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A Dose of Things I Like

It helps to be positive. It helps to find stuff to be positive about. In that spirit, a far-from-complete list of things that make me smile:

• Good, unexpected wordplay.

• How far I can get on walks in Portland.

• Warm breezes.

• How good the library systems have been in many of the places I've lived, including now in Multnomah County.

• Personal in-jokes that are so inside, only I know them. (Such in-jokes can be sustained for years or even decades...and no one has to know. Or has to say "I don't get it." That's fine, 'cause I do!)

• Good coffee and similar drinks. This wasn't guaranteed; I avoided coffee for years. But my family kept beans in the freezer — especially in the Nineties when my cousin Max worked for Seattle's cyber café (and, later, Internet provider) Speakeasy and would give bags of beans as gifts — and I warmed to the scent at least. I let myself drink coffee starting in 2001. I've never looked back. Heck, I wish I'd gone to more cafés in Eugene when I went to college there; I could have had tea or otter drinks, of course, but the main point is I could have soaked in more cafés-in-college-towns ambience.

• Visiting the Belmont Goats.

• When you can still find a pharmacy fountain. Portland has at least two; Milwaukie, just south of us, has one; and in Hermiston, Oregon, when I worked for the Hermiston Herald from 1997 to 2000, I'd get chocolate Cokes from the pharmacy on the same block as my office.

• That my dreams are vivid and, most often, either good dreams or at least non-nightmares. I only rarely have bad or even disquieting dreams.

• How all these years later, certain gags and payoffs in This Is Spinal Tap can still collapse me.

• The roads through Oregon's Coast Range, on the way to the promised Coast. Twisty so you stay vigilant while driving, and offering amazing views as you do.

• The Oregon Coast. That shoreline is seriously a big reason I moved to Oregon after a childhood full of visits to Oregon. It's rugged and eccentric and one of the most beautiful places in the world.

• Sunsets. So often vivid, and in so many different ways. (I could say this about sunrises, of course, but I don't see them as often.)

• That Star Wars is still around, still vital, and still being enjoyed.

• Fires in fireplaces. *looks for Portland establishments that have working fireplaces* Welcome, by the way, to fireplace season.