Significant repeated themes & motifs in my life

I'm reading Sarah Susanka's The Not So Big Life and while some of it gets a little woo-woo new agey for me, I'm generally enjoying it. The pieces which are more tightly connected to her brilliant work as an architect and thinker on how we can occupy spaces that keep us happier are better than the generic spiritualism, I find.

Along the way there are various self-exploration exercises. Here's the list I brainstormed up about what are the significant and/or recurring themes/motifs/objects in my life.

  • books
  • checkerboard spheres
  • little whimsical things (but non-obviously so)
  • approximately Edwardian things and art
  • wood
  • unexpected angles (thinking here of the ceilings of my room as a kid, of a little table I have from the club I used to work at)
  • walking
  • libraries
  • public transit (and I was writing this brainstormed list on the MTA originally)
  • fresh produce
  • spices
  • alphabetization
  • simple, practical, sturdy, beautiful objects (e.g. a wool blanket I bought in Scotland the summer after high school and still use regularly)
  • Japanese art and design
  • writing
  • sleeping enough (or more than enough)
  • dark bedrooms
  • practical shoes
  • The Web
  • Macs and iPhones
  • music usually playing
  • sounds of the world
  • lists
  • showers
  • reading
  • kindness
  • San Francisco
  • London
  • places where redwoods grow
  • sourdough French bread
  • British humor
  • wit
  • wordplay
  • dictionaries and encyclopedias
  • curiousity
  • spring green
  • all natural greens, really
  • guitar music
  • The Beatles
  • Vince Guaraldi
  • smiling
  • fresh-cooked meals
  • uncomplicated starts to the day
  • naturalness (e.g. no makeup, honesty)
  • dark chocolate
  • cheese
  • the feel of clean sheets
  • being warm enough
  • noticing details
  • old houses and new houses with a sense of time and detail
  • Victorian houses
  • Craftsman furniture
  • Craftsman aesthetics
  • trying out new foods
  • perpetual upgrade

Detox/Recharge project

step 1: reduce visual clutter


Gotta get the bedroom nice so I wake up to a non-stressful environment.

clutter reduction continued



Someday we'll get a coat rack instead of piling our hoodies on the library stair/chair, but it works for now.


step 2: stage things for next activities


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step 3: optimize for relaxed housemate


windowseat primed with New York Times, Wired & New Yorker for Joe to recline with when he gets back from day 2 (of 3) of his class for work

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step 4: get clean


I even shaved my legs, a hassle I confess to frequently putting off…

step 5: good dinner & scratch some things off the general shopping list



Step 6 not photographed: Sleep as long as I want, which turned out to be over 10 hours.

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Oddly, the cupboard door fell off this morning


No harm done. I opened the cupboard and the top hinge & top screw of the bottom hinge completely disengaged. I held it shut with my left hand, not wanting to strip the bottom screw hole, reached to the drawer with my right hand, pulled out my convertable screwdriver, swapped to a standard head, and unscrewed the screw all one-handed. Felt very studly about the whole maneuver, primarily because my kitchen drawer was pleasingly in order with the screwdriver right there where it should be.

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