Thank you for that experience.

At the bus stop:

TWEEKERS
SUCK
then, clearly added later,
YOUR
[BITCH]
TITS

It’s cold as hell and the bus “shelter” provides no respite. I tap on my phone and look online expecting to see the bus here any second; instead I find we will have to wait fifty more minutes and I’m like, stunned with despair.

I want to cry. My serenity vanishes and I am completely pissed. I will spare you the details; it’s ugly and trifling, but yeah I’m angry and I’ve already figured out how everyone is to blame. And with every ounce of self-restraint I do not say or do anything shitty out of this mental place and instead I zip my coat and I walk alongside my husband and I tell him, “I’m very cold.” He’s a cheerful bastard and has his metabolism so in a single-layer cotton hoodie he’s fine. He and my kids, I’m telling you. Their bodies ramp up and they are like hot little bread loaves in the bed at night, ask me how I know this. But I’m cold, cold, always cold.

A man gets on the bus and then another, and I recognize them from Treatment. They perhaps don’t know me or are too busy. One looks good though like he might not be drinking. Last time I saw him he was all yellowed up even in his eyes.

One thing about being wet and cold and out in the elements, we’re finally home over an hour later, and I am so pleased to be back inside. My daughter brings me a blanket and a pillow and asks if she can remove my shoes, and I’m so grateful and she blushes, pleased with herself she could make me so happy.

My daughter. This morning, first thing she said to me, she pulled me in close while she was still in bed and whispered her good dream she had. It was the most stunningly beautiful handful of words I’ve heard in a while. And I knew it was a secret only for me the moment she told me. It brought tears to my eyes; the dream and its sweetness, and amazing thing that she shared with me because she trusts me.

Things were different for me when I was her age. It’s hard to believe in something better, even when it’s right before my eyes.

I wrap up in blankets and I rest. A friend picks me up and takes me home, later. Simple things, those little things that help me. I am very grateful for these.

***

I haven’t been posting too many links lately, but I wandered across this today and I got some good laughs, mostly from the rebuttals. Like “Dave”, and SOYFUCKER omgggggg lolz

***

Ralph’s project this evening:

publishing. 2 things:

Nels

1.

I wrote a piece at Underbellie: “what you could stand to know about addiction”. My brother sent me an email response that read, in part: “Holy F that is well written. Can you please get that published somewhere?  I barely relate to the subject and was still nearly moved to tears.”

Welp. Of course I am published. On my site. I think he meant publish in a way where I get paid? (or maybe read by more than twelve people?) #LOLsob because I think it is my destiny to be a largely-unpaid writer. I’ve been doing this since I could write, so there’s that.

2.

Speaking of my writing, for pay or otherwise, I have had only six customers purchase the new Tumblehome. That’s like, SIX. This kind of response is obviously not adequate for me to continue the work needed to curate, write, design, edit, print, assemble, and publish. However, I know I could make a little more effort in trying to distribute and get word out, and I am willing to do so.

In the meantime, after two printing mishaps (and therfore a late send-out), here is an alluring picture of the hand-assembled option. The zine is available in paper, or for a $2 download.

The New Tumblehome!

Our next issue comes out in April.

Family life: the other day Nels found the first crocus bloom in our neighborhood. He made me come take a photo, and he has been watching it every morning.

Yes. Spring is really going to happen.

1st Crocus Of 2013

a fine mingling of letting go and holding on

“That’s what I can do with my fifty dollars,” my daughter muses quietly, mostly to herself. I say, What’s that? and she replies, “I can give it to a homeless person.” She turns her eyes to me; they are large, liquid brown, filled with love; her eyes are smiling. “The eyes of the Buddha”, a friend recently reported to me about this child.

I wrap my arms around her while we wait in line; a small number of household sundries in the Walmart. I had a rough morning today, worse than I’ve had in a while. Being out with my daughter is balm, soothing my nerves.

It’s cold enough out that in the evenings and early mornings one has to be careful not to slip on black ice. It gets dark so early it feels like I’m living in darkness. Today a friend mentions Spring and it reminds me how deep into winter I go. I resign myself to the cold and depths, and I hold on for dear life. Somehow I forget that Spring comes, I really do.

[ deep breath ]

the harder [we] work, the luckier [we] get

Car trouble rears its head again. Ralph’s had my vehicle for the week so the kids and I have been walking, bumming rides, and riding the bus. Today, two trips on the transit. Lots of drug addicts and alcoholics clearly still in active addiction, some people with problems either tacitly or obliquely advertised. A white man grim and silent and with that hard-eyed look and holding his two year old who stays equally silent. A young woman tiredly and loudly on the phone, begging / nagging the father of their child to assist in raising their child. She gets off at our stop and takes herself and the babe to the domestic violence shelter. My kids walk alongside me making up imaginary games and helping one another carry the big backpack full of books and binoculars and Pokemon accouterments they’ll put to use while I do some volunteer work.

But in general, we like riding the bus. I get a little nauseated, is all. I have to look out the window. The kids lean against me and we jostle gently through the streets I feel I’ve known forever.

On The Bus

Phee took her first “job” and started this week. She’d wanted to rejoin the swim team after a few years’ hiatus. We didn’t have the tuition, so she made a proposal to my mom for a work trade. Weekdays now Phee works at my mother’s here and there when she’s needed, then hits her swim practice. It seems to be a very satisfactory arrangement. Phee is getting that age she really can do quality work, and my mom is often overwhelmed by her home and garden and other responsibilities. I wish them both the best. I have a great deal of faith in my daughter and don’t meddle. Those things are probably related.

This evening as dusk falls Nels stays behind and waits for his father to get home and cook dinner. Phee and I catch an evening bus to get to the Y. My daughter asks, “Are you going to watch me swim?” and I say, “Every time.” She leans against me and kisses me. I decide I will be there no matter what. It’s easy enough to make this happen. It’s just a new thing I get to say Yes to.

On The Bus

In the pool she’s friends with every child and adult. The swim team is huge, three large sessions of kids. We’re in the earliest session of the evening, the beginner kids I think. There’s all that annoying sport parent stuff I won’t detail here. What matters to me is watching my daughter. She is a natural, friendly and walking up and down the lane, encouraging her team members and clapping for them, she knows their names already. She’s the most sportsmanlike child out there this week. I wonder if she’ll stay that way. I’m proud of her.

For a client, another SteamPunk Pika hat. I would make custom wool hats for a living if it could work out. Nels models:

Nels, Model

LOL at my kids in these pictures. Looking all grim and dystopian. Or is that merely my projection, as winter hit us hard all of a sudden?

A Little Gift Tag

Home and sewing and cleaning up and feeding animals. Baking a pie for a friend who celebrates a special milestone. Cold but we’ve heat and food and one another.

as I type this my dog thinks any minute now I’m going to do something super-cool

I took too much medicine last night & ended up throwing up lots. My poor son was still up when I threw up and he cried because he was frightened, even though I assured him afterwards. Then I couldn’t sleep, likely as a result of the meds and then too much strong coffee in the evening.

What’s worse than all that is I gave myself a really, really hard time about making these mistakes. I can’t always stop the mental negativity, the thoughts punish me and crowd me and yes, I know it’s terribly self-absorbed. The good news is I don’t do it as much or as often; and I am kinder to others very frequently, if I have not learned the art when it comes to my own self.

Tonight as Ralph, Emily, Phoenix and I drove to Olympia, my daughter identified weather on the horizon: “That’s a cumulonimbus cloud… we’re heading into a thunderstorm.” I said, “How can you tell?” (I mean I remember being forced to learn about clouds in school, and promply forgetting everything except for a few names.) She said, “The cloud has the classic anvil shape, and look at the color of the sky.” And then the holy shit of it all was she was right, as only an hour later we’d driven into what quickly became the most intense lightning storm I’ve ever been in, in my life in the Pacific Northwest. Huge drops of warm rain and a sky like a bruise and visible cloud-to-ground lightning accompanied with the loudest BOOMS and fire sirens and we drove past a tree that had been sheared.

It was thrilling. Thanks to the horrible nature documentaries my kids watch, I knew we were safe in the car. But I was still happy to get home and inside my little hidey-house.

Lightning Storm

In other news: Hutch had his first vet appointment. He’s down from 120 lbs. on June 27th to 111 lbs. today. I’m proud of getting him healthier and more comfortable. It’s been a lot of great fun, but a lot of work!

 

i’m not dead yet

But, I have been exhausted.

Pictures from lately. I would take a lot more pictures except I don’t have a camera bag and I’m nervous about bashing the camera or scratching it. I even know what bag I’d like. I’m waiting. Picture me with my fingertips together.

So, I really enjoy my new space. In fact it’s almost just like I’d have imagined a home way back. Clean and spacious and usually smelling of tasty things to eat and I have to confess, incense and sage smoke from my various superstitious or religious or whatever practices. Anyway, everything’s the way I like it, except some day I long to be able to buy furniture. Everything you see here was given us.

Living Room

I also need curtains. It’s like a fishbowl of Hogabooms right now.

Dining Room

Dining room; usually eighteen fat cats are on the rug. I’m still working on building our dining room table and then it will be like a MEAD HALL WITH MERRY KNIGHTS RIPPING INTO TURKEY LEGS.Oh and BTW you also can see at mid-left the only garbage can in my house. The system WORKS, I swear.

Kitchen

The kitchen – far easier to work in than the last home. Yay!

Sewing Room

Sewing room table (and handy pin-jar made by sodipop!)! I can’t show you anything else because there are SURPRISES in the works! Another set of windows without coverage. We’ll fix it… when we have scratch.

Making Chai

Making chai!

Y A Lado, Una Torta De Desabrada FANTASTICO

Mexican food before heading out for a snow day at a friends’ place. The kids had enchiladas and tacos frijoles.

The kids are really amazing. They helped me a lot today. I was thinking about it and realize they help me a lot. Like today I left for a Board meeting and my hands were full and I asked if one of them would open the door and they both jumped up and helped me out and giggled and gave me kisses and hugs. My kids kiss and hug me EVERY time I leave the house. I tell no lie. Nels does it several times in fact. Today I said, “You little shit, I’m late, get in the house!” Etc.

But yeah, I made sure to thank the children today for all their help. And they said, “You’re welcome.”

And now time for a movie date, and snuggles and good-night.

then I got to listen to a lot, a LOT, of Lowellian cursing

Brrr!

By the time I’d walked a mile in an absolutely wet, windy, and rainy blizzard through piles and piles of snow, and waited and waited and waited for a bus, and given up after making phone calls and texting and other plans, while huddling wet and cold against the icy brick contemplating a plan, and realized I’d be unable to make my meeting, and finally gave up and headed home,

I admit, by then I felt a few tears rise in my throat. I mean after all the whole business was about two hours exposure without relief (yes, in light of certain anniversaries today, I know I am whinging, big time). And what was funny is to think as I first set off through the snow, I was wondering if maybe taking a few hours out of my day to make one meeting where a solid half the clients are nodding out from Suboxone, and I thought maybe I’m a fool, maybe I’m wasting my time. Well it seems the Universe was beating me into humility because after all that I didn’t even make it. Well, the Universe isn’t so unkind, I guess – it was my choice, I could either re-learn humility or just be pissed and cramped. I elected the former.

But at the beginning of the “adventure” I had a nice walk with Ralph. Our gonads were frozen solid by the time we got to the barren comfort of overhead shelter:

FROZEN

(Given GH Transit wait times the “No Loitering” sign seems a bit… ironic.)
(Actually, as previously discussed, I’m unsure what “irony” really is. Yes, I’ve looked it up.)

Ralph ran across the way to grab me a coffee; he went by himself in case the bus came by and I missed my opportunity. This was back when I had a backup plan of sipping the coffee and holding it close for warmth, while I waited. Back before he’d left and I’d gone on to wait an hour before a bus came, a bus that wouldn’t have gone near my destination, meaning there would be no time for me to make my appointment, and I had to give it all up. Yes, back when I was so naive. I had a lot of growing up to do.

Ralph Ventures To Get Me Coffee

I was bundled up well but the rain had soaked my jeans and that was my downfall. Wet jeans. Holy Shit.

So I eventually went home and the exercise, plus the high of dodging scary drivers sliding on ice, worked off my aforementioned upset.

And then after I got home it took a long, long time to warm up. I watched Reel Injun while waiting to feel my face again.

 
Then I watched The Fighter (although I’d already seen it a year ago) while finishing up the details on the last homesewn item for the upcoming magazine spread.

Several kids came and went, wet and getting fed and getting re-dressed in dry clothes. We washed and dried and hung things up. Ralph made a lovely dinner of turkey sliders on homemade buns, yellow tomato and avocado dressing with lemon, carrot sticks, and potato chips, and we fed whatever children ran through the house.

Then we set up all the outdoor stuff to dry in time for more snow adventures tomorrow.

Boots Upon Boots

the art of sitting still

The disease we humans have has been described by Eckhart Tolle as “insanity”, and I deeply experience the truth of what he writes, inasmuch as I consciously comprehend it. We all have this malady and we all can succumb, whether for short durations or for such a great part of our waking lives as to be almost entire, this unfortunate enchantment. A great many of us try to take (false) comfort in looking at others who seem “worse off” – sicker, poorer, less able, less “together”, et cetera, or we prop ourselves up by telling our story repeatedly – aloud and, most importantly, to ourselves. Good mom. Provider. “I’ve never taken a day sick in my life.” Financially independent. I’m good at my job. “I’m not racist/sexist/[whatever]”. I do what I set out to do. I’m a happy guy. I’m a hard worker. I’m well-liked. I earned my way in this tough world. These narratives are deeply personal to the individual and you’ve read many of mine here.

But the illness is within and will dwell within us our natural lives. I like to make friends with it: today I think of it as my inner addict, the Ego, which seeks only to grow itself by any means, and which will in time burn itself up by its own conflagration. In fact as an alcoholic I just actively accelerated this process and increased my suffering to where I broke, which is why I am truly a grateful alcoholic today, because I broke. Tonight I heard people talking about the things they’d lost to their disease and one friend said, “my self respect”. Yes. That is it for me, as well. Others may not understand it as they do not see what was Inside, merely my Outside, and my Outsides looked pretty good from the angles they perceived. Many compare others “Outsides” to their own experience, looking for comfort by comparison (needless to say, this doesn’t work). But what we really think of ourselves, deep down, our literal self-esteem, is what matters the most. I would encourage anyone reading here not to feel bad if they don’t like what they see. That is indeed the first step – honesty. Things change from there, often quite quickly.

I know the closest and dearest to me can understand I mean it when I say what I lost, “my self respect”; if they want details I am obliging.

The ego. “Original sin”. Missing the point of being human. We can feed this entity until it consumes us. I see this tendency, this habit, every day: in myself, in my family, in the addicts and alcoholics I work with, in the person frothing with road rage today, in those who demonstrate a profound lack of compassion for a certain class of beings, and in my occasionally clumsy and non-compassionate response to all those listed above.

It is not my desire to give offense when talking about the spiritual aspect of a person, of myself, of humanity. So many have been abused and disenfranchised that any speech ambling toward the G-word gives rise to spleen. Others are less angry; they just have frank and honest personal belief that we lifeforms are merely electrons whizzing about, that is all, no rhyme nor reason. Mostly, though, as humans we exercise habits of arrogance and self-centeredness; our minds more closed and unteachable than we want to realize or admit. It isn’t being an atheist, nor a religious zealot, or anything in between, that keeps us sick and suffering. It is our disease of Self that keeps us very ill indeed.

Today I am less ill than I have been since I was a very small girl. As the quote goes, “Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.” I did not understand how sick I was, and I do not fully know how sick, or well, I am today. I only know I am better than I was. There have been great gifts given to me, including those of my own perception. And including, as well, the experience and practice of Gratitude. Mornings I wake up and say Thank You and make an offering and reflect on gratitude. During most days I return to gratitude as a return to the most familiar, wonderful friend, as a return to Home. This practice has afforded me many benefits, and I hope it is benefitting others as well.

Today was very busy, but in the evening hours of recreation I took pleasure in simple things. It’s very gratifying to have friends and family over for dinner and to make a meal that they all devour with much gusto. In this case grilled teriyaki chicken, a simple salad, cucumber spears, and a coconut cake. Then a movie and people and cats piled on one another. Finally: a last cup of tea, then to bed. Maybe we’ll have another windstorm tomorrow; I hope so, I find it a little exciting.

turning the collar up, looks like I picked the wrong time to decide to shave my head

Bright and cold, the sun slaps down on the sidewalks and finds us much as we ever were, maybe here and there a little shabbier. Broken down businesses and those making their valiant try. More cars getting towed DIY-style lately, Ralph and I have both noticed this. I drive by my neighbors sleeping rough or living hard, hunched jackets against the cold in clothes that aren’t quite warm enough, walking with bottles that clink in thin black plastic bags, cheap fleece pajama pants.

My sister visited this weekend and went to some festivities around town. “Irish music and drinking, I know how much you love those.” She and my mother went ahead and did some of that. We also had lunch together Saturday and Jules and the kids and I goofed at the Halloween store, good memories for me. She always buys the children something sweet; this time, their Halloween Trick or Treat bags/pumpkin buckets.

I drive to Aberdeen in the afternoon and wonder why some days I feel in a panic. Nothing is wrong, I tell myself. Remind myself. I am sober, and safe, and mostly sane. We have wonderful friends and family and are surrounded by a great deal of love. My children and I have a roof over our heads and good food to eat. The kids are growing well and exceedingly happy, as far as I can tell. The cats lounge about. My house is tidy, I bought winter boots. Nothing is wrong. Nothing is wrong. I have to talk myself down from the ledge now and then but the feeling passes after a while, like everything else.

Low Tide

“Low Tide” by Τϊζζ¥

More Hoquiam, WA.

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.