“If you have lived, take thankfully the past.”

We had dinner guests today. I made:

Spaghetti & meatballs; three-cheese spinach quiche (as requested by Phoenix); salad with butter lettuce, spinach, dried sweetened cranberries, and candied pecans; country green beans with spiral cut ham; pan cubano; crudités; a cheesecake; a deep-dish apple pie; strawberries with chocolate fondue; and rugelach. For drinks we had a neprica brought by our guests, sparkling cider for the kids, and an apertif of Beefeater martinis with Santa Barbara Olive Co. martini pimento olives (we never got around to these!).

I have this shit down so much that I’d already prepared much of the food beforehand; I rolled out of bed one hour before our guests arrived. Hee.

(I just read my entry from a year ago… come to think of it I’ve been cooking the majority or all of the day’s food since I was a young woman. I love cooking – deeply – and I hope to one day be the honored guest, not the matriarch doing the work… food traditions are fabulous.)

Now we’re tucking in for a sleepover and a night of MST3K (remember those beloved Turkey Day marathons?)

We all wish you a lovely evening and hope you’re spending it with who you love, in the way you love.

[wposflv src=https://kelly.hogaboom.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/11/Thanksgiving-2010.flv previewimage=http://domain.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/image.png width=654 height=480 title=”Thanksgiving 2010″]

(Apologies for the date-rapey song… but it really is cold outside & we’re wonderfully warm inside.)

maker

I get asked often how long I’ve been sewing. The truth is I can’t remember a time I didn’t know how to sew. I think I’m only a modestly-skilled stitcher, really, considering I’ve been exposed my whole life. Some of my earliest memories of focussed work are of pinning cloth and sitting on the floor cutting with a pair of orange-handled Fiskers; of crinkled tissue cut down to size and marking notches by painfully cutting small triangles. In fact in learning something as a young child the methods my mother used were the ones I thought were The Only Way To Do It. As a grownup I’ve learned my own methods and taught my mother not a few. For instance in contrast I iron all my patterns (shout-out Amore!) and never ¡EVAR! cut them; I dispatch yardage from a table and with rapier-like acuity using a rotary wheel and mat, and I mark notches by a chalk line or tailor’s tacks.

Rollin' On My 201-2

My mom sewed a bit more as a young woman, before she had a family and career. She didn’t sew all that much while I was growing up but what is most important is – I remember she loved it. She seemed to enjoy the feeling of competence in her craft and she definitely enjoyed the design process (such as it is when you’re sewing out-of-envelope). I often think the familial example of someone who does Work and loves it is the most likely avenue for subsequent generations to take it up. This is why I’ve never much bothered to try to get my kids to sew. My guess is they will end up doing it because it’s in their blood. They know so much about it already, without even knowing they know! (They also think everyone knows how to make clothes… they don’t realize how rare this is.)

Three years ago my mother brought me my grandmother’s sewing machine – a Singer Centennial 15-91 made in 1950, both popular and utilitarian. The very machine was manufactured and shipped from the same location, only days apart, from the one a friend gave me about eight years ago when she moved from PT (mine is a Centennial 201-2, another great machine). As a Mother’s Day gift in 2009 I got grandma’s machine tuned up and re-gifted it to my mother – who hasn’t yet used it.

If I had the room I’d have kept it myself. I currently own two working sewing machines. I’d love more and to have them set up – it really is helpful, especially given how quickly I construct things – but I lack the space. I sometimes fervently wish for a room to spread out and outfit myself further with a set up serger and a cutting table and, jeebus, SHELVES would be nice! Realistically this won’t happen for some time; we aren’t likely to have a larger house anytime soon. My husband has offered to rent me a studio space in downtown Hoquiam because he is a Really Fucking Awesome Guy. But even the incredibly-cheap prices of downtown HQX aren’t in our spending plan; neither much are shelves or more accoutrement to fill such a space.

But if I could, I would snap up that opportunity toot sweet.

My clothes generally last so much longer than what people buy. My kids’ closet is bursting with garments I’ve sewn. When they grow out of the pieces (which is relatively quickly!) the clothes go off donated or gifted… I am rather shy about giving off my sewn clothes because I’m unsure of what people like and want (and I hate to mail stuff. A lot. So locals are easiest for me to gift to). A surprising number of garments end up going to the Salvation Army. Whatever their future destinations, I hope they are as well-worn and well-loved as they are when in my home.

Currently I’m only a few minutes away from finishing a couple wool coats, which I’ll post soon. Tonight I’m on another pair of Monster Booties, much requested by readers here and there. I have to put a pause on Yes to favors and outside-of-the-family work; Christmas approaches and one of my chief pleasures is sewing for those I love.

Wool Underlined With Cotton

Wool, wool, wonderful wool! How I wish I had yards and yards and yards…

French Seam

French seams on the inside of a coat – underlining exposed.

In other news, we have my mom’s (incredibly submissive, aged) terrier Tuck here for a few days while she cat- and house-sits in Portland. My mom brought this huge dog bed as well. Last night, his first night, Tuck curled up on the bed and a second later alpha-kitten Hamilton walked over and put her paw on his face. He immediately self-telescoped using his own butthole and slunk off; three of the cats took the bed in a neat feline coup. Ralph and I trained the cats off the bed (this was very easy and involved putting them outside in the snow every single time they so much as stuck a claw towards it) but I had to snap a picture for my mom.

They STOLE It From Us, The Precious!

While I did this the fourth kitty Mable watched and decided if she wanted in on the Hot! Sleeping! Action!:
Watchinz

She voted “No”, on the account of she would have had to move her body, which resembles the form and function of a Guild Navigator, about eighteen inches. Much easier to stay on the goddamned chair.

photos or it didn’t happen

Soccer on Sunday:

Soccer/Windstorm

What a wonderful, exhilarating game – maybe the hardest-working one the girls had yet. The other team had two more teammates which meant they were less taxed. The game was quite close. Phoenix made a beautiful assist to a classic-teamwork goal, and did a good job defending and passing as well. Only minutes after the game ended – the girls, having worked so hard, immediately clapping and hugging one another and the opposing team – a huge rain- and windstorm devastated the field and drove us shrieking and dismayed into our vehicles.

Nels, on our way to the game:

Nels, Pensive

Beautiful.

Cat decadence (more to follow):

Hygiene

Come Hither

That night Grandma invited the kids over for a movie (How To Train Your Dragon) and the kids in turn asked if Ralph and I could come. When we got there Grandma had set up a cozy little living room scene; she also made fresh popcorn, pumpkin pie, cookies, and a variety of drinks. It is so rare I get “taken care of” or hosted – it’s usually me on the hostess end. So this brief date was a really lovely experience. Not only that, but every time I’m around my mom I’m reminded of how far she’s come in being loving and present and responsive to children and  what wonderful spiritual and emotional support she gives me and my family. I think a lot of families feel a certain degree of tension or (resentful) “agree to disagree” issues tugging at the fabric of their relationships. My mother and I increasingly grow of similar accord, providing a wonderful, nurturing environment for the children and in turn, all of us.

Playing

This morning when I woke I found three of the four cats were sleeping with my daughter, on the pallet on the floor. This doesn’t surprise me; all sorts of people and creatures of all ages and sizes find my daughter incredibly appealing, including Harris, the snoring beast we see on the left who’s approximately the size and demeanor of a Great White Shark.

I Simply Have No Words

You may be asking yourself where the fourth cat was (the one we occasionally call “lardon”). Answer: she was waiting just outside the bedroom, ready to ambush me with screams for a refilled food dish. And like a reconnaissance mission, as soon as this was done the other two little ones were in that kitchen gobbling as well. They went back to bed with Phoenix afterwards, of course.

This afternoon I get an email there’s a Halloween Fun night planned at our library. The kids’ costumes aren’t ready (twatever, I’ll get to it before the 31st) so they dress themselves. We five (always with the extra kiddo or two) cram into the car. The wet car. That is rusting apart before our eyes. [ sigh! ] But the library was great – lots of wonderful costumes and wonderful children. They had an energetic time laughing and singing and shouting:

Led By Lisa

Nels Is Having A Good Time

Nels Is Having An Even Better Time

And then Lisa told a spooky story:

Lisa Tells A Spooky Story #1

Lisa Tells A Spooky Story #2

Lisa Tells A Spooky Story #3

Whereupon Nels’ attitude abruptly changed, huddling very small on Ralph’s lap and begging for assistance in stopping up ears:

Nels Regrets Listening To The Spooky Story

Phoenix was, of course, clear-eyed and analytical as to the quality of spooky content (that’s her on the far-right):

Children Listen To Spooky Story

Afterwards, the children painted pumpkins:

Phoenix's Pumpkin

Paint Removal

And went Ghost Bowling:

Pumpkin / Ghost Bowling #1

Pumpkin / Ghost Bowling #2

We came home to homemade frijoles refritos and pork loin shredded in homemade salsa verde, wrapped in fragrant tortillas and served aside homemade coleslaw from our CSA veggies.

Home to our cozy nest protected from the fierce elements –

Outside my window the world has gone to war / Are you the one I’ve been waiting for?

hoga-cat count, back up to 4

Meet Josie.

Meet Josie

First of all, I want to thank everyone for their support, well-wishes, advice, and hugs regarding our kitty Laurence. It’s been a month exactly since he went missing. I tell myself it is possible we will see him again (which now means our kitty-count would go up to five, which is something I try not to think about) which would be wonderful… but my hopes are dwindling. Ralph and I have been wondering if he was adopted illicitly by someone else around the way. He disappeared so quickly, without a trace, and the flyers we put up around the neighborhood were immediately and categorically torn down. It really hurts my heart that I don’t know what happened to him.

Since little Hamilton was robbed of her brother and playmate, Ralph and I have been entertaining the idea of adopting a companion kitty for her. Today I received notice of kitties about Hamilton’s age and therefore a potential perfect match.

Josie was a free kitten, as it turns out residing at the fellow’s home we sold our van to over a year ago (a carpet cleaner; he’d tenderheartedly brought a litter and mama home from a woman who was moving and planning to dump them at our in-town [kill] shelter). She came already named*, as it happens a name I completely love (in fact it was on my very short list for my firstborn’s name). She’s been pretty mellow since she got here. Mostly just sniffing and stropping herself against my legs for comfort. As I type she has one pristine paw resting on my shoe while she looks at me quizzically.

Right. A Bunch Of Sniffing.

Today was sunny; lovely. Early in my day I went for a run, a bit longer than usual. It put me in a great mood as did the hot shower and hot coffee afterward. I delivered the limón bunting to the intended recipient (who wasn’t at her workplace to receive it, so no feedback yet), which made me feel good. Oh and by the way, guess how easy it was to motivate kids to get dressed & teeth brushed to head out the door for kittenz-adoptin? Yeah.

Getting Ready, Pt 1

As I type this two of Phoenix’s fan club have arrived. The children immediately squeal upon seeing the new kitty. One of them, J., misapprehends when he hears squeals of kitty-delight. “You found him?” he asks, delightedly (meaning Laurence). What joy, what care these neighborhood children evidence. Now that I’ve learned how to be around children I wouldn’t trade their company for just about anything else.

* One of her littermates was originally called “Patches” but since the little girl living in the house couldn’t say it, the name became “Blatches”, which makes me laugh until doubled over.