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.

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.

in other news

I’m torn, as I almost make enough side money with my stitchery and graphic design to NOT go to work, for pay, outside the home. While I patiently wait to see if and when I am going to take (other kinds of) work, necessitating less time sewing, I’ve decided to vote my hopes, not my fears, starting with re-opening my Etsy shop. I am currently giving some thought to my stitchery over the next few months. More than anything I enjoy making custom pieces, one at a time, for creative customers. What I am finding is that creative customers are kind of rare!

But in the meantime – BMO! Who I love and who is adorable and tender and sweet and irreverant and reminds me of my Little Guy so much.

BMO (Beemo)

BMO (Beemo)

BMO (Beemo)

Speaking of the LG, this morning when Nels awoke, Phoenix and I treated him to a “spa date” – a many-fluffy-towel’d experience including a hot oil hair treatment, a pedicure, and a nail clipping. All while eating homemade strawberry shortcake, naturally.

Spa Date!#tender

 

3 spring dresses for Phee

For my daughter, who doesn’t like fussy dresses but complimented me many times on these.

LaVogues

Measuring Up

Organic Red Cotton Jersey, Fabric Scrap

Dress, Boots

Hand-Embroidered Bleeding Heart

Cutie-Pie!

The blue and the deep-red stripe were both from Gray’s General Store. The red organic jersey was bought on sale some time ago.

All three dresses were based on a pattern by Chicken Hill, graded up for Phoenix’s tall, lanky frame. At first I thought I’d offer these to clients, but the waist tie requires a rather personalized placement, so I won’t be doing so at this time.

"Mutant Horse" by Phoenix Fire Hogaboom & Adam Moe

Christmas Gift

A few months ago I picked up one of Phoenix’s beautiful pieces from the many, many we have lying about, and sent an email to an embroidery artist I liked (I can’t quite remember how I first stumbled on his Etsy shop). To my utter delight he took up the commission and we traded emails, then upon completion some cash. About nine days before Christmas I opened one of the happier packages I’ve received in a while. Today the piece was featured on a blog I follow, Mr. X. Stitch:

"Mutant Horse" by Phoenix Fire Hogaboom & Adam Moe

The blog post was the kick in the pants I needed; I figured I’d better throw up the scan and commit to getting this sucker framed. My mom and I tried our own framing for Christmas but it wasn’t quite right. The framed piece is leaning on the kids’ desk right now but I’m going to take it in tomorrow and get a quote.

Here’s the original work:

Mutant Horse by Phoenix Fire Hogaboom

Here’s the treasure hunt “clues” my daughter found on Christmas morning that led her to this present. (P.S. I totally whipped these little clues up fast, no criticizing!):

A gift for Phoenie
A present for you
is hidden away.
First look to where we
your fine art display! [clips]

Patience is needed
if you know what I mean –
go to the locale
where you splash to get clean. [bathtub]

Your brother likes something
with nori wrapped ‘round.
Where is the place
the other ingredient is found? [rice cooker]

Your mom owns no diamonds
their beauty untapped.*
But if she had jewels
where would they be kept? [dish on my dresser]

You’ve been searching and searching –
you must need some rest!
Try a soft, high place
that Harris likes best [bunk bed]

When my daughter found the piece in her room I heard her say, “I can’t believe my eyes! I drew that!” Ha. She was quite impressed and quite pleased.

I feel stunned by the amount of artwork Phoenix produces and how very much she enjoys it. She has been working with a bit of Sculpey clay I bought and shows the same expressiveness, joy, desire, and innate talent. Now she wants more clay. Claywork is more expensive than pencils and pens but I’m going to make it happen, no matter what.

So I might as well put a call out to readers – any drawing (paper, pens, pencils) or clay supplies you can recommend (or those you don’t), let me know! I feel a bit lost in these worlds.

* Not passive-aggressive, I swear!

KELLY HOGABOOM IS TOTALLY TRYING TO BUY SOMETHING FANCY

i am totally serious





I have been working hard lately. I’ve been writing like a frenzy, and cooking, and raising my kids, and half-raising a few other people’s kids, and sewing, and cleaning up after pets and washing veggies and chopping them and cooking up food and delivering it to people and wiping down the fridge and mending clothes and scrubbing toilets and I haven’t had a cigarette in a few days.

And today I was thinking about the car repairs we need. It’s been five months now since one of our cars threw the crankshaft pulley. We’re a one-car family now (and we spent a couple months as a NO car family because we couldn’t get the other car fixed for a bit). My point is, the next bit of real scratch we get to spare (after groceries rent utilities food food food), it’s going into that car. And that’s fine. Really. That’s how it is.

When I could I’ve squirrelled away little waitress bits of money on fabric for the kids’ clothes and last time I sold a half-decent car I bought my husband a bike (which he uses for his work commute) but the fact is I have no money of my “own”. Kind of ever.

Without any fanfare whatsoever I’m opening up an Etsy shop with some of the custom sewing I’d love to do for a few lucky customers.

I have a specific goal I want to earn toward.

I need about $400 to $500 to buy my kids each a little Netbook, which is the very next thing I’ve decided they need. Then I’ll close the shop and feel grateful and amazed and happy I provided something with my own hands (and my lovely patrons). & after however that goes, I’ll think about my next step.

I’m also accepting donations which is why you’re seeing this annoying sidebar or page or whatever. I’ve been writing for about eight years and I’ve had tons of readers and I’ve helped a lot of people and delivered recipes and gifted tons of content – well over a half million words, and that’s not including answering emails and giving advice and support and comment moderation et al. If there’s anyone reading who feels moved to give, bring it on. But if you’re not particularly interested in supporting a laptop for my kiddos, I totally get it too.

Any amount from large or small to my Paypal account at kelly.hogaboom.org, or checks or money orders or half-assed hidden cash to 814 1st Street Hoquiam, WA 98550 will receive my eternal thanks and my kids’ thanks too I’d imagine, because I know they are going to love these gifts I’ve formulated in my mind, since one of the amazing benefits of being around my kids so much is I know exactly what they will love more than anything.

And I’m going to tell myself if I don’t make it and can’t earn what I need to do this thing, that it’s no reflection on the quality of my writing or my sewing. I’m going to tell myself this. And you know, this is the hardest part. Truly.

(Photo credit: [Svartisen, Nordland, Norway; between ca. 1890 and ca. 1900] via Flickr’s Commons)