Thursday, November 21, 2013

Dialing Down the Holidays and Life in Portland - a Not Very Organized Blog

A wreath I saw at Provisions in Eugene last year.
I've tried to start, like, four or five blog posts in the last while. And...they're all kinda ranty. You don't need that. So I'm drawing a veil.

We're coming out of a high-stress season in our lives, and into a time of more manageable mid-stress. I think I still have a subconscious fist raised to the heavens over what we've lived through for the last while.

There's certainly a place for a good rant, but...yeah, I'm not there yet. Because so much of it is still too fresh, and when I dial it back to normal people levels, it becomes short to the point that it could be a baby Facebook post, rather than full-scale blog. Or I'll change my mind.

Seriously, I was half-way into a post about why I'm not making all of my Christmas gifts because I just don't have the time, y'all, and then Danny told me he's going out of town on business.

A holiday centerpiece I made last year.
Incidentally, this has been pretty popular
on Pinterest.
As I processed that, I realized that if he was gone, I would have to paint something or knit something to lift my spirits.

You know, something I could give as a Christmas gift.

My ultimate point, though, was I didn't want to feel peer-pressured into a handmade Christmas, because that's the kind of pressure only thrown at women, and that drives me a little nutters. So I say make stuff if you're feeling it, and if not? Give a book. Stories are hand-crafted too! We have freedom in Christ, and that means we have the freedom to celebrate his birth in a variety of ways.

Our Thanksgiving is going to be pretty simple this year, I think, because so many of our family members have a lot going on. And I'm very, very okay with that. My attitude for the holidays is to consider - What Would a Man Do? And that's the baseline. Anything I add to that is gravy, and must be done with my eyes wide open. Gender equality in our time!

The Lumineers, at song. 
We got to go see The Lumineers while they were in Portland, and that was fun. Admittedly, the sound inside the Rose Garden was...sloshy. And the second opening band was a solid "meh." But The Lumineers? If you ever get a chance to see them live, do - they knocked it out of the park. So much fun.

Yeti's make the best farmers (seen at Whole Foods)
Portland is all kinds of lovely - being here is good for the soul. And I'm not just saying that because we eat well, which is also true. But the green and the leaves and the trees - it's delicious.

Shiloh, at rest.
Shiloh is transitioning fairly well to the new digs, although we've been working through a couple issues. First, he is not a fan of the damp. Secondly, he's not sleeping through the night unless it's on my pillow. Not on my pillow, he'll be awake and barking anywhere between 3:30-5:45. Now, if we weren't in a townhouse with shared walls, I would just let him bark it out. But the efforts of being a good neighbor is costing us sleep. I'm in the process of trying a few things, so we shall see how that goes. We may just have to sound-insulate that room pretty thoroughly, in the end.

Shiloh in the leaves. He was not a fan of sitting on them.

The book - it's off for typesetting. So - almost to bed? Pretty much to bed? Are the galley copies the book equivalent of your child getting out of bed to ask for water? I say yes.

I must get back to work - I've got a couple characters traipsing through Provence, and yes, I am jealous.

So that's how things are here in Portland. How are you looking forward to celebrating the holidays? Are you in a season of transition that's causing you to rethink your usual traditions? Are any of the living beings in your house waking you up at night? Leave a comment!


  1. Is it okay that I think it's adorable that your dog's not sleeping through the night? And that he sleeps on your pillow?

    Interesting thoughts on handmade Christmas gifts. It IS a lot of pressure. I have a hard time because I don't like giving store-bought gifts (hello, consumerism) but I ALSO find making gifts stressful. I would like to just opt out of gift-giving (and receiving) completely, truth be told. (Although I agree that books make a satisfactory alternative.) I don't enjoy the experience enough to make it worthwhile. Is that sad/weird? I would prefer to emphasize activities and experiences. But my mother-in-law is ALL ABOUT THE GIFTS, so that makes it kind of tricky.

    1. Adorability is Shiloh's greatest, most used weapon ;-) And not enjoying gifting - you know, if it's not your bliss, it's not your bliss. I think it's honorable, though, that you're engaging for the sake of your MIL. And at some point, you guys might be able to craft the holiday for your family to your own tastes :-)

  2. I definitely know the stress of trying to be a good neighbor in spite of your pets. That's unfortunately one of the reasons I had to stop fostering cats. I wasn't getting any sleep.
    Good for you for picking the things you WANT to do instead of being obliged to do!

    1. The joys of pets and shared walls! Good for you, though, for fostering the cats while you could.


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