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We've hit an unexpected "cold snap," as the news puts it. This is the coldest weather for this time of the year Oregon has experienced in twenty-five years.

Sunday, I celebrated an early Thanksgiving dinner with my family; I got to see Jessi, Mitch, Maddie, and Katie's new home for the first time. Dinner was PHENOMENAL and was topped off with three kinds of pie (I had tiny slivers of chocolate and Oreo) and watching Toy Story 3 in their cozy bonus room.

ALSO, Kat called! <333 I had to tell her the bad / annoying news that I'd sent the wrong fly-home and fly-back dates to Mom and Dad (they'd been a week early). My plane tickets have been changed, but now Kat can't come to SMF to pick me up and drive me to GV. That would have been fun. BUT! we will still have lots of fun! Need to call up Elsa, Katlin, Brandon, Jason and Terra, Brenna (if you're home?)... depending on who's around.

Alex and Kile! <333 If you two happen to be in GV at any point for the holidays, let me know. I'd love to see you guys again!

It's odd sometimes thinking about how infrequently I talk with some of my friends from high school, yet every once in a while, we can get talking again and it's like nothing ever changed. It's a nice feeling. <3

After watching Toy Story 3, I packed up and drove to Grace's place to spend the night with her and Camille. Grace's home is just six minutes away from Jessi and Mitch's by car. We stayed up fairly late snacking on sweets, watching cartoons and Labyrinth, and searching photos of sexy ol' actors. What.

Grace very generously offered her own bed for me to sleep in. I have trouble sleeping in new places: I didn't sleep well when we'd last spent the night. Sadly, I didn't this night, either. We went to bed at 2:00 but I didn't fall asleep until after 6:00. My ears were tuning in on everything. We were up by 9:30, but I napped on the air mattress Grace and Camille had shared for perhaps an hour and a half, which helped.

Drove into Portland Monday afternoon. We were a half hour late for class, but it wasn't a big deal. Got Blacksad back from Aurora and then got a peppermint mocha when she, Camille and I headed to Starbucks for some needed caffeine. Lent Blacksad to Heather as she'd been gushing about the artwork a few weeks ago.

Under Heather's direction, I completed four blacks (that is, finished cleanup animation drawings), which is a personal record. Heather kept praising my work, which felt awesome. I'd been the very first artist assigned to cleanup work on the Revolutions project (Revolutions is a hair salon in Portland and we're making a 30-second commercial for them), and, even though I started off slow, my work has been good and has gotten even better.

After finishing my fourth cleanup drawing, I hung out for a little over an hour with Grace, Camille, Allyson, and Jacob; Aurora had already gone home. Jacob gave us back massages, which was helpful for my lower back – it’s had a kink for about a month now that won’t go away. Grace brought snacks from home. When Allyson had to get to class, the rest of us walked to where I parked, dropped our bags off, and then enjoyed a walk along the waterfront to the docks on the east side of the Willamette River. Headed back for my car around 7:00.

We were all going to head home until Jacob mentioned eating at The Original Hotcake and Steak House; off we went! I called Aunt Pam to let her know what I was up to. I shared a gryo omelet with Jacob (which he paid for), and Grace and Camille shared a hamburger. Jacob then bought crepes for all of us to share. SO GOOD and SO FILLING AUUUUGH.

Back at Jacob’s apartment, he brewed some coffee for me, which I had black with sugar. We’d been hanging for quite a while when I got a phone call from Aunt Pam around 9:00: she told me that snow was coming down hard in Beavercreek, so I called our leave from Jacob’s. We’d seen some light snow driving back over the Ross Island Bridge to his apartment.

Dropped Camille off, and the streets around her home were fairly slushy. Getting closer to Oregon City, Grace and I were laughing at how the gusts of snow came and went, came and went. Snow was sticking to the pavement at her place, and I did fishtail slightly at one point, but I took the roads home at 25-35 mph, and no faster than 30 once beyond 213.

This part of the drive was eerily beautiful, and kept me incredibly aware of my surroundings. The snow was pounding down, swirling up and over my car in cold little pellets. Visibility was reduced to a practical whiteout. I kept thinking of the kaleidoscopic bone monsters in Brother Odd, because the weather was much like a blizzard. INSANE for this time of the year.

Made it home just fine. I was smart, alert, and careful. I did have to get very close to the windshield to see above my wipers, because they were quickly icing up despite having my defroster on. It took an extra half hour to get home because of the weather, but it was a worthwhile experience. I needed that snow driving under my belt.

Bundled up and played around outside a bit. The snow had died down, but it was still around 25 degrees out. Thank goodness for our woodstove!

Today, I was lazy and got up at 1:30 again. Honey got to stay inside the house because of the cold. She kept thinking I was going to leave her outside whenever I tried to get her to go potty; biscuits helped bring her out.

Aunt Pam started chemotherapy on Friday. She’d had 38 lymph nodes removed from her right breast and the surrounding area; the chemo is a precaution to make sure any remaining cancer is killed. She’s going to be dealing with chemo for a solid sixteen weeks. I’ll be around to help her out, though. She felt so bad about asking me to do simple things for her, like grabbing a couple pillows to put under her arms – she’s used to doing things for herself. I can see some of Dad in her in that respect. But I want to make sure she’s comfortable, so I kept repeating that I didn’t mind her asking me to get things for her.

Going to the Chinese Garden tomorrow (today, ha) with Laryssa for our (godawful boring) Chinese Cultural History class. It’ll be nice to hang out with her, though; I miss hanging with her and Brit. The kids and I aim to see Tangled tomorrow as well, weather permitting, which should be a lot of fun. Looking forward to it!

OH AND BY THE WAY, it's now 16 degrees outside. Dayum.

January 2012

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