delayed souvenir: London Underground mug via Goodwill Outlet in Milwaukie, Oregon

Okay, so it's been crickets here for over two months since I paused mid-Paris story, and, no, I haven't dropped off the face of the Earth. I came back to Portland at the end of August no-joke-broke from my summer in Europe (worth every last penny), freaked out over my empty bank account, and immediately started selling spare clothes and shoes on eBay—because one job in America isn't enough. Here's the math: 30-hours-a-week job + 20-hours-a-week commute + 20-hours-a-week eBay gig = zero time for blogging.

Plus, my 2012 MacBook Pro hard drive went rogue in London, so I was hobbling along with my laptop connected to an external hard-drive brain that crashed whenever the cable got jiggled (meaning a lot) and with no access to any files prior to the crash, including the bulk of my travel photos, seriously hampering the blogging.

I also had a little mammogram scare on the other breast last month after checking back in with my doctors. Trust me, there's nothing around Halloween season scarier than cancer—except the possibility of Donald Trump in charge of anything more than a TV show and a few hotels and casinos. The real breast was 3D-X-rayed two separate times, biopsied and X-rayed a third time, tagged with a tiny titanium marker for future reference, and the microcalcifications found benign. Whew. That, too, dampened my blogging spirit.

Then to celebrate avoiding another round of Death-at-the-door, I upgraded my phone. Now after two months back at work, I'm slightly less broke and the owner of a top-of-the-line iPhone—which, crazily enough, was cheaper, because of a promotional sale, than the older models. Ah, the ironies of consumer culture.

And now thanks to my roommate who just last week replaced the fiddly ribbon cable between the hard drive and battery—and he knew how to do this because the same exact suspiciously-planned-obsolescent thing happened to his 2012 MacBook Pro the year before—my laptop is finally back in action.

So . . . here it is two months later. Cinderella is back to scrubbing fireplace grates, but technologically she is sound. I'll fill in the blanks of my summer vacation when I have time. I haven't even told you about getting into Wimbledon last-minute with discount tickets thanks to a rainstorm, or the perfect weekend road trip to Bath, nor have I even given any clues of the trip to Crete with my sister for my birthday, the most magical week of them all.

Why did I drop everything and head to London for the summer? Maybe cancer will do that to you. What Europe gave me again, after more than twenty years away, was perspective, as well as novelty, history, and a slew of new memories. I'm still contemplating next steps. Till the fog clears, I'm all signed up for National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) in November because, well, I've got more than one book in me and there's no more time to waste. Oh, and I have another surgery, reconstructive this time, ahead at Thanksgiving. For now, I still have many hours on the bus to plan escape routes.

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