neither fire, nor wind, birth, nor death

My computer – an expensive piece of equipment, and one I rely on utterly – seems to have died. I try a cold boot, I try a PRAM boot. Nothing. My husband comes home in the evening and although the computer is important I have enough discipline not to worry; I set the problem aside. We also have dinner to make, and a kitchen to clean, a garment to finish sewing, a dog to bathe, teenagers to wrangle, and company this evening.

So at 10:30 Ralph tells me after taking a look at the Mac: “I don’t think your computer has a discrete hard drive I can remove.” I ask him, “Can you boot it as a slave?”

“I might be able to do that,” he says; then, “And I am impressed you’d suggest such a smart idea.”

“I tell you, when it comes to computers I’m like my dad. A savvy caveman.” My father was like that. He’d have a problem and he was calm about it. And when I was available to take a look he’d tell me, “I notice it only ___ when this is blinking,” and he’d point to something onscreen and it was always a relevant clue. And he’d nod like, this thing works on moonspells and snakeblood and I don’t quite understand it but I give it some respect.

Today it would have been my father’s 75th birthday. I know we would have done something special for him. I would have made him a cake. He’s been gone ten years. I don’t believe his presence is here. But his presence isn’t entirely missing, either.

I meditated this morning after reading some of the Dhammapada. It calmed me a great deal. Returning to regular meditation is essential; and more importantly, I am ready to recommit. I am ready to be here again, and more often, and calmer while I am.

41

sitting backstage / someone’s plus one

41
In a few hours I turn 41. Of note: my mother brought me over a large floral arrangement today, along with a deep chocolate cake and three small houseplants each set in a simple copper tureen. Ralph and the children have been out on secret errands, happily procuring gifts. I am grateful to be loved so dearly by my little family.

I’ve spent the last two days practicing yoga, caring for family errands, volunteering, and doing those little business admin bits like invoicing and recording receipts and ordering and collating patterns. It is cold – cold in my studio, cold outside. Emerging from the bedroom this morning I find my husband stepping inside after the dog’s morning walk; Ralph is so cold he looks almost shocked. I pour him hot coffee and convince him to come to bed, where I hold him close. I steel myself as he slides his cold hands up my shirt, against the smooth skin over my ribs. The only one who’s touched me like this for two decades.

I’ve tried to stop judging myself how much it hurts my children are growing, are so independent. Every day they seek me out and hold me, and I am grateful for that. Every day they share with me. They can even be coerced to go on errands and I can always buy them a tea latte or lunch. What may be less obvious to my readers, unless you’ve been with me a long time indeed, is that at one time and for many years their company, their needs and laughter and tears and their words and smells and their hair against my cheek, always the sweetest straw-smelling against my skin, this was my world for fifteen plus years and even though things are as they should be I am bereft. For Ralph life is much as before; he’s had their lifetime away at his job, to come home in the evenings. For the children they have the security of their parents, as they rush off and bury themselves in work and play of their own.

All my life I remember people pityingly speaking of women who were too invested in their children, as if this were some mark of a pathetic, cramped nature, of an unimaginative woman to allow such a thing. One secret I have discovered: you can have a full life, you can have all these interests and a gorgeous career and a wonderful marriage and good friends and a meaningful avocation and a spiritual walk and a self-care regimen: and it can still hurt so damn much when your kids grow up.

 

 

Phee Turns 13

a daughter; a blessing / an ocean; a storm

Phee Turns 13

I am the mother to a teenager as of today. As of today, I only have one child who’s still a child, still a tween. One child who sleeps in the home, who creeps in my bed. Another who has set her foot on the twisted and dark path, through the forest.

As of today, I don’t have two children gamboling under foot. Today I watched a father who did, who had a little one. Those days are gone, they slipped through my fingers. I enjoyed every moment, every bit, but that doesn’t mean I was ready to see them go.

Today, I have a daughter who is a young woman. Never again will her fields contain childhood until the day, perhaps, she stoops to catch up children of her own.

Today is auspicious indeed. It marks that blossoming of hope, that cause for celebration: a child who’s survived childhood. Intact, with a lot of fierce love blooming in her chest, with a lot of laughter.

My daughter is my hope, my strength, my roots but then she is the green shoot out of the wet earth. She is my strength and grows tall like a tree. She is a fierce prickly thorn in a rose and she is the sunset when its impossible beauty takes your breath away. She is stronger, kinder, more intelligent, less spoiled than I and than anyone I know. She is my heart.

She is my heart!

Phee Turns 13

Phee Turns 13

Phee Turns 13

 

Zoo Trip, Phoenix

so it turns out I know how to show 11 – 13 year olds an awesome day adventure

Zoo Trip, Phoenix's 13th Birthday

We took a page out of Phoenix’s 2013 birthday trip, and headed off to Tacoma today. We had a carload of rumpus!

Zoo Trip, Phoenix's 13th Birthday

I seriously cannot with five preteens. As in, cannot believe how wonderful they are! Here I’m just ordering them buckets of chocolate milk because we were on the first leg of the trip and had to get from point A to point B etc.

Zoo Trip, Phoenix's 13th Birthday

They were all grownup and ordered salads with their meal! Instead of applesauce. One child ordered applesauce, then hid it from view when this choice was remarked upon. Can you tell which child?

Birthday singing from staff, other customers, and her friends:
Zoo Trip, Phoenix's 13th Birthday

And then – off to the zoo!

Zoo Trip, Phoenix's 13th Birthday

So like, in no way was our sole male attendee shunned by the girls… but neither was he particularly invited in when they’d cluster up like this. Which gave me no small amount of amusement!

Zoo Trip, Phoenix's 13th Birthday

 Rarely do I regret having just a phone camera (and no training) – but failing to capture the African Red Tip Starfish is one of these times. Gorgeous!

Zoo Trip, Phoenix's 13th Birthday

Zoo Trip, Phoenix's 13th Birthday

Six tigers sighted – including these little tigers. Some feistiness in the tiger enclosure. They are wonderful animals!

Zoo Trip, Phoenix's 13th Birthday

So, this lobster was massive. I found the other zoo attendees comments about eating him quite insensitive. Isn’t it exploitive enough he’s in a cage being bored off his ass – or whatever lobsters have for asses?

Zoo Trip, Phoenix's 13th Birthday

Jaws!

Zoo Trip, Phoenix's 13th Birthday

UM A DADDY SEAHORSE, PREGNANT

Zoo Trip, Phoenix's 13th Birthday

Zoo Trip, Phoenix's 13th Birthday

Her last day of being twelve. Excuse me, I have something in my eye!

And after the zoo – I got us to Krispy Kreme. Because, hello

Zoo Trip, Phoenix's 13th Birthday

Home to yoga, and delivering a meal to a new family with a brand-new baby, and unwinding a bit before crashing into bed.

image

“I’ll give you twenty-four hours, but I AM gonna call in some outside help, because my first responsibility is to save HUMAN lives, not sea-serpents.”

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I am currently soliciting donations so we four can have a modest, 6-day Lake vacation – including a gathering for Ralph’s birthday!

2014 Hogaboom Lake Vacation

As per usual, the support I receive online (through email, this site, Facebook, and Twitter) has been wonderful since the ten-plus years. This last year we’ve had a hard time with a few extra medical expenses, car trouble, and a lot of extra layout re: counseling for family trauma. That said, this is how Life works and I get that! We are hoping we can have our six days at the Lake as a vacation is good for anyone who can have one. If you can help in any way, it is appreciated. May I just offer my sincere gladness to those who read here, and those who comment or email, IM, tweet, or text. You are the reason I keep writing.

Thank you for reading and supporting in the many ways you do!

***

In other news, I launched a new website this month – B-movie BFFs!  (tonight’s fare – 1977’s Crater Lake Monster; if you’d like to watch with us, follow the instructions as per the site). This is the home of my ridiculous “Sea Hunt” project; upcoming you can expect my spoiler-free review of Season 2 of “Hemlock Grove”.

I have been trying to find a B-movie podcast I can promote through the site, so I’ve been listening to those to find a good fit. Most of them are male-dominated and not as tightly-produced as I’d like to recommend. Yesterday I tried, then rejected one that had extremely offensive humor right from the get-go. Currently I’m listening to a couple young(-sounding) British lads who definitely watch the kind of movies I want to be talking about, and have a great sense of humor as well. Let’s hope I’ve found a podcast I can call home!

Ralph is, of course, trying to convince me to put forth my own podcast (hardcore fans of all things Hogaboom will remember my one-off in this regard back in, I think, 2010). It sounds like a lot of work but, as I’ve had so much fun building my site and creating my “Sea Hunt” ringtones (HUGE NERD ALERT), I am nonetheless tempted!

god doesn’t want you to be happy; he wants you to be strong

“Look at me,” my son says. “Look at me with your pretty eyes. My Little Golden Finch.” I put my arm around him and my face into his neck. His skin smells wonderful – dusty-sweet. His arms around me. A little tender cloud, keeping me company.

Tonight I am tired. I’ve had poor sleep the last several nights and it has caught up with me. Far from being the energetic at-home worker today, I rested – a great deal. I rested, then I’d get up and do a little bit of housework, and of prepping for Ralph’s birthday. Then I’d rest more. I watched junky television. I rested. I had an evening commitment; I tried to help others.

We ended the day with a lovely dinner – Greek meatballs, lemon dill roasted potatoes, and tzatziki – then some time in the yard playing badminton. A lot of laughs there. And now: a hot bath and a soft bed. Perhaps I will feel better tomorrow; perhaps not. Tonight I want to wrap my arms around my children, around my husband, and sink into sleep, and I’d really like life to be a little easier, a little bit.

setting the pace

I have like, ten minutes to myself. Ten minutes since Ralph and the kids went off somewhere, before I have to hop in my own car and head to a meeting.

Second day in a row swimming a mile (or near-mile) and the swimming doesn’t make me tired, at least not while I’m doing it, which is kind of thrilling. I just keep going. And going and going. An endurance feat for me – not a sprint. My breathing is now intuitive and I do not gasp for breath. This is fast improvement since about ten days ago when I (re-)started swimming.

Hot shower; body oil, clean clothes. Feeling wonderful.

Back in the car; hot coffee in the thermos. It’s sunny out and I’m cheerful. My son and I head to my volunteer shift, music loud. Coming up on three years of this volunteer work. A good day today, like it usually is. Leaving a week bit early to take the kids to the dentist. Flowers for a very dear friend, today. Home to bake banh mi for dinner, wash dishes, put away laundry. Back in the car. Taking a homemade cake along to a meeting.

I like giving gifts on my birthday.

Body tired, mind at ease. Works well.

But something is on my mind. Some little thing… anxiety. But regarding what? Financial problems? I don’t think so. My children? Possibly. Just: how much work Life is, in general? Yeah, probably.

The anxiety… I wait for it to pass. Sometimes I find the root of these things – often, I don’t. I merely keep breathing, and keep my mind focussed. Today: on the nose of a blue kickboard. This evening: on the next bit of housework, or cooking, or bill-paying, or correspondence.

Whatever is next.

my beacon’s been moved under moon & star

HAPPY THIRTY-SEVENTH BIRTHDAY TO ME

Here is your two-disc set mixtape biatches

Songs from the year I was born (OK. Maybe a few songs even a wee bit earlier) and up until what I’ve been rocking this last year.

Thank you for all your love.

[ zip file, includes CD cases & two CDs ]

smcover1

smcover2

disc 1:
Only The Young; Journey // Ain’t No Sunshine; Bill Withers // Radio; Lana Del Rey // Blinded By The Light; Manfred Mann’s Earth Band // Daddy I’m Fine; Sinead O’Connor // Give A Little Bit; Supertramp // Goodbye Horses; Q Lazzarus // Skateaway; Dire Straits // I’m A Man; Pulp // Ride a White Horse; Goldfrapp // Season Of The Witch; Donovan // Superstition; Stevie Wonder // Baker Street; Gerry Rafferty // We Belong; Pat Benatar

disc 2:
Higher Love; Steve Winwood // Crazy On You; Heart // We Run This; Missy Elliott // Raspberry Beret; Prince & The Revolution // Mr. Blue Sky; Electric Light Orchestra // Southern Cross; Crosby, Stills & Nash // Year Of The Cat; Al Stewart // Kids; MGMT // Creep ; Radiohead // Just What I Needed; The Cars // Go Your Own Way; Fleetwood Mac // Safe and Sound; Capital Cities // Tenth Avenue Freeze Out; Bruce Springsteen // Time Of The Season; The Zombies // Twilight Zone; Golden Earring