Adapting to the Digital World

We’re in the process of moving, and purging has me in a quandry of what to do with our music collection. We have ALOT of music. Someone is picking up the guitar DAILY. With the introduction of digitalization and the Internet since the 90’s, so much has changed.

We used to have a wood cabinet with a turn-table, radio and speakers for our vinyl records. I still have a few of those. How about you? I recall dancing in our basement like a crazy kid to cranked up Elton John, Question Mark & the Mysterians, and so many others…


(photo credit: ilovemywifeandstarwars – 1967 Fisher Regent R-592-IP (Italian Provencial) Vintage stereo console )

Then came the 8 track cassette. I don’t recall a portable 8-track cassette player; however, fun story: my Mom had purchased a beautiful soft camel-colored, convertible Rolls-Royce once owned by Barbra Streisand. When we took it out for a spin, I noticed it had an 8 track cassette player – and Mom actually had some 8 track cassettes that we cranked up!

Then came the cassette tapes – which I still have from my daze in Japan… more than 200 of them!


Two years ago, I made the investment into an analog (cassette) to digital (CD) device, but haven’t used it once. I still don’t know what I’m going to do with all those cassettes…

Let’s say each cassette has 60 minutes of music. And I have 200+ cassettes… that’s 12,000 hours of recording time!! At a 40 hour work week, 50 working weeks of the year, I MIGHT be able to get them onto CD’s IN SIX YEARS!!

The little plastic box, the tape, the plastic cassette itself – my Green-Consciousness is going C R A Z Y; not to mention the original artwork, and inserts with lyrics and credits on them.

Then came the CD’s … I haven’t counted how many of those I have, but probably near 600! From originals, to ones made from my husband’s band: Shades; to one’s made from my son’s Joe’s band: Isaac’s Horizon.

And here we are today: iTunes, Google Play, Pandora and so many more. All digital.

My husband must have 600 songs in his iTunes library, along with an external hard drive of at least that many more, different songs.

In our automobiles, we all have XM radio – which we all love. (I gotta admit ‘though, sometimes I miss Wolfman Jack!) Although nearly all of our cars have CD players, not one of us has used them.

So, what would you do?


The World of Kurosawa (Akira)

Having been consulted on my view of the movie : Seven Samurai, I share the movie review book by Dr. Katsunori Tamari:


In Japanese

On the Side

My family spent five years in Japan – not on a military base, but “among the natives.” This experience shaped who I am today – my first teen year, 13, was celebrated in Osaka. By the time we moved back to the States, I was just shy of my 18th birthday.

During this time, I made many friends, travelled extensively, moved homes many times. One of the most treasured, and first relationships developed in Tokyo, was with our family doctor: Dr. Katsunori Tamari. Back in the early 70’s, few doctors knew much about and how to treat epilepsy. When we first got to Japan, my sister was on 6 different medications – making her situation more about dealing with the medications, than with controlling the epilelptic seizures. (A limited exposure lifestyle, near-death experiences and much more surrounded my younger sister.) Dr. Tamari took my sibling off all the medications, and put her on just one. During this time of transition, she slowly returned to “normal” – not a drug-induced, eyes-glazed-over little girl; and YES!! we would sneak out on numerous, joyful occassions to expose her to the independent, amazing world of Japan. There wasn’t a safer place on the planet for her to experience this transformation than in Japan. I am forever greatful for Tamari-sensei’s bravery, and for setting my sister on this path. Today, she is a healthy, independent, thriving woman!

Even after all these years, Tamari-sensei and I would communicate by phone or letter. You can imagine my honor when he reaches out to me and asks for my input into the movie “7 Samurai” by his favorite Director: Akira Kurosawa! He mentioned that he was part of a move-review Club, and he was writing a book. Without hesitation, I oblige:

“Thoughts on 7 Samurai” by Katsunori Tamari

Professional Organizing

Space planning

Some people are naturally organized – is this you? You have a routine you follow and it brings you stability and groundedness. You sleep, eat and drink fairly regularly; and your eliminations are fairly regular as a result (we know what organ RULES!! : )  You have a mental “to do” list that you regularly follow and finish; this brings a sense of accomplishment. All of these things relate to our sense of space – more later!

Some people are not as “organized,” and function naturally – is this you? Stability & groundedness come from engagement and the creative process. The needs of the body are met as they arise (sleep, food & drink), without the dictates of time and routine.  Accomplishment isn’t about any “to do” list, mental or written; and is more about a joyful life.

Type A or B; Gen X, Y or Z, Baby Boomer or Millenial – we each are human. Our physical, mental and emotional needs, regardless the expression, are similar. Our cultural differences influence our comfort level – few Americans are comfortable in a Japanese public bathhouse (yes, men and women have separate facilities; but they are under one roof); and many Japanese see a “wastefulness” in American bathing settings. Regardless, we each have the same functions.

Anthropometrics studies the range and motions of humans using basic human information. Taking data and reducing it to an “average” only provides a guideline – I never met that “average” person, have you?? Many sciences use data sets, like anthropometrics and space planning, to help ground and teach human-based studies, like psychology, surgery, designing & building spaces, and more. As the number of people on the planet increase, I see our current data sets diminishing in value.

The value of context in space planning rises with each individual. If there were one source I could recommend, it would be:

A Pattern Language


This book, however “deep,”  provides a basis to design and layout that is unique to the user and their community. Yes, community. Each of us are part of and belong to one or more.

Feng Shui

Why feng shui?

I had decided to get my 2nd degree in Interior Design after many years in the corporate world. There wasn’t a Master’s program combining Interior Design with an Eastern School of thought. (I spent my teenage years in Japan, so the Eastern school of thought was & is a big part of my life.) After looking through SO many College syllabi of interior design, I felt they lacked depth; particularly, space planning was NOT a course at many Colleges. So, feng shui presented itself to me. Not any feng shui school, either. Like interior design programs, research was required into the numerous feng shui schools and philosophies. For me, the Feng Shui Institute of America was my answer:

Feng Shui Institute of America

My choice was confirmed after I left a voicemail inquiring into their program, and I got a call back while the gentleman was still in England!!

Training was in-depth, always requiring me to answer WHY. Additionally, feng shui confirmed SO MANY questions I had about life & work & space planning that interior design, alone, did not. The basics of feng shui come from thousands of years of study of  human life. It is not a religion, but a science.

The founder of contemporary feng shui, Nancilee Wydra, has written MANY feng shui books, but this is my favorite:

Designing Your Happiness

Interior Design

Recomending this book by my colleague, Linda O’Shea: //
The Interior Design reference & specification book

Published in 2013, and available through my Amazon site, it’s everything interior designers need to know every day!

Doing the “Pee-Pee” Dance

It’s frustrating having to wait to “go” while another gets out of the shower or finishes cleaning up. Ergo the popularity of the additional 1/2 bath. Considering the wasted space and energy of having this extra, it’s screaming at me to re-design the one bathroom layouts.

I recall my school-aged son jumping through the house to get to the bathroom. He wasn’t the only one who had to use “the facilities” either. In our tiny 2-bedroom home, it wasn’t the distance he had to travel to get to the bathroom, but the layout:

2 BR Apt

So, I changed the orientation of the toilet, enclosed it, and gave it a tiny, wall mounted sink:

2-BR Apt modified

This type of layout is most common in the Far East. Nearly ALWAYS you will find the toilet separate from the tub (ofuro) and a sink. It makes sense.

There are other concerns with this floor plan layout; however, only the bathroom is being addressed here.