Summary of “The Curse of an Open Floor Plan”

What is wrong with having just one kitchen? Well, people cook in kitchens, and when they cook in kitchens, they make messes, and then, to make matters worse, if their kitchen is in full view from the rest of the house-as many today are-their mess is out in the open visible as they eat their meals, hang out with their families, entertain their guests, and go about their lives.
That is why one company, Schumacher Homes of Akron, Ohio, has a fresh new design on offer: a house with an open floor plan, with its kitchen, dining area, and living room all flowing into one another.
Describing one late-1950s home by the California-modernist architect Pierre Koenig, the design historian Pat Kirkham characterizes a kitchen opened up to the dining/living area as a “Material expression of the informality of social intercourse.” The ability to chat with family and guests was a clear benefit, but it also created double-duty for the kitchen “Worker,” who was assumed to be a housewife.
While Weninger-Ramirez tries to hide plugs and appliances, a modest remedy, Schumacher Homes’ “Messy kitchen” opts for a more extreme approach: to hide one kitchen behind another.
An open kitchen island faces a large, vaulted great room with second-floor gallery and flanks an open-plan dining area.
The public kitchen boasts a range top, oven, microwave, and sink, but the rest of the kitchen, at first, appears to be missing.
The idea is that the pre-meal food prep and post-meal food waste can be stowed out of sight in the “Messy kitchen,” leaving the public kitchen for the cooking, eating, and visiting.
Even if the messy kitchen’s usage proves more equitable along gender lines thanks to intervening cultural changes, the design seems to require a negotiation of the loneliness of prep and cleanup that, despite its downsides, an open design might have helped avoid.

The orginal article.

Summary of “America’s Hot New Job Is Being a Rich Person’s Servant”

Because they often cannot afford to live near their place of work, they endure long commutes from lower-cost neighborhoods.
Optimistically, these jobs offer autonomy for workers and convenience for consumers, many of whom aren’t wealthy.
These laborers often do the work of employees with the legal protections of contractors-which is to say, hardly any.
In both types of situation, the relationship between wealth workers and their customers is easily exploited and often impersonalized-an oddity considering the intimacy of the work, which involves feeling hair, touching nails, massaging skin, entering a stranger’s home to assemble his bedroom, or welcoming him into your car.
In the late 19th century, more than half of women worked in domestic and personal service.
Their work was also less anonymous; the hired help tended to live with their employers, where they would cook, clean, and care for children.
These workers were integrated into family life in a way that is unthinkable for the anonymous wealth workers of the modern world.
The workers of the new servant economy don’t live with their employers, but rather sleep many miles away where they can afford a bedroom.

The orginal article.

Summary of “How to use Craigslist Free in NYC”

“I’m soooo sorry I’m late. I had to transfer to the 3 at Atlantic Avenue, and I wasn’t sure where it was, and I just got turned around,” she explained as I handed her a bag containing a heavy, multipart juicer that I hadn’t used-much less looked at-in a couple of years.
For years now, I’ve been getting cheap-indeed free-thrills merely from regularly giving away my possessions on Craigslist.
In New York, where I live, available real estate seems to get smaller and more expensive each year, as the waves of gentrification push ever deeper into the formerly “Outer” boroughs.
When my kitchen cabinets begin to spill over with washed and saved almond butter jars, or my cats decide they don’t care for their new food and water dishes, or I’ve propagated a few too many pothos plants, I turn to a website I have bookmarked on my computer: Craigslist Free.
A short description and a few iPhone photos later, and my post advertising free stuff to whoever will come take it off my hands is out in the world.
Given the rapidity with which strangers respond to my listings, I’ve concluded that there must be people out there who always have a tab open to Craigslist Free-and in my experience, these people are characters.
Corresponding with and meeting these Craigslist characters, in a city that so often feels anonymous, is part of the reason I love Craigslist Free.
Craigslist allows me to do that-and I’m not talking about the “Missed Connections” section.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Stop Apologizing For Being Yourself”

Because let’s face it, you and I both know that we all have two personalities, who live two different lives.
There’s the life we want to live, and then there’s the life we’re actually living.
“Hey Darius, do you think I should stop being silly so that people take me seriously?”.
Look, you’re not going to die alone when you become yourself 24/7. It’s not only a waste of energy, but it’s also a waste of LIFE, if you’re not living it on your terms.
Because what’s the alternative? Do you want to shut down your true personality and become some robot that’s programmed by society or other people?
Over the past few years, I’ve been gradually living life on my terms.
If you’re an artist, you don’t have to be like Van Gogh.You’ll get what you want when you are yourself.
I can tell you from personal experience that being yourself is the most liberating thing in life.

The orginal article.

Summary of “How to Recover From ‘Busyness’ Addiction”

When Busyness Becomes Addiction For me, busyness addiction sneaks right up, disguising itself as joy, the thrill of being sought after for my talents or skills, and the reward for years of hard work in order to get to a place where I am paid to do what I love.
The thrill of accomplishment is quickly replaced with a full, anxiety-inducing calendar; teaching six days a week for up to 10 hours a day for weeks at a time; taking four to six flights a month from one climate to the next; consuming food that I have little control over; and getting fewer hours of sleep than what I need to restore my body and keep going healthfully.
The SNS is like an emergency response system that releases the stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol – under stressful circumstances, our bodies’ resources are habitually diverted to help us survive a heightened state of stress, stress, stress, or work, work, work, as if they were a real, life-threatening danger.
Though we may try to live healthy and vital lives, the fast pace of an urban, globalized, and internet-driven world, and the systemic social, economic, racial, and gender inequalities therein, can cause severe wear and tear on the body, mind, and heart.
Tapping into all of my years as a wellness practitioner, I came up with the following 10 steps to recover from my busyness addiction.
Notice how you stand and where you hold tension in your body as you wait in the various lines for lunch, the ATM, the post office, etc.
Slow, deep nasal breathing brings the “Rest and digest” aspect of nervous system online, so that even when you can’t control the busyness around you, you send a message to your body that everything is OK. Then go back to work attuned, refreshed, and more attentive.
Develop a Body Scan Practice Every evening before dinner, become aware of how your body feels from head to toe.

The orginal article.

Summary of “How Social Media Shapes Our Identity”

By 2015, Kate Eichhorn writes in “The End of Forgetting: Growing Up with Social Media,” people were sharing thirty million images an hour on Snapchat, and British parents “Posted, on average, nearly two hundred photographs of their child online each year.” For those who have grown up with social media-a group that includes pretty much everyone under twenty-five-childhood, an era that was fruitfully mysterious for the rest of us, is surprisingly accessible.
According to Eichhorn, a media historian at the New School, this is certain to have some kind of profound effect on the development of identity.
On the other hand, Eichhorn writes, such media can prevent those who wish to break with their past from doing so cleanly.
Eichhorn spends less time than she might have on how this affects today’s teens.
Take the case of migrants, which Eichhorn touches on briefly: “Family members left behind can now stay in constant touch with their sons and daughters and even track their footsteps across Europe.” Here, memory is almost a form of political representation, enabled by social media; groups are able to preserve their history as they travel across continents.
Are all photos documentary? In “The Social Photo,” Nathan Jurgenson puts forth the useful proposition that most online photos are about sharing experiences, not creating memories.
For Jurgenson, taking social photos changes the way vision works-a process that began with the advent of cameras and is still evolving today.
“Our reality has always been already mediated, augmented, documented,” he writes, “And there’s no access to some state of unmediated purity.” We shouldn’t ask whether social photography is good, but how it can be good.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Marcus Aurelius on Embracing Mortality and the Key to Living with Presence”

Two millennia earlier, before the very notion of a universe even existed, the Roman emperor and Stoic philosopher Marcus Aurelius provided uncommonly lucid consolation for this most disquieting paradox of existence in his Meditations – the timeless trove of ancient wisdom that gave us his advice on how to motivate yourself to get out of bed each morning, the mental trick for maintaining sanity, and the key to living fully.
In a sentiment Montaigne would echo sixteen centuries later in his assertion that “To lament that we shall not be alive a hundred years hence, is the same folly as to be sorry we were not alive a hundred years ago,” Marcus Aurelius rebukes our pathological dread of death by demonstrating how it ejects us from the only arena on which life plays out – the present.
Even if you’re going to live three thousand more years, or ten times that, remember: you cannot lose another life than the one you’re living now, or live another one than the one you’re losing.
The present is the same for everyone; its loss is the same for everyone; and it should be clear that a brief instant is all that is lost.
For you can’t lose either the past or the future; how could you lose what you don’t have?
Art by Sydney Smith from Sidewalk Flowers by JonArno Lawson – a lyrical illustrated invitation to living with presence.
Above all, that it accepts death in a cheerful spirit, as nothing but the dissolution of the elements from which each living thing is composed.
Complement this portion of the altogether indispensable Meditations with psychoanalyst Adam Phillips on what Freud and Darwin taught us about how to live with death, neurologist Oliver Sacks on gratitude, the measure of living, and the dignity of dying, and philosopher, comedian, and my beloved friend Emily Levine on how to live with exultant presence while dying, then revisit two other great Stoics philosophers’ strategies for peace of mind: Seneca on the antidote to anxiety and Epictetus on love, loss, and surviving heartbreak.

The orginal article.

Summary of “How to Find Quiet Time and Get Away From It All”

At the same time, the caregiver emerges from Mom’s room with a question for me.
I’d thought there was something wrong me with for craving solitude and silence so much I dream of running far, far away to get it.
Curious, I began to reach out to the friends who responded to my post, asking if they ever manage to find any peace and quiet in their daily lives, and if so, where? How? Baltimore, Maryland resident Carolyn Turgeon, 47, who somehow manages to juggle writing novels and non-fiction books while editing Enchanted Living tells me she’s discovered silence, and a strange measure of solitude, at the local pool.
“I was visiting a friend in Omaha recently and went to the pool at his gym and there was a sign ‘You Shall Not Swim Alone,’ and even though I understood what it meant I couldn’t help but laugh. How do you not swim alone? It’s such a lonesome activity, even if every lane around you is filled with swimmers. It’s silent, magical, just your body moving through the water, the only sound the gurgle of water, that splash of your arm breaking the surface. It’s such a powerful escape.”
“My husband is super at helping out with the housework and spending time with the kids,” she explains to me, “But I have to have moments of quiet where there are no demands on me or I really do completely lose my mind … I shut the door between classes and try to do some yoga breathing in those three minutes and often turn off the lights for the first five minutes of lunch to let me brain reset. But there have been times with deadlines looming when I’ve had to go way more extreme. Once I got a super cheap motel for a weekend so I could have a few days uninterrupted.”
They make time – whatever little bit they can in between all their duties – for silence and solitude.
Maeve Kelley, 45, lives in Omaha, Nebraska, where she’s a single mom to two sons, ages 13 and 9, as well as a grown daughter.
Experts agree that to maximize the benefits of solitude and silence, it’s crucial that you leave your cell phone behind; time spent with technology that connects us to other people isn’t really time spent alone.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Toni Morrison on the Power of Language”

In the final weeks of 1993, Toni Morrison became the first African American woman to receive the Nobel Prize, awarded her for being a writer “Who in novels characterized by visionary force and poetic import, gives life to an essential aspect of American reality.” On December 7, Morrison took the podium at the Swedish Academy in Stockholm and accepted the accolade with a spectacular speech about the power of language – its power to oppress and to liberate, to scar and to sanctify, to plunder and to redeem.
The blind woman shifts attention away from assertions of power to the instrument through which that power is exercised.
Being a writer she thinks of language partly as a system, partly as a living thing over which one has control, but mostly as agency – as an act with consequences.
So the question the children put to her: “Is it living or dead?” is not unreal because she thinks of language as susceptible to death, erasure; certainly imperiled and salvageable only by an effort of the will.
For her a dead language is not only one no longer spoken or written, it is unyielding language content to admire its own paralysis.
The vitality of language lies in its ability to limn the actual, imagined and possible lives of its speakers, readers, writers.
Language can never “Pin down” slavery, genocide, war.
Complement with Morrison on the artist’s task in troubled times and her spectacular commencement address about how to be your own story, then revisit other memorable Nobel Prize acceptance speeches: William Faulkner on the artist’s duty as a booster of the human heart, Bertrand Russell on the four desires motivating all human behavior, Ernest Hemingway on the solitude of being a writer, Gabriel García Márquez on building a new utopia of life, Saul Bellow on how art and literature ennoble the human spirit, and Pearl S. Buck, the youngest woman awarded the prestigious accolade, on the nature of creativity.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Visiting open houses”

On weekends, we’d drive out to houses on the market, either already-built homes in nearby towns or model homes in the under-construction new developments that, at the time, seemed to be springing up all over our part of New Jersey.
It’s a popular hobby in Sweden, where one in three Swedes visit open houses without any intention of buying property.
Open houses are designed to spark buyers’ imaginations in this way.
Sellers are told to remove personal objects so a buyer can imagine her own possessions there, and model spaces in new-built houses are often staged for a “Type.” For the developer or homeowner hoping to close a sale, these are tactics.
For the prospective buyer, the decor in an open house or model unit can be aspirational.
For me, a kid who never quite felt she understood how to be like other people, the open houses offered something else-a way in.
When I visited open houses as a child and teenager-and then once I not-so-surprisingly became a real estate reporter in my 20s-I would imagine the lives of those strangers.
Homes like the one with two dishwashers were opportunities: Why, my family would wonder, would someone want or need two dishwashers? In the granularity of the question, the people who lived in these homes came alive to us as individuals.

The orginal article.