itemization & love from the deep south *EDIT*

Today I bought:

2 lbs. bananas
2 lbs. broccoli
3 lbs. yukon gold potatoes
2.5 lbs. green beans
7 limes
1 pint raspberries
1 lb. champagne grapes
1 very large mango
3 avocados
6 ears white corn
3 lbs rhubarb (local)
2 dozen farm eggs (local)

The total was $22. The Farmer’s Market ladies like me because A. I am obsessive about their eggs, and B. I know how to cook (as evidenced by their cagey reference to rhubarb custard pie where I rattled off my own know-how). Today while we were there Sophie also expressed concern that the green rhubarb they had to offer was not pie-able – turns out, it is, it’s merely a green variety. The pair of hens at the register were so excited this girl tracked produce. It made me think about my time at the Farm last year; nostalgic, too, to remember it now.

For dinner I made rolled biscuits (Joy of Cooking), white corn on the cob, eggplant and tomato choka, butter beans, iceberg salad (w/Annie’s Goddess dressing). My children ate everything and happily (as did Ralph and I – in our foursome Ralph the Corn Weasel, and Nels, Son of Corn Weasel, in particular seemed very pleased). I was thinking of a friend’s child who was over for dinner and exclaimed about our food – “I like what you guys eat!” and I felt a good deal of pride over our nightly ritual together.

Today my Florida honey J. sent me 2 packages of clothes – equaling 48 pounds! 48 fricken pounds! You know what’s slightly sad? My middle is too big for almost all the pants. Tops fit well, except for button-ups which don’t fit across my chest. Amongst the many very cool clothes there was a small collection of long hippie-like skirts, a garment I’ve never worn before. I put one on because they were the coolest (temperature-wise) garments in the batch. My husband came home and immediately complimented my skirt – with some grabbing of the backside. I think he likes it because it gives the illusion of a full ass (rather than my very wide yet oddly flat version).

* Edit – I made a count of all the items J. sent me:

1 pintuck white Mossimo button up shirt, L
1 ON cami top, blue L
1 ON green tee shirt, M
1 ON raspberry tee shirt, M
1 ON blue tee shirt, M
1 LS brown pinstripe shirt
1 Mossimo blue v-neck, L
1 Mossimo lavender v-neck, L
1 white polo shirt
1 Mossimo white v-neck, L
1 ON brown v-neck, M
1 ON white v-neck, M
2 tattoo-art tank tops, L
1 ON tank, brown
1 ON tank, tan/lt brown
1 ON tank, white
1 ON tank, black
1 LS dark brown rugby neckline shirt
1 striped pullover shirt
1 striped tri-cot dress, S
1 pull over stretch paisley top
1 brown Olde Navy crinkle fabric top
1 pink & white striped button up long sleeve shirt
1 express LS top, red
1 LS merona pinstripe top
1 white LS peasant top
1 orange LS tee-shirt
1 striped j-crew boat necked top
1 LS blue button up shirt
1 LS black twist top
1 LS ribbed sweater, wine
1 LS ribbed sweater, charcoal
1 lg button up LS eyelet shirt
1 black sweater shrug
1 zip up striped sweater
1 ON brown zip-up hoodie, XXL
1 sporty zip-up hoodie, M
1 brown Ye Olde Man sweater. Needs buttons. Matlock!
1 brown tie-front st john’s sweater
1 ezekiel green screen printed tee
1 LS black & pink pullover tee shirt
1 Indian paisley skirt, floor-length
1 floor length patchwork skirt
1 floor length brown linen skirt
1 brown spandex skirt with flounce
1 orange crinkle floor length skirt
1 eyelet skirt, M
1 gray rayon floor length skirt
1 floor length sequined black skirt
1 floor length black polyester skirt, L
1 angels’ jeans, sz 11
1 IT jeans, sz 11
1 Bongo! jeans, sz 10
1 Bongo! jeans, sz 13
1 express jeans
1 a byer brown dress slacks
1 ON medium maternity jeans
1 dark blue stretch navy-button slacks
1 ON tech chinos, light blue
1 ON tech chinos, taupe
1 ON tech chinos, dark blue
1 Tommy jeans, sz 10
1 paris blues pedal pushers sz 8
1 Exhilaration black capri sz 11
1 off white Merona capri
1 taupe Mossimo capri
1 Levi low slouch jeans, sz 9
1 Mossimo goucho jeans, sz 11
1 ON white stretch jeans, sz 11

Thank you, thank you, J.!

staying afloat

Our mini-vacation has come and gone. Ralph and I had a great time; our friends Cyn, Paige, and Chris came (along with two guest dogs) and we just ate, swam (yes, Ralph got a water fight – with only one opponent though), cooked (me only), and did dishes (sadly, a necessary evil of that last thing).

Sophie ran and jumped off the dock, swimming back to the end of the pier. She did this four thousand times, but each one I had to watch her swim back to the dock because her swimming still looks spastic and unreliable. I tried to look casual, not as if my heart was in my throat. Nels did not like the water so much; he mostly stayed inside, sometimes stripping nude and eating chips. Both kids got stung – Sophie by a wasp, Nels by a bee. Sophie helped me make Ralph’s birthday cake and suggested pink frosting.

The drive home was easy and our newly-stung boy fell asleep before we reached the end of the driveway (I watched him carefully; he had the tiniest bit of swelling on his finger and it went down within 12 hours). We capped the weekend with only a brief stop home before heading to see Ratatouille. Then home to mountain of towels and vacation laundry.

Ocean Shores Cinema, Sunday Night

come sing me a happy song to prove we all can get along the lumpy, bumpy, long and dusty road

Today a series of small but essential things happened that made me happy.

One, after checking in with my parents’ home (and watering plants) I walked with my kids to a local sandwich shop and people recognized us and greeted us; a woman behind the counter said to her workmate excitedly, “That’s the one that bikes with her kids!” This made me feel nice, as well as the fact my children ate every bit of their lunch then ordered their ice cream (each of them chose a horrid, electric blue bubblegum) in a very grown-up fashion. Their manners at restaurants are improving.

Two, after lunch when it seemed my son could not walk the whole way back home without incident (I had a cup of coffee to carry to boot) we crossed the street and I boarded the bus to Quinault in hopes it would get me a bit closer to my homestead. What I discovered immediately is that many people take this bus: it was more than 75% full and as soon as we climbed aboard they let out a collective gasp at my tousle-headed son, who is less than three feet tall and gets on buses with his hands in his pockets and in this case the pockets were in a handmade dinosaur costume. The driver kept trying to engage my son as I tried to ask him if he would be passing Emerson: “Yeah, yeah,” he waved at me vaguely, still chuckling after The Boy who mustered dignity, excused himself past passengers, and clambered up in a seat. Soon this driver was blasting past my street of destination as I desperately scrambled for the cord to save us an even longer walk to our house. This whole time half the bus raptly watched my children whose bus-riding skills really are funny to watch, although Nels did nothing more than act like a little boy.

Three, this afternoon as I did dishes a friend called me. She and I talked about our sick fathers. We talked about another dinner and movie date, which is exactly each of our speed. I put it on my calendar and it’s what I look forward to the most in July, second only to Ralph’s thirtieth birthday where I get him something outrageous (but useful) for his birthday. (Except damn! Ralph has a new rule where we dont’ have a kitchen gadget with only ONE function. Shit, I’d also been thinking about a sandwich grill. Back to the drawing board.)

Four, tonight another friend and her kids came over for dinner. Our four kids played marvelously together, and we had homemade pizza, veggies and dip, and more homemade chocolate cake. After our dinner my FOO came over; my parents having just arrived from their vacation. We talked about bears, churches, and I offered my mom as treasurer to my friend’s mayoral campaign.

Five, Ralph took charge of the four children as my girlfriend, my mother and I hit a local bar for one drink and some good talk.

I am so glad to have a few very dear, very lovely friends here in HQX. I haven’t yet seen much of them – honestly? I don’t want to screw anything up. I still feel slighly hermitty and sad, so it is only right I’m not painting the town. It already feels “right” and normal to have my parents back in town; to know I can see them any time (or almost any time) I want. Even to know I get to take my dad milkshakes at the hospital while he gets his chemo or feel aggravated at their pet-like creature.

"Oh yeah, ’cause we all sell apples ’round here, don’t we?"

Today my day started out like this:

This morning I’d looked forward to a half-day trip with my parents and my children to Olympia (hereon out called ORLY) [ that’s good! ]. Instead I get an eleventh-hour bailout from my mom [ that’s bad! ]. I mean, I don’t want to get too personal or TMI but she basically had some sort of shitstorm going on that meant she couldn’t be more than ten feet away from a commode. So suddenly I find myself with my mean ole dad and my son, and no Mom nor the pleasure of her company nor the gravy-train Visa card of hers for lunch, and no help wrangling The Boy, on my way to a more-than-half day errand which I have to run because my dad has fainting spells so it’s not safe for him to drive himself.

I sure hope she had fun on that crapper this morning. Oh, and to be fair; she retained Sophie and took her to school and afterwards too.

Tonight I got a date I’d looked forward to; I went out with a girlfriend for dinner and a movie – dinner at Ocean Shores’ Galaway Bay (a caesar salad and Fish Tail Ale for me), the movie Hot Fuzz. I laughed so damned hard during the entire protracted ending, which achieved levels of satire combined with heart in a way I had previously never seen. I would have re-watched the movie instantly afterwards and I can say I haven’t really felt that urge before. I can’t wait for Ralph to see it.

And speaking of Ralph – he sent me this article today (in part of his effort to write a Father’s Day editorial, an idea he stole from a friend of mine). I have always loved Carolyn Hax and this is just more evidence. I almost got teared-up reading what she wrote. And yeah – “That’s good!”

bikin’. and stitchin’.

We have decided we are only going to do fun things this weekend.

This morning I had the zany idea to go out to Ocean Shores’ Shilo Inn for breakfast. Years and years ago we had brunch there and it was fancy so maybe I was hoping for something to bring that special feeling back (hopefully without the $16-a-plate prices). As it turned out, the brunch is actually on Sunday, while Saturdays features typical breakfast fare, the most exotic item being a “seasonal” fruit bowl (which included sour grapes and wooden strawberries, the latter of which only my children would eat) but at least we had decent coffee – and decent prices, too.

After breakfast we checked out the rather lovely large saltwater aquarium and rather dreadful (but very titsy) mermaid sculpture. Such a successful set of morning activities got Ralph so fired up he would not take no for an answer on a little enterprise he’d been talking about for years, but I’d been hoping he was kidding. He wasn’t.

Now keep in mind a surrey bike looks innocuous (dorky) enough at first but it is in truth, as I found out, both extremely hard work to pedal and also feels very dangerous, as if you are going to tip over any second or fly out of control off the embankment which Ralph came close to many times and would have had not my stentorian voice (Ralph’s word: “sharp”, said while laughing at me) alerted this crazy man to near-disaster. Ralph mocked me our entire ride for being nervous but I knew what he didn’t, that this thing was a death trap. While mid-ride he ran up to the van to get his camera, I gingerly leaned out of my side of the bike (the faggot side that had a steering wheel that steered nothing, and thank God Ralph didn’t get the episode on tape where in a panic I attempted to counter his “driving” [careening] by using it) to feel that center-of-balance point. The bike stayed pointedly and solidly on all four wheels, acting like a car. But I knew better.

Of course it goes without saying that our children, ensconced in the basket in front of us, had the time of their lives. Ralph said he didn’t realize until he watched his footage that I was laughing the entire time we were out at the beach (that’s my mannish voice you hear in every second of that footage). Big Fun Weekend is looking like a good plan afterall.

Now, sadly, a 100% “fun weekend” plan got fucked because I had a prior commitment: see, the minute I felt slightly better after my illness I also knew I had to complete my obligation to finish a quilt for my children’s school. This quilt was a sad enterprise because every thread of fabric and bit of composition had been planned out by someone else – namely, our daughter’s teacher and a friendly neighborhood quilter. It was left to me (and the very vital efforts of my mother) to finish the quilt and finally, a half-hour before the auction tonight at which the item was due, drag it in, fingers bleeding but all smiles to be done, and done doing a very good job (well, except for a detail or two).

My mother and I sew very well together. I probably tease her too much, or rather talk too much shit about my superior speed in the whip stitch (I’m not kidding, I made a joke about it). But we speak our own foreign language of sewing, developed in no small part together but also refined and practiced in many ventures apart. We work well together and laugh and my dad circles in the background and wishes for our attention and makes jokes when he thinks of them. It was good times today.

This quilt is currently being auctioned off at a fundraiser and I feel a real pang that I’m not there – especially since my lovely friend Jen and her family is.

But Family Fun Weekend calls – onward!

dragging myself up to the monitor and ignoring the kids

I have been very sick and somehow only equipped with very mediocre medicine and some vodka to help me sleep (it does, as best I can). This fell right on top of a visit over the weekend from PT gal-pal Abbi and her two daughters. I was about half decent hostess (activities included: a trip to the Olympia Farmer’s Market and the uber-crunchy Blue Heron Bakery, the Bowerman Basin bird walk, and swimming at the Y) – and half coma-on-the-couch while Ralph and Abbi cooked and kid-wrangled. The amount of sleep I did get surely helped and is probably the only reason I am able to function (partially) for half of today before my mother takes the children, a childcare blessing Ralph acquired for me via phonecall last night.

OK, I have to go cough up some more blood now and try to survive until noon.

that was a good drum break

Our first weekend guests (Cynthia, her daughter Paige, and her two dogs Dwight and Lucy) have been and gone. They weren’t 100% our weekend guests as their nightly accommodations were my parents’ house. Highlights of the visit: daytrip to Westport (check out tacky website for a walk on Half Moon Bay and lunch at the Islander; hike on Stewart Park. We also watched two Mike Judge movies and ate good veggie food (my first palak paneer). Oh! P.S. There are naked surfer boys in Westport. Yes, even in the cold.

Today after our guests left to catch the train (Paige) and head home (Cynthia and dogs) my family all took a 2 1/2 hour nap together. You saw that? That just happened. It worked out well, too, as after we rose I at least had the energy to do dishes and put the house back in order. And even though my children have fully recovered from their upset tummies my husband seems to have some minor stomach bug, likely a less severe set of symptoms from the kids’ more violent displays of illness. Let’s wish him well and make sure he doesn’t envision a greasy pork sandwich in an ashtray as he reads this.

In further news: over the weekend the Maintenance Guy Tom came over and tore out the broken section of backyard fence and is currently building a new one. Fenced backyard, yay! Kids playing while I sew inside, yes! Secret chickens? Maybe.

As I was typing this, my daughter came into the room and said, “Can you cuddle me? I’m so sick. I feel like there’s drugs and gasoline in my tummy.” It’s clear it’s time to sign off.

get up, shower, workout, eat, nap, eat, bed

That about sums it up. Life in the village, today: my mom and I did not workout together since she needed to be at the Y at 8 (for volleyball) and my kids slept. I motivated myself by buying a new album (soundtrack for The Departed, as it turns out all Old Fart Music) and taking stuff to the gym so I could shower and get cleaned up afterwards before grabbing the kids outta kidcare. Forty-five minutes on the elliptical machine at a heart rate of about 160. I feel great.

My father and I had yet another good discussion: today, his medicine, his chemo, his choice in treatments. He is currently getting what I call a conservative / aggressive treatment – they won’t let him off the chemo very easily even with a (relatively) low CEA. He is hopeful tomorrow his PET scan will reveal the mass on his lung has not grown, then he will ask for a month off. “If I get a month off chemo, I may even take up running again,” he says, and I know he would like nothing better. I am silent, hoping the mass hasn’t grown. But he knows the drill and one thing long-term cancer survival teaches you is nothing is certain, not imminent death nor the guarantee you will survive another two months.

Another subject my dad brings up to me: his antidepressant, which my mom and he are arguing over (the doctor and my mother’s POV: take it, fool!). He says, “Let me ask you something. If someone told you that you had to take a pill the rest of your life to survive, to enjoy a quality of life, would you do it?” Excuse me, is this The Matrix? We choose once, into the unknown, and there’s no turning back? I answer, no, of course not. I would look into it. I would do a bit of research, find a doctor recommended by trusted sources, and ask a second opinion. And then yeah, I might take it. I don’t know what he’s talking about at first until he reveals this is about his Lexapro. He says in response to me, “OK, you’d seek a professional opinion. But what is your personal opinion?” I say that yeah, it seems we over-diagnose in this country. But that doesn’t mean the medicine itself may not help his situation. I go put a load of laundry in and think about it, remembering when psyche meds were offered to me and I declined. I come back into the kitchen. “Dad, you’re biased against this type of medication. If you had to smoke pot daily in order to eat and keep your weight up, you would. You are biased.” He is silent on this and I wonder what he’s thinking. The fact he brought the question to me is a good sign, at least.

Tonight we have my mother’s old boss over for dinner. He’s recently widowed and about four thousand years old and a real sweetheart. I watched him take about fifteen minutes to park (badly) in front of the house. I just completed a cold sesame noodle salad and my asparagus is roasting – my mom grills pineapple and marinated teriyaki steak. Ralph brings the kids down, scrubbed and in their best clothes, if not on their best behavior.

lovely gifts in the mail. and … ass.

In a few minutes: the family all-out for Sophie’s 5th birthday party. Yay Sophie! Yesterday she received a simply lovely birthday package from her friend Olivia (daughter to my friend Abbi):

From left to right: miso pretty gum, picture of Liv, fabulous summer fisherman hat, optical illusion book, small pewter night and dinosaur card.

Thank you, Olivia!

A few minutes ago I overheard my mom quickly turn to my dad and angrily say, “He smells like shit. Check his ass!” (referring to the dog who came in from his afternoon outside dump). And my dad kind of shrank in his chair when she yelled at him because he knew he’d have to do it. 10 minutes later and I am still laughing, laughing, laughing.