sweet little baby on a big white doorstep

I’m dismayed to report that stress has gotten the better of me, just a bit. It’s not that I think I should be stress-free or anything. It’s just: I’m on that roller coaster and while I can practice some self- and other-care to help me out, I can’t just magic-wand the anxiety away.

A few times this last week I’ve been slamming awake at night just minutes after falling asleep, in a panic. This used to happen nightly; but I’d had a reprieve for a few months, thank baby Jeebus. The panic dissipates slowly over a few minutes, and I fall asleep within a half hour. Then, I sleep well (I think), but then in the morning, the last couple weeks or more, every morning, I wake up and:

How will I feed the family today? Tuesday I had put aside my Singer treadle; an acquaintance had asked us to hold it and was adamant they wanted to buy it. Then, about an hour before they were to come over, they cancelled. Now this kind of thing, to them maybe it’s no big deal, but for me: food for us for the next four days, vanished. I am not angry, though – of course not. I know that caring for my family is my responsibility, not someone else’s.

Yesterday I saw my doctor for a few issues, including some “sports” injuries, and an unrelated nerve pain in my arm. He gave me medicine for the latter and said it would help with insomnia. I thought about telling him I was experiencing stress but I kept quiet on that point since we had other things to talk about. I have a follow-up with him in two months and if I’m still having troubles, I can tell him then.

There are times in my life I find it almost impossible not to be intensely preoccupied with the struggles I have. Yes, they are real but, come on – they aren’t that big a deal, when I pull back and look at my life from the perspective of the massive, infinite Universe. I am only on this planet in this body for a minute or so! Why my preoccupation? Selfishness, really.

I do what I can to find some balance. I try to eat right, to drink my five quarts daily of water, to get some exercise, to rest up, to meditate. It is at the point that even if I rest, I don’t feel very rested. I am drained and tired. But I try to rest and eat anyway, as well as I can, and I turn my thoughts to one thing that seems to ease my mind and nurture my spirit: helping others without regard for return.

And on that note, wee kitten No-No, whom we’ve fostered a little over two weeks, is going off to PAWS on Saturday to receive her vaccinations and be made viewable to the public. Surely she will be adopted her first day in public (and if not, we will pick her up and bring her here again, then bring her back on next adoption day) so on Saturday when we drop her off and I CONFESS after we kiss her black kitty lips at eleven A.M., it will likely be the last time I get to hold her.

This is going to sound – well, who gives a shit how it sounds. What I want to say is, I am proud of my family for fostering this little kitten. She is just a little tuft of life but without our care (and the vet’s medical attention) she would have had a feral kittenhood and adult cat life, which is to say a dangerous one. As it is, in our home, she’s been well-fed, de-flea’d, and loved up almost every waking moment.

Maybe it’s precisely because times are tough, doing something I know makes a difference, it feels concrete in some way.

Some people teased me we were just adopting a kitten, not fostering it, but our foster intentions were real and still are. I am glad to let No-No have a forever home although I’m not going to lie, I will MISS HER so much.

No-No, Nighttime

Little scrap!

No-No, Nighttime

Even as I type, she prounces under my desk and swats at my feet. I reach down and she’s already purring, an anticipatory response to pleasure. I curl her up on my chest and smell her honey-fur warmth and it’s off to lie down a bit. Patience, and rest, and taking things slow.

you can count on about two more weeks of this

No-No last night…

Sleepy

No-No this morning:
Knittin Kittin

SERIOUSLY though this kitten-fostering has no downside. She’s so young and mostly she needs so much love, water, food, and cuddling. That’s it.

I should add that if anyone reading here wants to adopt No-No, our family is not responsible to place her. Interested parties can call Inge Johnson at 533-1141 on a Wednesday or Saturday – she works at PAWS of Grays Harbor. I have not yet met Inge; I have been working with Deb from Harbor Rescue (FB link) and very slowly learning the ropes of fostering and responsible rescue.

crine

Today…

sweet Baby Jeebus.

Five pets. Three vet-office visits split between two vet clinics. Medications. A surgical procedure (Bun-Bun’s neutering)! A cone of shame for Hutch. A financial commitment (to us, by another) dropped, quite suddenly. So: bank errands. Hustle.

Exhaustion.

I’m out of gas, so I use my mom’s truck. I take a break and call a mentor; I get a few moments’ relief. Then, right before I’m off to collect the rabbit post-surgery, the front driver’s side tire shreds. I mean just completely flies apart. I got a bunny to pick up, and a little girl to get at a rural bus stop.

I don’t panic. I make some calls. My son is trying to talk to me. I’m so tired. I lean back.

The day got wetter, and colder, and more scowly, and weirder from there.

I’m tired and tonight I feel a little low. It’s easy to beat myself up when things don’t go according to plan. Gotta practice a little of that self-kindness, that love and compassion, so profound a lot of people never get to it for more than a brief moment at a time. Gotta practice it because I need it and because I want it for when times are shite.

All animals medicated, fed, warm, safe, & love. THREE of them on my bed right now, with a little son about to join to boot.

Goodnight, lovelies.

tying cherry knots, smiling, doing party favors

Today at the orthodontist my son got perfect marks for his brushing and flossing. I am definitely in that “sky is falling” headspace because when the staff called me back to talk to me about his braces (they’re being removed here in a couple months) I had all these thoughts of some new horror to face, but instead it was all good news.

So you should know I’m going to straight-up bitch and complain for a few paragraphs. You may not want to watch. I’m serious. Just a lot of complaining. Yarp.

So. Life is feeling cold and inhospitable. I’m tired of having an old, broken, dog hair-infused coat. And either wearing that or being cold. I’m sad AF that I’ve only managed to put $300 aside for Christmas. I had this whole excellent plan about a specific special thing to buy Ralph and instead we had to eat a bunch of the money I put by. I’m tired of not having a car, because the fella I paid a lot to fix my car fucked it up. And I’m tired of riding in my husband’s car that has no heater. My days mostly consist of moving small bits of cash here and there and borrowing different vehicles to do the things I need to do for my family. And some of those things are things that give me a great deal of anxiety.

I spoke to someone close to me recently and requested they not speak to my children a certain way. This person responded by un-friending me online and, now, giving me the silent treatment. I’m not angry, and I don’t regret making the request I did. But I am right on that verge of being angry. So then I’m worried I won’t forgive this person for not being there, while we’re going through the shit. My hurt is reasonable; my anger, is not. Did you know – I am more terrified of forming resentments than almost anything! Luckily I know it is in my power to not stand idly by. I have a choice in how I accept my life’s circumstances.

Some people are giving my family “privacy” while we go through the ish with sexual assault. This is kind of annoying. I wouldn’t write about it publicly if I didn’t want to share it. I am excruciatingly careful what and how much I share, for a variety of reasons. But it’s like – I’m putting myself out there precisely because I’m not going to pretend this shit doesn’t happen.

There are these “little” things that matter to me that I can’t shake. It bothers me my son orders the cheapest hamburger at the fast food place because he knows where we’re at. It hurts that I’ve been too distracted to be a good schooling mum for my daughter. I haven’t been able to pick up my shrine flowers and that is like… something I haven’t skipped since I started. I am willing to have hunger pangs and pick up those flowers. But it’s just: no, because I wouldn’t be the only one having hunger pangs if I picked them up. The fact I skipped the flowers, it weighs on me.

Life is really good and I know it is. I don’t want a rescue, either. I am not asking for someone to make me feel better. I am not longing for anything specific.

I just want that tiny bit of space to say, “Ouch.” I’ll bitch a little more, then I’ll stop.

As I read last night, “[I] no longer live in a completely hostile world.” I really don’t, and I know I don’t. The money stuff is beyond depressing, today anyway – but yet we keep getting fed, and I keep paying the bills. (Most of them.) Other people pay some bills, too. Last night a friend bought the Underbellie domain for the next year so I could keep writing there. Today we received a blog donation of $8 and – I am not kidding, $8 goes a long way so I am grateful! Donations can be hard, because it can fell like I’m supposed to “prove” I deserve it. I have to put that thought aside a time or two a day.

So: I’m struggling. The worst thing of all is, I look at my kids and I don’t feel the joy I used to. What we are going through as a family, it has taken a lot of my joy away – temporarily, yes, I know this. It’s a damn good thing I don’t live just for feeling good. Holy shit.

It’s hard on me to be the joyless Mama. Sometimes I think it’s my duty to be happy and to be loving. This isn’t a smart thought, it’s just something I can’t easily shake. When my joy is just robbed out of me I feel sad, and I think I’m letting people down. What I know is I have to sit down at my computer and admit a few things that don’t make me look all that great, but at least they’re honest. I can’t move through any of this if I don’t acknowledge it’s happening.

I lived many years not being honest, publicly or privately.

I’m not gonna roll that way again.

And, okay. I’m done complaining. Thank you for listening.

small stone #18
wet cat along the side of the highway;
second day we’ve seen her.
Driving past, my son & I both stiffen, the same thought:
we should bring her home.

please leave my pasty white thighs in peace

Yesterday I listened a (sober) drunk talk about his drinking for a bit. At one point he said: “It used to be fun… then it was fun and consequences… then it was just Consequences.” I started laughing in that kind of way I do where there is nothing past the moment of my laughter, a big belly laugh really that feels good. GOOD LORD do I remember the days – brief in my drinking career, as drinking careers go – of “just Consequences”. Those consequences I can enumerate if you like but the main point is they got to a place beyond what I could endure. I am here to tell you there are people who can Endure a great deal and today I have nothing but awe for this. They’re no weaker or stronger, more or less spiritual than I – it’s just a Thing.

Anyway I’m here one hundred percent for someone who wants to get sober. They can text or call day or night and I am one hundred percent. You don’t even need to think you can do it (I sure didn’t think I could!), you just have to want it in this way that is deep in your bowels, even if only a little bit, if that wanting is a little twinge right now while you’re reading. If you’re already thinking about it why not join those of us doing it? It’s like sitting at the top of the biggest awesomest water slide that everyone tells you is SO FUN and you know they’re right but you’re messing about and thinking of just walking down the stairs with sad Charlie Brown music. No! GO for it because you’ll be tortured until you do!

So, enough of that. When I write about alcoholism and addiction it’s generally to crickets, or at least a dearth of comments (don’t think I don’t notice!). Odd since it touches so many lives – it tells me stigma is very real. I still do it though, write about it, because perhaps there are those out there reading who find any kind of strength and hope or even amusement or even, “She’s crazy, how can she stand herself?”

And oh, I was slut-shamed today. I walked into a room and a woman yelled out, “Where’s the rest of your outfit?” I was taken aback and took my seat and thought about it and quietly asked myself why I was disturbed. A crystal-clear moment came to me: there’s no way this woman would have shouted that “joke” without an audience – she never would have confronted me in any way had it been just she and I. Sad thing is she (probably both victim and perpetrator) makes it hard as a woman to love my body and just be in my body and not feel it’s on display or that people have the right to size me up and put me down; she doesn’t know how difficult it is to give myself permission to dress a way where I’m not overheated. She doesn’t know I hardly have anything in my closet and I’d actually thought my on-Sale Target short-sleeved black dress was cute until she Jezebel’d my ass. Her shouting at me is just one bit of that endemic ladyhate out there that we don’t realize we’re breathing until we choke on it. It’s boring yeah but it’s also oppressively sad. I don’t have anything I learned from that except Yes, when people try to humiliate me it can actually work sometimes.

And finally: one of our two missing kitties came home, Harris. He was oddly starved – as in he’d lost a lot of weight, but he was so grateful and tender to be home. He has been like a new cat, all friendly and sweet and not biting us with his huge shark teeth. I do not know what is up but I hope the personality stays even if his weight comes back. Hutch continues to improve, which is wonderful. Hamilton, alas, is still missing.

The kind words, texts, and emails during our recent difficulties – financial, health, and pet troubles – have been so lovely. I can tell you it is never a waste of time to reach out and give some love. That kind of kindness has no endpoint.

Thank you.

an old machine that’s reeling

Shit is BROKEN.

My computer is broken. I can’t see colors on my screen. This has been like – a month now? At first I thought, OK well, at least I can still type. But the lack of colors is more debilitating than I thought. I haven’t been able to blog my (considerable amount of) sewing – and I haven’t been able to update my Etsy listings either.

Shit is BROKEN.

Our cars are broken. Ralph’s has something sort of serious – a loud clunking sound now and then – enough we’ve stuck it in the driveway until we can (afford to) fix it. So Ralph and I have both been biking a lot, yes he’s been biking to the college and all. My car – good Lord! – a broken window, busted all the way out driver’s-side. It’s been broken several days now but we are fortunately in a dry spell. That’s going to end any minute though at which point I will have to go with some plastic.

Shit is BROKEN.

My kidneys are broken. The doctor is probably going to recommend something icky as I have some part of the kidney possibly blocked off. It took about a year for me to begin to accept the pain. Now I’m trying to accept the fatigue and the nausea. The fact I’m trying to accept it means, maybe I will be there soon.

SHIT is broken.

Hutch is ill. We are hoping it is just random awfulness he (somehow!) got to sneak into his gullet. I am trying not to obsess it is something worse. He is weak and trembly and not eating food and if you know Hutch, that is weird AF.

SHIT IS BROKEN —

Most disastrous of all, our cat Hamilton is missing. Today has been one week since we saw her. Today is one week. I am sick over this. Just sick. We miss her so much.

Today despite all this I did my best to be kind, to treat my family and friends with consideration, and to attend my volunteer work.

What else can I do?

“Look what I can do!”

A little photo-blogginz:

The dog, who is rolling around in ecstacy as I furminate his fluffy ass. Pictured: approximately the same amount of hair as is in my backseat after one car ride. I jest, or do I??!?!

The De-Furring Process

The De-Furring Process

The De-Furring Process

The De-Furring Process

The De-Furring Process

Mable, being awesome & chillaxin’ in her favorite chair. She likes it best when I clean the chair, so she can immediately furball it up. If you’re sensing a pet-hair theme now that the warmer weather has hit, BINGO.
Shaking Head LIKE A BOSS

Party time! A gift (hours of sewing but I didn’t take a photo, oh well!), & a three-layer chocolate cake with cheesecake filling and cream cheese frosting:
Gift, Cake

Cake With Fresh Flowers

& the pièce de résistance, our uteriñata! The first-ever piñata I’ve made, as far as I know… it might have been Ralph’s first too. Ribbon-pull method, as nope, there won’t be any beating of a uterus up in this household.
Uteriñata

Uteriñata

At the party, our children – being beautiful, being themselves.
Our Son

Phee

“does your thumb get sore?” – asked me, today, by a friend

Answer: No. I have strong hands from the time I’ve put in.

"Patience & Care"

Keeping it real, a bitch has been working hard to get her craft recognized in a world of Walmart and Target and buy-it-from-Martha-for-the-homemade-look-but-guess-what-it’s-made-in-China. And probably just the most insidious bit, the materialistic pursuit to own a bunch of stuff, willing to sell out others to get comforts, buying into that aspirational lifestyle.

This all used to bug me. And probably a half dozen other complaints. I can tell you I am no longer bitter about these forces, because I have accepted I can’t change any of it. But *I* changed. A while back now I stopped competing in this worldview. It’s just too damn depressing. And frankly, I could stop messing about – because Ralph’s salary pays rent and food [she said, flatly]. I stopped sewing things I didn’t want to sew. I stopped saying Yes to things I didn’t want to do, and I stopped listening to advice from people who didn’t understand artisan craft. The many Makers I’m blessed to know have given me the gift of valuing my work.

So yeah, I finished this wonderful quilt today. I already know my next item for Homesewn. In fact I can design and create stuff a little too fast, but I want to give people time to get some scratch together if they want to buy something. I know the pangs of waiting for a payday.

This & that:

A manatee baby bunting made for a family expecting a child in a bit:

Oh The Hu-Manatee!

I designed the manatee (or dugog, if you will) in all cotton and fully fleece-lined with an asymmetrical closure, carseat buckle window, and little foot windows because having babies in bags always seemed a little off to me, although it probably bothers no one else. Besides babies’ socks are always slipping and this way you can reach and snug them up. I’m most happy with the eyes and hand-embroidered eyelashes but I didn’t get good pictures due to poor lighting and all the hundred other things I had going on this morning.

A thread-drawn patch on a baby wrap. Designed the patch, overdyed the chambray, and sewed the wrap.

Thread-Drawn Patch:

& while I work – Harris, sleeping off a nap.

Harris After A Hard Day Eating A Lot Of Food, And Sleeping

Just before I finished the quilt – I picked up some lovely Dylon at Gray’s General Store for a not-so-distant future project.

"Patience & Care"

I’m truly grateful to get to practice my craft and it gets more satisfying all the time. I am aware at some point, my abilities may fall away. Old age, illness, calamity. Whatever. I meditate on my bodywork and enjoy the experience while I can. Funny, for many years I was declared the math & science type and some influential people in my life hinted like that was all I was good for. Now I’m like this crunchy-as-fuck unschooling mama stitching and spouting feminazgul manifesto.

That’ll work.