I like well-made and solid things that are used, and worn with use, and made to be worn with use. Things made for mud and grubby hands and hard work and the occasional evening of thoughtful maintenance.

I like the tweaks I've set up on my computer (which I need to figure out how to script an automated setup routine for). I like the combination of the new sole and the old everything-else of my Birkenstock sandals; I wore them so constantly that I wore through the entire sole, a whole centimeter of rubber, just walking around. I like the thousand tiny scratches, scuffs, and worn-shiny parts on my Thinkpad laptop, and I look forward to my guitar 10 years from now.

I like my dog-eared, battered books that I've hauled off on trips - books that have been rained on in the Philippines and crushed in backpacks in Australia and dropped in mustard in New York. I like having few things, simple things, good things. I don't always manage my stuff so that I do indeed have those things, and only those things I need, but that is what I aim for when I can.

Houses are much the same way. I like living-places that are lived-in. No coordinated design scheme except for things the residents think are cool, bring in and put up in places; it all works out somehow. Steve's house in Rochester is like that. Books, all sorts of interesting books, all through the house. Big black dog getting into everything. A porch that has a screen door that needs fixing, and a swing bolted into the ceiling of the porch (again, not really with a particular coordinated furniture layout, just kinda put up where it seems to make sense). Hammock in the back, and an old swingset, and the grass is more like a wildflower garden. Last night we sat on the porch and ate cookies and drank milk as the sun was dropping through the trees out back. Walter's house in Newton has a garden in the back that hardly needs tending, yet has strawberries. Homes that are nicely broken-in and rumpled; arrangements that don't need a lot of upkeep.

I like cultures and places and people and things with histories and roots, things that are solid and comforting and real with sun-faded paint and foot-worn pathways and thousands of tiny little scuffs and scratches that tell you this thing has been used and loved by people. Places that hold the stories that have taken place within them, tools that have shaped themselves to the work they've done, and carry
the story of that work when you bring them out to your next job.

Getting rid of all my junk will be an astoundingly liberating feeling. My '93 Lexus is a solid car; I'm going to take the time to fix it up (give it a real wash, clean out the insides, get my tire pressure to the right levels, check everything) next week, and check in on the progress Melanie has made in selling all the stuff I'm not putting in my car to move to Raleigh when I do that at the start of August. I'll take only what I can fit; there's not much that I need. When I have fewer things, my head is clearer. And I want my head clear, because I owe Mark two write-ups on a project that's got 6 more years to go, and I'm trying to figure out whether it's possible to do it.

Thoughts still scattered, lots of good stuff packed in here from the last 2 weeks that needs a little breathing in order to come out. Brainspace: I need it right now. I will likely take some time to get some real rest on Wednesday; before I rest, I need to be assured that everything I need to do is taken care of so that I can pause for 24h and then get back into the swing of things.