we have to shout above the din of our rice krispies

Tonight Ralph and I attended a parks meeting at the Hoquiam City Hall. It was ill-publicized and sparsely attended. I enjoyed myself, though. I learned a bit more about the Way Things Are Run (a bit more). I asked many questions and (when it seemed valuable) gave my opinions on how the parks plan might best be served (my suggestions included a bent to public restrooms and covered spaces, bike and pedestrian-accessibility, and navigable areas for those with disabilities, the elderly, and carers of small children). My husband and I both had different impressions as we left the meeting. We talked over a drink at the Ale House. At home Ralph collapsed into what I’m hoping is a restorative sleep.

I think a lot about cynicism. The adopted belief that things will never improve; the decision not to take people at their word when they report their intentions to work for the greater good. People’s egos are fragile things; they often don’t want to appear fools so they adopt cynicism and sarcasm to defend these egos. The problem is, rehearsing these exercises leads to apathy. I’ve never spent much time in apathy; it’s just not me. But I am no stranger to cynical thoughts. Yes, given the economic hardships experienced by many where I live, and the lifestyles experienced by those who represent us, I remain unsure if the City has the willingness to serve the interests they claim they do. But what is the alternative? To stay home, to never offer my presence or my assistance?

Today it rained but I went running anyway. I run with earbud volume at 11 right in my eardrum. Mostly because I love TEH MUSIK in many forms. Today it was rock and roll – The Police’s “Synchronicity II”, Ratt’s “Round and Round”, Winger’s “17” (good lord… how much driving buttrock goodness has such unconscionably vile lyrics? So painful to be addicted to crunchy dirty rock whilst having the conscience of a decent human being). And a bunch of other stuff that made me laugh while I blew the streaming rainwater off my face and dodged logging trucks and waved at every passerby.

It was a good run.

Glum
(Small Stone #20*)

My feet have been cold all day.
My heart feels hardened.

Small stone project

snap snap snap

A day of sunshine after a drought of grey. I went running. The sun felt black-hot on my body after a while. It was glorious.

Post-Run

A few minutes after I got home my mother showed up and took the kids out to the beach. Both kids. Time in my own home, by myself! Holy shit! A bath. Alone, in quietude. Making coffee. Playing the new Decemberist’s album while sewing. I know it doesn’t sound like much. But still.

The children showed up hours later after Ralph got home and as I was still stitching away. They each had one of those shark grabber toys in one hand while brandishing a giant ice cream cone in the other. My mom had taken them out to lunch, the beach, and some touristy shop full of fun kiddo toys before getting the ice cream.

Now that’s how it’s done. Nicely played, Grandma!

Getting out and about? Swimming, running, walking, soaking up some light and fresh air?

Yeah. This week’s turning out okay.

Post-Diving

Without artifice
(Small Stone #19*)

My children’s laughter
Is a constant in my life, these days.
Like glass and sunshine
Bathing the walls inside my home

Small stone project

wild world

Yesterday’s run was incredible. I’d meant to post pictures but I’ve been a bit disorganized of late.

Phoenix came along with me and read in the car while I ran.

Company

Daughter

Afterwards she asked if I wanted to see her and her friend Sasha’s favorite place to go – “the Bay”. These girls and a handful of other kids regularly come out to play, sometimes coming back more sand-encrusted and wet than you can imagine! (Whereupon we put them in a hot bath and make them a lunch and wash their clothes and find them dry ones.)

First she showed me the fort that someone else built; later she showed me a space about twenty feet away they used for their “bathroom”.

Roof, Fort
Roof, Fort

Then she led me out to the sandbar area.

Sojourn

The World of Phoenix

She asked me if I liked it there and I said Yes. “I’m impressed, Phoenix. I didn’t even know about this place and I grew up right around the corner.”

The World of Phoenix

My daughter showed me the “reeds” they’d harvested to begin making beds. Phoenix has such grativas and an incredible gift of expression and vocabulary: I forget sometimes she’s still a very little girl.

Then, Toilet!

Toilet

Crab claw!

Crab Claw, Bleached

Driftwood:
Driftwood

I don’t know what this is but I’ve seen many of these markings on many logs. My guess is this log was used as a staging area to cut other pieces of wood. I was not aware driftwood made much sense to use as firewood. In fact I don’t think about driftwood much at all and I’m not even sure if it’s legal to remove. I’ve been surrounded by driftwood my whole life and accept it as a natural wild beauty but a given. It isn’t until people visit me (or see pictures while reading my journal) that I realize it isn’t something everyone sees every day.

The run felt wonderful; I was honored, too, to get a glimpse of my girl’s private world.

toughness is in the soul and the spirit

On my run, today:

The Harbor

It is so fucking beautiful here. I wish my pictures did it service. So green and alive and wet. I’ve lived here long enough that even travelling a few hundred miles inland is hard on my body. I need the water, the water in the air, the water a few steps from my home, the rivers the estuaries the wetlands the sea.

Beeeeyyoootiful!

Today I was precisely taking a step on the sidewalk and my mind was filled with the hurtful words, and gestures, and simmering anger I’d seen in my friends and acquaintances and my tweetstream and looking over my husband’s shoulder at his Facebook account. And unfortunately people who are hurting say damaging things in kind, and even those of us they aren’t targeting directly, sometimes it hurts us too. And my mind was kind of roiling over this stuff and thinking I wanted to be a part of the world that stood up and said Stop, but also recognizing those who are most destructive do not respond well to being called out for the harm they do, and their needs are unmet too. And while I was thinking all of this, bits and fragments and feeling almost broken and decidedly not at-peace and:

I stepped forward on the sunny sidewalk and suddenly I could see the pain in these lives, the difficulties they were living out, a few specific people I knew and how they were hurting and how hard it must be for them and it was nothing personal. As clear as day the harm they did me and others (incidentally, not purposefully, I’m sure) it all melted away and I could see them in pain, brilliantly-rendered, in my mind’s eye, as impersonal as a framed photograph yet as alive as warm flesh. In that moment I was the person I wanted to be, not confined and scared and struggling and afraid and angry. I was the soul of compassion and calm understanding and humor and love.

The fact is as I have been growing my antennae to pain and suffering, yes, even in those who perpetrate. When a friend is calling someone a horrid word or saying something vicious I no longer see it in that black-and-white, that us-vs-them, that must make things seem easier, that must obfuscate suffering enough to keep it to a dull roar instead of acute pain, for so many. It’s like I’ve dialed into so much of the pain I used to not concern myself with and now I can’t stop receiving it. I’m reminded of Ray Milland’s character in X: The Man with the X-Ray Eyes; experimenting on himself he has inadvertantly exposed his eyes from intuiting the visible spectrum to now the ultraviolet and x-ray wavelengths and beyond, and it’s agonizing; only the spectrum I’m receiving is emotional and there’s no volume level and some days, minutes, hours, there’s no stopping it and I can’t handle it. It’s my fault, I think, but that doesn’t mean I can change it. I haven’t developed my coping strategies.

But today I had a glimpse of someone strong but soft; someone wise but humble, accepting of her limitations but still someone who could help. And I want to be that person. I don’t know if it’s possible for more than those occasional flashes of brilliant clarity. I want to believe it is.

My run felt wonderful. At home now, showered, the sun streaming through the window, in my house are five children happily playing; music is playing and the children are all so happy and safe. I feel broken and sad for my grownup friends but I feel so good about who I can be for these little ones. It has to be enough, for now.

Neighbors

only in my dreams, as real as it may seem

I love running but I hate getting sized up, which is what any woman is subjected to the moment she goes outside. And if you go outside dressed femme or sexy or working out or pregnant or discernibly Lady with a Body, it happens all the more. Guess what, fellows, I do not exist for your Boner-Scale of Awesome (or Fail)â„¢. After a near-lifetime of getting speculated on and checked over I’m about sick of it. Sure, you do it without thinking much. After all, why not?  That’s what ladies are for, your once-over (and perhaps verbal speculation although that is not necessary every time), the quick way you decide Yes or No without regard to my personhood or my agency or my say in the matter (which is Nope).

The breathtaking scope and variance of the doodz who haven’t trained out of this culturally-assigned legacy is almost impressive in its nuance and the ways I’ve been evaluated and skewered or “approved”. Maybe some of these men see a buxom lady-jogger and it gets them going and they check out the bounce before off to get their shake and fries at the diner. Maybe some of them see a fat little potato-shaped matron trudging along valiantly but somewhat pathetically. Maybe my thighs are just right for their taste; but maybe my waist is too thick. Maybe my ass isn’t quite big enough although in general my proportions, yum. Maybe they like the lipstick and earrings or take offense at the dowdy sweatshirt.

I do not much care except to say you don’t have the right, and if there’s any part of you that thinks you do you are wrong, and I sympathize you were given this socially-prescribed birthright but as long as you employ it you’re seriously part of The Problem which is Vast and Boring at the same time. And I’m sure like me you want our daughters to grow up free to be people with agency who live in safety, not reduced to fantasy for whatever assholes come their way (nor scorned repeatedly and over and over again if she doesn’t make the grade, well wait a minute, none of us really can anyway), and I’m sure like me you want our sons to grow up respecting all people and sticking up for the women and children and otherwise-marginalized in their lives and showing integrity instead of being carbon-copy Apatowvian dickweeds who think men are center stage in their own comedy/dramady (either Alpha Male or Slacker Alpha Male) and ladies’ feelings are mostly just kind of jokes or Craziness or They Really Like Shopping Har Har!

And ladies. Seriously. If you think I’m running to pursue weight loss or fit into size X jeans or make sure to look good for my boyfriend/husband/coworkers? Nope. If you’re feeling shame when you drive by because my bodywork reminds you you’re “lazy” and “bad” (ZOMG you totally ate two slices of cheesecake last night!) that is seriously your call yet I wish you freedom from self-loathing (often disguised as weight-loss “empowerment”); I once bought this rhetoric, more or less, and I’ve left it behind (or continue to work to do so, rather) and Good Riddance. If you’re driving by and look me up and down and assess me as fat or slow and maybe not a threat, well, you’re certainly right about all that. Some day you’ll probably be fat and slow too, and about 80% of people breed so maybe you’ll be a Mama or step-Mama and get to find out what it’s like to carve out some Self-time in a culture that hardly allows for female imperfections or humanity, and maybe after a few years of exposure to that kind of thing when you see me you’ll stick your fist in the air and pump a Yes! because:

For me running is like every bit a visceral love, from the glittering water in the bay that looks so inviting but is cold and hostile, to the building 1324 long abandoned and faded to a pristinely-aged pink-grey of plywood bleached by sun and wind, to the sour-glue smell of the lumbermill and the attendant log trucks that blast by, to the intersection of Adams and Airport Way that today I have all of a sudden and immediate memory of the first time I saw the place, over 25 years ago, a memory called up; past the shiny, large Ford pickup trucks of the Latino workers with their Catholic church programs stuffed in the front windshield, past the glittering pelicans that dive and float in the treatment pond

And

I raise my hand and wave at every car or on-foot soul I see while I run. I can’t tell if people wave back as usually I have to get my eyes right back on the gravel-laden, treacherous sidewalks. In my ears screech the discordant disasters of Radiohead’s violence followed by their sublime, depressing, self-consciously drink-and-Robitussin-dose yourself on the couch at some party Friday night songs, the sweat is pouring off me and the sun feels better than just about anything.

Some links.

Feminazi Propaganda:
Lesley writes on the all-important boner with “The Suffering Ween: An Important Social Essay” (satire alert).

Do not click on “Sexy and Pregnant: It Is Possible” (from womanist-musings.com) unless you can stomach the good ol’-fashioned lady-hate, which of course is amped up in these particularly specific and nasty little ways the minute a woman takes the step to become a baby incubator. Personally, never in my life has my body been more commented upon and groped by strangers.

Parenting:
Mamapoekie published two pieces having resonance for me today: “Respond With Sensitivity – Why Yelling Is Wrong And How You Can Avoid It” and “Out With The Negative… In With The Positive”.

Activism:
The I-75 project by Norm Magnusson

Celebrate Bisexuality Day; I’m celebrating the same way I do every day: big a big ol’ bisexual. Did you know bisexuals are much-maligned, even within the LGBT community? Often portrayed as “confused”, unfaithful, or “greedy” (yes, greedy!) or my favorite, the sociopathic freak. Last night I watched an episode of “Law & Order: Criminal Intent” where our lead criminal was a comely bisexual lady was also a mass-murdering, ex-prostitute, deeply-damaged-by-horrific-abuse (because all bisexuals are weirdos who had something terrible happen to them as kiddos!), manipulative and high-level identity-chameleon (now that I think about it the first episode of the entire series had a diamond-stealing, you guessed it, cold-blooded killing bisexual; then there was “The Enemy Within” about a murderous nurse who, uh, was a bisexual sociopath. This is that show’s sum-total bisexual treatment in one season plus change.). Or you know, most bisexuals are kind of like everyone else. People.

Incidentally the bisexual I thought of first thing when I learned it was Celebrate Bisexuality Day was Jeremy Brett, probably the best Sherlock Holmes ever, and you know I’m a huge Holmes-geek.

Et Cetera:
At Attack From Planet B we have a recap of Megashark vs. Giant Octopus. This film has serious merits and holds a special place in the Hogaclan esteem. First of all you have Deborah Gibson (yeah, that one) and Lorenzo Lamas (yup, that guy, and by the way, all my pregnancy ultrasounds were done by his brother – no lie); you also have an Asian male love interest for Ms. Gibson’s character (no – really!) and of course some wonderful implausibilities (warning: clicking results in spoilers). By the way please, please tell me Mega Python vs. Gataroid is real, and we will be seeing more B movies pitting 80s pop stars against the monsters.

Four Color Fear: Forgotten Horror Comics of the 1950s; I want to get this so bad for Phoenix. She is an exemplary artist and loves creepy horror comics. I have not been able to find a lot of good examples. Contemporary ones usually have over-the-top rape and violence narratives, besides, much like me, I think the girl appreciates vintage.

I just ordered this pattern to sew my brother up some underwear (as per his request); today some stellar elastic arrived via eBay. Fabric choices: a lovely bamboo/cotton. I can’t wait to get started!

Finally: I am going to open up a homesewn shop here at the blog. Slow-sewing. What kinds of pieces would you like to see? (note: any feedback is not considered a commitment to purchase!)

hoga-cat count, back up to 4

Meet Josie.

Meet Josie

First of all, I want to thank everyone for their support, well-wishes, advice, and hugs regarding our kitty Laurence. It’s been a month exactly since he went missing. I tell myself it is possible we will see him again (which now means our kitty-count would go up to five, which is something I try not to think about) which would be wonderful… but my hopes are dwindling. Ralph and I have been wondering if he was adopted illicitly by someone else around the way. He disappeared so quickly, without a trace, and the flyers we put up around the neighborhood were immediately and categorically torn down. It really hurts my heart that I don’t know what happened to him.

Since little Hamilton was robbed of her brother and playmate, Ralph and I have been entertaining the idea of adopting a companion kitty for her. Today I received notice of kitties about Hamilton’s age and therefore a potential perfect match.

Josie was a free kitten, as it turns out residing at the fellow’s home we sold our van to over a year ago (a carpet cleaner; he’d tenderheartedly brought a litter and mama home from a woman who was moving and planning to dump them at our in-town [kill] shelter). She came already named*, as it happens a name I completely love (in fact it was on my very short list for my firstborn’s name). She’s been pretty mellow since she got here. Mostly just sniffing and stropping herself against my legs for comfort. As I type she has one pristine paw resting on my shoe while she looks at me quizzically.

Right. A Bunch Of Sniffing.

Today was sunny; lovely. Early in my day I went for a run, a bit longer than usual. It put me in a great mood as did the hot shower and hot coffee afterward. I delivered the limón bunting to the intended recipient (who wasn’t at her workplace to receive it, so no feedback yet), which made me feel good. Oh and by the way, guess how easy it was to motivate kids to get dressed & teeth brushed to head out the door for kittenz-adoptin? Yeah.

Getting Ready, Pt 1

As I type this two of Phoenix’s fan club have arrived. The children immediately squeal upon seeing the new kitty. One of them, J., misapprehends when he hears squeals of kitty-delight. “You found him?” he asks, delightedly (meaning Laurence). What joy, what care these neighborhood children evidence. Now that I’ve learned how to be around children I wouldn’t trade their company for just about anything else.

* One of her littermates was originally called “Patches” but since the little girl living in the house couldn’t say it, the name became “Blatches”, which makes me laugh until doubled over.

trains and sewing machines

One thing I haven’t really talked about is I’ve taken a new commitment (unpaid, for/with awesome people/projects who totally deserve support!) and it’s taking up a bit of my time. There’s a milestone just passing now and I might get a small reprieve for more personal projects. I’ll tell you, I’m looking forward to it. Because today’s work also included designing the programs for the 7th Street Theatre‘s upcoming movie, a job I’ve been doing for the 3+ years since I moved back. My various work is resulting in pain through my right arm.

Anyway, summation: Ralph and I have both, for various and mostly unrelated reasons, been working harder than usual. We’re barely catching up on our sleep, let alone getting time to ourselves to decompress. Patience: I know times of busyness and stress pass.

Running helps. It’s lovely. I swear I enjoy this time most when I’m listening to depressing and/or violently loud music. Highlights from today: Beck’s “Everybody’s Got to Learn Sometime” (by the way I have been told by more than one person I remind them of Kate Winslet’s character Clementine from the associated film Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Flattering!) and Imogen Heap’s “Hide and Seek” (vocoder not autotune, fools), which is goddamned poetry by the way*:

Oily marks appear on walls where pleasure moments hung before the takeover/
The sweeping insensitivity/
Of this still life.

I totally love listening to songs about divorce while happily married. It’s like walking up to a cliff and looking over.

* And since I don’t have a TV, it hasn’t been ruined for me by the cheesy use in Pretty White Kids With Problems shows and their parodies, w00t.

pwnage, linkage, oh my!

This was an awesome spider. My camera is lacking. You will have to settle for this mediocre photo.
Hard At Work

Today went better than yesterday, energy and emotional-health wise. I cooked most of the day and I went running even though I wasn’t sure if I had time – I made the time anyway. I ran against the wind and I ran in gravel. I am the least ankle-twisting person I know. Because I ran in the gravel while fucking around with my iPod a lot. I have much music I need to cull so I had to continually skip to goodness. Today I ran to an assortment including “Great Gig in the Sky” by Pink Floyd and “Armchairs” by Andrew Bird. Not exactly the running music for everyone but because I find the whole thing wonderful and emotional and like to sing while I run (if no one’s around to witness) songs like that work for me (also: Jazmine Sullivan’s “Fearless” – favorite running album right now).

Cooking proceeded while kids (my own and others) ran in and out of my house and sampled cake batter and played with chickens. We had dinner guests and another friend besides whom I got to pack some food for. Seriously, there is too much awesomeness to list; click on the picture if you’d like the run-down.

September 14th, 2010

In other news – oh internetz. Why are you so rad? Don’t you realize I have OTHER things to do with my time?

Still, how about I spread the love with all this awesomeness? ‘Cause this young woman Rose? She’s pretty heartfelt and fabulous. I found her words kind of fiercely awesome. I wish she lived in my neighborhood!

Pop culture: Michelle at bitch writes pretty much exactly how I feel about the television show “True Blood”. Thanks, Michelle, and well-done.

Pop culture part 2: I didn’t follow the VMAs, and Lady Gaga’s much-talked about meat dress is snore-inducing (like most stunts are for me), but I had a little “go Cher!” moment: “If I Could Turn Back Time: Ageism Is Alive Today” at WomanistMusings.

And please – how could I not post the classic (Jen G., you reading this)?

“Your breast is obscene” – I’m so glad I re-found Hathor.

In other news, a fat lady eats more than half a pizza. ZOMG! Tangentially, guess what, diet talk is really fucking boring (despite the hostile-sounding intro, a very compassionate and awesome post at Spilt Milk).

This was a lovely, heartfelt, and fabulous essay from an online friend: “Treasures in Heaven”.

Finally – Bitches Ain’t Shit: