My part-time housemate Shannon just introduced me to 43 Things. It’s a wonderful site for talking about your goals and dreams. Very cool, very encouraging.
I’ve already added 20 things to my list.
Web sites that insist on your selecting a title – Mr. Mrs. Ms. – before you can submit your registration (e.g. Audible.com).
I am as offended by a requirement to state my gender as I would be by one to state my race.
Here are some that make a home better (in my idiosyncratic opinion):
– a close connection between the kitchen and hanging out spaces (a.k.a. the living room)
– a kitchen big enough to cook a large meal with many ingredients
– views of greenery
– a desk area for my computer with storage for lots of different kinds of papers in or around it
– some project space which I can take over for a couple days now and then, including space for messy projects
– storage space for projects I haven’t done yet
– a warm, well-lit but not too sunny spot for Luxury, my big leather chair & ottoman
– a substantial closet (depth more important than width)
– a washer/dryer
– texture/character/detail (not just a 70s stucco box)
– a window seat
– natural wood
– a pantry
– separation between the spaces used for dressing, grooming, and bathing for pleasure.
When I lived in the little house on the western outskirts of San Jose with Keoni & B.J. after we came back from Hawaii, the things I liked best about that place were gardening, cooking at the gas stove, the interesting kitchen details, the view from the sink, all the different ways to get through the house and that it had lots of light.
In my first place that was completely my own, my 400 square foot studio in Sunnyvale, I liked having comfortable places to lounge (in Luxury, on the bed), all my music handy (since I had the vinyl out of storage there), a style of my own including my collection of artwork on display, a good soaking tub and that glorious huge walk-in closet.
Damn, I miss that closet.
The huge attic apartment Joe and I shared in San Jose near the light rail line, had lots of good qualities too including a good tub for soaking (long baths got me through grad school), space for projects, a great big kitchen with lot of counterspace, a washer/dryer in the apartment, and interesting non-boxy architecture with great climbing spaces for our cats.
The townhome Edmond and I shared in Mountain View was notable for being one of the largest places I’ve lived since moving out of the house I grew up in. We had a big separate rooms for computer and non-computer leisure, workshop space, a dishwasher, a big freezer, a good soaking tub, and a washer/dryer. Plus it was just a nice, clean, pleasant place to have people over. The colors were generally soothing and muted. Also Edmond’s techical skills meant we had a well-organized computing environment and a kickass MP3 jukebox. It was a good place and I know we both look back on it fondly.
Now I live in a new place in San Francisco, my favorite place in the world, in the Castro, the part of the city where I feel most at home. It’s a beautiful, distinctive, slightly quirky space with gentle white walls and lovely hardwood floors. The play of light through the day is heavenly. The kitchen is very efficient for its size and I have a gas stove (which is really an essential now as I’ve become even more of a cook). The view out the windows onto the tops of trees or over to the cliffs leading to the park is great and we hear birdsong frequently. There’s still a lot of settling in to do (I don’t have a desk and we need to get a plumber to look at why the bathtub takes all day to drain) and there’s no washer/dryer, but as I look to one side to see the fog rolling over the hill obscuring and then revealing the Sutro Tower and to the other to see the sun shining over the bay, I know I can make do with a few inconveniences.
Jay Allen suggested a good way to help improve your chances of getting what you really want: Think of and write down every great quality of every person you’ve dated and everyone you really respect. Even write down qualities which you think you want, but perhaps have never encountered.
Next consider whether you would be completely satisfied in a relationship with someone who had the others but didn’t have that quality. If you wouldn’t, put a checkmark by it. Continue on through the list making this evaluation. These checked ones are your needs. The others are desires; nice to have but not the things that make or break relationships.
Sure, you can have good short term relationships with folks who don’t meet all your needs, but it probably wouldn’t work out in the long term. Never assume you can change them to meet your needs. Trust your list and be honest with yourself about the potential & your hopes for a relationship when you enter it.
I’m going to start this exercise. First, I need to list things that I really value in a relationship…
I use the male pronoun here not because I’m opposed to being with a woman, but because I’ve always fallen in love with men and when I imagine my life partner, it’s a man).
I want to share my life with someone who
– is a basically happy person who takes joy in life
– takes childlike pleasure in small things around him
– is physically affectionate, giving and enjoying receiving small touches, smiles, little kisses, cuddles, hand-holding, spooning, etc.
– is emotionally available, interested in exploring and sharing his feelings
– is energized by sharing his life with me, wants a strong, committed long-term relationship with me
– is intellectually stimulating, knowledgable and prone to think things through
– is sexually exciting to me and me to him, has a sex drive that is in sync with mine and shares some of my favorite activities
– is playful both in general and in bed, but not a teaser or mocker or just a crude buffoon
– is witty and fond of references (literary, pop culture, inside jokes, heh and also dictionaries, encyclopedias & all those other reference materials)
– is nice to cuddle and hang out with
– is sweet and kind and gentle
– is sensual, enjoys being touched and touching as well as more abstract forms of sensuality (hot tubs, candlelight, dark chocolate, sleeping in, cooking with really fresh high-quality ingredients, etc.)
– is dramatic, but not a drama queen
– is a bit of a popinjay, enjoying dressing up, feeling handsome or even pretty
– is creative
– is eclectically geeky and is energized by the company of other eclectic geeks
– is just plain fun to be around
– loves life and extends that warmth to the world around him
– cares about people and the world
– stands by his convictions
– is self-aware and continually growing
– is self-loving, not self-destructive or self-suppressing
– is comfortable with his sexuality and emotions and doesn’t care if it conforms to anyone else’s idea of what is "manly"
– is comfortable with his body and with nudity and human bodies in general, won’t get freaked about my period or if I have to use the toilet while he’s taking a shower
– takes care of his body, not compulsively but in a way that will keep him from having big health problems later or being unpleasant to be intimate with now (e.g. brushes & flosses his teeth, washes thoroughly, eats fruits & vegetables, doesn’t eat crappy food all the time)
– actively enjoys the Web and Webfolk
– has some experience or at least openess to polyamorous relationships, understands that love is not finite and that crushes happen even in the middle of other loving relationships [though I have realized that this is less essential to me than I thought; I think the minimum requirement is someone who isn’t threatened by "window shopping". I can certainly be monogamous, but I’m also human and don’t want to give up the pleasure of admiring pretty people at a distance.] [My tendency toward monogamy appears to be increasing with age, though perhaps it’s just a pendulum swing.]
– kisses competently
– is turned off by pain and humiliation (or at least isn’t turned on by it)
– is willing to match my putting 50-70% into the relationship, will initiate things, will do his share of the commuting to be together before we live together, wants to build something strong & is willing to put time & energy into it
– has some experience with good communication and the patience to work things through, is able to cope with my emotions coming out in a rush sometimes
– is comfortable with the idea of never having children
– recognizes when things are making him uncomfortable and will actively seek to negotiate a better outcome rather than lumping it and resenting it
– doesn’t harbor grudges, hasn’t got a brown stamp collection
– appreciates small kindnesses, both receiving and giving (including random acts of kindness towards strangers)
– will spontaneously talk about things he likes and express his pleasure, is more likely to praise than criticize (himself, me, other people, the world…)
– is unafraid of falling in love
– doesn’t use the same catchphrases over and over and over
– loves being read aloud to, likes reading aloud, likes sharing interesting things (hearing what I just read in some weblog, telling me about the dream he had last night, laughes aloud at something he misread on a sign and tells me why he’s laughing, likes to hear the story that goes with the old picture I just found…)
– sings (even if he’s not that great at it) and encourages me to sing
– likes my family and friends
– had a happy childhood
– will have answers for questions like "What books did you like as a kid?", likes the library and bookstores
– isn’t driven by money but knows how to manage it reasonably well
– has friends and interests of his own and expects that I will too
– enjoys being alone sometimes and expects that I will too
– loves to come up with ideas and work on projects together
For example, my life must include:
Ok, now forget telling me what’s important; tell yourself.
How are you fitting your important things into the next 24 hours?
Fortunately, I slept very well last night. I say “fortunately” because I’m very tired now from working 2 long days in a row and expect to work 2 more long days in a row and then an average sort of day on Friday. I’m making up hours lost when HP was closed last Friday and I couldn’t get in the building to work. Not that I didn’t enjoy my day off…
Arachnophilia is an interesting site which I’ve only just begun to explore. Haven’t tried the web editor offered there yet.
It’s kind of nice having someone you’re rather fond of decide to have a camera on his desk taking his picture over and over all day.
Ugh. I should do dishes before it gets too late. And then it will be bedtime. Tsk tsk. Working long hours is a bit of a drag.
So I’ll be teaching a class this summer. Wow. I’ll be a busy grrrl.
I’ll be teaching a class that starts in 2 months. Seems like plenty of time, but I’ve got an awful lot of preparing to do still. What an adventure.
Time for bed now. Tomorrow I have nothing planned but work. Thursday the same. Another busy weekend ahead. I really ought to stop scheduling so many things, but I know too many interesting people. And I might get hit by a bus tomorrow, so let’s keep dancing. Let’s break out the booze and have a ball, if that’s all there is. (Hmm, actually I’ve never been much of a drinker and I can’t dance much at all with my knee all messed up, but having a ball, that, now that I can do).
If by some stroke of bitter irony I am in fact hit by a bus tomorrow, please remember that I want to be parted out completely. Donate all those bits of meat and juice, I won’t need them and I certainly wouldn’t want anyone to pay to have them buried in the ground.
Oh, and so you won’t fight over her, I leave Luxury (my leather chair) to … no, no, better not say, it might only lead to deadly temptation.
Photos by Uncle Larry.
A few more photos from Lynn.
Another couple pictures, maybe by Uncle Larry or Aunt Lynn.