Phoenix, Eyes

My monetary accumulation for our attendance at the Life Is Good Unschooling Conference is trudging along, to my utter delight.

I have saved, basically stuffed in an electronic mattress so I don’t use it for silly things like food and socks, about $238 (of the $650 that will get us there, which does not include food, gas, & fun money). This saved sum includes a wee bit of under-the-table work I’ve done as well as a handful of lovely donations from readers.

I sincerely thank everyone who has helped, and all who read, email, IM, tweet, and support in various ways.

It is so rare I get any IRL contact with other Unschoolers, and it means a great deal to me to consider we may get this chance.

I am hopeful of somehow earning $650 – separate from my husband’s paycheck. I have a few options on this account. For one, I have my little homesewn affair, which is not much of a money-maker due to various and sundry reasons, mostly including a complete lack of advertising budget or promotional considerations, besides the occasional tweet. I also lack kiddo models and let me tell you, that makes a difference. Early this summer, at the Fiber Festival? I put a little homemade dress (the one at left) on a little friend and I shit thee not, she’d been running around about five minutes before a woman came dragging her by the arm and demanding to buy the frock. Well, not really. But kinda.

So tomorrow I’m going start up up a jacket conception for a tot, then find a baby to stuff into said jacket so I can take a picture.

Welp. In addition to my little wee dream of making the conference, we are a bit squeezed with a few upcoming financial considerations that likely need some attention. First, it is a near done deal we will be moving to a new home in Hoquiam (within about a month), which comes with a few expenses (and deposits, if they get returned at all, are not always returned at a convenient time). After a decade of rough use on our beds, we are in need of three new mattresses. Our couch and two armchairs are sinking into further disrepair. My car has a bad alternator (which at least, I can buy and replace with a friend’s help), and both vehicles likely need an expensive brake job (that, I don’t have the capability to do myself).

And then, or course, there is always that little special item of extravagance one wants for herself. Well, kinda for me, not just for me. I have been watching a friend’s baby (free gratis) and I did a little research and my dream-boat idea would be to get ahold of a Boba 2G so I can run around like usual while caring for an extra (occasionally separation-anxiety-laden) tot.

So that’s our scene in a nutshell. I write it out for my own sake as well as readers who may or may not be interested. I am, of course, quite serene about all of this. I have received such incredible support and wonderful friendship and care from so many people. I also live a life, to the best of my ability, of planning the event but not the outcome, which leaves very little room for sour grapes, worries, envies, et cetera. For this I am very grateful.

From yesterday: skating at the Harborena, watching a daddy lift his tot – to her delight. Also, bottom picture, Unimpressed Woman in Foreground is Unimpressed.

Good Daddy

Good Daddy

then I got to listen to a lot, a LOT, of Lowellian cursing


By the time I’d walked a mile in an absolutely wet, windy, and rainy blizzard through piles and piles of snow, and waited and waited and waited for a bus, and given up after making phone calls and texting and other plans, while huddling wet and cold against the icy brick contemplating a plan, and realized I’d be unable to make my meeting, and finally gave up and headed home,

I admit, by then I felt a few tears rise in my throat. I mean after all the whole business was about two hours exposure without relief (yes, in light of certain anniversaries today, I know I am whinging, big time). And what was funny is to think as I first set off through the snow, I was wondering if maybe taking a few hours out of my day to make one meeting where a solid half the clients are nodding out from Suboxone, and I thought maybe I’m a fool, maybe I’m wasting my time. Well it seems the Universe was beating me into humility because after all that I didn’t even make it. Well, the Universe isn’t so unkind, I guess – it was my choice, I could either re-learn humility or just be pissed and cramped. I elected the former.

But at the beginning of the “adventure” I had a nice walk with Ralph. Our gonads were frozen solid by the time we got to the barren comfort of overhead shelter:


(Given GH Transit wait times the “No Loitering” sign seems a bit… ironic.)
(Actually, as previously discussed, I’m unsure what “irony” really is. Yes, I’ve looked it up.)

Ralph ran across the way to grab me a coffee; he went by himself in case the bus came by and I missed my opportunity. This was back when I had a backup plan of sipping the coffee and holding it close for warmth, while I waited. Back before he’d left and I’d gone on to wait an hour before a bus came, a bus that wouldn’t have gone near my destination, meaning there would be no time for me to make my appointment, and I had to give it all up. Yes, back when I was so naive. I had a lot of growing up to do.

Ralph Ventures To Get Me Coffee

I was bundled up well but the rain had soaked my jeans and that was my downfall. Wet jeans. Holy Shit.

So I eventually went home and the exercise, plus the high of dodging scary drivers sliding on ice, worked off my aforementioned upset.

And then after I got home it took a long, long time to warm up. I watched Reel Injun while waiting to feel my face again.

Then I watched The Fighter (although I’d already seen it a year ago) while finishing up the details on the last homesewn item for the upcoming magazine spread.

Several kids came and went, wet and getting fed and getting re-dressed in dry clothes. We washed and dried and hung things up. Ralph made a lovely dinner of turkey sliders on homemade buns, yellow tomato and avocado dressing with lemon, carrot sticks, and potato chips, and we fed whatever children ran through the house.

Then we set up all the outdoor stuff to dry in time for more snow adventures tomorrow.

Boots Upon Boots

it’s just a question


A blood drive out at, of all places, Westport Winery. I gave blood almost exactly a year ago in the same bus (and interestingly when I checked just now, I see last year’s phone photo shows the same American Red Cross worker; he had longer hair then). Today I practiced the meditative breathing I always find helpful before being poked, swabbed, and stabbed. Ugh.

Meanwhile the kids raided the bus’ fridge of juice and granola bars.

After Raiding The Bloodmobile's Fridge

Probably my favorite moment today was about four minutes after the above photo, inside the Winery restaurant where I was talking to a perfectly nice young man, and Nels, who was wearing his “tuxedo” jacket and looking quite formal in demeanor, politely walked up and asked this man and I, “Are you going to cheat on my dad?”

SERIOUSLY I am rarely at a loss for words but I had just given blood without hydrating first. Before I untangled myself (because, Conversation Over at that point) Nels had informed this man how he had the Best Dad Ever and he didn’t want anyone getting in the way of that. Holy god.

I drank tomato juice, water, coffee, and had a half a sandwich. It was a nice lunch.

Nels In Contemplation

Phoenix, Lunch

I love Phoenie’s little emo-mullet.


Nels lost his first top tooth on New Year’s Day. Yes, I am just about dying because his smile is so cute. Yes, I no longer have babies if all their baby teeth are falling out everywhere. Can you believe Nels’ smile? It reminds me of someone.


Skating at the Harborena, where they are keeping costs trim by not heating the place, and I had to go home early. Ralph pretend-grew a beard for two days and got my hopes up.





I got a little bit of sewing done today, but frankly I was a bit tired out. I don’t think it’s that normal to be tired after donating blood, but I might just be down after a lot of work lately. I’ve been low energy. I would like to get back to sewing a few things, as I have a special deadline on February 1st. We’ll just have to see how it goes.

“Try to think of a more boring sentence”, yes I know.


make sure it’s worth watching

My son just about stifles my heart. He’s tall, just like his sister, and extraordinarily competent in anything he sets his mind to. It doesn’t help last night I got to meet and hold a brand-new baby, a hungry baby whose mom wasn’t ready to nurse, and the baby kept spitting out her soother and rooting up against my breast in my fancy coat after an evening soirée. I placated the baby with a pinkie (old trick I’d forgotten about for years) and she fell asleep again for a while. And the nurse came in and we got that baby on the tit. And I hope it works out.

So my son, yeah this morning I sliced the kids apples and made them pancakes with warm syrup then after the kids cleaned up breakfast Nels get got dressed to the nines (“Where’s my tuxedo?” he asks about his favorite coat I made him) and after we went through and thoroughly cleaned the kiddo’s room and separated those things we wanted to donate, Nels packed a satchel with two books and a cell phone and arranged a date with the bookstore and his grandmother. When he returned he’d used the books for store credit to get his sister a book on leopards. He is a wonderful, wonderful citizen, son, and brother.

Today was suppressed and sad for me, at times. I was at home for medical reasons (I snuck out once with Phoenix, for tacos and coffee) but it wasn’t just that. Last night my husband and I had an unfun argument, starting with me bringing up my desire to raise another child, but sadly the bitter words did not confine themselves to that subject. A nasty argument, something that doesn’t happen too often these days but always takes the mickey out of me and him too.

This child thing. I really really can accept I might not get my way, or get what (I think I) want. I probably couldn’t handle it anyway. I’m probably being an asshole. Impulsive and stupid. What tortures me is the question, is this something I want SO MUCH that I need to take some kind of new action, or is this something that will in time fade and I will accept I won’t have it?  For years now I’ve done what seems like the right thing, defer to my husband’s strong preference that we not take on or support another child. I am as lost as anything on this though and I don’t know right from wrong or down from up. If I’m not to have what I want I wish I could accept this or that the desire would disappear.

I’ve gotta admit this is a painful entry to pen, but I’m committed to being honest and I don’t think I’ve brought this up directly in this space, even though it’s been in my heart and on my mind for a few years. Today I decided to change that. I guess that’s why I’m writing about it, because Secrets don’t work for me.

Sometimes I’ve resented how honest and how much I’ve written about myself and my life here. I have of course tried to maintain scrupulous considerations for other individuals on many subjects, and I have not shared my Every Thought or emotion by any means. Sometimes I worry that when I write that other people will use this information against me, or use it carelessly. This is certainly a reality and I have experienced betrayal before,

but the cost of not sharing what troubles me isn’t one I want to continue to pay.

up to lately


The morning after the storm, such as we have, it’s raw and wet and tiny bits of detritus (and larger pieces of tree branches). Everything is wet, I mean soaked, and there’s a raw feel to the air.

I’d know the experience anywhere. I love it.

We kept warm and snuggly. I find a storm outside quite peaceful, especially given I’m inside, fed, safe, cared for by and loving up on dear family. I continue as much outdoor walking as is possible and practical, in between car errands and volunteer work the next town over.


Cake Of The Olden Gods

A cake involving sour cream and coconut cream and heavenly awesomeness. This was engineered from me in the hospital bed, and made by Ralph. He tried again the other night – but kept checking on the cake and it flattened. Don’t worry, we’ll keep trying for the original awesomeness.

Chilly Weather Party

We also recently had a small party with friends and lots of kids who ran around and yelled and played. It was good times. I made taco soup from scratch – no cans, home-roasted chiles, lots of TLC.


Kiddos awaiting good eats in our favorite local restaurant. Nels in his new cap and his fishermans sweater, the latter knit by our friend Tammy from Jackson St. Books on 7th.

Some Kinda Houseplant

I desire to make new houseplants for friends. I know I need to do something with these little baby strands. I hate the idea of failing. Help?

& They Are SOOOO Good

a la taquería, for a change.

Mable Cannot Get Enuf Love

Mable. Cannot get enough love. (note silly tongue-extension)

Haunted Hoquiam

From today’s foray into downtown Trick-or-Treating:


What’s not to like about Halloween? Such a creative and fun holiday, and one I enjoy more and more each year. This afternoon I was underfed and tired, but I still had a great time seeing all the kids out and snapping pictures.

Baby's Not Right

A mutant baby designed by artist Robin Moore. She always has a lot of great stuff at the Guild. Today I was super-distracted with this-and-that and didn’t get a good photo-blog of the art here, but the good news is they keep making pieces more and more.

Emerson Manor Not-So-Spooky Haunted Candy House

At Emerson Manor, just one spooky detail in a very spooky lobby. This low-income apartment building is a pleasure to visit, most especially during holidays. They had a lot of witches this year!

Friendly Witches At The Emerson Manor

Sweeties with sweets.


Nels as NYAN CAT. Yes, he had a little iPod setup playing the song. It was a big hit around town. It is also super-super-super warm and needs to end up with a little fan somewhere COLD.

Darth Vader

This fella. Doing the same thing he did last year! Big comedy.


My mom, at my request, breastfeading the aforementioned Mutant Baby. By the way the Guild has three phallic art pieces in the foyer. WINNING

Comely Wench + Real Live Parrot

A lovely lass with her bird. I’ve decided I wish I could be the Patron Saint of Cleavage, because I am just so fond of it.

At The Guild

More art by Robin M., if I’m not mistaken.

Tinkerbell Didn't Make It

But – sad to say, Tinkerbell didn’t make it.

(here are the pictures I took today, a handful of which I did not post here)

turning the collar up, looks like I picked the wrong time to decide to shave my head

Bright and cold, the sun slaps down on the sidewalks and finds us much as we ever were, maybe here and there a little shabbier. Broken down businesses and those making their valiant try. More cars getting towed DIY-style lately, Ralph and I have both noticed this. I drive by my neighbors sleeping rough or living hard, hunched jackets against the cold in clothes that aren’t quite warm enough, walking with bottles that clink in thin black plastic bags, cheap fleece pajama pants.

My sister visited this weekend and went to some festivities around town. “Irish music and drinking, I know how much you love those.” She and my mother went ahead and did some of that. We also had lunch together Saturday and Jules and the kids and I goofed at the Halloween store, good memories for me. She always buys the children something sweet; this time, their Halloween Trick or Treat bags/pumpkin buckets.

I drive to Aberdeen in the afternoon and wonder why some days I feel in a panic. Nothing is wrong, I tell myself. Remind myself. I am sober, and safe, and mostly sane. We have wonderful friends and family and are surrounded by a great deal of love. My children and I have a roof over our heads and good food to eat. The kids are growing well and exceedingly happy, as far as I can tell. The cats lounge about. My house is tidy, I bought winter boots. Nothing is wrong. Nothing is wrong. I have to talk myself down from the ledge now and then but the feeling passes after a while, like everything else.

Low Tide

“Low Tide” by Τϊζζ¥

More Hoquiam, WA.

pumped-up kicks

CameraZOOM-20110927170542Phoenix: the terror of Morrison Riverfront Park.
She chased the “little kids” around – with their enthusiastic consent.

Baggy Wrinkles“Baggy wrinkles”

A Weasel[Belly] AboardThe children on board The Lady Washington. Grandma bought Nels some doubloons.
I remember was about Phoenix’s age when this craft was built here in Aberdeen.
I watched some of the process. They built it old-school.


Little SnakeLittle snake visited me at the track again.

Some Kinda Brutal-Looking MachineTree-cutting on East Hoquiam Road, morning.


As you well know I am not a very exciting person but I do things that get me stared at in this smallish burg, namely today biking with my glowing pink hair through Hoquiam on Ralph’s Ute, which in turn had Phoenie’s bike piggybacked as I was meeting the kids at the Y and didn’t want to haul them both. (My daughter loves, loves her new fast and lightweight bike and the adult size enables her to have longer, faster, and more effiicient rides.) I’d used my very belt to lash the head tube of Phoenix’s bike to the flight deck of mine. After a few blocks of this I stopped at the hardware store and bought a couple bungees and used one to secure the bikes – and, in turn, free up the same service for my pants – properly the rest of the way.

The kids had a swim date from about three PM to five PM. I spent those hours at home phone and internet-free, practicing yoga, which I’ve found I am best suited doing separately from children running about and stepping on my throat. By the way, my “home studio space” lacks a few things, practically a strap and blocks (which would help as I almost killed myself on Sleeping Pigeon today), aesthetically perhaps the lack of redolant cat when my face is hitting the floor.

Anyway, at the Y to pick the kids up, just when I walked in the lobby (after answering the bike-related questions of a very interested four year old who immediately intuited he could ride atop the back of my steed), they both came running out. They’d gotten all showered and dressed and packed up, economically rolling up their towels in the duffel bag, and they were hungry. We continued our bike ride only seven blocks to the Mia for Italian fare and I drank glass after glass of water. Ralph met us there straight from work.

I am still getting used to the idea of time to myself where my kids aren’t either directly supervised by me or arranged for by me – or stressed over. Readers know I am not an overprotective mom in the general sense people seem to mean this, but I have in the past been sensitive to (and, okay, okay, easily pissed off by) comments of grownups regarding my kids’ conduct or my choice to let them be somewhere on their own. Even today I hovered barefoot and talked to the lifeguards overlong while my kids got swimming, nonplussed at my babies’ lack ceremony in saying goodbye. It felt so odd to just leave them and let the lifeguards boss them. In fact when I picked them up Phoenix gave me a dutiful report of the corrections the lifeguards had asked for, mostly involving grabasserty and Nels’ forays into the deep end. Nels can certainly swim and he’s mulling over taking the official swim test so he won’t get hassled for venturing over his head. And that whole thing is none of my business, neither to encourage or coerce but only to assist him if he needs it (which he won’t).

Home and I’m pleasantly sore and tired and ready for a snuggle and bed. Tomorrow I’m running again in the morning, then taking Nels out to his friend’s, after which I’ll sneak off to the bakery and select a few cupcakes et cetera to share with my little girl who’ll hopefully still be asleep and cuddly when I get home.