Have your coffee, splishy-splashy

@phoenixhogaboom & I At #HQX #YMCA, Waiting For @stuffnelssays

Phoenix, waiting

Today my son went swimming on his own. We dropped him off at the Y after running a few errands (cat food! dear lord the racket our felines make if even one meal is late!) and picking up groceries for ourselves. My daughter and I ran home and messed about a while, doing our thing, then made a hot lunch to take to the Y for post-swim. I knew the Little Guy would be hungry indeed.

When my son saw us waiting for him he splashed over immediately, all wet-puppy and lovely. After dressing, he devoured his bean and rice burrito in no time flat. After the briefest turn at foosball (I will never play my daughter again, a week ago she absolutely killed me), the kids ran outside into the (now wind-and-rain)storm, flung themselves into the car. Nels’ impish nose and beaky little face full of joy as he wiggled in his seat.

“I met a girl,” he tells me. “Named Miley.”

Ailey?” I can’t hear him over the defrost.

Miley,” he shouts back.

“Oh. Did you like her?”

“Yes. She loves me.”

“Oh really! Well does she know how naughty you are?”

“She doesn’t know. I kept THAT a secret.” He laughs wryly. WRYLY. He’s just a Little Guy!

My son is too little to know crushes but it won’t be long. My daughter already has an awareness. The other day a few ten to twelve year old boys were hassling her. I come outside an hour later and she’d kicked all their asses, AND they were in love with her, she was leading the pack. She’s got it figured.

Back home: children running about the house and wrestling upstairs. Crafting: more embroidery, a present for Nels, and I finished a few of the last tailoring details for a coat of my own.

Custom Shoulder Pads, Sleeve Heading

Tomorrow: I’m up at the Treatment Center a while, and the kids are making Easter baskets with their Grandma. My father’s birthday approaches, just a bit after my son’s. Time for contemplation, even if I’m busy.

i’m not dead yet

But, I have been exhausted.

Pictures from lately. I would take a lot more pictures except I don’t have a camera bag and I’m nervous about bashing the camera or scratching it. I even know what bag I’d like. I’m waiting. Picture me with my fingertips together.

So, I really enjoy my new space. In fact it’s almost just like I’d have imagined a home way back. Clean and spacious and usually smelling of tasty things to eat and I have to confess, incense and sage smoke from my various superstitious or religious or whatever practices. Anyway, everything’s the way I like it, except some day I long to be able to buy furniture. Everything you see here was given us.

Living Room

I also need curtains. It’s like a fishbowl of Hogabooms right now.

Dining Room

Dining room; usually eighteen fat cats are on the rug. I’m still working on building our dining room table and then it will be like a MEAD HALL WITH MERRY KNIGHTS RIPPING INTO TURKEY LEGS.Oh and BTW you also can see at mid-left the only garbage can in my house. The system WORKS, I swear.


The kitchen – far easier to work in than the last home. Yay!

Sewing Room

Sewing room table (and handy pin-jar made by sodipop!)! I can’t show you anything else because there are SURPRISES in the works! Another set of windows without coverage. We’ll fix it… when we have scratch.

Making Chai

Making chai!

Y A Lado, Una Torta De Desabrada FANTASTICO

Mexican food before heading out for a snow day at a friends’ place. The kids had enchiladas and tacos frijoles.

The kids are really amazing. They helped me a lot today. I was thinking about it and realize they help me a lot. Like today I left for a Board meeting and my hands were full and I asked if one of them would open the door and they both jumped up and helped me out and giggled and gave me kisses and hugs. My kids kiss and hug me EVERY time I leave the house. I tell no lie. Nels does it several times in fact. Today I said, “You little shit, I’m late, get in the house!” Etc.

But yeah, I made sure to thank the children today for all their help. And they said, “You’re welcome.”

And now time for a movie date, and snuggles and good-night.

the “s”s keep me up at night

2 Chocolate Milks

Back to my old routine – out on bikes to conduct business in downtown HQX.

Yesterday I got started sewing in my new place. I figured just what felt right – an old skool vintage grunge flannel, child-sized, in a pretty and soft cotton semi-flannel (Yes, semi-flannel! Such a thing exists). You can see just a wee bit of the fabric on the left, under rulers and interfacing. You can also see my 60+ year old Singer I’ll be sewing on, through the doorway.


Tonight I heard a wonderful poem.

I have lived on the lip
of insanity, wanting to know reasons,
knocking on a door. It opens.
I’ve been knocking from the inside.

― Rumi

“i love you all the way into space”

The other night my son laughingly and briefly impersonated an activity of scientific inquiry he’d seen on a documentary about the sasquatch. I laughed so loud and spontaneously he gleefully repeated the performance, adding nuances and several more jokes. He was really funny. Phoenix joined in a few minutes later and pretty soon I was laughing so hard I almost choked.

Sometimes I forget just how much my children – and my husband – love to see me laugh. We’ve been so incredibly busy with the move and even though I am not stressing the way I would have even a year ago, I wouldn’t exactly say I’ve been thoroughly relaxed.

This afternoon, the first substantial meal I’ve made in the new kitchen (a kitchen I adore), I put together a huge batch of homemade meatballs in a rich tomato sauce for our party tomorrow. Out the window I see my mother next door, my blonde-headed son helping her build her greenhouse. They have a plan to grow a bunch of corn in our huge backyard this summer (I KNOW, CORN!, HOW ADORABLE IS THIS PLAN?!). I feel the deepest sense of satisfaction in my children and their lives, running in sturdy boots through deep green yards and chasing cats off my sewing room fabric and inventing a game called “Penny Toss”, and politely asking me to play over and over even as I frown and scrub the floor and tell them, “In a minute…”.

But, life is good. It’s odd to be in the same neighborhood I grew up in, hearing the music of the pond in my mother’s backyard, but to have my own space too full of my own colors. Tonight I asked Ralph, “Do you know how long I’ve wanted a deep blue living room?” I modified the color choice to reflect Phoenix’s favorite but it’s true, I remember the apartment in Seattle that first got me enamored.

new digs, day one


Yesterday was our first day in the house, and also the worst day moving so far. Just that soul-sucking bit as your life is torn apart and you’re packing shit into boxes and it’s all grimy and you have to face your own depraved piles of disorganized junk. My mom has been very sanguine about the prospect of our move but, she’s not really done it in almost forty years. In fact her house is this big-ass clutterfest that will likely be mine (and maybe my siblings’) to deal with, when she dies. Which I hope isn’t soon. By the way, her house? I’m thinking MATCH AND KEROSENE, but perhaps that’s just because I had to deal with the entirety of my kitchen scene yesterday and memories are still fresh.


As in all Hogaboom domiciles (six now since the kids were born, if you count our camp-out with my mom for four and a half months), snuggling is first on the agenda. P.S. this is a picture of Ralph before he RUINED HIS BODY moving every single thing we own. Yeah you might think you see some of the things we own in this picture, but I assure you there was/is a lot more.

"Giant Clam" by Nels Hogaboom

After a coat of primer and five coats of TANGERINE DICK, the dining area is done! I’m a fan. And Nels’ work, “Giant Clam”, looks lovely I think. Yes, we still need to remove painting tape.


I found only a few items from previous tenants, and these were a few of them. I guess I’m superstitious as I tend to keep things like this. Shit, that reminds me, Ralph is cleaning at the old house and I hope he’s leaving the broom.

Nels Enjoyed The U-Haul

Nels loved, LOVED, reading the disaster policy in the U-Haul insurance. Lightening storms, electrocution, and a scary “burgler” icon. I liked riding in the U-Haul too. It kinda lulled me into naptime.

Peacock Blue

“Peacock blue”, my living room. Chosen for Phoenix. BY THE WAY I really really want my lemon tree rehabilitated and I don’t know how. It flowered a lot then suddenly lost lots of its leaves and when I pour water or give it a shower, it just sieves through. I think it needs a larger pot and a lot more soil. I dunno. I would like to see it return to its former glory!

I’m running terrifically late, and there is still a lot to do. More pictures and silly anecdotes of falling down stairs whilst carrying rolled-up carpets, soon. Ciao!

shaken, not stirred

Today I plunged myself into Sucktown as I had two sewing projects, in a row, go poorly. Actually, kinda, three. A week ago two wee infant dresses I had a vision for ended up not quite working out to my satisfaction. Then the Western-style shirt I finished today gave me fits from start to end. The end result, I admit (pictures tomorrow) is adorable – but my ass is haunted by how difficult the project was. I was even seething with, well not rage, but high-degree irritation at points. And today, Sewing Assery #3? I took a series of shortcuts on some pants for Nels figuring it wouldn’t be a big deal but, you know what, the project really suffered from me doing so. Enough I know, as I sit here, I’m going to totally tear out seams and fix the mess even though damn I so do not want to re-sew on pants.

I’m not sure how many people who read can relate to how much I can struggle when my sewing goes poorly. When it comes to this craft I am used to things going my way, and when they don’t, I have a hard time making a learning experience out of the business. I end up believing I’m wasting my time while I could be benefiting others in some way. It’s a horrid mind-suck. Oddly I am less exacting when it comes to my writing – more likely, in that case, to give my best, whatever I have, and let it lie.

This last week or two I’ve also been struggling with some Old Business that very rarely rears his head any more: the (unrecognized) work of the domestic. Today I got up, fed cats, cleaned the bathroom, washed, dried, and put away clothes, washed and dried dishes, made up home-cookin’ for the family, fed the cats, cleaned up after the cats, sent off emails. I do stuff like this every day. I am really fortunate I have my head and heart in the work and I experience gratification from performing the basics with mindfulness. But sometimes this little doubt creeps in, You Do Shit Work And You Don’t Matter. I remember what it was like to have more status’d work and the praises I used to get. Yeah, it was false pride, and yeah, it was a life built on (my concepts of) other people’s esteem, and I freely admit I like my life a lot better today. It’s just that sly voice and I don’t always have a defense against it. Ugh.e

Writing this out I realize the mind has just found another way to criticize my personhood. I relate this quite hand-in-hand with life as a so-called recovered alcoholic. The self-criticism is a hell of a thing for most people, and I have some familiarity with the various methods people use (not all of them chemical) to drown that narrative out.  Today I cope with feelings and with reality without self-medicating through the rituals and chemicals of drug and alcohol use. And the cliche is true, my worse day sober is well and away better than my best day using. Life sober might be painful here and there but the suffering is vastly reduced. Today I have the courage to publicly admit what’s going on (I will note I had this courage, here and there, before sobriety) and today I have a degree of bravery and serenity that I didn’t used to. I am glad to live my life sober even at its hardest, truly glad to live this way, despite occasional difficult circumstances originating from between my ears.

I will add I had a lovely time, before the sewing debacle, with the children. I packed up this morning (oh right, another handful of “chores” I forgot to mention) and we hit the YMCA for swimming this afternoon. Swimming with my kids is really amazing because, of course, it feels good and life without school is like a holiday, always – but also, because their energy and resiliency is just astounding. Even the days I’m not quite right, they seem to be. The children inspire me in a deep and satisfying fashion and it’s funny… I didn’t plan it that way, it just ended up happening. My children and my family life have been the most unexpected twist, and series of adventures, in my whole life. The life I’ve had is not something I thought I’d have in store for me ten years ago, that’s for sure.

In my wildest imaginings I wouldn’t think I’d have it so good. I hope my kids are a legacy for that kind of life, well-lived and worn-in, joyous and free. It really is at least part-accident I’ve done so well by them, or maybe that I didn’t do so well but they thrived anyway, considering what a mess I’ve been here and there.

“May these beings be free from animosity, free from oppression, free from trouble, and may they look after themselves with ease!”


working it

The hour of my birthday strikes. I’m lying across the bed in my underwear, a two-sizes-too-small vintage Def Leppard shirt with holes on it. Nels is kissing me thirty-five times because that’s how old I am.

I’m tired.

I’m tired from running errands most the day, then clapping and yelling for the Drag Show at the college (here’s a tiny bit of last year’s), then dancing a lot afterwards. I danced my ass off. For like, fifteen minutes. & I hurt my knees doing a few floor slides. I didn’t split my pants or anything, but I did get a considerable back tweak doing the Roger Rabbit in a dance circle.

The show was really beautiful. I’d suggested a friend as MC and she was absolutely fabulous. I also got to see a girlhood friend, the first person I met when moving to Grays Harbor, surprise-propose to her girlfriend via song. That was pretty… amazing. After the dance I went out with friends and had some wonderful food. If I wasn’t so tired I’d be writing all this eloquent stuff about it all.

But yeah. It was a good day, and a good evening.

Nels, dressed up for & checking the fit of his outfit tonight:

Nels In Drag, Checking Fit


This moment finds me very sanguine about my birthday. 35 seems such an auspicious number. I have some wonderful things in my life.

My little guy:

Slinking Back To The Pool

My daughter:

Off To The Races
Health is the greatest possession. Contentment is the greatest treasure. Confidence is the greatest friend. Non-being is the greatest joy. – Lao Tzu

Nels In Drag, Checking Fit

I am very grateful for many gifts in my life, and when I awake to experience my birthday in earnest, I hope to have as lovely day as I usually do.

like a 22 lb. sack of potatoes

Our resources are dwindling and we have a move in the next couple weeks, which requires a deposit and all that jazz. Today Ralph transfers me over $14 and with $10.84 of that I buy a lovely little bouquet at the florist’s (we have the sweetest florist here in HQX) and, along with a homemade card, bring it up to day surgery where a friend in Recovery is having the second horrid little procedure in thirty days. I’ve had a similar procedure so I know what this person is going through. It means a lot to me to see his eyes and smile light up in surprise. The homemade card was awesome, by the way. It was a picture of a kidney with a vicious (hand-drawn by Phoenix) monster attacking it. Kinda like that gout illustration that makes me laugh so.

Later we take a hike up a steep hill and I pack a baby. On my hip. I would have been out of breath anyway, but the lack of carrier / backpack made things trickier. The last few days we have had a lovely weather reprieve here – warm and sunny – but while walking today we got rained on and turned back a bit early. I took the kids swimming a bit later and tried to work studiously on more sewing projects. Ideas are flying swiftly through my brain, but it takes a while to sew them up. Here’s a hint for one of them.

In somewhat non sequitur news, I turn 35 on Saturday. I’m pretty – as we said in the 90s – stoked. I have a lot to be grateful for, and I know I’m the perfect age for me.


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.

burn it as fuel for our journey

This summer while waiting for a friend I sat in a sunny living room and talked with a young man and his mother. The young man was a little more interested in my conversation than his mother seemed. He was watching a documentary I’d seen not two weeks before and had really enjoyed. He and I had a brief but interesting discussion and I thought how pleasant it was to talk with someone who had such a spark and such an intelligent mind.

Today that young man committed suicide in that same home I sat in a few months ago.

I know the family. They are friends. If I sit here and feel stunned and think maybe there could have been something, some clue, something I could have done, I can only imagine what his close friends and family must feel. As a mother it is painful to consider the implications of today.

We are all, each of us, such crystal-clear and breathtakingly beautiful phenomenon. The idea that someone can suffer so much as to end such a living breathing unique manifestation is quite sobering to comprehend.

Today, the 27th, is the monthly date anniversary for sobriety. I had forgotten until I saw the date in a book. My friend gave me a little gift. Afterwards I took my children to the Y to go swimming and, while they cavorted, attended a Board meeting for the local Buddhist group where I was indoctrinated into service. I picked up lunch for the children and met another friend back at the Y and we ate and talked and enjoyed each other’s company.

Today is a day for holding tight that which we value.