part of this complete breakfast

I’ve had this song and video stuck in my head all day. Which totally works for me.

In other news, a child over today tore our house apart grabbing blankets and furniture to build forts and then torture-imprisoned many cats in said structures until I (nicely) requested for the child to stop (with the cat thing). After agreeing to Ralph’s request to put a few things back before leaving, the child scuttled out the door and back home having done no such thing and leaving the kids’ room and our bedroom in a total shambles. This child also seems to have a hygiene problem, which I find unappealing and depressing; also a problem with perpetually telling untruths. Yesterday upon seeing a jar of cash and coin in our house I heard the child telling my son it belonged to a friend, hoping to take it home.

I have no idea why today I let this behavior get to me. Actually after having typed it out, it seems reasonable enough I did. I’m proud of myself though that I provide a good home to any child who visits, as long as I’m not distracted by the other stuff going on which is REALLY EASY because I am kind of a busy and frenetic person. I’m not nearly as mellow as some people make me out to be. As for these “badly-behaved children” (usually under-nurtured ones so, hard to pathologize the child itself) my job is to provide a warm, welcoming house – and food, and as much freedom as possible – to the kids in my life (my own and others’). It usually works out great which is probably why a lot of kids like being here.

In this case maybe today I simply preferred the company of my own children and private homelife, a series pf lovely episodes: we’d spent the morning taking baths together and then the kids asked for an unconventional breakfast: popcorn and fresh oranges (we have some really lovely citrus in the house). The popcorn I prepared old-skool, as I don’t own a popper or microwave or anything – just a pot with a lid and a little oil, potholders and stove top. I have many memories of my father (usually shirtless) popping up a huge batch before family movie night – we had an electric element range and sparks would fly off the burners as he banged about. After he’d pour the popcorn into a large paper shopping bag, then swirl butter in the pan to melt; add the butter and some salt to the bag and shake-shake-shake. I do the same, now; except I add parmesan cheese and nutritional yeast. Today as the kids sat happily in their underwear I showed Nels how to section an orange without a mess and how to carefully eat so not to crunch a seed (is it my imagination, or does citrus with seeds taste sweeter than seedless varieties?).

I cleaned up breakfast and the kids ran around snuggling cats and reading and drawing and building Legos. I felt a little blue at today’s wetter and gloomier weather and thus made up a batch each of niter kibbeh and berbere sauce. Dicing chiles and garlic and grinding spices and clarifying butter? Yeah, that worked out fine. My daughter ran around in her little tank top with her hair up in a ponytail singing Pink songs and my heart broke in half at how young-lady-like she’s looking (taking her measurements the other day for sewing I observed her waist and hip measurements have a 6″ difference… yes, growing-growing, they don’t slow down). I’ve gotta remind myself to slow down and enjoy the time I have.

Halfway through Ralph’s evening errands he was stopped by a family man feeling exhausted by family and work life. The guy ended up telling my husband he wanted to talk to him more about our family life. He said, “Your kids are so nice and polite, and smart, and you all seem to get along… I want that.” It’s cool to be noticed and acknowledged, although not for the reason you might think. I really want to help other families find their way into loving family life all the more. It happens; it works, for realz.

I’ve got a bottle of organic wine and fresh-washed bedding and a couple of squeaky-clean bathed kiddos and sleepy cats. It’s all working out OK.

The trouble is, I can’t remember if it’s the thirteenth or the fourteenth

The couple sitting across the restaurant is drunk. Very drunk. Having, according to them, a “wonderful time”. Due to the history of my alcoholic family of origin and my as-yet-in progress healing, I am not relaxed around drunk and rowdy people. I’m only waiting until someone asks them to please move on, or please do not grab my ass, or whatever boundary is communicated, before a sudden sodden viciousness is levied against those who’d oppose their asshattery or dangerous hijinks.

But in this case we, the public, get off easy enough. The man of the couple manhandles the waitress, which she suffers as best as she’s able, but mostly they seem in the “friendly” category of drinkers (which is as far as I’m concerned often only a temporary phase; many who drink habitually to excess, I believe, are often self-medicating deep suffering and a hair trigger away from destructive behavior). Later I find out these two were on a blind date and finished two bottles of champagne before paying up and moving on to find a bar proper. They certainly have one thing in common at least. I wish them the best.

We had stopped for a pizza after attending the Washington State Ghost Society’s audit of the 7th Street Theatre, a closed event. We had bundled up in blankets and listened while Nels, disinterested, whispered in my ear loudly about his latest computer programming aims. Phoenix evaluated the replayed EVPs and read the Society’s report, cocking an ear, then levelly auditing their presentation efficacy while drawing monster after monster in my moleskine.


Today news reached us of the Tucson shooting which killed at least six people and injured twelve or thirteen (at the time I type this) in an anti-government mass murder. The youngest victim was a nine year old girl named Christina-Taylor Green, born on September 11, 2001 (yes, really) and recently voted onto her school’s council. Christina-Taylor was, in words of one family friend, “brought by her family to meet the congresswoman [Giffords, likely a target,] to see how government works”.

I don’t have words for how this has affected me; deeply. I feel so incredibly sad, a deep devastating sadness that permeates my every action today. This isn’t a left or right political issue (please watch the brief video of today’s statement made by Arizona Sheriff Clarence Dupnik). This should be a call for peace and for democratic, responsible and measured responses in our language and activism. Tonight I take a break from my Twitterstream where so many activists I typically respect (and as are my proclivities, are left-leaning) have today and in the past levied so much vitriol and violent language against those they oppose. Anger is a natural emotion and one that lets us know something is wrong; however, rehearsing that anger and revelling it and acting from that place has brought so much sorrow and suffering and devastation upon so very many (and is precisely irresponsible to those unbalanced or vulnerable). Today Christina-Taylor and the many others killed, wounded, and traumatized (as well as their families and communities) paid a terrible price.

(Small Stone #8*)

Bridge lights and the illuminated structure
In the blue-black inert night
Rendered distant and cold
Close enough to touch

Small stone project


Hace mucho, mucho frío.

Snow & Ice & CRUNCH

Business AS PER USUAL for some of the family.
Business As Per Usual

Tonight, out for a roy rogers and frijoles (Nels’ favorite combo), at Los Arcos, which by right about now (being 11:35 PM) is some kind of hideous booze-soaked animal factory. [ shudder ] Roy Rogers w/Lemon @ Los Arcos

At my mother’s. My rascally, bearded and occasionally beady-eyed family.
New Years Eve Hogabooms

Happy New Year. Goodbye 2010, hello 2011.

they’re only little tears, darling, let them spill

When I was about my daughter’s age I remember my father burnt himself rather badly while cooking dinner: a horribly large scalding of hot grease to the belly area. I can’t remember if he was cooking shirtless, but it seems like he was. At any rate he was shirtless and cooking soon afterward, because I remember staring in waist-high trepedation at the telltale ugly red weals on his hard belly, flat and muscled like a pubescent boy. My father was tall and slim and had about eight body hairs on his torso so the whole cooking-thing isn’t as Homer Simpson as maybe some people are picturing. Or I dunno, maybe that’s my deep love of the fellow talking.

I guess I think it’s pretty cool I grew up in a house with a shirtless-dad family cook. Peasants. Proles. I’ll never outgrow my heritage and why should I feel embarrassed anyway? Tonight I’m thinking of my father while I’m standing in the kitchen assembling dinner; the kids tumble about and I’m thinking maybe I’ll live in a rental my whole life, maybe I’ll never travel much, maybe I’ll die in the town I (mostly) grew up in.

I’m my own person. Unlike my parents’ preferences, tonight’s spaghetti is prepared with sauteed meatballs in a wine-butter sauce that simmers half the day. I’m remembering my dad’s spaghetti and sauce because it was the same and it was cooked relatively often and it was so unvarying I thought that just “was” the way Everyone Did It: crumbled junky hamburger sauteed in the cast iron pan, then add one six ounce can of tomato paste, one fourteen ounce can of tomato sauce, and one twenty-eight ounce can of whole tomatoes, some salt – that’s it. My dad only cooked it down about forty five minutes I believe but my memory has it simmering all day, softly popping now and then so the vintage stove would accumulate little battle-scar specks of orangey-red, my dad never cleaned the range but my mom did rigorously, the most delicious smell, the sauce, a simple anticipation, the family sit-down, delicious. Usually one of my parents would over-cook broccoli to a sickly yellow-green and my dad would swipe each wilted floret in a dollup of mayonnaise in his rather finicky left-handed dining style.

I’m having a wonderful holiday season so far full of restorative and generous acts of reflection and gifting (I do love giving more than receiving). But if I’m honest I can say the cold and the wet is fighting me every step of the way. I’ve never had a case of winter small-d-depression so intensely. It’s to the point where Any Little Thing going wrong can knock me off-kilter and I feel the danger of spiraling further into a Darkness. I know more than one reader can relate.

It’s harder for me lately to write about the Bad Times, because since I opened comments whenever-ago it is agonizing to me someone might feel compelled to offer a rescue or to believe I’m crying out for a specific sort of help or need comments to feel validated. I love comments, my incredible readers have talked me down from closing them a handful of times and continue to offer up The Awesome with regularity and a consistency I look forward to. But I’ve always wanted to communicate my thoughts and feelings and experiences precisely and whatever happened next was of less concern because I have a fault, in that the pure pleasure of expression is one addiction I may never get over. If my blog had a Patronus it would probably be Magda from There’s Something About Mary – you know, a bit glamorous, a bit foxy, yes a bit wizened, occasionally showing more of my goodies than I mean to (I know I shouldn’t stretch the metaphor to unintelligible absurdities), but cheerfully-enough, here for the long haul whatever way I’m experienced by observers.

Today I finished up a homesewn gift for my son (wonderfully soft and luxurious and simple and perfect) and contemplated another homemade gift for someone else (who may or may not read here so I cannot say more); I wiped down the kitchen counter and made up Nels’ requested dinner and folded clothes and made the bed and went out with my mother and daughter for coffee. All this is wonderful but it doesn’t quite keep the darkness (literal darkness) from trying to creep into my heart.

Another night, another shut-in against the Monster, another precious gift of my loved ones’ presence, another sleep marking time.

living with the krampus

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.

short & sweet & utterly spent

Portland: a beautiful and exhausting trip.  It rained all the way down but let up to a bright coldness as soon as we got there.

The Inn at Northup Station was really fabulous. The kids loved it times One Million – the oldies, the roof garden, the very, very BRIGHT colors, the king-size bed and kitchen (the kids tiptoed on stools to get at drinking classes) – the whole bit.  A great rate too – they don’t charge extra for your kiddos and our suite came with a kitchen! Plus, GIANT JARS OF TOFFEE on each table in the lobby!

Candy Candy!


After checking in we ran to the next door suite to check in with Karen and her daughter Ella – both of whom had had been working themselves silly with partner Shelly – then we settled into our room, unpacked a couple things, and ran down to SE to pick up my brother and get a late dinner. Billy suggested Imbibe and it was a wonderful choice. Everyone was hungry, but Billy and I ate and ate and ate. I had a delicious dinner (including seared ahi and a garlicky caesar salad and a burger, hell yes) and a decidedly sub-par bloody mary. I even shared the ahi with Billy and let him have one more piece than me. I didn’t say so right away. At first he ate the garnishy stuff and avoided the last piece, like a gentleman. Then I said he could have it, in my best gentleman-voice. Then he pretended not to know that he was getting one more slice than me, at which point his love of the deliciousness won out over our mutual silent shows of gentility, and it disappeared into his wolfish mystery-beard.

So seriously though I could have eaten about five plates of that ahi.

Back at the hotel I spent the rest of the night working alongside Karen – nothing like a sewing marathon until 4 AM! – then crawled into two beers and fell into bed and had a really rough sleep.

In the morning our kids woke themselves up while Ralph and I packed our few things. This even though they’d stayed up as late as I had!

Nels, model: “I’m pretty sure there’s a lot more to life than being really, really, ridiculously good looking.” Like bananas and brownies in bed, for breakfast:

Our Little Model

Despite having little sleep and having to leave the much-cherished suite, both kids cheerfully had their breakfast, brushed teeth, got dressed and in all ways re-joined in the adventure.

Nels wasn’t feeling quite right: sadly, he was constipated (an issue we haven’t run across since the very occasional incident in his infancy). He wasn’t in pain but he was apprehensive about the, um, work that was ahead for him. I was very tender to him and, after finding the shooting locale and while we waited for his photoshoot, he lay on the couch with his head in my lap and I stroked him. But when it was Go Time he did his thing like a champ. He had the photographer, her assistant, and a couple moms laughing very hard (I watched some of the shoot, but not all). A lively little spirit.

I can’t post pictures of any of the snaps I took at the Patterns by Figgys photoshoot but I can tell you it took place in the lovely Z-haus in the home of the designer. There were about eight or nine kids running about up and down the stairs and playing outside. It really was a lovely time and even the length of the photoshoot didn’t seem to get the little ones down. Nels’ constipation also resolved (he came out of the bathroom and said, “My condensation’s gone!”) which made him happy as a lark. And truly, I felt relieved as well.

Afterwards our plan (as authored by the kids) was to find a to find a kaiten-zushi restaurant: but after locating Sushi Ichiban and parking we walked around the block to find it closed – from 2:30 to 5 PM (dammit)! We used the opportunity to stop at VooDoo Doughnuts and peruse their fun creations (if you’re into that sort of thing, and yeah I got the maple bar with bacon on top) and a cup of coffee. Then a quick call to my brother (because no, we don’t have a smartphone) to get directions back to the sushi train; we walked two blocks to Sushiland.

Fried Asparagus, Cream Cheese, Roe, Some Kind Of Hot Sweet Mayo Sauce


Closing The Deal

Then to the park to play very rough with daddy.

Nels Waits

Swing, 1

Swing, 2


Portland was a bit sad. Very white (I’ve got nothing against white people, some of my best friends are white), not a lot of eye contact on the street, no children in the park. It was also rattling to be in the bosom of wealth one minute and then amidst many trolleys loaded with the few posessions of those sleeping rough. Ralph gave some cash but of course the number of people made it seem almost futile. Funnily every person we spoke with directly was quite friendly; and although I’d heard rumors of notoriously poor restaurant service I did not find this to be true at all and in fact everyone we came into contact with seemed to like their job.

We hit the road at about 4:30 and came home – Hoquiam never looked so good. I am not suited to undersleeping or rather, after not getting sleep I function best in my own home.

I wish I could express how delightful it is to be with my kids and how impressed I was with their conduct. Ralph and I give them everything we can give them – including their personal freedom and agency – and challenges like these last twenty four hours prove the concept. The truth it is was a long photoshoot today and Nels was both ill-slept and suffering from “condensation”, the latter of which had been causing him anxiety for the past twenty four hours – yet he still did great.

Another test of character: in the Z-Haus Phoenix was given the opportunity to entertain herself while waiting through the shoot. Whilst doing so she also played with the other kids including Karen’s little Ella. Karen so appreciated this – as she had lots of work this morning – that she gave Phoenix a thank you and a cash gift (and the two hugged one another sweet as you please). At our sushi date later Phoenix very adult-like requested to buy the family’s dinner; at $16 plus tip she was able to do so in entirety. A beautiful girl, inside and out.

It was also wonderful for the kids and I to see bits and pieces of the city, a rare pleasure for us (I can’t speak for Ralph, who is a bit more of a homebody). It would be lovely to travel somewhere and stay a bit longer sometime; maybe some day we will find the means to do so.

daughter of the late, late rose

Today while on errands with Nels my mother called and invited us to Ocean Shores to deliver a commission she’d finished for the upcoming Irish Music Festival descending this weekend. We met her at her house and rode out with her (and her dog) in her van. It was a beautiful sunny day.

My mom didn’t raise her first kid – at all. She left my half-sister to her ex-husband when they divorced, when J. was a toddler – because (as she told me) she believed he’d fight her for custody and that he’d win (my mom is a “flight”, not a “fight”, type of person). This was, as you might imagine, rather devastating for my sister – and, in it’s way, for our mother. Today the two women have an adult friendship and my mom – at least in my presence – acknowledges her screwup (if not her regrets) while being realistic the past is – now – behind her.

My mom did far better for me – in that she stuck around, and she loved me fiercely – and better still for my brother, whom she treated quite tenderly and with great understanding (which was not true of her treatment of me). So given all this, when I hear those patently saccharine characterizations of all females as maternal and all mothers as nurturing and intuitive I know: Bullshit. I believe most of us (men and women) have that potential but I also believe many of us are damaged that we do very poorly, really; oftentimes our children are the crucible where we learn a lot about our own character – and sometimes what we learn is disappointing indeed.

That said, it does us no good to cast mothers like my own (who left her first child) as “unnatural”, or some kind of social pariah (we do not employ this judgment on absentee fathers) or (if we’re feeling generous) “free spirits” – labels and stigmas my mother either happily adopted or unhappily felt persecuted by all these years, descriptors that did not honor her as a multifaceted, flawed, three-dimensional person.

Now, my sister and brother have their own journeys with my mother but I can say for me our current loving adult friendship is one built on hard work on both our parts. That said, forgiveness is not easy and sometimes I wonder if it’s not very difficult (for most) – or even possible (for me). In part because my mother has not directly apologized for her wrongs against me (rather she’s explained them now and then, as if that’s what I need) and, in her stead, no one else has either. So to this day she can say something and suddenly my brow clouds and I know she doesn’t have the foggiest as to how she’s hurt me (and she’s not always open to hearing it when I do tell her).

So today in the van – on our way home – my mom was telling my son yes, soon he’d stay the night, but she was so busy right now – he’d stay just as soon as she had her (latest) work done.

“I’ll be so happy when this is over,” she said. “I can have my life back again!”

Ah yes. Any time with my mother is only borrowed from the endless list of Other Things she’s said Yes to, and she will be backing out the door by the end of these stolen engagements; the fact she ends up harried and complaining about these commitments does nothing for the pain of the girl who invited her for dinner in college only to have her leave earlier than she’d committed – pretending we hadn’t talked previously about her commitment – or the time I had surgery and begged my parents (3 hours away) to come be with me and they awkwardly demurred, and how lonely and scared and Dark Night of the Soul I was in those hours before surgery, and how they did in fact show up the day of, in fact a nurse told me as I was being wheeled into the operating room and I thought I might die (which was silly) but at least they were there, and how it seems I am the only family member of four who makes sure to be there for whatever shit goes down, and that doesn’t mean I’m a better person but I can not be someone else either. I always knew she loved us but I hated that she was so flighty and distracted and so scared of everything. I hated her tiny little inner trickle of low self-worth even while I loved – always have – her tenderness, even though as an adult I feel compassion for her and a deep understanding of her Worth and Value, yet still as I’ve said I cannot forgive her for her low self-regard and I have in my way internalized it such, a horrible thing indeed…

But instead, I say: “You always say that,” – a bit tired, grimly mirthful, half-hurt. (Seriously. You cannot count the times I’ve heard her say this.)

“I know, but really, I will be.” (she says, instead of getting instantly peevish.)  “As soon as this is done I’ll have a life again. Until the next thing…” she trails off.

I say, “You know… it always hurt, as a kid, you were always so preoccupied and telling us you’d make time after you did this thing. I never felt you were all the way there. I don’t know if my kids feel that way. Probably not. But I did. It was hard.” Or, I’m thinking, the times she’d make some delicious meal for other people, decorating the top of a cake or loading up a pan of sliced lasagne, dressed for an outing, impressing Strangers or Acquaintances (she never had close friends) for their praise and esteem – and yes, a large part of it, a gift of her generous heart. We – my father, brother and I – would get the dried cake-scraps left over after she’d left with the kitchen a mess. Some time ago I resolved to give my own kids The Best or at least As Good as any fuckers in church or wherever, and that has felt very much like Me, very good Indeed.

And I repeat, “Yeah, I don’t know if my kids feel that way. Probably not.”

“Well, they probably don’t. Because they have you,” my mom says, glancing at me. And her voice – maybe it was my imagination but her voice was just so soft and loving. Like she wasn’t taking offense or coming on defensive at what I’d related about my childhood (as she has responded in the past). She was considering my children. I was considering my children. We were doing better for both of them.

“Yeah,” I replied.

And it was just that simple.

Ironically or perhaps in a way that makes perfect sense, besides my husband no one has given me as much credit and esteem on my parenting as my own mother, despite my at-times sharp criticisms or denunciations of parts of my own childhood. I think it’s pretty damned awesome that in my journey with my little ones – including some significant departures of lifestyle from my family of origin – my own mother hasn’t made it about her, and I hope I do the same for my kids if they have children of their own. Inviting her along to be a grandmother, and her willingness and joy at being a better grandmother (than she was a mother at least), has been tremendously – I can’t say “healing”, but it’s enabled me to get to know her in a better chapter of our life, one I am deeply grateful for. I can see she finds her grandchildren all the more wonderful now we’ve been living here in Hoquiam. If we were to move away it would flat-out break her heart (and probably our four hearts as well).

But, for now at least, we are together.

Later in the evening I had the honor of watching my daughter’s soccer practice. She has improved so much in the season already; more impressive to me still is her sweetness and positive energy (as opposed to some of the girls who take the game so seriously as to turn on fellow teammates during scrimmage; yelling criticisms or issuing forth with Demon-Voice: “That wasn’t a goal!” and such). She laughs and claps at other people’s accomplishments and their mistakes; she takes joy in her goals and defense but also takes joy when she is defeated soundly.

I’d want her on my team.

Phoenix Takes A Rest

Phoenix Takes A Drink

Reaching out for something to hold / Looking for a love where the climate is cold

Today while sewing the Project of Ravelling Fabric Fuckery I had the pleasure of my husband’s laptop and a Rhapsody station. During the first half I elected listening to Hall & Oates. I should probably confess I have this deep and secret fantasy where my brother and I dress as the duo for Halloween (I’m telling you, the resemblance is already halfway there). Included in this little fantasy is also the fact we’d be performing some of their songs, I’m not sure how or in what venue, and this really makes little sense because I’m not sure either my brother nor I can sing, especially not at the levels of prowess this “blue-eyed soul” (Rhapsody genre names are fun!) pair evidences. Oh and my brother probably wouldn’t do this, ever. But a girl can dream, can’t she?

(Until today I’d misheard the line as “broken eyes still melt in the sun”, a gruesome image from my childhood, and P.S. I sincerely want that fashion for myself!)

More goodness, and I love how Oates is just kind of lurking back there:

(Two points: Oates’ MAGIC EYE BLINKS at 1:30 et al are awesome; secondly my sister is an actual private eye, which is obviously quite relevant, although as young ones we dressed up as Boy George (her) and Blondie (me), and Yes I’ll dig up a picture soon!)

Another one from my childhood. Even today this song strikes me as deeply moving but also very corny. I guess I really like that combo. Plus it reminds me of that time I went to that strip club with the pre-tornado Kansas wheat field theme:

(Embedding was disabled but you can view the video I remember – a better one – here.)

Video exposure to Tina Turner and Chaka Khan in the 80s was the first time I remember having the distinct pre-pubescent knowledge of a beauty I could never have. No jealousy or envy or confusion; I was unabashedly enamored with and amazed by their presence, their embodiment of Diva (although I didn’t know that word yet). I can still remember exactly where I was sitting and at what house I first saw the latter’s video for “I Feel For You” (I couldn’t find this video but I did have a great YouTube surf looking for it). I like feeling like a kid again every now and then.

Reliving this hit made me titter at my sewing machine. Probably because of the Scary Movie send-up, but the video itself is not without a giggle… Especially because the lyrics also sounded so inappropriately stalky and the video apparently decided to go with that:

(OK, a rather beautiful song but still. Phone calls like that? Don’t do ’em. Also: blind girls. EXTRA-SMILEY, virginal, passive and adorable – and far easier to stealthily follow!)

More Lionel Ritchie, but my point is I had the hots for Mikhail Baryshnikov when White Nights came out. I don’t remember anything about the film at all. Except Baryshnikov’s pants. Look, I was about eight. I still really like to watch men dance well.

In other news this performance came through the tweetstream today. Seriously, every time I watch Freddie Mercury live I feel so sad, joyful, fierce, weepy, amazed, enthralled:

OK, now don’t stay up all night practicing your white-guy hopping-and-bobbing-around dance movies!

roadies and recovery

It’s technically only a Saturday but our weekend has been a busy one already: first, we hosted a family of three for two days and two nights (with the help of my mother). Our guests were the Canfields: family travellers, potential roadschoolers, musicians (Ralph and Joel met through FAWM; Joel penned “Camel Lash/Not Just Believe” that Ralph used in a recent home vid), entrepreneurs, purposeful nomads, Jehovah’s Witnesses who wear (seemingly intentionally, although I didn’t get around to asking) mismatched socks. Their family was a delight to talk to and get to know; their six year old daughter and our two children played seamlessly as if they’d known one another for years (Really. It was almost uncanny.). Joel was a real talker and was full of better ideas than most people. I’m still thinking over our conversations and trying to wrap my mind around them.

Overlapping this visit my mother requested our attendance in a breakfast et cetera with out-of-town relatives who’d stopped over: my aunt, uncle, and two cousins. I last saw this batch of my family almost five years ago on a brief ride back to Port Townsend after my ten-year high school reunion. In our last episode together my cousin K. was a near-silent girl of about fourteen; her brother A. a supremely sarcastic and know-it-all-sounding eleven year old who made me want to ice-pick my ears out. To be perfectly fair though, I have not parented an eleven year-old, especially a schooled one; also and likely most relevant I was extremely milk-sick, that is physically and emotionally and mentally waning from being away from my nursling for 24 hours (I’d love to describe how Eighteen Levels of Horrid this feels but it’s a bit off topic for now). I was also hungover (well – probably, knowing me), I was crowded into their car and feeling like a jerk for taking up every inch of extra space – and frankly, I can be away from my own children and function marvelously but I also miss them so incredibly fiercely and never has that 101 drive taken so long.

Anyway, I do love to see my So. Cal. family because we used to be a part of that scene; we lived in Huntington Beach, where my mother grew up, from about 1979 to 1984. It seemed like a betrayal of sorts to reclaim my great-grandfather’s then-unlivable homestead (where my maternal grandmother grew up) and break from the sunny shores to find these mysterious twin Nowheres of Hoquiam and Aberdeen (the latter where my maternal grandfather grew up). We set off as a foursome in the OOAK homemade bus to come up to the mossy, green, and frankly spooky Northwest (I still remember driving west on Route 12, further West, on and on, and the air was delicious, I almost would give up my native Washingtonian life just to feel and breathe that air again for the first time). At this point I, one of the handful of older cousins, departed from the influences of my larger family and their more tribal lifestyle.

It was nice to see my cousins again (and of course they’d grown into adults, holy cow): I am also especially fond of my marriage-Aunt R., a woman with lovely green eyes who has remained to my memory constant in appearance and demeanor and persona throughout my life. She has a very dry delivery and a wickedly understated sense of humor; my husband and I both like the way she talks, low and quiet, because even though she says perfectly normal things there is this slight threatening sound to the timbre of her voice like a growling cat.

So in this brief reunion I talked to my cousins a bit (not too much; they both seem rather shy), we sent off our guests, walked to the gallery where my children have some art pieces displayed, and then took my cousin K. and Ralph and my children swimming at the Y. Ralph accompanied the kids in the pool while my mother, aunt and I sat on the bleachers and caught up a bit talking about family, death, band camp. The relatives are heading south tomorrow and both my mother and I will have our homes all the way “back”. I am a very social person and my husband is the same in this regard; however I need nest-time to recuperate more than others might realize.