Quick updates (Nov. 8, 2022)
November 8, 2022

Dear readers,

I have not been here for about half a year. I have been also not as
active on various social media platforms as I used to be.

About a year ago, I returned to a more urbanized area of Oregon
after having lived for three years and eleven months in rural
Columbia County, Oregon. Those years represented a very unique
experience in my life, as it was the first time in my life I lived
in a forested mountain miles away from any town. I was, however,
thoroughly burned out. In retrospect, I was feeling very unsafe
there. Possibilities of forest fires were a constant source of
worry, especially when there was only one road in and out of the
area. In addition, being a queer person of color in a predominantly
MAGA Republican environment where our neighbors would shoot their
machine guns, Trump and other MAGA lawn signs litter the road every
election cycle, and a certain man with a Confederate flag on the
back of his red pickup truck was seen driving up and down the
country road, were a bit too much. White privilege is when one can
live and travel anywhere in America and don't have to worry about
their safety. I do not have that luxury.

This spring was cooler and rainier. The summer of 2020 really did
not start until mid-July. I did very well in my vegetable garden,
though! I experimented with a "three sisters" garden, an indigenous
method of growing beans, squash, and corn together in a close plot.
The corns yielded *four* ears each!

My 19-year-old cat suddenly passed away on August 5. I did not
notice something was terribly wrong until about 6 hours before her
death. In retrospect, however, other possible scenarios could have
been far worse for me to bear. It was a relief that she died
peacefully in the early morning, not tormented by veterinarians and
drugs over a long period of time, or pressured into euthanasia.

The summer weather lasted until about October 20 of this year.
Since late July and August had a few heat waves, I spent September
outdoors and exploring many smaller towns around Portland on the
bicycle and public transit, from Welches to Woodburn.

This has been sort of a secret, but I enrolled in a ministry school
last August and was taking a couple of classes. This fall I am
going on a full-time course load. If I keep going at this speed I
will be able to complete 69 credits (which leads to a diploma) by
next summer! Until recently I had difficulty motivating myself or
keeping myself focused, so much to the point I was starting to
worry about my cognitive decline.