Dream house

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what kind of house I’d like once I get one…. not because it’s time for me to worry about such things, but well, one can dream 🙂 and maybe if I have a good idea early on it’ll be easier.

Big houses are amazing. They feel like palaces. But I don’t think I could live in one. It would feel too empty. As long as there’s substantial place to move and walk, I really wouldn’t mind having a small house… one that feels like it’s right out of a fairytale, perhaps it used to be a goblin’s cottage or something. (Would have to be a very tidy goblin by my standards :S)

There are, however, a few things that I would remain insistent about…

1. A cat. 

A lovely, fluffy cat. Any house is suddenly that much cozier with a furry feline prowling all over the place, annexing the couch and any comfortable surface as its own. Cats are the acme of happy, and “just in time” – sitting on your homework just when you feel like your head will burst, sashaying in front of the TV just when you’re becoming a zombie from it, demanding your attention… I think people should pay more attention to their cats. If we keep pushing them away saying “no I’m busy I have to finish it, I don’t have time to play around and pet you” then well, what will we do when one day the cat is gone? Won’t we miss its soft fur and wish we had savored a few quiet evenings with the warm body on our laps, listening to its purr and stroking it? There are moments when you just have to drop everything and cuddle.

Once, my family stayed in a little bed and breakfast a few hours from Ottawa. Actually we stayed in many, but I remember this specific one because we were greeted by an utmost adorable cat waiting at the door, just begging to be petted. This is the kind of welcome-experience I think everyone should have 🙂

Our own cat is a little strange… If cats have nine lives, then I maintain that ours was in her past ones; an opera singer, a bird, and a dog. If you ever hear her miaow you won’t need to ask me about the opera singer. I added the second one to the list when I found her sitting nonchalantly on the top shelf of our dresser, where even I can barely reach… does that cat own a tiny unfodable ladder or something? 😛 My best guess was that she secretly learned to fly.

I’m pretty sure many cats used to be dogs in their past lives… does anyone else have a cat that runs to you as soon as you signal, or if you call its name? One that chases little objects you throw around the room and brings them back to you? (mind you that last one was mostly when she was more kitten-like) … No?… Anyone?…. :O

2. A piano

This picture is perfect, because my first thing on this liste goes with pianos perfectly 🙂 A purring audience that lies lazily on the couch and absorbs the sweet sounds of Chopin’s Valse, or Rachmaninoff’s prelude… Maybe it is just sleeping, but the atmosphere is just so much “warmer”.

A harp could work too. But I think I prefer pianos. I may be biased since I play the piano myself. But anyways, these majestic instruments give a home a really classical and sophisticated air.. visions of steaming hot cups of tea, ballroom dance balls, handcrafted curtains, and exquisite paintings come to mind. Well that’s just what pianos make me think of, at least when they’re in good shapes. It makes the house feel like if it had a voice, the walls would talk in british accents.

I thought about adding soundproof walls, because if it’s a small house then the piano might bother people who want to sleep, or watch tv, or focus on work… but then who would be there to listen? Soundproof walls could be a possibility for anyone who wants them. Me, I would want the piano on the top, or second highest (depending on how many stories the house is) floor, perhaps in a spacious room that has elegant couches and beanbag chairs and perhaps a rocking chair – the sitting room, I suppose. There could be bookshelves around, or a coffee-table with magazines, or a chest of board games. Or perhaps a working desk. I had always found listening to classical music beneficial when I work – there are no distracting lyrics, and the sound is very soothing (as much as I love pop and electronica style music, there is no comparing to classical). There have even been studies done that show that classical music increases mind clarity, ability to focus, and brain activity. (I’ll try to dig them up from my bookmarks and post the link here).

On second thought, I think I’d want the desk in my room, or in an office. Maybe a circular room, like a witch’s tower? ;D (oh yeah – my imagination is having the time of its life).

3. A balcony

Ahh yes, a balcony… Any piano players reading this, have you ever dreamed of playing on a little island surrounded by small, lapping waves, feeling the soft breeze? (assuming you are not stranded there). If I had a balcony, and I had nice neighbours, I don’t think I could resist one day opening the doors and pushing it out so it’s just outside, on a warm autumn or spring day, and playing the Romeo and Juliet theme, or Tchaikowsky’s Concerto in Bflat Major, or perhaps Oscar Peterson’s Land of the Misty Giants. I would, of course, be terrified of the balcony falling with the piano’s weight, and worrying about bothering others in the neighbourhood, but this is one of my most dreamed of fantasies. It’s the next best thing, at least, to being on a tiny island in the middle of the ocean.

4. An old wooden (carved) chest.

Every once in a while, I walk into Ten Thousand Villages to see what new merchandise they have, and every time I’m there, I see this one beautiful, intricately carved wooden box. It has curled flowers and leaves all over it, with a few gold-colored metal decorations along the edges. This box is amazing. I imagine opening it and finding century old secrets, or forgotten jewellery, or lost love letters. It is empty every time I actually open it, of course, but it’s just the aura it gives off (I do hope boxes can have auras). It would be the kind of box that I’d put random knicknacks in- things that I pick up from under the couch while vaccuming, or small souvenirs, or old letters from friends, or simply memories from the old days.

I’ve thought of a new sort of journaling, using a box – each day, put something small in itto remember this day by. It could be a letter, a small drawing, a note from a friend, a photo, or a scribble about a funny thing that happened, or a rock you might have picked up on your evening walk. The goal would be for each object to be special somehow- this would not only give you a great delight in digging through the box ten years later, but also make you try to make each day the best it possibly can, and “carpe” each “diem”.

5. An (air-popping) popcorn maker.

          

This really shouldn’t be important enough to be on the list. But wow, do parties come alive when you pull out the popcorn maker xD. (I actually have no idea, I’m just rambling).

That is actually all I could think of. Certainly, my list will grow over the years.

What would you want in your dream home? 🙂

Two sunny sides

Does anyone take random books off the shelves in the library?

I find so many interesting reads that way.

I especially find interesting the personal-development, or self-help section.

I feel a little odd leaving the library with an entire bag of checked out self-help books. I’m okay!!! I just like to read!!

But there’s no reason to not keep trying to make life better even if one isn’t wallowing in despair 🙂

I’d like to share my thoughts on two similar books about happiness I’ve read.

Image   Image

The first, “Happy for no Reason”, I read several months back, perhaps a year ago. The second I just finished getting through last night.

I always take notes when I read books. It helps me remember the advice the books give and helps me learn a bit more about writing and literature – two things I’m very interested in :0)

Happy for No Reason beholds the real, easily explained key to happiness. Honestly, just reading that book can make a person happier. Many books seem to have this power, just because they are full of wonderous magical stories, but this one even explains how to stay happy after you put it down.

Many people get happy after something great happens to them, like winning the lottery, or getting a perfect mark on an exam, or getting a promotion at work…

But those are all things that aren’t so much under our control. What if you could put yourself in a happy state of mind, where no matter what happens to you you can be happy – you bring your happiness with you everywhere you go?

It’s the sort of thing that can turn lemons into lemon cake instead of plain old lemonade 🙂

The second book (which I just finished reading yesterday) is called “Choosing Brilliant Health”. This is a book with a similar goal, but it also includes a health-related take on happiness and how to achieve both (good health and good happiness) interrelatedly.

Both books have stories of happy people from around the world, things that happened to them, how they achieved ultimate happiness, and how they learned to stay happy despite unfortunate events. The difference here is that in Choosing Brilliant Health the stories are often related to health issues or overcoming health problems, and they are integrated into the general writing, whereas in Happy For No Reason the stories of happiness are more generalized and they are separated from the author’s thoughts/general flow of the book with sections and dividers.

This doesn’t cause much difference in the books, other than a slight smoother flow in Choosing Brilliant Health thanks to the mixing of the book’s outline – it helps tie the whole thing together and connect the points made in it. It also gives it a more plot-like development; it’s important to read the beginning before you read the end (but this holds true for any book, basically). In Happy For No Reason, you get the clear distinction between stories and can then apply the knowledge from what the book is talking about, in order to analyze those stories and find a way to use the knowledge they describe.

Both books also include the author’s/authors’ story while they were writing that book; whether it was giving seminars on happiness or travelling the world interviewing happy people. Many self-growth books have this component and I really think it increases the motivational power the books bring: it lets you get to know the authors in a more personal way and makes you listen to them more, as you feel like ou have a closer connection to them. They also use their little anecdotes to help readers feel like they are a part of the team, which is more inspiring to do the activities and exercises both books have.

I found it really helpful that in Happy For No Reason, the author included little overviews of the points covered in each chapter. It helps the readers remember the information they learned about and retain it.

Choosing Brilliant Health didn’t have this feature but it is written in a different style; if I should get really analytical, then Happy For No Reason is more hands-on, “let’s do this work to help you be happier” while Choosing Brilliant health more resembles a story that you can learn from with more liberty as to what information you pick out.

So, which book is better for you depends on how you prefer to learn; be presented a story and pick out what’s important to you, or be presented information and be told more directly what to do. However I recommend reading both books to anyone who is interested in this area. They give slightly different angles and both have very useful information, which can provide readers with a more thorough knowledge of the wisdom they contain :0)

Happy reading! 😉