my honey and i took our second annual new years day hike, so i think it’s officially a tradition. at least until we come across a year that isn’t sunny and gorgeous on day one. we bundled up for the cold clear day, walked out the door, down the driveway, and turned onto a logging road. when we stopped to take this picture,  we could hear the ocean.

we could see the very tall trees surrounding our house off in the distance.


i know i’m being redundant, but i absolutely adore where i live.


all of the christmas presents received to date have been opened. to all friends and family reading here who sent wonderful gifts, thank you so much! it was as if each gift we opened communicated a clear message that someone had put a tremendous amount of thought into knowing exactly who we are and what we would like.

i am personally very thankful that the gifts i received are all either very practical (socks, soap) or very meaningful and useful (my nana’s strawberry plates, and a homemade table runner my mom quilted). rich and i were apparently on the exact same wavelength when gifting each other- our mutual gifts take up only as much space as a dozen or so cds, and will be well used judging by how we have been playing them non-stop. see, the thing is, we don’t have much space, and i think this is a blessing, because i think both of us may count the pack-rat among our totem animals. maybe that is going too far, because although we have recently been visited by said creature, which relentlessly attacked everything food-related in our foyer, we, um, have sent that particular individual on the long journey back to the packrat people in the sky. but alas, it seems that we have trouble letting go of things. i do. i have been reading rolf gates’ meditations from the mat, and his writings about aparigraha, the yoga concept of non-hoarding, have been hitting home for me.

“at first glance, aparigraha sounds like a problem of the shop-till-you-drop club. but upon further examination, i realized that my whole apartment is one big aparigraha violation. i am not a big spender, and i hardly ever shop. so how can this be? i don’t want more, i just don’t want to lose what i already have. i might miss that shirt i haven’t worn in years. i might want to read that book again someday. that chipped bowl is still perfectly usable. it’s not that i’m a hoarder, i am a nonrelinquisher. i don’t want to grieve the loss of anything. aparigraha is an opportunity to learn how to say goodbye.” (rolf gates, meditations from the mat)

this home is different for me from many of the houses i’ve lived in, where i’ve had one little room (sometimes quite little) and tended to crowd my stuff into it rather than spread it out around the entire living space. in this house, i live in the whole thing, but that doesn’t come naturally to me. it’s been a process of me learning to stretch out, and also a process of letting go. as much as i don’t want to let go of certain things, i am feeling an even greater desire for space and flexibility and the ability to work and grow into this space we call home.


speaking of working… my blog has a few new tabs up at the top, as my livelihood has taken a step away from the realm of salaries and health benefits. for now, i am putting a lot of energy into three areas of potential income. my cloth diaper business (earth huggy) which i began as a farmer’s market booth in 2009; teaching yoga classes at jeany volk’s studio; and providing wordpress help for websites and blogs. there is now a tab for each of them, so if you are interested in supporting me in any of them, it’s easy to find out how.


friday at 1 o’clock, the phone rang. “i know you’re supposed to be picking quinn up at 3 o’clock today,” said the dhs caseworker, and just like that, enough adrenalin to stop a menstrual cycle in its tracks was coursing through my veins. “there has been another call.”

i have not known what to say, or how to say it, about what happened last january, and i’m not even sure i posted here the basic fact that quinn’s father accused me of abusing quinn. at that time, he filed custody paperwork asking for all but a handful of hours (literally, count them on one hand) per week of supervised parenting time that i would be allowed, which would have left me a lot of time to go bankroll the $932 of child support a month he was asking for. back at the time, i spent 21 days without quinn, while police detectives and dhs caseworkers alike interrogated me about my disciplinary methods. (“well officer, have you read alfie kohn?”) so, when i have expressed relief at the progress that we haltingly made through mediation and with help from a child psychologist, i wasn’t exaggerating. the end result of our custody judgment is that i have sole legal custody of quinn, we share the parenting time almost 50-50 (i have a handful more hours per week than he does) and it is signed by us both and has a judge’s stamp on it. (before this, we had an informal written agreement forged in a year and a half of counseling sessions, but no court paperwork.)

someone (i have no idea who, but the caseworker said it was not quinn’s dad) called because quinn has a raw red patch underneath his nose (the result of, pardon the tmi, licking his snot when his dad does not follow him around reminding him to blow his nose like rich and i do) and some “well meaning” individual, or some small town busybody, or someone quinn’s dad put up to it, made a phone call. i wonder how often we will get to do this before they will decide to stop using tax dollars to pay for them to come look at a house any child would be lucky to live in, filled with people who adore him and cherish him with unconditional positive regard.

my heart rate went back to normal when the caseworker was finished meeting with us and said i was able to go pick up quinn. but my heart is not okay with other people being in the position to tell me whether i may or may not pick up my child. i discovered that very early on, when the neotnatal intensive care unit quinn spent his first six days in challenged my assertion that quinn was ready to be at home with me, being held, establishing our breastfeeding relationship, and not hooked up to machines he hadn’t needed since the first day of his life which prevented me from holding him. it didn’t feel good then, the oppression of others telling me what i could and could not do with my son, and it doesn’t feel good now.

serendipitously, when we got home there was a project waiting to be worked on with hammer and nails, which was exactly what i needed at that moment. to return to normal and maybe whack something with a hammer to work out a little of the negative energy and junk brought on by the day. this shelf was to fulfill a request from quinn for a white shelf that he can put his toys on. he was delighted that i had gotten just the one he wanted, and it is now in place under his bed holding harry potter books, art supplies, toys and playdough stuff.

i don’t think my breathing returned to normal until around bedtime.


things move in their cycles; we have been noticing out loud how little gardening and yard work we have been doing, when at other times we seem to do them non-stop. lately we get home after dark even though it’s not that late, and flash our headlamp strobes at one another, like fireflies winking their come on lines at one another. slowly we have been emerging on weekend afternoons to hack away at the salmonberry that is already starting to bud. i arrange a pastel colored organic cotton diaper on a mossy bench and take its picture from five different angles, then try to brush off the twigs and moss. inside, i drape it over a chair to dry before it goes back into the tote full of items to list on etsy.

there are always going to be more exercises in letting go. i am starting to recognize them coming, instead of only after they’ve run me over and gone.

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