sending the little ones to Dreamland, and the radio dial to “Spooky”

It’s 11 PM on a Thursday, and we Hogabooms are still on vacation, technically. Ralph doesn’t have to go back to work until Monday – even though he has two performances of Rocky Horror this weekend, and those are no-joke – both in time spent and in effort required.

Ralph’s schedule regardless, tonight I’m grateful we still have an unschooling schedule. I’m speaking specifically of my son, at the foot of my bed, fresh out of the bath, with squeaky-clean wet hair and wearing only a pair of wee underwear with scuba-diving skull motif. He’s eating ice cream out of a bowl, lying on his belly at my feet. Now he laughs and says, “Daddy’s biting my toes!”

So I’m speaking of my husband, too. He’s up a little late, and waiting for me to close up shop on the computer so we can watch a B-movie. Typically if Ralph wants to go to bed earlier than the rest of us, he heads into the guest bedroom to sleep. Tonight though, I get both the boys a bit longer; our daughter, a school-kid now, slumbers upstairs. And now, the home is settling into that comforting atmosphere I love, the quiet of night. The dishes are done, the carpets are shampoo’d, the pets are snoring, the little light above my bedroom’s shrine glows.

It’s time to wind down, after a busy day.

Schedule-wise, I’ve been busy enough to be distracted. I’m trucking away with sewing and I have a great deal of work ahead of me. Today another custom costume sold, and I ordered the supplies necessary to create this five-piece bit of awesomeness for a very, very cute child (I saw pictures! He is to-die-for adorable!). I also sewed up most of a baby bunting for the upcoming Fiber Festival in Elma. And this evening a client mailed me measurements of her child, so I can start on another costume – likely the most challenging of this season. My schedule is getting a little crowded and I will soon have to close Halloween orders. I’d love to do some Christmas gift sewing, so I am giving a little thought on what to offer. You bastards reading here know mostly I just want to sew a bunch of little woolen blazer-style coats for kiddos. YES THAT’S RIGHT, you jerks know me and I’m boring AF.

I’m grateful for a busy life; I’m grateful for a healthy and happy family. I am very grateful for being able to earn a little scratch, doing something creative. I’m profoundly grateful for my sobriety, without which I would not be able to be profoundly grateful.

Goodnight, my dear readers. May you rest well, and may you be safe.

Hutch (Photo By John)

take a look at my fucking awesome dog if you can stand the radsauce

Hutch (Photo By John)

(photo by our friend John, and posted here with much gratitude)

We Hogabooms are doing about as well as we can be doing. These last few weeks have been incredibly busy, a pace we are not accustomed to and that I don’t want to become accustomed to. Ralph has worked himself into a wee frazzle with his play practice, full time job, full time daddyhood and husbandness, and some side work (both for fun and for scratch) to boot. I ain’t gonna lie, he hasn’t kept a civil attitude during all this, but we are still getting by pretty good.

The exhausting pace has helped me get over my daughter’s first week in school and get down to the often amusing – and occasionally grim – job of sorting out my Feels about it all. I am mostly a thousand percent proud of her because she is awesome; she has already navigated what seems like a sizeable amount of unpleasantness and she keeps hopping up early in the AM with a smile. It is important for me to support her but I have all these little thoughts, some valuable, some probably not much. I keep thinking I want to write a separate wee tumblog or such thing – supporting other unschooling parents who have a child who elects school. I truly think it would be a fun experience!

In the meantime however I am trying to survive our current pace. This weekend Ralph’s play opens; we are also heading out on vacation in short order after that. It is taking each of the two brain cells I have rattling around up there to not ass-out on commitments I’ve made here or there.

During these weeks, I have had so many kind and wonderful interactions with friends and family it would be impossible to list them all here. Close to my heart is the friendship of another sober alcoholic, a woman who inspires me in a profound way hard to put into words. And on the the heels of this inspiring friendship I consider several other women in my life who have been my confidants and my support during a lot of changes – and some problems that seem to stay the same – and who’ve kept the faith, and kept their kindness coming, and had real wisdom to offer me.

My friends help me stay sane, or at least in that general neighborhood. For that, I am profoundly grateful.

i know it will probably work out because she’s sassy AF

In the process of enrolling my “unschooled” child into public school, we have ended up speaking with several individuals for input or, in some cases, necessary arrangements. These individuals include staff and faculty from school districts, some teachers (and ex-teachers), a homeschool email list (in this case, the “traditional”/curriculum type of homeschooling), and of course friends and relatives.

I am continually re-reminded that we Hogabooms swim in a different sea when it comes to some big life concepts, like How Children Learn, or just How Children Work in general (spoiler alert: they work a lot like regular people, except usually more honest!). Plenty of people who (obviously) love children very much, their own and others, will flat-out speak what I consider startling un-truths about children. Like how learning to mind authority and follow direction is equivalent to real learning as well as the moral prime directive of handling the kid problem. You know, LITTLE issues like that [she laughs]. I’m also reminded even a lengthy civil discussion (or two or three!) can’t possibly inject Ralph and my worldview and experiences into other individuals – and today I know it is rude and futile for me to try this. The child-as-second-class-citizen schema runs so deep that it takes months or even years to significantly de-program (hello! I’m still working on it!) – and I am coming to believe people would have to truly live the experience for a significant amount of time to speak with any real authority about it.

In Phoenix’s case, we have had many suggestions in the past few weeks: suggestions of how to organize her wardrobe, her curriculum, her food and lunch experience, how to test her, where to “place” her, how to “place” her. Every suggestion has been directed at me or my husband – patently ignoring the fact this entire world is hers, ignoring this even when we’ve said so directly and out loud, even while she’s in the room or available via email et cetera. In many cases, disturbingly but not surprisingly, my daughter is talked about like she’s chattel.

My daughter’s reaction to this makes me fall over dead with admiration. She leans back and tunes out. If she’s not being spoken to, a fine and friendly fuck all y’all. She’s not here to mess with anyone but she’s also not here to play “Good Girl”. She is like the best Buddhist I’ve met.

She is amazing.

Now I am used to adults’ baffling oversight – given that’s how many people treat most kids – but just to inform you how profound it really is, this happens over and over even when Ralph and I have demonstrated for years that this is not how our family operates. I am re-reminded of something I’d forgotten: that many grownups literally do not know how to talk about a child without knowing their grade and their so-called “aptitudes” or without considering grownups “owners” of children (as opposed to guardians or nurturers). And when it comes to these evaluations, I’m not talking about the logical surveying of a handful of factors in order to file a child into a classroom, which makes sense in light of the system – I mean that many adults cannot relate to a child without first “knowing” this information.

It is the oddest thing.

I know I sound feisty. I’m not angry, I’m just continually surprised at what I should no longer be surprised about. In a way, it still saddens me a bit. While today I have made peace with the mostly-schooling world (although that majority keeps shrinking), I think often of the neophyte home- or unschooler – as I once was! – so ill-supported or even vilified by so many. I think of this new family and how much anxiety is often produced by these clashing concepts of human relationships (cf. my handful of very angsty blog posts a few years back). No wonder people frantically self-affix labels – like “whole life unschooling” or “radical unschooling” or “interest-led learning” or “autodidactic unschooling” or even “un-unschooling”. Part of the label-grabbing motive is to defend one’s choice to raise one’s own child in the way seen fit: “Please trust us, we have a plan for our kids”; others may, as I did, be passionately trumpeting: “No. This is different. Different than (practically) everything you’ve been raised to believe!” (I’m still trumpeting that… or clown-horning that, if that’s how you see it.)

We’ve “unschooled” long enough to move past that particular label being useful – it merely serves as a shorthand that I employ when it makes sense.

Now I’m at the end of a day, and still recuperating from surgery, so I’m too tired to eloquently defend a premise I believe in: that nearly all labels, given time, will morph from being useful, to being impediments. Labels are fine, but a fanatic and stubborn adherence to them can keep us from practicing compassion, from practicing humility, and from helping others who are struggling.

Yes, our unschooling experience is valuable, and there is no substitute for it. Theory isn’t the same as living it. I have that life experience to offer – and I do. My blessings and support to any on the path.

Predictably, I’m about six hundred words into a three-hundred word post. I apologize. Let me get to more relevant points:

A few weeks ago I feared the biases my daughter might face from the teachers, adults, and children she’d be spending the day with. But I have worked through those fears (so far!) because I have re-reminded myself that it’s not my job to make people see things the way we do – and, more importantly, that Phoenix can handle this. Our children are whole, and that is what will help them. Our children are intelligent, kind, empathetic, strong, full of humor and compassion, and authentic.

We are here to support them, one hundred percent.

They also have something many children don’t have: a choice.

They have a choice. You know, sometimes I forget how amazing that really is? We’ve worked our asses off to give our children a choice and I’m grateful for the many factors, and all the kinds of support, that have made this possible. My goal in being out as a non-schooling family is to show people: I’m here, we’re here to help, if you ever want to try something even a little bit different.

These days I do not write to offend, or write to defend. I write here with passion. If there is any one else out there that wants to jump off the diving board, I’m here cheering from the cool deep water.

Well, let me torture the analogy a bit. Now? I’m waiting on the bleachers, watching my daughter jump, yet again. She is a beautiful sight.

a greater compliment than being loved

Rats!

My daughter has decided she’d like to go to school this year. I am totally cool with this, although several home educators and home/unschoolers I know have expressed their worry, and/or their thoughts I might be worried.

I ain’t worried, because I trust my daughter. Trust meaning two things; A. We literally allow her make her own choices (this is known as the action of trust, not the mere lip-service to it), and B. we have the lived experience of knowing she makes choices that really work for her. In fact her choices are often braver, or smarter, or more interesting than the ones I think up for her. She and I have had several talks about the whole business and I am impressed with her acumen and her matter-of-fact courage. Another thing I know: any school, or classroom, is lucky to have her!

My kids are what I’ve heard referred to as “spiritually fit”. By the time I was their age, I wasn’t. They are humbling and beautiful influences in my life.

So yeah, I’ve often wondered what my kids would think of school, should they choose to enroll. I am looking forward to her thoughts. This is an adventure for me as I find myself wondering if she’ll stick to it or think of it as a huge time-suck drag and quit within a few days or weeks. I don’t have to worry about any of it, though (see: preceding paragraph). My job is not to mold her opinions or live her life, but to support her in what she chooses to do.

We are short on finances and I am considering a little fund-drive on this blog so Phoenix can have school clothes. She tells me she’s ready to have more storebought clothes (as opposed to homemade), because, and I quote: “I’m getting that age, mom.” She kills me! I love her. But, we’ll see. I am still navigating under what circumstances I should make an “official” call-out on this blog for funds… So many readers have helped us in the past. Yet, I do not want to strain what is often called “social capital”, either.

Because Yes, I have a strong desire for my daughter to have a start on the wardrobe she’d like to explore (not to mention the backpack and lunch box she wants, et cetera) and her pencils and notebooks and such – to have this lovely little experience going to school. But my mind often falls upon a fair number of things that cost money and could benefit our family, such as not eating squash three times a week, and getting my car out of the shop, stuff like that. Prioritizing these desires isn’t an exact science – I need prayer and meditation, and to take what comes on a daily basis (the good and the bad), and to give things a little thought, and see what the Universe opens up.

It is truly a blessing to minister to and care for children who are so open, loving, and grateful for their lives and for the conditions in their lives. Their graciousness about their requests makes it easier for Ralph and I to make good choices. It’s a good life and the investments we’ve put into our family have paid off.

Still. School! Who would have thought?

helping others – unscripted

In May this year, our family selected a family from sixteen family applicants to send to the Life Is Good Unschooling Conference in Vancouver, Washington. We Hogabooms fully-funded their trip and provided blog readers the opportunity to support us with donations.

Here is the interview of the Taylors’ expectations before the conference, and their experiences as related afterwards. The video provides a portrait of a family during a very specific time in their journey, and I found myself touched to share the Taylor’s lives a bit.

The total scholarship cost was about $700, covering four nights’ lodging, the conference registration fee, and $100 just-for-kicks spending money. Eight other donors/donor families stepped in and covered $375 of our total expense.

Thank you, readers, for your support.

I have a few personal words about our scholarship experiment.

First, I am grateful that despite the potential financial impracticality of such a venture for us Hogabooms, I took the plunge and, with my family’s support, led with my heart. Even though Ralph and I were careful not to require anything in particular for this experiment – that our scholarship family would end up enjoying the conference or that it would steer them in a particular direction – it is lovely to see that this conference helped the Taylors at this time in their life. Although we would have been happy to support an unschooling veteran family and are open to such a venture in the future, the Taylors were ideal applicants because they were on the fence, having just removed their child from the schooling system and having, by their own report at the time, little to no support from family and friends.

The scholarship expense was beyond what is “practical” for we Hogabooms but here we still are, having managed to breathe air and keep ourselves fed. I’m glad we reached out.

Finally, I completely adore my nine year old son’s contributions to the interview. He took over with confidence, he quite adroitly explained “fear” and “excitement” in terms of being an unschooling parent, and even employed “air dick quotes”. I especially found his breakdown of the unschooling commitment and the benefits and detriments quite touching. His contributions were, of course – unscripted.

celebrating life and possibility

Billy & Jamila's Wedding, 06/22/2013

Once I saw a couple awesomesauce photographers at the Sauvie Island wedding locale, I gave myself permission to stop taking pictures and trust that, later, wonderful pictures would come to me. This accounts for the kind of inexcusable lapse in that I don’t have a single picture of the couple (or of my own husband, sister, or mother!) to offer you, this evening. Still, I stand by my choice to be in the experience, instead of recording it.  If you don’t know the kind of intense energy that goes into a wedding, at least when you are family or involved in a major way, then – pssshhhfft. I’ll post more photos when they come around.

So, Portland then.

In the house we stayed at, Ralph told me he intended to treat me “like a Queen” all weekend – and he did. Strawberry pancakes, at my request:

Billy & Jamila's Wedding, 06/22/2013

Almost better than devouring them (while reading a junky noir novel!) was watching my daughter eat them. Delicious!

Billy & Jamila's Wedding, 06/22/2013

Billy & Jamila's Wedding, 06/22/2013

Billy & Jamila's Wedding, 06/22/2013

Getting ready for fancy shin-diggery. The kids’ togs are all silk and cotton – a silk/cotton blend for the suits, a very fine cotton for each shirt, and silk taffeta for the bowties.

Yes, I made bowties. Yes, it was awesome. And kind of tricky. Bowties, if you want to make real ones, you have to make the exact correct length for the neck. I am now all fired up and ready to make Ralph a few vests and bowties because he looked gooooood. My brother said my entire family was “sharp as a diamond tack.”

Reader, I wore not one but two outfits, changing before the reception. No pictures yet of my get-up, although I offer you my custom-ordered boutonniere, a little nicety I purchased along with a wrist corsage for the mother of the groom.

Billy & Jamila's Wedding, 06/22/2013

Wedding gifts: Ralph and I made Jamila a steampunk travelling hat, complete with goggles, lace netting, and homemade wired ribbon and multi-loop bow:
Billy & Jamila's Wedding, 06/22/2013

Phee models, after her wedding-morning bath:

Billy & Jamila's Wedding, 06/22/2013

My brother, I made an overdyed wool vest. Prick-stitched lining, bound buttonholes, brass buttons, and a secret charm sewn into the pocket. Shhhh!

Billy & Jamila's Wedding, 06/22/2013

The back belt:

Billy & Jamila's Wedding, 06/22/2013

We also bought them a two-night trip to Sol Duc hot springs!

Billy And Jamila's Wedding, 06/22/2013

The wedding was super-lovely and worth every bit of effort it took our family to get there, and get there in style.

Billy & Jamila's Wedding, 06/22/2013

Hm, how much do I love this picture? My brother, the groom, looking handsome and happy. Tony checking something in his hand – the ring? His phone? And Chris, marching like a goddamn champion, gripping a bottle of wine. Fuck YEAH.

And yeah I got teary-eyed at the wedding. Of course I did, what the hell is wrong with you?

***

So we had a lovely time, all in all. I got to see my friend B. and her wonderful family, and thanks to some donations from two online friends, we got to hit the Mummies this afternoon, and visit with my sister. This morning I wrote a piece for Underbellie, in large part sparked by gratitude for the blessing of friends and family who, perhaps unwittingly, continue to challenge me in my day-to-day life.

Oh, and this was the first time I went two nights without my dog, since we got him almost a year ago. I MISSED HIM and I think HE MISSED ME, but now we are reunited.

Won’t buy bacon, hominy or grits / Rodent ears and possum is all we get!

As of this afternoon the Taylors are installed in the Life is Good Unschooling Conference (pre- and post-conference interviews, coming soon!). We had a small kerfuffle while our designated family tried to check in today – but that was, thankfully, resolved. I am hoping they navigate the considerable and constant activity at their first Conference with aplomb, and have a wonderful time.

Today was quite busy. I had a last-minute mailout of several items, the typical errands and child- and home- and pet-business, plus a dead battery in the car I was borrowing and then the understated drama of getting a replacement driver’s license (mine recently and mysteriously went missing). This evening I biked to and from Aberdeen and had a wonderful time practicing mindfulness, even through the pain of the ride. I am still getting used to my bike, which is quite speedy and lovely, but requires a lot more upper-body work than my previous craft.

I am also recovering from urethritis (I know, right? WTF), a somewhat alarming and not-so-fun experience for which I sought medical attention yesterday. Even though I have never (to my knowledge) had this problem before, my GP thought it was quite far-fetched it could result from the intense pressure of a new (hard and unpleasant) bike saddle and an entirely new bike-stance. But me and my pubic bone think differently, and I now have the giggles thinking of an old childhood tune and replacing the word “fox” with the word “crotch.”*

 
Tomorrow: payday. I’m very grateful to be warm, safe, loved, and more or less intact – and to have my family along with me on my life’s journies.

* tender-bits soreness is bad enough, but of course, it could be a heck of a lot worse!

updates from the incorporated village of Cutetown

First, here’s a picture of Nels, being so sweet I want to bite him. He likes to have the “towel hat” made for him, you know how fancy ladies don after their ablutions.

Nels, Post-Bath

Secondly: in just a few days we’re sending the Taylor family to the Life is Good Unschooling Conference. They are registered and ready to go!

I want to first thank those who’ve donated, shared, or in any way supported our endeavor. Financially, we have had six donors so far put in a total of $290 – and we estimate our scholarship cost, when paid out in full, will be about $700.

The scholarship process has been a positive one. I am very grateful we chose to do this, even though it meant forfeiting our own trip to the Conference. I am especially grateful for my very generous children, who were willing to make that sacrifice if the scholarship was not donor-funded in full. And this year, I am pleased to be sending unschooling “newbies” to the Conference. I think the experience will help them a great deal as they embark on this journey!

We are still taking donations. If you are interested in helping, please share, tweet, post on Facebook, or Paypal kelly AT hogaboom DOT org. Any small – or large – donation helps!

Thank you so much.

Nels, Post-Bath

“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:

Wolves

Wolves

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

Wolves

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

A.:

A.

Phoenix:

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.

Peacocking!

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.

Siamangs

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.

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.