5 Things of Varying Importance

September 9, 2020

1- I want to watch this (and A wants to watch it with me):

Premiers tonight on Netflix. I am not sure how I am going to feel about seeing the (extreme) excesses within celebrity homes. I will probably be glad I am not a celebrity with a 10K square foot house.

(Personally, I am more attracted to the idea of a tiny and perfect space with about 5 things in it than I am to a gigantic mansion filled with rainbow-organized goodies, BUT I still want to see the show!)

2- Some people were curious about how running was going after not running for months. WELL – I’m slow and it’s hot. It doesn’t feel terrible, but I don’t really feel like moving much faster yet. Also, did I mention it’s really hot!?

Yesterday I ran for 30 minutes and covered 2.73 miles which is ~11 minute pace. If I go back 1 year I was about a minute per mile faster and tended to run more like 4 miles most days. I think I will be able to progress back to that but am not terribly convinced I can do it running 2x/week.

I do miss running (and training for races) and would like to bring back some longer runs. BUT I like consistent strength training, too. The answer is clearly to quit my job and work out for 2 hours/day. JK.

3- FALL. I admit it: I am so jealous reading about fall weather!!! OMG. Historically, there isn’t much relief from our 6-month-long “summer” until November. Sometimes late November.

Basically our entire summer has that storm icon next to . . . most days. Although I shouldn’t really complain, I know it’s the West Coast that is really dealing with heat right now! I hope it dissipates soon!!

4- New podcast alert: looking for a research-centered look on the state of work/life intersection today, especially for women? I just discovered the (new) Labor podcast produced by journalists Amy Westervelt and Elise Hu, and enjoyed the first episode. Subscribed.

5- My platform isn’t quite the size of Erin‘s, but in case anyone was wondering, I am also voting for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. (I sort of doubt if anyone was actually wondering because you readers tend to know me fairly well, but just in case anyone took my tax concerns for fiscal conservatism. Nope, I am glad to pay taxes, and am fully prepared to pay more. I just would rather know about them in advance 🙂 ). I wish the election was over already; it’s making me anxious.


  • Reply CBS September 9, 2020 at 6:52 am

    Thanks for being open about your voting plans. I think people try not to offend their readership, but honestly, I think voting for people who are clearly thoughtful and well-meaning shouldn’t be offensive. I share your ambition of a tiny house with no stuff, I’ve become obsessed with these Danish modular homes, where everything is built in and sensible. Alas, buying land is tricky. We looked at a house yesterday and it was so nice and cozy, perfect for a family of three. The market is insane here but I’m hoping that people moving out of the city are moving for more space and will overlook this hidden gem.

  • Reply julia September 9, 2020 at 7:55 am

    Thanks for posting your clear support for Biden. I am happy to have people be less afraid to share this.

  • Reply gwinne September 9, 2020 at 8:52 am

    I am anxiously awaiting my Biden/Harris yard sign 🙂

    Also with you on the tiny house. We currently have about 2000 square feet. Our old house was 1200 (one measurement said 1050). Somewhere between the two would be perfect, although I will say we use all areas in our house daily with the exception of a “play room” in the basement, which might soon become a home gym…

  • Reply Jennifer September 9, 2020 at 8:56 am

    I also 100% support Biden/Harris! Thank you for being vocal about your support. (And yes – small spaces for the win (we live in a 750SF apartment!)

  • Reply Beth @ Parent Lightly September 9, 2020 at 9:35 am

    I am obsessed with tiny house shows…but in reality I think I would like a large empty house! Ha. I like space for storage. We do a lot of activities that require gear – biking, skiing, camping, etc and it’s nice to have a place to put everything. Even if we got rid of the rest of our stuff I would need the gear. I watched an episode of Tiny House nation with a couple who were both professional triathletes and they had to do all sorts of crazy stuff to store the bikes and gear.

    • Reply Lily September 10, 2020 at 5:40 am

      My husband and I like to make a distinction between ‘stuff’ and ‘gear’. Stuff is the clutter, the tchotchkes gathering dust, the pile of crap in the corner, the clothes a size too small. We try to minimise the stuff. Gear is equipment you need to do activities you enjoy. His fishing rods and reels and lures are gear. Our camping equipment is gear. My planning stationery is gear (he doesn’t always buy that argument but anyway…) We are allowed to have plenty of gear. Gear can become stuff if it’s unused and unloved and not organised well. But a nicely ‘kon maried’ cupboard of gear just sparks so much joy.

    • Reply Debra J Martin September 11, 2020 at 2:00 pm

      We just rented a very large, to us, almost 3000 square feet AirBnB and loved it! All that empty space…so organized.I could picture all of our belongings in it and it would still look spacious. We will never own a house that big, but we were surprised how much we enjoyed it!

  • Reply Holly September 9, 2020 at 9:44 am

    Thank you for being vocal about your support for Biden/Harris! I really respect it, especially given a certain co-host’s conservative proclivities (and often refusal to openly discuss it).

    Due to a life change last year (divorce), I moved from a larger multi-story townhouse to a smaller 700 sq ft apartment (which is still a lot of space for one person and a dog!). And I was struck, even beyond the fewer THINGS aspect, how much I just loved living in a smaller FOOTPRINT. Simple things like being able to keep an eye on the oven while at my computer, or being able to quickly swiffer the entire apartment in 5 min…there was a meaningful difference to me in living “smaller,” even if it wasn’t a tiny house. I think you guys already do that (to the extent possible with 3 kids!). It does seem to help with intentional living, in ways I wouldn’t necessarily expect.

  • Reply omdg September 9, 2020 at 10:35 am

    Our current house is about 2500 sqft, which with an AP, and both I and my husband working from home, and home school, is about right. I think it would be possible to do with slightly less space, but not too much less. This does NOT stop me from fantasizing about having a smaller house. Ah to have less to clean and heat and cool. And if we ever were to buy again, being able to buy a house with one less bedroom shaves about 200K off the purchase price around here, which is obviously non-trivial. At some point I need to crunch the numbers on the cost of having a live-out nanny and a smaller house vs. a larger house with an au pair.

    AP went on vacation and reported that, “A lot of people are voting for Trump, you know that right?” She saw TONS of Trump signs on her drive from A2 to Niagara Falls. I told her that Trump is probably going to win the election, but we can always hope for a different outcome.

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger September 9, 2020 at 10:43 am

      Our current house is similar. Parts of it are larger than needed but had been helpful during pandemic (ie our bedroom big enough to also be makeshift office for me). A and C share a room. I totally fantasize about smaller (but with magical infinite garage storage space!!)

    • Reply Chelsea September 9, 2020 at 1:08 pm

      We have 5 people living (and schooling and working from home) in 1500 sq ft – which is actually a medium sized home for our 1950s/1960s neighborhood, and it feels tight sometimes. I’m glad I don’t have more to keep up with, but I wish we could spread out more.

  • Reply Katie September 9, 2020 at 10:39 am

    Awesome! Appreciate you sharing your voting plans – you never know the impact you may have, and I think we need to normalize talking about this stuff. I’m a US citizen living in Canada, but you better believe I’ll be voting absentee for Joe and Kamala too! I also wish it was already over, though. Anxiety abounds.

  • Reply Eva September 9, 2020 at 11:52 am

    Hi Sarah!

    I totally understand that feeling of wanting to run and strength train (and in my case: practice yoga). My approach to this is to alternate: right now, I’m training for a half (lockdown style – running laps around my gated community like a goldfish in a bowl), so strength is 2 sessions of max 30 minutes a week, and yoga is similarly on the backburner. Next, I’ll do a yoga program, and next a strength program – I used to do long workouts before kids, fitting in everything – but I think my front- and backburner approach is going well too.

    In terms of space: since I divide my time between Europe and South America (home base), I have a tiny space in Europe – 27m2 (290 ft2). It’s super organized with lots of drawers and shelves, and while I’m glad we didn’t have to go through lockdown there, it works well in combination with outings to the park and city.

    For politics: I’m born and raised in Belgium with its multitude of political parties (with usually at least 4 parties needed to form a government). Discussing different ideas and openly sharing our affiliations has always been a favorite national passtime – so when I moved to the US and then South America, I was a bit surprised about how hostile people sometimes are about each other’s political preferences. Unfortunately, I’m seeing on social media that this hostility is now also common in Belgium (which is complicating collaboration for forming a government at the moment as well).

  • Reply Meg Craft September 9, 2020 at 1:09 pm

    I just started watching this today to give me some background noise and it’s better than I thought? The previews made it seem like it would just be celebrities and excess, but it seems to be about half and half celebrity and (relatively) normal person (or at least in the more reasonable realm).

  • Reply Lana September 9, 2020 at 2:29 pm

    Yes on Joe and Kamala!

    Also, I live in the San Francisco Bay Area, and the scene here is surreal due to the recent heat waves and resulting wildfires. It’s 11:23 right now, and the sky is almost totally dark and orange. Feels like we are in a movie about the apocalypse. I received a text from a friend this morning saying that she would be a single-issue voter on climate change even if the choice wasn’t so clear on other aspects.

    All this makes me feel better about living in a 1200 sq ft two-bedroom townhouse with a preschooler and a baby. Not a tiny house by any means, but also very manageable. We are paying insane rent to have shorter (and lower-carbon) commutes – or past commutes, rather. As a result, our housing footprint is also smaller. We’d like another bedroom and a yard, which we don’t currently have. But I don’t think we’d really need more than 1500 feet. I would definitely just end up filling it with more stuff despite my best intentions to minimize.

  • Reply Lee September 9, 2020 at 3:06 pm

    I would be pretty shocked if you weren’t supporting Biden/Harris!

    • Reply Edith September 10, 2020 at 3:22 pm

      Hahaha I agree. I still remember Anabel’s “You get what you get and you don’t get upset” wisdom from 2016 which helped me hold it together the day after the election. Thanks for being open about who you are supporting, even though it isn’t a huge surprise 😃

      • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger September 10, 2020 at 3:53 pm

        Yes it’s still in my Instagram and … well, I guess we’ll see if she needs to do an updated version!

  • Reply Marina September 9, 2020 at 7:52 pm

    Thanks for the podcast rec. Just listened to the first few eps. You may also like “the Double Shift,” which is by the same production company. Honestly, I’m preferring these podcasts that examine how society has been set up for parents (mostly moms) to fail at “having it all.” So instead of feeling guilty about not fitting into this narrative, we need to get angry and demand change. And those of us privileged enough to rise up in the workplace can make some difference in changing this (which I think you do at your job!) I hope you can examine some of these topics on your own podcast in the future.

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger September 9, 2020 at 8:17 pm

      We had Katherine from the double shift on our show!!

  • Reply Jen September 9, 2020 at 11:09 pm

    I am so stressed about the election. I actually don’t even know how I will be able to watch it. The last one was so devastating and in many ways if he wins again it will be even more devastating than 2016.

  • Reply Marjorie September 10, 2020 at 12:16 am

    I live in the high deserts of Western Colorado, and I have to admit that I’m jealous of your warm and humid weather! I grew up partly in Southeast Asia and partly in the Southwest (Dallas), so I’m very partial to that kind of climate. I went running in Singapore nearly every day I was there earlier this year while on a business trip (obviously in the Before Times!) and looooved feeling the sun against my bare skin and getting all sweaty. Always made me feel like I earned that cold bottle of water at the end of every run!

    But I get it — to each her own! Right now it’s cold and wet up here — thankfully, as we’ve needed it after all the wildfires! — and although it was just in the 90s a few days ago, ohhh I miss that hot sun already.

    Like you, I miss training for races. I’ve signed up for a couple of virtual races, but it’s not quite the same experience.

  • Reply Katie September 10, 2020 at 1:33 am

    Hi. This question is a day late, but can you recommend a good recipe for salmon burgers?

  • Reply Lisa of Lisa's Yarns September 10, 2020 at 9:27 am

    Also a Biden/Harris supporter. I think we should be able to share that kind of thing openly. Admittedly, I do not talk about politics/voting on my blog because my mom reads it and she is a Trump supporter. It’s actually put a strain on our relationship, especially with covid (they think it’s over blown and I take it very seriously between being immune compromised due to RA drugs AND pregnant). So yah… it’s a tough situation. I try to avoid talking about politics but it creeps into so many conversations.

    I will have to check out that show when I’m on mat leave. I’m starting to make a list of shows to watch! I also do not desire a huge house. Ours is 2,400 sq ft. It’s plenty big for us. I also fantasize about downsizing later in life. Do you follow Young House Love? They moved to the panhandle of FL and went from 3500 sq ft or something like that down to around 1400. It looks super appealing but I feel like you have to be out of the baby/toddler phase to do that as baby stuff takes up SO MUCH SPACE, at least for us it does. I can’t wait for the 2nd baby to grow of out using things so I can sell them/give them away and get a huge storage space back!

  • Reply Helen September 10, 2020 at 1:16 pm

    I would love to hear a BOBW episode about the candidates and their stances on womens and mothers issues along with your and Laura’s thoughts!

    • Reply Jordan September 10, 2020 at 5:07 pm

      Agreed! I remember reading Laura’s blog after Trump’s election. Would be very curious to get her (and your!) thoughts on how policies have evolved and affected women in the U.S., especially working moms.

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