A love of Saturday

Dear friend,

This was a very Portlandy day in Portland. I felt more at ease than I had in quite a while. The air felt substantially warmer than it had in the past few weeks; our winter has been quite frosty in January. Today we had friendly clouds with a bit of drizzle and a smattering of sun. I started my day with a walk down the street for coffee and pastries, which I ate while browsing Caturday pictures on my laptop. Under most circumstances, it takes little more than that to make me content.

To get from contentment to happiness, though, requires a bike. And I’ve been using mine consistently over the past few weekends, as Fred has borrowed my car to get to his job on Saturdays and Sundays. It’s been a pleasant reminder of how little I actually need my car. I admit that I’ve often succumbed to the cold, nasty weather as an excuse not to get around by bike, even though I’m well equipped for staying warm. (The main problem is with my glasses, which get fogged up easily.) In today’s mild weather I biked just a mile or so to meet a friend for lunch at Portland’s best Lebanese restaurant. On the way back, I hauled myself up the old Salmon Street hill, expecting to run out of breath quickly—most winter cycling trips remind me that I’m out of shape—but found it very easy to keep a steady cadence with only a couple of downshifts. 

Another ingredient for happiness, I’ve learned, is taking care of business. Before I left the house today, I wrote up a to-do list with the aim of clearing out my guilt for having neglected certain chores this week. I returned a library book on time, and paid the accumulated fine for several books that had been less punctual. I mailed a birthday gift for my sister-in-law, which had almost been forgotten in the midst of her own baby shower, Fred’s birthday, and preparations for my own upcoming birthday. At home, I cleared away some dishes that were attracting ants (though I still have bits of chocolate lying around) and trapped the cats so I could trim their nails. I swept the wood floors and worked on a couple of small projects.

After a flurry of activity—even a light one—I often feel a letdown, a feeling of What’ll I do with myself now? I tried to ward that off with a short nap this afternoon, and I think it worked well enough. Fred is home now to keep me company, and we’re both energized for a night of karaoke starting soon.


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