I love my stationery and sealing-wax, but I rarely use them. Today I received a sealed, handwritten invitation in the mail to dine with friends later on in the month. It gave me such a thrill! As I wrote and sealed my reply, I decided it would be the focus of today’s Routine Reboot. Too often I talk myself out of hand-writing letters because it is inconvenient to buy the proper postage on a per-letter basis. The truth is that the joy of receiving a handwritten letter far exceeds any inconvenience in sending one.

Tell me about the last handwritten letter you received.

It will be OK.

It will be OK.

It will be OK. The Squid of Reassurance told me so.

It will be OK because of other things, too, like meeting a new friend for coffee and fascinating chat, then coming home to cats who cuddled me while I dug into this book on databases in historical research.

The aforementioned new friend introduced me to HabitRPG, which is a website that gamifies (still not sure how I feel about that word) good habits and task completion. It is just cute enough to be fun and just clever enough to be addictive. I wanted to reconsider my “good habit” list for the Routine Reboot, and HabitRPG encouraged me to do that. There are a few things I want to do every day – like writing Morning Pages – but end up making excuses for it instead of actually doing it. With HabitRPG, I get a bit of game XP (experience points) for doing so. I could even choose to set it up so that the game deducts XP if I don’t write Morning Pages, but I felt that was a bit harsh just starting out.

I’m not sure how much I will use the to-do list aspect of it, because goodness knows I don’t need another fiddly-bit. But just a little time with the game encouraged me to think more positively about my daily life, and that is something I really need right now.

Red wings and darker beak.


I’ll save you the tally of scratches and cuts. It’s more than a few, and two are especially bothering me. I can’t seem to move my right hand without brushing or bashing its most irritating injury against something scratchy or pointy, and my left middle finger has become a dowsing rod for paper cuts.

This happens in cycles: my hands will be mincemeat for a month, and then normal again for longer. There are echoes of a worse time that I have to ignore. Don’t read the news, either. If you squint, you can see doom lurking in all corners.

In case of increased neurosis, throw self into a routine reboot. Three days to catch up on.

Sunday was another busy day at work, and I only had time to catch a quick bite between work and the Illicit Ink Underground show, but I was glad I didn’t skip the meal. I arrived at the Bongo Club just as my second wind kicked in, and I thoroughly enjoyed the evening. There were performances from familiar faces like Bloc comrades Andrew C. Ferguson and Gavin Inglis as well as people I hadn’t seen before, which is always a pleasure. Being an active part of the literary community here is far more important to me than I realised, and so I need to ensure I have the time and focus to participate.

On Monday, I was extremely lonely and found myself obsessively clicking on nothing in particular in order to find some connection. I didn’t find it. In fact, it made me feel worse, because everything I read was either depressing news about the state of humanity or cool things that my faraway friends have done or are about to do. Around lunchtime, I finally gave up and resigned myself to feeling lonely that day. I curled up with a book while I ate and immediately felt a little better, so I decided to try a new rule this month: no email, feeds, social media, or anything at all on my computer or other devices during mealtimes or other breaks.

Tuesday was a quiet day of database research and housecleaning, and then I spent the evening with friends in their lovely flat, enjoying a delicious dinner and their company as well as their small menagerie. I took the video above a few weeks ago. (I realised too late that I was filming in portrait instead of landscape mode. Please forgive me.) Something I regret about my time in San Francisco is that I didn’t make more of an effort to be social with my friends there. Social time has been something I’ve sacrificed often in the name of responsibilities. I won’t make that mistake again, and tonight was a good reminder.

Title credit: from “Leda” by H.D.

Silver screen and snail smooches.

The libraries have extended hours for the end of term, so work today was a bit more strenuous than usual. Tensions are high and so I instructed my coworkers to deploy cute pictures of baby animals as needed. One provided me with Ukrainian photographer Vyacheslav Mishchenko’s macro photography of snails. It sets a high bar for cute.

While shelving DVDs, it suddenly occurred to me that I could start today’s portion of my routine reboot right there at work! I mentioned in March that one of my goals for 2014 is to watch 50 films. Since setting that goal, I have made zero progress on it. So I picked up a copy of “Mean Girls”, a silly film I keep meaning to watch. (Did you know that you can check films out from libraries? Because I’ve worked in libraries for almost two decades and I keep forgetting this.)

Unfortunately, by the time I got home from work I was too fried to figure out why the DVD wouldn’t stream over AirPlay without crashing every appliance in the flat, so I ended up with Netflix. A desultory glance through the available titles led me to “Frances Ha” and “Friends with Kids”, neither of which I recommend but were entertaining in their own ways. Mostly they gave me an excuse to do absolutely nothing while providing Torgi a warm sleeping place.

Now it is time to cleanse my palate with Helene Wecker’s “The Golem and the Djinni” which I am reading so slowly because I never want the world she has created to end.

Photo credit: Vyacheslav Mishchenko.

No, doze.

Torgi spent last night jumping up on the bed, poking my face and shoulder with his paw, trying to get situated, and then jumping down again. Sometimes he’d root around in the litter box like he’d lost a cufflink in a pile of dirty laundry, scrape scrape, scuffle scuffle.

Zen, on the other hand, was mostly quiet, until she woke up at 06:00 with a mighty siren-whoop. I was coherent enough to gingerly scoot her off the bed before she yarfed.

Today I’ve spent in that soft sleep-deprived sqwudge of reality, not quite dangerous but nowhere near a good place to be making any solid decisions.

And, of course, the cats are fast asleep, as they’ve been since I got home.


If I were a vengeful sort, I’d scruffle them awake. Instead I’ll just make today’s contribution to the Routine Reboot: going to bed when I’m tired.

Meals for one.

Meals for one.

For the month of May, I’m back to meals for one.

I’ve been lamenting FunkyPlaid’s departure since it was decided, but I am determined to make the month count. My goal is a total routine reboot, starting with my eating habits. The meals for one pictured here are my fallback options in case I am too tired or busy to cook so that I don’t substitute a few snacks for a meal or skip a meal entirely.

For the rest of my routine reboot, I am collecting links for inspiration. Feel free to add yours in the comments.

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I acknowledge that I live and work on stolen Cowlitz, Clackamas, Atfalati, and Kalapuya land.
I give respect and reverence to those who came before me.