Post-Blood Donation

only a little

Today I spent some time in an in-depth mentoring session, then gave blood, then ran my mom over across town for errands, then got my ass to yoga, then went to a meeting. On top of the kidcare and housecare and petcare. I’m beat.

Post-Blood Donation

It’s been a very busy summer. But a beautiful one.

Walking Buddy
Moral Support
WHO'S A GOOD BOY
I have these ethereal beings in my life and I don’t want to spend one moment of the day forgetting this.

the thrushes too

My son takes my hand; he kisses me. His freckles are surfacing, now, with the spring changes. His face lean like a young wolf; no more baby, even though I search his features for that memory. And as we walk the sun floods our path downtown, lighting up the fresh green grass and the old crumb-bum sidewalk. At my right hand, our dog Hutch pulls at his leash.

And now Nels says to me – by way of affectionate teasing:

“Little bird,

“with a crooked beak.”

Then:

“… Nasty thoughts in its head.”

and he smiles slyly and I pull him close, kiss the top of his head. I don’t even have to stoop.

My car is busted, and sitting at the shop. I can hear the meter running, cha-ching!, more expense. And even after mine is fixed – I have some concerns about Ralph’s car – the power steering, for one. The busted driver’s side window. Our children’s choice to attend school is a difficult one when it comes to working cars, and gas expenditure. A new(er) car isn’t something we can pull off any time soon, either.

The bathtub faucet has a drip: my dog has some mysterious ailment causing him to scratch, and chew on his skin. The house needs an overhaul: a winter’s worth of home clutter is gradually being sorted, categorized, recycled or used. Today I handed a large paper bag full of hair dye and half-used shampoos and other toiletries to a gentleman in a big truck, a liaison arranged via the free Facebook community.

We’ve got an upstairs art studio that needs to be tidied; I’ve a resume and cover letter to send out in the morning. I’m behind on our budget. I’ve been ill – kidneys acting up.

Maybe that’s why it matters. Putting my arms around my daughter and feeling her belly. Holding my husband close, feeling the strength and warmth of his body against mine. The sound of my children’s laughter while they play basketball next door – bounce, bounce, bounce. My cheerful (but small) little sewing studio; ironing the selvedge of new denim. Hot coffee, hot water for an evening shower.

It’s good to be alive, even if I’m usually lost as to what to do with the blessings scattered about at my feet.

and miles to go before I sleep

I’m standing in the classroom, stirring a fragrant broth loaded with vegetables, shredded chicken, garlic, spices, and pasta. The classroom I am borrowing is a somewhat-converted Home Ec facility: the stoves serving as counterspace, now, and counters cleared of kitchenware and hosting physics experiments and water testing equipment. Sinks and cupboards full of scientific equipment and rinsed Tupperware. A fridge housing God-knows-what. A dingy space but, as far as classrooms go, a fairly cheerful one. The teacher here loves his job and it shows in how he attends to the children in his care.

I come out every Monday to lead my son’s class through either a bit of arts-and-crafts – or, as in today’s case, cooking. I’d set forth volunteering to cook during Phoenix’s inaugural year, in the sixth grade. Parents who actually spend time in the classroom are as rare as ever. I think it’s because, although schools serve at our behest, they still feel like foreign territory.

This week’s Monday, however, the hot plate I’d purchased for my son’s class proves inept at getting a good boil of soup on; thus my return on a Thursday to finish the job – borrowing another classroom. A lot of driving back and forth to this rural little school but it is worth the effort, time and expense to support my children. The drive is a pleasant one, too. Often on the trip I come across a herd of about thirty Roosevelt elk – I’m so used to it I give them only a cursory glance. Until I think it through and realize many people in the world would be in awe at such a sight.

Finished now, I tidy the kitchen space, thank the resident teacher, and carry the large tureen through the hallways – carefully, arms out ahead so I don’t slosh on myself or the floor. I’ve the soup – which the kids have been looking forward to since Monday – and two loves of day old bread donated by a local deli. The class is happy to eat what they helped prepare – children will dine in a much more democratic fashion when included in the cooking work.

It is a cold and soggy day outside; as a few other classes filter out for a wet recess, I talk with my son’s teacher about her pregnancy – her first. I’m tired, but content to have a job to do, a simple one at that.

***

Tonight, finally – the last work of the evening, making a pan of homemade double-chocolate brownies at my husband’s suggestion. My son stands on a stool, putting clean and dry dishes away. “Mama, I love you. Who wouldn’t love you?”

“Oh… lots of people don’t love me. Don’t even like me.” The moment I say it, I know he will be shocked.

Sure enough: “What? Who? Who doesn’t like you? Mama?” Nels is amazed.

“Oh…” I tell him. Thinking of a few names. Then I say, “I can’t tell you. Because actually – I don’t know for sure.”

“Who wouldn’t love you?” He is less distressed than confused.

Then, when he sees I am still not forthcoming:

“Can you tell me a little bit, maybe just someone you guess might not like you?”

“No, Nels.” I am firm. “It’s not my business anyway.”

“Oh. … then can I have some cake batter?”

We finish up in the kitchen – I place the batter in a pan in the oven. Nels finishes the dishes. 

Today was a good day.

Movie Date

i titter & coo / like i’m a cartoon / i congratulate you / as i leave the room

We’re in a group of about thirteen people all watching a film – and next to me my son sits in his white fur cap, content as possible. I watch him as he eats popcorn and tidily drinks from a small can of Sprite soda. His elven profile tears at my heart. I am rendered entirely helpless at how much I love him, and his sister, how they are my everything life and limb and body.

Today I dug into rent money to take my children – and two others – to the movie, and then for pizza dinner. I popped popcorn and hit the drugstore candy aisle and all that stuff because I will work for it, to give them a decent memory on their Winter vacations from school. All that work to try to get us to the theater on time and watching the film I am almost entirely disinterested; I check my phone as discretely as I can. I have a special exhaustion that seems fruitless and yet serene. I just have to move my body from here to there, to wash dishes, to cook pizzas, to direct children to wash hands or get ready for bed – et cetera, et cetera.

Last night was the second night in a row my son falls asleep right next to me, where I sit – crumpled up against me, his body turns heavy and his breathing even. As much as his interests have turned to school, for now (well – kickball and P.E., really), he is still a little boy who finds comfort in his mother. Why he seems so young and his sister – so much more sedate, darkling, older than her years – seems so grown, I do not know. It’s a rather dreadful juxtaposition as I’m torn between being too-important and not-important-enough, depending on which child I behold. Both children seek out my arms often and when I hold them I’m just wrecked in so many ways.

A Christmas package in the mail: a project knit in secret. Homemade Christmas cards. Yoga, and some time to myself on the mat. Breathing out a deep “cleansing breath” and feeling my face against synthetic plastic and knowing my husband is now at home, caring for the children. Dinner will be ready when I arrive and another day will come to a close.

Day in and day out, caring for younglings, one can learn quite a bit about the Right Stuff for the Right Reasons.

Movie Date

WALKIES

the fox in the snow

WALKIES

It’s cold. Cold and windy some days; merely cold others. I dress as best I can for the morning walks with my dog and frankly I’d rather end up over-bundled than the opposite.

My dog is a fit and hardy soul; he traipses across large puddles encrusted with thick ice; these frozen lakes groan under his pressure and he takes a quick drink, then he’s trotting ahead again. I find myself enjoying the fresh air and some contemplation; small brown birds abruptly blossom into colorful flowers – slam into the tenacious blackberry shrubs at trailside. I see a fellow dogwalker now and then, but mostly it’s just the sound of the water in my ears, and my dog’s companionable tread.

Winter Walk

They’re pulling the paper mill down, across the river. There’s a part of me that can’t believe it’s gone. I stop and really get a look – as long a look as I’m willing to take given the cold – and I think about my past, my future. I’ve lasted longer than the mill. Huh. See, I started my engineering life at that mill as an intern, after my sophomore year at college. I remember all the other engineering students and how all they’d talk was money and job prospects and the cars they’d buy.

It depressed me long before I earned the degree so maybe I was fated to let that life fall aside.

I think about when I quit engineering and the few who told me I was wasting my “good brain” by leaving a technical field.

But I’m still standing; the mill isn’t. It seems like each attempt, each vocation, each series of struggles and failures, and I’m left humble, less-than, and in a satisfied smallness.

Winter WalkToday I line my eyes in black eyeliner; powder, line them again. I tuck my blonde curls away up in my watch cap. I adorn myself with the one necklace I own – a cheap little affair with a black cross. And hoop earrings. I make the bed, stopping to kiss the small kitty who asks for my attention. He reclines on his back, his paws up, lazily paddling the air in his ecstasies.

I wash the dishes, and care for the animals, and sew two simple garments. I meet with a friend, and attend to my duties: picking up the children, chairing a meeting, attending pickup rehearsal.

My children are old enough to have a life of their own; this happened very swiftly, and it is taking me quite some time to get used to this. I find myself teetering on the balance beam; realizing that they have formed of themselves most of the persons they will be, and that my job is no longer so much to help them manifest, but to support them in their ever-blooming self. So when my children are well, I feel well; when they suffer, I suffer more than seems possible, and certainly more than is logical.

My daughter’s manicure, deathly deep blue – chipping. The blonde tendrils of my son’s hair, clinging to his perfect skin as he emerges from the bath, wrapped in a threadbare towel. The cozy clink here and there from the kitchen: Ralph washing the dishes. My own anticipation of a hot shower, and a hot lemon and honey to drink. And hanging the last of the clothes to dry and wiping down the counters.

And last night, when my son had so much trouble sleeping, and couldn’t settle, and cried out. And I brought him a warm milk with honey and after he drank it

he fell

into silence,

and slept.

 

Green Leopard-Print Footed Tights

green leopard-print footed tights. ’nuff said.

I get compliments on these tights and I get to say, “Thanks. I made them.” Probably most people think these are leggings but like my first pair – they are constructed with a foot sewn in.

Green Leopard-Print Footed Tights

Now that I have my legging metric down – including adding a skirt, as in this pair – I can afford to stop playin. No more JoAnn’s bargain-knits: time for excellent, posh wools and silks. That is pretty killer.

Green Leopard-Print Footed Tights

Super-action urban tights! Climbing up trains and shit! Actually on the coldest dog walk of all time (dog not pictured, he’s around the corner) and Phoenix and I are near-weeping because we are about to expire!

Green Leopard-Print Footed Tights

The bottom of the skirt rolls up because I am way too busy to even sew a skirt hem! Holy cow!

Green Leopard-Print Footed Tights

A rare full body shot. I refuse to turn my feet in in that affected little-girl pose. I like little girls and little girls don’t pose to be cute. So I’m like a little girl. Posing as Me. Thanks, Phoenix – not-so-little-girl – for taking photos.

 

Phoenix Fire Hogaboom, Halloween 2014

a bride to amazement! or, how Halloween is finally, finally, mercifully sweet Jeebus, behind me

If you have any questions as to how I made something, or where I found something – ask away! Remember anything you ask benefits those who come searching for tutorials.

Phoenix Fire Hogaboom, Halloween 2014

Last year I believe I created about a dozen pieces for people not related to me – and my children didn’t mind the modest assemblies they received as a result. This year I staved off favors and clients, sewing about six pieces. I wanted to give the kids exactly what they wanted, and to go all out.

So, that happened.

And without further ado:

10 Things I Learned This Halloween Sewing Season

(individual notes on costumes in the Flickr tagset)

Nels, AKA A Dragon

 

1. Sequin fabrics. Unbelievably beautiful, and wonderful to work with. After you’ve spent countless hours painstakingly removing, one sequin at a time, every sequin in your seam allowances. *whimper*

2. Easy “scales” makeup for mermaids, or reptilian what-nots – place a bit of fishnet or tulle over the skin to be made up, and carefully blot a little bit. Nels’ little scales (above) took about thirty seconds and I really adored them.

The Happy Couple

2. You can dye a synthetic wig with off-the-shelf hair dye. Phoenix’s friend Allison (above left) is sporting a thrift store wig that her mama dyed. It turned out fabulous! Phoenix’s wig was purchased as-is from Arda Wigs – and then augmented with a little black hairspray. Colored hairspray, in general, needs to be purchased in large quantities to make a serious dent on hair color.

3. For the bride: mixing dead colors: grey, ivory, pale green and pale grey-lavender – was a total blast! I look forward to making another layered, many-color piece again!

The Happy Couple

4. Tearing and tying one hundred billion strips to the waistline of the wedding gown: worth it. Looks great! I tore along the grain of the fabric which drastically reduces thread coming loose when you launder the costume – which, believe it or not, is machine-washable!

5. Benefits of a dead/corpse/zombie/apocalyptic etc. costume: no need to wash, set and style a wig. Just throw it on!

Nels, AKA A Dragon

6. My costumes are adored not only for their looks but for their wearability. I line and underline them which is why they last through many children. Nels wore his to school and spent our cemetery photoshoot mushroom hunting (there were a billion kinds of mushrooms out!). A garment fully-lined in satin feels wonderful to wear. And of course – I included pockets because that seems like such a lovely and humane feature to give children.

7. Dragon wings: two half-circles of crumpled taffeta, and two of regular taffeta. Each pair sewn right-sides together, then turned right-side out and topstitched. Attached from sleeve hem to hip in one straight line. Simple, sweet, and comfortable to wear.

Dead Bride Costume, Close-Up

8. Bodysuit from mesh fabric, so one can eschew body makeup for that grey corpse-like look: perfect. And surprisingly quick to make. Spandex World for the mesh – using their sample swatch service for the color.

Dead Bride Costume, Close-Up

9. Newspaper roses, spraypainted very carefully: yes. They look as pretty as I thought they might. They are actually rather time-consuming, so be warned.

To Have & To Hold. Plus, A Dragon

10. Crafting as a family affair is wonderful. The clients pictured above all helped with their costumes – and my children did their part doing extra chores so I could work on their pieces. And they thanked me about a hundred times. It’s nice to satisfy!

Happy Halloween!

 

New Friend

You’re gonna have to sleep sometime, MacReady

Meeting someone new.

New Friend

Lunch. Lunch

My wee girl… being beautiful.Phee

Just before yoga tonight. Which was kind of crabby and not-right. A Stop B4 Yoga

And just now – Ralph, Hutch & I for a late-night walk. Phee at home, completing homework in privacy. Night Walk

Being a fully-enrolled schooling family – a word has been going through my head. The word is grueling.

You know what’s funny is for years schooling families often seemed to me to be stretched too thin, working too hard, getting too little rest, complaining about the state of the house and being too busy. Then for a few years I thought, I am just imagining that, I am being unfair. But no. It really is a thing. We’re adjusting. We’ll be okay.

Today one of my mentors told me to stop harming myself, stop one harmful practice, set something aside and leave it. I thought of something in the quietness of my heart, and I committed to it.

I’ve a standing writing assignment to put together an article about transitioning from home-/unschooling to full time school. And yeah, I’m writing it, so that will be happening. For now I’m caring for myself, my partner, and our children – my youngest is being a total Hero about this whole schedule and homework and behaving-in-class thing. He’s hitting it out of the park. Phoenix – well. We got her test scores from last year. Nailed it in reading and math (which are apparently the only two test metrics vis-à-vis whether schools are “working” or “failing”, meaning whether they get money, IDGI). She’s shifted to her new 7th grader schedule brilliantly.

The kids are doing fine. They are. Me? Huh. Well, my house is quiet during the day.

Like they say in all those silly movies I watch – “Too quiet.”

I’m listening.

Miami Connection (1987)

a moment of your time:

Miami Connection (1987)

 

Ralph and a few of our friends are putting on an event this Friday at Hoquiam’s historic 7th Street Theatre. “It’s kind of a big deal”. To us.

I’m not sure if all my readers know how much effort we Hogabooms put into some projects, so I thought I’d say a few words.

We have worked very hard for this event. We’ve been designing graphic art, promoting, writing press releases, having tickets and posters printed, and finding sponsors to donate funds, food, and products. We’ve built a slideshow that honors sponsors and showcases Harbor Rescue’s success stories. To secure the theatre and the film rights (which were not cheap) Ralph and I personally scraped up funds from what is (supposedly) savings for a house payment or car repair and put those funds on the line.

Ralph and I are currently working on redesigning the Rescue’s website – so that can be up and running shortly before the film airs. We are also putting together foster and adoption forms to have at the event, raffles, and door prizes.

And of course, we’re trying to find volunteers to man positions on event night.

What we’re really hoping for at this point – frankly – is to have some asses in seats on Friday. Because every ticket purchased, every sponsorship acquired, every scrap of cash sent our way through Paypal, benefits real, living and breathing, suffering animals here in Grays Harbor and surrounding area. If you live here and are reading this, I hope you can attend. This Friday we will be competing with a local football game (yikes!) and, to a lesser extent, the cultural habits of Loggers Playday (yes, that’s a real thing!) – so, we’re hoping for the best.

If you don’t live by – please consider donating directly to the event. You can do this by donating through my Paypal (send to kelly AT hogaboom DOT org) and making sure to put “Harbor Rescue” in the memo field. You can send checks, cash, or even dog food to my address – 611 6th Street, Hoquiam, WA 98550.

You can make a difference in the lives of local critters.

Thank you readers for your steadfast support. I wish you success in all your endeavors. Me – well, in between hustling like I’ve never hustled before – I’m putting on my jeans with a touch of lycra and practicing roundhouse kicks.

Miami Connection (1987) original poster

Letterman Jacket (Bundle Up Boy Blog Tour)

preppy like that!

As mentioned last post, across the internetz many (mostly)lady-bloggers are sewing up a batch of boy patterns for a blog tour of the designs. The patterns are all PDF indie designs, have a wonderful size range of 3 months to size 16, and they are all featured on an extended sale until the first. I was honored to be asked to participate. The 25th I submitted my first entry. Today, I bring you: 

The Letterman Jacket!

Letterman Jacket (Bundle Up Boy Blog Tour)

So for today: I am The Letterman Jacket by Fairytale Pattern Design. I’ll be discussing them here and in my Flickr tagset.

Letterman Jacket (Bundle Up Boy Blog Tour)

Letterman Jacket (Bundle Up Boy Blog Tour)

The pattern: if you think about it, a Letterman jacket is a simple garment (certainly simpler than the last jacket I made). What makes it iconic and beautiful are the fabrics used, the details (the distinctive ribbing and collar or center back zip hood), and the patches. Almost any raglan jacket could be easily changed to a letterman jacket. That said, it is wonderful to have a simply-drafted pattern and it was easy for me to modify it for a facing and lining. This particular pattern comes in size 4T to size 16 (please please please let a client request a wee 4T) – a generous size range.

 I made a size 8 in girth and a size 12 in length for my lean green bean boy! I also hand-knit cuffs, hem band, and neckband:

Letterman Jacket (Bundle Up Boy Blog Tour)

 

My welt pockets are perfect! Exactly no one is surprised. That said, some fabrics are far more lovely to work welt pockets in – and melton wool is definitely in that category:

Letterman Jacket (Bundle Up Boy Blog Tour)

Letterman Jacket (Bundle Up Boy Blog Tour)

 

Finished with a wonderful gold slipper satin and antique brass snaps:

Letterman Jacket (Bundle Up Boy Blog Tour)

Letterman Jacket (Bundle Up Boy Blog Tour)

Letterman Jacket (Bundle Up Boy Blog Tour)

And one of my favorite bits: a custom chenille patch:
Letterman Jacket (Bundle Up Boy Blog Tour)

Letterman Jacket (Bundle Up Boy Blog Tour)

All in all, a successful venture with a very simple, trusty pattern.

Letterman Jacket (Bundle Up Boy Blog Tour)

You can learn more about the Bundle Up pattern package below – or visit all the blogs that are showcasing the different patterns. Y’all know I tend to draft my own stuff, but these patterns are pretty fabulous and most of them have a great size range. Enjoy!