crisper

Over the past two days I’ve had three different conversations about my life in Scotland. By the time I got in my car to drive home, I was deeply homesick for it, mostly the friends and coworkers I miss, but also mundane bits like Christmas Eve in Waitrose, random herds of curious horses, learning how to ride the bus in a foreign land, and frost-covered moss. I was thinking of that moss when I encountered the frost-dusted leaf in this photo.

Homesickness is generally expressed as a one person, one place phenomenon, but I have experienced waves of homesickness for every place I’ve ever lived. I even yearn for Alabama from time to time, especially the late afternoon summer thunderstorms that shake the magnolia trees, all slick green and heavy cream. Does it make me feel fickle sometimes? Sure. Someone once excoriated my use of the word “favorite” because, in his words, “They can’t all be favorites.”

Can’t they?

Writing from: a quiet study in Portland, Oregon. Listening to: “Trains” by Poppy Ackroyd.

This is Cheechaw, our house spider. She sits serenely above us all and eats all of the nasty bugs that come around. I love her. I had to get up on a step-stool to take this photo and even then I had to lift my arms way above my head.

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I named her “Cheechaw” for no particular reason at all except that I call most wee sweet creatures “Cheechaw”. It’s a generic term of endearment which probably originated from Lindsay Bluth’s chicken dance.

Writing from: my study in Portland, Oregon. Listening to: FunkyPlaid listen to NFL people talk about NFL things.

Today’s smile started when I picked FunkyPlaid up from the airport this morning and it hasn’t been far from my face since.

FunkyPlaid even managed to decorate a little for Halloween! I’m so glad he’s home. Work and exhaustion are solid distractions from my loneliness, but life is so much better when he’s around.

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Writing from: my study in Portland, Oregon. Listening to: FunkyPlaid turn the pages of the book he’s reading. ❤

Tomorrow a dear friend arrives for a weekend visit and I am so excited! My study is also the guest-room, so the daybed also serves as the auxiliary clothing surface where I toss outfits that don’t pass bleary-eyed muster each workday morning. Now the daybed is cleared off, freshly laundered, and (since Zen doesn’t jump up there anymore) fur-free.

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Writing from: a cozy guest-room in Portland, Oregon. Listening to: Spotify’s Autumn Acoustics playlist.

The heatwave dissipated quickly, leaving behind the merest hint of autumn in the air. A few rainy days in a row were enough to wrangle me into heartier outerwear, and as I attempted to shove a wee bag of blueberries into one of my jacket pockets, my fingers caught on a couple of pieces of paper.

I drew them out and smiled. Two tickets from Lothian Buses, dated last December.

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In this endless and perhaps ill-conceived push to move ever forward, I had not allowed myself anything more than the briefest of glimpses in the rear-view mirror at the landscape — that stark, lush, unforgiving and breathtaking landscape — that had just been left behind.

This is home, and that was home too. The heart bounces between the two like a pinball made of feathers. Things fracture and spin off. That’s okay too.

Writing from: my study in Portland, sort of. Listening to: “Low Hymnal” by Told Slant.

There are pretty lights in the corner of FunkyPlaid’s study. I haven’t really decorated my space yet, but I am looking forward to it.

Today it has been 147 days since we left Scotland, not that I’m counting. (Of course I’m counting. I count everything.) That’s nearly five months. I say “nearly five months” but my current experience of time is so wonky that the phrase is practically meaningless.

A spam email in my inbox called me Dogmatic Halsted. Another called me Blatantly Halsted. I’d rather be blatant than dogmatic, I think.

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Writing from: my unembellished study. Listening to: an airplane leaving or arriving … anything but standing still.

Today’s 100-degree heat today did not foil our plans to plant our herb garden. I am hopeful that I will be able to keep these herbs alive long enough to cook with them, a skill that eluded me in Scotland. 


Writing from: the game room, which is the only decently cool room in the house tonight. Listening to: the laptop fan. 

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As the dusk bugs swarmed our bare necks, we ate pizza and salad on the front porch. The conversation drifted lazily between topics, carried by the slight breeze. Small side-tables we had acquired a country ago, a lifetime ago, were jumbled with paper boxes and purple plates.

It’s good to be home, I thought, in that moment “home” being the place and also the feeling.

Writing from: my study. Listening to: myself yawn.

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Processed with VSCOcam with q2 preset

There’s something going on in Iowa right now, I think. Is anyone running on the “improve Cygnoir’s immune system” ticket? I could use it. FunkyPlaid, too, has succumbed to the creeping crud. We’re having a quiet evening together, he with his puzzle of various beiges, and me with my notebook.

I’m not kidding about the beiges. Here’s another view:

Zen lounges on the rug near us, finally comfortable enough to let her guard down outside her inner sanctum.

Writing from: somewhere far away from Iowa. Listening to: the soft thwick of puzzle pieces on a plastic mat.

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