This week.


That was quite a week, wasn’t it? Someone’s been busy. All I did was go to work, get a haircut, and try not to lose my damned mind over every New York Times app notification. Even my trusty Lamy 2000 fell apart.

At least Zen has had a great week. In between “spa treatments” (read: subcutaneous fluids) she’s been hand-fed baby food and otherwise fussed over pretty much non-stop.


For every task I completed, I added three more to my to-do list. And next week begins with catalog upgrades, which means downtime, which means falling even further behind. January: snowed under on both metaphorical and literal levels.


I started reading again! Currently I’m alternating between Ta-Nehisi Coates’ Between the World and Me and Jen Sincero’s You Are a Badass.

FunkyPlaid and I watched an episode of Daredevil, but were too bored to continue. We moved on to Black Mirror, which is terrific but probably not the best thing to be watching at the moment.

Aurally, it’s mostly movie soundtracks and Jelly Roll Morton for me.

On the Internet

Ink o’ the Week

Noodler’s Ottoman Azure: deep sapphire blue with plenty of shading for capturing the nuances of melancholy.

Featured photo: the sign we put up in our yard.

Day 335 of Project 365: American breakfast.

I got a little more sleep last night but still not enough to fully replenish my depleted reserves of patience and compassion. I stayed late at work again, then evening traffic was stupid so I stopped off at Fred Meyer for a spot of grocery shopping and ended up wandering the aisles, looking for weirdness.

2016-11-30 22.34.18.jpg

This being America, it didn’t take very long.

One year ago today, I was still in Scotland, finishing my NaNoWriMo manuscript. I  had already started to wonder what living in America again would be like, if I would be able to find a library job, how I would deal with saying goodbye to my friends and home. I naively pondered how it would feel to be in the same geographical location as FunkyPlaid for the holidays, and how it would feel to vote for the first female President of the United States.

Today it’s all annoying the crap out of me. Everything. I went to sign up for Holidailies and couldn’t figure out why I was doing it anymore. Instead of pushing myself to do things I tell myself I should do, I’m going to try and listen to myself a little more.

I’m going to be clear: I don’t like the practice of saying that a year sucked. It’s reductive and disingenuous. 2016 has held some amazing things (like the aforementioned job, despite low-patience days like today). But 2016 has been a massive disappointment on significant fronts. When I was much younger I thought we were all working together toward creating an United Federation of Planets. I knew Star Trek wasn’t real but I believed in it anyway. And 2016 just seems to be another reminder that not only are we nowhere near that level of cooperation, we’re still floundering around in the dirt, throwing rocks at each other.

And I don’t have a message of hope to neatly tie this up in a bow for you tonight. But I’m working on it.

Writing from: my study in Portland, Oregon. Listening to: “Last Night, Last Night, Last Night” by Well Then, Goodbye.

Day 293 of Project 365: This nasty woman votes.

I largely avoid discussing politics here. It’s a conscious choice to keep this space clear of incontinent trolls who cannot help but spew ill-reasoned bile all over any corner of the Internet that grabs their attention.

But tonight, during the final presidential debate, the Republican nominee for President of the United States called Hillary Clinton “such a nasty woman.” This misogynist name-caller considers himself qualified to hold the highest political office in America, to confer and collaborate with other world leaders, to help decide the fate of the planet. I won’t even get into the rest of this person’s problematic behavior; you read the news, so you know already. I am aghast at the mental hoops someone must jump through to justify voting for someone who is simply unable to keep his petty little opinion to himself on national television.

I hesitate to jump on meme bandwagons, but this one spoke to me. And this nasty woman votes.

2016-10-19 22.44.09-2.jpg

Writing from: my study in Portland, Oregon. Listening to: nothing. Just … nothing.

Day 246 of Project 365: Freedom of choice.

FunkyPlaid spotted this at Fred Meyer tonight.

2016-09-02 20.36.35-1.jpg

And it’s Pumpkin Spice Latte season.

Ah, America!

Writing from: my study in Portland. Listening to: “In the Still of the Night” by The Five Satins.

Day 225 of Project 365: A very American thing.

I have a few things to say about today’s photo.

2016-08-12 17.58.40-1.jpg

First of all, had I been on the Duck Tape® board of directors (a career goal I did not know that I had until this very moment) the marketing department would not have had to sell this very hard to me. I probably would have already suggested it myself. I am a firm believer in the restorative power of comfort food, and approximately 0.5% of all of my waking thoughts involve mac & cheese in some way, especially now that I can’t eat it anymore in its true form, relegated as I am to the chalky, rubbery forms that are the provenance of gluten-free facsimiles of beloved horrible foods. So why shouldn’t a picture of this most excellent food be printed on this most excellent human invention? I find this impulse to brand even the most mundane of objects to be so American. Who except me would ever see my mac & cheese Duck Tape®?

Second, it is a relief to have visual confirmation of the Duck Tape® brand name in the wild[1]. I was asked about this in the context of a trivia game sometime recently and I thought it was a weird detail that my brain had filed away, then I promptly forgot to research it. But here it is, in our local hardware store. It is real[2]. And now that leftover brain process can be redirected to something useful, like wondering if I will ever be able to pronounce “Pleiades” correctly or remember the American Sign Language symbol for P without having to stare at my hand dolefully long enough to make conversation awkward.

Third, despite the obvious corny remark I could make about orange-hued things and America, I mostly don’t talk about politics here. It is a concerted effort on my part to make this place one minuscule corner of the universe that is free from such silliness by devoting it solely to whatever tickles my fancy. (Hey, the brain process just latched onto the etymology of “tickles my fancy”[3]. Nice work!) But you know that already, or you wouldn’t be reading this. If you got lost on your search for hard-hitting journalism online and ended up here … I’m not going to judge. Your local public library will be able to help you find some sources.

Fourth, I dreamed that I got a job in a combination Italian restaurant and hair salon, but I kept sitting down to dinner with my family instead of working. When my manager finally gave up on meaningful eyebrow gestures and came right over to fire me for not serving any food, I explained to her that I already had a full-time job at a library, and burst into tears. She soothed me, and offered me a part-time job in the evenings shampooing hair and sweeping up. I happily accepted.

Writing from: my study. Listening to: The President’s 2016 Summer Playlist: Day. The First Lady’s Day of the Girl Playlist is also worth a mention, another flawless deployment of social media by the Obamas’ PR team[4].

1. Despite the brand-name dropping, I am not a shill. But the name amuses me.

2. Or an elaborate hoax for an incredibly targeted audience. Occam’s Razor applies here.

3. “tickle, v.1”. OED Online. June 2016. Oxford University Press. (accessed August 12, 2016).

4. Oops, politics.