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Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Open Concept Homes

I've thought about blogging about this for a while, but I don't think I have. I did a search of all my posts and nothing turned up, so I'll assume that I thought about this really hard off and on since I read an article about open concept homes and never got around to talking about it.

Many months ago now, I read an article slamming open concept homes. I don't remember the exact article, but an online search showed a bunch of options. Here's one of them. And there's also a Bob Vila article where it mentions decor choices as one of 15 reasons to think twice about open concept homes.

These opinions came as a surprise to me and not only because HGTV is always talking about open concept and how buyers love open concept, etc, etc, etc. It came as a surprise to me because I absolutely love my open concept home. (I've lived in 3 of them now.)

Some of what they cite as issues don't affect me. For one, I'm absolutely anal about things being neat and clean. When I cook, there are no dishes in my sink because I clean up as I go along and everything is in the dishwasher quickly. For another, as the Bob Vila article says, open concept is more for modern style and my personal decor style is 100% modern/contemporary. I'm slowly replacing one light fixture at a time to get rid of the curly, traditional look. I like straight lines, sleek designs.

As for privacy, well, as someone hard over on the introvert side of the scale, no one loves privacy more than I do, but my dad and I really don't have much problem sharing the space. When I really need to be completely alone, I just go to the bedroom and close my door. Problem solved.

The open concept floor plan also forces my clutter-prone dad to put his stuff away. His room and bathroom are full of stuff because they're out of sight and have doors. If I had more walls in my house, I'd have to nag him routinely to put his things away. The way my current house is setup, the dining room feels separate even though it's really not and he's setup his papers over there so he can write his memoirs.

Storage space was an issue in my second open concept home, but I didn't have those problems in my first house (in Minnesota with a basement) or my current home (upstairs bonus room that I use for storage). I will admit that my office is a continual struggle, but again, that's a closed off room that no one else can see.

As for not enough walls to hang artwork? You can see from my picture above that my problem is not enough artwork, not too few walls.

I can see where open concept might not work for some people, but as for me, I'll keep my open concept, thank you very much. I think it makes the home look bigger and it feels less claustrophobic.

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Memory Lane

My dad is writing his memoirs, and while he takes a trip down memory lane, he's taking me along with him. Most of what he brings up, I already remember, but there are things that he mentions that brings back my memories of when I was a kid.

For example, he mentioned Camp Christmas Tree. He thought our family had gone camping there. (Ha! Our family only camped a couple of times in my entire life.) I said no, I went to camp there. He then guessed it was a Girl Scout camp. It wasn't. I had to explain to him that it was a day camp and that I went there every day for two weeks (I think it was two weeks). He or Mom would take me to the bus, they'd bring us to camp, and at the end of the day, the bus would bring us back.

I hadn't thought of this place in years, not since I stumbled across the rubberized camp bag I had from when I went there. I think I saw it in 2013 when I was packing up my house to move from Minnesota.

Camp wasn't a lot of fun. I'm a shy introvert and I was even quieter as a kid then I am now. I also wasn't particularly coordinated at sports and this combination didn't help me fit in with the other kids. I remember being picked on, I remember singing songs on the bus, and I know I'm grateful my parents only sent me there once. :-) (I'm sure other kids had a great time there. I didn't.)

There have been other things he's brought up where I had to correct him or remind him of details he'd forgotten. It's amazing how clearly some of these memories come back once he brings them up.

It also makes me twice as sad that I threw my calendars away when I moved from Minnesota. My dad is going back in time by pulling out all his pocket calendars. I had wall calendars filled with what I did and with who. Had being the operative word. Now I only have my planners from the past four years, and without the prompts, that's a ton of my memories gone forever.

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Home Office Hell

Can someone please explain to me why I can't keep my home office neat and tidy? I am over-the-top about keeping the rest of the house clutter-free, but I can't manage my office, not even a little bit. It's discouraging.

The picture to the left is how I'd like my office to look, not how it actually looks now.

Recently, I cleaned off the entire desktop. I didn't get the rest of the office done because it took all day for the desk, but hey, it was progress! Today, as I sit here, it's cluttered again. To my left, I have a notebook that I'm not  currently writing in (why isn't it put away!), a book I pulled off the shelves for research (maybe still need it, but I could put it back and grab it again if I need it), information about a master's degree (I don't have time to go back to school), a bill, and a skein of yarn.

To my right, I have a receipt, an enamel pin, three pens and a highlighter, a little container that would be perfect for pushpins, but holds nothing at the moment (it came as a container for something else I bought), and notes for the book I'm working on.

I have the drawer on the right pulled out and my planner rests there along with three headsets--one for the cordless phone, for my laptop (for Dragon or when I did audio blog posts), and one for music. This makes everything in the drawer inaccessible without moving all this crap.

Part of my challenge with the desktop is that I have a Silhouette Cameo 3 cutting machine--I use it to make stickers and cut vinyl, things like that). That's on the right side of my desk and it's huge! It takes up a lot of space. On the left side, I have a scanner. Not a flatbed, so it doesn't take up too much real estate, but it is one more thing. Do I use these things all the time? No, but if I put them away, I'll never use them and I like having them handy when I need them.

The rest of the office? Forget about it!

I don't understand why I can be so OCD in the rest of the house and so lackadaisical in the space where I'm trying to write. When it gets too messy, I can't even focus. Before I did the desktop clean up, I had to take the laptop to my bedroom to work, so clearly this is something I need to get on top of.

Too bad I don't know how.

Thursday, October 10, 2019

I Love Notebooks

It might be a writer thing because I'm not the only author I know who has a love affair with notebooks, but do I ever love anything for writing down notes!

I've shared pictures of the junk journals I've setup to make notes for my stories, but that's only the tip of the iceberg. (This blog post shows the steno pads I used to use.)

In the past, I've also used legal pads, and if I need to mind map, I'll pull out an artist's sketchpad. I was supposed to use it for the intro art classes I signed up for online, but hey, whatever works for my writing!

I have bound notebooks in various sizes and colors, but those are so pretty that I hate to use them. I did write in this large pink one, so it's not that I never use them, but well, it's hard to write in them.


And now that I have an Apple Pencil for my iPad, I have an electronic notes program too. I love it so hard, but I'm also like, Yikes! What about all my other notebooks?

It's a pretty sure bet that there will be more notebooks in my future because I simply can't resist the allure.

Tuesday, October 08, 2019

Apps I Used to Love

Once upon a time, there were some apps I used that I really, really loved. I raved about them to friends and coworkers. I might have even blogged about them. Only a funny thing happened as I kept using them. I grew to resent them mightily.

One of the apps reminded me to stand up on a regular basis. This is definitely something I need at my day job because I get involved in what I'm doing and forget about everything else. But after a while, that incessant pinging made me grit my teeth. I kept using it, though, because I needed that reminder. I became more resentful with every ping.

And then one day I couldn't take it any longer. I deleted the app. I don't miss it.

And when I got my new Fitbit, it had a 250 step an hour challenge. With a buzz on my wrist when there was 10 minutes left in the hour and I hadn't gotten my steps in. I made it about two weeks with this before I turned that off. I'm sure I wouldn't have become annoyed so quickly if it weren't for my phone app.

Then there was the app that would wake me up when I was sleeping lightly, so it would be easier to get up. Um, yeah, that meant it might go off up to half an hour before I needed to get up. It made me angry every time it stole sleep from me. I still have this app on my phone, but I never, ever use it.

There are other apps that have come and gone, but I simply lost interest in them. The two apps I mentioned in this post? I grew to hate them. Good riddance to annoying apps!