it’s like falling in love

My son is tall; his coat from last year, a favorite, reaches the top of his hips and the sleeves end above the wrist. His hair is growing out from a short cut; in the morning, there is invariably a disturbed cowlick on the left side. I’ve taken to calling him “Tufty” and when he comes in close to hug  me, he is fast approaching my height.

He calls my mother this evening and – although I can’t hear her end of the conversation – it is obvious she is asking him on a date. Good; as Phoenix will enjoy undisturbed study time. She has a very hefty Biology book  – the sucker must weigh several pounds! – and today we discussed isotopes, radioactive decay, covalent and ionic bonds. The material is familiar to me but the last time I studied it was two decades ago! The rhythm of s and p orbitals, however arcane and antiquated in my memory, is nevertheless a familiar one because that long ago, that was my world.

So strange to be discussing quantum physics with my “little” girl.

I enjoy a walk with a mama and her young son; he is happy and scampers about, mindless and with a runny nose. Then he falls and cries; inconsolable. No one can carry him except his mother, who is heavy with another child. Eventually he calms and he carries his little stuffed bear in a blanket; we retire to his home and he shows me how he puts the bear down for a nap. I’m unsure if there is anything more beautiful than listening to a two year old putting together sentences – crude but, if listened to, easily understood.

The day draws colder; now, with my family and another neighborhood moppet in tow, we head for a lunch of hot noodles and then ice cream for the younger children. Home and Phee and I will hit the books; Ralph will eventually make dinner.

And to bed anon.

A good Sunday.

Starlost

a li’l something

A wee baby ensemble for a local auction – size 15 lb. baby!

Starlost

A bunting (100% cotton shell, same color fleece lining, stenciled glitter-star front, and snaps with underlap), reversible hat with tied ears, and a baby sleeping bag with snap front. The front:

StarlostFlannel shell on sleeping bag; large red snaps. Love it!

Starlost

 But … my favorite i sthe hat. I am a huge baby hat fan. I wish I had a baby to model this one. ONLY too adorable!

Starlost

So yeah – as mentioned, I’ve been asked more and more for donations or contributions – either garment construction, or writing.* In between clients, getting the kids to school, and running last night’s benefit, I managed to put this together. The pieces made up a simple, pleasing project. Putting together the color palette – and the design – is one of the best parts of design.

Starlost

I also just adore the idea of a baby sleeping bag. Why have I not thought of, or seen one before?

These pieces go off to a local auction. Always happy to help!

* Let’s make a deal: you know it’s totally okay to ask, ever (promise) – because you know I feel okay saying Yes or No. I’ll let you know if things change.

when shit gets real

Why Do I Not Have A Subscription To This?!
This post is dedicated to the wonderful & talented Idzie, also Maine Coons magazine.

***

Today I’m lying on a table getting myofascial massage for my  head and neck pain. The bodywork feels amazing and strange and all of a sudden the pain and lack of movement in my neck are drastically reduced. I am not only given incredible massage and manipulated but shown the weirdest fracking exercise I’ve ever come across, like seriously I’m embarassed to have to do it in a room with two people watching my technique, and no I’m fully clothed and mostly lying down, it’s just an incredibly weird series of movements.

The practitioner and her assistant find out I homeschool, because they ask about my “workday”. Four minutes later they’ve forgotten already as they ask in the kid in the lobby is with the Hoquiam school district. “My kids are homeschooled,” I remind them.

What follows is the very typical, OH SO TYPICAL I could write it out verbatim, series of questions and statements (this happens a lot when I’m a “captive” audience, dentist etc). Including, “Homeschooling works, but only if the parents are educated” and horror stories of totally messed-up kids that are a direct result of homeschooling (no totally messed-up kids are ever credited as the direct result of public schooling, just so you know). I know I should be long past this, but I am always surprised when people who did not or do not homeschool and display profound ignorance about those worlds (including not knowing state requirements or legalities of home education nor, even more importantly, having delved into the autodidactic tradition with even one toe), proceed to tell ME with authority tons of Truthy realities, I mean just go on and on. And then, comically, end the often one-sided conversation (one-sided as far as openmindedness, assuredly) with a version of, here’s today’s: “Well, I don’t really have an opinion one way or the other.” Pro-tip, Yes You Do.

Today I have a life lived in gratitude and I can tell you, no matter how cheeky I sound here, I am in full acceptance of these varieties of limitation and I don’t hold a grudge (I mean come on… I have my limitations too, like everyone). Maybe I feel a twinge of sadness. I find it’s pretty easy to have a conversation with consideration to person going on, and with a good deal of kindness. “Yes, reading and math are frequently issues of controversy when it comes to home education.” That is a statement of fact and I can say it. The fact I get queried, very rarely, what I believe or how we do things, lends me to further consider that yes, People Do Have Opinions, and they aren’t availing themselves of mine, and that’s cool. This is made all the more comical given how many parents, adults, and teachers have taken me aside to ask me How Did I Get My Kids To Read So Early or, Wait, Kids Can DO That? It’s like I get the recognition something is working, but a constant stream of opinions as to how it Can’t or Won’t.

Since our family is in quite the minority in America by not only “homeschooling” but also not following school-at-home edicts nor centering our parenting in an authoritarian/authoritative fashion, we’re regularly asked to not only defend our very lives but give a treatise or exposition on how Stuff Works, like college. And the law. And free-range kids. In conversations I try to be kindest to the adult in question while being entirely honest (many people who don’t school stay in the closet, so to speak – and there are many compelling reasons to do so). This keeps me relaxed and enjoying the conversation. No, really. But I really do get the vibe that when my children display epic talents or literacy or math skills or social skills I’m looked at as an exceptionally “good mom” (I’ve already written on this), whereas, in the case of questioning and commentary on the lines I received today (Ignorant to Semi-Hostile, with Socially Polite Overtones), I can feel the beady eye on my kids and any, at all, “backwards” or squirellyness or even unusual sartorial expression is received with an arch eyebrow. Whatever.

Anyway, today my son had kids at the door all day long begging him to come out and run the neighborhood. My daughter (after putting finishing touches on her new blog) in her evening frock attended the hospital with me to visit a newborn and new mom, speaking directly and considerately to mom, friend, and hospital staff. Earlier she and her brother cooked and did dishes and laundry with me entirely peaceably, took care of pets, and socialized and assisted at an evening party of my mother’s. It’s not like I’m writing about Performance, I’m just saying, it’s really weird to be considered default=Batshit by so many for doing things that are Entirely Normal and work out really, really well.

Nature is full of genius, full of the divinity; so that not a snowflake escapes its fashioning hand.

Today I visited my doctor, the one who months ago spoke to me in a way I was ready to understand about the possibility I might be an alcoholic. The next day I had gone to a recommended place and discovered this was a certainty, for me, personally.

The day I knew I was an alcoholic was one of the best days in my life.

So before I talk more about that, well, today – the doctor’s. We reviewed how I was doing. He asked me how the summer went, with all the barbecues and beer and booze flowing. I told him quite honestly it hadn’t been a problem. I talked to him about a few of my concerns. We straightened all that out then he said he didn’t need to see me for another year.

He shook my hand firmly and told me succinctly, “Good job.” I looked right at him and said simply, “Thank you. You can’t imagine how different my life is now.”

And since then I’ve been reflecting how much it means to me, that he thinks I could handily do a year on the track I’ve been on.

I only sat with him ten minutes today. I’ve had so little time with him over all this – the biggest change in my life, besides the birth of my children – and I suppose he’s just another person of many who has influenced me in such a deep-down amazing way – but I wonder if he realizes the gratitude I feel for his assistance, his intervention in my life (although, truth told, I did go see him for help because I wasn’t getting answers elsewhere… and I have followed suggestions every day since). After we said goodbye I walked out to the reception window, made that seemingly way-off followup appointment, then stepped out to the waiting room where my son waited. Then my boy and I went out to lunch together.

I write this out a bit because I am so incredibly grateful for my life today. I’ve come to know entirely new meanings of “help”, and love and care and wisdom. I’ve come to see the folly and death inherant in the myth of self-sufficiency. I’ve experienced serenity for the first time since I was a young child. I’m slowly growing up my emotions and shedding some of those horrible drives I’ve lived with since long before I took my first drink: shame, blame, guilt, remorse. Terror and anger.

I really didn’t know how much I lived with them until they started to slip away. As they say, this didn’t happen overnight, and I say that because if you’re suffering now I want you to know you won’t always be suffering.

I expect to keep growing.

Today was a good day. I went on a wonderful morning run in the fog, I took my son somewhere wonderful in the morning, I had time with both kids separately, I helped a few people and someone who needed support told me I made her day, I made her smile. I stand to have some hot tea with honey and a good rest.

Who knows what tomorrow will bring?

***

In other news, I CAN’T STOP MAKING BABY MITTENZ

Trivial Coloriffic Mittens

Fly-Dyed Softies

Made With Love

Big cold sunless skies, tumbling down, down

Today I had one of those breakdowns… a good one. Hot tears that just came and flooded, no congestion or anger. Crying and crying but it was okay after the first surrender, I didn’t mind. Crying at first from confusion and despair and then of brokenness and then finally of healing, sitting in a living room and crying with people I knew to trust, who were there for me. Like a home I never had but would have been there for me had I found it earlier.

Yeah, today a few people saved my ass, and in a totally separate incident (or was it?) today I witnessed an act of anonymous generosity that was hard to believe but only to be experienced.

Today I live a different life than I used to. Life before seems a bit alien.

The kids played on a giant wooded hill and ran about with the hose to cool off; later they hit Grandma’s and harvested her carrots (she paid them). I came home late-ish and Ralph made Taiwanese spaghetti – delicious, if you’ve never tried it.

Oh, and as I’m typing and waiting for the kids to be ready for bed? I’m watching a live #twitterbirth. Fuck. Yes.

Life is incredible.

Babies thrive on real meat!

“why is partying and having a good time bad?”

Friday links! Short and sweet.

I set up my next blood donation appointment online (here in Hoquiam/Aberdeen there’s one at Walmart on August 11th). All types are needed. Red Cross has been assclowny in a few ways in the past, but their online setup is pretty good.

“Amy Winehouse: Death and Addiction” by Kendra Sebelius (who is also @VoiceinRecovery on Twitter and writes on eating disorders; she does great work).

“Addiction is a serious issue, one that requires serious discussions. I feel people still have the tone of “well, she had a choice to stop.” Choice is such a hard word to even address in this whole thing. […] Rehab didn’t keep me sober, any more than it does for many people. […] This doesn’t mean a person is bad or a failure or unwilling to get better. It means it is hard to not only get sober, but to stay sober. I had to change my environment, ask for help, and find a new way of doing things. Rehab is just a starting point. You don’t go to rehab and automatically get better.”

Further on Winehouse: apparently a HuffPo article was needed because so many don’t understand alcohol withdrawal. This is kind of rattling to me.

OK, onto lighter matters: Special Report: Star Trek The Next Generation: A XXX Parody; even from giggly curiosity I can’t bring myself to watch something like this. But the review? GOLDEN.

Common rumors about lesbians I would like to dispel

The Just-So Stories complete text poster. Pretty fabulous. I’ve acquired this book and a few other Kipling tomes for my kids; they love them.

From M’s blog: “Mistakes”; a wonderful post about a child’s ever-broadening assessment of the world around him.

Make: Cucumber Lime Mint Agua Fresca at Simply Recipes

And – guess what? Babies thrive on real meat! From vintage-ads on Livejournal:

Babies thrive on real meat!

Babies, on behalf of parents everywhere, I’m really sorry if anyone offered this to you.

 

Did that go the way you thought it was gonna go? Nope.

Short(-ish) linkage for this Friday!

An interview of Willow Smith, from a half year ago. She’s a real treat to watch. The grownups involved in talking with her (more AT her) make me laugh while they flip their shit about how AMAZING she is (I also notice they’re giving her tons of advice – does she look like she needs it? Sheesh). She really is a great kid and I’ll bet we’ll see some wonderful things from her – most likely because her parents are taking good care of her. Incidentally the condescension and hate in the YouTube comments on the source vid reveal a lot about our adultist culture.

Make: thread sketching. I’ve been doing this (as you may or may not know). Not from this tutorial or anything, but I’m passing it along because it’s fun.

Bridesmaids: Death to the Chick Flick at the Stranger (h/t Paige for sending this on). Another good review, making some salient points such as:

“[A]m I really expected to swallow the phrase “These are smart, funny women”? Really? As though that’s a sentence worth writing down, let alone reproducing in poster form. Can you imagine a poster proclaiming “Movies with men in them don’t have to suck!” or a critic writing the phrase “These are smart, funny men!” No. Because that WOULDN’T MAKE ANY SENSE, BECAUSE PEOPLE TAKE MEN SERIOUSLY BY DEFAULT.”

“You Might Be Making a Mistake While Considering Homeschooling If…” at Parent at the Helm. Nice to have a reminder of some of the reflexive stereotypes – and the easy smack-down regarding all of them. I sometimes forget. This was a witty and laid-back piece.

“Parents keep child’s gender secret” at Parent Central. I had many people send or tweet me this. I’m sorry, but the whole thing seems pretty damned simple to me, which is, good for those parents (in all the brouhaha it’s interesting those who cry foul haven’t addressed the fact that many intersex people are born and exist and would report all kinds of damage as a result of others imposing sex and gender upon them). I will address these two sentences of the rather lengthy article, briefly:

“Friends said they were imposing their political and ideological values on a newborn. Most of all, people said they were setting their kids up for a life of bullying in a world that can be cruel to outsiders.”

Right. FIRST, who exactly imposes political and ideological ideals on newborns (and babies, and children) – specifically with regard to gender? Oh, like LOTS OF PEOPLE (and in some rather horrid ways). Second, parents/carers who support their children instead of supporting bully and bully culture, are super rad in my book.

Third, do people really and truly think there is any evidence that random internetty strangers, Faux News fools, and talky-faced “experts” care more about Storm than Storm’s parents and siblings do? Um. LULZ.

And, on the same subject, another excellent piece from a blog I think is rock-solid: Your Baby’s Gender is a Secret Too.

Two places you might consider donating:

Deb and her boy to LiG Conference. Yes, the conference is happening NOW, but you should totes throw her some cash anyway. Trips are expensive, and the cause is lovely.

and:

fund this: matthew shepard was my friend via Angry Asian Man

Quote of the day: Every society honors its live conformists, and its dead troublemakers. ~ Mignon McLaughlin, The Neurotic’s Notebook, 1960

And this – well, you’ve probably seen it, but it’s pretty much a SOLID GOLD BABY: