October 28, 2014

While you are missing from me

Filed under: Uncategorized — by spasibasong @ 1:37 am

In his absence comfort foods become necessary

I lean heavily on friends

17 days is eternity

If only we knew

If we could count down the days

Would an arbitrary count down help me cope?

‘I will see you again in twenty days.’  Perhaps.

October 3, 2014

Simplicity 1615

Filed under: Sewing — by spasibasong @ 3:29 am

Photo on 10-2-14 at 8.24 PM #3 Photo on 10-2-14 at 8.24 PM #4

Upon reflection, I realize this is overall a touch big.  Like, maybe it should be a 4 instead of a 6.  Simplicity likes to start at size 6 and go up, so I’m sure this will be a fun adventure in resizing.  On the other hand, McCall’s starts at 8, and those are always too big.  This is pattern #3 on my Ten Pattern Punch Card (I sew ten currently owned patterns, and I can buy a new one).

Photo on 10-2-14 at 8.24 PM #5 Photo on 10-2-14 at 8.24 PM #6 Photo on 10-2-14 at 8.24 PM #8 Photo on 10-2-14 at 8.25 PM

September 8, 2014

McCall’s 5890

Filed under: Sewing — by spasibasong @ 3:12 am

Photo on 9-7-14 at 7.31 PM #2Photo on 9-7-14 at 7.32 PM #5

Pattern Description:
Misses’ Jackets, Top, Dresses and Pants In 2 Lengths, for knit fabrics. The pattern is arranged to sew in timed increments, although I have ignored this feature.

Pattern Sizing:
Sizes 6-14, I cut a 6. Interestingly, while the 6 seems perfectly fitted in the jacket (and normally I am either 6 or 8), in the dress it was larger.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?
Not entirely. It looks like a jacket, however not having checked the sleeve length and being petite, the 3/4 sleeves hit right at my wrist bone (which is kind of retro looking, so I’m okay with it). I have fussed with the collar excessively and it does not want to lay nicely. Moreover, on the envelope it’s solid black so you can’t tell that the collar is a reverse of the fabric – on my fabric, that’s a flat white that I don’t care for.

Were the instructions easy to follow?
Em, no? I ignored them until I got to the collar. It was like any other shirt until then, and I’m still not clear on the intended effect of the draped pieces at the shoulders. It’s not intuitive to me, and actually I didn’t realize it was supposed to have pleats until I went to the directions. I have a tendency to make smaller seam allowances, and so I’m not sure if that made things worse when it came time to make the collar, but the illustrations and my jacket did not agree with each other. It’s ugly. I don’t care much because it’s all hidden, but if I sew this again I’m going to do it my own way. I did not care for the directions.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
See above frustration with the collar. Also frustration/failure on my part to look at the line drawings and instructions ahead of time and realize I’d have the wrong side of the fabric facing out on that collar/shawl drape front. However I love that it’s a knit cardigan with set-in sleeves; I’ll probably borrow the collar idea from another pattern so I can get the ‘right-side’ out. The back drapes very nicely and the hem flares just a bit and fits well.

Fabric Used:
Striped stretchy fabric of uncertain content, thrift-store purchase, about a yard of it. It reminds me of swimsuit material so I’m guessing lycra. Challenge being it stretched when hemming so it’s not even and may also be contributing to problems with the shawl laying correctly.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:
When I got to the part where the collar was supposed to have pleats, I skipped that and just gathered it. I might not even gather it if I do this again, as I am entirely unimpressed with how the collar and neckline sit and I am only thankful the fabric drapes OVER those ugly seams.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
Probably, because this is the type of garment I get a lot of use out of and the fit is good. I have another pattern I use for knit cardigans (Simplicity 1698) but the shawl front on it ends at my belly button with a high-low hem look and the body is loose, adding bulk around my midsection. I will probably combine the two.

I’m still playing around this this jacket, and I might just hand-stitch the collar/shawl to the inside so the right side of the fabric is on display. I am really enamored with the pattern. Overall I’m pleased with the garment.


Photo on 9-7-14 at 7.31 PM #4Photo on 9-7-14 at 7.32 PM #3

Photo on 9-7-14 at 7.32 PM #2Photo on 9-7-14 at 7.32 PM #4




September 5, 2014

Peter W. Crawford

Filed under: Uncategorized — by spasibasong @ 12:45 am

Crawford Bust, Kelso City Hall
Founder of Kelso (named after home town), in Cowlitz County, WA.
Born 1822 near River Tweed in Rosebury Shire, Scotland.
Undertook Oregon Trail 1847 with George Cline and family of Valparaizo, IN.

Junel Davidsen’s history here.

Married Zillah Patterson, daughter of Ira and Martha. Peter and Zillah are buried in Old City Cemetery, Vancouver, Washington, same as my Yates ancestors.

September 3, 2014

5:44 pm.

Filed under: Uncategorized — by spasibasong @ 6:47 pm

I like to eat powdered drinks.
I don’t add water, I just consume.

Do you know, I saw a question
Some personality test or another –
Someone dumps you. “You and me aren’t right
for each other.”

I often wonder that tang doesn’t get me high
But whatever.
I don’t eat it to get high.

Did you notice the bad grammar?
And I’m sitting here, wanting grape.
Not at first. Not when I didn’t know what I was looking for.
Now it’s all I see.

Does tang make other flavors?
I’m drinking ‘orange,’ but it’s a great value drink.
They also have fruit punch, lemon, grape.

Cherry too, I think.
You too can go to college.
Homework laid out before me.
Blatant: read. Sinagua.

But I have tang.
Who does homework at a time like this?
Not I, said the fly.

Little pages

Filed under: Uncategorized — by spasibasong @ 6:19 pm

I am about to fail a test.
I have lashed out
Due to fear
Due to uncertainty
Due to pain
Causing anger
And I’m sorry
Not because it isn’t me
But because it wasn’t you.
I’m sorry for latching on
I know it scares you
I’m sorry for clinging
I can feel you pulling away
I’m not what you want,
Not what you need,
But more – I’m sorry for me,
I’m not who I could be.

Little pages

Filed under: Uncategorized — by spasibasong @ 6:08 pm

How to be the you you are
Ten minutes at a time
Eat pasta with fettuccine sauce
And drink fine Italian wine
Or publish pages of poetry
In volumes bound with gold
So people can collect them
And your revenues explode
Leave the rinds off your oranges
On the window pane
Then later, when it’s quiet,
Toss them in the lane.

These active choices in our lives
Are they us or mere reflections?
Things we choose to say, to do,
Things we choose to question?
Am I me, or do you see
Just what it is I’m meaning?
What is who we are, in fact,
Us – or what we’re thinking?

August 24, 2014

Something to think about

Filed under: Uncategorized — by spasibasong @ 11:14 pm

Always have three good stories on hand that reliably entertain, inform or engage.

August 15, 2014


Filed under: Elements of Writing — by spasibasong @ 11:53 pm

This is a first entry on a topic which I feel compelled to address again and again; I am never entirely convinced of my success.  I’m calling this ‘stuff,’ because it is about the items that fill our lives.  They take up space and time and we sometimes skew our priorities because the stuff possesses it’s own gravity – it ‘stuffs’ our lives.  Many of us are compelled to collect stuff; we like the verb hoard for this.  If a Viking Horde were attacking your village, you would be terrified, but a Hoard attacking your Life?  Meh.  Stuff.

I think about belongings because part of me must wander, and it is difficult to wander with possessions.  On foot journeys, most things are dead weight.  I have a beautiful elephant lamp here on my desk that has moved from New Mexico to Texas to New Mexico to Arizona to Oregon with me.  It would serve no purpose on a hike.  It would become heavier the longer I carried it, and yet it is here, has come all this way with me.  I value it, but that value is circumstantial.  When I left Kazakhstan, I left behind many things, boxes of things I had acquired over my two years: I can remember very few of them, and those I am okay with never seeing again.  Yet I boxed them up to save!  I nearly carried some of them home across the ocean with me!  Their importance was perplexing and transitory.  And certainly a book could be written about the treasures left behind by long-distance hikers who discover their priorities no longer include being dry or smelling good or reading nightly.  Some of us wanted more space for fresh fruit, a luxurious weight in a backpack.  Or we carried a musical instrument, proving value through effort.  But all of us, despite our intentions, despite our research, despite our planning, carried something we did not turn out to need.  We all brought along some kind of stuff.

Returning from Kazakhstan, among my firsts, “The 1st item I want to buy is Halloween Socks.”  There were other things, things that do not cost money and involve people and experiences.  But there was also those socks.  I am not sure whether in fact I purchased any, but I do not possess them now.  I cycle belongings, since I cannot prevent myself acquiring them.  Their ‘value’ was not what one might call ‘permanent.’

“These people are reduced to practically nothing, and they are taking even that from each other.  It seems oddly wonderful to her that a stained pair of boxer shorts can be elevated to an object of desire.  It says something about the nature of desire.”

-Sybil Smith, “Free As Mr. B.,” printed in The Sun, issue 375, March, 2007.

Then there was a moment of realization, poignant and fundamental, after a particularly violent argument with my husband.  The argument was simply miscommunication, and its gravity was entirely out of proportion to the actual concern.  Our anger mostly spent, we were sitting at our kitchen table, uncertain how to proceed.  My eyes rested on a list of things I wanted to buy.  To purchase.  To give money in exchange for ownership.  How hollow those items seemed!  I write this because I want to remember that feeling: that no item was more valuable to me than the person across the table.  But that’s not quite it; I felt actually repulsed.  I didn’t need any of those things.  I flash back to the brilliant scene in Labyrinth, when Sarah returns to her room and the Junk Lady is handing her ‘valuables.’  “It’s all junk!” Sarah realizes, and periodically I realize that, too.

Of course, at the end of Labyrinth, Sarah does return home, and she returns to her life and her stuff and she’s happy with it.  I’m happy with my stuff, which includes a paper dinosaur ornament, an aluminum cube full of permanent markers, five pairs of blue jeans.  I just want to keep being not entirely satisfied with that arrangement.  I want to continue evolving my understanding of material objects.  I want to keep in mind that my stuff owns me, too.

August 13, 2014

On The Porch with Kate

Filed under: Elements of Writing,Uncategorized — by spasibasong @ 9:07 pm

My cat Kate has a chronic illness. It is messy, and an ongoing expense, and it’s probably going to shorten her life. Of course, I can’t help thinking that life is a terminal condition.

We will never be able to quantify it’s affect on her age. We can quantify her discomfort, which waxes and wanes. We are auditioning a painkiller, now.
She and I are on the balcony. I have a second story apartment, allowing the cats to go “outside” and still be indoor cats. I don’t feel strongly about keeping cats indoors, just our cats. I am not sure what describes this balcony as a ‘porch,’ but I interchange the terms comfortably.

We are on the balcony, with myself in a green camp chair and her spread on my lap, because it is what she wants. Because her new pain medicine makes her unsteady, and it is hard not to wonder if she’d rather hurt less or have control of her body. So I hold her.

What I can’t give her is control. Her body has, for several years now, been mishandling her nutrients. It does not seem to matter what goes in – it comes out again unexpectedly, sometimes unannounced.

For a while we expected it was cancer, something slow acting and internal. When we learned diagnosis would not affect treatment, we opted to forgo expensive procedures. So we don’t know what is going on inside her – and if it is not cancer, it still might develop into that.

Kate is my Valentine – adopted February 15, when I was 25. The shelter thought she was six months old. She had a cold, and she was four pounds.

When I got her spayed – learning afterwards that her tiny body had been pregnant – and the vet saw her teeth, he said she was probably one year old.

At her largest, Kate weighed seven pounds. Three years later, we noticed blood in her stools. I asked the vet to look for parasites. We didn’t know to look deeper. She is just under five pounds now, although not a year ago she weighed less.

Would an early start have gotten a reprieve in her symptoms? We can only speculate. And, after all, life is a terminal condition. My mother had a sweet cat she only got to know for one year. I’ve cared for kittens who did not live that long. Even me, imagining I will be old someday – I can’t know that I will ever live past forty. When I turned twenty-one, I remember feeling surprised that adulthood really happened to people. I hadn’t expected to die, but I also hadn’t thought about what it would be like to keep living.

Hopefully, the medications are improving Kate’s quality of life. And if not, at least being on the porch, on my lap, is.

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