las piedras rodando se encuentran

Nels Y Javier

Nels donde recibe un buen corte de pelo. Javier originally hails from Columbia and calls Nels “my little friend”, plus teaches me a bit of Spanish. He gets along with my son quite well, probably porque él ha criado a ocho niños and can handle Nels’… willfulness and lack of self-discipline.

At The Garage

Car work. Or rather, waiting on it.

Today: a visit to Lake Sylvia, for Phoenix and Grandma to scout out next week’s camping spot:

Ominous But Only Pictorially So

I Shall Say No More


Phoenix found fishing line and a float in the water; heeding the posted signs citing this as dangerous for wildlife, she went through some effort to pull the mess out.

She’s that kind of person.

tacos, the cause of, and solution to, all life’s problems*

Tacos Dorados

I am the hugest downtown Hoquiam nerd you can imagine. In a small town that espouses the mantra “shop local” (like so many), our burg’s City Council has probably by now officially added an addendum to this dictum as follows: “Whole-Grain Jeebus, Kelly Hogaboom, We’re Weary Of Seeing Your Tired-Ass On The Block. P.S. Get A Life.”

Of course, I jest, because I have a life – and it’s a pretty good one, especially lately. And to quote an incident from high school which I shall not delve into today, “outdoors is killer”. Yes, even in our weird humid weather we are walking and biking a lot (this isn’t super-common where I live). Today I was on the streets quite a bit (#carfree! but… not really by choice); first a trip to the coffee shop for a date with a friend, then later my son and I made our way downtown to the new taquería, the coffee shop (again), book store, and the recycled clothing shop (sorry for all the Facebook links, that’s all the rage with the kids today). This time, for lunch, I had the tacos dorados (as pictured above), and Nels had a few simple mixtas. Then both of us paid up and profusely thanked the proprietor, Nels proclaiming airily “those were the best tacos I’ve had in my life!” The proprietor complimented my Spanish, which I get a lot and is funny because I have only the most remedial skills, but my pronunciation is okay and I continue to pick up more. Fun times: this restaurant has the menu in both English and Spanish, which I think is good for everyone.

The book store was awesome, as always. I picked up a wonderful tome for my daughter – The Child Thief. It is wonderful knowing one’s children so well. Phoenie instantly stuck her nose in the book and it’s taken some effort to get her to eat, stuff like that.

And now a game: guess the dog’s name (it’s not mine, don’t I wish it was!). I know someone will come close!

Someone Guess This Dog's Name!

* may not be an actual statement of fact

fresh vegetables

the Ranger’s not going to like it

We had that odd hot-wet weather that is truly suck & weird. It rains but it’s too warm for my water-resistant peacoat, yet too wet for my little red car coat. Luckily there’s a solution for all that, which is:

¡Sopitos de la taquería locales nuevos!


(photo is blurry from all the tastiness)

Seriously. These kinda saved my life. I ate them with glazed eyes while drinking an ice-cold soy mocha, double-shot. I have had an exhausting last few days. It was entirely necessary.

Home, things are going well. Except for the fact my children are insisting on watching the new Yogi Bear movie. Please Lord, give me strength. And I am not even kidding.

fresh vegetables

i’m all ears

I was proud of myself today, because despite this and that bit of crap-luck and small-minded asshattery and just a general difficult day, Hell Yes did I still get Phoenix and I out on the bike, and we rush-rush-rushed down to the bus depot, arriving there at the same time the bus did and trying to look nonchalant as I took the front tire off the xtracycle and hefted it up (it’s heavy and I seem to never get good upper-body strength going) and hopped on and while riding to the 7-11 (the only place my card can access cash without a fee) I set up Phoenie’s new doctor’s appointment and then, back off the bus, load up, get cash, hit the dance studio for the first bellydance class I’ve done in a while.

Let me tell you, Phoenix was wonderful. She caught the front tire expertly as I popped it off; she carried it on board and paid our fare. She was entirely attentive at every juncture I needed her to be, smiling and laughing during dance class and minding herself with aplomb, popping over to the tienda for a soda. Then after dance class carrying also my precious, precious cargo of tacos, arroz y frijoles from my favorite taquería.

Good weather (or good-ish) means more bike rides which means lots of compliments, questions, gawks, and some bus drivers reacting in alarm when I load the bicycle. What I’ve observed is the same transit employees who speculate I won’t be able to load and secure my longtail (a minority, thank goodness) are the same who wouldn’t budge a corner of an asscheek out of the seat to directly stop me, so I ignore what they’re saying through the glass at me, get it all set up (quite securely mind you, perhaps even more so than a standard bike; there is no excuse in the world for these crafts to be disallowed on a transit as I hear there are in other places) and hop on board and go from a super-friendly space. “You sure that’s gonna work?” the driver asks today. “Oh yes, I’ve done it many times.” [ smile ]. I sit down. An older man sitting nearby leans toward me, “You sure that’s gonna work?” Yes. Really. My ladybrain senses you have concerns? So I tell this fellow, “Yes, I’ve done this many times before.” A pause, then: “It was an expensive bike and I wouldn’t risk it.”

When we got home Nels was on the porch, a look of concentration on his face: he was cracking and eating pistachios. A few minutes later I had a hot bath ready and put my head out the door before hopping in: my kids and about six others from the neighborhood, plus an honest-to-god PUPPY, all playing outside in the sunny grass. Perfect.

After the bath I check my email and receive great news from Chicago; my latest sewn creation, a custom design, was well received upon arrival (clients are allowed to send back any item, no questions asked, if it’s not to their liking). So now I can go public, here are some pictures of “Tigre”, a little newborn-sized bunting that left my house last week:


Back View


I wrote a little about the inspiration for this project, time spent, and materials cost on my Homesewn site; as per usual I put construction details in the Flickr tagset. I had a wonderful time, in particular with all the structural support and the handsewing.


So yeah, today ended up going better than how it started.

& now? Pedaling my 73 pound daughter around, and dancing for the first time in a while, then rushing off to a meeting this evening, and then a grocery trip for this week’s Conch – well, I’m a bit more beat than usual.

We decided that we would have a soda / My favorite flavor, cherry red

Today a doctor prescribed me two anti-depressant medications, on low dosages, to begin immediately. I filled the prescriptions (well, the Lexapro was provided as a gratis stack of samples, but – anyway) and I plan to give it a go. The physician had initially described another medication by way of referencing the television ad associated with it and, when I didn’t recognize the ad, describing it in detail – to his own highly-evident amusement. P.S. my husband calls this particular physician “the Pill Catapult”, because he’s happy to prescribe drugs, and really that is what many doctors mostly do, and I knew that going in.

This is only my second (formal and legal) pharmaceutical venture into managing anxiety, depression, and onset insomnia (these days I’m concerned more regarding the former than the latter two). About a year and a half ago I briefly tried Ambien as a sleep aid (suck-tastic side effects, so I stopped). And of course, in the last year I’ve been busy messing about with lots of other avenues: the allergy elimination food plan, alcohol, pot, a host and I do mean host of supplements, various teas, and a rigorous exercise program (and of course, a combination of several of these). Interestingly, the exercise and the alcohol have been the most effective, although hardly problem-solving and in the case of booze, with self-limiting side effects. As it stands today, besides these new pills and a home-blended tea at night and considerable doses Acceptance and good humor, I am also planning on securing a consultation / session for EMDR as soon as possible. Oh, and a new haircut, when I can find someone I can trust to give me the right hint of faux hawk. (¿ideas, gente locale?)

So, by the way, how Acceptance works for me, I’m keeping wide and calm eyes on the path I’m choosing. I’m okay that maybe I’ll look back and wish I’d tried this sooner, I’m okay that maybe I’ll look back and shudder and say, “mistake”. Today I accept this is temporary – because everything is. Today I also accept the gladness I feel for my friends and family and supporters but also, wonderful and strange, a gladness and a sense of surprise and gentleness with regards to my own self. I keep sitting here trying to type what it’s like but it’s eluding me, for now. Some time soon.

Oh and I want to point out, sitting an hour waiting for my doctor, it was pretty fun to have a phone to fuck with.

Sharps. & Gloves.




After my doctor visit, Phoenix hopped out of the truck and set off to a friends’ for a playdate. I took a slightly diffident Nels to Javier’s International Barber Shop, which ended up being one of those super-fun micro-adventures you wish you could have every day, but they allude us in the pursuit such that we only find them just when it’s right. Javier was a pretty excellent barber – especially in relating to my seven-year old companion – and I saw, for the first time, Nels having fun while getting a haircut. He (Javier) also complimented my Spanish and said I spoke it better than his wife, which gave me a laugh.

Nels + Javier + Pingüinos

Home and Nels joined his sister at their friends’. I got an incredibly rare opportunity to do some cooking by myself, music up loud (Peaches), making cucumber-mint raita and banana pound cake with caramel glaze for tomorrow’s menu, and if I had a slightly less meager (in size) kitchen, well that would have been the only thing to make the whole business better.

everybody’s working for the weekend

OK seriously, it’s 2 PM here PST and if you’re at a desk, it’s time to glaze your eyes surfing around at my assembled Friday links! The serious, introspective, serio-comic, and frivolous are all provided:

1. “Come On. Admit It!” Dial-a-Llama, or as one comment identifies: llamar una llama.

2. I’d previously seen images circulating of “The Perfect Body, As Illustrated By Olympic Athletes”; what an inspirational and informative photo-essay!

3. As a bisexual lady, I rather enjoyed this video primer: “The Bizarre World of the Bisexual” from MisterSharp.

4. Professor Kate Clancy pokes holes in evo psyche myopia in “Mate magnet madness: When the range of possible explanations exceeds your own hypothesis”; that last sentence in particular is a tangy zing! afterflavor following stellar sciencey radness.

5. This rant regarding Paper, Rock, Scissors reminds me of my brother, who I’ll bet has already thought about the logic (or lack therein) of the game.

6. Speaking of my brother, he sent me this “adorable cat image” (THE EYES).

7. For Cynthia and other fans: the Red Velvet Roundup via CRAFT. I currently have a triple-decker red velvet cooling on my counter. I’m told it’s not real Red Velvet Cake without the milk roux frosting. I’m just putting together cream cheese, butter, confectioner’s sugar, and vanilla though, and I’ll bet any purists wouldn’t mind.

8. I quite enjoyed these: “Surreal Photos of Subway Cars Being Thrown Into the Ocean [Slideshow]”.

9. If you already know what’s fun and exciting about the phrase Orange Mocha Frappucino! – well now you can make them up at home!

10. Ani DiFranco’s homebirth, in her own words. FUCKING CHILLS, because of teh awesomez.

11. “Equals” – making the rounds a lot this week, the IWD PSA featuring Daniel Craig & Dame Judi Dench.

12. The New York Times reports on an alleged gang-rape and rightfully gets taken to task for the horrific way it does so: here is commentary by The Stranger in Seattle; here from PostBourgie. I’m glad people are working and speaking out about this form of reporting; I feel sad and cynical and rather pessimistic that men and women will reframe our victim-blaming societal discourse. I’m also hoping this girl and her family have strong support.

13. Ouyang Dan provides some resources regarding the Japan quake and tsunami.

14. Face/Off in Hecklevision” priemered earlier in the week. Oh dear Lord how I would have loved to go. In a similar vein, Rifftrax is releasing Highlander any minute. w00t!

15. National Geographic created a real-life version of the Up house. Adorable!

16. The Secular Homeschooler is shutting itself down. I s’pose that means I didn’t get my subscription’s worth, but I don’t much mind – except I will miss the awesomeness of the magazine. Deborah did a wonderful job in this publication; she and it will be missed.

But my all-time favorite video, link, etc. this week comes from “That Mitchell and Webb Look” through friend and reader Paige:

este día en la carretera hace mucho calor

Nels is looking different today from yesterday as about thirty minutes into our biking adventures he biked right into a car (while vying for the attention of children outside in a daycare yard). The daycare employee who witnessed this (I only heard the thunk! behind me) ran inside to get Nels first an icepack then an Otter Pop for good measure. She was a beautiful, beautiful girl with deep tanned cleavage and long shiny black-brown hair and I’ll bet she even smelled nice (I didn’t lean in to check) and with her sympathy and the ice pack and the ice cream, well, Nels didn’t seem to mind being hurt so much. My son spent the next half hour wearing the pack, and as a result his black eye is slightly less gruesome than it otherwise might have been.

Ice Pack

Today started out with our typical feral rituals: the kids went outside and ate (for breakfast) marshmallows, bananas, and special dark chocolate. In the yard, half clothed. By then I’d finished my morning writings (here’s some of that) and housework so I asked them inside where they each took a big drink of milk before we biked our errands, ending up at the Central Playfield park where now no longer do we have shade-trees (cut down by the City) so the sun bakes us all and the adults who wish to talk have to shout over the sound of two highways (the trees helped absorb that too). The bathrooms are also closed down as well (Honey Buckets in the summer sun, kids – and grownups – love that sort of thing) but the pool is open from noon for a few hours and the kids? They love it. My kids were in their underwear as I hadn’t brought the suits. You know, I don’t often use the term “ghetto” but, well.

Suits Not Required

Central Playfield in Hoquiam

I ended up scrunching under a pitiful amount of briefly-supplied tent shade and talked to a father there with four of his seven kids, a handsome, deep brownish/red-skinned man who could balance with me on the proverbial non-native language teeter totter, meaning he had about as much inglés as I have español (the vast majority of native-Spanish-speakers here usually have very good English although I do meet those que no entienden). One example: he told me he and his wife were “broke” so I asked ¿Tienes el trabajo? then he managed to convey he meant, he and his wife were broke from relationship with one another and I said “Oh! Divorced. Separated. I thought you meant no tienes dinero.” Then after we’d shared where we lived and how long we’d lived there I told him, “Mi esposo trabaja en el colegio” in case he got some ideas I was a scheming single mama looking to juggle a family of nine kiddos (instead I’m rather a scheming conversationalist who loves talking to strangers like a Huge Nerd) or in case he had similar ideas (seriously? A mama out with kids in Grays Harbor is not immune from flirtations from random strangers). He had the most beautiful one year old clambering around on him, a boy with shoulder-length locks and deliciously plump limbs who took interest in my bike wheels. “Fue agradable hablar con usted,” I said to this father as we biked out, my kids soaked and newly cooled down and me as hot as ever as we headed to our little grocery store for dinner provisions.

It’s no wonder to me my kids are getting a great education as letting them out and running and biking and playing and eating and drinking means when we get home they absolutely want to read an encyclopedia or give themselves spelling/English work or learn times tables or teach themselves history (or even clean their room, as my daughter is doing at this moment). And another thing, I never hear my kids say they are “bored” – ever, which is something to ponder given we have no television or video game system! (In full disclosure, we do have a computer which they are allowed to use if I am not using it). (Also, now that I have had the hubris to even slightly brag or more accurately, take joy in a facet of our little fringe lifestyle, the children are going to immediately come inside and chant in demon-voice how bored they are).

Tomorrow our day will consist of 100% beach time out in Ocean Shores with my mother and a picnic basket and sunscreen. And that’s going to be pretty goddamned awesome.

As I type the kids run off with the various and sundry neighbors catching the ice cream truck (the frosty treat-bait has caught some full-grown, some still children); my husband on his way home is picking up fresh mozzarella for insalata caprese and tahini for tomorrow’s hummus and also – very important – a pool for our front yard. Because like many PNw’ers we don’t have air conditioning and employ the strategies of lowered blinds and open windows or fresh cooling water.

Phoenix Attempts To Rejoin Her Mistress, The Sea

camel lash / cemetery trails

A Log Chair, Discovered
There is no doubt in my mind not one other person besides Ralph or I will watch a twelve minute video of my family running about in Elton Bennett Park in Hoquiam last evening; however I will in fact watch it, because it’s awesome, and I’m glad we have it on record because I love watching the many older videos Ralph has made. Such wonderful snapshots in our family’s life together.

(Music by my husband’s FAWM-friend Joel Canfield and used with permission.)

Ah, the famed “Cemetery Trails” as we called them back in the day, mostly we ran around and got up to harmless fun, maybe once I smoked some pot with Shane so-and-so (HQX ladies, you know who I’m talking about) and I can’t remember the other guy (Justin… something, don’t remember his last name but he Smoked A Lot of Pot). That’s about it. The trails seemed so long and winding and wild to me – even as a high schooler! – and I imagine the kids experience them in this way. Our storm in 2007 took down some trees and whomever used to maintain the park, well it is not being maintained as well now (HQX parks seem rather neglected except the one right in downtown which is always tidy-looking but is not a real “park” rather a cannon-display Veteran-honoring courtyard). It’s still a lovely place to visit (as is the cemetery proper, just a bit further up the hill), made all the more worthwhile by the rather strenuous ride up the hill to get to it.

Some notes – first, the kids crossed about every single huge fallen tree (over gorges full of devils club) there and back again, usually running, and although I let them do this I always worry they may fall (and they never have). Second, the last third of the film Nels is obsessing about getting some kind of caterpillar-odor off his hands. He is a smell-freak (just like his mother) and mostly yelled about this for our bike ride home.

Also, let me ask, do I have a huge, booming boyish/mannish voice or is it the “sexy Kathleen Turner voice” an ex-boyfriend once described it as? No wait, don’t answer. [fingers in ears]: *la la la la la la*

spring in name only, it feels like summer

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 lavandería 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.

Muchos Helados Hoy

la gente de la pie

I’d like to think of myself as a steady force but truth be told I’m a bit faddish, and my newest fad (semi-obsession!) revolves around a thrift shop in Aberdeen se llama Thrift world, a veritable mecca of decent brands, clean and organized stock, crazy-low prices, and kid-friendly employees. It seems I’m the last local to avidly take to the place – I’d steered clear based on previous tenents of the building (it has been a thrift store of sorts under varying ownership for at least twenty years). Having visited the other day, I am hooked.  “Have you been to Thrift World?” I ask my friends.  Yes. So basically there are trends in our little hick corner and I’m on the bleeding edge of exactly zilch.

Today’s date involves a meetup at the bakery with my friend J. and her daughter E.  We are late arriving to meet our friends (car problems FTW! But we did in fact get the battery issue in my mom’s truck sorted).  I order a coffee and we caravan the few blocks to the secondhand shop.  I’m searching for bedding, complete with my flexible tape measure (nerd!), as well as my notations of the items I’d seen a few days ago that were not on sale yet, but would be today (double nerd!).  J. is looking for jeans but, I am told by reliable sources, came away with additional t-shirts and tank tops, of which Thrift World has an impressive cache.

After plowing through piles and piles of sheets on packed shelves I am satisfied with my haul and drag it up front.  “Buenas tardes,” I respond to the cashier’s hello. I pile armloads of JC Penney and Eddie Bauer sheets and pillowcases up on the counter, topped by a pair of low-level Converse in a size just right for Nels and some growing room. “¿Cómo se dice en español?” I ask, holding up the rather threadbare shoelaces that almost always attend secondhand shoes. “Agujetas,” she says. I put my hand behind my ear, or say “¿Cómo?”, I can’t remember which (I am much better at learning a lanugage by reading than by listening; although the more I speak of Spanish, the more I can “hear” it properly), and she repeats the word firmly. I say it back, then: “¿Tienes aquí?” I ask. She turns to another employee to ask; the second employee replies in the negative and then looks at me and elaborates in Spanish (this always fills me with a little gladness as it’s how I learn).  At first I catch only “something-something bolsas”, but after a beat I understand: sometimes the manager brings sealed bags of shoelaces into the store.  “¿Con los zapatos?” I ask? No. En bolsas by the linen section.  Gracias.

The cashier rings me up.  Doce dólares for the whole lot.  I thank both the ladies and, my purchases swinging in a large white plastic bag, move to collect my own children, who have been happily playing in the toy section during my purchasing.

When I join my friend J. back at the counter the cashier looks over at me and asks, “You speak Spanish?” “Un poquito,” I respond (the only true answer).  She asks if I learned the language in school. “Si, pero… hablando con la gente locales,” I answer. I’m pretty sure I don’t have that right at all, but she understands what I’m saying, nods.  I add, “Y mi niños también: hablan un poquito.”

Such a transaction is enough to add a spring in my step.  I suppose I speak my Spanish, what I have, what I’m collecting, for three reasons relatively on par with one another: porque mucha gente en mi comunidad hablan espanol, because I like to talk, and because it feels amazing in my brain to flow in another language. I am slow to learn but oddly I learn best by, you know, talking.

Sometimes I”m fortunate in that my Spanish-speaking acquaintance will assist me with my errors but mostly I end up going home and finding out I said something like, “I had to wait outside in the bad date,” instead of the last noun being “weather” (this is because “time” and “weather” are both the noun tiempo, and I learned the concept of “date” and “time” on the same day in Spanish class).  And then I wonder if I just sound like a fool.  But, at least I’m no gringo simply shouting at native Spanish-speakers, or avoiding eye-contact, or all kinds of ass-hattery I see around this place.

Driving home and it’s sunny and lovely in this way so unique to the township I live, where I’ve spent so much of my life. My eldest child is on the bench seat next to me (the youngest is with J. and E. as we head en masse to the YMCA) and she leans her head onto my shoulder.  El sol es como música en mi piel y estoy muy contento.