pumped-up kicks

CameraZOOM-20110927170542Phoenix: the terror of Morrison Riverfront Park.
She chased the “little kids” around – with their enthusiastic consent.

Baggy Wrinkles“Baggy wrinkles”

A Weasel[Belly] AboardThe children on board The Lady Washington. Grandma bought Nels some doubloons.
I remember was about Phoenix’s age when this craft was built here in Aberdeen.
I watched some of the process. They built it old-school.


Little SnakeLittle snake visited me at the track again.

Some Kinda Brutal-Looking MachineTree-cutting on East Hoquiam Road, morning.

Loss is nothing else but change, and change is Nature’s delight

What have I been up to lately? Running again, a bit slower even this time so as not to wear myself out. I’m almost completely finished with a little woolen bunting that I’m quite pleased with, made for a client a bit south who has a new little relative on the way. Included in the package are a couple knit items I am dying over, they are so cute. And were so soft and lovely to work and cheered me immensely to construct. Pictures soon.

For Ralph and my ten year wedding anniversary, my mother bought us memberships to the YMCA so we are now restored to regular visitations of that facility. Today due to one thing and another it behooved me to set a swim date up for the kids with our friend H. as I wasn’t going to be able to take the time and also honor other commitments. A little after noon I left my children in the McDonalds parking lot with $10 and a duffel bag and I felt a little skeeved by a guy I saw loitering there, just one of those weird feelings. I was frankly relieved a half mile down the road when I discovered I’d kept their YMCA key fob used for entry (although all the employees know them and would have let them in) and I circled back, glad for a reason to calm my likely irrational fears. Sure enough the kids had ordered and set themselves up and Nels was putting a napkin on his lap and beaming at his sister over the strawberry milkshake they’d set themselves up to share, whipped cream and cherry and all! And the lurking guy ducked out the door with a printed paper bag full of food, probably off to do entirely un-skeevy activities like eat lunch.

Forty minutes after I left the kids they’d finished, cleaned up, travelled to and planted themselves in the YMCA waiting area to meet H. They kept track of their key fob and my change and their clothes and had a great time. About an hour after the three hit the water I arrived from my meeting to pick the kids and H. up and take them out to the taquería for lunch, finishing up some I-cord on size three needles while I waited for everyone to dress.

What else, well amongst other things I’ve been doing some volunteer work in a treatment center which is wonderfully healing and amazing every day and I am so grateful to have this work suggested to me. I finished (hopefully) some graphic design that will (hopefully) put a little money in my pocket as we are needing some furniture. I keep not turning in the fee and application to the Fiber Arts Festival here in Elma next month, and I’d better get on that.

But, tonight I sat in the bleachers and watched my daughter’s first-ever gymnastic session. She was surprisingly talented and took direction well and with interest. Observing her teacher’s graceful cartwheel, my daughter’s face lights up: “Nice!” she compliments the young woman. Watching Phoenix perform her second iteration of a backwards somersault she pushes up and out with her arms as instructed and I feel my body oooomph with sympathetic effort. I never did, or at least haven’t yet, learned how to do any of that stuff besides a simple bridge and forward somersault.

Only two boys were enrolled out of the fifteen or so children and every single girl there (ages three to ten) with the exception of my daughter had long long hair and I’m pretty sure 90% of their parents wouldn’t have permitted their girls cut it all the way off as I “let” my girl do. Phoenix was completely nonplussed when I observed aloud she was the only girl there with short hair. She doesn’t much compare herself to other girls except to observe and consider for inspiration. I have the suspicion she won’t be as prone to peer and social pressures as most girls end up being, and for this inkling, if I’m right, I’m quite grateful. Case in point, she’s determined to grow her hair out long and curl it and she is entirely unpreturbed this will take some time, and she is totally happy with the super-short hair she has now. This personal knowledge, satisfaction, acceptance, common sense and long or broad view of things puts her in a class of about, oh, the top first percentile of almost every woman I’ve known with hair vanity issues, which is almost every woman I’ve known.

I could stand for the good weather to continue, although I don’t mind the slight dip in temperature. Tonight on the way home from a book study I stopped in our most favored restaurant for takeout. I leaned against the counter with my arms crossed enduring the stares of locals as I waited for our to-go Italian fare; while lingering I spied a huge jug of the wine I was raised on and I thought of the gallons and gallons and millions of gallons. Ah, Uncle Carlo, sometimes I miss you so, but alas we have parted company forever.

I was just remembering one of the worst summers of my life, if not the worst, which was actually one of the best in some ways before it tumbled into shit. As the days careened toward doom I hosted house parties most nights of the work week or weekend and we enacted many such scenes as evidenced in this song video, including young men in their underwear while we women stayed clothed. In this way one ritual was at least a small, dramatic, fierce triumphant bit of nihilistic joy I’m sure not to forget it.

it starts in my belly / then up to my heart

One of life’s many pleasures for me is stretching out for a run, or one might not even be able to call it a run, as I am just now training again and I am slow-slow-slow. But soon I have a good sweat worked up and my body feels great and the blues are bluer and the greens are greener. A fellow in maitenance, working with two others putting football lines on the high school field, when I pull up to the track at a fair clip on the bike, he says, “Looks like you’re getting some exercise before getting some exercise.” He’s got long white hair and a big white beard and he’s skinny in work jeans and how I miss my father so much.

Another wonderful pleasure is later, slipping into a hot shower after a run and then pouring coffee. The kids wake up just as I’m about to duck out and join my sister for coffee (she’s heading back to Portland today) and Nels comes along. He and I both enjoy a toasted Everything bagel with cream cheese, some Superfood juice, and I sip coffee while he plays YouTube on my phone so Jules and I can talk (and talk and talk and talk). Afterwards he and I hit the store (pears, banana, pasta, a Hemplers’ ham) and I come home and make fresh vegetable soup for the kids and soon I need to rest as we’ve a dinner guest coming over at seven. After a simple dinner of Ralph’s creation (chicken piccata, roasted cauliflower, spinach and pea salad) we grownups take a walk over the scary clumpy sidewalks and pick up ice cream and talk to the Night People along the way; my mom picks up the kids for a date at her house, and Phoenix stays over. I’m seated on the porch and she comes and holds me and kisses me because she knows I’ll miss her but she knows she’s coming back. Her body feels lovely and substantial in my arms and her little boychick head of spiky hair smells divine.

Two days ago, for $10, I bought myself a lightweight jacket to wear on bike rides or running, and a $5 3-pair sock set. This tiny amount of self-care is harder for me than others may realize, but once done, I feel the better for it. Sometimes I think I should make a list entitled “self-respect” and see what I’d do for myself if I cared as much for my own body and heart and mind as I do for others. It’s a work in progress.

we have to shout above the din of our rice krispies

Tonight Ralph and I attended a parks meeting at the Hoquiam City Hall. It was ill-publicized and sparsely attended. I enjoyed myself, though. I learned a bit more about the Way Things Are Run (a bit more). I asked many questions and (when it seemed valuable) gave my opinions on how the parks plan might best be served (my suggestions included a bent to public restrooms and covered spaces, bike and pedestrian-accessibility, and navigable areas for those with disabilities, the elderly, and carers of small children). My husband and I both had different impressions as we left the meeting. We talked over a drink at the Ale House. At home Ralph collapsed into what I’m hoping is a restorative sleep.

I think a lot about cynicism. The adopted belief that things will never improve; the decision not to take people at their word when they report their intentions to work for the greater good. People’s egos are fragile things; they often don’t want to appear fools so they adopt cynicism and sarcasm to defend these egos. The problem is, rehearsing these exercises leads to apathy. I’ve never spent much time in apathy; it’s just not me. But I am no stranger to cynical thoughts. Yes, given the economic hardships experienced by many where I live, and the lifestyles experienced by those who represent us, I remain unsure if the City has the willingness to serve the interests they claim they do. But what is the alternative? To stay home, to never offer my presence or my assistance?

Today it rained but I went running anyway. I run with earbud volume at 11 right in my eardrum. Mostly because I love TEH MUSIK in many forms. Today it was rock and roll – The Police’s “Synchronicity II”, Ratt’s “Round and Round”, Winger’s “17” (good lord… how much driving buttrock goodness has such unconscionably vile lyrics? So painful to be addicted to crunchy dirty rock whilst having the conscience of a decent human being). And a bunch of other stuff that made me laugh while I blew the streaming rainwater off my face and dodged logging trucks and waved at every passerby.

It was a good run.

(Small Stone #20*)

My feet have been cold all day.
My heart feels hardened.

Small stone project

snap snap snap

A day of sunshine after a drought of grey. I went running. The sun felt black-hot on my body after a while. It was glorious.


A few minutes after I got home my mother showed up and took the kids out to the beach. Both kids. Time in my own home, by myself! Holy shit! A bath. Alone, in quietude. Making coffee. Playing the new Decemberist’s album while sewing. I know it doesn’t sound like much. But still.

The children showed up hours later after Ralph got home and as I was still stitching away. They each had one of those shark grabber toys in one hand while brandishing a giant ice cream cone in the other. My mom had taken them out to lunch, the beach, and some touristy shop full of fun kiddo toys before getting the ice cream.

Now that’s how it’s done. Nicely played, Grandma!

Getting out and about? Swimming, running, walking, soaking up some light and fresh air?

Yeah. This week’s turning out okay.


Without artifice
(Small Stone #19*)

My children’s laughter
Is a constant in my life, these days.
Like glass and sunshine
Bathing the walls inside my home

Small stone project

wild world

Yesterday’s run was incredible. I’d meant to post pictures but I’ve been a bit disorganized of late.

Phoenix came along with me and read in the car while I ran.



Afterwards she asked if I wanted to see her and her friend Sasha’s favorite place to go – “the Bay”. These girls and a handful of other kids regularly come out to play, sometimes coming back more sand-encrusted and wet than you can imagine! (Whereupon we put them in a hot bath and make them a lunch and wash their clothes and find them dry ones.)

First she showed me the fort that someone else built; later she showed me a space about twenty feet away they used for their “bathroom”.

Roof, Fort
Roof, Fort

Then she led me out to the sandbar area.


The World of Phoenix

She asked me if I liked it there and I said Yes. “I’m impressed, Phoenix. I didn’t even know about this place and I grew up right around the corner.”

The World of Phoenix

My daughter showed me the “reeds” they’d harvested to begin making beds. Phoenix has such grativas and an incredible gift of expression and vocabulary: I forget sometimes she’s still a very little girl.

Then, Toilet!


Crab claw!

Crab Claw, Bleached


I don’t know what this is but I’ve seen many of these markings on many logs. My guess is this log was used as a staging area to cut other pieces of wood. I was not aware driftwood made much sense to use as firewood. In fact I don’t think about driftwood much at all and I’m not even sure if it’s legal to remove. I’ve been surrounded by driftwood my whole life and accept it as a natural wild beauty but a given. It isn’t until people visit me (or see pictures while reading my journal) that I realize it isn’t something everyone sees every day.

The run felt wonderful; I was honored, too, to get a glimpse of my girl’s private world.

party in the u.s.a.

Steev’s birthday party yesterday. Every single picture was taken by my children and these are all the pictures taken by them as well. They were sparing and quite artsy, methinks:

Party, Skewed

Ralph At Party



Today the sunshine continued – a tiny bite of cold creeping in. One of the nicest things for running for me are those days I have a breakthrough, marvelous session. Today was such a day. From the sighting of a woolly bear caterpiller to the boost in speed and distance and the two deer I saw and the glittering water and sunshine –

And today instead of just lifting my hand in a sedate acknowledgment of car and bike fellow travelers I did a full-on wave and smiled. And Every. Single. Car – so many – smiled and waved back! The bigger wave admittedly means I risk looking rather foolish but, I don’t care.

Today's Run

The View On My Run

It was beautiful today!

From a little earlier this year: gifts I made for JJ and Alden and their two bambinos (what a total fucking score I went searching for JJs blog address and I saw B. was wearing the hoodie!):
Hoodie For B., Booties For Baby Sib


Rayon Knit

We have a new mini-deity in our house and it’s called Minecraft. As might be expected Nels has been learning at an alarming rate. He is finally on the mend – his throat no longer sounds constricted and his tonsils are almost normal size. He still looks alarmingly thin and he has not been eating much. I’m plying bananas, milk and peanut butter and honey sandwiches. Let’s see how it goes.

toughness is in the soul and the spirit

On my run, today:

The Harbor

It is so fucking beautiful here. I wish my pictures did it service. So green and alive and wet. I’ve lived here long enough that even travelling a few hundred miles inland is hard on my body. I need the water, the water in the air, the water a few steps from my home, the rivers the estuaries the wetlands the sea.


Today I was precisely taking a step on the sidewalk and my mind was filled with the hurtful words, and gestures, and simmering anger I’d seen in my friends and acquaintances and my tweetstream and looking over my husband’s shoulder at his Facebook account. And unfortunately people who are hurting say damaging things in kind, and even those of us they aren’t targeting directly, sometimes it hurts us too. And my mind was kind of roiling over this stuff and thinking I wanted to be a part of the world that stood up and said Stop, but also recognizing those who are most destructive do not respond well to being called out for the harm they do, and their needs are unmet too. And while I was thinking all of this, bits and fragments and feeling almost broken and decidedly not at-peace and:

I stepped forward on the sunny sidewalk and suddenly I could see the pain in these lives, the difficulties they were living out, a few specific people I knew and how they were hurting and how hard it must be for them and it was nothing personal. As clear as day the harm they did me and others (incidentally, not purposefully, I’m sure) it all melted away and I could see them in pain, brilliantly-rendered, in my mind’s eye, as impersonal as a framed photograph yet as alive as warm flesh. In that moment I was the person I wanted to be, not confined and scared and struggling and afraid and angry. I was the soul of compassion and calm understanding and humor and love.

The fact is as I have been growing my antennae to pain and suffering, yes, even in those who perpetrate. When a friend is calling someone a horrid word or saying something vicious I no longer see it in that black-and-white, that us-vs-them, that must make things seem easier, that must obfuscate suffering enough to keep it to a dull roar instead of acute pain, for so many. It’s like I’ve dialed into so much of the pain I used to not concern myself with and now I can’t stop receiving it. I’m reminded of Ray Milland’s character in X: The Man with the X-Ray Eyes; experimenting on himself he has inadvertantly exposed his eyes from intuiting the visible spectrum to now the ultraviolet and x-ray wavelengths and beyond, and it’s agonizing; only the spectrum I’m receiving is emotional and there’s no volume level and some days, minutes, hours, there’s no stopping it and I can’t handle it. It’s my fault, I think, but that doesn’t mean I can change it. I haven’t developed my coping strategies.

But today I had a glimpse of someone strong but soft; someone wise but humble, accepting of her limitations but still someone who could help. And I want to be that person. I don’t know if it’s possible for more than those occasional flashes of brilliant clarity. I want to believe it is.

My run felt wonderful. At home now, showered, the sun streaming through the window, in my house are five children happily playing; music is playing and the children are all so happy and safe. I feel broken and sad for my grownup friends but I feel so good about who I can be for these little ones. It has to be enough, for now.