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Meet neighbor squirrel

She lives in the awning over my building's porch. I first saw her years ago when she was nearly a newborn. Just a few inches long. Huddled in a corner on the porch. Something must have happened to her mother. She was clearly having a rough go of it…But she persevered.

Once, when she had grown up a bit, she tried to get into the house. Clawing at the space between my living room window and the sill.

Now she pops out in the morning to sit on the roof and survey the neighborhood.

While I sit on the couch and drink my tea.

Occasionally we run into each other out on the sidewalk.

She acts like she doesn't know me.

Everybody loves the sunshine

January was Portland's rainiest month in more than two years. Over 5½ inches. We needed a good soak. Moss has returned to concrete steps, crannies, and rooftops… The general disposition of ferns has improved considerably… There are perpetual puddles (some that are nearly small ponds) on sidewalks and at street corners everywhere… Dog's won't leave the house without raincoats on.

It's all so wonderfully Pacific Northwest.

The sky was also blanketed in grey. A tiny momentary bit of blue is cause for celebration. Or deflation - If you missed it. Daylight is short, yet days feel impossibly long.

So far, February has brought a bit more sun. But only a bit.

Daydreaming about sunny days on the coast is my new favorite pastime.

❱❱ It is solved by walking

Antonia Malchik for High Country News…

Walking a thousand miles a year hasn’t given me a tidy list for how to live a good and effective life that I could stick up on the refrigerator. But it’s kept the promise contained in the Latin phrase solvitur ambulando, or “it is solved by walking.” Originally used to describe a premise that is explored through practical experiment, the phrase has been used by thinkers, writers and travelers throughout millennia of written history, people who believed — because they walked and found it to be true — that walking was an answer to the stuck thought, the sorrowing heart, the moral dilemma. It is the realization that freedom of the mind is intertwined with freedom of movement.

Throughout Elementary and Middle School I was a "walker". In High School I'd occasionally miss the bus - It was a 2½ mile walk home.

When I left St. Louis, I sold my car. Most days I walked to and from work. Enduring Northeast winters when gusts of below-zero-wind would harden the contacts in my eyes. Through humid summers where I'd arrive home soaked with sweat.

In San Francisco I rocked a granny cart to help when trudging large piles of laundry to the laundromat. For a couple of months I lived at one end of Sutter Street (near the bus lot) and worked at the other (at Market). Walking the length of that street at the end of the day is the best job perk I've ever had. When going back to visit, I'll make time to walk it again. It's up there with SFMOMA and a burrito on my priority list.

In Santa Fe, pedestrians have the right away. Though no one seemed to know it. Or they did and were furious about it. Even city buses will come at you aggressively while you're in a cross walk (with a stop sign). Still…It's hard to beat a snowy walk through little adobe neighborhoods.

I bought a bike a year or so after moving to Portland. I can count on two hands the number of times I've ridden it.

I'd much rather walk…

How to Walk by Thich Nhat Hanh & Jason DeAntonis

My 2019 in books…

13,511 pages across 41 books

I read better than the average for dyslexic folks.[1] It's still a lot of work. Having an e-reader helps. I can adjust the font size and the line spacing to something comfortable. Oddly, comfortable varies by book and the style of the writing. Occasionally I'll run into a book that no amount of adjustment will help. I can't process it. No matter how much I'd like to read it (Hi Infinte Jest).

For 2019, I set a goal of 30 books. And I blew past it with 41!

Some of those were graphic novels. They count but a little less so.

Still… It's the most books I've ever read in a single year. By far.

It was fun. It was also exhausting. By the end of the year I felt a little burnt out. Somewhere just north of 40 may be a hard limit. Or maybe pushing up against that wall will eventually expand it?

Either way, I'm not going to push as hard in 2020. Even if I could read 60 books a year, I'll never be able to read everything I'd like to. This year, I'm going to see what a natural pace feels like.

See all the books I read in 2019…

  1. This makes intuitive sense to me but who knows? — Brain Scans Show Dyslexics Read Better with Alternative Strategies ↩︎

❱❱ This page is designed to last

[M]y proposal is seven unconventional guidelines in how we handle websites designed to be informative, to make them easy to maintain and preserve. The guiding intention is that the maintainer will try to keep the website up for at least 10 years, maybe even 20 or 30 years. These are not controversial views necessarily, but are aspirations that are not mainstream—a manifesto for a long-lasting website.

Jeff Huang's full essay…

This new blog of mine (with a decidedly default install of Ghost) doesn't meet much of the criteria Jeff Huang lays out for websites to persist for decades.

I've never been much for making sure my own things last. I've had many blogs at many URLs over the years. I've made very little effort to archive them when moving on to whatever I wanted to play around with next.  The Internet Archive has picked up some bits and pieces here and there without my intervention. I've barely looked at them.

I don't think of my blogging as a historical record. It's always been a rather clumsy exploration of myself within a chunk of time that isn't known until it's known.

Which is not to say I'm against creating informational and cultural things on the web that will last. There is plenty of content that should be saved. Jeff's guidelines go a long way towards ensuring it will be.

But there's also a great deal of freedom in realizing, as an individual, that whatever you're doing on the internet is primarily valuable because you are doing it. Once it's done, that value declines rapidly. Let it be regulated to memory…Where it can become less like a ledger and more like a dream.