Living Large in Small Houses

A photoessay on small houses and the people who love them.

Alyse Nelson on December 20, 2012 at 8:30 am

A tiny house with a picket fence.

A Jay Shafer tiny home. Flickr: nicolas.boullosa

My husband and I think we’ve found a way to pay off our mortgage early, without taking on an extra job or working nights. We’ve decided to construct a rental unit—a “mother-in-law suite”—within our home. If it pans out as we hope, the rental income will let us pay off our loan 10 years early. And who knows: it could give us a chance to live closer to family as we, or they, get on in years.

Jason and I are not alone; lots of folks across Cascadia and beyond are experimenting with adding a second (or third) dwelling to an existing single-family home. And in perhaps the most interesting development, more and more people are choosing to buck the “bigger is better” trend in North American housing. They’re taking small spaces—back yards, side lots, or freestanding garages—and using them to build tiny houses.

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Seeing at the Speed of Sound

Lipreading, which makes one sense do the work of another, is a skill daunting to describe. Rachel Kolb, ’12, deaf since birth, shares its mysteries.

By Rachel Kolb

I am sitting in my office during a summer internship. Absorbed by my computer screen, I do not notice when my manager enters the room, much less when he starts talking. Only when a sudden hand taps my shoulder do I jump. He is gazing expectantly at me.

“I’m sorry, I didn’t hear you come in,” I say.

“Oh, right.” His expression changes: to surprise, and then to caution. He proceeds to say something that looks like, “Would you graawl blub blub vhoom mwarr hreet twizzolt, please?” I haven’t the faintest idea what he said. I have no excuse, for I was looking straight at him. But despite my attention, something went wrong. He spoke too fast; my eyes lost focus.

Click for the full artcle–a place to relax

imageYour mileage may vary, but I found it calming.


The person you used to be still tells you what to do

Post image for The person you used to be still tells you what to doFrom

This happens a lot. Much of what you do today (or don’t do) was decided by the person you were years ago, a person with less life experience and less insight into your values. Your identity — as in who you are to yourself, and who you are to others — changes throughout your life, and the person most qualified to be deciding how you spend your time now is always going to be who you are today.

But we often don’t work like that. We work from conclusions made years ago, usually with no idea of when we made them, or why. Most of our standing impressions are probably based on a single experience — one instance of unpleasantness or disappointment that turned you off of entire categories of recreational activities, lifestyles and creative pursuits, forever.

A conclusion is not the point at which you find the truth, it’s only the point at which the exploring stops. We do it quickly and unconsciously and the effects are long-lasting. In no time you’re left with a standing belief, a sort of surrogate “fact” in your head, left over from a time when you didn’t know any better.

A lot of the things that feel like are not for you are indeed for you. The person you used to be still wants you to be the person you used to be.

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Stop Being Offended Today: The Cure For Everything That Irritates You

From DumbLittleMan:

There is an epidemic spreading across the world.
And I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but we’re all carriers of the disease.
It’s called Offend-initis, a skin condition whereby the thickness of our skin melts away to the point where everything offends us.
Symptoms may include: hurt feelings, indignation, irritability, disappointment, grumpiness and an all-around allergic reaction to anyone who says or does something we don’t like.
Fortunately, there is a cure.

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A hole headache

I donated blood today, and now I’ve got a hole in my arm and a wicked-bad headache.

You’ll never convince me they aren’t related.

On the other hand, I was told I have exceptional platelets.  Got that, exceptional?

So I’ve got that going for me.