Tuesday, December 31, 2013

A New Year Is Almost Upon Us...
...Only ONE Resolution For 2014

The Christmas carol Deck The Halls contains the line "Fast away the old year passes..." Time indeed passes swiftly, but 2012 and 2013 seemed to me to pass in the blink of an eye.  Though 2013 was a successful year for me in many respects, there were several resolutions that fell by the wayside.

Upon reflection, I realized part of the problem.  Several Eastern philosophies remind us of the importance of living in the moment.  Learning from the past is important, but dwelling on the past is a time suck, and while it is important to have goals and plans, you can 'tomorrow' yourself through an entire year before you know it!

So, while I do have the usual goals and plans for the impending year, I have only one resolution: to savor each day. Yes, we all have tedium and the demands of others to contend with each day, but throughout the day we are also exposed to beauty, humor, and kindness -- those are the moments we should focus on.

This November, like many Facebook users, each day I posted something that I was grateful for.  It's a good exercise, and though I am not posting them, each day I find some blessing for which I am thankful. The more you appreciate things, the more things there are to appreciate, sounds trite, but it definitely rings true to me.

When I lived in Upstate NY, I studied Reiki. Part of the training is learning the Five Principles. What I like best about them, you are encouraged to focus on the present -- don't worry about yesterday's failings or tomorrow's obstacles.  There are variations of the principles out there but the basic message is to:

At least for today:
Do not be angry,
Do not worry,
Be grateful,
Work with diligence,
Be kind to people.

Yes, the first two in particular can be hard, but being aware of your anger and worries gives you an opportunity to work through them, analyze their cause, and set them aside. Yes that guy that passed me on the left at a stop sign is rude, but dwelling on it is wasting precious time that could be used for something else, and besides, if he is that harried, his life must be one giant stress ball and I feel sorry for him. Yes, I say that, and no, I don't always practice it, but I am human after all -- the trick is to keep trying to practice  compassion, eventually it will be come habit.

I hope we are all able to not only take 2014 one day a time, but to appreciate all of the wonderful moments each day offers, from that first first sip of coffee in the morning to curling up in a nice, warm bed at the end of the day and everything in between.  Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Here I Go Again!...
...Moving Into A New Space

I grew up in a small, Vermont town. My sister and I were the fourth generation of our a family to be raised there. My parents closed on their home when I was only 9 days old; they bought it from my grandfather's cousin who had grown up in the house, which was built in the late 1800s by her parents.

Growing up, I never anticipated living in as many places or types of housing as I have. For the past three years I have lived in the upstairs apartment of a classic Chicago two-flat. After living in a studio apartment, it was like moving into a mansion! As you may have seen on previous posts to my blog, I have spent a fair amount of time and effort making the place more of a home, but the one thing we can always count on in life is change.

My lease expires at the end of the year and the building is in the process of being sold, so once again, I am gearing up for a move.

Though not as small as my old studio apartment, the new place is about half the space of my current digs. Admittedly, deciding what to keep, what to purge, and how to make the most of the new space is a bit daunting, but it is also an opportunity.

I plan to share how I make this apartment a home on this blog, so let me begin by showing you what I am starting with:

Looking East into the Living Room (approx. 11' x 17')
(c)2013 Eric E. Paige

Looking West toward the entrance.
(c)2013 Eric E. Paige

Living Room, North wall.  The double doors lead to a closet
and the arch passes into the dining room, which I will use
as my art studio.   (c)2013 Eric E. Paige

I am planning on using the living room as both a living and dining area and to use the dining room as my art studio.  The dining room is only 9' x 9', but the closet in the Living Room is actually wider than the doors would have you believe and so it will make a good place to store extra supplies.

The West wall of the Dining Room opens into the kitchen.
(c)2013 Eric E. Paige

The North wall is the only uninterrupted wall in the space.  I plan to extend the counter space from the kitchen into the studio along the North wall using materials from my current studio.  The empty space shown in the photo above should accommodate a bookcase or free standing shelving unit.

The East wall (above) and the South wall
(below) don't have a lot of usable space, but
I have a few ideas for making the most of it.
(c)2013 Eric E. Paige

Looking North from Studio into Living Room
(c)2013 Eric E. Paige

The Bedroom will be a bit of a challenge.  Partly because the room is oddly shaped (the apartment is a corner unit and the cross street runs at an angle), and partly because of the window placement.

The East and South walls of the Bedroom.
(c)2013 Eric E. Paige

I like being able to see all the windows and doors from my bed. So not sure whether to place the bed on the North or South wall. Both windows have a great view:

The South window looks out toward the center of the city.
(c)2013 Eric E. Paige

The East Window looks out onto Lake Michigan!
(c)2013 Eric E. Paige

I hope you will check back and see my progress, as well as some other special holiday posts that I've planned.  I picked up the keys today and took some detailed measurements.  With only three weeks to go, I had better get to work!