Last weekend I read The Moveable Feast at the birthday cabin. I really enjoyed a work habit Hemingway brought up multiple times throughout the book. He worked hard until he completed a day's work, then was completely finished for the day. No more thinking through plots or how to rewrite a sentence. He enjoyed the rest of the day with his head clear and in the present.

This seems like a good way to start the next year.


It was a relaxing birthday weekend on the banks of the Sandy River on the side of Mt. Hood. We celebrated with lots of books, snow, a wood heated hot tub. It was quiet, but felt like a proper way to bring in the last year of his twenties (oh my).


We cut our tree this year for the first time. It was a freezing, but beautiful experience. The owner walked with us, explaining the different trees, giving us tiny branches to smell and stick in our pockets, and sharing her experiences. She told us about mistakes when raising the trees and having to pay for those tiny misjudgments. She told us about the five generations that work there. She told us how to care for our tree. In all of this, it was obvious, this meant a lot to her. The tree, us, her business. I appreciate our tree more this year than ever. It was hand grown, loved, watched over.

(If you live in the Portland area, go to Allens' Chrismas Tree Farm. You won't regret it.)


 We had snow in Portland yesterday, which is a pretty rare thing. It wasn't much and it didn't stay for long. It was enough for me to feel cozy in my home, whistle Christmas tunes for a couple hours, and drive everyone insane with my exclamations of 'It's a Christmas miracle' and 'Boy do I just love snow'.


A blast of summer on such a cold night. 
One of my oldest friends came to visit several months ago, we went to the beach, mountain, caves, waterfalls, and pretty much everywhere in between. We ate well, we kept good company, we adventured. Needless to say, I look forward to her return.


The house smells like rosemary and pine, in other words, good.


I've been working from home lately. More often than not, I look up and it's already dark.


This time each year I seem to search out more personal time. I feel more quiet, more solitary. It might be the rain. It might be the darkness that leaves late and comes early. It might be the thought of several months indoors.

Or it might just be my own season.


Sadly, I realize that I'm not seeing my not-so-new state with fresh eyes anymore. Don't get me wrong, I still gasp when I see the sun rising behind Mt. Hood in the morning. I still love the fog in the hills. And oh, those trees.
But what once surprised me no longer does and sometimes I have to look harder to see things as they are, rather than what I remember.


I tend to put off things that I don't enjoy (or even the things that I do enjoy). While I know we all do that, I felt like lately it has been holding me back.

Instead of letting things pile up, why not be proactive? Instead of internetting, why not paint? Why look at my phone, when I have a book?

I'm breaking bad habits and starting good, new ones.


"I hadn't yet discovered that I lived in a sort of transparent balloon, drifting over the world without making much contact with it, and that the people I knew appeared to me at a different angle from the one at which they appeared to themselves; and that the reverse was also true. I was smaller to others, up there in my balloon, than I was to myself. I was also blurrier.” 

I have been listening to this book by Margaret Atwood while painting. It's small stories about life and those thoughts that just slip in and out of your consciousness. I understood this statement instantly, rolling it around in my mind. How do I seem to others? What do I not understand about them?