because tomorrow can worry about itself

“Can any of you, by being vastly concerned, add a foot to your height? And why do you worry about clothing? Study how the lilies of the field grow; they don’t work, and they don’t spin cloth. But I am telling you that not even Solomon in all his glory was ever dressed like one of them. If that’s how God clothes the wild grass of the field, here today and thrown into the furnace tomorrow, won’t He do much more for you, unbelievers?”

Claws For Phee

Our daughter comes home and hands me some Halloween werewolf claw tips; price tag $3. My kids impress me, because even though my mother took them to the Halloween store and would have bought them one item, whatever they wanted, they show restraint and care in what they choose. Phoenix selects something sensible, as sensible as her fierce little heart can be. The children are considerate and frugal. Quite frugal. (Nels selected a jumping pumpkin toy, also for just a couple bucks.)

So my daughter gives me the “claws” and a pair of cut-up fingerless gloves and asks me to affix them together. I am secretly pleased. It is wonderful to be asked to do something and to be able to do it. And it is pretty keen, how many memories my kids have of me making them exactly the food or the clothes or the day’s experience that they want.

I sit at the table with Ralph, who is helping another craft exploit of mine, and glue all the fingertips together while and we talk. I finish, and our daughter is pleased.

This morning while I put away laundry I felt that familiar sting of anxiety; our towels are all falling apart (which reminds me of course that our bedding is also, and all of our beds are as well, and our couch is too – et cetera). My hand is on a well-worn cloth diaper rag still hot from the dryer and I suddenly re-remember I don’t have to worry about any of that stuff. I have $20 for today and tomorrow’s food so buying towels or couches or beds is not even an option. I finish putting away my laundry and I make the kids food and I remember my job is to do what’s in front of me, not to worry so much. We have been provided for so wonderfully so far in life and it is good to remember that.

Claws For Phee

in this world there is always danger for those who are afraid of it

Yesterday a man shows up at my door and tells me he’d seen my babies walking, and he wanted me to know there was a registered sex offender in our neighborhood. A new one. He showed me a picture. I told him Yeah, you could look that stuff up online and all the local crime too, which I had done. He was surprised (OUT-SAFETY’D, SUCKA!!!) but then returned to talking about this guy. He kept reiterating he saw my babies walking and he thought he’d talk to me. My babies. I wonder how he knows where we live. Then he says he was trying to get the sex offender OUT of our neighborhood. He says, “Why don’t they knock on doors and ask around, ‘Do you have kids?’, and ask if it’s okay if a sex offender moves in?” I have no words. Just, no words.

I thanked the man for his concern. I closed the door. I feel oddly depressed. Later the kids and I had a little talk about strangers and walking about.

Life goes on.

Now this evening it’s dark out and I know where my kids are, but I’m a wee bit uneasy. It’s not related to the guy who showed up yesterday but he didn’t help or anything. It’s as if, at a certain point I have this tingling sixth sense. I walk outside with the dog and see my kids across the street, returning home in the company of an extra kid (who is now here and staying the night). It’s like I don’t rest easy until once again I see my children safe. The kids, all three, run up and inside and make up bowls of dinner (pork fried rice and green beans) and get to some cleaning up: vacuuming and doing the dishes. Phee is soon on her laptop and giggling, playing online with friends.

I wonder when I’ll get used to how sufficient, how competent, my children are. Today they packed up their swimsuits and towels and went out with my mother to the lake. Before they left I asked them to do some housework, and they cheerfully obliged and got the kitchen cleaner than Ralph or I generally do it, talking the whole while to one another in meme-speak, almost unintelligible. At a certain point I just kept adding on suggestions, feeding the cats and sweeping, and can you put this away, and that, and they did these cheerfully enough, since they knew they were off to the lake as soon as I was off to my volunteer shift at the gallery. It’s like I worried all these years about teaching my kids life skills and I have some kind of anxiety hangover.

Sometimes besides feeding and snuggling and taking the kids where they want to go, I don’t know what else I’m supposed to be doing for them. They are exceedingly happy and well-balanced and perfectly okay asking me for whatever they want, which means each day is an opportunity in trusting in something greater than myself. My ability to plan, manipulate, execute.

Family life is a lot easier than I used to make it.

#goodnight

“By the sea, Mr. Todd, that’s the life I covet!”

My Mom & My Son, Before Heading Out To The BeachMy son, & my mom, about to head out to the beach together.

So YE GODS I’ve been having fun embroidering. Last night I finished up this space-age sampler as designed by Wendi Gratz. I really dig her whole approach, as found on her site Shiny Happy World.

Space Sampler

Space Sampler

Embroidered Comet, Close-Up

The whole business made me decide to make up my own patterns, including a sewn samper. LET’S SEE how it goes. Because you know, not only can I draw, but I’m into stuff. For instance last night? I started and finished the above piece, concluding my last stitches while viewing Attack of the Crab Monsters with my kids, Tylur, and Emily, and whilst sharing a pint of Late Night Snack with said Emily.

YES I REALIZE I HAVE NOTHING, EVER, TO COMPLAIN ABOUT.

Anyway I could draw up some awesomeness ala Crab Monsters right this moment. Instead I drew and traced and finished a pattern of subjects close to my heart, non-Crab-Monster-related – and provided my sampler doesn’t shit the bed, you’ll be seeing it soon!

Embroidering

(Hint: will involve GLOW-IN-THE-DARK thread!)

Glow-In-The-Dark Embroidery Floss!

In other news: we got our table finished. The entire table was a gift, both in materials and construction, from friends. I am more than thrilled. It is my Favorite Table Ever. Many people were almost maimed while we put it together.

Making Our Kitchen Table Which Almost Killed A Few People

New Table! With New Wool Coat In Progress

First meal made on the table – meatballs! (recipe, previously shared):

Making Meatballs

Making Meatballs

Followed by – using the crusts discarded from Phoenix’s bread-cubing – fresh bread pudding for breakfast:

Fresh Bread Pudding For Breakfast

Phoenix:

Phoenix, Sly Creature

Harris (Every. Damn. Day!):

Life Is REALLY HARD For Harris

Finally: a piece of mine was published in the latest issue of Natural Life Magazine. As you’ve no doubt heard me say before, I heartily endorse anything written or published by Ms. Priesnitz, and I encourage y’all to head over and subscribe to this excellent publication.

In closing please, do not be so casual about “just a few land crabs” – unless you want to pay the ultimate price.

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!”

Goodnight!

those games we play

This morning when Nels gets up he runs out to the living room and curls up in the chair. I turn from my computer and morning coffee and ask, “You need a cuddle?” “Yes,” is the inevitable reply. I pack two blankets and my coffee to the couch and he folds into my arms. He smells wonderful, like himself and his father, since Nels often ends up sleeping against Ralph’s chest.

Our children are pretty large to still curl up on our laps, yet curl up they do. There is no sign of abatement in the holding and kissing and hugging and nose-rubs and just closeness. Yesterday my son and I got up to a lot of wrestling. It’s no joke to wrestle the kids these days, especially if you don’t want anyone to get hurt. They are strong like badgers. But I eventually got the best of my boy and sat astride him. Once you get the arms above the head it’s easy to hold them there. But I hold him lightly, not rough. And then I ask him if I should kiss him or tickle him or give him a nose-rub. He cannot resist asking for the worst of the worst – tickling! He laughs in total abandonment and his baby teeth show, only a few more months glimpse of those little top teeth and they’ll be gone soon. I tickle  him but I’m careful because you can go wrong and really hurt someone.

Then later I say, “Boy, when I go back to my sewing room and start working, I sure hope you don’t finish your snack and then put away your plate and wash your hands and then come back there and pretend there’s something really important for me to see, and then lead me to the bedroom, and when I get near the bed you push me down and give me so many kisses.”

I don’t get much sewing done.

We basically do this shit all day long, in between I do the dishes and clean and cook only a little and eventually we head outside in the sunshine on errands. Today the kids were happy in an activity a little overdue: cleaning and dusting and sorting their room. They ran and got the vaccuum and dampened cloths and sorted the books and toys we were ready to consign and donate; they put in a little pile those items their friends had left (later they assiduously returned these to their owners). They watered and fed the leopard gecko and tended to recycling and helped change linens and make beds. It only took about thirty minutes to have a cozy little space ready for them again and I envisioned when the other kids would come over, and how they’d sit in the room and play Yu-Gi-Oh or Legos (and indeed, this did happen later in the evening).

I thought about how easy it is to simply squander our time with those we love and care for so very very much, and I thought about how I was ready to spend more time mindfully being there and less time doing some other stuff.

I was remembering things when they were very small and how much less ambition I spent on activities and plans other than the contemplative work of home and wee ones. Returning to that space the last two days felt very welcome, and I think I’ll stay there a few more days at least.

the most obvious punchline ever, but, still…

 
Yeah, the other day I had a bit of “Oh you have this degree, you should [insert employment ‘opportunity’]” directed at me specifically. You know, by someone I don’t (yet) know well, with no interest expressed nor questions asked as to what it is I actually do during the day, if I like it, how good I am at it, how interested I am at doing something else, what my family’s organizing principles are, etc. I observe over a decade I have never had this advice directed to me by a woman (so to borrow a phrase from Jasmine – men, get your shit together!).

But for serious I was thinking about careers and status. And men. (More in a minute!) Until the other day it had been a while since anyone else brought up my former life of moneyed and statused career in referendum of my current life which is a bit different in both those spheres. The symptomatic current-life devaluation of my existence doesn’t sting like it used to simply because I rely on my spiritual life and people I know and trust to help me know how I’m doing and what I’m worth. Really, the whole thing is funny to me (but it wasn’t when I first heard that college-degreed women who stay home to raise children are “opting out” and a bunch of other stuff about how they’re Ruining Everything – heard it from close friends, coworkers, etc). Because all of this is about them, not me. The day someone queries what it is I do, what I find value in, what my life is like, what I’m passionate about, who I help, what I’m skilled at (up until now), what I’m not (so far), what I long for, what I’m afraid of – and then makes some suggestions? Well first I’ll acknowledge them for even giving a damn to listen so much, but at that point I’ll also be interested in hearing their opinions on my life’s course.

I was thinking about, and this is related believe it or not – and truly a confession here I’m not proud of – how angry it’s made me, in the past, when men flirt with me. I have responded to men and women (very rarely) by flirting back, sure; but increasingly over the years I have become a fixed and hardened person when it comes to men, a smiling cipher who will move away when they move close (literally or figuratively), an outward smile and tactful deferral but years of scorn and fear slowly calcifying around my heart. Until very recently I have taken (false) pride in my defensive response, but now I realize it was a sign of my weakness. Because really, until now I have thought men who flirt are telling me they don’t think I’m worth much. They don’t care to find out if I’m in a mated pair (I am, and I wear a ring for one thing), or anything about me at all except for I make them have feelings in their pants or maybe I’ll take care of their laundry or their kids or their Existential Loneliness, whatever they crave, with sex of some sort. They (often) don’t know anything about me whatsoever; how can any interest in me be anything real or personal at all? Why do they put me in the position of having to do a goddamn thing (like “Yes” or “No” to an advance) when I want to go about my day and buy potatoes or ride a bike or mail a package?

I’ve hated myself for not saying something aloud. Like “Please stop, this is bothering me.” Of course, most women know what happens – often – when you do this. I haven’t been strong enough to stomach any more of what always happened before. “What’s your fucking problem?” “Don’t flatter yourself.” “I wasn’t doing anything.” “You’re making a big deal out of nothing.” “Bitch!” Physical threats.

But today I need to forgive men, or at least those with the entitled assumption that all women find flirtations welcome or flattering. I need to forgive those who’ve abused me in the past (all of them). I need to forgive those who diminish me. I need to forgive them their clumsiness, even forgive those who are straight-up manipulative and/or hate women (that hatred is a Fear response anyway; I can empathize because Fear is indeed a plague that besets us all). We are all lost, at one point or another. I need to forgive myself for receiving and internalizing the message it is my beauty (ha!), or my “nice”ness, or my accommodation, or my cooking or my figure (ha!) or my performance of Femaleness, or a myriad of other things, that really count and that are up for others’ measure and evaluation. The thing that counts is I’m a person. Other people may not give me respect or be interested, not in Me really, but that doesn’t mean I can’t give these gifts to myself – and to them. I don’t have to hate those who are only doing the best they can at the time. I can’t forgive all, and instantly so, but I can know it’s what I need to do.

Do I wish sometimes I could have two weeks on an island free of this stuff? Yeah, I do. But I don’t have that space or time, and life is life.

I have been messing about fixing a car; if you’ve been counting, you’ll know we currently have one that’s working and one that is not. The car stuff is bringing up some of the Flirting D00d stuff; today in a garage I was assailed repeatedly by no fewer than four men, jumping on me like starving fleas. Doing that thing where they apologize profusely for their slips of “bad language”. Because I’m a Lady. And I guess I need smelling salts when someone says the word “fuck” (the thing that actually disturbs me is, acting one way when a woman is around and another when one is not, feel free anyone to self-reflect on that). Then telling me I smell good. Then wanting me to come look at their car project (“Hey, guess what this is?”). Then teasing me for texting (my husband, as it happened) and asking me to come over (I am not making this up). Instead of learning a bit about my car as I’d hoped to, I had the opportunity to experience all this. Finally the owner showed up – he actually helped me quite a bit in a totally direct and friendly manner. I drove off happy. I told myself I would never know why these men treated me this way, I can’t assume they were flirting with any intent, maybe they were just hyper – or Lonely. Hey, Lonely is okay. We’ve all been there. Nothing to be pissed about.

Short potential morals of these stories, if you find them useful: pay attention to people and who they evidence themselves to be. Ask yourself why you’re being prescriptive. Don’t be a Creeper. Find what you’re passionate about. Enjoy the passions of others as they display them. See if you can look yourself in the mirror and say aloud you (honestly) like yourself. Respect others.

When you run across a person you can be damned amazed you have this life and another human being to share it with. You don’t have to fuck it up, or at least you can fuck it up less.

Blue Goth

My children are not too particular nor focussed on fashion; perhaps having a mother who could literally sew them anything they wanted (because I really could!) grants them a luxury of some kind. More likely, at their young ages and not surrounded by commercialism and materialism as much as others, it’s just not their interest. They have preferences and garments they particularly like, but neither kid could ever be described as particular or fastidious dressers.

That said, Phoenix cites a few colors and a few styles as ones she likes – and I still remember pulling a frilly skirt off the sewing machine and realizing at that moment she wouldn’t care for the frippery (my son was down with it, however).  Favoring soft, pull on garments with simple pockets and clean lines, my daughter’s tastes are easy to consider.

Today’s hoodie dress had popped into my head a while back (thanks to reader Jenn for her suggestion of this lovely cotton velour).

Pensive At The Coffee Shop

OK, that’s the pensive/arty shot. Here’s some tried-and-true authentic Phoenix:

Piratey... & Lovely

The sleeves and hood were both lined fully; there are no seams to be felt therein. The double-knotted hood of the Farbenmix: Olivia pattern really works for me. I can’t just have a regular boring round hood – at all:

Double Knot!

The dress hem and sleeve hems left raw – an advantage of sewing with knits. The trickiest part about a garment like this is the layout and cutting – making sure the knits are perfectly on-grain (seamsters will note there are cross-grain stripes on the Michael Miller stripe and lengthwise grain stripe detail on the velour). Once I’d cut and marked, the dress went quite quickly.

Phoenix was very happy with her dress and played, read, ran, ate, and tended naughty chickens.

Tendering

She only took the garment off briefly to wash the dishes (and she did a bang-up job of those).

Dishes, By Phoenix

Dishes, By Phoenix

Dishes, By Phoenix

All-in-all, a successful fashion adventure for the girl and I.

Action-Pose

In other sewing knews: Patterns by Figgy’s announced their upcoming Sewing For Boys book; a project I’ve been busy helping test for (Nels will be featured in the lovely pictures therein). I haven’t been able to share any pictures of resultant garments and I’ve been agonizing to! Having some intimacy with this project and with the women helming it, I can say I’m very excited to be involved – and gladdened to see these ladies’ dreams coming to fruition. craftivism w00t!

All the soarings of my mind begin in my blood.

Waiting

As I believe I have on occasion expressed before, I have a love/hate relationship with giving blood. It’s scary and upsetting and uncomfortable but only at a few specific junctions and not enough to be a deal-breaker. It feels good to help but I won’t lie, it feels even better to have Phoenix’s esteem. She was happy to accompany me today in her little white fleece leggings (a cozy and lovely gift from my mother) and big boots and sweater. An old man flirted with her in this condescending but affectionate way and she handled that just fine. She kissed me and told me “Good luck” and told me she was proud of me and I was “smart”.

The Big Stick (BOOBSCAPE 3000)

I was their last “customer” and when I finished (8 minutes) they pretty much told me to fuck off, get out of there. I know they have a lot of work to get done after the blood-cattle leave. I’ve always been treated so well by bloodworkers. An impressive record considering they have to work long hours in a cramped space, in an, ahem, charming town like Aberdeen.

Short entry today as I have a fair bit of laundry; Ralph and I are also finishing up a batch of matzoh ball soup. No one is sick but that doesn’t mean delicious preventative measures aren’t a good idea!

Cashier
(Small Stone #6*)

I don’t know why you’re especially cheerful today
But I’m not joining you.

Small stone project

I will take up my pencil, which I have forsaken in my great discouragement, and I will go on with my drawing

So I just have to write this down. Of course.

This afternoon I receive a call and a fellow tells me he saw our fliers around town and he wants to know if there is a reward for the return of our cat. I say, uh well, I guess so, sure, kind of taken aback really. Then he claims he would go look for her and he wanted to know what I was going to offer if he found her.

I KNOW!

I’m gobsmacked. After a beat I ask him well, what do you think your time is worth. He won’t throw out an answer on this and (by now my brain is slowly cranking and I’m figuring he has my little kitty already), I offer him, with kind of amazed laughter in my voice, about half our weekly grocery money. He ups the price twenty percent and I say, Yeah, okay, thank you, and we hung up after he tells me he’s likely to find her.

Yeah, I KNOW!

An hour and a half later he calls again and says me he thinks he has my cat. I was out-of-home but Ralph was primed to make the transaction so I sent him off to do so with instructions.

And lo, it was our cat indeed.

Josie's Home (AKA

Yeah, that Josie. Looking a little off-kilter after five or so days away from home. Who knows where.

Maybe people won’t understand why today – this thing with our little creature – exhausted me, but I’m going to try to write a bit more about the episode then be done. I can think of about three ways this scenario might have gone down. The first is taking the fellow at his word: he bounty-hunts pets and charges for his time. I could spell out the reasons I think this is unlikely. But let me point out, times are fucking hard on the Harbor and that sort of thing is a possibility. There are other potential scenarios ranging from opportunistic to sinister.

What can one say when one is (potentially) scammed? My mom wrote the young man a check so we’ll be getting his name at least (I also have his phone number; adding to the potentially-sketch factor he refused to meet us at his house). Putting a stop on the check is an option but then as Ralph said, “Then who’s the bigger douchebag?” Because you know? We don’t really know what went on.

The whole scenario was bizarre, and now I’m left rather frazzled. For one thing, the anxiety I’ve felt over missing one of our critters has been like a constant tension string and in my very typical fashion, when the cat/child/chicken is safe I have a little breakdown (I’ll be back to normal soon, promise). After the first phone call, to agonize if I would see her today or if it was not her at all and I’d be left to wonder; to feel creeped out by the likelihood someone was using our vulnerability to their advantage. The little kitty is sleeping on a chair a few feet away, a couple scraps of beef in her belly and her fur smelling like strange perfume. And I’m so. SO GLAD. to have her back.

***

This evening J. and I hit Thrift City and, after an incident involving an old-school Argus Mini Palmatic 2 camera that still had film in it (and yeah, it was under $1, so we bought it and I can’t wait to develop it!) and hysterical harpy-laughter and a huge box of MINDWIZARD cards flying all over the aisle, I found the absolutely perfect writing desk. Very sturdy, solid wood, perfect shelf and drawer availability, the ideal height and width, and it amazingly matches my (favorite) overpainted and chipped green chair, and it only smells a LOT musty (ha). Wunderbar!

My Tidy World: These Are A Few Of My Favorite Things

My favorite things: my “new” (and really, really sturdy and awesome) desk ($15), the smartphone and One Line A Day Five Year Memory Book from Ralph (Christmas gifts), moleskine & papermate (gifts from friends), vinyl purse from Pure Clothing in HQX ($7), silver James Bond-esque cigarette lighter (gift from same friends who gave me the moleskine), and my very trusted, rugged and quickly-headed-downhill Mac named “Balls” (purchased to the dime with an inheritance sum, about five years ago).

I’m very happy about the desk which of course precipitated a reorganization and cleaning of my papers. But my night isn’t near over. I have an incredible mountain of laundry to fold. Don’t worry. I’ll fill you in on every detail.

Partaking Of Love
(Small Stone #3*)

Steaming rice-fried-in-butter
Slowcooked beans and pot roast
At the counter, midnight,
Children warm their bellies

Small stone project

party in the u.s.a.

“Is there a reason the cat is eating frozen peas off the living room floor?” my husband asks me this afternoon.

Now before I answer that, first off, it’s endearing he says “the cat”, sort of casual as if we have one, as if our life isn’t sort of a constant Feline Shame Parade and it could be any staggering leggy fleabitten beast in any state of disarray doing Lord Knows What. And of course he’s not even accusing me much, his voice is almost mild and vaguely sedated, he’s been a daddy for many years now and is used to Whatever Is Going On (or has he puts it a minute later, “Clown House”, while doing a funny penguin walk) and that he might come home to total Chaos or Preternatural Domestic Calm and it’s really anyone’s guess as to which one, wheeee!

And actually there is a reason. For the peas. But before I get to that it’s confusing Ralph is even here at 2:30 PM (turns out he needed to pick up something at home then head back to work), and now what is really troubling me is how I’m going to relate the fact that we’d made a little run to the recycled clothing shop (hat for Nels) and the bookstore (Christmas book for Phoenix, shhh!) then stopped at the little charity shop where I donate my well-organized sewing scraps (they love us there!), and the proprietress at this latter venture gave my children these tiny little noisemakers that play incessant tinny Christmas tunes, and I was thinking it’s funny one kindness many grownups show small children is to give them either candy or noisemakers, and I don’t really think they’re being sadistic haw haw, just sweet (and it is sweet!), and it was kind of funny how the kids were playing these horrid things when we got coffee at the diner and I’d thought it might annoy customers but the two people sitting closest to us were profoundly deaf (for real), so a few minutes later we’d pulled up at home and I was going out of my mind with the repetitive Christmas carol MIDI crap and I leaned down in the car to rescue the box I’d carried my fabric scraps in from the footwell and I’d brought my arm up just as Nels leaned down to help me and the corner of the box caught him right in the eye and he howled in anger and I realized this was the first time (I think) I’d ever hurt him like this and quick as a flash I got him inside and wet a dishtowel and wrapped it around a few frozen peas in a plastic bag and set him on the couch and Phoenix entertained him on YouTube for a few minutes while I put away groceries and went pee and hopped on the computer and –

I guess the bag, you know the one with the peas, it had a hole in it.

Despite odd and weird and disconcerting mini-drama (due to our quick action Nels barely has a scratch evidenced) it’s been a good day. Over coffee I asked my mom for a loan to buy fabric for Christmas sewing and – gasp! – sewing for myself. Tonight we have a friend over for a sleepover and after the girls took an adventure (“We’re going to play in a ditch,” Phoenix informed me airily) we cleaned up and visited the gallery for their Winter Christmas Show (where we met new people and the kids made a straight beeline for the appetizers). Back home I slogged away at some sewing (a baby bunting, exactly no one is surprised) while Ralph made dinner (turkey meatballs over fettucine with almond pesto, salad with butter lettuce, cherry tomatoes, carrot and cuke, and lemon broccoli) and then we bathed the kids and I folded all the laundry and some of the cats rolled around in ecstasy –

warm house, yule tree, friends, red wine, B-movie, blankets and soft laughter.

Yes.