2016 had one last stomach bug to throw my way. Earlier this afternoon I was feeling dizzy so I went outside for some fresh air and saw this lichen-spotted sign.
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!
Writing from: my study in Portland, Oregon. Listening to: a podcast called “LifeAfter” that I am not quite enjoying.
Sometimes you sit at home in a world that only exists in a collective imagination. (Credits below.)
Sometimes you go out into the real world and inhabit what a joyful fever-dream of a Kevin Costner-obsessed, seven-foot-tall clown who will never speak, only sing and grunt and command people to eat cupcakes while he sings “Under Pressure” at them.
Sometimes you are at work and an echo of your past heart walks in as your throat closes and you half-kneel, half-crouch, bargaining with time so maybe this moment could last a little longer than it surely will, bargaining with your shoddy memory which deftly picks exactly now to tell you that this isn’t your beloved but rather someone else’s beloved and can’t you see that all the details are wrong and it doesn’t matter but you won’t cry, no you won’t, not at work, not at a new job, and so you make all of your adult body stand up and smile and walk away.
And the rest of the week? You simply take pictures of the things that fill up other spaces in your brain, colors and shapes in pleasant arrangements, nothing too dangerous, nothing too bizarre: myriad mundanities that somehow add up to a life.
Credits for Second Life snap (vaguely left-to-right):
Writing from: my study in Portland. Listening to: “Wasted Time” by Eagles.
Work today was rather instructive: I researched a plant that grows outside the library which turned out to be Solanum dulcamara, also known as bittersweet nightshade. It isn’t as toxic as deadly nightshade, but still isn’t anything you want to be snacking on in a parking lot.
Pretty, though, isn’t it?
Writing from: my non-toxic study in Portland. Listening to: so much “Prison Break”. It’s over soon, and I’m glad; Season 4 consists mainly of gratuitous vengeance interspersed with structural engineering puzzles. Only not as exciting as I just described it.
It’s funny, the halfway brain that sprouts from sleep deprivation. I wake up at 05:30 but really I wake up on the bus in downtown Portland, trying to remember if I did basic things like dress myself and feed myself and not leave the front door wide open.
So far, I’m doing pretty well. (But let’s not jinx it.)
Many photos to catch up on! Nineteen, in fact. I may have a little bit of a preoccupation with flowers. To be fair, this city blooms gratuitously. And now ripe apples and plums are falling off the trees, sometimes knocking me in the head like a physics lesson.
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I’m still in love with my new job, but it is mentally and socially intense. Most evenings I come home and barely have enough energy to eat dinner. While my in-laws were in town, we managed a little weekend escape to Forest Grove, which I needed desperately.
Zen now reliably wakes me up with mournful howling before my alarm goes off. While FunkyPlaid is out of town I have taken to sleeping in my study downstairs so I can soothe her faster.
Other snippets from the past few weeks:
Time for bed. Tonight I will rest well, being all caught up with my project. Well, for a few hours. Then Zen will start to sing …
Writing from: my study. Listening to: some episode of “Prison Break” I’m not really watching.
I did a foolish thing today: I ate a granola bar that had a gluten-containing ingredient I did not catch while I was reading the packaging in the store. I got pretty sick, but since I only ingested a little gluten, I should be fully recovered by tomorrow evening. Work was rough.
Tonight FunkyPlaid and I took a walk to the market and it helped me feel better, both physically and emotionally. And then we bought granola bars that are clearly marked gluten-free.
I love walking around Portland. This time of year, the city is one big garden, flowers and veggies alike. These are growing right out onto our neighbor’s sidewalk!
Writing from: my study. Listening to: my guts churning. Ugh.
Howdy, strangers! I forgot (again) how quickly these pile up when I run out of energy before I can post them each day. I will have to figure out another schedule. But here are some glimpses of the past week or so, plus a throwback photo my mom sent because last Wednesday I fell asleep before remembering to take a picture.
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Pretty much every workday starts out great and ends up with me being the tiredest person to ever tire. Weekends are spent catching up, and by “catching up” I mean “sitting quietly and not talking for hours at a time.” Ah, introversion.
Getting into better physical shape will help with the exhaustion, at least, so I will have to start psyching myself up to work out in the evenings because I don’t see myself waking up at 5am to do it. I mean, I can see myself waking up at 5am. Then I can see myself gleefully flinging the alarm clock across the room and sleeping another 12 hours.
Now I’m off to read “Broken Monsters” by Lauren Beukes which is super-creepy and not at all appropriate bedtime reading. Walking on the wild side over here. Try and keep up.
Writing from: my messy study. Listening to: “Slip” by Elliot Moss.
I didn’t get to much of what I had planned for the weekend, but that’s okay. I’m still figuring out how much free time I have now. And I’m realizing just how tired I can get by nine o’clock in the evening. What happened to me?
I did take some time to enjoy our garden, and found this tiny inhabitant.
Writing from: my study. Listening to: The Talk Show live from WWDC 2016.
Hello, beauty. We’ve been waiting for you.
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Writing from: the living room. Listening to: Game 6 of the NBA Finals.
Just when I think Portland can’t get any rosier, FunkyPlaid and I discover a rose show at the mall.
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I’ve made my peace with the mall. I can’t say that I am a fan but my mind is a little more open now.
The roses helped.
When we arrived at the airport this evening to drop my mom off, the check-in desk was closed. Since the sign on it said it would still be closed for an hour yet, we all piled back in the car and went to Pix Patisserie and had coffee and macarons.
I know you can’t really stretch time, but it was almost like we could. Just for an hour, the flower unbloomed.
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Writing from: my suddenly-empty study. Listening to: “The Nearness of You” by Bill Charlap.
Someday I will get tired of posting pictures of roses in Portland.
Today is not that day.
And now I have new contact lenses after way too long, so I see everything.
Today’s photo is yet another beautiful specimen from Rose City, which is certainly living up to the nickname this week. Before my dad and I said goodbye tonight, we took one last wander around the neighborhood and stopped to smell the roses.
I had a whole rumination on our far-flung lives and how relieved I am to be at least on the same continent as my own family again … but my iPad ate it. For all my iPad appreciation, I still have not figured out how to use it to post here without losing text. Any tips from those of you posting to WordPress with your own tablets?
Writing from: the living-room. Listening to: the latest episode of “The Catch”. I can’t decide if I like it or not.
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During my dad and stepmom’s visit in Portland, I have been opting to go to bed on time instead of posting a photo each night. Tonight I realized that I was five posts behind. Whoops! Here is a quick catch-up.
Our activities have included a stunning drive in the Columbia River Gorge, communing with the Belmont Goats, a tootle around the International Rose Test Garden, and plenty more I didn’t think to photograph. And then there is the food. Some of it was even free (thanks, Taste of Bangkok)! All of it has been delicious. Of course. It’s Portland.
Writing from: my study. Listening to: “Fault Lines” by Beacon.
Our backyard is quite photogenic in springtime. Here is a bloom from one of our dianthus plants.
I wish I had the wherewithal to write a proper post tonight. I’ll leave you with a Zen update: she now climbs up the stairs all by herself. I thought yesterday might have been a fluke, but she did it again tonight. I think this new development is a result of the joint supplements she is on and her enthusiasm for the nighttime meal she knows she will receive upstairs. Whatever the reason, now she goes up and down the stairs on her own, and I’m thrilled.
Writing from: my study. Listening to: “Late Date” by The Ben Webster Quintet.
I dusted off my dSLR camera and macro lens this evening. I’m very rusty but this petunia in our backyard met me more than halfway.
Writing from: my study. Listening to: a boxing match on TV in the living-room.
We planted marigolds in the front yard today. Marigolds remind me of my nonna, and this photo reminds me that I really should be using my macro lens on my dSLR to take photos like this one.
Writing from: my makeshift study in the dining-room. Listening to: the first season of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.
Our back yard is starting to look very springy indeed! Here is a new addition, a Winsome miniature rose for our new home in Rose City.
On an unrelated note, my charming husband (and favorite Jacobite scholar) recently contributed his historical expertise to Episode 136 of The Outlander Podcast. You do not need to be a fan of the books or show to enjoy this discussion.
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Writing from: my makeshift study in the dining-room. Listening to: Episode 136 of The Outlander Podcast, of course.
The possessions we shipped from Scotland in January are in the country but not yet in our new home. But the impulse to nest is strong, so today we picked up a few flowers to plant in the yard.
Writing from: my makeshift study in the dining-room. Listening to: Hazlitt Magazine’s Cavern of Secrets podcast.
There is more writing news on the way, but today I am just thinking about bees.
My new friend R and I went to the Royal Botanics a few weeks ago. I haven’t been in a photo-taking mood for a while, but I took my dSLR just in case. Of course I forgot my macro lens and my tripod, so I got fifty blurry shots of pretty blooms and bees doing their thing, and then this one.
So yes, I am a walking cliché.
Hello. I am still here. June is the kind of busy that makes my eyebrows hurt, but 90% of it is wonderful busy, like spending time with my mom. Here is a photo I took of a bloom on the orchid she gave us last year. And if you are in or near Edinburgh, come along to the National Flash Fiction Day event I helped to coordinate.
See you in July.