Memory Of The Heart

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Nothing — to answer the question above.

I am lucky. 

“Wonderful things happen when your brain is empty,” says artist Maira Kalman.

Today I spent the day emptying. Pausing at work’s door to let in the arrival of my children.

In a quiet moment, I read that the French call gratitude, “the memory of the heart.

Makes perfect sense.

My heart skips a beat with abundant reminders — memories of the heart.

With sincere gratitude,

I am lucky.

Drawing: Maira Kalman via Brain Pickings

Adapt, Meddle, Adjust

When Dorothy clicked her ruby red slippers and said, “There’s no place like home,” she longed for the place that held all her favorite things, favorite people – her world.

So how do you create a home?

This New York Times house tour of the home of interior designer, assemblage artist (!), Faye Toogood answers:

“I like to combine the precious and the raw,” Organic tinkering comes out her need to “adapt, meddle or adjust” the objects in her home.

All that attentive rearranging is well composed – neither minimalist nor overdone. “I love things that are really old but look modern.” Home.

Soft Light

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I have a soft spot for handmade lighting, especially those sculpted from eco-friendly materials. Austrian designer, Rainer Mutsch created a series of pendants from recycled fiber cement for Molto Luce using water and cellulose fibers. Natural cellulose fibers are minimally processed. Recycled fiber cement is highly durable and non-flammable.

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Each individual luminaire shade is molded by hand. The shades get stability from their slightly rippled geometry .

Beautiful, wouldn’t you agree?

Photos: via: Contemporist

Going Somewhere

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After a few stunning fall weekends by the ocean gazing at skiddish water fowl preparing to flee to their warmer homes, I’ve come to love ducks. My new favorite ducks are called, Buffleheads. These snappy looking guys with the colorful name, bob their big heads and tiny bodies around the Massachusetts shores where I’ve been lucky enough to visit. I’m told by New Englanders that they arrived weeks earlier than usual and are hanging around longer.

I watched the ducks manage their changing positions while they bobbed — diving into the water for bugs and tiny fish. Their brilliance seemed to be adapting to each and every ripple and wind shift. At one point during all their bobbling, the flock of ducks stopped, spun their heads around and switched into carefully negotiated new positions — ducks in front moved to the middle or back, ducks in back paddled up to the front. Then they bobbed along floating to a new location. They were going somewhere.

Not often, but every now and then, a rogue duck would drift away. The pack would slow down to watch, and one or two ducks would glance back — then they’d all circle round and fold the wandering character back into the fray. They were going somewhere.

In this time of rising seas, diminishing shorelines and stranger than strange weather, skilled ducks adapt. Do they have a choice? They are going somewhere.

Photo: An adult bufflehead drake swimming, Shutterstock

Life Before Air Conditioning

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I’ve run the Mothership” around here for years, and have lived through a litany of complaints from my kids about the rising heat and the need for air conditioning.

“Why don’t we put in a pool like Rebecca’s family?” Not.
“It’s too hot to go out, we’ll just watch TV all day.” 
Not.
“We can’t sleep upstairs, the walls are melting. We’re sleeping downstairs on the couch.” 
OK.

And like all parents, I pull the generational “before you were born” -thing with my kids:

“When we were young, we ran through the sprinkler…A little sweat didn’t kill us…Have you ever heard of a fan?” 

Then came my final stand, “Do you know Americans use twice as much energy air-conditioning our homes than we did 20 years ago…and more than the rest of the world’s nations combined?” 

Although I live in what is considered to be a cooler Northeast climate, the rising temperature in my neck of the woods has left me sweltering.

I threw eco-caution to the wind and started my own whiny campaign to bring air conditioning into my home. Come hell or high water, and both seemed to be happening, I needed cool air to think straight. I tried rationalizing my case to my ultra-conservationist husband.

Me: “Do you know how much extra laundry I’m doing cleaning sweat-soaked sheets, tee-shirts and towels? Running the dryer day and night will kill the environment. An air conditioner could help!”

Husband: “You’re exaggerating, my dear. And the electricity generated to power air conditioning carries a larger environmental consequence. In burning fossil fuels such as coal and gas to supply electricity to homes and workplaces, power plants discharge clouds of soot and other pollutants into the atmosphere. Among these are mercury and carbon dioxide. Did you know air conditioner use in the U.S. results in an average of about 100 million tons of CO2 emissions from power plants every year ? Also, you emailed me this blog post, 10 Design Tips To Help You Live Without (Or Use Less) Air Conditioning

Me: “Pleeeze, don’t throw posts back at me, I’m a blogger. Bloggers can make anything sound sexy. I can’t work. My keyboard is damp…sticky. I’m sure the Apple manual clearly states, moisture on the keyboard will not be covered under warranty.”

Husband: “Air conditioning is a twisted way to stay cool. If you want to stop warming the planet why would you want artificial cooling? There’s nothing natural about that.”

At this point, guilt got the better of me and I gave up, realizing it was just too damn hot to bicker.

Then it happened. After hours of pushing a hand mower (4 acres of grass and no riding mower…of course) in the latest brutal heat wave, my sweet husband’s defensive brain fried, and he ran to the hardware store and bought one of those portable air conditioners.

Kidding aside, in the age of climate change, can we possibly put air conditioners into the deep freeze? Probably not. My family held out as long as we could, but bucking a culture that is not making the connection that what we’re sending up into our atmosphere is reigning down on us in the form of hot and hazardous weather, is a daunting prospect. But if we adjust our ethos, and take serious measures to power our homes (and air conditioners), using clean renewable energy – wind and solar, and stand with President Obama’s ambitious climate action plan to stop global warming, we have a fighting chance.

Will our leaders compromise and put an end to the warming trend? Or will our kids have to sweat it out hugging air conditioners instead of trees?