Guess what I didn’t do today, or yesterday, or (arguably) Saturday? Take care of myself properly. My body, my mind, my spirit. Ralph and I worked hard all weekend and I didn’t rest like I promised myself I would; I didn’t feed myself the foods that help me feel better. Today I woke severely hungover (rare for me) – we’re talking dizzy and almost nauseated. It was bad enough I elected not to go for a run (although a run sounded fabulous and sweaty and detoxing; I took the Internetz’ advice I was dehydrated and shouldn’t do it): tomorrow, then. I also did not eat food until 4 PM. I was just doing so much other awesome stuff.

The weekend was unrestful because I was working my wide, flat ass off in making something happen for my kiddos, and that is: an organized space with proper lighting and some chairs (I’ve mentioned previously they had one wee kiddie desk and chair I got for $10 at a garage sale; their books were stacked on the floor). I’ve been meaning to do this for some time but something special happened (more in a minute) so I scrumped and worked to make it a reality:

IKEA something-or-other

Art / Light

Large Table

In that bottom photo, see that on the desk? It’s a microcsope; a lovely one sent to me by reader T. and completely, thoroughly awesome. I had one as a child and I loved it so much. My brother still has its metal skeleton and says he’s going to have it fixed! This one is nicer than our beloved ‘scope of yesteryear, but very similar. Both kids have been enjoying it and Phoenix instinctively knew how to use it (or she’d read about it); I’m pretty sure she hadn’t used one before. I’m going to NERDILY be all over the internet looking for additional slide kits.

Such a lovely, lovely gift.

Oh and I love Nels’ acrylic painting on the right: “Clam”. No one bought it in our recent art showing. Their loss, my gain.

Oatcakes & roll-ups & roasted garbanzo beans (P.S. my friend J. and I are looking for more appetizing name than “chard roll-up” if you have one; click the picture for the ingredient list):

Oatcakes Of Goodness

Do you feel like reading somethings thinky and internetty? Two articles from today; one I wrote for Underbellie (many links and I’d love it if you followed at least those in the body of the article); also an anecdotal and very sweet piece on advice to NOT give homeschoolers. Or schooling families. Marianne Kirby hit it out of the park with two posts on her blog; a brief and relevant foray into “manliness”, and a longer entreaty on the necessary and hard work of deconstructing body self-loathing.

What’s a girl gotta do to get a rest around these parts? Prolly stop behaving as if she never needs one.

phoenix fire hogaboom, naturalist

Originally written & posted for Sew Mama Sew:

Since my daughter was very wee she’s had a gentle interest in the natural world – and when it comes to local flora and fauna, flowers, insects, and small wild creatures still capture her attention. Some of the most lovely blooms and busiest bugs are out this time of year, so for our “back to school” Sew Mama Sew project (we are homeschoolers) I thought to make her a custom-satchel with exactly what she might want on a nature walk, complete with custom pockets and carrying versatility.



Pressing plants and flowers is actually quite easy; what one needs are the tools to bring home intact, non-bruised samples and (if you like) resources to help identify your findings. Included in what I began calling the “Naturalist’s Satchel” are the following:

As for the construction of the bag, I was inspired by the Kwik Sew pattern 3687. Originally designed as a flat-satchel backpack with simple tie-loops (rather than all those black plastic rings and fittings), my children have sometimes tied the straps together to wear it cross-body, and sometimes worn it in “backpack” configuration. I decided to adopt a similar set-up.

Once I stacked up the assembled supplies to get an idea of the volume of the satchel, it was easy to sketch a box-style construction (adding a 1/2″ seam allowance to all edges, since there are no fancy hem allowances etc) and design specialized pockets. I created a large flat pocket for the notebook and workbooks…

Flat Pocket

… and elastic holders to secure the bulkier water bottle and sample jar.


My favorite details are the strap stitching and loop ties:


Loop / Knife

The bottom is a waterproof rugged nylon from, a leftover remnant from Phoenix’s Green Pepper messenger bag. I quilted this to a medium-weight wool blend flannel to add some structure:

Bottom: Quilted, Waterproof, Rugged

When I gave my daughter her present she immediately grasped the import of this and called a friend for a “nature walk”. I walked partway with her to snap a few photos.

A Walk

Phoenix observes a spider “preparing for a feast”:

Phoenix Watches A Spider

Off on a secluded path she found herself (that I didn’t know about until now):


Specimens of note on today’s walk are the beautiful purple and gold flowers of the European bittersweet, a lovely and common enough bloom to be found in these parts (sometimes tengentially referred to as deadly nightshade) which is listed by Plants of the Pacific Northwest Coast as “moderately poisonous to humans and livestock”.

First Specimen

Remember – make sure you have permission if you want something from someone’s private property!


“Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart.” – William Wordsworth

My recent Life Learning Magazine* article published automatically on Underbellie (I’d forgotten I’d scheduled it); I’m going to leave it up for now (with a call-out to my editor to make sure this is cool; read it while it’s hot!). And  yesterday I rather busted ass on a shadow-dieting piece which I feel rather massively insecure about mostly because the topic is so vast it was hard to condense it.

The funniest thing (to my tiny brain) is I clicked on a tweet re: unschooling to find myself quoted in a blog, which is how I found out the unschooling piece had gone live. And the blog post didn’t say anything hateful about me (bonus).

I must stop writing and publishing. One day someone is going to be SO MEAN TO ME (well, AGAIN), and I’m going to seriously cry. I will never be a thick-skinned person.

But anyway, today I’m proud enough of my writing.

* P.S. You should seriously subscribe to this publication, and no I get no kickback or whatever for saying this.