Category: Curation

the tyranny of existing things

My husband calls it the ‘tyranny of existing things’. It can apply to almost anything, but it’s specific in its ability to subtly annoy you to distraction and ill health. It’s the cookbooks that you still want to ‘go through’ and move to the kitchen. It’s the hanging kitchen cabinet door, still not worth calling the handyman to come and repair.

It’s even the weekly coffee date with a group of friends, the date and (friends?) you were over three years ago. It’s like one of those Confederate statues in the United States, or a moss-covered statue of Stalin still around in post Soviet Eastern Europe.

The tyranny of existing things is anything or any situation you no longer need, but can’t seem to shake off. 

The tyranny paralyzes and plagues you. And the more of these kinds of things and situations you have in your life, the more disgruntled you’ll be. Why wouldn’t you be, it’s tyranny! So what to do?

Rearrange your stuff, Part II, on your way to cultivating minimalism.

When people hear the word minimalism, or downsizing, they immediately think of getting rid of things. And while that’s correct – if you want to become a minimalist you’ll eventually have to get rid of stuff – it’s not the first thing to plunge into.

I’ve learned over the years, that most people get a deer in the headlights look when they’re told they have to sort through their possessions and just ‘toss’ what they don’t want, need, or haven’t recently worn. They get the deer in the headlights look and then they do nothing, because just the thought of approaching an existing pile or stash of things, paralyzes them. Not to mention what happens when people like me sometimes casually say, just ‘toss’ it.

And which room to start in, which closet, what stash? It’s all too much, especially of course, if one tends to gather, collect, or hoard. The answer is: rearrange first.



cultivating minimalism

Minimalist artist Frank Stella

Cultivating minimalism, a two (or maybe three) part series…

On one hand, over the past several years, I’ve been intentionally cultivating minimalism. On the other hand, like many of you I’m sure, I love stuff. I love to look at and posses beautiful things, be they vases, sweaters or chairs. I like purchasing. When I see a nicer rug than the one that currently covers the floor, I want it. ‘I want, I need, I must have,’ said my friend Inese, when confronted with the possibility of quenching a desire. 

‘I want,’ is such a fundamental feeling.

At any given point it seems to be about who we are, the wanting. It’s what children learn to say almost before they learn to walk. Because what we want, to a certain extent, defines who we are.

Forget about old Rag and Bone, I want those boots now!

I like vases. There are certain vases whose colors, shapes, and sizes stir up intense desire in me (Greek amphora silhouettes are a favorite), but I do not need many vases, no one does. I’ve always found the notion of collecting anything really quite odd. Isn’t collecting just a sort of hoarding? Unless you collect art…



pink and blue, mostly blue


“Ah, but I was so much older then 
I’m younger than that now.”

Tough week for everyone this week? I was reminded of the Dylan song, My Back Pages.” Ah… I feel younger these days, young and in shock, and it’s not because I don’t get the technology, or the music, or the styles.

I believe in evolution not devolution, and because I do, I have to have faith, and yet my faith in all sorts of things is rapidly dwindling. 

Maybe my feelings are due to some kind of wisdom that comes with age? Cynicism, even pessimism, seem to affect quite a few of us with the passing of time.

Recently, psychologists seem to be countering the whole “positivism” trend with the idea that pessismists are actually just people who see things the way they are, realists, and hence simply more intelligent than optimists.

I’ll cling to that thought for now. I’ve always been the glass is half empty type. Today anyway, you will not convince me otherwise.

No More Anti-aging!

How many of you were ecstatic when you saw that picture of Helen Mirren, the Dame, in so many ways? How many of you thought, “I want to be like Helen Mirren when I growup?” Well, we’re all grown up, time to be like Helen. 

Thank you Allure magazine. To hell with anti-aging.



wednesday ted talks

Ted Talks

If you click on this link, you can see Ashton Applewhite, author of This Chair Rocks, giving a Ted Talk at the Library of Congress. If you don’t, you’re misssing out on something really good. 



I don’t know if I would ever feel comfortable wearing tartan, but when I look at these Rei Kawakubo pieces, I think I might want to try. They are simply elegant.

Great designers seem to go through “tartan periods.” 


Alexander McQueen did.