2013-12-30

The Convenience of Closeness.

As I tend to do, I've thought about a lot of things with relation to our life since we've moved to another part of Portland. We're now living in the only part of Portland that is still really dense mixed residential and commercial (the strict downtown core is still mixed residential and commercial, but not that many people still live there, relatively).


What this means is that, for instance, I took the streetcar home from work the other day, and on my way walking from the streetcar to our apartment, I stopped by three different stores that are all directly on the way to our apartment to get food for dinner, some staple pantry stuff and cold medicine. By foot, it only took me 30 minutes to do all that shopping and get home.

This doesn't apply just to groceries - there is a good kitchen store, a cobbler, hardware store, several dry cleaners, restaurants, two movie theaters, bars, shops all within about 5 minutes by foot - we even got our Christmas Tree two blocks away and walked it home. There is nothing that is necessary for our daily lives that is more than 5-7 minutes away by foot (except my work, a 20 minute bike ride).

Here's what this has made me think about as I have lived this way for about a year and a half now:

I think about time differently. When I can run all the errands I have in a day in 30 minutes by foot, or just easily do them on the route I would normally take from work to home, they are much less of a time-suck on my day. I used to set aside a good part of a weekend day to run errands, now it takes 30 minutes and I can do whatever I want with the rest of my day, or I can often just fit them in on my way home, take an extra 10-15 minutes, and then not worry about them after that.

I'm in less of a hurry. Because I don't spend hours just trying to go between places, I don't worry about time spent traveling. I'm happy to give the things I need to do the time they need, because I know it won't be burdensome on my schedule. I also know, because I'm not worried about traffic, that the things I do will basically always take the exact same amount of time, every time, and I don't have to plan ahead for getting stuck along the way.

Traveling long distances takes energy - even if you're driving, the attentiveness required to drive is draining. Only having short distances to travel has proved an excellent benefit many times - such as this past week when we were both sick with nasty colds and could basically just walk around the block and get cold medicine, and just a few minutes to get food stuff to cook. That was about all the energy we were capable of expending, and we were still able to get done what we needed with that very small reserve.

Living this way helps my own stress levels, helps me have more energy, time and resources for things I want to do, as well as making me less of a public annoyance and threat - because people have a tendency to behave much less humanely when they are stressed and in a hurry, and I'm not exempt from that.

Of course it's a matter of priorities. This type of area may not be the best place to live if you love gardening, for instance, unless you have a lot of money to spend on a house in a place where real-estate is expensive.

But for us, it is exactly what we want out of life - to live in a small, beautiful apartment in a city, and have this kind of daily life - simple and basically self-sufficient, with time and resources to expend on things we love doing, people we love, enjoying life.

2013-12-19

Responsibility.

You'll never teach anyone to be responsible if you always let them off the hook for being irresponsible, just because they weren't being maliciously irresponsible.

2013-12-17

A Night Out

The other night we went out for dinner with my parents at a fantastic place called Via Tribunali. We had a delicious dinner and desserts, and after we bid my parents farewell at the MAX stop, we decided to make our way over to Pioneer Courthouse Square and see the Christmas Tree.


It just so happened that there was a roasted chestnut stand in the square as well, so we got a little cone full of piping hot chestnuts, sat and ate them watching people in the square, and then walked over to the Pioneer Square mall to do a little Christmas shopping before heading home.


A Night Out. A Night Out. A Night Out. A Night Out. A Night Out. A Night Out.
It's pretty great to live in a place where you can make spontaneous decisions to do things like this without any preparation - just walk or hop on a train and you're there in literally a few minutes, then just a few minutes again and you're back home.

2013-12-16

Hello Again!

Well, it's been a while, hasn't it?

We just moved to a new apartment - not very far away from where we were previously, only a matter of blocks - but still, any moving process is a lot of work.

We've now come out the other side, and have our place mostly in order. It's a studio apartment, approximately 390 sq ft (36 sq m for you non-americans). It might be our favorite apartment to date, in fact.

Aside from that, there's not a lot to say about it, so I'll show you a few photos, how about that?


We like foxy knockers. Gettin' Shit Done. Gettin' Shit Done. Twin loaves. Gettin' Shit Done. Getting set up. Getting set up. Shepherd's Pie and Christmas. Stanley 2013. Home. Details. Our view.