Day 357 of Project 365: Zen’s new hiding place.

Zen didn’t get up to say goodbye as I was heading to the airport, but that’s okay. She has a new hiding place: right in front of the register, underneath the nesting tables. 

I tried to move the tables and put her bed there, but she just folded herself up underneath the tables and looked disappointed. Message received. I’ll miss this little weirdo but I’m looking so forward to seeing FunkyPlaid for a few days!

Day 356 of Project 365: Winterbloom.

I had lofty goals to come home and get all of my chores done and pack and take a nice hot bath with custom-made bath salts that a friend gave me … and then I was delayed at work, and all that melted like so much Portland snow. I’m still packing! But in twenty-four hours I’ll be reunited with FunkyPlaid.

When I arrived home, this confused camellia bud greeted me. Happy Solstice!

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Writing from: my study in Portland, Oregon. Listening to: a podcast called “LifeAfter” that I am not quite enjoying.

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 354 of Project 365: Chicken and cornbread in the slow-cooker.

My immune system collapsed in the wee hours this morning, when I woke up to a coughing fit and severe sinus pain. I haven’t done much today except sleep, but I did manage to put a meal in the slow-cooker so I will have home-cooked lunches this week. I love this recipe for barbecued chicken and cornbread because the cornbread bakes on top of the barbecued chicken like some sort of food sorcery. This is my first attempt with my new favorite gluten-free store-bought barbecue sauce.

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Writing from: my study in Portland, Oregon. Listening to: “This Christmas” by Mason Embry Trio from Spotify’s Christmas Peaceful Piano playlist.

Day 353 of Project 365: Sunday karaoke.

Now that I have a car, I sing (badly) all the time, but I was definitely overdue for some fun karaoke times with friends. Courtney, V, and I went to Voicebox and sang our hearts out. About ducks.

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Writing from: my study in Portland, Oregon. Listening to: Zen’s snores … making me so sleepy.

Day 352 of Project 365: Live-snarking rom-coms.

Some friends of mine get together regularly to watch romantic comedies and good-naturedly snark about them. Living thousands of miles apart doesn’t stop them: they meet online and sync up their various media players so everyone is experiencing it in real-time. I joined in the fun today and it was exactly the low-key social distraction I needed.

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In related news, “While You Were Sleeping” is an incredibly stressful romantic comedy to watch, since it is all based on a ridiculous lie. This is likely true of most romantic comedies, which is why I tend to avoid them.

Writing from: my study in Portland, Oregon. Listening to: only the taps of the keyboard.

Day 351 of Project 365: Forward.

After a wearying week of winter weather, bouts of insomnia, and seasonal ennui, I found myself on this path near the end of my morning commute.

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I would like to say that I was 100% thrilled to be going to work this morning, but I was not. I was exhausted and irritated and overwhelmed and pretty daunted by all the slipperiness pictured. I can be pretty idealistic about my profession, but I wasn’t feeling so hot about the logistics, not today.

I started to walk anyway, and as I did I heard the satisfying crunch underfoot and saw the glimmer of the sunrise on the slick outlines of footprints. I moved forward. I did it slowly, but I did move forward.

And it was worth it.

Writing from: my study in Portland, Oregon. Listening to: cars skidding out around the corner.

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 349 of Project 365: Twelve miles in five hours.

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Here’s how my evening commute went today:

  • 15:15: I decide to stick around past quitting time in order to avoid some of the traffic on snowy roads. This decision has the added benefit of helping out at work a little, too.
  • 16:30: Quitting time comes and goes. Snow continues to fall. I remain unperturbed.
  • 18:00: The library closes early and I leave with two coworkers to walk across the traffic-laden street and get into my car.
  • 18:10: After scraping the windows and warming the car up a bit, I decide to drive around the parking lot a few times to see how the car holds up with the snow. A bit skiddy, but okay.
  • 18:15: I set off on my way home.
  • 18:17: I hit my first patch of ice and experience that fun sliding feeling.
  • 18:18 & 18:19: Two more patches of ice. I get the hint and decide to drive to the transit center and take a bus home instead.
  • 18:50: I finally make it the seven-tenths of a mile to the transit center. I call FunkyPlaid to confirm that I am doing the right thing by leaving my car at the Park & Ride and taking the bus home.
  • 19:00: I approach the bus that appears to be my bus, but it is a driverless, darkened bus, and does nothing to greet me.
  • 19:46: The driver appears and lets us all on the bus. I feel very happy that I am soon going to be home! I am less happy when I watch my phone battery and backup battery drain from 100% and 60% respectively to 0% and 1% without warning. But still pretty happy.
  • 20:21: The bus, unable to make much headway in brutal traffic, gets stuck on a very busy road. Not even a little stuck: properly stuck. And all of the passengers suddenly discover that we have boarded a bus that has no chains. No chains. In a snowstorm.
  • 20:30, 20:40, 20:50: Helpful passengers try to get the bus un-stuck. It is of no use. Other helpful passengers say really encouraging things and share their snacks with people who have said they are hungry. I am reminded that I do like Portland, even when it is a big snow wimp.
  • 21:01: Another bus comes and we all get on it. It is now very full but it has chains and is moving at a proper pace. A fellow passenger strikes up a conversation and we trade commute woes. They are similar; we share solidarity and even bitch about the recent election a little. This takes my mind off the fact that I have not eaten dinner or gone to the restroom in too long. We marvel at the number of cars stranded, apocalypse-style, along the side of the roads.
  • 22:01: The second bus gets stuck, just over a mile from my house. I debate walking and then I watch people attempting to walk down the street and near cars and really falling a lot more than I am comfortable with. The bus driver and another passenger start digging the bus out. My new bus friend is not going to walk; she is going to stick it out. I decide to stick it out with her.
  • 22:50: With all of the passengers crowded toward the back of the bus, crossing fingers and otherwise hoping a lot of hopes right out loud in front of each other (maybe even some bad language, but in a positive way), the bus driver punches it like when I say, “Punch it, Marge!” to myself even though I’m not Marge and have no idea where I got that, “The Simpsons” maybe? He punches it and the bus demurs a whole lot before lurching out into the intersection. We are free! We whoop and holler. It feels a lot like the winning goal in an ’80s movie high school sports event.
  • 22:59: My new bus friend waves goodbye and gets off the bus. When I get off the bus, I thank the bus driver and the helpful passenger, and all of my other new bus acquaintances wave goodbye. It is pretty great. I forget that I still have to walk home.
  • 23:00: I remember quickly. The walk sucks. I take a lame photo.
  • 23:15: I walk in the door and Zen yells at me and all is well.

Writing from: my study in Portland, Oregon. Listening to: a loud explosion. Uh-oh, power outages are on the way …

Day 348 of Project 365: Picnic advent.

Each year my mom sends a thoughtful and creative advent calendar around a theme of her own devising. This year it is a picnic basket with assorted picnic-themed goodies, one to unwrap each day! When FunkyPlaid comes home (and the weather clears up) we will be all set to explore Oregon, one picnic at a time.

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Writing from: my study in Portland, Oregon. Listening to: odd creaks and bumps that are probably nothing but are still creeping me out. I’ve been watching too much TV.