the air that I breathe & to love you

Caught In The Act

Caught In The Act

Caught In The Act

The sun is out and there’s something about the air; it’s still got a bit of chill especially as the evening falls but I find I’m feeling restless for the summer. We’re down to one car and we’d better fix a few things on that or we’ll be down to zero (sorry to talk about the cars again; it’s just where we live, family-of-four life without a car is no joke). I turn the engine over and the Mercedes belches out grey smoke and coughs for a while while it warms up. This car. The missing muffler and the screaming belt. I am serious. It’s funny. Sorry neighbors. I still love it, though.

It’s the sunshine and the car trouble so I say something out loud before I’ve thought it through, I don’t know if we’ll get a vacation this year, and I’m okay with it, just thinking of hot sand and doing nowt and just picturing the little pots of money moving them back and forth, more than enough to feed us and shelter us so no worries. But:

“It will be worth it,” my daughter says. “We’ll have sent a family to the unschooling conference.” That’s cool. It’s like as a parent you make these decisions as best you can, and you bet we made this decision as a family, informed consent, but it’s cool the kids aren’t backing down even while I’m teetering on feeling like an ass.

She continues: “They’ll have a wonderful time.”

I say, “We had sixteen families apply for our scholarship. They are all great applicants. Would you like daddy and I to make the final decision, or would you like to help?”

“Oh, I’d love to help!” Her response is immediate. We talk about it a bit. We share ideas about criteria for selection. I put the car in gear and we head out to take her to swim team. My son puts his hand on my arm and tells me he loves me.

***

Later, Ralph’s out of town, I walk in the falling shroud of darkness, wet and cold, I’m with the dog, off a little over a mile to pick up my daughter. In the backpack I’ve a couple rolls for her to eat, a big woolen hat and a coat. Hutch trots at my side, HAPPIER THAN ANYTHING EVER just to be along with me. Even after his massive weight loss he is still a big dog, and despite his obviously friendly, mild body language, sometimes people cross the street when they see him. In fact, walking at night alone as a lady, I don’t mind having a huge dog alongside. He is the gentlest creature ever though and I have no idea how much he’d protect me if I were accosted, that is unless my assailant was a giant hot dog.

Over the bridge and across the deep, dark river, which fills me with terror. I love the evenings, people hurrying home or perhaps off to parties or out of town. I’m alone but others are awake. I’m wrapped in a big scarf and my plastic jacket. My body feels good and my mind does as well. Every day as my last drink recedes from me, further away, I am profoundly aware of my gift of sobriety. I hate to talk about that so much too but, it’s on my mind and in my heart, often and daily. Every day I work with people and I see how many don’t keep a continuous sobriety, and heck those are the ones even trying to get help, “tip of the iceberg” doesn’t cut it. Every day I know less and less about Why for all of it. There’s nothing that sets me apart as being so fortunate but I am and so I don’t piss it away by being ungrateful or unconscious.

“If you don’t drink today, you’ll never drink again.” I heard this today. I tell my husband. He doesn’t quite understand. I explain it a little but it’s okay if people don’t understand. I understand.

My daughter is pleased to see us. She is out of the locker room at one minute past seven; she is on time. We both thank one another for being punctual. She bites the first roll and then tears off a chunk for the dog; he CLOPS it up and then CLOPS, CLOPS in gratitude or beseechment or both. We travel to the store by foot and buy two bananas to fulfill requirements for a loaf of banana bread; we have two quarters and the sum total is 49 cents and I’m pleased. Later Nels will eat the bananas without asking about them first, then he apologizes. For all his devilry he takes it very seriously when he makes a mistake or inconveniences others, probably too seriously. And so I’ll send Ralph to the store to get some more bananas tomorrow, so he can bake a quickbread for our daughter before she gets up.

today I felt a bit of warmth & heard birds; Spring may indeed come again

A little after one o’clock I run out of gas, while trying to give someone a ride. We end up sitting in the cold bright sunshine talking; he finishes a cigarette while sitting cross-legged in some really sweet Italian leather shoes. I am disconcerted. There is something about having certain kinds of problems, I start to feel less like an adult, more inadequate, Shame. But I still my tongue and don’t overapologize or try to explain the whole business. Shit happens. There’s a reason I’m in the sunlight, having a delay in my day, which is so often go-go-go with my little plans and everything.

A bit later the two of us walk a few blocks and meet my husband, coming to my rescue with five gallons. My dog patiently waits through all this and, when we finally get home, obligingly butt-waggles his way back inside. A few hours later and he wants to ride with me in the car again. He never doubts me even if I sometimes doubt myself. Loyal.

Home, and Nels is with his friends, Phoenix is off to the beach with her grandmother.

Last night one child stayed the night; tonight we have another young guest. It’s pretty nice to have a safe, nurturing home for not just our kids, but others.  Home again and while the kids play I trace a sewing pattern; Ralph sets the table and sets out bowls of noodles, lettuce, mint, carrot, and cucumber; a fish vinaigrette sauce and sliced tri tip steak. A Vietnamese dish that is one of my favorite homecooked meals. The kids laugh while they eat and I snuggle my son’s long blonde tangles. Ralph runs a bath

and

it’s time to go to bed!

mama’s #krafty

Some of my Christmas sewing. Some. Click on pictures to be directed to my Flickrstream where I detail a bit about how I made these items, what patterns I used, when I self-drafted, where I got my fabrics, etc.

First, and some of you got a preview here and there – the kids’ Christmas coats:

F*ing Frock Coat & YETI-riffic!

"Taking A Picture Of Me? Too Mainstream."

Nels is saying, “Taking a picture of me? Too mainstream.” For realz.

My Son Is Beautiful

Let’s talk about Nels’ coat for a minute. Please pause and take a moment, close your eyes, and emit a string of foul-mouthed oaths. That’s how I feel about this garment, which I choose to privately christen the “F*ing Frock Coat”. I will seriously not bore you with how much went wrong and how often. Some of this is due to the source pattern which I shall not publicly name. Some of it was just weird, and bad, luck.

My son enjoys the coat, though. He doesn’t have to know it almost made me resort to arson.

Natch, Phee loves her YETI-riffic coat. She wears it everywhere, including to sleep! It is warm and luxurious.

Some casual digs sewn on Saturday:

Plaid Skinny Jeans & Patch'd T42

Plaid Skinny Jeans & Patch'd T42

Plaid Skinny Jeans & Patch'd T42

While the t-shirt was a lot of fun, I am happiest with the Plaid Skinny Jeans (which aren’t “jeans” at all) – specifically the linen front yoke, the perfect welt pocket, and the back elastic. Most of the details I like the most are those I self-drafted, so don’t count on the source pattern helping you if you’d like to emulate my results.

“To Gir With Love” – made for a friend, who’s step-daughter loves a certain cartoon character. Phoenix and I made this yesterday. She did absolutely all of the design work, except for the basic hat shape, which I took care of.

"To Gir With Love"

Up close: 100% wool sweater upcycled for the black detail.

"To Gir With Love"

Skele-Quilt:

Skele-Quilt

Skele-Quilt

The backing: a brightly-colored spacescape – I love the intensity:

Skele-Quilt

Hand-bound:Skele-Quilt

I’ve been working on this quilt for five years. Fortunately, I kept it enough on the DL my daughter hadn’t yet seen it. Even more fortunate, both my daughter and I still love the fabrics, meaning she liked the gift and I liked working on it. I was sewing on a binding right up until Christmas Day. It just isn’t Christmas Sewing without the last-minute shite.

Finally, a hand-embroidered wrist pincushion for my brother’s fiance:

Wrist Pincushion For Jamila

Wrist Pincushion For Jamila

I designed the whole business here, including yes the Jack Skellington Shrinky-Dink pin and the safety measure of a plastic insert so one won’t accidentally stab oneself. Linen & cotton.

If you have any questions on how I made anything, please ask either here or at the Flickr photos. I love sharing the craftivism!

Kelly as Sherlock, by Rocky

tweeps are the best peeps

Hutch continues to improve. He has two bandages on, cannot go for long walks (sadkins!), & is wearing The Cone of Shame. He also has no awareness of space with regards to that cone. I’ve been whacked with it so many times because he follows me everywhere because he loves me.

And below: from my friend Rocky, who is amazing. She asked what I liked and I told her, the hat Sherlock Holmes wears (and I like Sherlock Holmes, and almost anything remotely associated!). So this will be my new FUCKING AWESOME Twitter avatar for a while.

Kelly as Sherlock, by Rocky

a butterfly flapped its wings

Today because

I left my car lights on yesterday and bitched at my kids to turn them off, but didn’t do it myself –

and my battery died –

and Ralph said he’d charge my car up, but he didn’t.

I found myself this morning in a rainstorm in a dead car, dressed to run, with a dog who wanted to go go go

so instead of running on the track while my faithful dog would wait for me in the car, then we’d take a walk in the field after, then we’d come home and I’d feed and water him and scritch him maybe –

 

Instead, Hutch & I went for a run on the railroad tracks. He was The Happiest Dog of All Time, trotting ahead then behind, casting back to look at me then galloping to catch up with me.

He cut his foot sometime in the short moments right before I let him off leash. I saw a little bright blood while I ran my mile. I thought, Gotta look into this. He didn’t even notice it.

We get home and he’s not bleeding too bad, gonna call a vet in a bit –

About a half hour after we get home he does some messing with his foot and then it’s bleeding like profuse, ropy, bright clean red blood bleeding and we wrap it tight enough and call the vet.

So at two PM, a little over two hours after the injury he’s admitted for an emergency surgery. They tell me they need to suture and give me a big list of costs and procedures and it’s in the $500 range and we can’t afford it but of course we’ll figure it out. It’s a huge, deep, but very clean cut. The vet says it’s good we got in so quickly and I’m just so grateful we have him where they can care for him.

And they take my dog and he disappears around the corner and I see his tail held half-mast and I feel a pang. I think, that’s my drama for today, stiff upper lip, and I’m upset because my dog is in a little pain but mostly he’s somewhere away from us with smells he might like, etc.

So then I wait for the call to pick him up.

The doctor calls and things don’t sound right. You know where a conversation gets worse and worse but you keep feeling optimistic and like you’re the last one to get the “joke”. She tells me Hutch had an adverse reaction to the medicine, he doesn’t wake up right. She tells me in fifteen years she’s never seen it, she is worried. She tells me he cannot come home and she cannot make promises.

I start asking questions and she answers them but it keeps coming down to how she can’t make promises. “Is this the sort of thing he’s definitely going to recover from, or something he might never recover from?” and there is no answer, and I feel that spiral into that dark place I’ve visited before. And I watch my son and daughter swim as I wait for the phone, and for instruction, but I can’t really see anything either.

Later.

I am home now a little after 11 PM. Hutch is in for overnight monitoring in a 24-hour veterinary facility in Tacoma. His prognosis looks better as he’d seemingly retained sight by the time we got there. My friend A. accompanied me on the 3+ hour roadtrip to the vet. A.’s presence was necessary for the safety of animal transport, but also necessary for my sanity. She was good company and kept me from having a breakdown. I am so grateful for her help.

I am not angry or scared I am just so sad for my little guy. I left my favorite hat there for him to sleep with. He had been blind, or appeared blind, when I picked him up in Aberdeen for transport – but he recognized my car (by smell probably) and eagerly leapt in, despite having trouble walking. He wanted to be in that car. So now I hope my hat can comfort him in a world of bad smells and bad feelings and possibly neurological damage which could possibly last a while.

All medical staff involved seemed caring and straightforward, and even extremely generous and kind in ways I’d like to write out here – but, my brain got overloaded today and I kind of can’t figure out what all happened.

Many people, especially on Twitter, sent warm loving wishes. I am so grateful for the TLC and wish I wasn’t having a mental fall-apart. But you know, that stuff happens.

winter comes early

Neighborhood

I step out onto the sidewalk where my son holds our dog and I see Nels has been crying. He throws his head back and howls in utter remorse for the joke he’d made a few seconds before I’d disappeared into the shop. The witticism wasn’t an especially good one (it involved a naughty pun on the word “cock”) and I’d frowned. Apparently my son was stricken after having a few moments alone with his thoughts while I took care of some business. Now, reunited, he cries. Hot tears flow down his cheeks and he tells me he embarrassed and ashamed and he vows to never go to a certain website again.

I hold his hand and we cross the street. I ask him, “Why do you need me to like all the things you like?” and he cries some more, says something muffled. I realize he’s probably hungry and I say, “Can we talk about it more over lunch honey?” His tears dry up, but his face bears the indelible marks of weeping in cold weather.

Dutch

He is the very very center of my heart.

***

Indoors; cold outside.

Pet Portrait, By Nels

Pet Portrait, By Nels

Nels, Pensive

Little Bird Of Fiercest Flight

She's Irritable

Phee

Happy Smiles

I bend to Phoenix’s ear at the fabric cutting counter and say, sotto voce: “Your hair looks greasy.”

“Who cares,” she airily replies, leaning forward on her elbows. “Certainly not me.”

My daughter is incredible. She’s like that friend you loved dearly, that girl you wanted to be. She’s smart and kind and beautiful and has a distinctive style of her own. Her toes are dirty at the end of the day but she is circumspect and loving. She makes her brother chocolate milk and she fetches me coffee if she sees my cup is empty.

She draws ferocious monsters, pages and pages and notebooks full of them, not a one alike, but then she gives me a backrub while we’re driving. She stays up late with me and looks into domestic foxes so we can have one who sleeps on her bed. She pulls her brother and the neighborhood boy D. in a giant wagon but when they horse around too much for her taste she says, “Sit. Down.” in this sharp voice mama-familiar that causes Ralph and I to look at one another, side-eye.

She takes the last bit of cash on her today and buys me fancy cookies.

Home and she takes her pumpkin up on the table and gets modelling clay and makes an “evilly-smiling” face, with a huge wound exposing his brain and a knife sticking out the other side. She makes this up in about five minutes. I’ll post a picture tomorrow. It’s awesome.

She puts on a horrible documentary about vicious parasites that wreak havoc on human beings. She says, “I’ll bet the next stage in the parasite’s life cycle is a snail.” To my minor astonishment this is true. I say, “How did you know that?” And she says, flatly, almost – almost – rudely, “Research.”

Clipped tone.

Like, how the fuck you think I know that.

These are all just like, a few things I remember over the last few days.

She heals up every way I wasn’t raised right.

Apple

Phee

Hutch Likes The Dog Park

Phoneix, At The Bay

amid verdant plains watered by wide streams, one inhales the purest air of heaven

Hutch & Phee

I stop and stare down at the trail. “What kind of ass leaves a cigarette butt on the ground in a public park?”

“A Deluxe Premium Ass?” my daughter suggests helpfully.

You know, in case I’d forgotten I was walking with the most AWESOME AND FUNNY PERSON ON THE PLANET.

It is not possible for me to accurately photograph, describe, or render in poetry and prose how wonderful, green, and alive it is here – year round. Our weather is perfect. Amazing. It is wet and grey and cold a lot for a big part of the year. But even that is incredibly cozy and alive and real. And all around the calendar, it is so crisp and beautiful and green. Just: greener than life.

Greenery

Fungi

Scarred & Burned

On the trail, some signs of human interference. “Courtney [heart]’Z Penis”:

"Courtney <3'Z Penis"

My daughter manages a small trickle of a stream:

Crossing

Hutch waits patiently. He ran a lot today. He loved being in the woods with us.

Bridge

Later: my friend C. has a big milestone today. I love her very much. I reflected for a couple days on what kind of thing I could buy her, or write for her, or make. Today I fashioned a loaf of the challah I knew she enjoyed and wrapped it fresh out of the oven, with a homemade card and my blessing.

For C.

Tomorrow: yoga, a visit to a museum. Maybe. We will see! Let not our plans get in the way of our life.

at the lake we forget to count the days

Today right before we took our first boat trip two bald eagles flew above, just a few feet away, silent and majestic as shit. The two birds studiously ignored one another, leading me to think they might be fleeing from some kind of awkward liaison.

Out On The Lake

You want to know what I do on vacation? So far, sit on my ass. Inside. Watching movies. And eating pho that my husband so graciously picks up for me in Olympia. Yup, I got up to hardly anything else today.

I am suffering some sort of illness/depression hangover. I ain’t gonna lie. I’m grateful everyone else in the family seems to be doing just beautifully. The kids spent every minute outside, and I mean every minute; they’ve even been eating all their meals outside. And snorkeling, and boating, and fishing, and swimming, and all the things.

Our kitty Hamilton is with us. She was very ill a short time ago and we thought we could better keep an eye on her if we brought her along. She’s made amazing progress. Interestingly she was starving herself by not eating her dry cat food; we have her on wet cat food and raw meat and she’s much better. Please note her skinny haunches and distended stomach. She was looking at death’s door just a few days ago.

Hamilton, Feeling Better

Hutch’s first boat ride, probably ever. He was dismayed at first.

Hutch's First Boat Ride

Getting ready to swim, for the fourteenth time today:

Getting Ready to Swim

Evening. It is so peaceful here. There are very few people here off season. It’s the nicest time to visit.

Brother & Sister

Gloaming