Thursday, February 26, 2015

Writing Scents

 http://www.newyorker.com/tech/elements/naming-scents-uneducated-nose
http://www.newyorker.com/tech/elements/naming-scents-uneducated-nose

The image above links to an interesting article by Alistair Gee in the New Yorker.  A friend posted this to his FB account, and it caught my attention immediately!  I love this article--please take a moment now to read it.

I thought, I could probably write a blog post about smells--then realized I already had in my FB status.  I have a very strong sense of smell, and my spouse does not. He once asked if it was good or bad for me to have that, and I realized it's probably good for survival and health (I can easily tell if food is "off"), but not particularly pleasant. Usually when I notice a smell he does not, it's something foul.  Lucky guy--he doesn't ever smell skunk--wish I could say the same!

BUT, I've also had the joy of returning to the East Coast to visit a friend, after living in CA for over 10 years. The smell of the Atlantic was different than the Pacific, and evoked "home" for me. Lacking the "smell lexicon" from the article, I couldn't describe the difference, but it was very clear to me. 

I had similar experiences returning to Korea after leaving at age 6. Smells I had not encountered for almost 2 decades smelled of childhood to me.  I blogged a while back about the persimmon taste memory.  The smells were more elusive during my trip.  I would walk down a block, and a smell that was totally familiar would sneak up on me, but attempts to trace it (is it that plant?  Did we pass a restaurant?) were usually fruitless.  Some melange of the chemical, household cleaners, maybe b.o., no doubt the difference in diet all played a part.  (OK, fire off the kimchee jokes now!)

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Sewing Upgrade

I have a lovely friend who has passed her sewing cabinet to me, and it is changing my life!

Here is the before picture:
Because the steelcase fold-up table is large and ugly, I only pull it out when I have machine quilting to do, and a few other tasks before banishing my sewing machine back to my bedroom.

Instead, I now have this:
Note the handy cubbies on the swing out door to the left.  And the sewing machine sits on an elevator, which goes up or down.
Here it is lowered, with the plastic inset for a flush surface--I was able to have the existing inset recut to fit my machine thanks to the lovely people at TAP Plastics!

And when I am done sewing for the day, all nice and tidy:
 The basket on top is my defense against the temptation to pile ON the nice flat surface.  Next up, replacing the metal rolling chair with a nice wooden one, if I can find one comfortable/ergonomic enough.

Having my sewing machine in the main living space means I can sew for short periods of time (the table in the bedroom is covered in archaeological layers of stuff), and without separating from the rest of the family.

Instead, I think the space upstairs might get turned into a reading corner, when isolation from the television and family sounds might actually be more desirable.

When we first discussed this a few years ago, I pictured my mother's sewing table.  Four thin legs, and a table in which the sewing machine resided sideways, to be lifted out.  One small swing out leaf for an extended table.  Nothing like this modern wonder!

Monday, May 5, 2014

Living In the Future

I started this post a few weeks ago--finally finishing it.

I am *finally* on vacation.  It's been long overdue.  Last time I took off more than one day+weekend was in November.  Work has been busy, life has been busy, what else is new?

I am noticing a habit that I have, and am interested to hear if anyone else does this.  I live in the future in many ways, both grand and minor.
  • On my way in to work, I am thinking about what I will have for lunch: salad, or something heartier?  at my desk for max productivity, or try to book a friend?
  • About 2pm, I start wondering about dinner...takeout or cook at home?
  • On Thursday, I am thinking about the weekend already.  Usually cataloging the long list for the "weekend chore-a-thon"
  • On Saturday, I am thinking about what is coming up the following week at work, anticipating deadlines, working out carpool schedules in my head
Much of this is a good thing.  This long-range thinking allows me to foresee potential problems and take steps to work around them.  It is what makes me a kick-butt Project Manager.  I can credit this habit of thinking for anything I have ever achieved in my life.

But I recently noticed that it kills some of the joy of being "in the moment".  One Saturday afternoon I was so stressed about the coming week that it felt like Sunday evening.  I had completely skipped over the rest of my Saturday, lost all of Sunday and gone right to Monday morning.

I know someone who is very "in-the-moment".  He could not hold onto a grudge if it had handles.  This frustrated him as a child, when he wanted to stay mad at his parents or his brother, and could not hang onto that feeling. It would just slip away and he would get bored of pouting and life would go on. 

The upside to this is that he is one of the happiest, and nicest, people I know, and very easy to get along with.  The downside is that he is not very organized, and often fails to anticipate things he will need even a mere 5 minutes in the future.  Lots of return trips to get things he has forgotten.

While I shake my head at his lack of planning, I do very much envy his ability to enjoy his life as it happens.  I am trying, daily, to savor the moments of joy that come along--and they are many.  I live a blessed life, with a healthy family, if not quite wealthy, certainly comfortable.  Wise?  Working on it!