Day 172 of Project 365: By the lights.

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.

Day 113 of Project 365: Tenacity.

I am going to avoid wringing my hands over the celebrity bloodbath that 2016 has been so far and instead talk about something positive. We all could use it.

While unpacking today, FunkyPlaid discovered a wee succulent plant that he had given me in Scotland some time ago. That’s right: our movers wrapped up a tiny plant in paper and put it inside a box and taped it up. That box went on a container ship three months ago. And today we unwrapped it.

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Sure, there were a bunch of dead leaves, but it survived. It had no water or light for three months and it survived.

Happy Earth Day.

Writing from: my makeshift study in the dining-room. Listening to: “Wabash Blues” by Joe “Fingers” Carr and His Ragtime Band.

Days 69-79 of Project 365: Massive catch-up.

No, I have not forgotten about my Project 365! But to prevent spamming your feeds, I have done one massive catch-up gallery. For individual captions, you should be able to mouseover each photo (if you’re viewing this on

Days 69 through 71 were spent wrangling logistics for the final move to Portland, which involved the earthly possessions we stored in the Bay Area while we were in Scotland as well as one very brave and accommodating tortoiseshell cat.

Days 72 and 73 were the drive up and the receipt of our goods from the movers. The move itself was not as smooth as we might have hoped, but Zen handled the ten-hour car ride with almost no complaints. We were within spitting distance of our new home when we had to stop to refuel the car, and that was when Zen chose to let us know with a very loud two-part yelp that it was about time we stopped doing this driving thing and fed her already. 

So we did.

Zen has amazed me again with her good-natured resilience. She is too feeble to attempt the steep stairs that lead to the second floor but she barreled down the stairs to the basement without any compunction. Twice. (And had to be carried back up, of course.) Her favorite part of the new place is the large forced-air register in the entryway, which we have dubbed Reggie. Zen alternates snuggling with Reggie and lounging in the sunshine in the backyard.

By the way, Zen approves of the new place.

Days 74 through 79 have been all about unpacking and acclimating. FunkyPlaid and I are now waiting eagerly for the Scotland shipment to arrive. Rediscovering belongings that we have not seen for five years was an interesting exploration in personal archaeology. I opened a box of cephalopod stuffies. There was another box marked “T-Shirts and Weapons” and it was an accurate label. And the grandfather clock made it, although it was not in perfect condition when we stored it. I am looking forward to being gainfully employed again so I can restore it to working condition.

And today during the course of errands we discovered Old Portland Hardware & Architectural, which is incredibly wonderful and has walls of antique doorknobs and made me wish for disposable income even more.

The whole transition has been relatively painless, and I am so grateful for that. I had steeled myself for a lot of hassle but we have had good fortune as well as a great support network. The only hitch so far has been porting my mobile number to my new carrier, so if you are trying to reach me via text or phone … you can’t. I hope it is resolved soon. Until then, email is best. Thanks for wading through the wall of text.

Writing from: our new home in Portland! Listening to: our really loud fridge, which we have named Maxine. Yes, all of our appliances have names. 

Day 29 of Project 365: Parachute.

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Today I spent sneezing, coughing, and working on job applications. One in particular was due today, and I am so relieved that it is finally finished. For as much as I love job interviews — yes, really — I do not love job applications.

In other incredibly exciting news today, Zen met Jack. Jack was not bothered, but Zen sang and sang. At least she didn’t box his ears.

Writing from: Zen’s room in Marin. Listening to: Zen chugging water.

Day 28 of Project 365: Before first contact.


I am not taking any chances with Zen’s acclimation to her new, temporary home, so for now she is confined to the guest room where FunkyPlaid and I are sleeping. Zen is not bothered by this in the least; she senses there is a world outside the door but has everything she needs in here.

The reason for my caution is the two other cats in this household, Jack (right) and Cinnamon (bottom left). Neither one is particularly aggressive but I know from experience that Zen can be. It’s also cruel to throw cats into unfamiliar situations like this one without several days of getting used to the idea of each other through the crack in the door. Jack has been nosing around but Cinnamon prefers to hide away (in general, not just at Zen’s arrival).

I’m fairly sure that once we start leaving the door open Zen will choose to remain in here by herself anyway. She’s never been overfond of other cats. But there are puddles of sunshine out there, and I know she won’t want to miss those. We’ll take it as it comes.

Writing from: Zen’s room in Marin. Listening to: my own sickly breathing. Ugh, colds.