Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Small Space Living Ideas...

I am a fan of SpaceTV and subscribe to their YouTube channel.  My favorite features are of course when they highlight small space living.  Today I watched a video about an apartment belonging to designer Janet Lee who is the author of Living in a Nutshell (which I am about to add to my reading list!)

I love two things about this video 1) the mail panel next to her door which I think I am totally going to replicate and 2) her way of making things impermanent.  She mentions several times how she creates things with the idea in mind that she is going to move one one day.

Here is the video,  Enjoy!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

90 Days of Dance

I'm not sure I'm up for 90 days of anything (Track Record Check: my two attempts at 30 days of blogging were pretty much unsuccessful, tried the One Month to Being Totally Organized and I think I was really organized for about seven days) but I'm always willing to give nearly anyone, including my often unmotivated self, a second chance so...this afternoon I signed up for Alia Thabit's 90 Day Dance Party.  

Why did I decide to make this commitment when I have semi-serious doubts about my ability to keep up with it?

Reason 1:   I'm terribly undisciplined when it comes to regular practice unless I have a show coming up or a class to attend.  Quite a few people I know have signed up to do this and I've just made the very public commitment to doing here so I've got the prospect of making my possible failure known to everyone.  Oh right according to paragraph one making my failures public isn't an issue.  Well, in all seriousness many friends have signed up and in addition there is a promised daily motivating email and other ways to stay connected and find support for completing the entire 90 days.  Despite loving the solo life there are some things I am better able to accomplish when I have company, even if it is only virtual company.

Reason 2: I've been struggling quite a bit lately with trying to figure out exactly what my motivation for dancing and performing are.  There was a time when the idea of signing up for something like this would have seemed completely silly because dancing was my favorite thing to do.  All I had to do was turn on a radio or put on a CD and I'd be dancing around the house.  I'm not expecting any sort of 'Ah-ha' miracle but I do hope to at least redevelop the habit of dancing every day and maybe along the way I'll start to love it again...even if I don't know why.

Reason 3:  It just sounds like fun.

Will I keep you all up to date on how things go?  Hopefully,'ve not been all that disciplined about my blogging of late either.

Okay, lets think positive here.  90 days of dancing? I got this.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Too Much Stuff

“She has far too much stuff for the size of her living space.  I don’t know where we are going to put all of it.  There are just so many boxes and she can’t seem to let any of it go.”

This somewhat frustrated statement was said by my father over lunch while discussing my grandmother’s recent move to a new assisted living facility.  She has moved four times in the past seven years:  from a moderate sized three bedroom home, to a two bedroom apartment, to a one bedroom apartment in a retirement community and finally to her current independent assisted living facility.  Each move included a downsize in bedrooms, storage and general square footage of living space and so each move involved a resorting of possessions to determine what was precious enough to keep.

I pointed out that he lived in a very large house, much larger than my grandmother’s when this series of moves began, and that if he were to try to move into a space the size of the apartment she now resides in he’d too find he had far too many possessions.  I mentioned that I thought we humans tend to accumulate stuff according to the size of our living space.  Maybe it’s some left over instinct to gather and save as much as we can during times of plenty in order to be prepared for times of famine, but whatever the reason we seem to be almost compelled to fill up every corner.  Of course the problem is that, unlike food, stuff isn’t doesn’t get used up…so we just keep on accumulating.

Now, I’m not making this observation from the back of any high horse.  I look around my living space and there is an overwhelming amount of evidence that I have TOO MUCH STUFF.  The mound of laundry piled up in my bedroom which, because I have so many clothes, has been sitting unwashed for longer than I care to admit.  Or the cupboard full of enough cups, mugs and dishes that, if eating alone, I could go nearly an entire week without washing a single coffee cup, glass or dish.  Or the stacks of fashion magazines that I will one day utilize to make an epic collage.  Or the twenty reusable shopping bags hanging in my closet which I have never once taken to the grocery store all at the same time.

I think about the times in my early twenties that I moved across the country and only took what would fit in the trunk and back seat of my car.  Through epic yard sales and round after round of giving things away, I would cull my belongings down until they fit into the required space yet each time I returned I was towing a U-Haul trailer. 

I currently live in an apartment that is just over 600 square feet plus a small storage space in the basement.   This small space manages to contain a comfortably sized living area, a tiny bedroom, small kitchen, a bathroom and two large closets.  Prior to moving here I lived in a 1,200 square foot, two bedroom apartment with a dining room, moderate sized kitchen, living room, bathroom, minimal closet space and a storage space twice the size of what I have now.  When I moved I sorted through all of my stuff to get rid of the things I’d no longer have room to keep.  During this great sorting I came across boxes of things my hands had not touched in years.  Including one box that, during the entire time I lived in that apartment, I’d never unpacked.  It was full of things I’d thought important enough to keep and yet they were not important enough for me to ever question where the missing items were.

I think a lot of the stuff I keep is like that.  Things I don’t want to let go of for sentimental or ‘might be useful one day’ reasons.  If I have the room to keep in somewhere, in the back of a closet, under the bed or in a storage unit, I will hang on to it for as long as I can; especially if I forget that I even have it. 

Saturday, August 11, 2012


I've not had a lot of solo travel opportunities of late.  All of my recent short and long distance travel has been in the company of my performance troupe for the purpose of putting on a show.  I've enjoyed every minute of that of course and I enjoy shared adventure very much but there is something that is really wonderful about traveling alone.  With an agenda and timeline that is 100% yours there is a freedom of experience that isn't possible when the trip is a shared one.

I've been thinking of planning a short adventure for myself sometime over the winter and so I've been perusing the solo travel sites, reading articles and doing general research.  In the process I came across the video below and its accompanying article on Adventure Sauce.  While I think that perhaps the title might be better stated as Solo Travel Lessons: How to Make Loneliness Your Friend, if you have ever walked side by side with loneliness on the road or on your own couch, it is worth a read. 

I don't think loneliness is something one experiences exclusively because one is physically alone (you can be in a crowd of a 1,000 and feel quite lonely), and I don't think it is exclusive to solo travel, but spending large quantities of time alone gives one the time to think...A LOT.  Most of the time this state of being is just fine by me but occasionally when I've been rattling around inside my own brain for an extended period with only the voice of my own thoughts echoing back at me I will find myself desiring some sort of human connection.  When that connection isn't available loneliness can set in.  

Like the author of the article and video says, this isn't always a bad place to be.  Coming face to face with loneliness, allowing yourself to stand with it, can bring a certain kind of peace and freedom.  

I can't say I've conquered loneliness.  I still find myself in its embrace from time to time.  Sometimes I try to escape its grip with distraction but I know it is something that eventually passes; more and more often I am able to ask, "What am I to be taught now?"

Article - Solo Travel Lessons: Make Loneliness Your Bitch