what with all the shenanigans and goings-on

First Night Of Rehearsals

Tonight was Ralph’s first night in rehearsals for the Rocky Horror Picture Show, put on by the Driftwood Players. We found  him a wee floral arrangement and made him a card – with lots of lipsticky glitter, natch.

Silk Jacket For A Client

I sent off a fully-tailored silk coat to a client. I spent about forty hours on this project – a great deal of this in hand-work. It was a real learning experience, and I mean that both in a positive way but also the kind of way where you cry many tears.

More sewing – my first pair of jeans:

Jeans (Jean-ius Class On Craftsy)

Jeans (Jean-ius Class On Craftsy)

Jeans (Jean-ius Class On Craftsy)

I copy-catted these off am RTW pair that fits the owner well, thanks to the Jean-ius class on Craftsy. This was an amazing process! I consider my results successful, too. However, these are only the first pair and I’m going to be distressing them and setting rivets, so what you see here is not the final product.

Some work of Phoenix’s:

Birthday Present: Designed By Phee

Birthday Present: Designed By Phee

She had sketched this lovely little fox, so we sewed it up in faux fur and wool, as part of a birthday gift for a friend.

Wee Finn

Still more sewing! My latest Finn hat – a design I ended up adoring – and a footed pair of PJs. Better pictures soon if I can get my shit together.

The new Hands On Childrens Museum:

At The New HOCM

At The New HOCM

At The New HOCM

At The New HOCM

At The New HOCM

My Little Dude. He loved driving so much. But at one point while he was driving the fire truck, I pretended to be run down by him. That made him cry, so I kept further horseplay a decidedly non-matricidal type.

36

Today was my thirty-sixth birthday. The family and I took a roadtrip to Olympia and picked up a sewing supply, some bra and panties for yours truly (a long overdue purchase, and after we left the shop I told Ralph, “It’s expensive to have goodies,” and he responded, “As someone who was a woman the other day, I can say it’s worth it!”), and a creamy lemon-yellow faux leather coat, what I am now calling my Birthday Coat. The only thing that would make that coat cooler is if it was real leather. I still feel kind of sleek and sophisticated in it even though I am wearing plastic. That almost calms me down more, even, it feels nice and junky in this beautiful way that fits me. On our way home we stopped at an awesome barbecue restaurant and ordered whatever we felt like.

Our cars are both in a bit of trouble and if we don’t do something about them we will soon be without. The truth is life is (I choose to view it as anyway) a delicate dance alternatively weighing say, a muffler for Ralph’s car or a fuel distribution fix for mine (or my door seals, driver’s side door handle, and window and lock switches), versus groceries versus gifts for birthdays (both the kids’ are coming up) versus birthday parties versus a scholarship for another family versus a vacation for us this year (to be realistic: unlikely at this point) versus the orthodontist services now recommended for my son versus my daughter’s desire to enroll in martial arts versus the theramin I’ve wanted to buy Ralph 4EVER versus (back to being practical:) much-needed clothing for the four of us versus vet visits for the pets (we recently healed Hamilton’s neck bite using a homemade version of a “cone”, antibacterial cream, and vigilance – there’s $80, saved) versus fabric for my sewing ventures versus day trips or eating out for the family and then there are the things that aren’t options at the moment given our current survival-mode, like college fund and house downpayment and “nest eggs” or “six months’ living expenses” saved up.  Anyway our car trouble and this little juggle of this or that is nothing unique, nothing new, and nothing I’m complaining about – just something I’m documenting.

Yet I have to be very careful at this juncture to represent myself correctly. I patently refuse to let that above stuff, and the bits I’m forgetting right now, make me start to get panicky and obsess about what we “should” have, what I want, what I want for the kids – and thereby stop helping others. For one thing: a few years ago I opened my blog up for donations and my readers have responded with so much generosity there is Absolutely. No. Cause for me to complain. Ever. No matter what happens here on out.

But also there’s this bit about how, my life circumstances are similar as they’ve been since having children, but I am different. And that’s something I’d like to try to articulate, here and now. For years I spent a great deal of time feeling angry or frustrated at what seemed like Scarcity and unfairness. It was a big mess and you’ll excuse me if right now, at almost 11 o’clock in the evening after a lovely day, I don’t want to go down memory lane to remember how much stress, shame, blame, guilt, and resentment I used to swim in, and mostly how it left very little for me to GENUINELY give to others. No, what I was thinking is when I wrote the paragraph about our family’s needs and wants, well cars and car troubles are like groceries or like the kids growing bigger and needing new clothes or like vet bills or unforseen dramas: they will never be “fixed” and there will never be a lack of work to keep sucking air and keeping warm, or put another way:

there will never be a lack of opportunity to experience gratitude.

I have a little shrine in my home  and daily I make offerings and say prayers. Every single day I try to help people with no regard for return, and that means no regard for payback, status, love, people liking or esteeming me, et cetera. I only reveal it here so that if anyone ever wonders how I live and how I’ve lived through so much drama they can know that a steady, non-exciting, daily, ritualistic, footwork practice of altruism and prayer has done more for me than anything else. ‘Nuff said.

Helping people with no regard for return, and yes making the time and money and resources to do this even with the so-called difficulties posted above (and sometimes more besides), even if I go without (no problem!) or the kids go without (now that can be hard), well the funny thing about this practice is it builds a Person in a way that no scrambling-after can, and one day I look and I see that I like the person I am and I like living with me, and I also see deeply how the Universe provides abundance.

I had a wonderful day with my family, in my plastic jacket and forty-year old car that makes so much noise people glare, and my kids with the many hugs and kisses they give me, and my husband with his strong hard hands and I hold his hand in the car,

and I’d like every day to be a little more like today, if possible.

satisfaction

Today: a trip into Olympia, a new hair color (purple! “Pimpin’ Purple” to be exact. Yeah YOU HEARD), pho at Little Danang, an IRL meetup with Jen, friend and blogreader as well as her wonderful boy T. (squee!), a visit to The Danger Room, a new t-shirt (Henry Rollins + Glenn Danzig, Yeah YOU HEARD), Olympia Coffee Roasting Company, some Recovery, and then grilled sandwiches at the cabin whilst watching copious amounts of Animal Planet.

I notice Shelton has a different culture than Hoquiam and Aberdeen, even though one might guess it would be similar. I got harassed by two men re: my new purple hair, on separate occasions, and I was only on the street a few minutes. I’m pretty tough re: blue collar scene but not used to the Mason County wildlife, I guess.

Ralph has come down with the cold that nuisanced the kids and I last week. He’s coughy and stuff.  Let’s hope he rests and feels better soon.

as I type this my dog thinks any minute now I’m going to do something super-cool

I took too much medicine last night & ended up throwing up lots. My poor son was still up when I threw up and he cried because he was frightened, even though I assured him afterwards. Then I couldn’t sleep, likely as a result of the meds and then too much strong coffee in the evening.

What’s worse than all that is I gave myself a really, really hard time about making these mistakes. I can’t always stop the mental negativity, the thoughts punish me and crowd me and yes, I know it’s terribly self-absorbed. The good news is I don’t do it as much or as often; and I am kinder to others very frequently, if I have not learned the art when it comes to my own self.

Tonight as Ralph, Emily, Phoenix and I drove to Olympia, my daughter identified weather on the horizon: “That’s a cumulonimbus cloud… we’re heading into a thunderstorm.” I said, “How can you tell?” (I mean I remember being forced to learn about clouds in school, and promply forgetting everything except for a few names.) She said, “The cloud has the classic anvil shape, and look at the color of the sky.” And then the holy shit of it all was she was right, as only an hour later we’d driven into what quickly became the most intense lightning storm I’ve ever been in, in my life in the Pacific Northwest. Huge drops of warm rain and a sky like a bruise and visible cloud-to-ground lightning accompanied with the loudest BOOMS and fire sirens and we drove past a tree that had been sheared.

It was thrilling. Thanks to the horrible nature documentaries my kids watch, I knew we were safe in the car. But I was still happy to get home and inside my little hidey-house.

Lightning Storm

In other news: Hutch had his first vet appointment. He’s down from 120 lbs. on June 27th to 111 lbs. today. I’m proud of getting him healthier and more comfortable. It’s been a lot of great fun, but a lot of work!