Welcome to New Urban Habitat 2.0


Thanks for your patience. I’m still tinkering, but my big move and redesign is mostly done. If you usually read in a reader, come on over and take a look around!

Last week, we found out what it takes to bring Eugene, Oregon to a standstill. Eight inches of snow and seven days of freezing temperatures. School was cancelled for five days, leaving my teacher husband at home. When I first moved here eleven years ago, I chuckled when we experienced a dusting of snow and everyone panicked and raced home from work.

But this storm was icy, even by Colorado standards. The temperature was nine below zero one morning. Of course, it doesn’t help that the city is ill prepared for snow and ice, so traffic (and sidewalk) conditions were treacherous until the temperature rose.

We did every snow-related activity we could think of. Cross-country skiing around the neighborhood. Check. Careening down steep hills on sleds. Check. Snow angels. Snowball fights. Snow people. And that was just day one.



I should mention that we’re not used to having my husband at home. It’s not that we don’t love having him. It’s just that our routines suddenly seem like a foreign language. Laundry? Nap? Play dates? Deadlines? Work?


It always takes awhile for us to adjust and start getting things done, which usually coincides with his return to work. The good news is, he usually emerges with a special appreciation for the challenges and absurdities of the work-at-home life. “What you do here,” he said on Friday, after filling us in on his first day back at work. “It’s not easy.”

I must confess that as much as I loved gliding through our stilled neighborhood as fluffy snowflakes fluttered down and a layer of white carpeted the houses and towering Douglas firs, I was thrilled to see the green grass and vegetation reappear yesterday. We went on a bike ride to celebrate, with bonus points for anyone who could find one of the last remaining piles of slush to ride through. Perhaps I really am becoming an Oregonian.


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About Abby Quillen

Abby Quillen writes fiction and magazine articles. Her articles and essays have appeared in YES! Magazine, The Christian Science Monitor, Colorado Central Magazine, and on Common Dreams, Nation of Change, Reader Supported News, The Daily Good, Truthout, and Shareable.net. You can find more of her writing at http://abbyquillen.com.


  1. Oh No! We are planning to move to Eugene later this year so my husband can go to school – we are coming from Chicago and were so excited that this was our last winter with snow. Now I am reading about 8″ in Eugene!! At least it’s happening this year so I don’t feel like it’s following me out there 🙂

    I guess making one snowman per season will be OK – but no more! Snow is pretty on the fields…not on the roads!

    • Don’t worry, Leah! This was a very rare experience. We usually have one mild snow event each winter, but we’ve seen plenty of winters with no snow. Rain, on the other hand….

  2. The new site looks great! What fun you had in the snow–we would have liked some of it here, but we are too far north and nearer the coast. We had the cold (although not -9!) and just a skiff of snow; we’re hoping for more next time! And what a great treat to have hubby/daddy home for all that time!

    • Thanks, Wendy! Yes, we do know how to make the most of sun and snow here in the Northwest, don’t we? I have a feeling you may get your wish for more snow soon. It’s been such a cold and wet year so far, and winter hasn’t even begun!

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