Mason Lake, 2020

time after time

I am wearing no makeup, my hair is in a lake-stained messy bun, I have given up every aim except lake life which is impossibly slow. There is nothing much to do at all except silently pace oneself for the cool-off, and then another hot shower, and padding barefoot into bed together to enter a syncopated rhythm as each family member falls asleep.


hot fun in the summertime


I just returned from a short vacation, and it was pretty fabulous.

Actually, in the last couple weeks we’ve been on two sojourns to our family cabin on Mason Lake. Last week we took a day trip to spend time with my mother’s side of the family, as they’d gathered for a reunion. And today we returned from our second trip: just our little foursome. We had a few visitors, strategically scheduled for a certain window. And the rest of the time we just did nothing, to ourselves.

A very modest, very inexpensive vacation as – what with house-buying shenanigans – that’s all we could afford. And that was just fine.

The kids are growing older, and in no way do I lose sight of this for even a day. They still play for hours on end in the water, but their deportments have shifted. My son is ever more serious, less childlike, and more directly argumentative when his needs and ours seem to conflict. He has already grown out of the jeans I purchased him under a year ago – purchased with growing room.

My daughter posts an eloquent – and fierce – Facebook disquisition on her vegetarianism (she was bullied about it at school last year). She and her beau are increasingly more recognizably girlfriend-and-boyfriend, casually draping their arms around one another or leaning together watching a movie. I can act like it’s no big deal but all of this means I’m dying on the inside, a little. I’m so proud of her as she navigates territory that I found baffling, and terrifying. I know I support her better than I was myself supported. I think that’s pretty incredible.

So, things are pretty good. We are buying a house, which seems kind of incredible. It seems to be going well! I don’t worry too much about the future because I have learned if I can care for these little ones, for our life – I can probably manage just about anything.

The next chapter is going to be great – because they all have been so far! It just takes me a while to catch up, sometimes.


lots of chocolate. that will help.

"This Is Gonna Get Weird... TWO Pies"

We had a pie party, feeding our family and three guests (this recipe – which is streamlined and makes for two amazing pies!). I still have a lot of pie left. It is awesome pie. It has everything you need to grow up big and strong!

The lake (photos by Ralph’s ShabbyPhone):




Last week we left the lake early – staying only three days out of an originally-planned nine, for two reasons. A major one: we ran very low on funds. Yes, even a “free” family cabin stay, costs more than staying at home. This was a blow, not because of the change in plans so much but because after all our years dealing with financial insecurity, Ralph and I still often plan poorly. But you know, once I had that realization – sitting in the car as our clothes dried in a Shelton laundromat – I just had to accept it was the truth. We came home and it was easy from there. One thing about having amazing, grateful, playful children. They roll with shit pretty good, far as I can tell.

these precious days I spend with you

The weather at the lake was kind of glorious. It was warm, but rainy. There was a kind of glow in the air and a stormy closeness. Hardly anyone else was at their cabins, which is nice. We’ll be back in September where once again the crowds tend to be missing.

@ The Lake

@ The Lake

@ The Lake

Father’s Day 2013. This year I missed my father acutely, so it did me good to see many of my friends loving up on the daddies in their lives. Ralph got a few lovely gifts from the kids and I, then spent the day on the road with his oldest off to see a MLP movie.

Fathers' Day 2013

As soon as we got back from our Mason Lake trip, I mean only a few minutes after we unpacked, the kids and I ran out to Ocean City to see the beached fin whale. I figure you might not want to be surprised here by corpsey pictures, but I have a few on Flickr. We ended up walking a few miles to get to and from the whale, and I also ended up hijacking a fellow in his big truck – so the kids, dog and I could pile in and get a ride. It was quite a sojourn but it was a massive, amazing specimen. Oh BY THE WAY my dog ate lots of that whale. And this whale was not fresh. The blubber pieces were reddish black. This is why we can’t have nice things.

We got back from our trip and I was balls-tired for many reasons, including a few miles’ walk on sand after a long day cleaning and driving. Ralph had cooked up this vegetarian feast of grilled vegetables – asparagus, red cabbage, and brussel sprouts – on a bed of basmati rice and drizzled with chile dressing. The kids were unimpressed, but it was very dear to me.

Grilled Vegetables Ala Ralph Hogaboom

& a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made

Ralph and I sit on the porch at the cabin and watch our children play on the dock. Just lately I feel a twinge of sadness watching the little ones – they are so tall, growing up so fast. Like I told a friend the other day, it’s nice to have more than one child because no matter what milestones the oldest is getting up to you always have your “baby”. But of course one day the baby, too, like reaches up top of the fridge to get down the egg cartons for his “little Mama”. Ouch.

Regardless, if there’s one thing in my life that gives me peace and strength, it’s my children. Just listening to them, watching them, they are an inspiration. Today they help us haul in our groceries and gear, and they take care of the dog and kitty we brought along, and they strip into swim clothes then back into jeans and t-shirts then back in to swim clothes again, and run about and feed some baby ducks pieces of peanut butter cookie, and speak so sweetly to each creature they come across.

Brother & Sister

My children love this place, the lake cabin. They love it so much more than even seems to make sense. They love it regardless of the weather or if we have visitors or if we don’t. They love whatever food we cook or television we watch (or don’t watch).  They don’t get “bored” here even though it is a large one-room cabin and we just have a few boats and things (and okay let’s admit it – sometimes I get bored here!). And on the porch now  I’m sipping coffee and thinking – this is the forth family generation of children to play here (the cabin was erected in 1939). Amongst the many framed pictures of family are photographs of my grandmother and great-aunt when just toddlers.

I guess it’s a pretty kid-friendly scene, really.

Clear sunshine, warm rain, silence across the water.

Brother & Sister


derpy hooves

Swimming. Ralph loses sunglasses in lake, mounts a rescue mission.

Operation Sunglasses

Operation Sunglasses

Operation Sunglasses

Hutch continues to keep his priorities clear (shown with my mom’s dog, Tuck).

Hutch Takes A Break

A benefit of an unschooling life. You vacation any time. No one else is around. You can hang out in your underwear, like Phoenix here, outdoors in the sunlight. Or perhaps you can be a bit NAUGHTY & choose the practical ensemble of STARKERS NAKED with a dangerously oversize life vest (all photos of my children published with their permission, P.S.).

Phoenix Assists, #1

Phoenix Assists, #2

Phoenix Assists, #3

Phoenix Assists, #4

Phoenix Assists, #5

Phoenix Assists, #6

In other news, I still have SuperShero Hair.

Purple. Pimpin'.

at the lake we forget to count the days

Today right before we took our first boat trip two bald eagles flew above, just a few feet away, silent and majestic as shit. The two birds studiously ignored one another, leading me to think they might be fleeing from some kind of awkward liaison.

Out On The Lake

You want to know what I do on vacation? So far, sit on my ass. Inside. Watching movies. And eating pho that my husband so graciously picks up for me in Olympia. Yup, I got up to hardly anything else today.

I am suffering some sort of illness/depression hangover. I ain’t gonna lie. I’m grateful everyone else in the family seems to be doing just beautifully. The kids spent every minute outside, and I mean every minute; they’ve even been eating all their meals outside. And snorkeling, and boating, and fishing, and swimming, and all the things.

Our kitty Hamilton is with us. She was very ill a short time ago and we thought we could better keep an eye on her if we brought her along. She’s made amazing progress. Interestingly she was starving herself by not eating her dry cat food; we have her on wet cat food and raw meat and she’s much better. Please note her skinny haunches and distended stomach. She was looking at death’s door just a few days ago.

Hamilton, Feeling Better

Hutch’s first boat ride, probably ever. He was dismayed at first.

Hutch's First Boat Ride

Getting ready to swim, for the fourteenth time today:

Getting Ready to Swim

Evening. It is so peaceful here. There are very few people here off season. It’s the nicest time to visit.

Brother & Sister


like swallows, by sipping the surface

I’m aghast as we unpack into the log cabin. A bat is flying about, likely the same bat that is always here. How long do bats live, anyway? Yeah, it’s flying about six inches away from my face, flying in that creepy clutchy swift way bats do. The kids are thrilled. They name it “Pete” and laugh and clap and are completely undisturbed.

I’m glad the children take after their father, enjoying the very rustic space of the cabin. It’s old, built by my great-grandfather. Many memories of drunken singalongs, my family and the neighbors. An area populated by Hoquiamites enough it’s named “Little Hoquiam”. As if actually Hoquiam isn’t little enough!

It’s serene here. Always, and especially off-season.


The kids make their beds in the loft; the dog snoozes by the fire. Ralph and I shower and enjoy the quiet.