this point, won’t have the cash or check. The language barrier thing, they are sorting it out but I can see the man – tall, craggy, handsome – and his big bulky shoulders slump, All that effort it’s not going to work out after all.

So because it is one hundred percent logical what should happen I speak up and ask to pay it. I have to shout almost before the clerk hears me interrupting. I say, “Let me pay for it. I’d be happy to. They’ve obviously gone through a lot of trouble.”

Time stands still. The couple, they are getting the gist of what I’m offering but they are in disbelief. The two cashiers are, interestingly, even more uncomfortable. One insists I pay for my purchase separately, and first, before theirs. I’m like, Okay. I pay. The man is gesturing me and he and his wife are thanking me. You’d think it was a lot more cash to lay out than it was.

While the clerk is ringing me up and the confusion is still up in arms the fellow next to me, a smiling man who’d stared at me in the parking lots says, “You could be a Labrador.” I know I’ve heard him right but I’m like, Pardon. He says, “A Labrador.” I say, “Like the dog?” And he says, “Yes. They are wonderful. They are always helping people. They have a great spirit. They are magical.”

Don’t tempt me, I say. I don’t need another dog!

But inside I’m pleased and I’m thinking, I am unsure if I’ve ever heard a better compliment.

Back out into the sunshine which persists (and keeps my windowless car dry) and my faith turns out to have been a smart thing after all.

updates from the incorporated village of Cutetown

First, here’s a picture of Nels, being so sweet I want to bite him. He likes to have the “towel hat” made for him, you know how fancy ladies don after their ablutions.

Nels, Post-Bath

Secondly: in just a few days we’re sending the Taylor family to the Life is Good Unschooling Conference. They are registered and ready to go!

I want to first thank those who’ve donated, shared, or in any way supported our endeavor. Financially, we have had six donors so far put in a total of $290 – and we estimate our scholarship cost, when paid out in full, will be about $700.

The scholarship process has been a positive one. I am very grateful we chose to do this, even though it meant forfeiting our own trip to the Conference. I am especially grateful for my very generous children, who were willing to make that sacrifice if the scholarship was not donor-funded in full. And this year, I am pleased to be sending unschooling “newbies” to the Conference. I think the experience will help them a great deal as they embark on this journey!

We are still taking donations. If you are interested in helping, please share, tweet, post on Facebook, or Paypal kelly AT hogaboom DOT org. Any small – or large – donation helps!

Thank you so much.

Nels, Post-Bath

the book is called Opportunity and its first chapter is New Year’s Day

This was the first New Year’s Eve I remember in my life, where I didn’t count down like everyone else usually does. I’d planned on, after our dinner guests left, taking a friend and my family to a Buddhist meditation at midnight. Instead I was sitting with these folks in the Emergency Room, waiting to visit a friend who’d been trucked in after a collapse. My kids, husband, and my girl H. played some kind of Twister knock-off on a carpet a few feet away. Next time I looked at my watch it was thirty-four minutes past midnight.

The fireworks from the hospital’s hill were lovely. It was cold. Nels had about three girlfriends by the time we left the parking lot. A social child. Also, earlier, a grouchy child who’d disrupted our earlier dinner a bit.

My friend at the hospital seems out of the woods. I am very grateful. I gave him my number as he’s staying overnight, and told him to call if I could bring him anything at all.


We had a good day today; the kids and I accompanied another family to adopt a kitty for little E. It was pretty choice, getting to visit with and pet the kitties.

My Lovely Daughter

Phoenix was a very kind little girl at the shelter, taking stock of each kitty and remembering their names and tempraments. There was another Phoenix working there as a volunteer, a teen boy. He and my daughter got along great, although I think like many he didn’t, at first, think a younger child could conduct themselves with aplomb at a kitty shelter.

E. & Her Daddy, Talk Kitties

E. and her father discuss adoption plans.


Raider. A favorite of J.’s. He was a handsome kitty. But E. was intent on adopting a lady kitty.


Here’s a kitty I like to call Noel, MY NEW BOYFRIEND. HE LOVED ME SO MUCH AND IMMEDIATELY CLIMBED IN MY ARMS right after I snapped this. He is the handsomest thing I have ever seen. Not convinced? Would you like a closeup?


I am going to get a tattoo of Noel and his likeness. His green-blue eyes are the inspiration of many sonnets. I’m sure he will be adopted out in no time and it just kills me.

Nels + Noel + Erin

E. + Nels + Noel. You can click through for like eighteen adorable pictures of them all looking at a “flashing light” they saw outside.

Nels + Noel

Nels reacts to something Noel said, probably something very suave and witty.

Erm... No Thanks, Panther

Panther may have trouble getting adopted.

Happy New Year. Anyone reading here with any regularity knows how grateful I am for my life. How blessed. I don’t mean “blessed” because so much good shit has happened to me or because God is super into me, I mean “blessed” because I’m very glad for the gifts I have. It is the gladness, the awareness, the awakenedness, when I have it, that is the gift.

Here’s Ralph taking a picture of me tonight just before tacos, because I wanted a new photo for Twitter. Thank you, husband, for taking a picture and making it of my ENORMOUS FACE.

New Years', Pre-Tacos

please support your local stitcher, there aren’t many of us doing our thing

Buttonholes / Tailor's Tacks

I’ve been sewing lots. Here are a few pieces:

First, Peter’s Retro Shirt (listed at Homesewn).

Peter's Retro Shirt


Just these last couple days I’ve worked up Winter Wool Pants #001 and #002 (#003 are on the way!):

Happy Pants

Belt Loops

They are beautiful pants – wool, and lined in silk – designed in every way for comfort, ease of movement, and durability. If your kids are as active as mine, I guarantee these will be a quick favorite.

So. Tomorrow through Sunday I am going to have a booth at the Schafer Meadows Fiber Festival, hosted at the Elma Fairgrowds. It would mean a lot to me if any locals reading this would stop by and talk to me and see my stuff. I’ve worked my tail off to create a booth and put together some literature on what I’m about and what my portfolio entails. The Fiber Festival is amazing in its own right, with all sorts of local talented artisans (mostly knitting, wool, spinning, carding, crotcheting-based) coming out of the woodwork!

The hours of the event are Friday, Noon – 5pm; Saturday, 10am – 5pm; and Sunday, 11am – 4pm.

I thought a lot about buying a space at my first-ever trade fair, or whatever you want to call it, as I am not able to make the time commitment of a full-time business but I definitely would enjoy more exposure. My current goals as a seamstress include pursuing my craft with all my heart, being able to purchase and explore higher-end fabrics and materials, making parents/carers and their children deliriously happy over their most favorite garment of all time (Phoenix put on the brown pair of wool pants – lined with silk and built with knee gussets and a low-bulk super-soft waistband! – and said, “These are MARVELOUS pants. You should make every kid a pair!”), stretching myself creatively, finding a community of garment-makers (quilters and crotcheters and knitters abound), and sharing my skills with those who appreciate them (including teaching!).

Anything you can do to support me is appreciated. It’s hard out here for a stitcher, competing with massive corporations, sweatshop labor and the abuse of environment and peoples for the bottom line. True also that many would like to experience the joy of learning how to create – but so few make the time.

friday fan-fucking-tastic

“The Importance of Family Dinner” by mamapoekie
This subject was a tricky one for me as until very recently I revered and “enforced” family dinner (the enterprise has good intentions, of course, and is also such an awesome thing to root-toot about and we’re told if we don’t do it we’re what’s Wrong With America). Of course, my kids and husband and I still eat dinner together almost every night, except now it only happens when people want to, not because they have to or are nagged at (there’s a real difference!).

“Thoughts on Man Caves, Mom Caves, & Gendered Space” by Alexis at the Studioist
I love Alexis’ pieces as well as her rather considered responses to anyone who takes the time to work out a comment. She is a gracious hostess.

The new Life Learning Magazine is out. Well-worth the subscription (and if you write an article, you may get a discount / free subscription).

Mantid of the Week at I Blame The Patriarchy
Twisty’s been posting less, but each post is enjoyed. I think she has the most tender heart underneath all her meanie.

Porn! (not really, something way better actually)
Edit: see comments.

Super-easy ghost cloak at mermag.blogspot.com
I will be using this. Probably in a few minutes, actually. Yes, not everything I sew is some goddamned masterpiece.

“Scary Decor”; the Studioist (again, but I love her posts and the brief discussion of Halloween experiences in the comments; also she said I was the “best Mom in the world”, praise I sorely need  on days like today where I hardly do anything decent as a mother

“Stripes”, a how-to for making striped fabric (bonus, the tute’s by my brother’s lady J.)

“Hey Skinny…” at Twisted Vintage. Loving those little red shorts.

Great review of a pretty spooky movie: “Re-visiting the Canon: Candyman” at PostBourgie. This movie scared me quite deeply as a teen.

Guess who I think is sexy? No, guess. But you know, I think a lot of people are sexy. I guess I’ve got that joie de vivre. P.S. I’m also a big fan of his work and think he’s a compelling performer. The last bit of it I saw was in Wives & Daughters (Netflix instant). Did you know I’m a fiend for pre-20th century British period pieces? WELL I AM.

One imagines this Elliot Smith mixtape on soundcloud is against the Rules of the Intenetz & Copyright, but I have been enjoying a listen.


I am a total mess today. I can’t even express how little-by-little I’ve fallen behind to where my life currently feels like a small, grounded hulk of a shipwreck. I won’t feel this way soon. But I feel this way now and I’m being very hard on myself.

ironically, we came home to a looted house (j/k!)

Hoquiam Skies

Tonight’s chosen destination for National Night Out was the potluck at our Community Garden. I cooked up a panful of cornbread and large batch of vegetarian chili (made quite flavorful by the addition of my homemade berbere sauce) and carted this bounty down the path to join friends and acquaintances. People came, stayed, ate. The Crime Watch floated by. I talked with friends and my children laughed at river’s edge blowing large bubbles with a couple policemen – adorable! Robin took photos. I hope she posts them. I like it when policemen do stuff.

I fell in love, absolutely in love, with Hoquiam’s K-9 dog, a German Shepherd by the name of Enno. Of course, if I tried to abscond with that dog (and I briefly considered it) I would get bit badly by both dog and partner; it was clear this officer loved his canine companion very, very much. And my husband would probably demand I choose between himself and the dog. Honestly, though, it might be a hard choice. That dog was amazing.

My parents were there. My mother brought a beautiful batch of fresh-squeezed lemonade. We all watered our plots. My mom and I talked food and joked about flashing the Coast Guard boat that motored by. She is great company. My dad coughed and coughed and coughed. While my mom flitted about and tried to fetch things my father would eat I sat with him on a bench overlooking our muddy, lush riverfront. We talked for a while, then we didn’t talk that much. I try to live in the moment. When I do, I feel the most acute sadness that our ways will be parted. This sadness is always fresh, always deeply felt. I don’t want him to go. But I also feel so deeply satisfied he’s here now. Even if we’re not saying anything.

We left just before nine o’clock. My kids had spent a good solid half hour playing in a dirt pile so they were filthy. Horribly, horribly dirty. The bathroom, bathtub was muddy, I mean even the walls.

It was actually quite impressive.