day 57

I've spent the last 30 days or so completely modifying the biomechanics of my running. light shoes, light steps, light feet, an altered landing, an altered posture. it's reached that point where I've deconstructed my running but my body hasn't yet learned the new patterns by heart. every run feels like I have no idea how to run.

my feet hurt.

cardiovascularly -- a word I think I just made up -- I've reached a place where my runs feel easy, but my legs are slow to catch up. the biomechanical reorganizing doesn't help. this is the danger zone, where the engine is stronger than the chassis; where I want faster faster faster but the infrastructure is not in place.

sometimes I need reminding: there is time.

at work there is one last push before the season ends: a score built from scratch for the last opera. in the ground, the crocuses emerge. it's been grey again. I dream of loving reunions with old friends. I do the dishes in a timely way. my hair grows long. the horse's hair falls out all over everything. slowly, the evenings take longer to fade.

on valentine's day mike surprised me by flying across the country to give me a kiss. any boyfriends I've had before this have been rendered irrelevant.


snow days

hawthorne bridge, snow

maybe you've heard that the pacific northwest has joined the rest of the nation and has been having some Weather. most of us have been more or less housebound since midday on thursday, trapped by snow and a lot of ice in a town unused to experiencing it. I like portland because we just shut the fuck down when shit gets snowy. it's like being a kid again: most businesses close and everyone's at home drinking cocoa (or booze) and watching movies, going outside to build ridiculous snowmen, sledding down nearby hills. there's solidarity. traffic is sparse. there was even a ski race downtown.

on days 38 and 39 of my running streak (oh btw I am on another running streak), I ran in gaiters and ski mittens out in the snow. I grinned like an idiot that first day, with the sun out and the air crisp and everything powdery and clean. on saturday the weather was already turning when I left the house, so the trip was much more blustery and kind of painful, snow driving sideways into my face. but I chatted briefly with some girls who'd hiked out for coffee, and when I rounded the corner to my house, the guys at the tire place nearby (who I'm sure have noticed the frequency with which I run by) cheered me on. on day 40 everything was covered in almost an inch of ice and so after some weighing of my options I ended up measuring out the length of my apartment (28 feet, rounded down to 25 to be safe) and ran it 300 times. that's about 1.4 miles. ice, you ain't stoppin me.

gaiter time

running route

snow days: reading books, watching tv, cleaning, cooking, spending far too much time online, swapping long voice messages with my bff on whatsapp, running the heater seemingly without pause. looking out the window at the snow. knitting. playing too much candy crush. (that game is a fucking extortion racket but I can't. stop. playing.) feeling all the while like somehow there is a better way to relax. snacking constantly, running out of my favorite foods. unwilling to walk even the half-block to the convenience store, mostly because I feel sorry for the people there who have to work.

we have off again today -- it's beginning to rain but even slicker than before, rain on top of ice. I no longer know what day it is and have reverted to a feral state.

snow cream!

ice storm


downtown, barely

by the end of the day it will be 40 degrees and just plain rain. rain rain rain, all week long. welcome back, portland. it will be good to leave the house. somehow we have to move three timpani from the theater to the opera today. the timpanist and I are waiting for better friction on the roads. I have so much shopping to do. I have forgotten what regular clothes feel like. the snow days have mostly been strange and quiet and luxurious, a respite from normal life, a sanctuary of fuzzy blankets and olympics news and pancakes.




1. james dashner: the maze runner
2. susan patron: the higher power of lucky
3. jon krakauer: into the wild
4. christopher mcdougall: born to run
5. james dashner: the scorch trials
6. margaret atwood: maddaddam
7. gillian flynn: gone girl


1. lauren groff: the monsters of templeton
2. margaret atwood: the year of the flood
3. lars kepler: the hypnotist
4. patrick rothfuss: the name of the wind
5. kathryn stockett: the help
6. julian barnes: the sense of an ending
7. jeanne duprau: the city of ember
8. paula mclain: the paris wife
9. laura hillenbrand: unbroken: a world war II story of survival, resilience, and redemption
10. jeanne duprau: the people of sparks
11. r.j. palacio: wonder
12. mary ann shaffer & annie barrows: the guernsey literary and potato peel society
13. sara gruen: water for elephants
14. gretchen rubin: the happiness project
15. oliver sacks: the mind's eye
16. c.s. lewis: the horse and his boy
17. emma donoghue: room
18. karen joy fowler: we are all completely beside ourselves


1. george r.r. martin: a clash of kings
2. george r.r. martin: a storm of swords
3. stieg larsson: the girl who played with fire
4. john & mary gribbin: galileo in 90 minutes
5. suor maria celeste & dava sobel: letters to father: suor maria celeste to galileo, 1623-1633
6. george r.r. martin: a feast for crows
7. stieg larsson: the girl who kicked the hornet's nest
8. tea obreht: the tiger's wife 
9. lauren groff: delicate edible birds
10. piper kerman: orange is the new black: my year in a women's prison
11. rebecca skloot: the immortal life of henrietta lacks
12. abraham verghese: cutting for stone
13. ali smith: there but for the
14. karen spears zacharias: the silence of mockingbirds
15. rudyard kipling: the jungle book
16. marilynne robinson: gilead
17. george r.r. martin: a song of ice and fire: a dance with dragons
18. c.s. lewis: till we have faces: a myth retold
19. cheryl strayed: tiny beautiful things: advice on love and life from dear sugar
20. madeleine l'engle: a wrinkle in time
21. madeleine l'engle: a wind in the door
22. madeleine l'engle: a swiftly tilting planet
23. madeleine l'engle: many waters
24. ursula le guin: lavinia
25. margaret atwood: oryx and crake
26. rebecca stead: when you reach me
27. cheryl strayed: torch
28. leanne shapton: swimming studies
29. cheryl strayed: wild: from lost to found on the pacific crest trail


1. betty smith: joy in the morning
2. jean thompson: who do you love
3. cory doctorow: down and out in the magic kingdom
4. p.g. wodehouse: my man jeeves
5. d.h. lawrence: the rainbow
6. david grann: the lost city of z
7. isaac bashevis singer: shosha
8. karen pryor: don't shoot the dog! the new art of teaching and training
9. jason tesar: the awakened: part one
10. laura whitcomb: a certain slant of light
11. thich nhat hanh: true love
12. george r.r. martin: a game of thrones: a song of ice and fire
13. mike foster: gracenomics
14. malcolm gladwell: what the dog saw, and other adventures
15. suzanne collins: the hunger games
16. suzanne collins: catching fire
17. suzanne collins: mockingjay
18. stieg larsson: the girl with the dragon tattoo
19. malcolm gladwell: blink: the power of thinking without thinking


1. david wroblewski: the story of edgar sawtelle
2. lydia miller: love in infant monkeys
3. judith ortiz cofer: the meaning of consuelo
4. azar nafisi: reading lolita in tehran
5. mark rashid: whole heart, whole horse
6. james crumley: the last good kiss
7. tao te ching, stephen addiss & stanley lombardo, trans.
8. anthony crossley: training the young horse
9. norman mailer: the executioner's song
10. richard brautigan: an unfortunate woman
11. madeleine l'engle: and both were young
12. neil gaiman: american gods
13. kate douglas smith wiggin: rebecca of sunnybrook farm
14. jeremy butterfield: damp squid: the english language laid bare
15. ronlyn domingue: the mercy of thin air
16. anna gavalda: I wish someone were waiting for me somewhere
17. sloane crosley: I was told there'd be cake


oh hey.















one day recently I put water in the coffee machine, and then coffee grounds, and then I flipped it on and went about making breakfast. when it sounded like it was just about done I turned around and I discovered that I'd left the coffee pot sitting in the kitchen sink, so instead of having a pot of coffee, I had a kitchen counter of coffee.

it got pretty cold here for about two weeks -- temperatures hovering in the high teens and low twenties for days and days on end -- and I got a reminder of why I left syracuse. I did get to wear my cat balaclava, though.

I pretty much haven't been running at all. like, all year actually. but I did just buy fleece-lined purple striped running tights, so there's that. my 5K time (because the only time I run is when there's an xdog race) is almost a full mile slower than my PR. running with a low-key group of really nice people has taught me how to not-race in races, a lesson surprisingly hard for some of us to learn.

maybe I'll run again next year.

in addition to my own place, I'm taking care of two houses and one cat right now, and have been for over a week. it's a lot of driving, but there's a DVR and a fireplace and a hot tub and a really affectionate cat (prone to excessive licking) and leftover pizza and I've watched 20+ episodes of once upon a time in the last couple weeks. default mode right now is: sit on the couch and knit. I did make a bunch of rosemary wreaths so I haven't been totally indolent. just mostly.

and: that white tinsel tree, you guys. I have no idea if it's tacky or not because I just love it without apology.

that photo of mike in the foam wig is old but I just came across it on my phone and it made me laugh so I'm showing it to you, internet. he's coming home with me for christmas, the first dude I've brought there in ten years.

winter: quiet, dark, and cold. so very dark, so very quiet.



gala 2013 happened. not gonna lie, just happy it's over.


otherwise, last weekend:
get up at 4:45 because there's a weird noise that you end up realizing is probably your neighbor sawing down a branch from the nearby pine tree? which I assume was tapping against the house in the wind and driving him crazy? then put on your coat and boots and go outside to pull the faucet protector off the hose spigot because it keeps banging against the side of the building which is conveniently right next to your sleeping head
feel mostly good that at the last minute you and your friend decided to bail on the race you were going to do in central oregon where you would have been leaving your house at 4:45 and putting your bike on the car and driving two hours and then bike racing and then paddling an inflatable kayak 4 miles down a river and then eating a burger and driving two hours home. sorry to miss the race but not sorry to be home in pajamas
make pumpkin pancakes
eat pumpkin pancakes


watch like six episodes of arrested development
finally finish playing bioshock, the last battle of which takes you like eight tries which is why you haven't finished it already even though you got it on your birthday
watch more arrested development
make soup and put it immediately in the freezer without eating any
talk to your boyfriend on the phone
feel really great about your sudden ability to lay around
go for a run in the rain and then laugh when ten minutes later the sun comes out for the first time all day
go grocery shopping

this weekend:

sleep in until 8:10, a truly remarkable feat given that your natural wakeup time has become something like 5:50, which is just not right guys
eat most of a bowl of oatmeal, drink most of a pot of coffee
go to target and smile at all the halloween decorations and talk yourself out of buying all of them but feel sorry that you talked yourself out of the giant foam wigs


seriously, I gotta go back.

make one hundred things in the kitchen because for some reason you are in hardcore nesting mode. this includes a batch of chicken stock made out of the 5 or so pounds of chicken feet you've had in your freezer since a butcher day in june


they are a truly horrifying and hilarious sight, like a pot full of tiny witch hands. but the chicken stock is incredible and since chicken feet are mostly bones the stock is so thick with bone marrow that it turns practically to jello in the fridge
watch a documentary about china
mark an extra salome cello part because one person in the section likes to have her own stand and you are nice
feel kinda mad at whoever did the parts in 1990 because the phrase markings in some of the string parts are messily whited out and you have to re-ink a lot of the music


do a dramatic reading of the special weather alert with your friend
watch the rain


spend probably half the time working, which sucks but what can you do, you've spent every day of the last week marking parts for 10-12 hours a day and there was no time for anything else practically
spend an hour and a half standing at the stove making tomato butter, which is worth it
buy all the pumpkin flavored things at the grocery store
fondle a bunch of lego minifigure packages at target because you and your boyfriend are playing a ridiculous and complicated game where you each have been assigned certain lego dudes to find and there's an elaborate point system and elaborate rules and he was gracious enough to give you an extra day to buy yours
correctly choose the lady robot lego, which you have been joking is going to be your half of the topper on your eventual wedding cake, which is also kind of not a joke
drink pumpkin beer because you have a problem, a pumpkin problem

things made recently, a non-definitive list


stuffed tomatoes (from this recipe)
tomato sauce (one batch of regular; another with roasted garlic & red pepper)
tomato soup
roasted tomato soup
tomato butter
chicken stock
butternut squash soup in your PRETTY NEW CROCKPOT


which you bought because your old one had a hairline crack down the middle and every time you used it you suffered from terrible crockpot anxiety, certain that your house was probably burning down

things you could use real bad right now
a haircut
a massage, mostly hands and right arm and neck -- being a music librarian is hard sometimes
a raincoat
more pumpkin beer GUYS WHAT