A perfect kitchen sink is framed by a window to a patch of greenery. It could be a vista toward the horizon or the garden where you clip herbs for dinner each night. As you let the foamy bubbles from the dish soap float against …
I’ve always felt that a home is way more than our physical surroundings. It is more than a place to store your stuff and take a shower.
As much as I love to pour over beautiful interior (and landscape) design magazines, books and blogs, I appreciate that what I’m really absorbing is a story. It’s the secret behind staging a home for sale, which we recently did for our house in San Francisco. Potential buyers walk into your house and can imagine their lives there.
So it was no surprise when psychotherapist Esther Perel discussed the emotions she felt when she packed up and moved away from her office of many years. Moving from your personal space is more than just packing up your stuff. It’s packing up your life, your stories.
In the last year, in the endless video calls, we have allowed colleagues and strangers into our private, personal sanctuaries. She recognizes that our boundaries have cracked open. Working from home is really working with home.
“Working with home means all of our roles are overlapping at the same time, often in the same place. For me, my roles as therapist, mother, partner, CEO, supervisor, and friend are overlapping at my kitchen table. Everything bleeds into one another; it’s a dissolution of boundaries,” she says.
In a previous post, I reflect on the role of a front porch as a personal threshold between your personal sanctuary and the outside world. Even before COVID and lockdowns, we were all struggling with the intrusive of technology and the always-working mode. From Slack to WhatsApp to social media notifications, we have a constant stream of interruptions and intrusions in our days and nights. The proliferation of video calls (remember when we could just have a regular phone call??) have continued that trajectory.
It’s important to figure out ways to create personal, private boundaries. What is outside? What is inside? How do I define the threshold between them?
With “Spare the Air” warnings in California now occurring throughout the year, we are seeing the end of the ability to enjoy an outdoor fire on a chilly evening. (Yes, I know…particulates in the air, pollution, health, etc., etc.) Municipalities are banning gas stovetops in …
I love tales of transformation — the before & after stories about kitchen renovations, landscape projects, and personal accounts of pivoted lives. But one thing that really (like, really, really) annoys me about most before & after stories are the photos, especially of kitchen remodels. Before …
I just finished reading The School of Life: An Emotional Education, and I am convinced I am doomed to a life of romantic notions, to being trapped in the excitement of “how things might ideally be” rather than being firmly in what they really are.
I spend an unhealthy amount of time scanning real estate listings, particularly for dilapidated farmhouses in the countryside. It breaks my heart that so many homes in this beautiful country have been utterly abandoned. Their inhabitants fled to congested and polluted cities in search of “a better life.”
When I look at these ruins, I don’t see what they are, but what they could be. It’s a curse, really, because I can’t save all of them. It feels like being at the pound and wanting to take all the abandoned dogs and cats home.
The question is this: can I find just one to restore lovingly to a version better than it ever it was? To find a home in one of these ruins? Many (most) people see these images and simply don’t get what I see. How could I possibly entertain the idea of living in that?
Because I don’t see that. I see something else.
I’m like that with people, too. I don’t see what is. I see what could be. That, too, can lead to deep disappointment if (when) the potential that I see is never realized. But if I see just movement toward what I know, deep down, what is possible…that is magic.
It’s fashionable among urbanites to look upon the suburbs with disdain. Big city apologists snub their noses at two-car garages, lawns and expanses of empty sidewalks. They decry the necessity of cars and lack of public transportation. But there is one feature of the American …
This is the time of year when I pour over the seed catalogs and fantasize about my garden of heirloom vegetables. Granted, I’ve never actually had a garden of heirloom vegetables. It is a fantasy that I am determined will someday come true.
Why are gardens important? Research shows that caring for a garden can have beneficial impacts on our physical and mental well-being.
What are heirloom vegetables and fruits? If you shop only in major grocery store chains, then you likely eat a limited range of produce that is primarily designed for transport and a longer shelf life, rather than its nutrients or even flavor. There is nothing sadder than a hard, unripe and anemic tomato — but that’s pretty much what you can expect in a big grocery store that has had to truck or ship it in from far away.
An heirloom fruit or vegetable is a traditional cultivar that is grown primarily on a small scale rather than industrial agriculture. These varieties are often more fragile than their industrial counterparts, so they don’t work well for transportation — the produce you buy in the grocery store likely comes from hundreds of miles away. (Hint: there is absolutely no reason to eat strawberries in January if you live in the northern hemisphere!!)
If you have never picked beans, peas or peppers from the garden and eaten them the same day, I promise you have never really tasted these amazing foods. There is nothing more sensual and uplifting than picking a perfect peach and biting into it while you’re still standing under the shade of its tree.
Heirloom varieties are under threat around the world as large agribusiness and their deep pockets have lobbied governments to make seed saving illegal. That’s right. If you grow your own garden, it could be illegal for you to save and share seeds! This is madness.
On a separate and no less aggravating note…I was dismayed to see that in São Jorge, Açores — an island dominated by its dairy industry — you can not buy fresh milk anywhere. It’s illegal. Seriously. Cows roam over the hillsides and all you can get is the shelf stable ultra-pasteurized milk in a box, an invention by huge conglomerate agribusiness.
I’m not into joining large protests in the streets. Big, loud crowds are not my thing. But I believe that growing as much of your own food as you can is an honorable form of personal protest against the domination of agribusiness. So if you have even a window sill, consider growing a little herb garden. It’s small, but it’s a start. Plus it’s good for you.