some things never seem to fucking work

Just in case you aren’t following/friending me on Facebook, WHY YES I wrote a massive post on Roadhouse‘s twenty-fifth anniversary. I am kind of upset you thought I’d do anything else.

Life is – good. I am still recovering from illness. Mostly I’m tired – but I have a lot of my strength back. At a volunteer commitment on Sunday I had my Ego bumped down a notch when I made a mistake – and it still smarts. I’m trying to be kind to myself. A lifetime practice.

I am a little sad, too. Today I found out that on June 14th my maternal family will be scattering my grandfather’s ashes – my last grandparent. There is no way I can afford airfare and accommodations to be there. I am saddened by this. I’d like to be there. I’d like my children to meet their extended family on that side. It’s not going to happen and I can live with this. I just need to make a little space in my heart.

In other news:

Swimming

Evening Walks

Snuggles

Thug Life

1 year since I quit smoking. Yes. Go me! Because seriously!

Life goes on. For us.

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.

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.

“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.

you know our kids are huge now but still curl up on our laps, at home & in public

Phoenix = "Rockstar Pirate Witch"

There is something indefatigable about an intimate family life, something most beautiful when things are darkest, or most absurd. It’s like, the cynic in me, the girl-then-woman raised in a “militant agnostic” home (my father, anyway), some of the reasons I’ve written here for years is an attempt to communicate what it’s like to live my experience. The more I’ve written, the easier it flows, and the happier I feel. I mean often I don’t even think how valuable or interesting this might be to others, I’m just compelled to try to tell you about it if you want to read. I think there’s a lot to gain in relating to one another.

But yeah, there are these great moments in a family that are kind of … terrible moments. Like yesterday while we drove out to a birthday party, with three kids packed in the back of the car, one kid holding a cake and another a cat in a carrier (for a “pet show” of sorts), and suddenly the cat starts puking. Like you can really hear the chunkage, back there. And then there’s this sudden silence from three previously-rowdy kids and my daughter silently rolls down the window and somberly says, “You in the front: you’re lucky.” I mean I felt terrible for my kitty – who ceased vomiting upon arrival, only hours later to start up again as soon as we got back in the car – but it was one of those deliciously ridiculous FAILmoments that is best experienced with those you love, love, love.

Cake and birthday wishes. An honor to share them with others:

Birthday Cake

“Pet contest”, Harris was given special consideration for his sadness. Those are my two kids at left in the eared-hats.

Harris Really Wasn't Feeling Well

Life has been lovely the last couple days. Today I’m having another painful series of episodes with my kidneys. That is never encouraging. I have accepted my illness in full (except for one nagging caveat, see below), and I am grateful for these repeated bouts of pain as they have taught me a great deal about acceptance. These experiences have also taught me a great deal about unconditional love, to wit: I receive it from many of my friends, and all of those in my close family.

Having this ailment has taught me a lot about humility.

I know it seems like I wouldn’t have anything good to say about a supposedly zero-sum illness, but I do. Still, sometimes the remnants of denial rear their head. I keep thinking, Why me? (not out of self-pity, just a genuine bit of confusion), or thinking, any minute I’ll be “cured” and this won’t be happening any more. Still, these are only blips on my radar, persistant as they are. To the extent I am serene and genuinely grateful through such a puzzling experience, I can put that at the feet of first my alcoholism and then my resultant experience in Recovery.

I know I’m going to learn more about why I’m sick in this way – if not the nuts and bolts or a scientific explanation – and one day I’ll be able to tell you, Why Me.

***

By the way. In honor of Father’s day I’m re-linking a couple posts about my father’s influence on my life (and my thoughts on his death), recent writings if you didn’t see them the first time around. If you have seen them, apologies for redundancy. I didn’t need to write another piece, so soon, and I didn’t make time to write one about Ralph or any other fathers in my life.

“By the sea, Mr. Todd, that’s the life I covet!”

My Mom & My Son, Before Heading Out To The BeachMy son, & my mom, about to head out to the beach together.

So YE GODS I’ve been having fun embroidering. Last night I finished up this space-age sampler as designed by Wendi Gratz. I really dig her whole approach, as found on her site Shiny Happy World.

Space Sampler

Space Sampler

Embroidered Comet, Close-Up

The whole business made me decide to make up my own patterns, including a sewn samper. LET’S SEE how it goes. Because you know, not only can I draw, but I’m into stuff. For instance last night? I started and finished the above piece, concluding my last stitches while viewing Attack of the Crab Monsters with my kids, Tylur, and Emily, and whilst sharing a pint of Late Night Snack with said Emily.

YES I REALIZE I HAVE NOTHING, EVER, TO COMPLAIN ABOUT.

Anyway I could draw up some awesomeness ala Crab Monsters right this moment. Instead I drew and traced and finished a pattern of subjects close to my heart, non-Crab-Monster-related – and provided my sampler doesn’t shit the bed, you’ll be seeing it soon!

Embroidering

(Hint: will involve GLOW-IN-THE-DARK thread!)

Glow-In-The-Dark Embroidery Floss!

In other news: we got our table finished. The entire table was a gift, both in materials and construction, from friends. I am more than thrilled. It is my Favorite Table Ever. Many people were almost maimed while we put it together.

Making Our Kitchen Table Which Almost Killed A Few People

New Table! With New Wool Coat In Progress

First meal made on the table – meatballs! (recipe, previously shared):

Making Meatballs

Making Meatballs

Followed by – using the crusts discarded from Phoenix’s bread-cubing – fresh bread pudding for breakfast:

Fresh Bread Pudding For Breakfast

Phoenix:

Phoenix, Sly Creature

Harris (Every. Damn. Day!):

Life Is REALLY HARD For Harris

Finally: a piece of mine was published in the latest issue of Natural Life Magazine. As you’ve no doubt heard me say before, I heartily endorse anything written or published by Ms. Priesnitz, and I encourage y’all to head over and subscribe to this excellent publication.

In closing please, do not be so casual about “just a few land crabs” – unless you want to pay the ultimate price.

snarpshots

Fireworks
Fireworks in Aberdeen

4:30 AM
What I Saw When I Came In At 4:30 AM The Other Night. The kids had put themselves to bed, as Ralph had fallen asleep before they. I love how each one bundled hirself up separately.

Phoenie & Amber
Ladies’ Night! We’ve been having a few of these. Phoenix loves them Times One Million. You know what’s good for kids, great role models. Like Jasmine and Amber who kick all kinds of ass and are the sweetest women besides.

Afterwards
I gave Harris a tasty dish of food. He staggered around a bit and then fell asleep like this. I found him because I was ready to take a shower. He stayed in with me there for a while.

Exactly one year ago: a trip to Elton Bennett Park here in Hoquiam.

the poetry of the earth is never dead

My girl, in a tree, in Montesano.

Savory Faire In Montesano

By the way. It’s so fucking beautiful where I live.

Erstwhile Creamery

I gave a girl named Patience, whom I’d never met before, a ride to her parents’, then a ride back into town. And while we waited at her folks’ place…

Out Wynoochee

Cows were unimpressed.

Then, the four of us went out to our friends’ for lovely conversation, screwing about with saws and hammers in the woods. Snacks. And of course, a fire – and s’mores.

Marshmallow Gourmands

Can't Get Too Close

And here? Is your moment of… well, whatever you want it to be.

Love-Trance

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