Haze and howl.

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Smacked down with a jagged little head-cold. Some bits from my phone, remnants of my desultory search for spring …

A mark on a lamppost.

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A squadron of daffodils besieging the links.

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A shrubbery unconvinced by spring’s opening argument.

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The sock monkey wishes you a Merry Christmas Eve-Eve.

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As my plan to get a tree fell through yesterday, I decided to wake up early and get one this morning. I have no method of conveyance so this was destined to be a small tree, but that’s okay. A tree is a tree, and although I had been avoiding it — as if getting a Christmas tree by myself was the symbol of admitting that FunkyPlaid won’t be here on Christmas — I went out in the freezing slush and got myself a tree. I even have ornaments, but no ornament hangers, a fact I realised too late to rectify because our local hardware store has inscrutable business hours. So I won’t unveil the whole thing until tomorrow when the ornaments are on it, but here is a glimpse of the sock monkey who lives in the tree. Is that a Scottish thing? I don’t know, but she won’t leave.

Writing from: the pine-scented lounge. Listening to: the dings of iMessage.

Magic windows.

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Bellagio Conservatory and Botanical Gardens Cam.

I’ve never been to Vegas, and I’m not sure if this photo of the Bellagio Conservatory and Botanical Gardens done up for Christmas makes me want to go or want to stay very far away. But I love that I can look in on it, live, and feel wildly ambivalent half a world away.

It’s been a while since my webcam was in regular operation, but I still peek in on webcams around the world, especially when I am feeling homesick. Here are some of my haunts.

Chicago skyline at dawn.

Chicago skyline at dawn.

Live cam on my old undergrad campus.

Live cam on my old undergrad campus.

Fog and the Golden Gate Bridge.

Fog and the Golden Gate Bridge.

Portmeirion Village. Because, well, it's The Village.

Portmeirion Village. Because, well, it’s The Village.

Did you know you can watch Andy Warhol’s gravesite live 24/7? Or dolphins frolicking in a Japanese aquarium? How about Icelandic glaciers or Transylvanian festivals? I found these and a lot more on EarthCam’s list of the 25 most interesting webcams of 2013.

This didn’t make the list, but I’ve been amusing myself by controlling Alek’s Christmas lights for Celiac Disease. (Really. I couldn’t make that up.)

Writing from: bed. Listening to: Macklemore, on Sharks’ recommendation, and really liking it.

Holiday spirit, express delivery.

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Lest you think that I’ve succumbed to mopey gothmas this December, I should mention some bright spots. One is a a very special advent calendar that my mom devised with special challenges for each day. She always thinks of the cleverest ways to mark the passage of the holiday season, and I’m really enjoying this one.

Also, FunkyPlaid has been long-distance nudging me to get a tree. When I got home from my team’s holiday dinner tonight, a box was propped up against the door. It was full of holiday decorations sent from my dad and stepmom. So now I really have no excuse.

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Now I will take my sleep-deprived self to bed, and dream of sugarplums. No, ew, gross. Nutella-plums.

Writing from: the day-bed in the window overlooking the garden. Chilly but my favourite place in the whole flat. Listening to: Zen’s chainsaw snores.

Portrait of a lady.

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Portrait of a Lady

I smile, of course,
And go on drinking tea.
“Yet with these April sunsets, that somehow recall
My buried life, and Paris in the Spring,
I feel immeasurably at peace, and find the world
To be wonderful and youthful, after all.”

– from T.S. Eliot’s “Portrait of a Lady”

I am fairly sure that Eliot did not have a virtual avatar sipping virtual tea in mind when he wrote those lines, but what better to offer as an apology for my own silence than words from one of the greatest poets who ever lived?

It has been an introspective couple of days.

Writing from: a vanilla-scented lounge (thanks, Ikea candle). Listening to: “Trans Fatty Acid” by Lamb.

Our cat is on back on the drugs.

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I had something else to write about today, but all I can think about is Torgi. The extended blood panel indicated that he has slight hyperthyroidism, which is a very common thing for cats to have, and treatable with medication.

That medication started today. It involved me tricking him into looking upwards and gently opening his mouth before dropping a tiny pill down his wee throat. O, I felt bad for doing it. The poor guy has been through so much. He gave me such an intense stare right afterwards. Perhaps that was his version of a dirty look?

In four weeks we will find out if this is a temporary condition or if he will need daily medication for the rest of his life. I’m trying not to see this as a setback, but I had fooled myself into thinking that once he beat the diabetes he’d be free from all of this bad stuff.

When stress levels get high, my useless repetitive behaviour ramps up. In addition to this, I stuck close to home today so I could watch for bad side-effects of Torgi’s meds. The combination of these two things meant that I worked on everything I needed to do and yet somehow, magically, almost nothing got done.

Not even a clever lyric from They Might Be Giants from me today, I’m afraid. Just mope-twitch-mope-twitch. Please, December, let’s pull out of this tailspin.

Writing from: a mostly-dark lounge. Mope-tastic. Listening to: “Little Drummer Boy / Peace on Earth” by Bing Crosby and David Bowie.