felicitations from the shore one last time

Sartorial awesomesauce.

Scrunchy

Nautical / Naughty

Farmer’s Market.

Tomatoes

Pho (from Olympia).

Pho

More horseplay.

Horseplay

Splish Splash

More Hamilton (photo by Phoenix).

Hamilton

Captain Surly.

Li'l Surly

Nels is angry. He couldn’t engage the boat into gear. He had to paddle back to the dock. Then, only a few minutes after this picture, a group of people in a Party Barge motored over to ask us about this boat (it’s a battery-operated duck-hunting boat I remember from the last 25 years – it’s probably from the 50s). They also admired Nels’ competency navigating the craft. So he was pleased as punch. Then a few minutes after THAT, while he motored around the throttle’s knob snapped while ON and he started jetting across the lake – and screaming for his life (I mean – he was quite terrorized). Before we could mount a rescue, he figured out how to disengage the motor, pulled his shit together, then paddled back. After docking he came inside and grabbed some food. When I asked him if he was shaken up by his equipment malfunction, all cocky-like said he would do the whole thing over again.

Packing up, today.

Packing Up

We had a lovely time. And it’s nice to be home, now.

derpy hooves

Swimming. Ralph loses sunglasses in lake, mounts a rescue mission.

Operation Sunglasses

Operation Sunglasses

Operation Sunglasses

Hutch continues to keep his priorities clear (shown with my mom’s dog, Tuck).

Hutch Takes A Break

A benefit of an unschooling life. You vacation any time. No one else is around. You can hang out in your underwear, like Phoenix here, outdoors in the sunlight. Or perhaps you can be a bit NAUGHTY & choose the practical ensemble of STARKERS NAKED with a dangerously oversize life vest (all photos of my children published with their permission, P.S.).

Phoenix Assists, #1

Phoenix Assists, #2

Phoenix Assists, #3

Phoenix Assists, #4

Phoenix Assists, #5

Phoenix Assists, #6

In other news, I still have SuperShero Hair.

Purple. Pimpin'.

goodship dress / mason county treasures

Goodship Dress

These last couple days I’ve had the pleasure of pattern-testing the Goodship Dress, by my friend Karen of Circus. The dress is a simple middy-style including a box pleat, in-seam pockets, and large bow-tie closure.

Goodship Dress

Phoenix loves the dress. She says it is very “cool and breezy”, and calls it a “Pilgrim dress”.

Goodship Dress

The armscye and collar bindings were simple but appealing. Nothing in particular was tricky about construction, although if I made the dress in linen again I’d likely cut everything on the bias. Better yet, I’d make it with a blend that had more drape.

Goodship Dress

A coda: I had despaired of finishing this dress on vacation, since my 1967 New Home sewing machine started snapping its upper thread and Ralph and I could not figure out how to fix it. In Shelton today I stopped into the Sew Now Studio in dowtown Shelton. What a wonderful shop – it had actual supplies one needs to make garments – tons of wonderful zippers, sturdy ribbing, bottomweights, lining, knits, woolens, all purpose threads in every color, buttons. Wonderful stuff. Imagine that! Yes, I am envious of the Shelton locals. Anyway, I picked up wool, lining, interfacing and buttons for a coat for Nels – and even more fabulously, rented a Kenmore sewing machine so I could finish my work here at the cabin!

Lovely stuff.

Phee Feeds Ducks

 

satisfaction

Today: a trip into Olympia, a new hair color (purple! “Pimpin’ Purple” to be exact. Yeah YOU HEARD), pho at Little Danang, an IRL meetup with Jen, friend and blogreader as well as her wonderful boy T. (squee!), a visit to The Danger Room, a new t-shirt (Henry Rollins + Glenn Danzig, Yeah YOU HEARD), Olympia Coffee Roasting Company, some Recovery, and then grilled sandwiches at the cabin whilst watching copious amounts of Animal Planet.

I notice Shelton has a different culture than Hoquiam and Aberdeen, even though one might guess it would be similar. I got harassed by two men re: my new purple hair, on separate occasions, and I was only on the street a few minutes. I’m pretty tough re: blue collar scene but not used to the Mason County wildlife, I guess.

Ralph has come down with the cold that nuisanced the kids and I last week. He’s coughy and stuff.  Let’s hope he rests and feels better soon.

out in semi-seclusion / LOLspeak

This might seem counterintuitive, but if you’re planning a vacation may I suggest TAKING my kids with you? I am entirely serious. They are simply delightful. Since getting here they’ve been spending all their time swimming (with or without clothes – Nels just came in from the twilight, stark naked and grinning with all his teeth splayed, and announced “I went skinny dipping!”), boating, fishing, and eating. They are even forgetting to snuggle, until very late in the day (sob!). They are 100% agreeable 100% of the time, and say “thank you” for everything – when we help them with a fishhook, when we make them cocoa, when we serve them food, when we hang up a towel to dry. Just “thank you”, thank you thank you.

At dinner tonight we sit around an outdoor fire and Ralph brings plates heaped with food to the kids’ adirondack chairs and Nels crows how he is being treated like royalty (coming out a bit later I hear him courtly-like, addressing his sister as “my princess”). As we dine, both children discuss the food and how wonderful it is. “The grilled pork is hot and also delicious!” Nels beams at his sister. They are so happy and I feel so grateful for their presence.

Only a few years ago I found vacations a bit stressful as it seemed so much work was involved – packing and planning, managing the kids’ safety and their food and their behavior and their clothes. Over time I’ve come to trust the process of kid-growing, and rely less on my own efforts, egoic desires, and manipulation schemes. In time I came to believe a lot of my “management”, specifically with regards to behavior and manners, was likely counterproductive – although in my defense all this effort was entirely well-intentioned and was forged in response to very real cultural and familial pressures. Mostly these days I notice I have a parenting hangover. My state of constant vigilance left me exhausted and oddly less effective than I might have been. Water under the bridge; I know. But I write it here to let you know, if you’re raising young children you can learn from MY mistakes – you don’t have to make your own.

But despite my errors, and Ralph’s as well, the children have grown into amazing human beings. Two people I’d rather spend time with than anyone else. That’s pretty wonderful.

Today’s vacation photographs courtesy of Nels:

Self-Portrait, Top

Self-Portrait, Toes

My daughter and our kitty:

Phee + Hamilton

Phoenix fishes. She’s already put a solid 8 hours in. She is very patient. It would be really cool if someone who knew how to fish, would take her somewhere where you can catch fish.

Phee Fishes

Hamilton. Very pleased with herself:

Hamilton Is Pleased

And a few pictures from me. First – the laundromat in Shelton today. Is it just me or is that woman only pretending to read a newspaper, for God-knows-why reasons? & yes, Nels is wearing a sailor’s cap.

Laundrymat

Laundrymat

Paddling in the duck boat, a weird little craft we’ve had around here forever.

Kiddos Paddling, Perfect Balance

Another lovely day.

at the lake we forget to count the days

Today right before we took our first boat trip two bald eagles flew above, just a few feet away, silent and majestic as shit. The two birds studiously ignored one another, leading me to think they might be fleeing from some kind of awkward liaison.

Out On The Lake

You want to know what I do on vacation? So far, sit on my ass. Inside. Watching movies. And eating pho that my husband so graciously picks up for me in Olympia. Yup, I got up to hardly anything else today.

I am suffering some sort of illness/depression hangover. I ain’t gonna lie. I’m grateful everyone else in the family seems to be doing just beautifully. The kids spent every minute outside, and I mean every minute; they’ve even been eating all their meals outside. And snorkeling, and boating, and fishing, and swimming, and all the things.

Our kitty Hamilton is with us. She was very ill a short time ago and we thought we could better keep an eye on her if we brought her along. She’s made amazing progress. Interestingly she was starving herself by not eating her dry cat food; we have her on wet cat food and raw meat and she’s much better. Please note her skinny haunches and distended stomach. She was looking at death’s door just a few days ago.

Hamilton, Feeling Better

Hutch’s first boat ride, probably ever. He was dismayed at first.

Hutch's First Boat Ride

Getting ready to swim, for the fourteenth time today:

Getting Ready to Swim

Evening. It is so peaceful here. There are very few people here off season. It’s the nicest time to visit.

Brother & Sister

Gloaming

like swallows, by sipping the surface

I’m aghast as we unpack into the log cabin. A bat is flying about, likely the same bat that is always here. How long do bats live, anyway? Yeah, it’s flying about six inches away from my face, flying in that creepy clutchy swift way bats do. The kids are thrilled. They name it “Pete” and laugh and clap and are completely undisturbed.

I’m glad the children take after their father, enjoying the very rustic space of the cabin. It’s old, built by my great-grandfather. Many memories of drunken singalongs, my family and the neighbors. An area populated by Hoquiamites enough it’s named “Little Hoquiam”. As if actually Hoquiam isn’t little enough!

It’s serene here. Always, and especially off-season.

Lurvely

The kids make their beds in the loft; the dog snoozes by the fire. Ralph and I shower and enjoy the quiet.

housekeeping

Phoenix, Eyes

My monetary accumulation for our attendance at the Life Is Good Unschooling Conference is trudging along, to my utter delight.

I have saved, basically stuffed in an electronic mattress so I don’t use it for silly things like food and socks, about $238 (of the $650 that will get us there, which does not include food, gas, & fun money). This saved sum includes a wee bit of under-the-table work I’ve done as well as a handful of lovely donations from readers.

I sincerely thank everyone who has helped, and all who read, email, IM, tweet, and support in various ways.

It is so rare I get any IRL contact with other Unschoolers, and it means a great deal to me to consider we may get this chance.

I am hopeful of somehow earning $650 – separate from my husband’s paycheck. I have a few options on this account. For one, I have my little homesewn affair, which is not much of a money-maker due to various and sundry reasons, mostly including a complete lack of advertising budget or promotional considerations, besides the occasional tweet. I also lack kiddo models and let me tell you, that makes a difference. Early this summer, at the Fiber Festival? I put a little homemade dress (the one at left) on a little friend and I shit thee not, she’d been running around about five minutes before a woman came dragging her by the arm and demanding to buy the frock. Well, not really. But kinda.

So tomorrow I’m going start up up a jacket conception for a tot, then find a baby to stuff into said jacket so I can take a picture.

Welp. In addition to my little wee dream of making the conference, we are a bit squeezed with a few upcoming financial considerations that likely need some attention. First, it is a near done deal we will be moving to a new home in Hoquiam (within about a month), which comes with a few expenses (and deposits, if they get returned at all, are not always returned at a convenient time). After a decade of rough use on our beds, we are in need of three new mattresses. Our couch and two armchairs are sinking into further disrepair. My car has a bad alternator (which at least, I can buy and replace with a friend’s help), and both vehicles likely need an expensive brake job (that, I don’t have the capability to do myself).

And then, or course, there is always that little special item of extravagance one wants for herself. Well, kinda for me, not just for me. I have been watching a friend’s baby (free gratis) and I did a little research and my dream-boat idea would be to get ahold of a Boba 2G so I can run around like usual while caring for an extra (occasionally separation-anxiety-laden) tot.

So that’s our scene in a nutshell. I write it out for my own sake as well as readers who may or may not be interested. I am, of course, quite serene about all of this. I have received such incredible support and wonderful friendship and care from so many people. I also live a life, to the best of my ability, of planning the event but not the outcome, which leaves very little room for sour grapes, worries, envies, et cetera. For this I am very grateful.

From yesterday: skating at the Harborena, watching a daddy lift his tot – to her delight. Also, bottom picture, Unimpressed Woman in Foreground is Unimpressed.

Good Daddy

Good Daddy

veneno verde

It turns out I rather prioritize bullshitting and hanging out with dinner guests (tonight my sister Jules, my mom, and guest Randa) than taking pictures of the sewing I got up to while at the Lake. But in any case, here is my best effort documenting my business – for starters, a hoodie and pair of lounge pants with room to grow for my daughter:

Poor Creature

Pants

Center Back

Inside Outseam

Cuffs

Hood

Side Seam, Topstitched

Grumpy

Phoenix wanted a poison green something. I am so in love with the Imke hoodie I am happy for any excuse to make them. This one was made up in about an hour and from Joann’s cheap fleece. Funny as I was buying it I mused aloud I’d never sewn with it. The retail clerk said confidently, “Oh don’t worry, it’s very forgiving”. This made me laugh to myself because seriously? Fleece sewing is so 101 (for me – I prefer Malden Mills though). Anyway, later on while stitching I remembered I *had* made something from Joann’s fleece, so very long ago, an ivory and deep rose kind of baby bunting for my daughter. So very long ago or rather, so many projects ago I simply don’t remember. This is why, reader, I try – TRY – to take pictures!

Sewing while at the cabin, like baking pies (P.S. – I won, of course, and shoutout Paige re: “the incident”), is if not Traditional what I’d call Customary. I still remember the tender Thanksgiving awesomeness I made up on my little Spartan back in – I think – 2007 (I am too lazy to find good pictures but here’s my daughter wearing the dress).

While on vacation I also sewed a few gifts but I can’t, goddamnit, post them here (not now at least). Be assured I will publish their photographic memorialization when the recipients have received and opened the goods.

Tonight Phoenix was not interested in posing. And I don’t blame her. But I had to get pictures fast because she was already wearing the garments (a lot, and it’s very gratifying how much the kids like to wear my wares). I try to take the picture as soon as I can because I remember the lesson of the the ill-fated adorable striped knickerbockers I made Nels over a year ago – pants I painstakingly crafted and finished, took pictures of, and within the HOUR he’d spilled bleach on and destroyed them (in no way that could be salvaged).

& now? Time to snuggle my good-sport daughter.