the poetry of the earth is never dead

My girl, in a tree, in Montesano.

Savory Faire In Montesano

By the way. It’s so fucking beautiful where I live.

Erstwhile Creamery

I gave a girl named Patience, whom I’d never met before, a ride to her parents’, then a ride back into town. And while we waited at her folks’ place…

Out Wynoochee

Cows were unimpressed.

Then, the four of us went out to our friends’ for lovely conversation, screwing about with saws and hammers in the woods. Snacks. And of course, a fire – and s’mores.

Marshmallow Gourmands

Can't Get Too Close

And here? Is your moment of… well, whatever you want it to be.

Love-Trance

also, some typically mediocre mobile uploads

La Espera Por Tacos

(Nels y la espera por tacos)

“Gracias por la ayuda con la lengua,” I tell the fellow as he ducks back through the kitchen with my horchata. Good lord I hope that’s not a double entendre. He smiles and says “De nada”.

By the way, a few minutes after this exchange I was deeply involved with the Best Thing Ever, not just because hunger is the best sauce and I hadn’t eaten all day, but truly these tacos de tijuana (as I think they’re called) are so delicious tears forms in my eyes within the first few bites. They’re full of butter-sauteed shrimp, mozzarella, bacon, garlic, and (usually, but I skipped it) onion. The guacamole is tart with lime, fresh and creamy and with that perfect bite of raw onion (shhh… the only time I eat onion is fresh and on Mexican/South or Central American cuisine)! The horchata cold and sweet, the tomato firm and flavorful and sliced exactly as I would do if I were making it for my favorite ever grandma. Good lord. Just typing about it now I’m reliving it, and I’m only sad I can’t go right back and get another order.

A few minutes later and the boys and I are heading out, carrying a wrapped parcel for Phoenix, enchilada de pollo con todo el parte.

Recently: the weather has swerved back into rainy and grey and dismal (Surprisetown: Population Zero). I’m taking deep breaths at night to quell the anxiety (also: Percocet). Back to my one-day-at-a-time survival work. Finding  “good enough” in my constant self-administered performance review, enjoying the lovely things I have in my life daily.

Which brings me to today’s Hogamoment of Zen: have I mentioned we have four cats? FOUR. Goddamned cats. Ralph spends roughly half his hours buying cat food and litter, also vacuuming. The cats help him out. By doing shit like this:

CAT BULLSHIT

Oh, did you want a closer look?

CAT BULLSHIT CLOSEUP

SNAGGLE TOOTH FOOLISHNESS

Don’t worry. The other chair is being cared for too:

Hammy & Josie

Seriously, kitties, no, please – try and relax. Just try, mmkay? We’re worried about you.

something waits beneath it

Our household is usually such a peaceful and cozy one and never so much than late at night, dishes done and the house tided, the kids (usually) on their laptops or one of the other computers in the house – or like now, playing with clay and reading quietly. Ralph is asleep and so are all the cats; Hamilton in bed up around his neck, Harris under the kids’ easel, Josie on our phonograph, and Mable in a cardboard box Phoenix found today and brought home to fit with towels for this very purpose.

The family is happy and healthy. I am feeling better and drinking (booze) less (yay!). The kids are joyful and content. Ralph suffers a bit as at night he typically stays awake longer than he should (for his sleep’s sake), because he wants to have time with us. As for the kids and I, our night-owlery is something we can afford to do with no ill effects; without a school schedule we are free to pursue the sleep and rest and activity we need.  I am quite surprised to see how different our winter rhythms are than summer was. One of the principal joys of having seasons is appreciating the one you’re in and looking forward to ones to come.

That said, the children don’t seem to mind the gloom and cold, yet this year I do. I wonder why?

A Bath With My Young Son
(Small Stone #5*)

Your skin like velvet
Even in the cold pale of winter,
Rich like coffee and cream.

Small stone project

nice things

I slept an awful lot last night although somewhat intermittently. Today I felt so much better than I had in some time, which I contribute primarily to last night’s IV rehydration measures. Our day was a restful and cozy one hiding from the battering storm outside and cooking – muffins loaded with golden raisins, coconut and coconut flour, cranberries, pecans, pineapple, apple, and carrot. In addition to my regular work I’ve taken up a new hobby: drinking (water) and peeing. I’ve always hated to pee – I would have been blessed to be born with the (mythically) larger male-bladder or perhaps the convenience of a real-life stillsuit.

We had a standing invitation tonight at my mother’s for dinner. When she invites us thusly it’s usually a welcome affair, not least of which as it’s so very rare for me to get a homecooked meal that I am not 100% making or at least largely instrumental in providing. Tonight we arrived at my mom’s bearing a winter salad with apples and pears and cashews and homemade lemon poppyseed dressing (and I brought some of the abovementioned muffin recipe, baked into a tidy loaf). She served us fettucine alfredo, roasted butternut squash, local (and delicious!) cranberry sausage, and of course wine and iced lemon water and our salad alongside. Dessert was a turtle sundae in chocolate cups with a cinnamon swizzle-stick. The kids loved the chocolate cups.

My mother’s living room was decorated in the boughs and ornaments and LED lights she typically puts out every year, the last few years with my kids’ help. She had a new art piece on the wall and a watercolor on the desk next to fresh poinsettias. She’d recently treated herself to a new MacBook Pro and has been giddily getting used to it; tonight the kids helped her with her tabbed browsing problems and soon it was BIEBER FEVER streaming radio while the kids showed us their dancing moves and I drank eighteen glasses of water. After a bit Phoenix was soon drawing quietly and Nels was cuddled up next to Grazdma in my father’s favorite armchair, their sock feet entangled and their arms around one another. We talked about Christmas plans and artwork and local gossip and life in our HQX and my wistful wishes for a sewing studio in one of our practically-derelict and empty for-rent rooms downtown.

Upon getting home at about 10:30 it began to dawn on Ralph and I that the persistant cat yowling we’d heard off and on during the day was not from a stray or the intermittent cries of our CLOWDER members asking to be let in from the rain off and on today, but from the one cat we hadn’t seen for several hours – little Hamilton. Ralph went out to investigate (we are currently under a flood warning for the area) and heard her cries from under our flooded foundation – we’re talking a foot and a half of rising water. Ralph brought out a light and extension cord and took off plywood sections and peered around until he finally found her – as it turned out, safely (but unhappily) resting on the I-beams. Since she was unwilling to do anything but yell and look worried he tried a variety of solutions and ended up putting one plank down, then a second plank to help get the cat onto the first plank, and then crawling around and calling and coaxing her amidst the wild windstorm. And yeah, the cat finally made her way in (after a bunch of fakey attempts) and came inside and started inhaling food while I ran a hot bath for Ralph who was thoroughly soaked (the cat was pretty much bone-dry). What was funny is how he went from so upset at the thought of the wee one drowning, to realizing she was entirely safe and doing that cat pain-in-the-ass thing where you can’t exactly just walk away and ignore the situation, but it’s entirely inconvenient to attempt to remedy it, too, and by the end he was simultaneously completely relieved she was safe and also entirely aggrevated.

All’s well that ends well, I s’pose.

nocturnal goings-on

Nels’ current trend this week is to stay up all night – literally – and sleep all day. I just took this video at about 5 PM. Since sleeping solo is generally not practiced in this house, Hammy took one for the team and joined him. Warning, very low-light crap vid:

[flickr video=5247434161]

In other news:

I’ve joined Gertie’s Crepe Sew-along to upgraydd my wardrobe’s dress count. From zero to one. I’m thinking I’ll document the process, provided I can take pictures in the natural light of which there is little. Posting my process here on the blog is scary for me because I’m afraid of public failure. In the past I’ve had a hard time sewing for myself; I often end up unhappy with the results. Given that, so far my community participation with Gertie’s group has been to chickenshittily comment on the Flickr pool photos. It really is a fun and no-risk endeavor to watch other people select fabrics and sew!

I also want this baby wrap pattern pretty bad so I can punch myself in the eye when I sew it up and observe its cuteness.

And the news really putting a spring in my step, this morning Wendy Priesnitz from Life Learning Magazine contacted me to ask if she could publish a piece of mine. I have a tremendous amount of respect for her work and her publication and I’m very pleased she wants to use my wook. Can I get a w00t?

“If you have lived, take thankfully the past.”

We had dinner guests today. I made:

Spaghetti & meatballs; three-cheese spinach quiche (as requested by Phoenix); salad with butter lettuce, spinach, dried sweetened cranberries, and candied pecans; country green beans with spiral cut ham; pan cubano; crudités; a cheesecake; a deep-dish apple pie; strawberries with chocolate fondue; and rugelach. For drinks we had a neprica brought by our guests, sparkling cider for the kids, and an apertif of Beefeater martinis with Santa Barbara Olive Co. martini pimento olives (we never got around to these!).

I have this shit down so much that I’d already prepared much of the food beforehand; I rolled out of bed one hour before our guests arrived. Hee.

(I just read my entry from a year ago… come to think of it I’ve been cooking the majority or all of the day’s food since I was a young woman. I love cooking – deeply – and I hope to one day be the honored guest, not the matriarch doing the work… food traditions are fabulous.)

Now we’re tucking in for a sleepover and a night of MST3K (remember those beloved Turkey Day marathons?)

We all wish you a lovely evening and hope you’re spending it with who you love, in the way you love.

[wposflv src=https://kelly.hogaboom.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/11/Thanksgiving-2010.flv previewimage=http://domain.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/image.png width=654 height=480 title=”Thanksgiving 2010″]

(Apologies for the date-rapey song… but it really is cold outside & we’re wonderfully warm inside.)

maker

I get asked often how long I’ve been sewing. The truth is I can’t remember a time I didn’t know how to sew. I think I’m only a modestly-skilled stitcher, really, considering I’ve been exposed my whole life. Some of my earliest memories of focussed work are of pinning cloth and sitting on the floor cutting with a pair of orange-handled Fiskers; of crinkled tissue cut down to size and marking notches by painfully cutting small triangles. In fact in learning something as a young child the methods my mother used were the ones I thought were The Only Way To Do It. As a grownup I’ve learned my own methods and taught my mother not a few. For instance in contrast I iron all my patterns (shout-out Amore!) and never ¡EVAR! cut them; I dispatch yardage from a table and with rapier-like acuity using a rotary wheel and mat, and I mark notches by a chalk line or tailor’s tacks.

Rollin' On My 201-2

My mom sewed a bit more as a young woman, before she had a family and career. She didn’t sew all that much while I was growing up but what is most important is – I remember she loved it. She seemed to enjoy the feeling of competence in her craft and she definitely enjoyed the design process (such as it is when you’re sewing out-of-envelope). I often think the familial example of someone who does Work and loves it is the most likely avenue for subsequent generations to take it up. This is why I’ve never much bothered to try to get my kids to sew. My guess is they will end up doing it because it’s in their blood. They know so much about it already, without even knowing they know! (They also think everyone knows how to make clothes… they don’t realize how rare this is.)

Three years ago my mother brought me my grandmother’s sewing machine – a Singer Centennial 15-91 made in 1950, both popular and utilitarian. The very machine was manufactured and shipped from the same location, only days apart, from the one a friend gave me about eight years ago when she moved from PT (mine is a Centennial 201-2, another great machine). As a Mother’s Day gift in 2009 I got grandma’s machine tuned up and re-gifted it to my mother – who hasn’t yet used it.

If I had the room I’d have kept it myself. I currently own two working sewing machines. I’d love more and to have them set up – it really is helpful, especially given how quickly I construct things – but I lack the space. I sometimes fervently wish for a room to spread out and outfit myself further with a set up serger and a cutting table and, jeebus, SHELVES would be nice! Realistically this won’t happen for some time; we aren’t likely to have a larger house anytime soon. My husband has offered to rent me a studio space in downtown Hoquiam because he is a Really Fucking Awesome Guy. But even the incredibly-cheap prices of downtown HQX aren’t in our spending plan; neither much are shelves or more accoutrement to fill such a space.

But if I could, I would snap up that opportunity toot sweet.

My clothes generally last so much longer than what people buy. My kids’ closet is bursting with garments I’ve sewn. When they grow out of the pieces (which is relatively quickly!) the clothes go off donated or gifted… I am rather shy about giving off my sewn clothes because I’m unsure of what people like and want (and I hate to mail stuff. A lot. So locals are easiest for me to gift to). A surprising number of garments end up going to the Salvation Army. Whatever their future destinations, I hope they are as well-worn and well-loved as they are when in my home.

Currently I’m only a few minutes away from finishing a couple wool coats, which I’ll post soon. Tonight I’m on another pair of Monster Booties, much requested by readers here and there. I have to put a pause on Yes to favors and outside-of-the-family work; Christmas approaches and one of my chief pleasures is sewing for those I love.

Wool Underlined With Cotton

Wool, wool, wonderful wool! How I wish I had yards and yards and yards…

French Seam

French seams on the inside of a coat – underlining exposed.

In other news, we have my mom’s (incredibly submissive, aged) terrier Tuck here for a few days while she cat- and house-sits in Portland. My mom brought this huge dog bed as well. Last night, his first night, Tuck curled up on the bed and a second later alpha-kitten Hamilton walked over and put her paw on his face. He immediately self-telescoped using his own butthole and slunk off; three of the cats took the bed in a neat feline coup. Ralph and I trained the cats off the bed (this was very easy and involved putting them outside in the snow every single time they so much as stuck a claw towards it) but I had to snap a picture for my mom.

They STOLE It From Us, The Precious!

While I did this the fourth kitty Mable watched and decided if she wanted in on the Hot! Sleeping! Action!:
Watchinz

She voted “No”, on the account of she would have had to move her body, which resembles the form and function of a Guild Navigator, about eighteen inches. Much easier to stay on the goddamned chair.

photos or it didn’t happen

Soccer on Sunday:

Soccer/Windstorm

What a wonderful, exhilarating game – maybe the hardest-working one the girls had yet. The other team had two more teammates which meant they were less taxed. The game was quite close. Phoenix made a beautiful assist to a classic-teamwork goal, and did a good job defending and passing as well. Only minutes after the game ended – the girls, having worked so hard, immediately clapping and hugging one another and the opposing team – a huge rain- and windstorm devastated the field and drove us shrieking and dismayed into our vehicles.

Nels, on our way to the game:

Nels, Pensive

Beautiful.

Cat decadence (more to follow):

Hygiene

Come Hither

That night Grandma invited the kids over for a movie (How To Train Your Dragon) and the kids in turn asked if Ralph and I could come. When we got there Grandma had set up a cozy little living room scene; she also made fresh popcorn, pumpkin pie, cookies, and a variety of drinks. It is so rare I get “taken care of” or hosted – it’s usually me on the hostess end. So this brief date was a really lovely experience. Not only that, but every time I’m around my mom I’m reminded of how far she’s come in being loving and present and responsive to children and  what wonderful spiritual and emotional support she gives me and my family. I think a lot of families feel a certain degree of tension or (resentful) “agree to disagree” issues tugging at the fabric of their relationships. My mother and I increasingly grow of similar accord, providing a wonderful, nurturing environment for the children and in turn, all of us.

Playing

This morning when I woke I found three of the four cats were sleeping with my daughter, on the pallet on the floor. This doesn’t surprise me; all sorts of people and creatures of all ages and sizes find my daughter incredibly appealing, including Harris, the snoring beast we see on the left who’s approximately the size and demeanor of a Great White Shark.

I Simply Have No Words

You may be asking yourself where the fourth cat was (the one we occasionally call “lardon”). Answer: she was waiting just outside the bedroom, ready to ambush me with screams for a refilled food dish. And like a reconnaissance mission, as soon as this was done the other two little ones were in that kitchen gobbling as well. They went back to bed with Phoenix afterwards, of course.

This afternoon I get an email there’s a Halloween Fun night planned at our library. The kids’ costumes aren’t ready (twatever, I’ll get to it before the 31st) so they dress themselves. We five (always with the extra kiddo or two) cram into the car. The wet car. That is rusting apart before our eyes. [ sigh! ] But the library was great – lots of wonderful costumes and wonderful children. They had an energetic time laughing and singing and shouting:

Led By Lisa

Nels Is Having A Good Time

Nels Is Having An Even Better Time

And then Lisa told a spooky story:

Lisa Tells A Spooky Story #1

Lisa Tells A Spooky Story #2

Lisa Tells A Spooky Story #3

Whereupon Nels’ attitude abruptly changed, huddling very small on Ralph’s lap and begging for assistance in stopping up ears:

Nels Regrets Listening To The Spooky Story

Phoenix was, of course, clear-eyed and analytical as to the quality of spooky content (that’s her on the far-right):

Children Listen To Spooky Story

Afterwards, the children painted pumpkins:

Phoenix's Pumpkin

Paint Removal

And went Ghost Bowling:

Pumpkin / Ghost Bowling #1

Pumpkin / Ghost Bowling #2

We came home to homemade frijoles refritos and pork loin shredded in homemade salsa verde, wrapped in fragrant tortillas and served aside homemade coleslaw from our CSA veggies.

Home to our cozy nest protected from the fierce elements –

Outside my window the world has gone to war / Are you the one I’ve been waiting for?