a bluebird in my heart that wants to get out



Have a look at this beautiful motherfucking car. It was last seen being awesome in my huge ass driveway which is where it is right now being awesome as usual.

(h/t because I am not funny, I just steal other people’s jokes).

Today was busy-busy-busy. I had to drive my new (used) car around town and not turn it off for a few errands because A. I had to make sure to get supplies for an event I’d committed to today, see below, and B. my new car was sold to me (deliberately) with a bad battery that had to have been sneakily kept-charged rather than the dealer just buying a new one (oh, expect a scathing online review. Actually, more a matter-of-fact one) and it was so bad I would need a jump at any juncture.

As of today I’d already YouTube’d up how to get to and examine the battery (it’s kept under the backseat! there’s a positive terminal in the engine for jumps though!), something I figured out that my husband hadn’t and the car parts dude hadn’t. The car parts dude (a big strapping fellow) wasn’t going to help me switch the battery out because of that seat thing, and when I told him it was either that or jump me, and by the way the seat was no big deal, two spring-loaded clips, I wasn’t strong enough but my husband had done it the night before – well then the dude jumps up and whips my battery out there and yanks on the seat and helps me switch out. Sudden wellspring of altruism or indomitable male ego? We’ll never know, but I drove off after a nicely-purring startup and a weight off my mind and a fair bit of cash spent. As well today I have jumper cables and the thorough knowledge of how to do jumps, since I had the pleasure of performing several the day before.

The stereo’s anti-theft code didn’t come with the car (and seriously? Retrieving one’s code is a PITA) so Ralph suggested upgraydding the stereo and I said Okay, knowing entirely the expense this might incur. Luck was with me as the shop I chose (the one my dad had frequented) had their little Euro antennae adaptor etc. and we had it all done this afternoon. The fellow who installed the stereo was named Roscoe and I found out he is a champion basil grower – I shit thee not (as in wins Grand Champion etc. at our County Fair). I had been querying him about car stereos and a few other things and sat practically on his lap watching, and he humored this (and the soft brass semi-stripped special-five-sided-hex-key-required bullshittery to remove the factory install), but when I asked him about the basil he brightened right up. We talked for a while and he ended up sending me home with four plants, including a lemon basil and very explicit instructions to get the best out of the plants – and how to start new ones via cutting (his preferred method).

Automotive Accessories

Fucking Hoquiam. It’s just great.

We had a Doll Picnic today at the Gallery as part of our Childhood Perceptions show (this was the abovementioned event I was required to bring food and drink and do some work at), including a professional dollmaker and many readings and a very large dressup game and food and drink – all orchestrated by our show’s co-curator Jeanne.

Master Reader

The event included many of Barb Shillinger’s dolls and her expertise and willingness to talk to children about them.

E. & (Some Of) Barb Shillinger's Dolls

Phoenix chose an alter-ego for an hour (“Fern”):

… while during cleanup I quite sensibly was waylaid by children wanting to climb in my trunk:

Skunks In The Trunk

And then there was Robin Moore’s Charles Bukowski hand puppet that I thought was stellar:

Guess Who?

I was pulled and pushed all ways today but I got through the day and had some lovely, lovely moments. As you can see.

I can’t quite express how happy I am to no longer be forcibly car-free. It has made life easier. Maybe. I prayed a lot while our cars were out – prayed not for a car, but for acceptance, patience, humility. I am in a way more worried now because cars cost money, and we haven’t in the past had money set aside for car bullshittery, so it’s been hard. And perhaps most relevant to this story, everything I’ve done involving cars, I’ve had to learn shit the hard way. Seriously. And I’ve been a slow learner.

But today I can pray in gratitude, and give this new responsibility to God, and enjoy our good fortune.

And on that note:

“We’re all going to die, all of us, what a circus! That alone should make us love each other but it doesn’t. We are terrorized and flattened by trivialities, we are eaten up by nothing.” ~ Charles Bukowski



Childhood Perceptions, A Reception

Some photos from last night. Guess what’s hard work, preparing pieces for entry into a show. Curating a show. Designing an exhibit. Collecting donations from the community (and keeping a ledger). Planning, shopping for, preparing, delivering, maintaining, and cleaning up after reception food. Talking to people and sounding relaxed and mellow even when one has been running full-tilt for most of a week.

Still. It all came off beautifully. Of course, I couldn’t take many pictures last night as I had to “mingle”, cook and deliver and manage food, and hide, with Amber, to grab a half a clove cigarette now and then.

Staging - & Coffee!

On the right you see part of our “fantasies” exhibit including a dressup and interactive hanging display. We’re encouraging grownups and kids alike to partake – this experience is augmented by a lovely poem by artist Lindy Parker that was read by a child on the audio tour.

Cardamon Bread



I made quiche. Delicious!


Hummus et al.

An installation: Robin Moore’s “Dream Wrecker”, which I can’t wait to show you closeups of. Her interview was a hoot, too!

Enjoying The Show

Response to the show was quite positive! Including:

Wee Reception Kitty

Gallery kitty! Who ran in and out. She was tiny and sweet. The kids loved her, and one of the artists kindly donated her a catnip toy.

One (of three) of my interactive embroidery pieces.

Phoenix’s piece. Again, the audio interview is fantastic.

Ralph Tutors Embroidery

Ralph helps a young lad do some interactive embroidery (on my piece “Strictly Ivy League. Big deal.”). These pieces will be changing during the show according to those who want to participate. Fun!

Barb On Her Handcrank

Barb Shillinger sets up one of her lovely handcrank machines as well as some projects for the young and old to work on. Sewing with a handcrank is a lot of fun! This particular machine is also a treadle, but for a few reasons we decided to do the handcrank conversion. Barb was a wonderful help.

Nels & Wee Reception Kitty

Nels watches Gallery Kitty as she snoops her toy.

Catnip Toy!

Catnip bird #w00t

Besides co-curators Jeanne and Ralph (who rocked), when it came to the reception a few parties came through in a big way including Tully’s Coffee and two local professional bakers – as well as my mom, who helped mule things from my little kitchen to the Gallery, and most especially my friend Amber. Unfortunately I haven’t rested since last Monday but soon I’ll be back to blogging.

As for the show, it is beautiful and I need to post more intimate detail shots of more of the pieces. We are putting together a photo and audio exhibit to post at the website, and soon. I’ll let you know.

If you’re a local, please do come to the show before it closes on July 3rd – and take the audio tour, which lasts about a half hour and is wonderful.


Just: great stuff.


In case u forgot how hard I was working on

So when it comes to our upcoming art show – and the reception we’re hosting on Friday night:

Please, please, please sweet baby Jesus in your golden fleece diapers don’t let me fuck up considering there are about eighteen things needed in curating, setting up, and co-running an art show that I’ve never done before.


And: I have to buy and prepare a bunch of food. The preparation part, I should come through just fine, it’s just hours of good honest work I look forward to. The, ahem, financial outlay for the said spread? I’m kind of fucked eighteen times over due to credit card stealinz. I’ll figure it out, honestly. And if you’re a local I hope you come Friday night. And if you’re not a local, don’t worry, because we’ll be putting up an online tour!

It’s a good thing I’m working with two super-talented and awesome co-curators. I’m peeing my pants a little bit less.

A little bit.

I know this isn’t a very professional series of comments for me to make, but in case I haven’t made this clear before, this isn’t a professional blog.

it’s better than bad, it’s good!

So today I’m wiggling my ass because I’m pretty proud of a coupla things I sewed the kids recently (both made with the perfect amount growing room):


Like the artfully disinterested poses? Yeah, me too.

The dress (made up using a vintage McCalls pattern) featured my first thread-drawn applique. I am pretty pleased. You’d probably be surprised how quickly it came together for me, from sketching to completion. But then, I’ve put in many years of general technique which came in handy. I didn’t even look for a tutorial, I just figured shit out. Turns out shit came together pretty good considering it was my first try!

Bleeding Heart Motif Closeup 1

(Seriously – I’m so excited about this and look forward to trying some more soon!)

OK, as for Nels. Simple longsleeved t-shirt, right? Kinda but – the fabric I found for this is quite lovely – an organic hemp/cotton blend sweater knit. My son commented on how much he liked its look and softness right away. The only thing more fun than sewing up something that feels good and comes together nicely is to have one’s client really like it.

So here’s Nels. With a large sheet of bark he scavenged from the old LaVogue’s room that we weren’t technically supposed to be in (don’t ask). Looking all sad. But I swear he wasn’t! He had his sheet of bark! He was solid gold!

Log From Blammo!

Nels’ shirt – Homesewn listing; Flickr tagset

Phoenix’s Bleeding Heart Dress – Homesewn listing; Flickr tagset

The Flickr tagsets generally include more construction detail, should you be interested in such things.

And finally – here’s something I feel good about. After I finished the dress I asked Phoenix if she’d rather have the garment, or have  me list it for sale to go toward paying off our layaway on the rather choice bike we have reserved for her and partially paid. Now I know she wants that bike –

but I guess she wanted the dress more.

She’s been wearing it ever since.


(diamonds at the ill-used railroad tracks:)


no you can’t


I have simply got to stop grousing, internally and out loud, about our bus system. Yes, it bugs me it takes an hour (sometimes more) to travel seven miles (from the HQX downtown station no less), the commute my husband requires get to the college. Yes, I think the bus system is not designed with any seriousness toward daily commuter needs – an environmentally and socially progressive mandate which would improve our lives immensely. Yes, routes have been cut. Yes, I think so much about Aberdeen and Hoquiam is as pro-car as one can imagine. Yes, I think about all the “bus people” and their needs and their lives and when I see busses leave late or arrive early and the callousness of some drivers I despair.

But I’m not ready to spearhead a campaign about any of this because I have my own life to sort out. So here I sit. It’s not how I long I have to wait (although this bothers me for reasons I won’t go into, here), the worst thing is the noise along what amounts to a highway, and the dust and exhaust fumes. The gawks aren’t that fun either because riding the bus here means there’s a large set of people who pity you or look down on you. For reals.

But whatever, fuck it. Seriously. Some of the people closest to me ride the bus and we can commiserate what it’s like and I can stop bitching so much. I actually enjoy talking to people on the bus and I enjoy helping the mamas with strollers and babies and saying “thank you” to the drivers, every time. It’s been a while since I’ve heard a racist diatribe on the bus although today I heard a man bitching about a couple toddlers who were up front. I turned my head and looked at him, is all. I still do not always know how to handle public asshattery, and I don’t always have the energy, especially days like today with too-little sleep and staggering menstrual cramps.

I walked home from the station. I enjoy walking whenever the weather isn’t miserable – and today it was fine. Most times I walk in Hoquiam I see hardly a soul. But today there was a festive air in town, driveways, block parties: graduation for many adults and young people.

Party Time

These celebrations seem remote to me although I remember the period of high school graduation well. I guess this would have been sixteen years ago. Having been given a tremendously trivial amount of freedoms up until age eighteen (like most USian kids), for me graduation merely meant more praise from grownups (as I had a great grade point and had earned scholarships etc), a pedigree of other people’s required accomplishments for me, a deeply fragile sense of self, a few very good friends, a lot of excitement in my heart, and a desire to party as much as possible. It wasn’t all bad at all, on balance.

It is touching to see famlies celebrate. It’s nice to see young people honored. It’s pleasant to anticipate more activity in the neighborhood now that school is out.

Also, today I met a small kitten, a little black thing that looked younger than I’d think was decent to separate from his mother. His name was, improbably, “Puffy”, and he had not been fed recently, or at least – he was ravenous. I fed him a bit and in his zeal his tiny mouth bit me harder than I’ve been bit by a cat. I loved him up a bit more, eliciting a fragile purr, and then gave him back to the little boy who “owned” him and told him, please feed and water this little one.

And so life goes.

tacos, the cause of, and solution to, all life’s problems*

Tacos Dorados

I am the hugest downtown Hoquiam nerd you can imagine. In a small town that espouses the mantra “shop local” (like so many), our burg’s City Council has probably by now officially added an addendum to this dictum as follows: “Whole-Grain Jeebus, Kelly Hogaboom, We’re Weary Of Seeing Your Tired-Ass On The Block. P.S. Get A Life.”

Of course, I jest, because I have a life – and it’s a pretty good one, especially lately. And to quote an incident from high school which I shall not delve into today, “outdoors is killer”. Yes, even in our weird humid weather we are walking and biking a lot (this isn’t super-common where I live). Today I was on the streets quite a bit (#carfree! but… not really by choice); first a trip to the coffee shop for a date with a friend, then later my son and I made our way downtown to the new taquería, the coffee shop (again), book store, and the recycled clothing shop (sorry for all the Facebook links, that’s all the rage with the kids today). This time, for lunch, I had the tacos dorados (as pictured above), and Nels had a few simple mixtas. Then both of us paid up and profusely thanked the proprietor, Nels proclaiming airily “those were the best tacos I’ve had in my life!” The proprietor complimented my Spanish, which I get a lot and is funny because I have only the most remedial skills, but my pronunciation is okay and I continue to pick up more. Fun times: this restaurant has the menu in both English and Spanish, which I think is good for everyone.

The book store was awesome, as always. I picked up a wonderful tome for my daughter – The Child Thief. It is wonderful knowing one’s children so well. Phoenie instantly stuck her nose in the book and it’s taken some effort to get her to eat, stuff like that.

And now a game: guess the dog’s name (it’s not mine, don’t I wish it was!). I know someone will come close!

Someone Guess This Dog's Name!

* may not be an actual statement of fact

a brief respite from turbulent climes

I don’t have much time to write; which is sad, because writing is so important to me! I will say: today not only did I have a wonderful swim with the children, and the grouchy YMCA lifeguard from days previous acted totally pleasant and did not chastize my kids in every way (seriously!), but I also met another lifeguard L. who corrected Nels’ behavior with the utmost respect. When I approached her to thank her for this, we had a lovely conversation – while my children stayed in the shallow end (which meant I didn’t have to be six inches away from them in the pool). Afterwards a hot shower, a sunny day, a not-so-pleasant and very long wait for the bus, some delicious sopes, and then etc. etc.

Family responsibilities present themselves. Let me say: thank you readers who have both stuck around and totally respected this new thing – password-protected entries at the blog. Although I am aware in a way “I owe my readers nothing”, I am also aware my blog has changed abruptly in this small way, and not everyone will enjoy the experience. I feel so incredibly grateful for the readers who stick around, who comment, who read, who support. And I will be writing more soon – trust!


What we do: walking. In Hoquiam.

I am not going to lie, I’m disappointed that in the brief bit you hear me (“K Street, Ralph”) I am speaking in a perfectly pleasant tone. It’s not at all how I imagine I typically speak.

Then – Jasmine & Nels, at Hoquiam’s Tully’s (of course):

Nels & Jasmine

We have been so fortunate to have lovely and clement weather. It makes all sorts of things possible for us that we otherwise cannot do; grocery shopping and biking on errands (without all of us wet, cold, and miserable). Around here most middle-class-and-up grownups, if they’re outside, are mowing lawns or tidying up their outdoor facade or going for runs. We walk and get groceries and sometimes I think, honestly, people gawk at me like I’m a loser (no seriously, Grays Harbor Gawking is a pasttime here). The main thoroughfare in town is also a highway and it can be unpleasant.

That said, I love my west side Hoquiam with all the fierceness of my little black heart.

who will love you, who will fight?

There’s probably not many other local places that make me feel as depressed as this: a plastic playground sitting fallow and tedious, unused except for a couple sweet toddlers in all pink, the play area sandwiched between a huge, huge new church building and a large and inhospitable baseball field (now clustered with boys and their parents, shiny huge trucks waiting in the gravel). I cannot think of a HQX locale I’d like less to be. This is why it is so great my daughter is entirely thrilled. In fact, she brought me here, wanting to show me this new place. She swings and turns herself upside down, her (newly-cut) hair swinging all blonde floss.

After a bit she comes around the “climbing wall” (just: plastic with little plastic lumps) where I’m propped, fucking around with my phone, and she sits down. “Is there anything I can do to cheer you up?” she asks. Sweet girl. I am struggling, trying not to identify with the sadness in my body and the dark thoughts in my mind, trying to experience Me instead. I put my hands to her head. “I”m sorry I’m not good at playing with you on playgrounds.” She replies, “That’s okay,” her freckles plain and lovely and her voice like clear water. “Maybe I’ll be better someday,” I say, truly wondering. Then I take this picture right then:

Phoenie At The Park

We had a lovely afternoon; I took the kids out, we hit the library, I stopped at two local shops and received gifts from the proprietresses, I bought my daughter a $4 book, I bought a coffee and got a brief date with Jasmine, I saw so many people I love and care about and we talked briefly, the sunshine hit my face and hair and later I got up to handsewing and pricked my fingers and I’m almost done with my current project and tomorrow is Friday and I get Ralph home for the weekend.

Life is okay.

At night, every single night, our kitty Josie gets up in the bed and sleeps as close to me as possible. In the daytime she’s standoffish to us all; except Nels, at whose handshe allows all manner of handling and stroking, and purrs intensely. There’s no accounting for animal behavior sometimes.

i’m all ears

I was proud of myself today, because despite this and that bit of crap-luck and small-minded asshattery and just a general difficult day, Hell Yes did I still get Phoenix and I out on the bike, and we rush-rush-rushed down to the bus depot, arriving there at the same time the bus did and trying to look nonchalant as I took the front tire off the xtracycle and hefted it up (it’s heavy and I seem to never get good upper-body strength going) and hopped on and while riding to the 7-11 (the only place my card can access cash without a fee) I set up Phoenie’s new doctor’s appointment and then, back off the bus, load up, get cash, hit the dance studio for the first bellydance class I’ve done in a while.

Let me tell you, Phoenix was wonderful. She caught the front tire expertly as I popped it off; she carried it on board and paid our fare. She was entirely attentive at every juncture I needed her to be, smiling and laughing during dance class and minding herself with aplomb, popping over to the tienda for a soda. Then after dance class carrying also my precious, precious cargo of tacos, arroz y frijoles from my favorite taquería.

Good weather (or good-ish) means more bike rides which means lots of compliments, questions, gawks, and some bus drivers reacting in alarm when I load the bicycle. What I’ve observed is the same transit employees who speculate I won’t be able to load and secure my longtail (a minority, thank goodness) are the same who wouldn’t budge a corner of an asscheek out of the seat to directly stop me, so I ignore what they’re saying through the glass at me, get it all set up (quite securely mind you, perhaps even more so than a standard bike; there is no excuse in the world for these crafts to be disallowed on a transit as I hear there are in other places) and hop on board and go from a super-friendly space. “You sure that’s gonna work?” the driver asks today. “Oh yes, I’ve done it many times.” [ smile ]. I sit down. An older man sitting nearby leans toward me, “You sure that’s gonna work?” Yes. Really. My ladybrain senses you have concerns? So I tell this fellow, “Yes, I’ve done this many times before.” A pause, then: “It was an expensive bike and I wouldn’t risk it.”

When we got home Nels was on the porch, a look of concentration on his face: he was cracking and eating pistachios. A few minutes later I had a hot bath ready and put my head out the door before hopping in: my kids and about six others from the neighborhood, plus an honest-to-god PUPPY, all playing outside in the sunny grass. Perfect.

After the bath I check my email and receive great news from Chicago; my latest sewn creation, a custom design, was well received upon arrival (clients are allowed to send back any item, no questions asked, if it’s not to their liking). So now I can go public, here are some pictures of “Tigre”, a little newborn-sized bunting that left my house last week:


Back View


I wrote a little about the inspiration for this project, time spent, and materials cost on my Homesewn site; as per usual I put construction details in the Flickr tagset. I had a wonderful time, in particular with all the structural support and the handsewing.


So yeah, today ended up going better than how it started.

& now? Pedaling my 73 pound daughter around, and dancing for the first time in a while, then rushing off to a meeting this evening, and then a grocery trip for this week’s Conch – well, I’m a bit more beat than usual.