"6:57 PM: God, Kelly. Update your damn blog."

I have decided we either need to, Plan A, have one more blond and perfect baby – then sell it. Or, Plan B (because I think Plan A is illegal and I know it’s problematic due to my husband’s lack of fertility), find a way to downsize our life. And by “downsize our life” I mean get rid of a vehicle (my husband’s job requires him to travel so we probably will keep one for now), move into something smaller and out of town (perhaps the family vehicle!), this more modest abode maybe even requiring us to crap in a bucket and collect rainwater (Thanks K and T for your great ideas the other night!), and live like hippie scum.

My reasons are too myriad and tiresome (to me at least) to list here, and are not entirely financial. Although I wonder what it is about us Hogabooms that we can neither spend and live “within our means” like so many virtuous folk seem to do (or at least, like I’m led to believe they do), nor accept a high level of credit card debt like so many less virtuous (but arguably more typical) folk seem to do.

I can do it, though. I can do anything. If I can squat on the floor of my home and push out a baby, if I can convert my toddler and new baby to cloth diapers and be soaked in piss for two weeks as I figure it all out, if I can stop feeling sad I have crappy secondhand clothes and stinky four-year-old dyke martens, if I can accept the transition of working professional engineer to Houswife Nobody, if I can live with going from two incomes and no kids to two kids and one income, than I can surely go through all my stuff, cry real tears to let it go, and move into some goddamn shack. Can I live without a daily shower, without clean laundry, and without, dear God, without my Mac? I don’t really see how. But perhaps it is my fate.

I don’t know how to do it. I only know I (we) can. Except for thinking of living without my Mac. Anyway, I am this close to outfitting our van as a half-assed camper and parking somewhere.

Tonight my husband and I were gifted with tickets (ala his workplace) for “Dinner and A Murder” – the first annual – a $50 per plate benefit that, yes, involved a murder play “whodunit”. Which I’m proud to say I cracked the code for and came up with half the theory, and was only led astray because a member of the cast fucked up and LIED to our sleuthing group, but that’s another story. Unfortunately – in front of respected members of my husband’s employer, I said something about Ralph’s butt looking good in his pants – please understand I had not a drop of alcohol – and although I got some shocked looks, then uproarious laughter, and although I apologized for my random sexual harassment, I couldn’t help feeling like the girl I was several years ago had channelled herself through me but at least my tablemates seemed to like her.

a special type of resentment

This morning I took the kids out to their favorite park, as requested. It felt like it had been quite some time since I’d had fresh air. Perhaps because we had been snow-bound for a while, or perhaps because my children and I have moved into a different phase in our life together, the three of us had a very harmonious hour and a half on the park grounds (read: they let me go to the bathroom without drowning themselves in the sea; Nels did not run away in the opposite direction of Sophie *every single chance he got*, I actually listened to and followed the suggestions of my wee ones instead of barking out orders while clutching my precious, precious coffee). I attended them in the childish activities that to many must look boring: swings, monkey-bar spotting (my son copies everything his older sister does, no matter how terrifying to himself or me), leaf-scuffing, creek bed exploring. Instead of fervently hoping for another Mama to join me, or allowing my mind to race about thinking of chores I have to do, beans to soak, toilets to scrub, I just accepted I was not doing any of those things *now* and I really attended my little ones. I sat, swung, walked with them. We ate lovely, heavenly fresh hearth rolls from the uptown bakery and they took my breath away with the beauty that bloomed on their rosy cheeks and noses.

I find myself begrudging how quickly my children are growing up. Why do I ever want any stage, any difficulty, to end? I should desire and hold onto everything, and I mean everything. The late nights, the crying, the clinging at naptime. A year ago I was breastfeeding my son and could still remember, vividly, breastfeeding and diapering my daughter. Now I am adrift, afloat, no longer a physical necessity except in my performance of slave labor (daily) that I now have learned to love. Now. My children are both potty-trained, both weaned, and I am ten pounds heavier in part because every day I think of, shop, buy, and prepare their food. And I make no milk. No nursing; I realized the other day with a small, angry mix of pride and sadness that *just anyone* could take care of my children now (although, of course, no one else really does). I suppose this was true from the day they were born, but my unique gifts of my milk, my love, my voice, my intelligence, my body, and the pain in the ass of a diapered child somehow kept them more within my exclusive realm. Now I know they are growing upward and onward, and although they will always remained tethered to me and I have formed a Goddess-image for them – they will need me less and less. It is time for them to take flight a little more and for me to pull back into myself, my art, my work, my marriage – just enough to not resent their going.

As I type this my children, back from a fancy-festive Christmas party, are putting together their new Christmas gifts (note that Nels’ comes with a key-fob so you can take your precious pets with you – “up to 18 hours” and I don’t have to tell you what happens after 18 hours). With dad’s help, of course.

the best laid plans and all that, but at least I have extra cupcakes

Last night I hosted a dinner party for sixteen people. It was sort of an all-day event for us; coming back from our Lake vacation early, cooking and cleaning most of the day.

Sadly, we had many cancellations right before the dinner; one group cancelling the day before and another group cancelling on the day of. A third group showed up over an hour and a half late (with a phone call ahead and, I’m sure, extraneous circumstances). Out of all invited, I had only two guests come when they said they would.

Given the effort, time and groceries I expended in this effort it could have been one of those emotionally-heightened disasters. You know, clanging plates on the table and silently biting back tears in the kitchen. But the actual gathering turned out well enough – thanks to one party’s invitation of an unexpected guest we had seven adults and three children. Conversation began to flow and it was discovered that disparate as our homes may be (one family resides in Europe) there were many names and places in common. It was lovely to meet new people, one guest who has an import store in the Oly area and who I hope to see again soon.

My favorite item from the menu were the Son-In-Law Eggs, which received compliments from the father of one family (I think he said about six words otherwise; a very laconic fellow). Despite sending home food with my guests, I have an entire salad in my fridge. I Freecycle’d it – so far, no takers but this word via email:

“Wish my wife were here to avail herself of your salad. She would love it, but is away for a few days. And even though my diet consists in large measure of vegetables, I don’t much care for salad. I’m really sending you this note just to say that I think it’s very kind and thoughtful of you to offer up the sald as you have, rather than just have it go to waste. Hope someone comes along in time.”

Thanks, RJ.

The get-together also provided a good house-clean in preparation. In the meantime I am re-evaluating my commitment to community activities.

"Honest to God – *plays*!"

Tonight Cyn, Sara and I went for dinner at Nemo’s then a play at the Paradise Theatre in Chimacum. The play – “The Last Paving Stone” by Y York – I don’t care for much. However, this is the third performance at the Paradise I’ve attended and I always enjoy it. Among other interesting experiences, we were almost hit by flying hunks of fake sod, too. The whole audience, in fact, was at risk but escaped harm.

Today in the car on our way back from visiting Ralph:

Sophie: “Diarrhea means poop.”

Me: “Yup. It means lots of runny poop. That you can’t really control.”

Sophie: “You don’t eat it though.”

(Startled, I look in the rearview mirror and see her nose is scrunched up and she is making “kitten face”, showing each little white sharp tooth with her ears laid back).

Me: “Nope.”

(pause)

Me: “Dogs do.”

Sophie: “What.

Me: “Some dogs. Eat poo.”

Another pause. I sneak another look in the rearview mirror. Her brow is a thundercloud. She looks mad.

Tomorrow: finally, blessedly, Friday. P.S. I am sewing my children Thanksgiving dress clothes. Please make a big dorky “URF!” sound and hit yourself on the forehead, because that’s me.

still alive and well

My parents were up for a few hours the last day and night. They had a dirty bluesman concert last night at a local venue (the tickets for which were thoughtfully provided – at $100 a pop – by a friend of my husband’s) and graced us with a few hours of their time. My mom came home smashed, which would have been awkward had I been single and the friend I brought home been a guy I was dating. But I’m not and it wasn’t so it was all good.

This morning I solicited my father to fix a Freecycle floorlamp we have that went tits-up. Then the pair of them whent out for a breakfast grocery run this and brought me home such helpful groceries as coffee, toilet paper, and eggs. What else do we need, really? Oh, half and half for the coffee. Holy shit! They bought that too.

I love having parents.

While enjoying our morning repast my parents were shocked and awed at my son’s particular ravenous nature regarding eggs. I mean he actually hunkers down next to the plate and uses the fork as some kind of excavation unit and crams them in, large mouthful after mouthful, barely breathing while eating. “Don’t get your hand in there!” my dad warns us.

Me: “It’s like he’s an alien inhabiting a human body for the first time and revelling in hedonistic pleasures.”
My mom: “I wonder what he’ll be like when he discovers sex!”
Me (ignoring my mom, to my dad): “Could you move his bib a bit so he’s not spilling on his shirt?”
My dad (to my mom): “Are you still drunk?”

Sophie asks for milk from the fridge; I tell her to help herself. “It’s too heavy!” she wheedles, and my mother dutifully gets up to perform the duty.

Me: “Grandma’s going to get you your milk, because she has a soft spot.”
Sophie: “Where?”
Me: “Um… Kind of all over her body”

Before breakfast Nels had spent the morning tucked into an armchair next to my dad. My tousle-headed son, snuggled under a blanket next to his grandpa. Quite content to sit for many minutes at a time.

so, I was at a party last night, and I’ve discovered…

… in the world of womankind, the gossip quotient is staggering.

I’m not just talking about the, “Oh my God, did you hear that Betsy…” full-on reporting and back-talking that happens immediately after the poor woman in question is out of sight. I’m talking about the constant realigning and discernment of friends, foes, bitches, and ho’s (is that how you spell “ho” in the plural?”). I’m referring to the morbid interest women show when there is in-fighting amongst girls, especially former friends who used to be tight.

At the party in question I quickly self-segregated into the handful who were intermittently heading upstairs to the pool hall (read: smoking area – hey, I was a Designated Driver and needed some fun). Even though I didn’t make the rounds to everyone there, and had a relatively small number of interactions with different women, I was surprised at how many times attempts were made to seduce me into making or decrying particular alliances. A couple women bitched about a woman not present. One woman threw out a subtle barb referring to a perceived insult I had experienced from a third woman there (I didn’t take the bait, though). A couple women commented on my tank top (not revealing, but tight and busty) in a way that seemed not-altogether-nice. It was sort of like a bunch of cats all sniffing one another. Except everyone was drinking, so a little like cats in heat. Or something.

Now, for the exactly three fellows who read my blog, this isn’t to say I prefer the company of men, or that I believe an all-male get-together to be a more honest, open, and fun event. Hardly. First of all, the incidents where men get together – and do all the organizing themselves – are about once a year. If a man doesn’t enjoy the pasttimes of either A. killing things, or B. golfing, this number is even more drastically reduced. Also, on the flip side of the female’s more vicious inner workings exists a camaraderie, fierce love, and emotional openness that I can’t honestly see a group of men exhibiting (I could be wrong, having no experience there). Part of the package of the intuitive and maternal Goddess is the murderous Kali-bitch who has a string of heads hanging around her neck.

And for the record: no, I’m not interested in back-biting, no matter how tempting; and yeah, I was fine with how tight my shirt was and the resultant boobage and soft-middle that was displayed.

PartyTown, population: 4 Hogabooms

Last night 6 o’clock found us unexpectedly at a rather lovely dinner party with our kids in tow. We hadn’t expected to go at all, since two separate childcare options fell through. But the host’s ladyfriend and a small cadre of other partygoers put in a few calls during the day and begged us to come. Who can resist such sweetness? We cleaned up ourselves and our children as best we could and headed out to Cape George.

I do well at parties. I am comfortable talking to anyone. I don’t always introduce myself to everyone, which I really do think I should. And it’s easy to be intimidated by venues such as the one we were at – the house is expansive, spotless, Sunset-magazine material, built over a pond with little waterfalls and a beautiful open deck. Am I the only one who secretly hopes that at midnight the huge, gleaming hot tub will be unveiled and I’ll be able to hop in in my panties, a martini in one hand, while still entertaining the sixty-and-up members of the Board with my witty and urbane conversation? Probably.

Here I was with my choice of wine to drink, a lovely catered meal (delicious, gourmet food that I didn’t have to make) that included a chicken alfredo lasagne and hot banana bread pudding with rich cream and caramel sauce. The funniest part was our kids, who were in parallel experiencing equally Roman-esque entertainment: being cared for in the back guest wing by three teenage girls with giant bowls of chocolates and chips. Every once in a while one of these young girls, rail-thin and all eyeliner and dangling earrings, would come out with a child on a hip to find some milk. My kids attempted no eye contact with me or my husband – they looked like little waifs being taken into the arms and care of a brothel on opening-night celebrations.

At nine o’clock our son is looking red-eyed and dazed – his calling card for getting sleepy. He can’t bear to miss out on what’s happening around him, but his body is shutting down. We pack up the girl (so stoned on teenage girls, Muppets, and chocolate that she is whirring and hovering) – and head home.

A lovely, pampered evening.

facelift for blog, maybe i’ll actually write in it?

OK, it’s been a while. But it’s time to blog.

What’s new? We’re liking the new, happy, spring-ish weather. Gardening and stuff. Sophie is growing her own strawberry plants which she faithfully waters, talks about, and expounds on to any stranger who will (or won’t) listen. Sophie turned three last week (*and* weaned *and* potty-trained). We’re having a little get-together for her at Chetzemoka park.

We also just put out a new Breeder in Feb. We have enough content for a March issue which should follow soon. This latest issue was featured in the latest Vigilance, a local indie rag with a much larger distribution than our pathetic readership (5,000 to our 200). Will fortune and fame find Kelly and Amber in their most worthy enterprise? It remains to be seen, dear reader.

My good friend Jodi should be here within a half hour! I am so excited. She and her 2 year old daughter Cyan are staying for about a week.