this is the face of depression

Today everyone was perfect. The kids were wonderful and beautiful and my husband and them were like in the kitchen laughing gaily while sipping cocktails. They were a bucket of kittens. They were a unicorn painting. Everyone was stellar.

Except me. I sucked.

I didn’t sew. Not a stitch. I wrote this arcane little social justice piece no one will give much of a damn about and those who read will likely think I get all frothed up over unimportant stuff*. I didn’t lift a finger to sort out domestic life (leaving Ralph to clean house, cook food, grab groceries, set the table and serve dinner, and raise our children). I tried to knit something but I’m too inept to figure out how to do a provisional cast-on (yes this is AFTER watching YouTube tutorials). I didn’t even get any television-watching done. I bathed and got dressed – because I have never been in my life so depressed I didn’t do that – but that’s about the only thing I did that made me feel like a human being.

So really? You know those days where you just end up ungrateful and dispirited and you suck? Yeah. That was kind of the overarching sentiment.

* OK, rescinded, a few people liked it and a few more people at least “Like”d it.

bravery is being the only one who knows you’re afraid

Back in high school my closest girlfriends and I developed a system of “Badass Points”, an informally-tracked schema whereby each of us could earn group acknowledgement by doing something daring or asinine – and usually both (like skipping class and smoking with “the stoners” – this meant working-class or poor classmates who wore jean jackets adorned with Sharpie’d skulls and who listened to metal – or telling a teacher he had a sexy bum. Unconscionable but rather tame on that last one, I know, but in my defense we were seventeen and imprisoned in our family lives and school). I don’t remember our game running very long but it was much-beloved to me all the same. I liked the idea of being a Badass when most my life I’d invested in Good Girl, when indeed I was very afraid of many things. To venture out – only a bit – and be myself instead of the Convenience I was relied upon to be – felt grand.

In that vein, I don’t think I’d earn many points these days. I’ve become someone quite risk-averse because I’ve found my position oppressively policed by forces both tangible and many perhaps insubstantial to others’ eyes; I’ve found my Fearless ameliorated by events personally devastating that linger on. These days my “badass” mostly runs to deeply-committed-to concepts of fairness that are so inextricably wound up in spiritual practice and belief they are less individual instances of Awesome and more rewarding ways of life that I nevertheless continue to grapple with – for instance, trusting my kids in their wholeness and personhood

OR –

my “badass” consists of speaking up against oppressive social mores that are trite and common, yet devastating and ubiquitous: more wearying than acutely scary. Examples from just lately: this weekend in a group when a person wondered aloud how a missing girl’s family could have let the child out of their sight in the first place – and after a pause in the conversation I indicated my non-support for such victim-blaming and insensitive speech; another example, speaking out when my daughter’s hairstylist called skinny gym neophytes “gross”.

I know at least a handful of readers might think I’m badass enough given the above examples – and a handful of other readers will eyeroll at just how limited and cowardly I really am. Other people’s verdicts don’t matter so much – because what matters is I haven’t felt a Badass in some time and what’s more I feel it’s something I need.

Being a Badass isn’t about, for me, being a jerk to other people, or proving a point to someone else – it’s about doing something I want to do because I want to do it, and I’m a grown lady who’s allowed to make mistakes – right? – without looking around to make sure there won’t be a big scary reprisal, or wondering what my reputation (such as it is, because Who? Gives A Shit) will suffer. Why do I still fear things when I’ve survived through so much so far?

If I was Badass I’d stop running to spend my every last dime on my kids’ immediate needs and I’d “selfishly” buy myself some things I want – I’d let the kiddos have holey socks and stained clothes and I’d fix myself up with some slutty and awesome bra and panty sets and maybe a top that wasn’t an old band t-shirt. But on the flip side if I was a Badass I’d stop giving a damn for the folk who talk like it’s Empowering to collect Nice Things; I’d start saying “Fuck Off” (mentally) now and forever to those who speak prescriptively about those “must haves” that carry price points that don’t reflect my foursome’s economic reality and I’d say “No Thanks, but Good Luck With That” to those with worldviews that don’t concern themselves with the earth, with fellow man here and abroad, and with conspicuous consumption and the cultural heritage of being an American who just tramples and eats everything they see.

If I was a Badass I’d stop feeling crap about my bad habits. Fuck it. Seriously, I have them. They’ll lift someday, or they won’t.

If I was Badass I’d call up that friend who’s not been a friend and tell her, “You know what? You aren’t much of a friend, and it really hurts, and I know you’re busy, but you should know I have feelings.”

If I was a Badass I’d tell my friends, to their faces, I love you.

If I was a Badass I’d let the house be messy (OK, messier) and know that I would get around to fixing it at some point so let’s move on. Instead of what I do now, which is make sure to take care of that shit first, THEN decide what I want to do with the rest of my supposedly-“free” time.

If I was Badass I’d stop worrying about my husband’s health and trust him to manage his own self. God knows I do pretty right by him.

If I was Badass I’d seek more joy and maybe be a more loving and spontaneous and relaxed lady for this man. I’d quit working myself so hard.

If I was a Badass I’d sing loud in front of other people, because I love to sing, and the only people who ever, EVAR hear it are my kids.

If I was a Badass I’d stop feeling this weird shame we’re working class and have working class lives. I’d stop feeling it was my “fault” somehow, especially considering when I reflect on other people’s lives I truly grant them the same humanity and nobility inherent regardless of status and privilege or any lack thereof (or at least I really, really think I do).

If I was Badass, I’d stop feeling people have a right to give a damn or have a say about what food I feed my children, like I’m required to make sure they grow into some awesome consumers with prim and holistic eating habits I can put down to my awesome parenting. Truth is some days I love to cook more than anything, other days (like today!) I save my mental health and take a walk to the diner and get a veggie burger with my son, and it’s pretty funny how hot and cold I am on the whole good-housewife bit. I come nowhere near the mark on being good at this, the whole well-rounded awesome Mama routine, so it’s laughable I still put this pressure on myself. And yeah, I know people shouldn’t have that right to weigh in, but weigh in they do, and dammit, I let it get to me.

That’s part of my problem, maybe most of it. Deep down I keep believing people have the right to weigh in. On my worthDeep down I still really fear not being a Nice Girl. So many things I want to say but don’t. Or sometimes I do say them then later feel a very humorless shame because my words weren’t “Nice”, or they might have been uncouth or low class or “inappropriate” according to the voice (who?) of someone who, well the one thing I can tell you, is this person is not very fun anyway. The twisted thing is, I am a good (enough) person, and I’m a friend to many and do okay by those I take responsibility for. What am I really afraid of? And another really twisted thing is I know lots of “not-nice” folk and they are some of my favorite people and they’re not scary or horrid!

I’ve made it on my own steam, and that’s to my credit as well as the family and friends who support me so well and the privilege I was born with. But inside… inside I’m often cowering, afraid to lose things I probably don’t really need in the first place, cowering even knowing I won’t lose Me no matter what I do.

But you know. One last thing? I think just writing it all out, and letting it go publicly just what a coward I am?- like, PRETTY much, all the things I’m afraid of? All of a sudden, just now, feels pretty Badass. Hit “publish” – too late now.

It’s almost 2 AM and I hear my daughter giggling at something she’s watching (with headphones) on the laptop. You know what’s really awesome? That. I have her, today, and a sense of unabiding joy when I’m with her.

So I’m going to join her.

***

“Every man has his own courage, and is betrayed because he seeks in himself the courage of other persons.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

so ready for us, the creature fear

One nice thing about having inexpensive things is nothing is worth much except the use we get out of it. So this afternoon when I take up the purchased-from-Ross bowl I’m washing, near clean, and lift my hands and smash it into the sink with all my might, well, even given the impulsivity of the moment I know I’m not breaking anything dear. It’s a cheap outburst. Practical, really.

Sadly, my plans are foiled. The thing rather stubbornly breaks cleanly in half with an astonishingly muffled percussive noise – considering I’d aimed it at a stainless steel sink – and gently both pieces bounce and roll across the counter, not at all the shattered disorder I’d hoped to grimly and uselessly clean up piece by tiny piece. It only takes one second to put each half in the trash and then it’s all over. I’m tidy like that.

I am totally fine with walking and riding the bus today for errands, or maybe more accurately, I need a few moments to be fine with it as it was kind of sprung on me, a funny-silly car becoming a likely-tragically-not-running car, pushing our vehicular repair plans and expected expense up a notch quite suddenly (please do not make one helpful suggestion regarding the use of cars. We have a car plan. It’s just taking a while. Because of stuff like rent and food. But you should see our plan! It’s totally all awesome and on the level and going to work out just great. *shifty eyes* ), and I have all these groceries I’ve gotta get because one-day grocery shopping is not so fun with our local transit, and I’m already feeling the dark closing in on me tonight, and I’m feeding the kids but they don’t want to eat the chicken noodle casserole my mom brought over that is totally fine and they need it in their tummies because it’s going to be a long trip, and if you’ve ever gone somewhere with small children and they’re hungry and you can’t get them food yet you might understand how my anxiety ramps up at the very thought, and I’m intuiting somehow GHTransit will fuck me over (and I’m right as you will see).

Today in a moment of weakness I tell Nels I think I have to put him in school. He says, “Never”, and there is a storm in his eyes. I tell him I can’t take care of him. It’s not him. He is doing great. He’s a champion. He’s fucking stellar. It’s me. I can’t take care of him right. I keep missing what it is I’m doing wrong and he seems Unknowable but deeply-experienced (to me and by me) and feral and sweet and complicated but totally fine. You should see him. I make him food and he doesn’t want it but later he mixes up banana and milk and happily munches carrot sticks and forks up bowls of meatballs, pushing his hair out of his eyes and fastidiously wiping his hands (usually on his shirt, which he then changes after washing his hands). I give him hand-knit fingerless gloves for Christmas and he says they don’t feel right, they are scratchy. I hate myself because I actually knew he was sensitive to wool and I just didn’t think ahead.

When I can’t hit the right note with him I begin to see him as Wild, and I recognize he’s doing great, but I just feel so bad sometimes, so guilty, I’ve raised him well enough he sometimes seems not to need me, I’ve done a job many parents are afraid to do, and sometimes it hurts. Today he puts his arms around me and tells me he’ll be okay, he can take care of himself. His body is all bones under smooth skin and his hair smells so sweet and he says, “Mama, you know I can find myself something to eat,” (explaining the aversion to the casserole) and when I get home later in the evening he has the bowl in his room and runs out and says, “I changed my mind, I ate the whole thing and it was delicious!” and he’s a happy clam in the sand, and there’s not one thing I did right by him today, but he’s still going to love me and put his arms around me and beg to bathe and sleep together as if I’m someone who’s worth it.

Late afternoon: waiting for the bus takes forever. Because the 3:50 came and left early so we have to wait for the 4:30 and it’s cold and the shelter has busted-out windows and the bench is damp (but speckled with a pretty and brilliant orange fungus). Phoenie and I look up information on tornadoes on the new phone and I mess about with my camera. It’s a good time, really. She is cheerful but she is eventually cold. Avoiding the wet bench she lays on a section ofdry sidewalk for a while.

Coldkin

Finally the bus comes and we get out on errands and get hot coffee and hot chocolate. Every word that comes out of my daughter’s mouth is wonderful, like music. Phoenix and I wander around the Dollar Tree and I think about all the different people there, those who shop there by necessity (make no mistake, there are lots of them) and those who get to pick and choose when they can “slum it” and when they can get exactly what they want, and I’m kind of not even sure which world I inhabit, which confuses me for some reason. The thought of so many people worse off than I, in need, struggling, it depresses me, because sometimes it seems no one cares.

Phoenix is a ray of light and confidently grips her hot chocolate in her wool-encased paws and when I mutter I need pot holders and then lip balm* she knows exactly where these things are and after helping me a bit she tells me she’ll be in the toy section. Ralph meets us there and we take our groceries home and I make a lovely Mexican Chicken Soup and quesadillas and homemade refried beans and all that chopping and stirring and mixing and correcting seasoning, okay, I’m doing a little better.

December 29, 2010

My mom visits and stays until near-midnight. Ralph eventually goes to bed. Giving up on sleep at a mortal hour, I cut a dress for Phoenix from sale yardage that is pleasingly leaf-green and I hope I don’t fuck it up, I mark carefully with chalk and set aside pieces and imagine the finished dress (maybe the imagining is my favorite part of all), and I just tell myself to get through each day and each night of this winter, I know I can survive it, even though it stretches out ahead of me like an unknowable abyss.

* Just as I post this my daughter wanders over to my desk, un-caps the Hershey’s Milk Chocolate Scented I came away with and puts her freckled nose to it, then pronounces: “Hm… smells creepy.” EXACTLY!

salir a caminar

The rain let up today so I knew we were bound outside for an adventure, or at least a longish walk to who-knows-where, as yet undecided. After all, we have everything we need in-home right now and the days and nights just run together in what feels like oppressive darkness and seaside walks or wooded hikes are almost out of the question as we don’t have the gear unless you can find a day that isn’t rainy and cold and dark and near-miserable. You can imagine today with only a half-a-fuck!-level cold I planned to get out No Matter What even if we had nothing much to do.

As I was toasting homemade pumpernickel (d/l!) and peeling oranges and pouring milk for the tousled-kids’ breakfast, my mother called in and offered to bring us a hot dish for dinner. My evening meal responsibilities shelved, the kids and I brushed teeth and scrubbed faces and bundled up and took to the streets – fine, let’s take back library books and stop at our post office box.  Out the door –

where we were snooped by no fewer than five or six cats as we walked, starting with our own little Josie and continued by a relay-method of curious felines.

JOSIE SNOOP

Phoenie was looking sharp in her new Jack Skellington hat as I continued to fail at phone-picture-taking.

Phoenie Under The Tree

And as always we found lots of little piles of refuse!

Pile Of Refuse

I am old school HQX as I can mess about with the phone while walking in the near dark (you can watch it fall during these pictures) and wetness and treacherous walkways. I need a tag just for the Hoquiam sidewalks because they are jagged and scary and mossy and slick and there are portions dug out entirely and without warning and tonight, a huge stretch along fifth street where the streetlights didn’t work and Nels fell into a cinderblock hole.

Little Ones

As we walked down M street darkness was falling… onto the creepy but cozy weirdness of my childhood home…

Chlidhood Home

Nels navigated the way with his new compass (ala his aunt Jules):

Checking His Compass

And some Christmas lights were still out (yay!).

Christmas Lights

I suspect my liittle mobile camera uploads will continue to improve – I’m new to this. But I figure if I can make my $100 point-and-click shoot pretty good shit for this journal, I can do it on the camera. App hunting is actually not too much fun for me, but a necessary business I suppose.

At the library we were (literally) hugged and kissed by one of our librarian friends and the kids played and chatted while I turned in books and picked up holds. Our library is awesome in that they are very kid-friendly and inclusive and we have a great regional system. It was dark as hell when we left but I turned on some music and the kids sang our way home through the chill.

You’re welcome, west-side Hoquiam.

baaaaaaallllls

I’m glad it happened, really. Things have been going so well on the Christmas front. Tiny, well-crafted yet frugal gifts; homemade music and Christmas cards out on time (um, today, so expect yours soon), a few home-sewn items, a few excellent purchases from our local bookstore (yay!), several very well-curated bits of goodness (specifically for my mother and kids; I’ve owned it this year). This season people often ask how it’s going and I’ve been able to truthfully say Very Well, very pleased to celebrate and honor friendships and family, but I also laugh and add there’s some mini- (or, and I hope not, major-) disaster on the way –

So today after literally sewing until I bled (Stabby McNeedleson) I put the finishing touches on the lovingly-crafted button-up shirt I was making for my brother, made from crisp and delicious Essex linen/cotton blend and Pam Erny’s awesome pro-weft interfacing, and stitched up all eight buttons with a trademark thread finish, 100% flat-felled seams (yes, including the armscye!) and a narrow hem to die for and a wonderful weight and hand and looking sharp. And I wash the shirt it and remove it to dry and press and immediately perceive THE FUCKING FABRIC HAD FURTHER PRESHRUNK, resulting in thoroughly ruinous interfacing/fabric bubbles that cannot be pressed out and cannot be ignored either as in, I will not be gifting this to my brother, no way. OH GOOD LORD NOOOoooOOOO

I can tell Ralph’s worried about money. By little subtle hints like his IM today that says, “I’m in so much pain right now, worrying about money.” Also more concrete sea changes like the fact instead of the typical breakfast cereal my kids like he purchased Junky-Os, you know the kind in the bag made of teflon-ass so a kid has to tear and tear and get a kitchen knife (unsupervised as I’m all Twittering and shit) and saw and tear and then suddenly BAM! the whole business asplodes all over the kitchen floor, which perhaps may even the financial savings inherent in a lower-grade purchase a bit moot, but my daughter cleaned the whole business up except for a tidy little pile of Os that later the cat was messing about with while tangling herself up in my serger foot pedal since the serger is sitting on my tiny kitchen counter since, even with a super crafty family, we have only one table, one, which is in the sewing room now which means we eat sitting on the floor again, no big deal but still.

Ralph and I are home at 1 AM after wrapping up Christmas presents at my mom’s house, our package for the Portland crew: my sister, my brother and his girlfriend (and her cat). At least I know my mom and the USPS won’t fuck-up the mailing of the package so all that will go well enough.

And that’s just all I have to say about all of that.

ropa y la frugalidad

I buy from thrift stores not to augment my wardrobe but out of familial necessity.* That is, we can afford some stuff new but we could not come near clothing all four of us in entirety that way. There’s a matter of how often I want to have to buy things, too, because the “new” we can afford is often something that will need to be replaced soon. I’d rather spend one hour hunting through a good thrift store than commit to repetitive trips to buy from Walmart, Target, or Old Navy (the retailers in our price point) for two reasons: one, I buy used when it is no loss of quality to do so, to lessen the environmental impact of consumerism and production, and two, I can often find longer-lasting items than anything otherwise affordable.

Outfitting oneself in clothes when there isn’t enough to make it easy is a bit of an art. Clothes can be very cheap at some retailers (competition with sweatshops is one reason my sewing skills aren’t instantly a major source of income) but there is often a risk of poor construction, poor performance, or poor longevity – or all the above. Case in point: last winter I bought a coat from Ross – originally marked $130 but showily price-slashed to $49 (this coat, but fat-size). Upon my purchase I was pretty happy to have a “warm” coat but as it’s turned out, even though there is wool content the coat is not very warm at all; it’s also showing rather threadbare only a year later. In contrast, the Pendleton wool I bought Ralph a dozen years ago (when I was working as an engineer), even through his very rough and frequent usage, looks almost brand-new and performs wonderfully.

Why not just “save up” and buy the good stuff? Yeah, right. When it comes to clothing and a single and/or limited income, the curation of well-made items is quite tricky or impossible when at any minute several members of the family have needs. For example, recently during a period of clothing deprivation – I was down to two shabby bras, a pair of too-small jeans and a pair of torn jeans for pants, Ralph needed pants and socks and the kids needed socks and underwear – I purchased Nels’ current sock supply from Walmart. They’ve not lasted six months, but it was all I could do. I remember a few years ago buying the kids higher quality socks which lasted years. There’s some fancy economics term for short-term buying out of necessity, but it escapes me.

In recent months I’ve had even more interest in self-educating regarding fabric and clothing construction. I’ve also observed after years and years of purchasing or making clothing, mending it (or not), and passing it along (or not), that the clothes I make are almost uniformly much longer-lasting than anything I’ve purchased new. If you include the wear they receive by both my children then the wear they receive in other homes they are a good investment indeed. Not that I particularly need to justify my deeply-loved craft, but it feels good to know I’ve got something you can’t buy just anywhere. And most importantly to me at least, it feels like the mystery of Well Made is something Knowable and Workable. This is exciting for me.

I am painfully aware that people in my own community, and certainly the larger world, lack for clothing. I remember a snowy bus day a couple years ago when I was rather shocked at what everyone else on the bus was wearing – soggy cold jeans with holes in the knees, many layers of polyfill coats, and cheap or bedraggled footwear while I sat in my waterproof Keens with homeknit balaclava pulled low. In other words, “making do” means different things to many people, and in describing our process and our clothing I don’t mean to pull my mouth down about it; we are certainly in a position of ease and privilege when compared to many.

Today at Thrift City I purchased the following: for Phoenix, an Italian merino sweater, a cotton zip-hoodie, pair of striped slacks, and a pair of dragon-screenprinted Converse sneakers (seriously. Is there anything better-designed for my girl?);  for Nels, two t-shirts and a Patagonia shirt that will be sacrificed for a homesewn Christmas present (shh!); for myself, four t-shirts, a pair of jeans, a pair of Ralph Lauren 100% wool trousers, and a 100% wool blazer.

I brought all of this for a little under $40. The converse, Patagonia shirt, three of my t-shirts, and striped slacks were all brand new; the rest were in excellent condition. The coat is a particular thrill for me – yes, it’s a bit “old man” in style (OK, like 100%), but if good clothes are hard to find they are very hard to find if you’re a lady of a certain height (not me) or larger than about a size 10 (I’m a 14/16). This coat buttons across my chest and is light and tailored and toasty warm. It shows signs of well-made as well: the undercollar is understiched at collar seam and handstitched at neckline and the expertly-applied satin tag reads: Daniel’s Department Store Inc. Moscow Idaho. The wool trousers, too, fit perfectly and are delightfully wool-itchy. The two seriously winter-savvy garments were about ten dollars together and I certainly couldn’t have sewn them for less (and it would have taken me hours). I’m looking forward to a lot more comfort out in the cold and wind.

In sewing news I’m currently planning some more projects to perhaps display in a maybe-fiber arts show at the Guild. I’m mostly a garment-maker and pattern-follower, so stretching a bit to find my artistic voice is exciting indeed. I’m currently working on a super-warm bunting and fashioning the shell on my old Singer, my trusty vintage machine that makes the best buttonholes and sews more pleasingly than any I’ve worked on. Both my sewing machines were gifts as well; it occurs to me one of my most treasured and loved occupations is a community effort; I owe so much of my craft and inspiration and materials to friends and family who’ve helped me along the way.

So far, my craft of garment-sewing and my job (among many) of clothing a family has truly been a blessed and humbling experience.

* Argh… this reminds me of an incident in Thrift City not that long ago. A couple very well-heeled hipster young ladies breezing through the store and looking for vintage frocks, talking loudly. I was admiring their style when one of them dropped one of the pieces of clothing they were thumbing through and either didn’t notice or didn’t care; my son Nels ran over and picked up the item and tried to hand it back to her. “EXCUSE ME,” she honked at him, clearly irritated he was “in her way” but not at all seeing what he was trying to do. She irritably moved a few inches away, continued to ignore him, and said, “Go back to your mom” without even looking up. Fuck! I wish I didn’t have this memory of Asshattery etched into my mind! Someone send me a link of something egregiously charming or silly so I can wash my brain out.

so comfortable and yet so resentful

October 23rd, 2010

Today’s family lunch: tuna fish sandwiches on fresh bread with homemade salt brine pickles*, orange and purple carrots* (pickling cukes and carrots from our CSA), sho-yu tomago* (soy sauce eggs), and Lay’s potato chips.

We were calling this a “Haunted Lunch” because of the orange-and-purple carrots and the “shriveled rotten eyes” (olives). And the “dinosaur eggs” and the tuna fish that “died by being pushed down the steps in an old spooky castle”. As you can see not all our jokes were relevant to Halloween, but it had Phoenix, her girlfriend S., Ralph and I laughing.

But Nels didn’t appreciate the “Haunted Lunch” theme and complained louder and louder about our jokes (such as they were) until he finally silently stood up and went in his room and then I heard him crying. We apologized, coaxed him back and promised it was just a regular lunch at which point he felt much better. Oh and you should hear how he says the word “lunch”. It makes me happier than just about anything.

Today I got back to some stitching and (my least favorite sew-work) mending and jeans-hemming. The second I get back there or warm the room up for use my goddamned CLOWDER is back there rolling on my feet or love-climbing up my leg (ouch!) or sleeping so soundly it looks like they’ve died:

I Leave My Sewing Room For One Minute

Baleful
“Fuck you, bro.”

Oh by the way, this particular individual I believe is responsible for giving both my kids ringworm. Lovely, huh?

“… fuck.”

The last thirty-six hours have been full of lots of little bits of delight I’ve been rather too tired to string together into my normal winsome anecdotes. Last night, travelling up to Olympia with Liights while Flo and I had a hen-cackle-fest in the van you probably cannot imagine, as bonus we elucidated the men (my husband and new drummer Steve, a boy man I’ve known since childhood old-school HQX) on various topics of film, cuisine, and vaginal upkeep; fun times. Flo told me she told her boyfriend how much she loved me because I was “just like [her], but white, with good manners.” This made me laugh pretty hard although I am very sad to be described as “good manners” (I’ve previously written on the subject) which is at odds with my occasional guilt over my crassness, my unmannered-ness, my tendency to love the word “fuck” so much I can’t stop wanting to say it regularly, and I rather do, especially with ladies like Flo, who are in general a delightful influence.

This was Steve’s (drummer) first show and he did really well. It was fabulous to hear some drums again (esp. loud ones). At one point he removed his shirt (yay!) only to put a different one on (sadkins). Ralph botched the videorecording so, oops. We also got to watch our friend (differently-spelled but also named) Steev in his one-man performance for the first time – incredibly fun. The “crowd” was something like two wives (hi!), the other bands, a few completely random drunk people who at least did not get violent. Let me just say that venue (second time playing there) sucks. It isn’t the worst show I’d been to (audience/venue-wise) but then again, I mean have you ever followed a band around, do I even need to explain how it works.

Today our kids raised themselves as per their usual lately and I somewhat sadly drifted around doing a minimum of cleaning and cooking. In the afternoon Ralph and I ran into friends visiting from their home in Hawaii. A total coincidence as they’d stopped to see us but we hadn’t been home; we saw them moments later while grocery shopping (I am glad I disrupted our stated flow of errands). Ralph and I had a late lunch out together (at the new Italian place which is still rather nice and classy, gotta eat there before the Grays Harbor infects it into something undesirable) then came home to the kids: Phoenix has a new girlfriend S. and we had this girl with us the last 24+ hours; staying the night Friday, drawing pictures, going to soccer this AM (Phoenix’s team won), teaching one another Lady Gaga and Taylor Swift, playing at the not-really Lion’s Park (and getting incredibly muddy – I approve), then roller skating deep into tonight: in general running the town. What a wonderful thing for Phoenix. I remember friendships like that as a girl.

While the girls skated Ralph and Nels and I went to the 7th Street Theatre’s showing of Mamma Mia! In a surprise coup of awesomeness there were actually hundreds of people there and the atmosphere was lively. Nels got very affectionate toward the end of the film, feeling deeply moved by the subject matter and songs. He rested against Ralph and I under the starlit high ceiling until we came back home to a warm house, hot baths, waiting beds.