November is another big milestone month. The last significant one for me was getting into august, the half way point of the year away from work. These milestones make me really stop and think, and we’ve passed several of these interesting inflection points this year.
November has its place here because it marks the end of our six month lease in Portland. The lease was a big commitment on our travel plan when we started down this road earlier in the year without an end game in mind. Now getting to the end of the lease marks the beginning of a new plan forward.
The apartment lease was also the one point of certainty I could put some personal deadlines around. One of those deadlines was circling back with my job to communicate my current status and plans. I didn’t have any obligation to close that loop, but I thought it best to give them an update as I’d originally planned, and I have now let them know that we plan to stay here in Portland for the time being. I don’t think I could extract Kelly and the kids from here now if I tried. This is a good place for us right now.
November is also the month to plan our December travels which are a little complicated and a lot expensive, but we’re all very much looking forward to traveling again. We haven’t quite finalized our agenda, but were getting closer. Planning a trip for five, going in separate directions, then overlapping for a few days is difficult. Not to mention planning for the dog and cats.
I’ve finally gotten a haircut, and it felt really good to sit in a barber’s chair again after all this time. My goal was to go the full year without a shave or haircut, and December makes it a year. So I went ahead and got it cut this week. It was a few days early, but I’m glad I resisted the temptation several times earlier this year already. It was always important to stick with the plan and to let it grow, however it grows, uncut and unmaintained and to accept it since I had no idea what it would look like. It was fun, rewarding and I enjoyed it. The year of hair growth was, surprisingly, as much a psychological change as it was a physical change.
This month as well a last month, we’re off budget. We’ve re-calibrated quite a lot over the last year, adjusting to spending less, so we naturally spend a bit less than before and we’ve learned to work together more. A specific budget does not play as big a part in our daily habits now.
The weather has turned persistently cold and wet. It’s pretty interesting how different it is here. It really feels like it rains every single day. I used to just stay indoors on rainy days or dash to the car during rainstorms, but here I’m learning to live in the rain; to take long walks, run errands, continue with the daily routine. We are doing it all in the rain and it’s not too bad. It’s just a new thing for us to adjust to and to prepare for. All of our neighbors are still out walking and biking in the rain. The cold wet is also making me look at all my homeless neighbors differently. I’ve seen the same faces for six+ months now and street living must be getting tougher now.
We hosted Kelly’s parents for a week this month too. It is fun, once again, to share in someone else’s vacation for a week. It feels like I’m on vacation too when another family makes the bulk of their vacation lives available to us for several days on end and when they bring all their energy, joy and excitement into our world.
The fall leaves are pretty cool to see. We’ve had lots of bright red and yellow for about a month now. We still have quite a few, but most of the leaves have dropped. I’m seeing views that I have never seen before through all the bare trees around us. From our apartment I can see several hills now that I didn’t know were right beyond my neighborhood. I never saw them when all the trees were covered in leaves.
We have a couple of weeks here to wrap up our village home activities, then we’ll be gone for several weeks and then return to Portland to start our new year.
On our morning commute last week. So much fun riding to school with my three kids on the trains and busses.
On the way Downtown to Target with Rylee on the train. The air is so cold on my head now. The Christmas lights downtown on all the trees look so nice right now. Rylee is a super fun travel companion.
Our drive up to Mount Hood in a rental van. We made it to Government Camp, but beyond that we needed snow chains. Just a couple of miles back towards Portland it was just drizzling, but up here, heavy heavy snowfall. We attempted to get up to the Timberline Hotel for sightseeing and lunch, but we couldn’t get there this time.