Three words… GLOWING WOLF WATERFALL

We’re moving! Here’s a preview of a corner of the house, the first item we brought into it (purchased today at a STEAL of a price), and – hopefully – the awesomeness of things to come.

 
The new (to us) rental is owned by my aunt, and sits directly next door to my mother’s (the house I grew up in).

Moving is expensive and a bit disruptive. I’m trying not to stress about it. Don’t sweat the small stuff, and it’s all small stuff. Word.

This Island Earth MST3K

movie talkers and perhaps-ill-considered magazine spreads

This Island Earth MST3K

I grew up in a family of ardent film-watchers. I used to relate to others that I “grew up without TV” which was true, but not technically accurate in every sense. That is, we had no channels nor cable so I wasn’t exposed to commercials nor got any regular dose of the popular shows (“Seinfeld”, “Beverly Hills 90210”, “Melrose Place”, and “The Simpsons” when I was in high school, for example). However we did have a television set and my family would regularly watch feature films, back when Video Vision and the liquor store abutted one another here in West Hoquiam.

We watched at home more frequently than attending the cinema. We had a ritual of renting a VHS tape or two on a Friday or Saturday night. Snacks and pop for my brother and I, Manhattans for our mom. Back in the day when VCRs were new and not in our pricepoint, movie nights were rare, as we’d have to rent the VCR itself. I seem to remember a black plastic molded case weighing approximately five hundred pounds, and how it would set my heart to pitter-patter when mom or dad would haul it in. Before viewing we’d stove-pop popcorn, throwing melted margarine on the mess and shaking in a thick paper bag that would become spotted with grease and that we’d all share from (air poppers have always seemed frivolous but kind of magical, reminding me of the vision of my shirtless dad making sparks on the range and usually burning a fair number of kernels on the bottom, later leaving the pan to “soak” – which meant leaving it for my mother to wash).

Given the communal nature of and family-feeling of movie viewing, I was destined to develop the most ardent affair with the television show “Mystery Science Theater 3000” – which again, I was exposed to via wobbly-lined VHS copies (prior to syndication the show carried the end-credit tagline, “Keep circulating the tapes”). If you don’t know what MST3K is, you don’t know one of my deepest and truest loves, a show I’ve never not weekly or nightly watched repeats of and of course, raised my children with – bundled up in bed or on the couch laughing at half-arsed Godzilla knockoffs and Conan the Barbarian wannabes and the weirdness of the Gamera franchise and all the many, many mansplaining white male scientists – all elements of film which give me a fierce joy to this day. The last episode of MST3K aired in 1999, but in recent years the writers involved with that most magical of shows split into two groups, Rifftrax and Cinematic Titanic, and they basically do the same thing – riff on movies with comedic precision, pop-culture awareness, and timeless historical context. Good movies, bad movies, old movies, new movies, first-run box office blowouts and oddities you almost wouldn’t believe existed. As of this writing I’ve seen almost every offering from both camps, including a few live-broadcast events and one live-actual-writers-riffing-right-in-front-of-us-at-a-club memorable evening.

So in honor of our Fisher-cum-Hogaboom B-movie traditions, tonight we’re watching the Rifftrax version of Warriors of the Wasteland (a subpar ripoff of cult success The Road Warrior) and I’m just too-too excited to fire it up.

And you know? I was thinking how much I like one of the “stars” of the as-yet-unseen film – Fred Williamson, “actor, architect, and former professional American football defensive back”. I was considering how many straight-to-video and/or blaxploitation films he’s featured in (as well as, a personally-adored little nugget, his turn as the grouchy captain in 2004’s Starsky & Hutch, RIP Chris Penn), and how much I love his mustache, and how I want to invent a Pin The Mustache On Fred Williamson partygame for that B-movie party I’ve always wanted to plan but don’t think anyone would like as much as me, and in doing some research (IMPORTANT I swear), I discover Mr. Williamson was featured in Playgirl back in 1973 and I just can’t… help myself. I have to know.

I simply must Google search.

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Wait for it…

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Fred Williamson 1973

Well hell. It’s a solid enough concept, but talk about an awkward delivery! And SANS MUSTACHE? WTF were they thinking?!?*

***

In other news, I’m aware my blog has been either suffering technical problems, or not available at all, for some time. I apologize for the difficulties and delay. Hopefully things are all tidied up now. Thank you to those who emailed, IM’d, tweeted and messaged me etc. both regarding technical difficulties they’d experienced, and their desire to read my writings again.

In the intirim since I posted last I’ve gone through a fair bit, and have written little except in my notebook and daily journal (so I guess, I’ve written, I haven’t typed). I have been deepening my spiritual practices whereby I got to discover more about, and make great progress in overcoming, my fear of my own death (neat!). I went to a long workshop the other day regarding neuroscience, trauma in childhood, addiction (to chemicals or process), and forgiveness work. I have a surgery scheduled for this Friday and I’ve been ill, good days and bad days – but always, so far, grateful days. These recent health setbacks have given me the opportunity to gracefully accept assistance, love, and ministrations from others. For instance today I slept much of the day even though it hurt not to be able to get up and run around and fix the house up and work on my current client’s sewing project. But just as I was pulling myself together out of a hot bath (after most a day my children had been caring for themselves and letting me sleep) a friend came over, put away my dry dishes, washed the dirty ones, and took the kids and I out to lunch!

And today it really, really helped.

And now? On to Mr. Williamson and his fierce hirsutitude, some bad bad 80s hairstyles, and lots of low-grade explosions of scrapheap cars.

* At least the kitten looks happy. And who wouldn’t be?

Fall Art Gala at Grays Harbor College (Pre-Show Fashion Shoot)

Sneaky?

Haute Fashion

Haute Fashion

Haute Fashion

Haute Fashion

Haute Fashion

Haute Fashion

Nels was very proud of his ensemble and called it a “disguise”. Pheonix, though she adored the dress, said she did not want to smile for photos. With her looks, physicality, striking gaze, and postures of ennui I can often picture her as a fashion model.

Up Close, Flowers, Leaves, Vine

As for the dress, I had a great deal of fun with it. The finished garment involves a wire “vine” that twists and turns as you like it, with flowers and leaves applied by hand. The dress itself has hand-applied leaves and roses on the bodice. I hope to take some more photos and describe some of the dress construction in detail, as it was a very fun and rewarding project, turning out exactly as I’d planned.

The Gala was a lovely event. I did not rest well yesterday and still have a cold, so I was not able to enjoy the show with as much vigor as I’d normally have. However, Ralph and I did manage to gift my mother with a wee website and business cards, which I’m hoping she will enjoy.

Time: to rest.

My baby likes bacon / And that’s what I’m making!

I’m inexplicably tired this evening so while my mom visits and Ralph bustles about making dinner I lay on the couch under a blanket. I feel vaguely nauseated so I’m giving myself permission to rest. An hour earlier I’d been trying to do some work, and after a bit of that I’d realized I was floating in an odd trance. One difference between me today and me of not-that-long-ago is that before I might have rested just as I’m doing now, but I’d feel terribly guilty doing it. OK, I still do feel a little guilty. See, the Guilty Monster inside me is still trying to blot out my existance and my conscious contact with God.

Dinner was incredible. Ralph made some kind of corn butter rice, lemon broccoli, and cedar-planked salmon, the latter of which was the most tender and delicately-flavored salmon I’ve ever, ever had. It was seriously amazing. Wedges of perfectly-ripe cantaloupe completed the meal. All five of us sat down and shared repast and conversation and after that the kids packed their suitcases, kissed me goodbye, and headed to my mother’s.

Ralph is very good at following recipes. He doesn’t take shortcuts if he can avoid it. It pays off. He is a very good cook because he has learned alongside me over these years (although he doesn’t seem to think he has) and he has a more exacting and precise methodology than I.

I haven’t mentioned here (yet) that for the last six days or so I’ve barely cooked. Ralph has taken over the job of meal planning and preparation – now his territory for the nearby future. This means he plans out what to eat and makes grocery lists, shops (a lot more than before, although I continue to do some), cooks and cleans. And me? I help. I let him have this job, but I help.

Oh shit, I am ambivalent about this all. But I am very sick and I am recovering. I also will mention I did the bulk of this work, like so many women in families, for… OH TEN FUCKING YEARS. I got so burnt out that I wasn’t even angry or resentful. I was just so so tired and confused. Even though in the past I’ve done this task well enough, the past few months I wasn’t very effective. My appetite had dwindled and my inspiration began to implode. My fridge was feast or famine and I drooped leaning against the door looking in, uninspired and uninterested. It was Sucktown, USA.

I am now the “helper” and Ralph the master. Last night I told him it was hard going for me to accept this – those old old labels of “selfish” keep rising up and yammering in my head. I have lost objectivity to know how fair it is for him to cook, as I told him, because he worked fulltime and it didn’t seem right (I can’t even believe I believe this, but old training is quite effective). To this he responded, “YOU work fulltime, taking care of yourself and keeping our children alive.”

The other day I asked him, Was this what it was like for ten years, you mostly got this great food and you didn’t have to think about it much? He said, “Yup, pretty much.” and we both laughed. Then he said, “I know I shouldn’t laugh, but, yeah. I was playing Legos with the kids.” I’m not mad about any of this but I’m kind of stunned. I’m just sick is all. I need time to myself and time to rest. And time to help others and time to be here for my family too. I have a backlog of not-resting. It’s kind of incredible. I could have lived this way a lot, lot longer, but I can no longer do so.

My appetite is returning. Slowly but surely. Tonight’s meal sure was simple and lovely and fun – for all of us.

Big cold sunless skies, tumbling down, down

Today I had one of those breakdowns… a good one. Hot tears that just came and flooded, no congestion or anger. Crying and crying but it was okay after the first surrender, I didn’t mind. Crying at first from confusion and despair and then of brokenness and then finally of healing, sitting in a living room and crying with people I knew to trust, who were there for me. Like a home I never had but would have been there for me had I found it earlier.

Yeah, today a few people saved my ass, and in a totally separate incident (or was it?) today I witnessed an act of anonymous generosity that was hard to believe but only to be experienced.

Today I live a different life than I used to. Life before seems a bit alien.

The kids played on a giant wooded hill and ran about with the hose to cool off; later they hit Grandma’s and harvested her carrots (she paid them). I came home late-ish and Ralph made Taiwanese spaghetti – delicious, if you’ve never tried it.

Oh, and as I’m typing and waiting for the kids to be ready for bed? I’m watching a live #twitterbirth. Fuck. Yes.

Life is incredible.

Sophie! circa April 2003

I’m so used to doing everything with you / planning everything for two

Sophie! circa April 2003

When my daughter was about ten months old her interest in breastfeeding suddenly waned. Of course by then I’d heard of babies so-called “self-weaning” at even earlier ages, but at the time I had misgivings about the whole business. I wasn’t sure if she was ready to quit nursing altogether or if she was just taking a break, and I was damn sure I wasn’t quite ready – and most distressing, I didn’t know my role in all of it. It was a painful experience and, as so many mothering quandaries often are, one that felt – in final estimation – mine to sort out, with the help of my daughter, who was of course very, very little (months younger than the above photo). See I suppose I couldn’t or rather never have relied on the comfort of mainstream “experts” directing my life. While I’m thankful for this character trait, to the extent we resist conformity we may pay the occasional price of Arbitrary Self-Inflicted Agony.

So I sought the advice of some women I trusted, women and medical professionals who knew their shit regarding nursing. Looking back I now know I was privileged to have started my family in such a pro-breastfeeding culture. I remember one lactation consultant, at least, telling me that in light of the fact my daughter was first walking she might be a little distracted. If I wished I could use this opportunity to encourage breastfeeding – you know, just offer a sip now and then – and that my daughter might resume her interest. And I did – and she did, too.

For about a week I felt a panic that perhaps I’d “forced” my will on my infant daughter (although of course I never “forced” a feeding), and perhaps more alarmingly, that I’d lost the opportunity to help her be “independent” (ha!). You know, that I’d done something hippie-Earth-Mama-selfish and facile and my child would suffer for it. Et cetera.

Of course, as it turned out my daughter nursed for over two years more, and this was an incredible experience – I can’t even recount all the many wonderful memories I have and the closenesses we lived (and still, she seems so little to me at weaning, when I look back!). To this day I feel a stunning and overwhelming sense of gratitude for the women who advised me as they did. And I suppose I should be grateful for my own instincts which led me to the counsel that worked best for me.

But today I once again hover in a position of minor parental agony; the children seem in so many ways not to need me, and yet I cannot seem to let go of most a decade of intensive care. I sense they are more independent than ever and that we are providing everything they need as best we can (and conferences with the children themselves support this). I know they can tell me what they need (Nels: “Snuggles and love and food and my Little Mama”) – and yet I am prone to guilt if I spend a few hours without them in mind. At least, on this last count, pervasive Guilt is old behavior and I hardly expect to be rid of it like magic just because I’m now sober.

All demonstrable evidence suggests the children are thriving; yet I keep searching for fault within myself or something I should, or shouldn’t be doing. This is prideful and this is arrogance; when I do this I am willfully blind to the beauty of their daily lives. They are surrounded by people that love them, and they live in a home and town they adore with people and animals they love deeply. They spend most of their time outside and are courageous in their exploits and fierce in their friendships. Their summer is full of everything I loved from (or wished I had during) my own childhood: sleepovers and waterparks and ice cream and books and tree forts and visits to neighborhood shops where everyone knows them, bike rides and gardening with their grandma. They continue to show moral and emotional traits that bring joy to others. They are loving and directly hug and greet all manners of friends, young and old.

They are empathetic and considerate. They are kind. Twice now in the last week I’ve had sleep problems (meaning: onset insomnia, staying up watching shite escapist television on Netflix). Both these mornings the kids rose, dressed themselves, ate, washed their hands and faces, brushed their teeth, cleaned up after themselves breakfast-wise, fed the cats, and checked on the chickens, bringing in eggs. They called their father – but in the next room, whispering so as not to wake me (Ralph told me later).

It’s absolutely amazing at times their consideration and maturity; and yet, to be honest, it makes me want to cry.

In short I am experiencing an insecurity around my Motherhood that I feel neither my children nor my husband can fully understand (although some of my close friends and family seem to relate). It’s as if I’m asking myself if I’m brave enough to self-care a bit more. Or maybe I’m afraid if I were to do so, something Horrid would happen or I’d suddenly miss a need of theirs and I’d screw it all up. Somehow.

It’s funny because as a child the word my family used against me that hurt the most was “selfish”. Somehow I grew into a different kind of Selfish than what I suppose they meant; today my sins seem to be that of self-obsession (Perfectionism) coupled with a lack of self-respect.

I don’t want to model that for my children – anymore.

Phoenie & A Newt

amphibious as it turns out

Today I was up running about, doing dishes, and cooking for a few concerns: first, the salad to bring out to the campground for an early dinner, secondly, a meal to take to the Mission (today we did not make up our weekly Conch meal* – but we continue to feed the hungry with food donations). For the latter I’d made up about ten servings of a salad: brown rice, black beans, corn, small-dice celery and garlic, vinaigrette dressing. I picked up a bag of hot fresh chips from Los Arcos ($2) to compliment. And – for myself – I got an Earl Grey tea latte from Tully’s for the drive, lactose intolerance be damned! (Tomorrow I’ll be weeping though.)

Out at the lake Nels and I found my mother and my daughter playing with another grandparent/children family scene. After sitting and talking with my mom I could tell something she could not: my two kids could play for FIVE HOURS (no joke) nonstop, in the water, and weren’t going to want to come away as early as we were. My mom still has that grandma or occasional-in-charge-grownup or whatever sense, thinking a playdate should be like an hour at most. You know, I’m realizing kids actually don’t nearly have the short attention span adults do.

We stayed a fair while at the lake edge, and I was due in town at seven, so there wasn’t time to camp cook – nor did my mom have the energy for her part (she and Phoenie had not slept well the night before). We travelled the few minutes into Montesano to an open and family-friendly diner (fortunately, the dish I’d brought for campside dinner – a salad with precisely-slided broccoli florets, dried cranberries, crumbled bacon, peas, sunflower seeds, and a sugar/red wine vinegar mayo dressing – was safe enough in my car, tidied in a cooler and iced). We four had a lovely meal but soon my little girl was curled up on my lap sleeping. My mom worried the girl had over-tired but Phoenix wanted to go out for her second night camping. I carried her to the car (stopping briefly to say Hello to a boy, ha, I went to school with) and loved her up then we parted ways.

Today: Phoenie and a newt. She, of course, is expert in catching them. This newt was so goddamned cute. (Yes, I’m a poet and boy don’t I know it!) It had it’s little mouth open at one point and I almost died from the sweetness:

Phoenie & A Newt

Home and picking up Ralph, who was deathly tired. Now into bed with my two fellas – time for some grateful prayers and lovely cuddles.

***

* What’s up with the Conch thing? Nothing, we still want to finish our tour. We’ve had a few breaks – not my original intention. Ultimately enough people held on to baskets and dishes (part of our mission was to be as environmentally conscious as possible) that it took the wind out of my sack a bit. I should probably get my shit together but I’m a bit tired from other commitments lately!

Phoenix, Platinum

i told you to be patient; i told you to be fine

Today I was up early juggling housework and ferrying my spouse to work (Happy birthday, Ralph Hogaboom!) and getting the Mercedes to the shop for some more information on the (probably) brake job. I arrived home and prepared breakfast for the kids and packed up my daughter for a two-day camping trip with my mother. I had a meeting in Aberdeen this afternoon and a few more errands (including, a friend asked me to start a knitting project for her, and I had to hunt around our somewhat sparse LYS for new needles) and so I sorted all that, then –

By the time I got home my mother, a friend, and a child I’d not yet met were on my porch. I ran about getting Phoenie ready to go and fielding unexpected (but delightful) company. And then I looked up and my girl had vanished in my mom’s minivan – in fact it had been so busy she hadn’t kissed me goodbye but once and I’d barely noticed (this kind of kills me). So anyway I took a walk with my friend and the other kiddo – who loved Nels’ company. My son in fact, is a delight especially and primarily when I have only his needs to attend to. It was nice to have a walk and talk with a friend, too.

But every day is different, and sometimes I’m ready for challenges with aplomb, and sometimes not. I don’t like to spend nights without my husband or kids. And right now I miss Phoenix so much it hurts. It will pass. I’ve been without her nights and even weeks before. As long as she’s happy where she is, I’m good – sort of logically, mentally, even emotionally. Something just aches tonight.

I know she misses me too. She called me only a few hours after we parted. She sounded fine though (“I went fishing,” her sweet little duck voice with perfect acuity). I’ll see her tomorrow afternoon. Her voice is like music to me and her body like the most familiar and welcome body I can slip into my arms and I’ve known her smell for almost a decade now and it runs through my veins.

So it’s hard to calm myself, to sleep at night without her voice while we watch films about B-movie monsters or Komodo dragons, and without her arms around my neck, and without her saying funny shit, without the sight of her and her brother and a cat (at least) all tangled in the bed in the morning. Years of memories.

Just before she left. I wanted to get a picture of her platinum/near black hair, which is fabulous. She isn’t really stricken with ennui here, I was trying (mostly unsuccessfully) to get the whole business photographed well enough:

Phoenix, Platinum

Phoenix, Platinum

My little beak, I miss you so!

songbird

Phoenix & Her New Bike

Phoenix & Her New Bike

Paid final installment, via layaway, through the local bike shop. A grownup bike, very lightweight with Shimano shifters. All kinds of awesome. Terry tells me it will fit her until she’s about 5′ 4″. I’m 5′ 5″ and she’s catching up to me though. I almost cried seeing her on this bike.

She couldn’t wait for us to drive it home and borrowed a helmet from Terry to ride it right that minute, she told Terry she didn’t need a kickstand. I paid right as she left then I hopped in the car and thought I was right behind her (along her route) but never saw her. I got home and she was already in the driveway with a group of neighbor boys surrounding her. My mom told me later in the day, she saw Phoenie’s first ride, along 7th Street, saw her smiling a huge smile and flying.

It hurt a lot to watch her, but I guess it was a good hurt.

Phoenix & Her New Bike

[T]he bicycle will accomplish more for women’s sensible dress than all the reform movements that have ever been waged. ~ Author Unknown, from “Demerarest’s Family Magazine”, 1895

las piedras rodando se encuentran

Nels Y Javier

Nels donde recibe un buen corte de pelo. Javier originally hails from Columbia and calls Nels “my little friend”, plus teaches me a bit of Spanish. He gets along with my son quite well, probably porque él ha criado a ocho niños and can handle Nels’… willfulness and lack of self-discipline.

At The Garage

Car work. Or rather, waiting on it.

Today: a visit to Lake Sylvia, for Phoenix and Grandma to scout out next week’s camping spot:

Ominous But Only Pictorially So

I Shall Say No More

Rescue

Phoenix found fishing line and a float in the water; heeding the posted signs citing this as dangerous for wildlife, she went through some effort to pull the mess out.

She’s that kind of person.