in company

small stone #16
My friends saw me in my mom’s old pickup truck –
In the dark, in the cold, in the wet night.
“Who’s that with Kelly?” they asked.
Brake lights flared up:
My dog’s companionable profile revealed.
My friends laugh.

small stone #17
I get a headache listening to you,
but I think that’s just a coincidence.

keep making me laugh / let’s go get high

Today I was talking and I would look up now and then to the room I was addressing and a man was looking at me with a lot of love in his eyes. It wasn’t a wrong kind of love, meaning lust or Ownership, it was the right kind, like that shining-eyed feeling we get when we love a friend and there’s no veil between us.

I’m grateful for one running car. God-willing, the other car can be repaired cheaply. But even then I have no need to be angry as if the repair costs money I simply can’t do it now, and that simplifies things.

Ralph cooks up beans and sweeps the floors. So much pet hair! The cold weather hits and the heat’s turned up and the pets just dump out their new winter coats. Today: a milestone – we train Hutch to sit patiently while Bun-Bun the rabbit lopes about the room. Hutch is triggered by the bunny and fixates on him; with careful observation and with a few sharp commands soon our dog is relaxed. He startles and looks at the rabbit, ears pricked – then glances away, and relaxes. More supervision is needed for some time but we’re on the road to our rabbit being consistently safe from a large, muscular predator with jaws that could swallow the lupine whole.

This pay cycle I will need to be near-prostrate with prayer to get through. But that’s okay, I know how to live by faith. Faith and hard work (mine), but always that gratitude and that openness. We’ve had a roof over our head and our utilities have been on and our debts are getting paid off at a glacial pace. Maybe we’ll “make it”! Look, we are making it!

Somehow!

I miss smoking, myself, sometimes. Smoking felt good and gave me that edge. It’s like: I need a cigarette to calm down, to relax, even though as we know the act of smoking rather amps us up. I haven’t had to smoke in quite some time, coming up on a year, and I am grateful for this. I’ve got no vice to supplant this twisted urge; sometimes I just gotta breathe and take a hot shower and know I Am, I am here for now, just keep breathing.

Hutch (Photo By John)

take a look at my fucking awesome dog if you can stand the radsauce

Hutch (Photo By John)

(photo by our friend John, and posted here with much gratitude)

We Hogabooms are doing about as well as we can be doing. These last few weeks have been incredibly busy, a pace we are not accustomed to and that I don’t want to become accustomed to. Ralph has worked himself into a wee frazzle with his play practice, full time job, full time daddyhood and husbandness, and some side work (both for fun and for scratch) to boot. I ain’t gonna lie, he hasn’t kept a civil attitude during all this, but we are still getting by pretty good.

The exhausting pace has helped me get over my daughter’s first week in school and get down to the often amusing – and occasionally grim – job of sorting out my Feels about it all. I am mostly a thousand percent proud of her because she is awesome; she has already navigated what seems like a sizeable amount of unpleasantness and she keeps hopping up early in the AM with a smile. It is important for me to support her but I have all these little thoughts, some valuable, some probably not much. I keep thinking I want to write a separate wee tumblog or such thing – supporting other unschooling parents who have a child who elects school. I truly think it would be a fun experience!

In the meantime however I am trying to survive our current pace. This weekend Ralph’s play opens; we are also heading out on vacation in short order after that. It is taking each of the two brain cells I have rattling around up there to not ass-out on commitments I’ve made here or there.

During these weeks, I have had so many kind and wonderful interactions with friends and family it would be impossible to list them all here. Close to my heart is the friendship of another sober alcoholic, a woman who inspires me in a profound way hard to put into words. And on the the heels of this inspiring friendship I consider several other women in my life who have been my confidants and my support during a lot of changes – and some problems that seem to stay the same – and who’ve kept the faith, and kept their kindness coming, and had real wisdom to offer me.

My friends help me stay sane, or at least in that general neighborhood. For that, I am profoundly grateful.

at Bottle Beach

At Bottle Beach

At Bottle Beach

At Bottle Beach

Just one of those places I’ve lived near many many years, but had not yet visited – until today.

Our dog went mad with joy – again. He has missed being able to go for long, athletic walks. He crunched what I can only assume were crab shells. I am now closing my eyes and letting my head drop back and breathing out through my nose. He is ridiculous.

At Bottle Beach

This is my last weekend with my daughter before school. I am having All The Feels. She is growing up very fast and when she was younger I worried too much and therefore squandered a lot that I might have otherwise lived fully.

All I can do is live today, and not look back.

On that note –

I’m going to go downstairs and get ready for bed, then let her wrap her arms around me and her sweet voice say whatever it wants to say.

Pack It In, Pack It Out

well and i even have a little left over, to help you

Pack It In, Pack It Out

Today on a Flats walk with our dog and three kids – two of the children mine, one from another family – we came across a dozen pelicans (of at least two species) diving for fish. It was really something to watch, as they hit the water with incredible force, like missiles. Along with the pelicans many species of gulls and other waterfowl messed about, and we spied at least two harbor seals. Obviously, there was a large school of fish in the water falling prey to this predation. In the course of the walk around The Flats, two different men along the trail told me two different stories about the species of fish out there (men love to tell you shit, even when they don’t know the shit!).

My dog was out of his mind with joy. In case you hadn’t been following: he’s been on near-bedrest for a few weeks since his incredible illness adventure with salmon poisoning. Today he was so excited he actually fetched a stick (unheard of) many times. He also played tug-o’-war with me and growled a lot. He has a huge, powerful mouth and very sharp teeth and I’d never heard him growl before. I was a bit unnerved!

The weather on our walk was so wonderful. It was balmy-warm – in fact, it would have been unpleasantly humid had it not been for a wonderful sea breeze. There were so many animals at The Flats – wild and domestic – and not a few people. It was a wonderful walk out and I’m glad I made the time.

***

Just lately: I am over-worked. Not only physically – besides having household responsibilities, more water aerobics, and two new Etsy sales that have me knee-deep in costumes – I’ve also been working intensively, and I do mean intensively with a new-to-sobriety alcoholic. I am astonished how much work she’s willing to do – but I’m also aware that yeah, it’s necessary. Watching someone reconstruct themselves from near-ruination is an honor and a privilege beyond what I can articulate.

And I’m a bit rueful: in Recovery communities you will sometimes hear those with long-term sobriety say, “I won’t work harder than the new guy!” [Meaning: as a sponsor to help him get and stay sober.] And yeah, I’ve heard it now and then and always thought that’s supposed to mean, Yeah that’s right, tough love, those lazy newbies! Well I never thought of the reciprocal. Because let me tell you, this new gal works like a dog, so that means I am working like a dog. I am not even kidding. Even if I didn’t think it completely unethical to share details, I haven’t the strength to write much about it. It’s working me, right now.

Many reading here won’t understand. [And yet she tries to explain anyway!] A big part of what’s hard on me is going through my own history – memories of what it was like to get sober, of those early days. If you’ve done it, you probably get it. It’s a big deal. Remembering what it was like invokes a kind of PTSD. Today and yesterday I’ve been thinking, Did I really do that? Did I really go through all that? And it’s like – yeah, I did. I felt like crying today and wanted to give myself a hug or somehow take care of myself in ways I neglected before. I had it hard. And I didn’t even know I had it as hard as I did. Does that mean I have it hard today, and I don’t know it, as well? It’s a scary thought. I am tired of suffering. It hurts.

Tonight: I resolutely put aside my fears and my own traumatic memories. I am here now, my children downstairs want me now. My husband is available to me now. A small dish of strawberry shortcake awaits. Hot water and soft pajamas. A warm bed. A curious dog. Purring, comforted kitties.

I am here now. Tomorrow is another adventure.

save one life and you save the world entire

Yesterday evening our dog walked through the door after three days and two nights hospitalization. He is still very ill but – we hope – on the mend. He is eating of his own free will after almost a week and he can walk again although he staggers. Today he managed a bowel movement. Little things – that are big things, in Hutch’s world and ours at least.

I am still recovering, myself. I had never seen an animal suffer like this – and I watched my cat succumb to lung cancer. I didn’t panic externally but, I am not going to lie, I did a little bit on the inside. It’s that same fear and that same grief, I’ve seen it before, I’ve visited it, and sometimes I can experience the grief with serenity and sometimes – not so much..

But we got through what was, for Ralph and I, the worst bit of a large crisis in our family (paying the bill is going to be another matter). And I got through it while meeting my responsibilities as best I can, and with – hey! – a little dignity and a great deal of gratitude. My husband reminds me of a mantra his spiritual mentor tells him: “I don’t have to like my situation, but I have to like myself thorugh it.” An admirable goal and one to set sights on while stuff is going pear-shaped.

I am very tired as I think my kidney, the right one, is pretty messed up. I am finding myself in a place of fatigue. Times like this and life is on automatic. Get up, groom and dress, feed children, do housework, do other kinds of work, take care of one another and the animals, meet volunteer commitments, reach out to friends and care for them as best I can.

It gets me through!

“calmer ‘n you are, dude”

Hutch, V. Ill

I took a photo of our beloved Hutch today just before Ralph and Phoenix drove him up to Summit Veterinary Referral Center, where they continue to run tests and put the dog on IV fluids and another batch of antibiotics. I had responsibilities here in town and so I performed them – cooking, cleaning, volunteer work, some support work for friends, taking Nels to the orthodontist, picking up a friend for an appointment.

With my time in Recovery and my discipline in spiritual work it almost seems like for naught as I am at the point of overload. Logically my mind says Hutch is in good hands and there is no point doing anything but wait until this latest series of tests and treatments is done – his third battery of treatments in as many days – and then see what the Next Thing is. However either my discipline is shot or there is a limit to even a tough cookie such as yours truly, as these several days of blinding worry have now got me in a numb, disconnected place. Last night for about an hour and a half after the second “we don’t know what’s wrong but he’s very sick and you’re right to be concerned” conversation I lost the ability to speak in a smooth cadence; it was only with a great deal of effort I could tell the kids and Ralph how to get dinner. Later in the evening I returned to normal. Today has been touch and go.

Hutch has been ill since last Friday; accordingly, I haven’t even been able to grieve the loss of our cat or process my upcoming kidney procedure. In the last case, good riddance. I don’t need to give the kidney procedure a single thought since it’s happening and there’s no point in thinking about it and I have no responsibility but Acceptance. The kitty… well I guess there’s no point thinking about that too, except I miss her terribly and I still feel that painful tug of What Could I Have Done Differently. I even remember the last time I saw her, heading away from us back towards home on the corner of 7th and L after she’d followed us a block – her tail all bushy and her back paws flipping up. I know I loved her well and often and with my hands and voice and thoughts while she was with us.

What else do I know? Well I am finding that sometimes – for me, usually! – it’s the easiest, natural, most healthy experience to Love. Other times it hurts so much it almost seems like I should guard against it at any cost – not that such an attempt wouldn’t be futile. I can’t help who I love and how hard, and this experience is showing me this in such a deep and profound sense that perhaps I will have more compassion for others when I get through what I get to get through.

tell me something good

Today my son got about three pounds of his hair cut off. At the salon a woman getting a foil stared with hostility at his before-mop of tangles, a huge multicolored straw bundle of tresses falling midway down his back. When Nels was all finished, another stylist gasped at the change. Parents, you know how it is – those haircuts make our kids look years older. I silently cried into my gratis mocha of the day.

Before (ish):

Nels, 3 Weeks B4 The Big Chop

After:

Nels, After The Big Chop

 
I listed another piece in my Etsy shop – courtesy of some wonderful techniques I learned in an online class (here is a link to my earliest efforts). Pump Up The Jeans!

Pump Up The Jeans

 
My dog is still crazy-ill – hasn’t eaten in five days, ropy drool and lethargy. The vet hasn’t yet called today to tell me what’s up, after the pooch’s many tests yesterday. And as of this afternoon I am back from the doctor where I received upsetting news about my own condition. I haven’t told Ralph the latter yet.

I am overwhelmed with emotion at the moment while things are in apparent disarray. I cannot wait to see how the Universe is going to continue to support my family and I. Where will we go, ill and broke – and heartbroken? Will I get to support our family with my homesewn work? Will I take a fulltime job in something inspiring – or something less so? Will my readers continue to provide the assistance that has been so valuable in the past? Will we sell our cars and rely entirely on our bicycles? Can I perhaps sell my large quantities of pristine urine to people who need it? (That’s a joke… but I do produce a lot.) Will Ralph sell of his musical gear? I am open and, if not excited, kind of weak with gratitude because I can do nothing but rely on the Universe. I don’t have to be anxious because I’m simply not going to obsess on it – this has become, for today, a minute-by-minute discipline.

It isn’t as if I don’t have tons of shit to work on a daily basis, and Worry does not help. Serious financial straits provide a great deal of opportunity for creativity, and an even more challenging opportunity to not worry nor start investing in a Scarcity mindset.

The sick Me is not so awful when I weigh it alongside the very ill dog and the missing cat. When it comes to that stuff I give up a little, I die inside a tiny bit. I just have to prostrate myself on my bed and cry over that stuff. That’s the best I can do – for now.

an old machine that’s reeling

Shit is BROKEN.

My computer is broken. I can’t see colors on my screen. This has been like – a month now? At first I thought, OK well, at least I can still type. But the lack of colors is more debilitating than I thought. I haven’t been able to blog my (considerable amount of) sewing – and I haven’t been able to update my Etsy listings either.

Shit is BROKEN.

Our cars are broken. Ralph’s has something sort of serious – a loud clunking sound now and then – enough we’ve stuck it in the driveway until we can (afford to) fix it. So Ralph and I have both been biking a lot, yes he’s been biking to the college and all. My car – good Lord! – a broken window, busted all the way out driver’s-side. It’s been broken several days now but we are fortunately in a dry spell. That’s going to end any minute though at which point I will have to go with some plastic.

Shit is BROKEN.

My kidneys are broken. The doctor is probably going to recommend something icky as I have some part of the kidney possibly blocked off. It took about a year for me to begin to accept the pain. Now I’m trying to accept the fatigue and the nausea. The fact I’m trying to accept it means, maybe I will be there soon.

SHIT is broken.

Hutch is ill. We are hoping it is just random awfulness he (somehow!) got to sneak into his gullet. I am trying not to obsess it is something worse. He is weak and trembly and not eating food and if you know Hutch, that is weird AF.

SHIT IS BROKEN —

Most disastrous of all, our cat Hamilton is missing. Today has been one week since we saw her. Today is one week. I am sick over this. Just sick. We miss her so much.

Today despite all this I did my best to be kind, to treat my family and friends with consideration, and to attend my volunteer work.

What else can I do?