Zen won’t let me sleep for more than three hours at a time, so this Project 365 catch-up will be brief. Right after work on Tuesday, I flew to the Bay Area to spend Thanksgiving with FunkyPlaid. Wednesday was heavenly; I caught up on sleep, relaxed, and visited with family. Thanksgiving Day was a bit of a whirlwind with a flight home immediately after dinner, and Friday I went back to work.
I’m not sure what’s going on with Zen. She cries and cries despite having plenty of food in her bowl, a clean litter-box, and plenty of warm places to sleep. All I know is that this round of sleep deprivation has made the separation from FunkyPlaid all the more difficult.
Writing from: my study in Portland, Oregon. Listening to: silence … for now.
When I started this project a year ago, I didn’t think taking a photo a day would be so tough. And I don’t think it would be so tough for the person I want to be. That person has the time to be something other than a student, the energy to explore the world around her, and the presence of mind to enjoy it, photographed or not.
So I’m going to go be her now. But before I go, thank you. Thank you for every comment and every email, every pat on the back and every reality check. I needed them all. Here, have a slice of pie. Heck, have two! You’ve earned them.
gratitude: amazing friends who cooked us an excellent Thanksgiving dinner tonight, with roast turkey and everything · all of my family and friends, new and old, here and there, for supporting me throughout this year · not having to take any photos tomorrow!
This Thanksgiving edition of How I Decide Where to Sit is dedicated to reviewing all the rookie mistakes one can make when riding public transit in a new city for the first time, because it is kind of like what the Pilgrims did when they– no. Even I can’t torture that metaphor. It is dedicated to rookie mistakes because I made them all today and I need to laugh about them with you.
I waited thirty minutes for a bus whose arrival time as reported by the phone app was stuck at "21:39" before giving up and walking to a stop of a different bus that seemed to be showing up every ten minutes.
I assumed that the stops for the line going inbound were in generally the same place as the stops for the line going outbound.
I forgot about the driving on the left side of the road thing, which means I was waiting on the wrong side of the street for the inbound bus.
I thought I could easily cross a simple little two-lane road to get to the correct side of the street, but finally gave up and walked all the way around to the subway (underpass) so I could cross without dying.
When I finally boarded the right bus, I was so set on sitting up top that I was forced to sit on the very back row, which is almost exactly like the rumble seat.
Despite much rumbling, I fell asleep. But woke up just as the bus approached the landmark nearest my stop!
I disbelieved my gut telling me to walk THAT WAY home and instead listened to the little blue dot of the GPS which lies.
So really it was like riding public transit for the very first time ever! That is the spin I am going to take because I am in denial, denial that moving to a new country, even if you (sort of) speak the language, means not knowing how to do anything very well for a while and just sucking that up because the alternative is hiding in your very nice flat all the time and pretending to buy postage from the cats just so you get better at counting out the different coins. Not that I have been doing that at all.
Anyway, I had thought about doing some sort of Thanksgiving meal here, but the more I pondered approximating turkey, stuffing, cranberries, and the rest, the more homesick I felt, and then I felt disappointed about feeling so homesick. My stomach sold the rest of me out for the memory of pumpkin pie. Yesterday’s vegan baking experiment of pumpkin mini-muffins did not do the trick, although they were tasty. (I used this recipe, with a ripe banana in the place of the eggs.)
Homesickness aside, I am extremely thankful for this new home, for my family and friends, and for owning a lot of candles because this place is very dark just now. I think I will go roast some chestnuts.
HIDWtS Rating: We just debated taking turkey legs to the chip shop that will fry anything. Do you think they will do pumpkin puree?
[box type=”shadow”]I used to ride a shuttle to work. It was a really nice shuttle and the first time I had ever had that luxury, causing me to overthink pretty much every aspect of it, especially where to sit. And now I overthink where I decide to sit in every open-seating situation, so I’m writing about it in a series called How I Decide Where to Sit.[/box]
I will save you the parade of past Thanksgiving entries. If you’re into that sort of thing, all you need is the “Thanksgiving” tag. Yay for folksonomies!
Zen the cat is almost entirely herself again after a terribly close call, and I am overjoyed. She is eating and drinking without incident, and her usual playfulness has returned. Her throat seems a bit scratchy yet, but she is regaining some of her talkative tortitude.
Now I think I am ready to relax and get into the spirit of the holiday. I am thankful that you are reading this right now, and hope you have a wonderful day, Thanksgiving or otherwise.
This Thanksgiving, my sole accomplishment has been introducing FunkyPlaid to Bejeweled 2. He is … a little obsessed. The good news is that he is extremely good at visual strategy games, so he has almost exceeded my highest score. The bad news is that I am pretty sure he can just keep going. Forever.
It is traditional in the American blogosphere (and I can’t believe I just typed that) to make a list of things we are thankful for today. I was sifting through my archives in order to link to some old Thanksgiving lists, but not once in eleven years have I written anything during this time of year worth reposting.
That’s just fine. I am sitting on the couch with sunshine on the back of my head, laptop on lapdesk on lap. My fiancé is sitting cross-legged next to me, cursing quietly at his iPhone. The murmur, thud, whistle, roar of football emanates from the TV we aren’t watching. Cats have sought out sunnier or more secluded spots. In a few hours, we will head north to ensconce ourselves with family and friends for the traditional overeating portion of the day.
Because I am still a little sad, even after a great chat over dinner, I am going to write my Thanksgiving thankfulness list of thankfully giving thanks right now.
First of all, I must note that yes, I understand that Thanksgiving is a perverse sort of holiday, so you non-Americans can fold your little fingers in your little laps and refrain from lecturing me now. What you might not understand is that I like to eat. A lot. And so massive extermination of multiple cultures aside, this is an awesome holiday, one dedicated to overeating really unhealthy things.
Without further ado, my Thanksgiving thankfulness list of thankfully giving thanks:
Nutella. O, like you didn’t know this was going to be first!
Books. I like them better than people, most days.
My co-workers, whom I have infected with several memes, one of which is the bizarre pronunciation of “Exaaaaahhhhhctly” that I have affected, and the other is the exclamation of “Good times!” after something that is most certainly not a good time. They also kick ass.
People who don’t break into my car. (See, I knew that keeping the blue tape around my new window would work!)
Free water. Free Willy, too, while you’re at it.
My metabolism, for allowing me to eat like a small horse and still only gain weight on my ass, which happens to be all the fashion now.
My flatmate, for enabling me in so many ways. Especially enabling me to snack and watch television. She also says things like, “Stop being productive! You’re making me feel bad!”
My Star Trek one-a-day calendar. Today’s pic is of Tasha Yar. Are you touching yourself yet?
The aliens who sent me to spy on you all. I mean. Kittens.
My health, my job, and my talent. Yadda yadda.
People like YOU, my dear readers! Because writing is nothing without an audience, and if it’s craptastic writing like this post, it’s in the negative numbers, which means I am overdrawn! Shit!
That half-bottle of Laphroaig at home that’s calling my name right now.
Mm, scotch. Wait, what?
Okay, okay: my friends and family. There, that wasn’t so bad. You’re all great and stuff. I tell you this all the time, so if you’re waiting for a post like this to confirm it, maybe I am telling you in Esperanto. In which case, sorry! My bad. It is my native language, so I slip sometimes.
Smiling to myself while walking down Market Street because it makes people walk in wide circles around me, so I get all of the sidewalk to do a little weird jig and be smiley. Right before the paddywagon pulls up.
Getting out of the institution for Thanksgiving. This will be the BEST ONE EVAR!!!1!1!!!
Huddled in layers of black clothing, I hoard what will be my last high-speed connection to the Interweb from a quaintly-decorated hotel room near the Columbus, Ohio airport. When I say “quaint”, I mean “disturbingly lifelike”, much like those authentic replica dolls you see for sale on QVC, the ones that are supposed to be female children but are dressed in evening gowns, lacking cleavage. It’s that sort of quaint. The Country Inns and Suites green should appeal to me: it is that generic medium forest green, benign and clean. Instead it becomes the painted decolletage of authentic replica dolls. And an hour later, I’m still waking up, hungover from the faux Lauren-style comforter and drapes.
Today we set off for the hilly wilds of outer Columbus, to a four-bedroom cabin. As I related to my friend Ian on the phone last night, my idea of “roughing it” means no Interweb access, so I suppose I will indeed be roughing it. Thanksgiving dinner won’t happen until Saturday, for me, so I’m pretending you all haven’t had it yet too. By the way, read FunkyPlaid’s “Ode to Thanksgiving” — it’s delightful! See you Monday!
 Calling it “the Interweb” arose after an amusing misspeak of my dad’s. Now I can’t stop. It makes me laugh. Don’t judge me.
I am packing for Detroit, and will leave soon to spend the day with David and Brina before heading out on my flight tonight. Scott is safely and happily ensconced with family up north; I head east to do the same with myself for a few days.
My family has been so supportive of me this year, and o, have I ever needed it. My friends have, too, but I’ve also seen a little sorting out on that score: there are those who have remained close, and those who have drifted off into the ether. For once, I’m not blaming myself for losing touch with people. I have given it an honest shot, and to do more would require the rest of my life to be more stable than it is right now. It isn’t, and so the friends who require more attention than I can give them will just have to wander off.
But family … they have to stick around, no matter what. Suckers! 😉
Happy Thanksgiving, fellow American peeps. To the rest of the world, happy Thursday!
This will be my first Thanksgiving not spent with my father. That’s all I have to say about that.
Goodbye, Bay Area. Hello, Pacific Northwest.
Halsted M. Bernard is a writer living in Portland, Oregon. Her short stories have appeared in Innsmouth Magazine, Map Literary, and Bewildering Stories, and she has performed at the Edinburgh International Book Festival, both as a Story Shop participant and with the literary writing and spoken-word performance group Writers' Bloc. For more about Halsted's publications and performances, please see her "Fiction" page.