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.

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.

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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 …

The seasons are changing in Second Life! Here is a glimpse of my wee home all ready for the winter months. When I get irritated by the news — which is often, these days — I spend some downtime wandering through a virtual world. Not that virtual worlds are free of racism, sexism, homophobia, and xenophobia, mind you. But sometimes escapism is my only coping mechanism.

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Writing from: my study in Portland, Oregon. Listening to: the sound of a virtual blizzard.

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Today was a mess in Portland, downed power lines everywhere, huge branches from trees in the middle of the roads, and chunks of ice melting and dropping. The power was out from just past midnight until nearly sundown. Zen and I huddled together for warmth, when she could tolerate me. And the work party I was looking forward to was canceled due to burst pipes. What a Saturday.

Writing from: my study in Portland, Oregon. Listening to: my own cranky grumblings.

Freezing rain continued to fall overnight, and I couldn’t get my car defrosted enough to drive in this morning. The roads and sidewalks were so icy that it took me twice as long to walk to and from the bus. But look at how photogenic the ice-covered trees are!

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The power has flickered twice this evening already, so I’m going to bed. I hope we all thaw out in the morning.

Writing from: my study in icy Portland, Oregon. Listening to: still more freezing rain.

I survived! It was a bit painful waking up at a terribly early time this morning just to catch the bus, but come quitting time I was very glad that I wasn’t driving myself home. Trimet to the rescue! The bus couldn’t go faster than 25 miles an hour due to the chains on the tires, but it got me home safely.

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Writing from: my study in snowy Portland, Oregon. Listening to: ice pellets hitting the window.

It was quite frosty this morning, and an ice storm is headed our way tonight. Wish me luck getting to and from work tomorrow!

Writing from: my living-room in Portland, Oregon. Listening to: the wind rattling the panes.

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