bella ragazza

For her next expression of personal style, at first Phoenix wanted to do some purple. Then while we were saving up for that, she decided she didn’t enjoy the dyeing process much (I don’t blame her!). We mustered our hair-stylist friend and Ralph’s partner musician H. who came over and cut the girl’s hair (Ralph’s too, which is looking sharp by the way). Sorry for the extra-dark pictures. Mobile phone at night, because late late night is the best time for haircuts!

We asked my daughter if we could take a picture part-way through, since we loved the little fringe in front and a long braid in the back:

Before...

Phoenix let us, and agreed it was a “cute” look, but wasn’t swayed from her original vision: all of her hair at 3/8″.

& After!

I told Phoenix the neighbor boys might give her shit, and taunt her that she looks like a boy. She said, “I know, I planned it that way. I get to look like a boy and be a girl.”

So, seriously, I have the best little roomates ever. Oh and P.S., as for our living-room stylist, I love supporting the under-employed right now, because it sure is happening around us a lot.

just to peel the potatoes

Bob is standing behind me, he sits and stands during the fireworks display here along the river, long hair and beard and biker leather jacket and riding chaps. Behind him Dana and Steve and then next to me Robin like a flower, a large blooming iris, sedate but wry good humor, here on my blanket. She’s beautiful, but shy about me taking a picture. What’s funny is our little group has accidentally situated ourselves under a speaker playing music – loudly – and there is such a crush of people in attendance there’s no point much in moving ourselves. This speaker plays a relentless series of increasingly patriotic tripe, including a country song about a three-day beard and cooking rice in the microwave and how awesome that is (what?), and then I think it’s Beyonce showboating “God Bless the USA”. Chris joins us on the blankets a bit later and hums or sings along the music, to much consternation from some members of the group, but upon the Armed Services Medley I know all the words to “Wild Blue Yonder” and “Anchors Aweigh” and such back from Veterens’ Day performances in choir. Then there’s Neil Diamond belting out “Coming to America” which inspires a vague wave of simultaneous nostalgia and nausea. “Jesus CHRIST,” groans Robin under her breath. And I laugh each comment she makes.

When the fireworks slam up ahead I feel increasingly astounded and it has nothing to do with the crowds or pyrotechnics or the friends or the hot coffee in my hand or the cold grass beneath my seat. I feel the presence of God, or Divine Chance, or whatever or whomever you might name unless you’d maintain none of that is real, but for me God is pressing down on me like squashing an ant, for the first time ever, in a way that surpasses experiences of pleasure or pain and carries not even a strong emotional response. How is it I am alive? is all that occurs to me. BOOM BOOM BOOM thunders in the sky and in my body. How is it I’m here to be this way, sober now some time and of a clean (enough) mind and on a blanket with friends and I’m given breath to draw. Normally I’d be heckling and hassling or running up to be with Ralph and the kids (who are scattered off at the playground with other kids and teens) but instead I stay on the blanket like I was assigned there and this particular duty was of utmost importance.

The fireworks finale is even more beautiful than the year before, or perhaps it’s just my state of mind and body and spirit, then people clap and I fold blankets and I hug my friends and wait for my family to join me. “Blood Moon,” the kids tell me when they arrive and I look and perceive the deep-red sliver they’re pointing to. Walking to the car and the air is cold but ripe with possibility and promise, and people run off to fight or drink or fuck (or all three) or maybe just slip into a hot bath and then to bed (as I long to do).

It was a good day.

unattended children deserve to be cast into a pit of fire motherfucker, but in the meantime:

Today I had access to my mom’s van (while Ralph braved our local transit to get to work) and I made sure to get us out on another beach roadtrip. This time: Westport and Grayland. Only a few minutes post-breakfast (dining in the car) we first stopped at a taffy shop (with no less than three variations of those douchey “unnattended children will be placed on hooks and tortured” signs, and not that there’s any excuse for that crap, but I want to note we’re talking a candy shop in a tourist town, SMH). That, plus a few patriotic clownhorn bumper stickers, put me off any confectionary I was eyeing, but my kids didn’t seem to mind the sign asshattery; the very kind lady behind the counter made a half-apologetic reference, and anyway it’s the kiddos’ dime and I decided not to give into despair.

Fortunately the rest of Westport, which has a working class/touristy/carny/beachy/tumbleweed-&-shuttered-winders thing going, was quite hospitable. Particularly the outdoors, which the kids evidence an unabashed joy for no matter where we find ourselves. Today we ran around the floats (boat workers and fishermen in general welcome kid presence, probably because they have their own who are highly participatory in their family tradition), bought some smoked tuna for my mother off Float 8, climbed rocks and beachcombed and explored, then eventually the children chose their restaurant of choice, and raved about the food.

Gangplank

Horizons

Wet Sea Grass...

& Dry Creepy Sea Grass Muppet Monster

Contemplation

Hop!

I <3 My Dad

Snap, Step, Bump!

Alien Invasion!

Phoenix provided me with a small heartache, reminding me of my late maternal grandmother today, mostly in physical appearance. Her long, increasingly blonding hair (a yearly event with the advent of seasonal sunshine), the masculine-styling wool car coat, a simple pair of good corduroys. And she’s about as tall as my grandma was too, and I have many beach memories of that woman.

But today we built more memories of our own. Nothing fancy, just a lovely trip, and some sunshine, and the sea crashing in my ears. I wonder if I’ll ever be brave enough to live away from it?

 

≈

wild world

Yesterday’s run was incredible. I’d meant to post pictures but I’ve been a bit disorganized of late.

Phoenix came along with me and read in the car while I ran.

Company

Daughter

Afterwards she asked if I wanted to see her and her friend Sasha’s favorite place to go – “the Bay”. These girls and a handful of other kids regularly come out to play, sometimes coming back more sand-encrusted and wet than you can imagine! (Whereupon we put them in a hot bath and make them a lunch and wash their clothes and find them dry ones.)

First she showed me the fort that someone else built; later she showed me a space about twenty feet away they used for their “bathroom”.

Roof, Fort
Roof, Fort

Then she led me out to the sandbar area.

Sojourn

The World of Phoenix

She asked me if I liked it there and I said Yes. “I’m impressed, Phoenix. I didn’t even know about this place and I grew up right around the corner.”

The World of Phoenix

My daughter showed me the “reeds” they’d harvested to begin making beds. Phoenix has such grativas and an incredible gift of expression and vocabulary: I forget sometimes she’s still a very little girl.

Then, Toilet!

Toilet

Crab claw!

Crab Claw, Bleached

Driftwood:
Driftwood

I don’t know what this is but I’ve seen many of these markings on many logs. My guess is this log was used as a staging area to cut other pieces of wood. I was not aware driftwood made much sense to use as firewood. In fact I don’t think about driftwood much at all and I’m not even sure if it’s legal to remove. I’ve been surrounded by driftwood my whole life and accept it as a natural wild beauty but a given. It isn’t until people visit me (or see pictures while reading my journal) that I realize it isn’t something everyone sees every day.

The run felt wonderful; I was honored, too, to get a glimpse of my girl’s private world.