everybody’s working for the weekend

OK seriously, it’s 2 PM here PST and if you’re at a desk, it’s time to glaze your eyes surfing around at my assembled Friday links! The serious, introspective, serio-comic, and frivolous are all provided:

1. “Come On. Admit It!” Dial-a-Llama, or as one comment identifies: llamar una llama.

2. I’d previously seen images circulating of “The Perfect Body, As Illustrated By Olympic Athletes”; what an inspirational and informative photo-essay!

3. As a bisexual lady, I rather enjoyed this video primer: “The Bizarre World of the Bisexual” from MisterSharp.

4. Professor Kate Clancy pokes holes in evo psyche myopia in “Mate magnet madness: When the range of possible explanations exceeds your own hypothesis”; that last sentence in particular is a tangy zing! afterflavor following stellar sciencey radness.

5. This rant regarding Paper, Rock, Scissors reminds me of my brother, who I’ll bet has already thought about the logic (or lack therein) of the game.

6. Speaking of my brother, he sent me this “adorable cat image” (THE EYES).

7. For Cynthia and other fans: the Red Velvet Roundup via CRAFT. I currently have a triple-decker red velvet cooling on my counter. I’m told it’s not real Red Velvet Cake without the milk roux frosting. I’m just putting together cream cheese, butter, confectioner’s sugar, and vanilla though, and I’ll bet any purists wouldn’t mind.

8. I quite enjoyed these: “Surreal Photos of Subway Cars Being Thrown Into the Ocean [Slideshow]”.

9. If you already know what’s fun and exciting about the phrase Orange Mocha Frappucino! – well now you can make them up at home!

10. Ani DiFranco’s homebirth, in her own words. FUCKING CHILLS, because of teh awesomez.

11. “Equals” – making the rounds a lot this week, the IWD PSA featuring Daniel Craig & Dame Judi Dench.

12. The New York Times reports on an alleged gang-rape and rightfully gets taken to task for the horrific way it does so: here is commentary by The Stranger in Seattle; here from PostBourgie. I’m glad people are working and speaking out about this form of reporting; I feel sad and cynical and rather pessimistic that men and women will reframe our victim-blaming societal discourse. I’m also hoping this girl and her family have strong support.

13. Ouyang Dan provides some resources regarding the Japan quake and tsunami.

14. Face/Off in Hecklevision” priemered earlier in the week. Oh dear Lord how I would have loved to go. In a similar vein, Rifftrax is releasing Highlander any minute. w00t!

15. National Geographic created a real-life version of the Up house. Adorable!

16. The Secular Homeschooler is shutting itself down. I s’pose that means I didn’t get my subscription’s worth, but I don’t much mind – except I will miss the awesomeness of the magazine. Deborah did a wonderful job in this publication; she and it will be missed.

But my all-time favorite video, link, etc. this week comes from “That Mitchell and Webb Look” through friend and reader Paige:

Herpetology

It’s finally Friday, I’m free again

The More You Know
Homographs, homophones, heteronyms, polysemes, and capitonyms – do you know the difference?

Debbie Drake’s Easy Way to a Perfect Figure and Glowing Health (Drake, 1961). You know. Before I do my scissor kicks, I fix the hell out of my hair and makeup, then put on my perkiest bullet bra.

“OTL: Dark History” at ESPN.go. A very brief glimpse into the Santa Anita racetrack and our human capacity for cruelty.

A Clinical, Searing Memoir Of Abuse in Tiger, Tiger at NPR. Library hold, placed.

“Male-Centric Plots and the Oscars” at SocImages (and then, “There Are More Sites Of Oppression Than Gender”, Womanist Musing’s response)

Amelia Earhart’s plane found? (Answer: no)

I got into Noisettes this week. It’s only a matter of time before Ralph does. Oh, and I totally know which album he’ll like.

“Talking to Your Daughter About Beauty” at The Good Men Project. Not so much a fathering article as one anyone identifying as male should consider. This is a good 101 article; sadly, there is a dearth of them, and more in-depth stuff is nary to be found. I’d love to hear a male author weigh in on this topic; men are usually so silent at speaking out against beauty performance, instead of being powerful allies.

At NPN, photos of natural birth. How fucking awesome is this? Including the following sentence: “Acknowledging that many parents cannot or choose not to have this kind of birth, next week’s photos will show other birthing experiences.”. NPN, that is rock-tastic.

Society
“Dear Brian McFadden: I was damaged after being taken advantage of”. Brian McFadden’s song “Just as you are (Drunk at the Bar”) – and every pro-date rape song out there – suuuucks. This piece illustrates why, rather well. Particularly good is Nina Funnell’s answer to “Anonymous”. Kind of stunningly good.

“Ensuring the Male Gaze” at PostBourgie. Someone wrote something pretty damn smart on the potrayal of “reverse sexism”.

“Suicide” by Jeff Sabo. This piece and the commentariat is so far an incredibly illustrative discussion of youth depression and suicide (given it is written by a non-youth). The “It Gets Better” campaign irritates me for a few reasons, one of which the tone often seems to be: don’t kill yourself, your life hasn’t even started, just wait to grow up, we won’t help you NOW.

Parenting
“Taming the Tiger Mother” by Naomi Aldort at Life Learning Magazine. Nuanced article about the balance of control vs. neglect.

“So You Want to Unschool Your Child or Teen? Yes, you CAN do it!” by Laurie Couture. What can I say, today’s all about some 101!

Make/Craft
Salted Caramels & Homemade Cadbury Eggs, both from Instructables. My friend Sophiea and I made these caramels Monday and they were delicious!

“Building Cookies is Not SEW Easy!” at Sweet Sugar Belle

“Celebrate Women’s History Month by Picking Up a Needle and Thread” at CRAFT

The Incredible Edible Abacus at The Hokey Pokey Kitchen

“Home”, a French knot masterpiece.

Hilarity
Cat vs. Internet, a comic

“Open-Minded Man Grimly Realizes How Much Life He’s Wasted Listening To Bullshit” at The Onion

Herpetology, close to our hearts:
Herpetology

Ralph, his Zappa, & kitty Harris

Team Mustache Dad

I make an effort to write even when I’m busy. And I have been busy! The candy-making date with Amore on Monday went wonderfully. It’s snowed a bunch then it rained all away. Car-less I attempt to get out, go running, do my shopping. I cook food and more food and it all vanishes.

I’m working on a sew-intensive project and I’ve been missing my kids and I don’t want to be back in my sewing room SO I asked Ralph to put my sewing table in the living room so I could put on some “television” (Netflix through the computer) while I did my thing.

I can’t put on anything too good while I’m sewing or I get distracted; however if it’s no fun, what’s the point? So this time around I’ve been doing some serious camp!

Ralph and I are both huge Elvira fans. Sex-positive, quick-witted, corny, goofy – and some awesome one-liner double entendres, all in addition to her other obvious attributes. What’s not to like?

And then:

Not the funniest Mel Brooks comedy but one entirely adorable and served well by the straight-man slapstick of Leslie Nielsen. Speaking of which, I have yet to watch Forbidden Planet (1956) and given the recent demise of both Francis and Nielsen a memorial viewing seems entirely appropriate.

In other news, Ralph decided to shave the beard. OK, fine. I get it. He didn’t like its itchiness and maintenance and thought it made him look dirty. Now I thought he looked really handsome and mysterious and rugged but, OK. I even told him (truthfully) that the full beard gave him a less-bald appearance, the hair on jaw and chin compensating for thinning up above; I hoped his self-consciousness about his hairline might cast a more friendly light on the muttonchops. But he never liked the beard much and it was clear from the outset this ferocious display of hirsute manliness would be a short-lived, fleeting winter wonder.

So first he shaved down to a Zappa ala Phoenix’s request:

Ralph, his Zappa, & kitty Harris

(Ha, I love how PISSED Harris looks. AS PER USUAL. Angry and obese, what a great cat.)

Nice enough, eh? Sinister but sexy.

But then. THEN. He went too far.

Ralph's Filthy 'Stache

Yes. Really.

And finally – after 24 hours of the above abomination, tonight’s foulness – the meager and failed attempt at an iconic actor and persona.

The Non-Vincent Price

And after he did this of course he wanted a kiss. GROSS.

I throw up my hands.

And – I’ve been writing in my One Line A Day Five Year Memory Book. And I’ve been writing my small stones. I have some saved for you.

Melted Snow
(Small Stone #10*)

Melted snow in my husband’s beard
Diamonds, icy cold
As he just steps back inside

Hush
(Small Stone #11*)

Low light
and very late night,
up until dawn sometimes.
You and me and you.
Our own world,
Quiet and new.

Repairs Needed
(Small Stone #12*)

We’ve lived without water pressure in our kitchen for a year and a half.
I miss the bold rush of hot water.

Small stone project

something waits beneath it

Our household is usually such a peaceful and cozy one and never so much than late at night, dishes done and the house tided, the kids (usually) on their laptops or one of the other computers in the house – or like now, playing with clay and reading quietly. Ralph is asleep and so are all the cats; Hamilton in bed up around his neck, Harris under the kids’ easel, Josie on our phonograph, and Mable in a cardboard box Phoenix found today and brought home to fit with towels for this very purpose.

The family is happy and healthy. I am feeling better and drinking (booze) less (yay!). The kids are joyful and content. Ralph suffers a bit as at night he typically stays awake longer than he should (for his sleep’s sake), because he wants to have time with us. As for the kids and I, our night-owlery is something we can afford to do with no ill effects; without a school schedule we are free to pursue the sleep and rest and activity we need.  I am quite surprised to see how different our winter rhythms are than summer was. One of the principal joys of having seasons is appreciating the one you’re in and looking forward to ones to come.

That said, the children don’t seem to mind the gloom and cold, yet this year I do. I wonder why?

A Bath With My Young Son
(Small Stone #5*)

Your skin like velvet
Even in the cold pale of winter,
Rich like coffee and cream.

Small stone project

I will take up my pencil, which I have forsaken in my great discouragement, and I will go on with my drawing

So I just have to write this down. Of course.

This afternoon I receive a call and a fellow tells me he saw our fliers around town and he wants to know if there is a reward for the return of our cat. I say, uh well, I guess so, sure, kind of taken aback really. Then he claims he would go look for her and he wanted to know what I was going to offer if he found her.

I KNOW!

I’m gobsmacked. After a beat I ask him well, what do you think your time is worth. He won’t throw out an answer on this and (by now my brain is slowly cranking and I’m figuring he has my little kitty already), I offer him, with kind of amazed laughter in my voice, about half our weekly grocery money. He ups the price twenty percent and I say, Yeah, okay, thank you, and we hung up after he tells me he’s likely to find her.

Yeah, I KNOW!

An hour and a half later he calls again and says me he thinks he has my cat. I was out-of-home but Ralph was primed to make the transaction so I sent him off to do so with instructions.

And lo, it was our cat indeed.

Josie's Home (AKA

Yeah, that Josie. Looking a little off-kilter after five or so days away from home. Who knows where.

Maybe people won’t understand why today – this thing with our little creature – exhausted me, but I’m going to try to write a bit more about the episode then be done. I can think of about three ways this scenario might have gone down. The first is taking the fellow at his word: he bounty-hunts pets and charges for his time. I could spell out the reasons I think this is unlikely. But let me point out, times are fucking hard on the Harbor and that sort of thing is a possibility. There are other potential scenarios ranging from opportunistic to sinister.

What can one say when one is (potentially) scammed? My mom wrote the young man a check so we’ll be getting his name at least (I also have his phone number; adding to the potentially-sketch factor he refused to meet us at his house). Putting a stop on the check is an option but then as Ralph said, “Then who’s the bigger douchebag?” Because you know? We don’t really know what went on.

The whole scenario was bizarre, and now I’m left rather frazzled. For one thing, the anxiety I’ve felt over missing one of our critters has been like a constant tension string and in my very typical fashion, when the cat/child/chicken is safe I have a little breakdown (I’ll be back to normal soon, promise). After the first phone call, to agonize if I would see her today or if it was not her at all and I’d be left to wonder; to feel creeped out by the likelihood someone was using our vulnerability to their advantage. The little kitty is sleeping on a chair a few feet away, a couple scraps of beef in her belly and her fur smelling like strange perfume. And I’m so. SO GLAD. to have her back.

***

This evening J. and I hit Thrift City and, after an incident involving an old-school Argus Mini Palmatic 2 camera that still had film in it (and yeah, it was under $1, so we bought it and I can’t wait to develop it!) and hysterical harpy-laughter and a huge box of MINDWIZARD cards flying all over the aisle, I found the absolutely perfect writing desk. Very sturdy, solid wood, perfect shelf and drawer availability, the ideal height and width, and it amazingly matches my (favorite) overpainted and chipped green chair, and it only smells a LOT musty (ha). Wunderbar!

My Tidy World: These Are A Few Of My Favorite Things

My favorite things: my “new” (and really, really sturdy and awesome) desk ($15), the smartphone and One Line A Day Five Year Memory Book from Ralph (Christmas gifts), moleskine & papermate (gifts from friends), vinyl purse from Pure Clothing in HQX ($7), silver James Bond-esque cigarette lighter (gift from same friends who gave me the moleskine), and my very trusted, rugged and quickly-headed-downhill Mac named “Balls” (purchased to the dime with an inheritance sum, about five years ago).

I’m very happy about the desk which of course precipitated a reorganization and cleaning of my papers. But my night isn’t near over. I have an incredible mountain of laundry to fold. Don’t worry. I’ll fill you in on every detail.

Partaking Of Love
(Small Stone #3*)

Steaming rice-fried-in-butter
Slowcooked beans and pot roast
At the counter, midnight,
Children warm their bellies

Small stone project

the noise of flowers and the smell of birds

Phoenix bundles up in layer upon layer and fits herself with her new hat and handwarmers and big boots, runs outside and jumps up alongside me in my mother’s truck, slamming the door which is a bit funny and doesn’t shut easily. Her face in the gloaming a freckled and friendly precious entity emitting some kind of ambient light that soothes me into a preternatural calm. We can sit in the car and drive in companionable silence and every second I feel grateful for my time with her and everytime she opens her mouth, I swear she says something so smart. At the grocery store she selects some flowers for her father, campanula get mee in a cool purple with a biodegradable pot. She pushes the cart, leaning on it while with one hand seats a complimentary Safeway cookie; I walk ahead with my moleskine cracked and my mind climbing up and around food needs for the family. For $67 I bring home several days’ worth of food and in the parking lot receive a call from my mother; dinner at her house tomorrow is secured, which means I can sew a little bit more than I’d originally hoped.

Terrible news accompanies us into the new year: our wee kitty Josie has been missing for four days now. The last time we saw her was on the snoopin’ walk I wrote about (and yes, we’ve cased the neighborhood and called animal control and put up fliers). I’m so sick about it I don’t want to think or talk about it as of course, I feel it’s all my fault. I worry so much she’s suffering somewhere. (This is unlikely. She’s either dead with no body evidenced, or has been snatched. Still. I obsess.).

If Josie doesn’t return, 2010 was shit as far as cats were concerned: first the loss of my beloved Blackstone then the mysterious and complete disappearance of Laurence and now this. Never have I had such cat-drama, and I’ve lived with cats all my life and in all kinds of wacky scenarios and alongside highways and in a coyote town and in the middle of the city. But when I think about it I realize for as long as we’ve had animals we’ve never been free of awful or sad or scary things happening (the death of wee little chick Peepteron 1 after my father’s demise; Felix’s possum-murder, Stryker’s mysterious deaththe neighbor’s loose terriers tearing up our chickens on Sumner, my mother’s dog being hit by a car a month ago – in both these latter two incidents the animals survived thank goodness) and really, pet ownership is just that. A deeply meaningful and joyous experience of love and companionship and the value or caring for another being; small triumphs and occasional large, very large, heartbreaks.

I really think my kids have a good perspective and I seek to emulate that.

They Placed 3rd In

And now? for a cold beer, soft bed, and warm husband.

***

Deep Winter
(Small Stone #1*)

Today the landlord didn’t come like he said he would
to fix the sink, electricity, leaking water heater.
We are interlopers in our own home
taking refuge from the cold.
Hanging shabby quilts, taking hot baths;
the bruise on my daughter’s hip faded
perhaps only a false memory

Small stone project

baaaaaaallllls

I’m glad it happened, really. Things have been going so well on the Christmas front. Tiny, well-crafted yet frugal gifts; homemade music and Christmas cards out on time (um, today, so expect yours soon), a few home-sewn items, a few excellent purchases from our local bookstore (yay!), several very well-curated bits of goodness (specifically for my mother and kids; I’ve owned it this year). This season people often ask how it’s going and I’ve been able to truthfully say Very Well, very pleased to celebrate and honor friendships and family, but I also laugh and add there’s some mini- (or, and I hope not, major-) disaster on the way –

So today after literally sewing until I bled (Stabby McNeedleson) I put the finishing touches on the lovingly-crafted button-up shirt I was making for my brother, made from crisp and delicious Essex linen/cotton blend and Pam Erny’s awesome pro-weft interfacing, and stitched up all eight buttons with a trademark thread finish, 100% flat-felled seams (yes, including the armscye!) and a narrow hem to die for and a wonderful weight and hand and looking sharp. And I wash the shirt it and remove it to dry and press and immediately perceive THE FUCKING FABRIC HAD FURTHER PRESHRUNK, resulting in thoroughly ruinous interfacing/fabric bubbles that cannot be pressed out and cannot be ignored either as in, I will not be gifting this to my brother, no way. OH GOOD LORD NOOOoooOOOO

I can tell Ralph’s worried about money. By little subtle hints like his IM today that says, “I’m in so much pain right now, worrying about money.” Also more concrete sea changes like the fact instead of the typical breakfast cereal my kids like he purchased Junky-Os, you know the kind in the bag made of teflon-ass so a kid has to tear and tear and get a kitchen knife (unsupervised as I’m all Twittering and shit) and saw and tear and then suddenly BAM! the whole business asplodes all over the kitchen floor, which perhaps may even the financial savings inherent in a lower-grade purchase a bit moot, but my daughter cleaned the whole business up except for a tidy little pile of Os that later the cat was messing about with while tangling herself up in my serger foot pedal since the serger is sitting on my tiny kitchen counter since, even with a super crafty family, we have only one table, one, which is in the sewing room now which means we eat sitting on the floor again, no big deal but still.

Ralph and I are home at 1 AM after wrapping up Christmas presents at my mom’s house, our package for the Portland crew: my sister, my brother and his girlfriend (and her cat). At least I know my mom and the USPS won’t fuck-up the mailing of the package so all that will go well enough.

And that’s just all I have to say about all of that.

friday what goes along comes around

Short and sweet today as I’m including a must-listen interview (first link). Today’s links are on the serious/thinky side (a recent trend I guess) as opposed to gratuitous mustache pictures and a citation of my favorite “Mighty Boosh” sketches. I know, I know – it’s hardly fair on a Friday, right?

Super-Special Double-Awesomeness!
“on hold with atchka! and ellyn satter”
This? Should be required listening. For American human beings at least (and probably lots of others). In the same week we hear our First Lady claim childhood obesity is a matter of national security as we’re all so fat we roll around entirely helpless and can’t hold weapons in our sausage-fingers, it’s so wonderful to here the voice of reason, compassion, food enojoyment, rigorous science and analysis, social criticism, trust in and support of children, and health (yeah, remember that concern?)! Do listen to the interview – it’s about thirty six minutes long and it’s phenomenal!

Parenting/Living Together
“5 Ways To Work With Anger” by Tiff at freeplaylife
Tiff’s suggestions aren’t particularly ones that I’ve used or that appeal to me, but I like her concepts around a life lived with children (as opposed to one where most of their waking hours are out-of-home/in school) and I’ve often thought depictions of such lives are too few and far between. I have my own thoughts about anger and its use (maybe I’ll share them soon!) but I agree that the by-rote attempt to avoid or suppress anger is not a workable solution and provides a poor if not toxic environment for children.

Teaching Your Child To Share? at Authentic Parenting
The way grownups deal with “sharing” in young children is often fear-based, illogical, and counterproductive. This article is a great 101. I made a lot of mistakes re: sharing (and of course slip up still) but figured it out early enough. I love, love watching small children negotiate when adults don’t over-interfere.

Current Events
“What the Assange case says about rape in America”, Valenti at The Washington Post
“[T]this means we can’t stop at changing legislation. For true justice, there needs to be a cultural shift in the way Americans think about sex, consent and rape, so that when women come forward – whether they’re accusing a celebrity, a sports star or a neighbor – our immediate reaction isn’t to misconstrue or speculate about their motives, but to listen.”

Here’s some of what Sady Doyle has experienced since she’s been calling out rape apologism and speaking in anti-rape terms; particularly in this case on the response to Assange’s accusers and “progressive” reactions to the scourge of rape and sexual assault (as anyone who gives a damn and has self-educated on violence against women and children, when I say “here’s what so-and-so’s experienced”, you know it’s going to be awful – so, trigger warning for graphic violence threats, rape threats, and rape apologism).

Culture
“Doctors not immune from fat-bashing” from The Sydney Morning Herald
This is a very touching piece and a sober glimpse at how physicians treat one of their own, with, I believe, serious repercussions to the care given at large to patients. Unsubstantiated bias -> poor practices & poor public health. I learned a new word today, unrelated to this story: iatrogenic. Seems apt.

Two great posts from Renee at womanist-musings:

“No going into labour in public”
I don’t know Renee but I’ve read enough of her articles that I’ve established a “tone” of voice in my mind when I read. And that tone seems to often be one of aggravation, like in this article. As I’ve posted before, never has my body been “public property” as much as when I was pregnant. At the time I didn’t know enough of my own heart to protest this treatment. Too bad I don’t get a do-over. I love [snark] the idea that when a woman goes INTO LABOR, her whole consideration should be other people’s feelings – or that some dude standing nearby who doesn’t behave like a dick (and yay for that!), it’s all about him.

No Rules Rules For Jada and Will’s Kids
A discussion on respecting children vis-a-vis a celebrity couple’s public and private life; and what do you know, the commentstream isn’t even a mess of Fail!

Craft/Make
How-To: Stitched Gift Wrap & Tags at CRAFT
This is something even a sew-novice could do with very lovely results.

“A Green Christmas” at Natural Life Magazine
Links listing Christmas activities, if you’d like to buy less or at least attempt to bring the Trampling & Eating Everything You See rollercoaster to a slower clip

Eggnog recipe at Instructables
I made this last night. Yeah it has raw eggs, because I’m a bad-ass motherfucker!

Tweet of the Week
As pertains to cats, from Frank Conniff

Random
The movie was great; the score I downloaded, the soundtrack I need!

Most Extreme Animal Shirts from the archives at scienceblogs.com. They saved the best for last in my opinion.

LADYBUG PLAYS WITH SPRINKLES
I thought maybe I was stoned while watching this, but I watched it again and turns out, IT REALLY HAPPENED!

***

If you feel moved to comment below, please first read the epilogue in this post (and the comments, if you’re confused still). Thanks!

“If you have lived, take thankfully the past.”

We had dinner guests today. I made:

Spaghetti & meatballs; three-cheese spinach quiche (as requested by Phoenix); salad with butter lettuce, spinach, dried sweetened cranberries, and candied pecans; country green beans with spiral cut ham; pan cubano; crudités; a cheesecake; a deep-dish apple pie; strawberries with chocolate fondue; and rugelach. For drinks we had a neprica brought by our guests, sparkling cider for the kids, and an apertif of Beefeater martinis with Santa Barbara Olive Co. martini pimento olives (we never got around to these!).

I have this shit down so much that I’d already prepared much of the food beforehand; I rolled out of bed one hour before our guests arrived. Hee.

(I just read my entry from a year ago… come to think of it I’ve been cooking the majority or all of the day’s food since I was a young woman. I love cooking – deeply – and I hope to one day be the honored guest, not the matriarch doing the work… food traditions are fabulous.)

Now we’re tucking in for a sleepover and a night of MST3K (remember those beloved Turkey Day marathons?)

We all wish you a lovely evening and hope you’re spending it with who you love, in the way you love.

[wposflv src=https://agni.hogaboom.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/11/Thanksgiving-2010.flv previewimage=http://domain.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/image.png width=654 height=480 title=”Thanksgiving 2010″]

(Apologies for the date-rapey song… but it really is cold outside & we’re wonderfully warm inside.)

maker

I get asked often how long I’ve been sewing. The truth is I can’t remember a time I didn’t know how to sew. I think I’m only a modestly-skilled stitcher, really, considering I’ve been exposed my whole life. Some of my earliest memories of focussed work are of pinning cloth and sitting on the floor cutting with a pair of orange-handled Fiskers; of crinkled tissue cut down to size and marking notches by painfully cutting small triangles. In fact in learning something as a young child the methods my mother used were the ones I thought were The Only Way To Do It. As a grownup I’ve learned my own methods and taught my mother not a few. For instance in contrast I iron all my patterns (shout-out Amore!) and never ¡EVAR! cut them; I dispatch yardage from a table and with rapier-like acuity using a rotary wheel and mat, and I mark notches by a chalk line or tailor’s tacks.

Rollin' On My 201-2

My mom sewed a bit more as a young woman, before she had a family and career. She didn’t sew all that much while I was growing up but what is most important is – I remember she loved it. She seemed to enjoy the feeling of competence in her craft and she definitely enjoyed the design process (such as it is when you’re sewing out-of-envelope). I often think the familial example of someone who does Work and loves it is the most likely avenue for subsequent generations to take it up. This is why I’ve never much bothered to try to get my kids to sew. My guess is they will end up doing it because it’s in their blood. They know so much about it already, without even knowing they know! (They also think everyone knows how to make clothes… they don’t realize how rare this is.)

Three years ago my mother brought me my grandmother’s sewing machine – a Singer Centennial 15-91 made in 1950, both popular and utilitarian. The very machine was manufactured and shipped from the same location, only days apart, from the one a friend gave me about eight years ago when she moved from PT (mine is a Centennial 201-2, another great machine). As a Mother’s Day gift in 2009 I got grandma’s machine tuned up and re-gifted it to my mother – who hasn’t yet used it.

If I had the room I’d have kept it myself. I currently own two working sewing machines. I’d love more and to have them set up – it really is helpful, especially given how quickly I construct things – but I lack the space. I sometimes fervently wish for a room to spread out and outfit myself further with a set up serger and a cutting table and, jeebus, SHELVES would be nice! Realistically this won’t happen for some time; we aren’t likely to have a larger house anytime soon. My husband has offered to rent me a studio space in downtown Hoquiam because he is a Really Fucking Awesome Guy. But even the incredibly-cheap prices of downtown HQX aren’t in our spending plan; neither much are shelves or more accoutrement to fill such a space.

But if I could, I would snap up that opportunity toot sweet.

My clothes generally last so much longer than what people buy. My kids’ closet is bursting with garments I’ve sewn. When they grow out of the pieces (which is relatively quickly!) the clothes go off donated or gifted… I am rather shy about giving off my sewn clothes because I’m unsure of what people like and want (and I hate to mail stuff. A lot. So locals are easiest for me to gift to). A surprising number of garments end up going to the Salvation Army. Whatever their future destinations, I hope they are as well-worn and well-loved as they are when in my home.

Currently I’m only a few minutes away from finishing a couple wool coats, which I’ll post soon. Tonight I’m on another pair of Monster Booties, much requested by readers here and there. I have to put a pause on Yes to favors and outside-of-the-family work; Christmas approaches and one of my chief pleasures is sewing for those I love.

Wool Underlined With Cotton

Wool, wool, wonderful wool! How I wish I had yards and yards and yards…

French Seam

French seams on the inside of a coat – underlining exposed.

In other news, we have my mom’s (incredibly submissive, aged) terrier Tuck here for a few days while she cat- and house-sits in Portland. My mom brought this huge dog bed as well. Last night, his first night, Tuck curled up on the bed and a second later alpha-kitten Hamilton walked over and put her paw on his face. He immediately self-telescoped using his own butthole and slunk off; three of the cats took the bed in a neat feline coup. Ralph and I trained the cats off the bed (this was very easy and involved putting them outside in the snow every single time they so much as stuck a claw towards it) but I had to snap a picture for my mom.

They STOLE It From Us, The Precious!

While I did this the fourth kitty Mable watched and decided if she wanted in on the Hot! Sleeping! Action!:
Watchinz

She voted “No”, on the account of she would have had to move her body, which resembles the form and function of a Guild Navigator, about eighteen inches. Much easier to stay on the goddamned chair.