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.

who & what she wants

This evening my husband stops in his tracks with his hands full of grocery bags. “Phoenix, you are such a young lady,” he says. She steps over and hugs him and they kiss and have a few tender words. Ralph gets choked up to see his little girl grow up. It’s good stuff.

She’s sun-kissed with brown skin and the red that comes out in her hair this time of year. She’s wearing a foreign little blue and white dress given to her by her new friend D.; the two girls had a campout last night and I went to pick up my daughter and she was in another girl’s too-small clothes, scowling while hoofing it on a skateboard. Later these two girls take the dog out for a long walk, then Phoenie gets in the bath and comes out smelling sweet, her toes clean and an off-the-shoulder little punky black shirt.

She’s between two worlds; sometimes little kid eating ice cream and getting it around her mouth all feral-like, other times displaying a social sophistication unrivaled by grownups I’ve met. I’m thinking more and more it would be cool if she kept those wild qualities her whole life. God Knows we socialize that stuff out of girls.

Summer schedule; up late, nighttime walks. I make Nels a Virgin Mary at tonight’s rather large dinner party – twelve people, I think – which goes over well. I’m tired but in a good way. Grateful to have Ralph home for three days in a row for our weekend.

the god of hellfire & wieners to boot

E. Gets Her Hot Dog On
She roasted that fucker LIKE A BOSS

My Son
Nels. Is it just me or is he stunningly beautiful! He’s full of the devil too. If you haven’t caught on.

Concentration, Part 2
Focus… focus

Hutch, Chillin'
OK, Hutch kept “accidentally” sliding into this weird dark hole behind him. He was nervous about the fire. I had him off-leash all night and he behaved perfectly. He’s a winner!

It was a lovely night.

Now I take everything as a good sign, because I’m in love / I take everything as a sign, from God

OK, this may seem like a nonsequiter, but please go directly and read the most awesome About blog page I’ve ever seen. I just happened on it three minutes ago. I am ROTFLMAO, it is just so so wonderful. No, I did not know my daughter had a dream to be a blogger like me.


So. Personally? Watching someone go through heroin withdrawal feels really, really horrible. But it’s not nearly as bad, I may positively state, as going through heroin withdrawal. There’s not much I can do in this case except speak kindly to this person and listen to this person thrash and whimper and sob. So that’s what I do. Then I come home and make an incense offering and dedicate a prayer to this person.

Today was a lovely Sunday.

Nels + Harris

Nels slept in and finally woke only the second time his BFF came to our door (to hear the BFF’s parents describe it, weekend mornings the boy is scratching at the door like a mad dog wanting to come over). He and this little guy run around the neighborhood, getting fed at our house and getting up to I’m not sure what at the other house. I hear them laughing and see them coming down the sunny walk together, absolutely on top of the world.

Besides some family time and two meetings, I performed housework and had coffee with Ralph. I tried to make an orange candle and failed (it’s still sitting on my counter all soggy and misshappen). Ralph, Phoenix and I went to Tully’s where I was pleased to see they’d finally jumped on the Awesomesauce of Salted Carmel coffee drinks.

Phoenix educated us on Lyme Disease.

Phoenix, Hot Chocolate, & Education On Lime Disease

Phoenix, Hot Chocolate, & Education On Lime Disease

Phoenix, Hot Chocolate, & Education On Lime Disease

We visited the Gallery and their new show – “ReUse • ReCycle • ReArt”. It was even almost warm for half a second. The sun was out and that felt good.

I spent much of today sewing (yay!), but cannot post pictures (boo!) as they are slated for publication in a real magazine (yay!). Good news: I have my new snap press which I get to play with, and I am slowly marching my way through my magazine requirements. P.S. when it comes to stitchery WANT FOUR YARDS kthx. What a lovely fabric; and the album referenced (one I was raised on) was exactly what first came to mind.



Nels had taken to calling me Honeycomb. As in, “I love you, my honeycomb” [*kiss*]. Several times a day. He comes up to me and puts rings on my finger. Those little clippy ones for hanging curtains.

It was a beautiful day.

Morning Mess

the book is called Opportunity and its first chapter is New Year’s Day

This was the first New Year’s Eve I remember in my life, where I didn’t count down like everyone else usually does. I’d planned on, after our dinner guests left, taking a friend and my family to a Buddhist meditation at midnight. Instead I was sitting with these folks in the Emergency Room, waiting to visit a friend who’d been trucked in after a collapse. My kids, husband, and my girl H. played some kind of Twister knock-off on a carpet a few feet away. Next time I looked at my watch it was thirty-four minutes past midnight.

The fireworks from the hospital’s hill were lovely. It was cold. Nels had about three girlfriends by the time we left the parking lot. A social child. Also, earlier, a grouchy child who’d disrupted our earlier dinner a bit.

My friend at the hospital seems out of the woods. I am very grateful. I gave him my number as he’s staying overnight, and told him to call if I could bring him anything at all.


We had a good day today; the kids and I accompanied another family to adopt a kitty for little E. It was pretty choice, getting to visit with and pet the kitties.

My Lovely Daughter

Phoenix was a very kind little girl at the shelter, taking stock of each kitty and remembering their names and tempraments. There was another Phoenix working there as a volunteer, a teen boy. He and my daughter got along great, although I think like many he didn’t, at first, think a younger child could conduct themselves with aplomb at a kitty shelter.

E. & Her Daddy, Talk Kitties

E. and her father discuss adoption plans.


Raider. A favorite of J.’s. He was a handsome kitty. But E. was intent on adopting a lady kitty.


Here’s a kitty I like to call Noel, MY NEW BOYFRIEND. HE LOVED ME SO MUCH AND IMMEDIATELY CLIMBED IN MY ARMS right after I snapped this. He is the handsomest thing I have ever seen. Not convinced? Would you like a closeup?


I am going to get a tattoo of Noel and his likeness. His green-blue eyes are the inspiration of many sonnets. I’m sure he will be adopted out in no time and it just kills me.

Nels + Noel + Erin

E. + Nels + Noel. You can click through for like eighteen adorable pictures of them all looking at a “flashing light” they saw outside.

Nels + Noel

Nels reacts to something Noel said, probably something very suave and witty.

Erm... No Thanks, Panther

Panther may have trouble getting adopted.

Happy New Year. Anyone reading here with any regularity knows how grateful I am for my life. How blessed. I don’t mean “blessed” because so much good shit has happened to me or because God is super into me, I mean “blessed” because I’m very glad for the gifts I have. It is the gladness, the awareness, the awakenedness, when I have it, that is the gift.

Here’s Ralph taking a picture of me tonight just before tacos, because I wanted a new photo for Twitter. Thank you, husband, for taking a picture and making it of my ENORMOUS FACE.

New Years', Pre-Tacos

i am the god of hellfire!!!


Give a ride. Lend an ear. Sew a button. Chair a meeting. Love up an injured kid. Knit on a gift.

Some days it’s hard to do much for myself besides eat and dress, dubious items to put in the “self-care” category as they are rather requisite for, you know, functioning in public without getting arrested. The rest of the time I’m running around doing errands or at home working my ass off. I should know I’m a bit out of balance on the days I’m telling a friend, “I’m having trouble balancing X and family life.” Maybe I can skip that potentially boring (to others) conversation and when I have that thought just go straight to correcting accordingly.

Just one part of a busy day: a visit with Santa, at the Cosmopolis fire department, with friends. Phoenix said she was too old for Santa, and sat and colored instead.

Ralph & Phoenix, Intently Drawing

Santa was pretty fascinated with Nels’ name, correctly identifying Swedish and Dutch. In fact the minute the pictures below were taken, before my son had even introduced himself, Santa said, “A little Dutch boy!” (I’m guessing the hat? And the blonde?).

"A little Dutch boy!"

Santa Discusses My Son's Heritage

Nels and Phoenix drew some quick holiday sketches. I wouldn’t normally have noticed, too busy making homoerotic fireman jokes with Ralph, but I heard the two children burst into the most frothy and silly giggles, so I took a picture of a couple pages from their “workbooks”:

Phoenix's Concept Of A Snowman

Nels' Concept Of Santa

Certain mamas get more excited for events like this than many of the kids. I love that I have friends who have a real heart for children.

Charla, Excited If Not More So Than The Kiddos

Fireman humor:

Cheerful Blaze

A little boy who was pretty sweet today:


I do get a right-treat coming up; Tuesday I get to stay in all day and collect urine. Yes, you heard – collect, label, and categorize urine, confined to my own little house (as all-day refrigeration is necessary).

It’s too funny.

Fall Art Gala at Grays Harbor College (Pre-Show Fashion Shoot)


Haute Fashion

Haute Fashion

Haute Fashion

Haute Fashion

Haute Fashion

Haute Fashion

Nels was very proud of his ensemble and called it a “disguise”. Pheonix, though she adored the dress, said she did not want to smile for photos. With her looks, physicality, striking gaze, and postures of ennui I can often picture her as a fashion model.

Up Close, Flowers, Leaves, Vine

As for the dress, I had a great deal of fun with it. The finished garment involves a wire “vine” that twists and turns as you like it, with flowers and leaves applied by hand. The dress itself has hand-applied leaves and roses on the bodice. I hope to take some more photos and describe some of the dress construction in detail, as it was a very fun and rewarding project, turning out exactly as I’d planned.

The Gala was a lovely event. I did not rest well yesterday and still have a cold, so I was not able to enjoy the show with as much vigor as I’d normally have. However, Ralph and I did manage to gift my mother with a wee website and business cards, which I’m hoping she will enjoy.

Time: to rest.



Pumpkin patch with friends, then to Saginaw’s for lunch (FRENCH DIP OF CHAMPIONS), then Wolf Cafe at the Elma Timberland Library (where my kids cracked me up with their high degree of participation, joy, and nature-knowledge), then to the park for a loooong time where afterwards we caught this horrible huge grasshopper thing (which was wrapped up in a coat and later fed to the leopard gecko), then jumped over ditches and walked through neighborhoods so very very Grays Harbor, and finally got an impromptu tour of the hitherto-unknown-to-me Elma Theatre by a rather eccentric character and I think our kids were almost smashed by unsecured debris at least once.

Or I could just show you some of it.

Pumpkin Tally


(pssst, check out Phoenix when she was a very wee lass, in a similar contraption!)

Surly Fish

Pumpkin & ... Other, Very Odd-Looking Pumpkin

E. As A

Ralph, Clowning

Seats, Lighting



Not A Real House


you wanna fly / don’t want your feet on the ground


I get a rush when I bike long distances and today was no exception (I’m already used to the seat, by the way). I had a full day including picking up a refurbished New Home sewing machine (squee!), then later a wonderful coffee date with my sister, just the two of us. Afterwards she took me next door to the bike shop and bought my new head and tail lights, in addition to a very generous gift certificate for the family. What a wonderful gift for us and a real blessing.

But the highlight of my day sticking to me now was about ten PM when my friend D. who’s tended towards shyness in the past agreed to ride on the back of my bike there in west Aberdeen, and we did a few loops in the summer street while people laughed a bit, circling around a big bonfire while P. played Foreigner’s “Records” out the stereo of his impeccably-shiny Harley.

Or maybe it was an inadvertant poem I heard early in the evening: “Pray to be sane / drank a Hurricane”.

Or later as it was cold out, meeting Ralph and Cole for hot coffee and pizza at the Mia.

Either way, things seemed to work out real well all day long.

the Mia


the poetry of the earth is never dead

My girl, in a tree, in Montesano.

Savory Faire In Montesano

By the way. It’s so fucking beautiful where I live.

Erstwhile Creamery

I gave a girl named Patience, whom I’d never met before, a ride to her parents’, then a ride back into town. And while we waited at her folks’ place…

Out Wynoochee

Cows were unimpressed.

Then, the four of us went out to our friends’ for lovely conversation, screwing about with saws and hammers in the woods. Snacks. And of course, a fire – and s’mores.

Marshmallow Gourmands

Can't Get Too Close

And here? Is your moment of… well, whatever you want it to be.