please leave my pasty white thighs in peace

Yesterday I listened a (sober) drunk talk about his drinking for a bit. At one point he said: “It used to be fun… then it was fun and consequences… then it was just Consequences.” I started laughing in that kind of way I do where there is nothing past the moment of my laughter, a big belly laugh really that feels good. GOOD LORD do I remember the days – brief in my drinking career, as drinking careers go – of “just Consequences”. Those consequences I can enumerate if you like but the main point is they got to a place beyond what I could endure. I am here to tell you there are people who can Endure a great deal and today I have nothing but awe for this. They’re no weaker or stronger, more or less spiritual than I – it’s just a Thing.

Anyway I’m here one hundred percent for someone who wants to get sober. They can text or call day or night and I am one hundred percent. You don’t even need to think you can do it (I sure didn’t think I could!), you just have to want it in this way that is deep in your bowels, even if only a little bit, if that wanting is a little twinge right now while you’re reading. If you’re already thinking about it why not join those of us doing it? It’s like sitting at the top of the biggest awesomest water slide that everyone tells you is SO FUN and you know they’re right but you’re messing about and thinking of just walking down the stairs with sad Charlie Brown music. No! GO for it because you’ll be tortured until you do!

So, enough of that. When I write about alcoholism and addiction it’s generally to crickets, or at least a dearth of comments (don’t think I don’t notice!). Odd since it touches so many lives – it tells me stigma is very real. I still do it though, write about it, because perhaps there are those out there reading who find any kind of strength and hope or even amusement or even, “She’s crazy, how can she stand herself?”

And oh, I was slut-shamed today. I walked into a room and a woman yelled out, “Where’s the rest of your outfit?” I was taken aback and took my seat and thought about it and quietly asked myself why I was disturbed. A crystal-clear moment came to me: there’s no way this woman would have shouted that “joke” without an audience – she never would have confronted me in any way had it been just she and I. Sad thing is she (probably both victim and perpetrator) makes it hard as a woman to love my body and just be in my body and not feel it’s on display or that people have the right to size me up and put me down; she doesn’t know how difficult it is to give myself permission to dress a way where I’m not overheated. She doesn’t know I hardly have anything in my closet and I’d actually thought my on-Sale Target short-sleeved black dress was cute until she Jezebel’d my ass. Her shouting at me is just one bit of that endemic ladyhate out there that we don’t realize we’re breathing until we choke on it. It’s boring yeah but it’s also oppressively sad. I don’t have anything I learned from that except Yes, when people try to humiliate me it can actually work sometimes.

And finally: one of our two missing kitties came home, Harris. He was oddly starved – as in he’d lost a lot of weight, but he was so grateful and tender to be home. He has been like a new cat, all friendly and sweet and not biting us with his huge shark teeth. I do not know what is up but I hope the personality stays even if his weight comes back. Hutch continues to improve, which is wonderful. Hamilton, alas, is still missing.

The kind words, texts, and emails during our recent difficulties – financial, health, and pet troubles – have been so lovely. I can tell you it is never a waste of time to reach out and give some love. That kind of kindness has no endpoint.

Thank you.


please don’t apologize for my rape unless you were the perpetrator, kthx

Tonight working with some individuals new to Recovery I brought up – and I mean only in passing while listing some of the ill experiences I’ve had from my career before sobriety – well I mentioned various incidents for instance how I once drank too much at a party and was raped (who did the raping? The rapist, by the way) and ANYhoo afterwards, while I was talking to various people there, which was really cool, a guy came over and said,

“Did you say you drank too much at a party and were raped?”

“Why yes I did!” I’m all cheerful and bundling up in my coat.

“I just want to tell you ‘I’m Sorry’,” he says.

“Why, were you the one who did it?” I cackle, giving him a good whack on the shoulder for old times’ sake.

“I just want to tell you, not all men are like that!”

“Well that’s a good thing!” I’m still cheerful but. You know.

I know what (some of) you( men a)’re thinking*, this fellow had only “good intentions” (except for the part where he implies that I think all men are rapists? Nice one!). I had some thought about how far intentions go on an issue as enormously damaging and endemic as rape, but I didn’t think you’d believe me, so I brought you by a guest speaker, Mr. David Hasselhoff.


Jokes aside, and serious points embedded upon jokes aside (because rape and molestation aren’t rare and if you haven’t heard lots of stories it means people don’t trust you with them),

today was rough.

Rough because – and I mean before this evening’s gathering, and not talking about rape, because things really were great at this group tonight –  I spent many hours helping other people and I did not leave hardly anything for myself, my children, my husband, or my pets. I am not angry, upset, or even thinking I need “balance”. I am rather tired and ill and I just wanted to write here, write in my journal, have some food and a large glass of water and a hot bath, and go snuggle the kids and Ralph while we watch a ridiculous nature documentary.

I am so grateful for all of it. All of it. Every sentence here.

It is difficult a bit, days where I give to a lot of other people. I used to do it out of compulsion and out of a desire to be praised – and largely out of a lack of perspective – meaning I had no idea how much giving was reasonable. Today I am less likely to be driven by all those things. No matter how today went, nothing holds me in these events, nothing keeps me in that place where I overscheduled. I don’t need to beat myself up about it or wonder who I might have neglected. Tomorrow perhaps I can do the bare minimum and care for myself and my family, and my wee little recovering dog and my sassy-ass cats, and I don’t have to re-feel today.

Goodnight, lovelies!

* Oh and if one person weighs in here defending a typical White Knight’s “apology” for rape, your comment will have its ass booted out of my queue and you will be put on mod status. Go read the internetz for starters – and best of luck joining the human race and caring about victims of sexual assault! xxx ooo

“does your thumb get sore?” – asked me, today, by a friend

Answer: No. I have strong hands from the time I’ve put in.

"Patience & Care"

Keeping it real, a bitch has been working hard to get her craft recognized in a world of Walmart and Target and buy-it-from-Martha-for-the-homemade-look-but-guess-what-it’s-made-in-China. And probably just the most insidious bit, the materialistic pursuit to own a bunch of stuff, willing to sell out others to get comforts, buying into that aspirational lifestyle.

This all used to bug me. And probably a half dozen other complaints. I can tell you I am no longer bitter about these forces, because I have accepted I can’t change any of it. But *I* changed. A while back now I stopped competing in this worldview. It’s just too damn depressing. And frankly, I could stop messing about – because Ralph’s salary pays rent and food [she said, flatly]. I stopped sewing things I didn’t want to sew. I stopped saying Yes to things I didn’t want to do, and I stopped listening to advice from people who didn’t understand artisan craft. The many Makers I’m blessed to know have given me the gift of valuing my work.

So yeah, I finished this wonderful quilt today. I already know my next item for Homesewn. In fact I can design and create stuff a little too fast, but I want to give people time to get some scratch together if they want to buy something. I know the pangs of waiting for a payday.

This & that:

A manatee baby bunting made for a family expecting a child in a bit:

Oh The Hu-Manatee!

I designed the manatee (or dugog, if you will) in all cotton and fully fleece-lined with an asymmetrical closure, carseat buckle window, and little foot windows because having babies in bags always seemed a little off to me, although it probably bothers no one else. Besides babies’ socks are always slipping and this way you can reach and snug them up. I’m most happy with the eyes and hand-embroidered eyelashes but I didn’t get good pictures due to poor lighting and all the hundred other things I had going on this morning.

A thread-drawn patch on a baby wrap. Designed the patch, overdyed the chambray, and sewed the wrap.

Thread-Drawn Patch:

& while I work – Harris, sleeping off a nap.

Harris After A Hard Day Eating A Lot Of Food, And Sleeping

Just before I finished the quilt – I picked up some lovely Dylon at Gray’s General Store for a not-so-distant future project.

"Patience & Care"

I’m truly grateful to get to practice my craft and it gets more satisfying all the time. I am aware at some point, my abilities may fall away. Old age, illness, calamity. Whatever. I meditate on my bodywork and enjoy the experience while I can. Funny, for many years I was declared the math & science type and some influential people in my life hinted like that was all I was good for. Now I’m like this crunchy-as-fuck unschooling mama stitching and spouting feminazgul manifesto.

That’ll work.

friday linky love!

As always, if you have long commentary please leave it at the source article; let me know if you’d like me to link to your post or comment.

First: I’m hustling for money for my kids’ fall/winter coats. You can look top right ——> if you’d like to help. You can also volunteer to receive the coats when my kids grow out (post here in the comments). I’ll post tutorials as I create them, to help any future stitchers.

 This song – makes me cry. Every time.

SQUAT! Birth Journal. Awesome shit. They accept submissions. DO it. DO IT.

I reviewed a sewing pattern/class. I can recommend the pattern and especially the class for anyone who’d like the finished garment (the romper and pant combo… okay that’s just cozy as hell!).

I’ve been asked to flesh out my Twitter’d, “Ten Things That Make #Parenting Easier” list. Here are #1, #2, and #3. I’ll keep updating this post to include all ten. $4 debuts later today.

We are making a keyhole garden (or a variation of one). I don’t know what to do or plant in the bed once it’s done, given how late we are in the year. Maybe some PNw’er friends of mine can help! (Donate one – they’re awesome)

Grays Harbor Down – my absolute favorite local news source.

Black Girl In Maine writes a great post about divisive, “us vs. them” language.

STRAW FEMINISTS IN THE CLOSET – I cried real tears at how perfect this was.

LLL makes a big gaffe on leadership issues. I hope they reconsider. Like PhD in Parenting sums up, I too have always held them in good faith… But.

Two years ago today: tetanus meadow.

Tetanus Meadow, Assured

friday #w00t

First: a piece of mine, just published.

At bluemilk, the video for “Daddy Skills”. Which? Is awesome.

Some commentary on the different ways female vs. male bodies get treated, in the context of the Olympics.

One of the best interviews on public boners (or pseudo-boners) I’ve ever read.

On the ageism front: Hollywood & relating a bit to actual people’s actual problems. Yay!

The Radical Doula guide is out! Wow! I have a dream; raising enough to bring MZP to our community. Can you imagine?

Kristin Craig Lai tweeted me on an article on “invisible infirmities”. Very flattered; it’s a lovely piece.

Rare color photos from a little ways back.

Homemade graham crackers. I actually haven’t tried making these. But I’d like someone ELSE to bring me a batch.

Sylvia Plath’s drawings. Wonderful.

Someone sent this to me: Are you an emotional empath? Scary how many of the questions I answered Yes to (all but one and a half!).

Friday Tequila

friday’s child, born a little ugly

Friday Tequila

WTF. That’s what I want to know. I call this sort of ad, at very least, racially insensitive. But, I was looking for a Friday graphic. I also am unsure what’s happening here. Why is there baby tequila in a cage? You should tell me. I haven’t figured it out.

Short and sweet, link-wise.

First: my second zine installment is two days from shipping. Yay! Only two more days to get free goodies. Thanks to two generous donors, I have enough to print this month. Yeah, it’s been tight.

In the realm of crafty: I WANT FAKE FUR. About two yards apiece, in three specific colors. There’s a sale & everything. But I’m broke as fuck. Waaaah!

Olympic Weightlifter Responds To Sexist Tweets: ‘We Don’t Lift Weights…For The Likes Of Men Like That’ – good job, Zoe Smith! P.S. The picture of her lifting a billion pounds, she looks like she’s just standing there calm as hell.

Is Unschooling a Cult? This doesn’t even make sense. I’m posting it anyway. I find the topic of cults fascinating!

Gore Vidal passed. An intelligent and funny soul. Too much of a misogynist for me to fully endorse. Still, I really enjoyed him – and everyone else – in The Celluloid Closet, a film that still holds up many years later. Give it a watch!

Will wonders never cease: I literally never knew this.

Try not to have nightmares. The Gary Busey Monster.
Gary Busey Monster

To set budding more, / And still more, later flowers for the bees…

So Phoenix decided a while back she wanted to see a doctor to talk about the small bumps developing in her chest. I’d told her it was likely normal breast development (we’ve talked with both kids about puberty, tons – as according to their interest), but she still wanted to enlist the care of a doctor. I asked her if she wanted to see her pediatrician or if she’d like to see a gynecologist. After a short discussion she decided on the latter. We proceeded to the day steadily and she looked forward – in her typical sedate way – to the appointment.

You can imagine how finicky and cautious these physicians are with young girls – probably not to scare them. And I respect that, although in our household this stuff is pretty matter-of-fact – and my daughter has not been sexually abused – so the treatment was a bit odd. During the entirety of the examination another employee, a woman, was in attendance. The physician (a good doctor; my own) introduced himself and shook hands with the patient. He then spoke directly to her and asked her why she was there.

“I have two bumps in my chest, and I’d like to know if they’re normal.” Phoenix was a slim little reed in the smallest gown they had, a soft lavender one.

“You’re quite a nine year old,” he said. He asked a few questions and eventually proceeded to an exam – asking her before touching her. You would have thought my daughter was made out of glass, they were so scrupulously careful – but not tentative. They also treated the whole business with seriousness. It was good stuff and I felt a bit… I don’t know, weepy or something.

“No cycles yet, mom?” he asks (this time, to me). “No,” I say.

After a very gentle exam he closes up the robe. “Breast buds,” the practitioner practically mouths at me, with an almost secretive air.

To my daughter, he says, “Your boobies* are coming in. Do you know about periods?” She nods. He continues, “It means in a few years, maybe one or two, you might start your period.”

“This is already happening – at nine?” my daughter asks immediately. The conversation goes from there.

But it suddenly pops in my head this physician has interpreted my relative silence (as my daughter has handled the entire thing just fine), and perhaps common prejudices associated with the knowledge we homeschool (why does he know this? ’cause get what just about every grownup asks every kid upon meeting them? Yeah. What grade they’re in.) I am suddenly wondering if the physician and his assistant think I’m a uber-faith-based homeschooler shelterin’ mama bringing her daughter in with these shameful dirtypillows and we don’t talk narthin’ ’bout periods neither. I mean don’t even think I’m weird for perceiving this. The number one question I get from strangers, regarding homeschooling, revolves around Christinaity – and “sheltered” children (in fact I fielded this exact double-pronged question again, not an hour later, in another setting entirely!).

I am silently mirthful on this thought. “No sir,” I want to say. “You perceive incorrectly. I’m actually a feminazgul radical unschooler whose kids probably know way too much about how the world works, like on the way here we were belting out Carrie Underwood’s ‘Before He Cheats’* – and actually we do say words like ‘breasts’ in our house, I’m sure since you have a medical degree you’ve heard the term.”  I am seriously not giving the guy a hard time, really, he did very well (and the whole thing was a hundred percent more awesome than how my parents introduced me to this stuff, which was… oh wait, they didn’t. Assery.). It was just funny.

The physician asks my daughter to call him, or “tell mom”, if anything comes up. He also explains periods in the most euphemistic way but – again, really, it’s fine. I mean think about it, all his caution, he probably wouldn’t want to offend a family who didn’t want to or hadn’t yet discussed this stuff with their kid(s). He’s in a delicate position.

Well anyway, Phoenix was a very proud young lady when we left. Believe it or not, I think she had actually been a tiny bit nervous. Not enough to disrupt her but just – a bit. I was touched. She is one of the most self-possessed kids about stuff like this.

Oh and by the way. We waited an hour between when we got there and when we were seen. Phoenix spied the exam table (she’s seen many such, of course), and asked:

Like A Giant Clam, Waiting To Snap You Up

“What does ‘the Ritter’ do?” She even put “the Ritter” in “air dick quotes” and used a low, serious, voice. Man we started laughing and then we couldn’t stop making jokes. She made the creepy light “eye” look at me. I joked it was like a giant clam that if you sat on it, would snap shut. When the doctor came in, as it happened, the assistant asked Phoenix to sit on THE RITTER (not calling it by its monstrous name of course) and the doctor hurriedly interjected with, “No no, it’s okay, she can stay in her seat.” When he left I leaned over and said to Phoenie in sotto voce, “They hadn’t fed it and they knew it was hungry”. We dissolved into paroxysms.

Seriously, most fun I’ve had in a gynecologist’s.

I should mention some rather awesome stuff happened today. Someone donated to the blog (thank you so, so much J.!) and it was the exact fund I needed to secure a bill that came in today. The landlord sent a crew over to build not only a fence, but fix our outlets – and we now have sink water pressure in the kitchen. This latter, if you’ve been to my house, you know has been a long time coming and has been a comically, I do mean comically small trickle of water since we moved in like a year and a half ago. There was some other really awesome stuff but I’m almost flopping around on the keyboard, I’m so tired. Just: a good day.

And yeah, my daughter is growing up.

As for Nels. He continues to grow tall and impossibly thinner. None of his pants fit because they’re all falling off. Seriously, I would be worried if he didn’t seem so full of energy, eat so well, and deliver “stools… gigantic and [with] no more odor than a hot biscuit.”

And so it goes. #familylife

* “boobies”? Just… No.

** When we sing along we don’t say the phrases “tramp” and “white trash”. But we’re cool with the rest of it. Just so you know.