root-toot peeping my own horn

Hi peeps. Just a reminder, if you’re enjoying my blog, I do accept donations as they make a large difference to our family’s living experience. I am happy to accept Paypal, check, or hidden cash in a large box of tasteful and seasonal fruit mailed to my residence.* Every little bit goes a long way. Several $25-and-under donations this last week have kept us fed and in wonderful spirits.


Feeding and caring for our family is an adventure! As of this week, I have leads on two good jobs. But, I live in a county with the highest unemployment rate of the state – almost twice the state average. A job may be on the horizon but who knows how long ’til I get there!

And now, back to our regular scheduled programming. Thank you for your patience with this post, and thank you also for your many, many kinds of support! As I’ve said before, in ten years’ blogging I’ve received and appreciated comments, calls, texts, emails, tweets, snail mail, and even anonymous mailbox-stuffing (which I am bound to report now, is a Federal Crime). All of these are firmly in the “support” category – usually – and they keep me inspired to keep writing.

Have a wonderful February.

*I was going to post a picture of a vintage seasonal fruit label but a bunch of them were horrifically racist so I got discouraged and left off.

big sacks of flour

Dinner Awaits

As some of you may or may not know, our primary source of income has not been receiving pay raises as per “normal” for a couple years; & in fact has been receiving cuts, as the result of state-wide budget changes.

As of this morning I have a debit card hooked up to my Paypal. Any donations sent here – and I do appreciate them – are used for groceries, pretty much immediately. Sorry I’m not too glamorous about blog donations, but, there it is. Probably pinto beans, coffee, flour, milk, bananas, peanut butter, &/or Nutella will be involved. Unless you want to specify I use the funds for something specific. By all means.

I appreciate all forms of support. Thank you, my lovely readers.

when you starve with a tiger, the tiger starves last

Ed. – comments are turned off for this post. I indicate this here since I rec’d an email from someone who thought maybe they weren’t smart enough to figure out how to comment, or maybe I didn’t want to receive ANY communication on the subject (untrue). So I’m clearing that up with this prologue. As per usual calls, emails, DMs, IMs, in-person, snail-mail – all is appreciated and welcome, as always. Thanks for your readership and support!

***

Hi, my name is Kelly and I am a recovering alcoholic. In my case one thing this means is I do not drink alcohol anymore. At all. But of course that’s only the very beginning of a life in sobriety – as anyone who’s had a lasting and positive sobriety will know.

It’s been too hard to write on the blog here and omit this massive part of my life, from one to three hours of peer-support a day, so many phone conversations and book-studies and readings, so I’m giving that up. That doesn’t mean I’ll write much here. I won’t. Anything specific – or rather too specific, or risking disclosing anything about another alcholic – I’m password-protecting to share with one other person (so far anyway, and it’s none of your business who).

That’s about it.

It disturbed me a bit that when I started feeling compelled to keep Recovery entries on my journal online – but wouldn’t/couldn’t write publicly – a few people complained about password-protected entries. I mean it was almost funny considering this is a life-or-death issue for me (and the others I’m responsible to!), and I owe no one any particular thing when I write here – but fine, that’s their baggage.

On the other hand it touched me, those who took the time to ask, “Hey, are you okay?” (thank you). One friend worried aloud if I had a stalker – which is one reason I’m making public my experience. And on that note, most my stalkers have been rather benign as far as I know. But, yeah, I keep Recovery entries private and if people don’t understand why, they’re free to ask me, in person would be best, any time. I’m not going to go into it here and now.

I used to hold a lot of cynicism about those in Recovery culture. Of course, I was almost entirely ignorant too. I’ll spare you my specific prejudices as they’re boring and anyone could think of what they might be. I’m reporting today I was wrong regarding every bias I’ve had. Recovery has saved my life in the deepest sense of the word; not just kept the physical destruction of my body at bay or at least not in an accelerated capacity but in the way LIFE means an every day experience, the moment, every relationship, even now typing.

After a long talk today a friend said to me, “I had no idea you were suffering.”

And I said, “Yeah. I held my shit together pretty well.” A while back I found this incredibly sad about myself but today I can laugh. It’s pretty funny really.

My life is utterly different than it was, and I am glad.

***

A rather famous person outed himself as a member of AA after long years in sobriety. He wrote something pretty damn good. I’ll let you read it, since I’m not going to write more.

short & sweet: friday links

Quick rant: Stop saying “X is the last acceptable form of bigotry” by Tami Harris. Ye god – Yes. Please. Stop.

Barn tableau at IBTP. Short and to the point.

Class rage in miniature: why I can’t read many food blogs anymore at Class Rage Speaks

On Blogging, Popularity Contests, & Why I QUIT at Postpartum Progress:

“I love blogging. I love bloggers. I love social media people. I love the internet. I love what we are able to do, that our words can stretch across thousands of miles to make someone else feel understood and supported. I love that we are able to use our voices, and that no one can take that away from us. That’s amazing. […] You will no longer see me asking for votes for these various contests. I can’t do it anymore. It tires me. It’s soul sucking. I’m not going to do it. If someone recognizes what we do here for the impact it has on mothers and families, or for innovative ideas, or for the writing, or for positively affecting mental health or reducing stigma, I will share it with you FOR SURE, but as for the rest of it … I quit.”

I believe everyone should have the right to blog differently (*ahem*… those bitching about password-protected posts, and no asking about it, or asking for a password, is not bitching about it), including using ads, contests, giveaways, tweeting all day long, whatever people do. I guess I just liked what this lady had to say.

How To Deal With Parental Mistakes by Laura:

“Making mistakes as a parent is he hardest thing, because it involves this tiny influential human being and you can’t have a do-over. It can be easy to fall into a guilt trip. That’s not a very healthy road to travel. Guilt is one of the most erosive, numbing emotions, and it’s certainly not beneficial to parenting.”

I’m feeling this, big time. Thank you, Laura.

& on that note:

Let’s try that again! Send me your stories on parenting with disability or chronic illness at Raising my Boychick. If you’ve got something? Do it!

Homeschoolers Who Run Businesses: The EpiCoutures Family Store. Both Laurie and Brycen are passionate about their work. Maybe someone reading here can spread word or support it!

Make: custom chenille for a blanket. Lovely!

Also: a cold summer soup collection from Mint Design Blog. Now I’m not much for cold summer soups, although my friend S. once made us a watermelon gazpacho that was truly amazing. So, I try not to be too close-minded!

Quote of the week:
Resentment is like taking poison and waiting for the other person to die. ~ Malachy McCour

I’m late watching this of course, but I had to share it because I find it COMPLETE & UTTER BULLSHYT and I want to know if anyone else is scoffing as hard as I am?!

(I do like the second top comment though)

correspondance, commerce, & creeps

This morning after meeting a friend at Pure Clothing here in HQX (I love the owner J. and think we are so lucky to have such a great shop; today I found a pair of hot-ass Silver jeans in my size as well as a pair of my tried-and-true Levi 501s – have I mentioned how much I love jeans yet hate stretch jeans, which are almost all you find if you’re over about a US size 10, and remind me sometime to tell you my friend Jasmine’s dire and graphic warnings on such stretchy-fare) I stopped at Jackson Street Books and chatted with the owner Tammy (who really. REALLY. knows her books). While talking my eye fell on about ten books I wanted for myself or as gifts. I finally settled on two for Phoenix: Bunnicula by James Howe and The Sea of Monsters by Rick Riordan (the second book in the very popular Percy Jackson and the Olympians series; she simply devoured the first one about half a year ago). I thought both were excellent Halloween choices. When I got home I surprised Phoenix with the books and she smiled bigger than you can imagine and put aside the “younger” (and shorter) Bunnicula to dive into the YA/General fare of Percy. I felt a bit sad as it seems her babyhood vanished far before I could treasure it; however I know she will pick up the story of the vampiric lupine (a favorite of mine as a kid) – at some point.

So I spent my grocery money on jeans and books but we made due with pantry provisions for dinner and I really think the purchases, especially the books for my girl, entirely worth it.

Today a friend asked me if I’d sew her up a dress (based on the striped hooded version recently modeled by Phoenix) to which I said Yes. I am ready and willing to take on full-grown ladies (and gentlemen), especially plus-size women as they are so underserved in the fashion industry. All of this has to be done within my own work schedule of course (I am currently two pair of monster booties behind) – which I’m trying desperately not to get backed up on as:

the gag order has been lifted and I am now able to publicly blog I am testing for an upcoming book project of Karen and Shelly’s (of Patterns by Figgys) as published by Wiley. While I’m not able to post pictures of the garments I’m testing (yet), I can say they are all fabulous and fun to sew and scratch my technical-writing nrrd-skills.  I’m saving up pictures in Flickr (as private) and hoping to make them public some day. There are a lot of things I really love about these two ladies, their designs, and their ethos (including generous voluntary copyright clauses for cottage-industry or home sewists). It is pure joy to be able to help such an enterprise.

And:

I recently received a Thank You email (very specific and edifying and including details of my reader’s life – which I love!) and a Paypal donation by reader E.; the day after a handwritten letter arrived, penned from New Zealand blogger Elly – and full of NZ and AU currency and some history/geography to boot! As far as feedback and commentary from readers it’s been a great week. Well actually it seems to get better all the time, although to be clear IMs and DMs and tweets and email and snailmail has never been much more than a steady trickle (I am no Celebrity). For this I am grateful as I sometimes fear I let correspondance slip through the cracks. Frowny-face.

In other news, sketchy Flickrite Alejandro seems to like the ladies. And the little girls. Like my 8 year old daughter. (Just not anyone over 22 or so, or fat or “ugly” – ew!) But don’t worry, I’m sure the fellow’s legit. See how he has no profile information and has posted no photo except one of a Siamese cat.

Cute cat.

linky mcfuskerson

In a few hours I’m off to the City (not really: Olympia) to watch Ralph and Liights play sweet, sweet music (I will also be giving Flo a squeeze as I haven’t seen her in a while!). I’m also hoping to eat some spicy Thai or Vietnamese cuisine until my mouth explodes in a hedonistic flavor party. While I’m rocking I’ve got some links for you all to bask in the radness therein:

Local:
Mamma Mia! is playing at the 7th Street Theatre tonight and tomorrow. I might go tomorrow. Anyone want to come with me?

Social:
Tami Harris hits it out of the park at psychologytoday: “What’s so wrong with ‘sounding black?'”

Proof that a man can do Feminism right: “Silence, Ines Sainz and Offensive Lines” at postbourgie

Idzie published “Misconceptions About Unschooling” at her blog I’m Unschooled. Yes, I Can Write. It’s a great piece (of course). I get a huge, huge laugh of the people who occasionally come to this 19 year old’s (incredibly well-written) blog and tell her how if you unschool your child he/she won’t learn how to write! NO SERIOUSLY! This happens!

“On Birth Rape, Definitions, and Language Policing” by Cara at thecurvature; some day, I truly hope, we can begin supporting victims instead of re-victimizing them by denying them their lived experience.

Practical:
“Cloth diapers for apartment dwellers” at hobomama. Where there’s a will, there’s a way. You know, I no longer use diapers but I seriously, seriously love how supportive, helpful, and awesome the parents/carers are who write these types of DIY primers!

Krafty:
“Kids Clothes Week Challenge (Fall 2010)” at elsiemarley. What do you think? Should I do it? What should I make?

Humor:
This made me laugh until I had tears in my eyes: “The Inconsiderate Breastfeeding Woman” at citizenofthemonth.

I’m not exactly sure what category this post is in, because it’s funny but apt and brilliant and my favorite of all posted here today: “Kids and wheelchair manners” at badgermama.

***

In other news, last night I received an email that included this passage:

Some days I feel as if I am standing inside a thick, heavy, almost greasy-feeling cloud of frustration, guilt, hopelessness and torment. It actually presses down on my shoulders physically (at least it feels like it). The moments that you share are like one of those industrial strength hurricane fans that they use in the movies. Once I begin reading, the fan begins to blow that cloud away. I can breathe again. I can be happy about something again. By the time I’m finished reading, I’m ready to take on the next challenge.

So… that was pretty wonderful to hear.

writings (rantings?)

I recently read another whimsical account of the (theoretical) housewife who has no life of her own and who’s all sad and despondent and a hollow shell of a person once her kids move out. Today a Yahoo group conversation touches on the same topic. Have I mentioned how much I am sooooooo sick of hearing this trotted out over and over?

Would you like to read about four-hundred-thousand words of mine on the subject?

h/t to Arwyn for assistance. It’s not easy to write an “in defense of anything I’m doing while a laydee and parent” post these days when so very, very many women are still being constantly pressured to A. breed, and B. do everything right with said breedlets no matter what! and C. there’s actually a guaranteed mathmatical formula where you CAN’T do everything right!

from NZ

Enc: handwritten letter with currency:

Hey Kelly,

I feel a bit weird writing this, I am after all, a stranger from the internet. I read your blog occasionally, and a while ago you asked for donations for your kids, so you could get them laptops. And oh! I wanted to help, so I wrote down your address with the intention of sending a small something, anything, that might help.

Well, hearts with better resources than I beat me to it, and I see your gorgeous kids have laptops now. 🙂

But I thought I’d write anyway, and include some interesting (I hope!) coinage from New Zealand and Australia. It wouldn’t be helpful in any monetary sense, but it might amuse your children, and spark an interest in said countries out here in the South Pacific. 🙂

[The following coins described were drawn, then taped, to the letter.]

Okay, so I’m not an artist, but these three are from NZ, and are in use. They changed up our currency, and made all the coins smaller, which was good to fit more in your purse, but bad for losing down the back of the couch.

The boat on the 50 cent piece is called the Bark “Endeavor”, which was commanded by Captain Cook, who is the person who “discovered” New Zealand. He’s the first recorded person to circumnavigate NZ’s coast, and to make contact with the Maori people.

The Maori figure on the 10 cent coin is called a Koruru, which generally is a carved wooded head put at the top of a wharenui, which is a Maori meeting house.

The 20 cent coin has a picture of a warrior leader called Pukaki, who was a Maori chief from a place called Rotorua. It’s quite a tourist town now, because it has a lot of geothermal activity. Mostly it smells like bad eggs.

These two coins are old coins, they aren’t in circulation anymore, which is a shame because I have so many 5 cent coins. I quite like the 5 cent coin too, that’s a tuatara, which is only found in New Zealand*. Tuataras are nocturnal, and like to bask in the sun when they sleep. I don’t think they have many natural predators (they have quite sharp spices on their back, & a really viscious bite, I hear). Their main problem is breeding, it takes ages for tuataras to have little tuataras (one litter every 2 to 5 years!), and what’s more, if rats are around, the babies are less likely to hatch! Mostly now-days tuataras are found on rat-free islands that double as animal reserves for other NZ wildlife too.

The other c oins are from Australia. I can’t tell you much, other than those are kangaroos on the $1 coin, and a platypus on the 20 cent coin. [The third coin, a 10 cent coin, shows the image of a Lyrebird.]
Australia’s not far from NZ, about a 3 hour plane ride. I’ve been there a few times, mostly to Melbourne, where my best friend lived for a while, and the Gold Coast, which is a tourist destination with theme parks and nice beaches with white sand. It’s quite a fun place, actually.

Anyway, I hope this was somewhat interesting for you guys. If not, at least the coins are pretty. 🙂

Hope you are all well!

Cheers,

Elly

P.S. I should say that iblog too. You can find me at www.rarg.co.nez. I’m also in the midst of a project to write 100 handwritten letters. This is number four! 🙂

* Upon this reading my daughter became VERY excited, as she new lots of facts about tuataras.

there are no apt words. yet i must write some. so:

My niggling Achilles heel in our whole lifestyle, this stay-at-home-bit that turned into homeschooling and life with kids – for years now, has been comparing our life to other people’s lives. Specifically, the two-income earning nuclear families, surrounding us (literally) on all sides – when children get school-age, most everyone in my peer group follows this path. Non-junker cars and home ownership and shoes bought new (not from Thrift City and sorry about the athletes’ foot Ralph – that is not a joke by the way) and sometimes big screen televisions and smart phones and camp and karate lessons and soccer camps and vacations.

Don’t get me wrong. My kids are incredibly fortunate and my family operates from a privileged place in many ways. My children have the things they need: love, shelter, clothes, food, companionship, support, friends, family, and medical care. Our decision to prioritize time with them over additional work-for-pay has been, although against the herd and therefore occasionally very difficult for me, reified with clarity and a lot of unity between Ralph and I (this is a wonderful thing about our partnership).  We struggle like most people do, sometimes questioning ourselves or second-guessing our strategies, often laughing at the ridiculousness of our self-imposed scenarios and taking much joy in the sublime things that have come our way whether we tried to plan for them or not. Our choices have been made with our heart, mind, gut – all of our integrity, as best we can.

It still stings though, just the idea of school supplies, and please hear me out before you roll your eyes. I know having the kids out of school is the right thing for us. I still feel that twinge though, the smell of erasers and notebooks and stacks of construction paper and the field trips and – basically – the state subsidization of kid-care when I often, like most parents, worry I’m not supporting my kids enough. Yes, my children have access to books and art supplies (library and grift, resp.) and they have the ultimate freedom and I am always ready to pick up and take them where they need to go to do what they want to do within my abilities (today, a bike ride to the pet store with $20 in our pocket; we did not come home with a pet but my daughter got to do some math on the subject and I’m sure she’ll get back to me with a Plan).  They have things very good but I have, when glancing about at others’ seemingly more vast opportunities (one shouldn’t do this, by the way), felt a sting that I am not a Provider (like I felt back when I had my Big Important Engineering Job) – merely and primarily a Nurturer. It hasn’t always felt like enough – even when I’m assured and reassured it is (or should be).

So in our time together as a family I’ve accepted our choices and focused on the good things in life and it’s gone pretty well – and if you’ve read here long you know I can laugh through the drama, too. I’ve tried to scale my ideas of our “wants” and “needs” according to what is reasonable for our family – the latter often being primarily a question of fiscal concerns (like in many, many families).

So, in that vein:

Three days ago the idea of getting my kids their own laptops was a far-off thing, something that might happen some day. But the exact thing I’d do next for them if I could find a way.

Two days ago I realized I could do this myself. I didn’t know how exactly, and I knew it would take a while, but I knew it would happen. I was quite motivated because I could envision just what I wanted.

When I decided to share this goal I knew some wonderful people would step in and assist me. I expected and felt comfortable with the prospect of a little support-stream; I began to hope for a sewing gig or two so I could “earn” my goal. I knew given time I could make this happen.

Still, there are many things I’ve discovered I did not know.

I did not realize how quickly things would come to frution. I did not realize how much it would agitate and overwhelm me to have assistance above and beyond what I could have Wildest-Dreams guessed.

I was unprepared for the stunning display of generosity and how quickly the “goal”, which I thought I would have to work and scrape for a bit, was met. Totally, completely, with one fell brush-stroke by a reader named T. who not only air mailed the Netbooks and accoutrement but donated to Paypal as well – after five other readers had contributed monies and three more winged supportive, lovely emails / comments my way.

I am right now overwhelmed, grateful, and extremely – have I mentioned overwhelmed?

I am closing my “pledge drive” tout de suite and I’ve removed my Paypal donation button. Thanks to T. and the other very generous gifts from readers my children not only have their computers as I type this, but I have a tidy sum sitting in my Paypal account. I’m not sure yet what I will be doing with it (because I didn’t anticipate these events) but I’m sure to write about it here when I figure it out.

I have thanked individuals who’ve supported in a variety of ways the last few days and I thank my readers now again – obviously. I knew I wanted this thing but I didn’t realize what it would mean to me. The range of emotions I’ve gone through in the past 48 hours informs me I have to think more on my apparently deeply-held beliefs on supposed scarcity, my personal fear of retribution if I ask for too much. I did not know how deeply these fears and anxieties twisted me up inside until I took a chance to make myself vulnerable to them. Besides blinding, stunned gratitude – these feelings are ones I grapple with now.

And the gratitude. There really are no words large enough, words that express my awe in other human beings’ kindnesses. The provision of these computers for my kiddos means more to me than I can convey accurately. Fortunately, I’m not the only one who has an opinion. I’ve talked too long; I’ll let other family members speak for themselves.

P.S. When you see Phoenix smile at 4:07? She’s reading an email I sent her that says:
Jamie from “Mythbusters”:        /:€

Incidentally that emoticon vies to replace my years-held favorite: “Beaver wearing a hardhat and sunglasses”:         dB=

P.P.S. Is that piano music Ralph selected over the top and cornball-inspirational? Well FARK YOU. I am seriously not going to try to hide the fact I’ve been crying off and on today. Thought I was tough? Guess you were WRONG.