Day 364 of Project 365: Pine-scented.

A tiny tree sits next to a pine-scented candle, and it is drizzling outside. Zen wanders through the house, pausing to express her displeasure at all of the chilly corners that lack FunkyPlaid’s presence. But soon he will be coming home, and we’ll all be warmer.

You have noticed by now that despite being Day 364 of this project, there are two more days left in 2016. Leap year granted me a bonus Day 366 photo! No pressure …

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Writing from: my study in Portland, Oregon. Listening to: the rain. Happy it’s not snow!

Day 355 of Project 365: Wrapped up.

Gift-giving makes me incredibly anxious. I’m not certain where it comes from, but it is pervasive at this time of year, especially when I don’t have my very best shopping pal at my side to talk me out of talking myself out of choices.

I do like giving people things, but I’m always convinced I’ve given the wrong thing. And it sucks, doubly so in a new workplace where I am still unsure of the gift-giving protocol.

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It will be a miracle if I can get to sleep tonight.

Writing from: my study in Portland, Oregon. Listening to: my internal monologue.

Day 350 of Project 365: Box of Christmas cheer.

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A beautiful box of Christmas cheer from my dad and stepmom was waiting for me when I arrived home. It could not have come at a better time; with FunkyPlaid away I haven’t felt much holiday spirit this year, and last week’s weather foiled two of my planned holiday outings. Then this week’s weather caused the worst commute ever. Today’s drive home was less horrible but still harrowing, and I won’t be taking my car back out on Portland roads in even vaguely snowy conditions without chains. And maybe a cowcatcher.

Writing from: my study in Portland, Oregon. Listening to: some holiday music. I’m trying!

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.

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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.