quick notes

Long day. Sewed most of a baby garment. Housework and errands with the kidlets. Fed my dog a cheeseburger (HIGHLIGHT of my day!). Bike ride to and from Aberdeen. Home & cooking with Nels: a cucumber and tomato salad with a paprika vinaigrette, orange dill carrots (using fresh dill – which I currently have too much of!), and a new (to me) linguini dish (minus the bell pepper).

While I finished the cooking, Nels set the table with a tall candle, bouquet of fresh herbs, and a lovely folded cloth napkin arrangement. He is truly Tenderkin.

Back to my little guy, with Whom I am Well-Pleased.

seven days are more than enough for others

“When you’re here eating your salad rolls and we’re sitting up here like a King and Queen and watching TV, and we’re cuddled together – it’s like Paradise,” my son tells me.*

I. Completely. Agree.

Our family is painting a room downstairs – so at night we sleep on a huge, makeshift three-part bed that spans most the attic bedroom. There are like four thousand blankets piled on this massive pallet and in the morning I get my coffee and my two kids are sleeping in tousles and All Is Right In The World. I keep trying to explain how it works and I have no idea why I do this, except perhaps I love to be understood by Creation itself, and in part that is you, you who are reading. Because there is simply nothing more important to me than my relationship with Spirit, and that came to me in large part by my children, I do not see how anything else could have been possible. My children are the only two people I am completely relaxed around; they are the only two people I have total and utter intimacy with, for my part. I may reach easier intimacy with other human beings or I may not; it doesn’t matter because that taste of heaven is wonderful and all I need, although I am thirsty, always, for more.

Although – I hardly saw my children today. They were busy with their stuff and Ralph and I were busy with our stuff (work in the downstairs bedroom,  some clothing construction, house-sitting while the landlord delivered a “new” fridge, etc.). It’s only a little after midnight, now, and it’s time to come together and share some of our love for one another.


Tomorrow I take our son to the orthodontist. A new adventure for all of us!

* If you want to feel better about the Universe and all its doings, I suggest you text-subscribe to the stream of some of the things my son says.

like a sleepy golden storm

This morning in bed I barely moved and my sleeping son rolled over and draped his leg over mine. We sleep like a single organism, our family. It’s wonderful. & now, I can’t fall back asleep, but I am content. I bury my head in his hair. It is THIS pillow-bushy and blonde and tangled and smells delicious. Depths. His skin is smooth and alive and flawless, warm velveteen, a tawny timbre even in the dead of winter.

This morning my first cup of coffee and I’m watching a little telly. My daughter comes downstairs, long legs and a shallow belly-bowl and her little cotton underthings and big beautiful eyes and she plunks next to me on the couch, and I mean right next to me, and I tell her not to get dressed, when I get home after the treatment center we’ll watch television together, and she is well-pleased.

A little before 1 I pull the car off onto the main thoroughfare and a few moments later my phone rings and I click on over and it’s my son and he’s sobbing. He’d chased my car because he wanted “one more kiss and one more hug” and now he hiccups he’s lost. Turns out he ran over four blocks and almost caught me. I had no idea. I tell him to call me back if he can’t find his way home and my eyes sting a little.

Tonight. My husband is out the door for a run after kissing me goodbye and in the quiet I fold up clothes then I plate up dinner – all-day pot roast and an Ethiopian cabbage, potato and carrot dish. Today I didn’t get up to much, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy so much what I have.

“Oh, it was a banner f*cking year at the old Hogaboom family!”

This morning my children, husband, mother and I, as well as my kids’ friend A., hit the road and headed to the Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium as day ONE of our daughter’s BIRTHDAY EXTRAVAGANZAAAAAAAAAaaA

Tiger Cub, Snack

Tiger cub does BLUE STEEL —


OK then. I took a billion pictures of the red wolves – because I love wolves so much. They are spookily beautiful. Pictures can’t capture it. But maybe this stretch will translate pretty well:



The wolves really do move around in an eerily-coordinated pack; they grapple but silently.


Feeding stinky waterfowl; many were shy about getting a tasty fish:

Dinner For Waterfowl

Dancing Shrimp! You are looking at their tails, here. They were shy and would not turn around, but they did have a coordinated dance going on. They were less than an inch long. Beautiful.

Dancing Shrimp!

A spooky octopus. No way to get a good photo; I just enjoyed her as she moved about.

Spooky Octopus

A handsome goat that kind of reminds me of Jasmine’s dubstep boyfriend. I refused to take a photo of the even-greedier goat to the left.

Handsome Goat

The arctic fox. Ralph and I have a great little story about this fella but it’s probably only funny to us. Anyway, my mom was so excited by his cuteness. She laughed and clapped and turned around to smile at Ralph and I as we walked toward her on the trail and I said to him, “the littlest grandma.”

The Arctic Fox

“‘Sup, we’re gibbons. DEAL WITH IT.”

Sup, Bitches

Children in the bamboo, being lovely. Nels:

Nels In The Bamboo




Phee In The Bamboo

Peacocking! These peacocks were shady as fuck. Like one creeped a single mama out to her car and stood there watching her and I think she felt a bit weird about it.


Nels took many photos and texted them to his friend D.’s mama. So, there’s that.

Nels Sent Many Photos To His Friend D. Today

Tiger cub, playing! This was rather touching. You could see this fellow really loved the little feline. “Little”, a six month tiger cub about sixty-five pounds of muscle and hungry potentiality. Very powerful to watch, even as a baby.

"Play", Or, Practice

The two of them kept playing (the guy was like, “I’ve got a tiger, you don’t, so I’m awesome”) but I noticed the tiger would crawl up on the stump behind his human playmate, then jump on his neck and gnaw on it. This is how most tiger attacks go down – from behind, at the neck. And the VAST majority of tiger attacks are successful – for the tiger. (Here are some tiger attack tips! Also, LOLOLO). So anyway it was cute this guy thought the tiger was “playing” but it was actually, “practicing how to kill and eat him.”


This is E.T. the walrus. He is 3300 pounds of sass, and he likes to play with his massive walrus-dick (oosik represent!). While we were watching him he did this magnificent half-somersault, except instead of completing it it grappled his own business and whiskerly-chewed on it.

E.T. The Walrus

A photo on the steps; the kids talk about E.T.’s “trick” somersault, because my mom kept calling it a “trick” delightedly as she hadn’t caught the naughty bit of it until the kids finally detailed her a bit.

Friends @ The Zoo

Two siamangs cuddle after eating bananas. I gotta admit, it is satisfying to watch monkeys eat bananas. And it’s sweet to watch monkeys cuddle. And it’s sad to see monkeys in enclosures.


The touch tanks. Today was kind of special. I got to see the very moment a docent talked my son into touching an anenome; and he did. I got to watch him go from fear, to wonder. It was pretty cool.

Kids At The Touch Tank

Nels, staring down a nurse shark.

Nels + Nurse Shark

After our lengthy stay at the zoo, we traveled to pho, had coffee and doughnuts at the Krispy Kreme (the kids enjoyed watching them make the doughnuts and spent several minutes enthralled), and then I shambled my various coupons into Jo-Ann’s Fabric & Craft for some sewing supplies (I am not much of a coupon-er but FABRIC COUPONS are an organizing principle of my life).

Today was a good day: day one of three of Phee’s birthday. Tomorrow we have some more awesomesauce. We Hogabooms go hard, it must be admitted.

don’t you wish there really were two of her?

Suse, Self-Portrait

We have a few special events coming up for my daughter’s 11th birthday – Saturday, March 2nd. YES, she is going to be ELEVEN, and she is almost as tall as I am, and she kicks ass!

Oh wait did you need more PROOF as to how awesome she is?

Sophie, Upon The Morning Of Her 8th Birthday



Tomorrow she has a date with friends up at the new HOCM in Olympia. Friday we’re taking a trip up to the Point Defiance Zoo up in Tacoma, that is if we have a car by then – I’m hoping it will work out. Saturday I’ll write a little bit about her, a blog post if you will, which will at least be nice for ME but I will read it to her, too because the last time I did this she enjoyed it (two years ago). Saturday we have friends visiting for her birthday, and will have a small little family-and-a-couple-friends gathering, and I’ll make all her favorite foods. Yes we are having a proper birthday party, but that isn’t until the day of her brother’s birthday (April 7th), you know, a bigger shindig.

Should you wish to do so, cards and emails and such can be directed to phoenix.fire at hogaboom dot org; of course our address is PO Box 205 Hoquiam, WA 98550. She likes: My Little Pony, horror/goth/paranormal, the natural sciences and all manner of flora and fauna, (non-dairy) cookies – and cuddling, although she won’t cuddle with just anyone.

Happy Pup + Happy Daughter

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.

Nels' meme, tonight

a niche in the eaves

[ my son makes memes. like no one’s business. ]

Nels' meme, tonight


Fall seems to be an incredibly creative time of year for me, and others in my life notice. I get a lot of compliments on my purple hair. In fact in Grays Harbor I’ve heard nothing but compliments. Children are the most openly admiring.  But not a day goes by grownups don’t say a few nice things as well. Women tend to compliment; men say something flirty and sometimes even touch me without permission (boo).

But in the car on our way to deliver a pie, my daughter tells me I look gorgeous. It’s pretty wonderful to be loved the way they love me. I know I’m one of my children’s heroes. I know they think I am beautiful and amazing. It’s quite humbling. It makes me feel less self-conscious and it sets a place for me in the world.

Just before I leave for my volunteer concierge shift at the Gallery I hear the stomping of feet and sense that kind of bundled-up energy children bring in the new rains. Wrapping myself in my scarf I step into the kitchen and I shit thee not, seven “extra” kids in my house, all boys. All rowdy, but completely obliging to my eldest child’s commands (wash hands, set the table, et cetera). All of them there for a fête Nels has planned: the celebration of Harris’ birthday. My son has made tea and set out cups and made cards. The children all sing the cat “Happy Birthday”. Phoenix kicks them out after I leave; we have a whitelist of children allowed inside while Ralph and I are gone.

Today in the kitchen: steakhouse bread (sort of like pumpernickel but without caraway, and made up WITH eggs and coffee), two layered chocolate and roasted coconut cream pies with Mexican vanilla. Then a soup the kids cook up while Ralph’s in Olympia: ham, chickpeas, spinach noodles, and fresh peas. Cherry tomatoes on the side and a big glass of milk for each kiddo. They eat sitting with me in my sewing room while I hum through one hundred and sixty-five half-square triangles on my old Singer.

Quilting and gallery sitting, and a few minutes talking with friends. It rained today but I thought ahead and I have proper raingear for the season – boots and coat anyway – and I’ve got proper raingear for the kids too. Food security, and clothing security, and shelter. A fortunate family.

Home now and it’s late; four cats slumber in four chairs. The house is full of the smell of baked bread and the flickering of candles.