aching knees / do as I please

My little tuxedo kitty Herbert Pocket is a shy, self-contained thing; now and then, however, she decides she needs affection. She is suddenly relentless, stropping at the ankles while I cook, or – as in this morning – swarming about me as I am deep in yoga practice. She purrs and takes menacingly little chomps with her perfect white teeth and pink tongue, her eyes directly looking into mine. This morning during savasana I pull her onto my chest and she purrs and kneads and I breathe quietly.

I have taken to more yoga practice as it has helped me with the overwhelming quantity of anger I’ve been experiencing; with the furious thoughts banging around in my braincase. Somehow it is far easier to engage myself in yoga and get a respite, than any other activity save binge-watching murder shows late at night while others sleep. And don’t be a fool and tell me the murder shows could possibly exacerbate my anger; that’s not how late night murder show marathons work!

There are other wonderful distractions. Today I sat in a salon chair and talked with a friend while she meticulously stripped the virgin color out of my long tresses, washed, dried, and applied a delicious mint green. She takes a photo and then I tuck my hair back up into a cap; it flows freely only at home. I arrive back in the late evening and when Phoenix sees me they say, pleased; “My little sea-witch!”

Ralph is making up tacos and I’m dying for a shower; it’s cold out, the kind that gets deep in your bones and only hot water can salve.

My 38th Birthday: February 11, 2015

something beautiful that [I] can find

Today was my 38th birthday. I took a picture first thing: before shower, before makeup, before dressing – before my first cup of coffee, even. 

My 38th Birthday: February 11, 2015

I had a wonderful day out with family and friends. I woke to a few gifts in the post – a large parcel of treats, and a package of yummy socks. My good friend E. picked me up and we headed to Olympia for this and that. While there, Nels and I each got a haircut – he made quite a change!

My 38th Birthday: February 11, 2015

My 38th Birthday: February 11, 2015

We shopped, ate food, picked up a few things, and headed back to town to reunite with the family.

My 38th Birthday: February 11, 2015

 After we got into town, I ran off to the yoga studio and sweated it up pretty profusely on the mat – nursing my injured shoulder all the while, of course.

My 38th Birthday: February 11, 2015

 Dinner at the local Rediviva – where the chef made me something special. More flowers, and a few moments with friends and my mother.

My 38th Birthday: February 11, 2015

 My mom made a homemade cake – a white cake with fresh berries. She made separate cupcakes for the restaurant workers too. Because that’s how she rolls.

My 38th Birthday: February 11, 2015

 I don’t have a picture of this – but Ralph found and paid a violinist to serenade me with “Happy Birthday”. Every year my husband finds a way to surprise me, and every time it’s something very special. It occurs to me now that he is providing a wonderful example for our children. I hope I am doing the same.

My 38th Birthday: February 11, 2015

 Home again – finally – and I snap a picture of Phoenix, who researched how to tie a sarong, so she could dress up for me this evening. Of all the wonderful, amazing gestures and gifts today this was the most unexpected. She is a lovely lass and as you can see – I am very grateful.

 Flowers from a friend, flowers from my husband, gifts in the post: chocolate and clothing and candy and sweets.

My house is full of gifts, and warmth.

My body, tired from this evening’s yoga. My cough is a bit deeper and I look forward to rest.

I am, as always, quite grateful for the love I receive on my birthday. The loving generosity of family and friends is always humbling, and always wonderful.



tell me something good

Today my son got about three pounds of his hair cut off. At the salon a woman getting a foil stared with hostility at his before-mop of tangles, a huge multicolored straw bundle of tresses falling midway down his back. When Nels was all finished, another stylist gasped at the change. Parents, you know how it is – those haircuts make our kids look years older. I silently cried into my gratis mocha of the day.

Before (ish):

Nels, 3 Weeks B4 The Big Chop


Nels, After The Big Chop

I listed another piece in my Etsy shop – courtesy of some wonderful techniques I learned in an online class (here is a link to my earliest efforts). Pump Up The Jeans!

Pump Up The Jeans

My dog is still crazy-ill – hasn’t eaten in five days, ropy drool and lethargy. The vet hasn’t yet called today to tell me what’s up, after the pooch’s many tests yesterday. And as of this afternoon I am back from the doctor where I received upsetting news about my own condition. I haven’t told Ralph the latter yet.

I am overwhelmed with emotion at the moment while things are in apparent disarray. I cannot wait to see how the Universe is going to continue to support my family and I. Where will we go, ill and broke – and heartbroken? Will I get to support our family with my homesewn work? Will I take a fulltime job in something inspiring – or something less so? Will my readers continue to provide the assistance that has been so valuable in the past? Will we sell our cars and rely entirely on our bicycles? Can I perhaps sell my large quantities of pristine urine to people who need it? (That’s a joke… but I do produce a lot.) Will Ralph sell of his musical gear? I am open and, if not excited, kind of weak with gratitude because I can do nothing but rely on the Universe. I don’t have to be anxious because I’m simply not going to obsess on it – this has become, for today, a minute-by-minute discipline.

It isn’t as if I don’t have tons of shit to work on a daily basis, and Worry does not help. Serious financial straits provide a great deal of opportunity for creativity, and an even more challenging opportunity to not worry nor start investing in a Scarcity mindset.

The sick Me is not so awful when I weigh it alongside the very ill dog and the missing cat. When it comes to that stuff I give up a little, I die inside a tiny bit. I just have to prostrate myself on my bed and cry over that stuff. That’s the best I can do – for now.

regrets, he has them

I think I touched on how the day I bought Thanksgiving groceries, I thought if NOTHING ELSE, women should get big-ass props for (so often) doing the majority of that sort of work, and it’s more work than many people realize. It ain’t just like making a little list and picking it up. Those of us who’ve done this work years in and out with everything else we do, know what’s involved.

Today was another day like that. Cooking, cleaning, corresponding, mending, washing and drying, caring for pets. Taking children to the doctor’s then taking them to lunch.

So yeah at the doctor’s. The nurse chirps as she takes vitals: “And you must be Phoenix?” & my daughter’s like, Yes. Then, “And you must be mom? Your name?” Yes, Kelly.

Quiet a polite beat, then my son says, “And I’m the brother. I’m Nels.”


Running more errands for the pets and the kids and the family, including another specialized treatment for my daughter’s illness. Haircuts for the kids. Food for the kids, again.

Haircuts. LAWD. So my daughter gets one gal who seems to know how to cut Phee’s stick-straight, thick chestnut-red hair. A few minutes later they’re done. Nels? He’s having trouble with his stylist. I ask him, “Do you want bangs?” He says Yes. He tells the lady what he wants. She has other ideas. I’m not able to hear him clearly and in retrospect I should have come over, listened in, and helped.

A few minutes later and many inches of his hair are on the floor. She finishes up but something’s wrong. My son’s face is a wreck. His lip trembles and his body is stiff. She’s finished and asks if he likes it. He says, “It’s okay,” in the most quiet voice I’ve ever heard him use. He gets out the chair and waits in the lobby. As he gets closer to crying he drifts further away until he’s outside; he’s like a little tweed ghost fading away. He has decided, at least for today, he does not want to cry, to make a scene in public.

We get out to the car and the doors close on the winter afternoon and it’s like,


and his head is thrown back and hot tears flow down his cheeks.

We talk about the loss and all, and yeah hair grows back and et cetera, but I’m not trying to hammer that stuff home. I mean you could choose to lecture your kid about Perspective if you want,

but when it comes down to it, it’s a loss.

So; that’s something that happened today.

derpy hooves

Swimming. Ralph loses sunglasses in lake, mounts a rescue mission.

Operation Sunglasses

Operation Sunglasses

Operation Sunglasses

Hutch continues to keep his priorities clear (shown with my mom’s dog, Tuck).

Hutch Takes A Break

A benefit of an unschooling life. You vacation any time. No one else is around. You can hang out in your underwear, like Phoenix here, outdoors in the sunlight. Or perhaps you can be a bit NAUGHTY & choose the practical ensemble of STARKERS NAKED with a dangerously oversize life vest (all photos of my children published with their permission, P.S.).

Phoenix Assists, #1

Phoenix Assists, #2

Phoenix Assists, #3

Phoenix Assists, #4

Phoenix Assists, #5

Phoenix Assists, #6

In other news, I still have SuperShero Hair.

Purple. Pimpin'.


Today: a trip into Olympia, a new hair color (purple! “Pimpin’ Purple” to be exact. Yeah YOU HEARD), pho at Little Danang, an IRL meetup with Jen, friend and blogreader as well as her wonderful boy T. (squee!), a visit to The Danger Room, a new t-shirt (Henry Rollins + Glenn Danzig, Yeah YOU HEARD), Olympia Coffee Roasting Company, some Recovery, and then grilled sandwiches at the cabin whilst watching copious amounts of Animal Planet.

I notice Shelton has a different culture than Hoquiam and Aberdeen, even though one might guess it would be similar. I got harassed by two men re: my new purple hair, on separate occasions, and I was only on the street a few minutes. I’m pretty tough re: blue collar scene but not used to the Mason County wildlife, I guess.

Ralph has come down with the cold that nuisanced the kids and I last week. He’s coughy and stuff.  Let’s hope he rests and feels better soon.

mommy drinks because you LARP

MMORPing? I think.

I come home and my living room is full of a huge table, five laptops, a projection screen, and five HUGE GALLOPING NERDLETS all playing a game where they’re pretending to be in charge of a spaceship. Ralph said a few words and now they’re really loudly pretending they are actual like, space soldiers. I am sad I am not sitting on the couch with my beady-eyed dad, making snarky comments. I’m hiding here on my computer, away from those other computers.

Off now to buy some ultra-slutty red hairdye.

a brief few notes

Today I staggered out of sleep and blearily told my husband, “Please take the kids to get haircuts. They’re at 10 AM at Penney’s. They’re free.” Then I collapsed all dramatically. I wasn’t feeling it; up late and couldn’t sleep well, yet again (I stayed up watching “The Tick” with Nels until about three AM). Still, hustling up that $30-$40 savings so my kids might look slightly less like molting foxes, that’s my job.* I’m grateful Ralph was willing and able to keep our appointments.

While having his hair cut Nels was sad, probably because he didn’t want to be up that early either. Ralph tells me later he can hear the stylist talk to Nels to get him to settle, as there were a bazillion kids there getting back-to-school haircuts. And the stylist asks our son about “school”. Nels volunteers he doesn’t go to school, so she assumes he’s homeschooled and is chatting him up about that. Ralph hears her ask Nels, “So what’s your favorite thing about homeschooling?” And a beat later she stops cutting, steps back and lowers her comb and scissors and turns and says to Ralph, “Do you know what he just said?”

And my husband says, “No, I don’t.” (and later he tells me he was thinking, “I literally do not know“, and we both laughed because… Nels can say funny shit.)

“He said, ‘I get to be with my family every day all day and they are always so sweet & happy.'”

Well that is nice to hear. P.S. I am bitchy & fuzzy and confused often. I don’t even get this “always so sweet and happy”, but if that’s my son’s perception. Awesome.

The kids came home and played on the Slip ‘N’ Slide and went for walks and ate lots of food. All day, all play.

In other news: ZINE PRINTING!

tumblehome, August 2012

My right hand hurts today because I got to hand-address many envelopes. It is amazing how little of my zine-production is automated. Pretty much, none of it. I get to track all the donations and emails and addresses by hand in a spreadsheet, and I send out thank yous to each person. Ralph folds and staples the zines and helps me with some website stuff. And of course there’s all the, you know, WRITING and formatting and photo-tagging et cetera. It is a lot of work even for a little production.

So with that: Thank you to my readers and supporters. I know not everyone will see this post, and I try to thank people in the moment on Twitter, or through email, or through ecards, or whatever. It means a great deal to me to have the kinds of kindhearted support I get, in all sorts of ways.

It is an honor to be a part of the human race and a part of so many people’s lives. Not a day goes by someone doesn’t thank me for helping them. Today I know that I receive help, too, and that I never was isolated, or alone, or self-sufficient (but I pursued these illusions to my own detriment).

So. Thank you.


*By the way Ralph cut my hair the other day, and the only two people who’ve complimented the new style have been HIM and my Mom! #ruhroh

Loss is nothing else but change, and change is Nature’s delight

What have I been up to lately? Running again, a bit slower even this time so as not to wear myself out. I’m almost completely finished with a little woolen bunting that I’m quite pleased with, made for a client a bit south who has a new little relative on the way. Included in the package are a couple knit items I am dying over, they are so cute. And were so soft and lovely to work and cheered me immensely to construct. Pictures soon.

For Ralph and my ten year wedding anniversary, my mother bought us memberships to the YMCA so we are now restored to regular visitations of that facility. Today due to one thing and another it behooved me to set a swim date up for the kids with our friend H. as I wasn’t going to be able to take the time and also honor other commitments. A little after noon I left my children in the McDonalds parking lot with $10 and a duffel bag and I felt a little skeeved by a guy I saw loitering there, just one of those weird feelings. I was frankly relieved a half mile down the road when I discovered I’d kept their YMCA key fob used for entry (although all the employees know them and would have let them in) and I circled back, glad for a reason to calm my likely irrational fears. Sure enough the kids had ordered and set themselves up and Nels was putting a napkin on his lap and beaming at his sister over the strawberry milkshake they’d set themselves up to share, whipped cream and cherry and all! And the lurking guy ducked out the door with a printed paper bag full of food, probably off to do entirely un-skeevy activities like eat lunch.

Forty minutes after I left the kids they’d finished, cleaned up, travelled to and planted themselves in the YMCA waiting area to meet H. They kept track of their key fob and my change and their clothes and had a great time. About an hour after the three hit the water I arrived from my meeting to pick the kids and H. up and take them out to the taquería for lunch, finishing up some I-cord on size three needles while I waited for everyone to dress.

What else, well amongst other things I’ve been doing some volunteer work in a treatment center which is wonderfully healing and amazing every day and I am so grateful to have this work suggested to me. I finished (hopefully) some graphic design that will (hopefully) put a little money in my pocket as we are needing some furniture. I keep not turning in the fee and application to the Fiber Arts Festival here in Elma next month, and I’d better get on that.

But, tonight I sat in the bleachers and watched my daughter’s first-ever gymnastic session. She was surprisingly talented and took direction well and with interest. Observing her teacher’s graceful cartwheel, my daughter’s face lights up: “Nice!” she compliments the young woman. Watching Phoenix perform her second iteration of a backwards somersault she pushes up and out with her arms as instructed and I feel my body oooomph with sympathetic effort. I never did, or at least haven’t yet, learned how to do any of that stuff besides a simple bridge and forward somersault.

Only two boys were enrolled out of the fifteen or so children and every single girl there (ages three to ten) with the exception of my daughter had long long hair and I’m pretty sure 90% of their parents wouldn’t have permitted their girls cut it all the way off as I “let” my girl do. Phoenix was completely nonplussed when I observed aloud she was the only girl there with short hair. She doesn’t much compare herself to other girls except to observe and consider for inspiration. I have the suspicion she won’t be as prone to peer and social pressures as most girls end up being, and for this inkling, if I’m right, I’m quite grateful. Case in point, she’s determined to grow her hair out long and curl it and she is entirely unpreturbed this will take some time, and she is totally happy with the super-short hair she has now. This personal knowledge, satisfaction, acceptance, common sense and long or broad view of things puts her in a class of about, oh, the top first percentile of almost every woman I’ve known with hair vanity issues, which is almost every woman I’ve known.

I could stand for the good weather to continue, although I don’t mind the slight dip in temperature. Tonight on the way home from a book study I stopped in our most favored restaurant for takeout. I leaned against the counter with my arms crossed enduring the stares of locals as I waited for our to-go Italian fare; while lingering I spied a huge jug of the wine I was raised on and I thought of the gallons and gallons and millions of gallons. Ah, Uncle Carlo, sometimes I miss you so, but alas we have parted company forever.

I was just remembering one of the worst summers of my life, if not the worst, which was actually one of the best in some ways before it tumbled into shit. As the days careened toward doom I hosted house parties most nights of the work week or weekend and we enacted many such scenes as evidenced in this song video, including young men in their underwear while we women stayed clothed. In this way one ritual was at least a small, dramatic, fierce triumphant bit of nihilistic joy I’m sure not to forget it.