Today I did the necessary, and arduous, work of fixing (mostly) Homesewn. I also listed two items:
I have been a busy beaver and I owe some photo uploads and some verbiage. However for tonight I’ll just show and tell a little about the trip Erin, Nels, Phoenix and I took to Northwest Trek yesterday. I didn’t take a bajillion photos or anything, because I wanted to enjoy myself fully (which I did). Here’s some of what I have, though.
The first animals we came upon were golden eagles, close as life. They were huge and beautiful and perfectly still. The kids ran up and looked and one of them said, “Those are REAL!” From that point on the kids were a thousand percent excited about every animal we saw including some we see at home pretty regularly. Why can’t we all be more like children? We’d live longer.
Mike, our tram tour guide. He knew a lot of facts and was quite personable. He also operated a tricky vehicle through terrain full of wildlife and at times up a steep grade, while dealing with people as well! The park was very pro-child, which worked for me.
Bison. Lotsa those being all awesome (also: mountain goats, bighorn sheep, blacktail deer, a moose cow, elk). A few minutes after this we saw a baby, about a month old, bright orange. I didn’t take a picture although we rode the tram right by her and she was only a few feet away. Instead I just absorbed how incredible she was and how much I liked being in real-life up close.
Phoenix, on the tram. A more helpful and lovely person to be with on the trip, I can’t imagine.
Nels and Erin on the tram, having a wonderful time. The three kids and I were seated next to a group of six very very rowdy, bored, fart-noise-making kids who didn’t seem to care much one way or the other and got increasingly agitated. I had such positive time with the three I was with and I felt so grateful I spend my time with children who are where they want to be.
Antlers – everywhere. I could have given a shit before this day, but I heard some amazing stuff about them, like how – unlike horns – they grow from the outside in! Kind of wonderful. I got to hold many in my hands later and admire their organic comeliness. The park leaves a lot of antlers out on the acerage for the herbivores to nibble on for nutrients. They are beautiful left out in the field like that.
As I mentioned, the kids were excited over every animal we came into contact with, even the deer (which we see more than once a week here in HQX) and the ballsy little squirrels who would CUT YOU for the leftovers in a Corn-Nut bag.
Pacific Giant Salamander, or as I like to call it, Pure Unadulterated Nightmare Fuel. This thing was like a foot long. *shudder*
A fisher. Or a marten. Something weaselly. I can’t remember. There was also a huge beaver, river otters, a badger, a wolverine, the latter two not doing anything particularly badass.
At this point the kids were running full-tilt through the paths near the wolf, fox, couger, lynx, bobcat, black bear, and grizzly habitats. No other humans were around much and it was eerie – and breathtaking and fun!
Sure, “statistics”. I see NWTrek is in the pocket of Big Grizzly Bear. I will, however, remain vigilant.
Phoenix, and a moose antler about as big as she.
A huge, torpid spider outside the cafe. She was beautiful but the kids were running off again and I didn’t have time to set up a good shot.
Phoenix giving me cuddles. I was pretty much in bliss the entire day, truth be told, until the last leg of the journey when we stopped to do some commerce in Oly and I was back amongst crowds of cranky people.
My favorite critter? Hands-down the lynx. It was a massive, prehistoric-looking cat, preternaturally calm and boasting the musculature of an ape. I didn’t even try a picture, I just watched him and felt kind of stunned about it all.
Happy National Coming Out Day! For those who can and choose to, today and any day, I wish you the best. Here’s a vlog entry I experienced as quite touching and real.
I’ve been sewing lots. Here are a few pieces:
First, Peter’s Retro Shirt (listed at Homesewn).
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 â€“ 5pm; Saturday, 10am â€“ 5pm; and Sunday, 11am â€“ 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.
“Everybody who’s anybody!”*
Nigella Love-in-a-Mist by local Mickey Thurman. Love-in-a-mist was one of the first flowers Nels grew, years and years ago.
The Kindness of Strangers by Kate. Nothing earth-shattering. Except – actually, it kind of is. What a lovely piece.
Feminazi Propaganda: “Women’s Work” via Political Remix Video. Trigger warning for intense violence (often eroticized) rendered graphically against women. REGULARLY SEEN ON TELEVISION I might add (although this concerns the show “Supernatural”) – and here’s a longer analysis should you want one. Yeah. So, this kind of stuff is why I’ve had to stop watching shows I otherwise would have enjoyed or at least found consumable (“Law & Order”, thanks for keeping me from my daily D’Onofrio! You fucks.).
In wonderful news: Michelle Alison offers a great course. I want to take this pretty badly. I don’t have the scratch, because of recent purchases. I do promote Alison because she and her mentor Satter seem to know their shit, in a land of lots of weight and diet “experts” who sure don’t.
Reviewing highlights of an actresses celebrated career – and you know, this is uncannily like my experiences with alcohol and drug, back in school:
That actress playing the “young high school counselor” – where do I know her from? It’s something kind of tampon-ad ish.
“The World Is Full Of Bullies… So Conform! And Quick!” by Laura at Authentic Parenting:
“Children who have not been forced into acting or looking like something they’re not, who have had the freedom to explore their bodies and their minds, within the safety and unconditionality of their homes are not insecure. They may make different choices than the average kid, they may look differently, but they do it because they are true to themselves, not to fit in or fit out, so they are generally able to take the consequences. Yes, they may get negative reactions. But if they are not even safe to express themselves and find themselves at home, where do you suggest they will? In therapy when they are in their thirties?”
Consumerism: I need to buy this… and tix to see this. Ralph wants me to buy him this (but seriously? I bought him some big fancy pedal this time last year. I think I’ll take a year off). Apparently Ralph is going to give me our tax return as my own “fun money”, I’ll try not to spend it all on makeup and my usual diversions.
Make: How-To: Plush Alien Facehugger Pillow Set via Instructables for a little girl. Perfect. PERFECT.
Make: hand stitched card at New House Project. I’ve enjoyed using a sewing machine to punch holes or stitch paper for quite some time. It dulls the needle, sure – but what fun!
OK: it’s time to separate us all into two discrete columns. Those who find this picture, as I do, completely disgusting. And those who through some sickness that is probably not their fault, find it mouth-watering. GO!
Tweet of the week. Hey, I can blow my own horn like no-one’s business.
And finally – enjoy our beaches!
*Note: please do not take my post tagline as any kind of prescriptive advice on how one should celebrate their weekend. But in the meantime: whoo-hooo it’s Friday!!!
Quick rant: Stop saying “X is the last acceptable form of bigotry” by Tami Harris. Ye god – Yes. Please. Stop.
Barn tableau at IBTP. Short and to the point.
Class rage in miniature: why I can’t read many food blogs anymore at Class Rage Speaks
On Blogging, Popularity Contests, & Why I QUIT at Postpartum Progress:
“I love blogging. I love bloggers. I love social media people. I love the internet. I love what we are able to do, that our words can stretch across thousands of miles to make someone else feel understood and supported. I love that we are able to use our voices, and that no one can take that away from us. That’s amazing. […] You will no longer see me asking for votes for these various contests. I can’t do it anymore. It tires me. It’s soul sucking. I’m not going to do it. If someone recognizes what we do here for the impact it has on mothers and families, or for innovative ideas, or for the writing, or for positively affecting mental health or reducing stigma, I will share it with you FOR SURE, but as for the rest of it … I quit.”
I believe everyone should have the right to blog differently (*ahem*… those bitching about password-protected posts, and no asking about it, or asking for a password, is not bitching about it), including using ads, contests, giveaways, tweeting all day long, whatever people do. I guess I just liked what this lady had to say.
How To Deal With Parental Mistakes by Laura:
“Making mistakes as a parent is he hardest thing, because it involves this tiny influential human being and you can’t have a do-over. It can be easy to fall into a guilt trip. That’s not a very healthy road to travel. Guilt is one of the most erosive, numbing emotions, and it’s certainly not beneficial to parenting.”
I’m feeling this, big time. Thank you, Laura.
& on that note:
Letâ€™s try that again! Send me your stories on parenting with disability or chronic illness at Raising my Boychick. If you’ve got something? Do it!
Homeschoolers Who Run Businesses: The EpiCoutures Family Store. Both Laurie and Brycen are passionate about their work. Maybe someone reading here can spread word or support it!
Make: custom chenille for a blanket. Lovely!
Also: a cold summer soup collection from Mint Design Blog. Now I’m not much for cold summer soups, although my friend S. once made us a watermelon gazpacho that was truly amazing. So, I try not to be too close-minded!
Quote of the week:
Resentment is like taking poison and waiting for the other person to die. ~ Malachy McCour
I’m late watching this of course, but I had to share it because I find it COMPLETE & UTTER BULLSHYT and I want to know if anyone else is scoffing as hard as I am?!
(I do like the second top comment though)
Last night my girl and I stayed up late together while Ralph and Nels slept; she and I watched Rabbit-Proof Fence. I worried this story would stress my daughter out. Instead it stressed me out, and it was the second time I’d viewed the film so I’m not sure why this surprised me (I think the epilogue is the most gut-wrenching bit). In fact Phoenix was an attentive and earnest viewer and I loved that when the Aboriginal characters spoke in their native tongue she called it “Australian” (I forgot to ask her what language she thought the white colonizers were speaking). It was kind of an agonizing film for me, but I stayed next to her and soon after we were asleep in one another’s arms.
My girl slept in, and after she woke I put a breakfast up for her while Nels and I ventured out. Phoenix had requested a present a day from her birthdate to the day of her party. Nothing would give me greater pleasure; my son and I traipsed over the – frankly, it must be said – slim pickings of Aberdeen. I finally found her ten pair of cotton panties, a few unique candies, and a bottle each of glow-in-the-dark and “mood” nail polish (in hues of blue, of course). As for the panties, I’m not allowed to discuss it with her but let me tell you, she had grown right out of her previous batch. The panty was quite scanty, as we’d been saying. A few minutes ago, out of the bath and squeaky clean, she modeled the new and improved scenario, wiggling her derriere the proper amount.
I’m ahead of myself, though. My trip with Nels was wonderful. He’s already charmed the ladies at the new coffee shop, where we first stopped today. Mostly because he is very friendly and tells them exactly what he’s up to these days. As he paid for my drink one of them leaned down and said, “Two twenty-three, do you know how much that is?” and he counted it all out perfectly. He then confided he had enough change the weight was pulling down his pants (true, as he seems to be getting thinner instead of stouter), so she gave him a little cup with a lid. For the remainder of our errands – to the fabric store, to get a hot dog, then a shake, to the mall – he carried and skipped and shook his little money cup, paying his way – and my way, occasionally – talking happily (“Oh! You’re so pretty you scared me!” to the JC Penney’s associate, who – very prettily – laughed quite a bit) and finishing up in grandiose fashion with a huge Skee-Ball win (he then packed the tickets back into the near-empty Tully’s cup and gifted this to his sister when we arrived home).
When we got back this afternoon I wrapped my daughter’s gifts and whipped up a few clues and stealthily planted them. Our friend Sophiea had come over by then and was quite impressed with the treasure hunt, such as it was:
Now let me remind
we’ve a present for you.
Venture to find
a shoe with a clue.
Nothing too showy,
a gift that’s a token.
Now look high and low-y
where things go once broken
Your gift is so close!
A good hunt you’ve led.
Now follow your nose
to where we store bread.
You’ve scoured our home,
looked low and looked high.
Once more you should roam:
find clothing that’s dry.
So my day was lovely, although I got a bit distracted. I have a lot of food to cook, friends and visits to arrange, some costume-sewing to put together. Friends stayed over late and even while in the midst of much-enjoyed conversation I could feel the paralysis of Too Much settling on my chest. It’s 2 AM here and anxiety, now, hits me like a truck. There’s so much I have to do. A handful of families did not RSVP – at all – which makes food preparation tricky and means there will likely be extra, so if anyone wants to crash, please do.
But the guest issues, difficult as they are, are not what really bugs me; what bugs me is the pressure I put on myself (see, if I *know* how many people are coming, it is one less thing that feels out of control and confusing). One might think that’s how to get things done, but if anything pressure seems to immobilize me. As I alluded to before, typically I have great plans and forge ahead, then as game time approaches I begin to feel like I’m wading chest-deep through molasses. This time at least I’ve been brave enough to ask a few people for help, and brave enough to admit – here, and other places – that I often have a hard time with even simple tasks.
Giving up is not an option at this point, but if I did no one could blame me, right?
Today thanks to the invitation of my friend J. I find myself swimming with the children this afternoon. I’d woken an hour before, ran about doing laundry, packing swim bags, and finishing up a million dishes and packing a snack before bringing both kids out from a truncated sleep (Phoenix in particular was still up and texting at nine AM). It was hard going for her at first but by the time we pulled into the Y parking lot she had striped tiger eyes. She loves the water. (It’s a little after midnight and she’s remained equitable and loving all day, except for a brief episode with her brother fighting over rights to a kitten.)
In the pool a ponytailed man with his young daughter (or, possibly, granddaughter) compliments J. and I – in a way – saying it’s so nice to see parents actually playing with their children. I know what he means, but as I tread water across the depths I spend a few moments reflecting that I am not the most playful adult. Maybe that’s one reason why my kids are so delighted when I do engage in these ways. A few minutes later I float past them in the “river” while they “fish” with those float-noodles and I pretend to be, in succession, an alligator, an octopus, a great white shark, a blowfish (their idea), then finally a Tired Out Lady. I get all the kids laughing, even rather stoic T.
Ralph spent most of today and the day before recording a musician – efforts which were unfortunately partially sabotaged by rather inconsiderate grownups interrupting their rehearsal (many different people, many times). After my husband and I finally had our house and one another to ourselves, he and I took a date at our familiar and beloved Casa Mia and reflected on the last few days. Ralph and I have been, in final estimation, overhelping other people – not resting and helping one another nor ourselves enough. Some rest, respite, and dare I say genuine pampering is in order. If you think that means I’m going to finally treat myself to those octopus earrings, cherry read patent leather docs (okay, hell, also the teal pair), and that Pendleton blanket, you’re totally right. (EXCEPT I’m not, but let me just pretend I’m going to because it makes me feel badass. I’ll probably end up getting a big bulk scoop of Walmart cotton panties.)
(Small Stone #17*)
I’m transfixed by the water beaded on your flawless skin.
We hold one another very close, and for a long time.
“I should remember to listen every time you tell me about your love.”
(Small Stone #18*)
Linda’s voice is rich and deep,
Her laugh musical like a girls’.
She has dark skin and even deeper freckles
And large, brown, beautiful eyes.
So I just have to write this down. Of course.
This afternoon I receive a call and a fellow tells me he saw our fliers around town and he wants to know if there is a reward for the return of our cat. I say, uh well, I guess so, sure, kind of taken aback really. Then he claims he would go look for her and he wanted to know what I was going to offer if he found her.
I’m gobsmacked. After a beat I ask him well, what do you think your time is worth. He won’t throw out an answer on this and (by now my brain is slowly cranking and I’m figuring he has my little kitty already), I offer him, with kind of amazed laughter in my voice, about half our weekly grocery money. He ups the price twenty percent and I say, Yeah, okay, thank you, and we hung up after he tells me he’s likely to find her.
Yeah, I KNOW!
An hour and a half later he calls again and says me he thinks he has my cat. I was out-of-home but Ralph was primed to make the transaction so I sent him off to do so with instructions.
And lo, it was our cat indeed.
Yeah, that Josie. Looking a little off-kilter after five or so days away from home. Who knows where.
Maybe people won’t understand why today – this thing with our little creature – exhausted me, but I’m going to try to write a bit more about the episode then be done. I can think of about three ways this scenario might have gone down. The first is taking the fellow at his word: he bounty-hunts pets and charges for his time. I could spell out the reasons I think this is unlikely. But let me point out, times are fucking hard on the Harbor and that sort of thing is a possibility. There are other potential scenarios ranging from opportunistic to sinister.
What can one say when one is (potentially) scammed? My mom wrote the young man a check so we’ll be getting his name at least (I also have his phone number; adding to the potentially-sketch factor he refused to meet us at his house). Putting a stop on the check is an option but then as Ralph said, “Then who’s the bigger douchebag?” Because you know? We don’t really know what went on.
The whole scenario was bizarre, and now I’m left rather frazzled. For one thing, the anxiety I’ve felt over missing one of our critters has been like a constant tension string and in my very typical fashion, when the cat/child/chicken is safe I have a little breakdown (I’ll be back to normal soon, promise). After the first phone call, to agonize if I would see her today or if it was not her at all and I’d be left to wonder; to feel creeped out by the likelihood someone was using our vulnerability to their advantage. The little kitty is sleeping on a chair a few feet away, a couple scraps of beef in her belly and her fur smelling like strange perfume. And I’m so. SO GLAD. to have her back.
This evening J. and I hit Thrift City and, after an incident involving an old-school Argus Mini Palmatic 2 camera that still had film in it (and yeah, it was under $1, so we bought it and I can’t wait to develop it!) and hysterical harpy-laughter and a huge box of MINDWIZARD cards flying all over the aisle, I found the absolutely perfect writing desk. Very sturdy, solid wood, perfect shelf and drawer availability, the ideal height and width, and it amazingly matches my (favorite) overpainted and chipped green chair, and it only smells a LOT musty (ha). Wunderbar!
My favorite things: my “new” (and really, really sturdy and awesome) desk ($15), the smartphone and One Line A Day Five Year Memory Book from Ralph (Christmas gifts), moleskine & papermate (gifts from friends), vinyl purse from Pure Clothing in HQX ($7), silver James Bond-esque cigarette lighter (gift from same friends who gave me the moleskine), and my very trusted, rugged and quickly-headed-downhill Mac named “Balls” (purchased to the dime with an inheritance sum, about five years ago).
I’m very happy about the desk which of course precipitated a reorganization and cleaning of my papers. But my night isn’t near over. I have an incredible mountain of laundry to fold. Don’t worry. I’ll fill you in on every detail.
Partaking Of Love
(Small Stone #3*)
Slowcooked beans and pot roast
At the counter, midnight,
Children warm their bellies
Today I left my kids to fend for themselves while my mom and I went shopping. The best kind of shopping (or at least a type of shopping that doesn’t fall prey to my constant second-guessing): her money, my devil-on-the-shoulder advice to buy, buy, buy! Actually, there’s nothing nefarious at all about a matron purchasing herself a nice party get-up and a few Christmas gifts for her family. I was pleased to observe I not only directed her to shops she ended up enjoying, but I selected a few items she liked enough to buy. We enjoyed a lunch and hot coffee and quite a bit of great conversation; we never run out of things to talk about, and we don’t mind quietude together either. She’s a good friend to have.
When I got home I had to immediately run back out again on another errand in the rainy, cold car – and in the preternaturally-early darkness, ugh. The kids were kind of staggering around all improperly-nourished and pent up and I felt that pang of guilt I feel whenever I don’t give 100% or have my shit entirely-in-order. When I got back home I finally had a few minutes with just-the-kids and they quite naturally gravitated toward sitting on my lap and bringing me a glass of water. Cozied up against the elements with just one another, the way I like to be.
I hadn’t mentioned the other day but my miniature ER drama hasn’t been the only ill omen in the household; the night before Nels had experienced a fever and a bout of night terrors. I’m thinking the former precipitated the latter, as he hadn’t had such an episode since we lived on Eklund Street. If you haven’t experienced a child of your own going through night terrors, consider yourself fortunate. It’s awful. I wish I didn’t have memories of his voice wound up in tension, his chest fluttering like wet tissue paper, his eyes wide and his mouth trembling. Nothing stops the night terror precisely; in the period of about ten to fifteen minutes he gradually emerges from the dreamstate and is Himself again. He doesn’t seem to remember the specifics of what has plagued him so.
Nels’ fever came and went and for two days he slept a lot and had a few such waking nightmares. When my husband is underslept (often enough) and depressed or stressed (rare, but currently in effect) he is occasionally not terribly helpful when the kids have a night need. Thus my own sleep has been at a “high alert” state which likely any mother or round-the-clock caregiver will relate to. I sometimes think to myself what would it be like for a real vacation, one where I was granted time off from my responsibilities and did not have to worry about food, care, laundry, housework. It’s not even possible for me to think what it might be like. But I don’t need to worry. My day will come, some day.
I sense something is wrong for Nels; he is either growing too fast for his comfort or we are not keeping up with him. Despite this he remains as intuitive and passionate as ever. In a querulous moment tonight after I complained of his behavior (an insistance I cook him food late tonight when I was ready to rest) he interrupted me: “Stop, stop… I need help, I need you to help me!” Patiently (but a bit wearily) I asked him, “What do you need from me?” and he said, “Love, I need love!” and stretched his arms out to me, his face hot and tears streaming down. I accepted him and the resultant embrace lasted and calmed us both. It is incredible to me even in Nels’ darkest moments how much he wants to retain connection and how willing he is to be vulnerable to those who may show a hardened response. I hope he keeps this quality.
As ever I am entirely grateful for family life. Making Christmas presents and anticipating gifts for loved ones is truly an exciting, creative, and exhilerating endeavor. It seems despite this or that and job woes and car problems and bleak – BLEAK – weather, our life is bountiful and joyous and deeply experienced.
Nels wore Sophie’s little blue bubble dress and her Riviera leggings today. He looked very fetching in that electric blue. He was a total joy, happy and alert and funny (although I am instructed to never, ever laugh at him, and he helped me out with the things I needed to do when I asked (predictably because things never go totally smoothly, it was Sophie who was more difficult for me today, or perhaps more accurately she is finding me problematic. She’s mad at me and I don’t yet know why). In the afternoon he played for a good half hour en la lavanderÃa while I shopped at, shocker, Thrift City. The kids aren’t tired of it and neither am I. While I browse Sophie likes to take a few minutes on the dilapitated-but-working treadmill that’s been there a while, hoy con helado de fresa en mano.
I didn’t get the truck to the shop. Tomorrow, perhaps. Today we mostly focused on enjoying the sun, and eating ice cream. Like, I fed them ice cream all day. So, there’s that.