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  • I found hope in Hope thanks to nature and my nieces.
  • Reminder: There is always light at the end of the tunnel(s).
  • Possibilities.
  • "After you have exhausted what there is in business, politics, conviviality, and so on - have found that none of these finally satisfy, or permanently wear - what remains? Nature remains." Happy 200th birthday, Walt Whitman
  • Spring is always the most alive after the darkest and rainiest of winters. #hyggehouse
  • "There are far, far better things ahead than any we leave behind." C. S. Lewis. Or, as the Secret Sisters sang, "Tomorrow will be kinder."
  • "It was here in Big Sur where I first learned to say amen." Henry Miller

Friday afternoon I decided to take a last-minute trip up the coast. Every time I've driven it, I've  always had some place to be and up against time.

But not this trip.

Friday I spent time in Santa Barbara and Paso Robles.

Saturday I spent time in Steinbeck country (of Mice and Men is one of my favourite books) and finally drove the G16 across to Carmel before heading up for a quick stop to see of my friends who I would literally drive 8hrs for only to spend 2 hours with.

Today I got up super early and got a super big coffee so I could drive down highway 1, through Big Sur and hopefully beat the crowds.

Henry Miller is the author of some of my other favourite books so as I drove though Big Sur I thought of him and Steinbeck and how they wrote about what they knew, what they loved, and what they questioned. I've had this idea in my head for a new project and community that I know will resonate and mean something but just unsure how to begin.

So I made sure today to stop when I wanted to. Linger when I needed. Drive wherever for however long.

And, after all the times driving through Big Sur, I finally stopped at a beach. I spent two hours here practically alone and just was.

People say it but there is something magic about Big Sur and today was the first time I felt it. I felt the shift, the inspiration, the hunger. And I felt wet sand between my toes. 
I'm ready.

Amen
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  • Last week I drove through the area of Malibu that was most hard hit from the fires. It was completely devastated only last December but now, life is blooming again in a way I've never seen it before. The scars are there and it will take 20yeara to get back to where it was but life is back. That's the amazing, heartbreaking and beautiful thing about life. #malibustrong #earthday

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Danish Life

Open Windows

January 20, 2008
Open Windows on Hygge House. Photo by eduard-militaru-133851

Walking around at night in Amsterdam you appreciate the enormous windows on the front of every building. You can see inside most of them, and see Dutch people eating their dinner, or reading a book on the sofa. Someone told me that the reason they have no curtains on their windows is religious and/or cultural: they are not doing anything that they are ashamed to have the whole world see. I wonder too, if this Dutch tendency is why the prostitutes in the red light district also stand in windows. Caterina Fake

This trend is also true for Denmark and to a large extent, France. I grew up where curtains were either non-existent or used merely for decor but never to keep people from seeing in.

There is a certain sense of community that grows when you can see lights, activity and people inside homes/buildings. I love walking the streets of Paris and seeing people eat supper or walking in a little town in Denmark and see someone playing piano. I also confess to loving the ability to see how people decorate!

However, living in American cities such as Seattle, Nasvhille, Santa Monica, Austin and having been to many homes throughout the country, it has been my experience to note that most often curtains are hung and drawn leaving the outside world, the views and the people – blocked out. For me, it really affects how I feel about a neighbourhood when I can never see anyone or anything.

I adore curtains but for aesthetic reasons. I love fabrics and having the pool around the windows onto the floor. But I very seldom ever have them closed – even when I lived ground level beside a main walkway and side walk. Weather is probably the only thing that’ll make me close them – to keep the heat/cold out.

In Carmel by the Sea the multi-million dollar homes very seldom have curtains and if they do, like mine they’re never closed. People want to soak in the view and the sun here and it’s been great to peak around the streets and see all the amazing interiors. I only have curtains in the office/bedroom and kitchen here but the living room is wide open. And I like it that way.

Curtains I adore: Anthropologie and the Carlisile Drapes from Pottery Barn are a classic (and inexpensive) staple.

 

  • Reply
    JohannaNo Gravatar
    January 26, 2008 at 1:04 PM

    It’s the same here in Sweden, I don’t know anyone who use heavy curtains and people seldom have their blinds down during daytime. We want all precious light we can get! When I have lived on the ground floor I usually feel a little uncomfortable at first having all those people being able to look inside, but after a while I just forget about it.

  • Reply
    LesleyNo Gravatar
    January 28, 2008 at 2:19 PM

    My husband is Danish, and I sure wish he had picked up that whole not minding if the windows were open thing. He used to be worse when we lived in apartments, but still when he gets home from work he comes and pulls down the blinds in the living room. It drives me batty. I need light. I love light! His parents curtains can’t even close so he certainly didn’t learn it from them. Oh well, we’ve been married nine years and I’m slowly wearing him down.

  • Reply
    JodiNo Gravatar
    January 28, 2008 at 9:06 PM

    My husband and I live in Vancouver’s West End. We’ve had a grund floor apartment for 6 1/2 years and my husband is always commenting that everyone likes to look in our Windows! He is from Mexico where people live behind huge cement walls and have bars on their windows. (For safety). It’s funny how differently we all live in different parts of the world. I love walking through the West end at night and looking in everyone elses windows!

  • Reply
    RebeccaNo Gravatar
    August 9, 2008 at 4:38 PM

    I love your blog. I’m learning so much from it– thank you. I read this post about curtains and as an American, I find these remarks interesting and in some ways amusing (and I don’t mean that in a negative way). I love being able to see the life going on in people’s homes, but with my own home, especially during dinnertime, I always feel a little sense of relief when I pull down the shades. It makes me feel as though I can shut out the world and my family can have its own little corner that’s none of anybody’s business. I feel a little like a zoo animal eating dinner with the windows open. But it seems my thinking is the opposite of the cultural thinking you describe.

    I wonder if some of this comes from living in a society I perceive as so large and so– disparate?– that it becomes very comforting to shut it out and have privacy. I love where I live, and I’m very happy being American, but maybe living in a smaller, more uniform, more predictable society gives people a different sense of their relationship with the public eye.

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