Thomas Kinkade Never Painted iPads

January 14, 2011

Here are some things that Jasper and Emilia love: crayons, art paper, paints, marshmallows, bubble wrap, trains, books, the iPhone, the iPad, video cameras, regular cameras, Toady, me, Kyle, the cats, skateboards, anything Disney, Scotch tape, cardboard boxes, stickers, the piano, and cookies. Only cookies with chocolate, though. They know their baked goods.

Why they love these things, I don’t know. I’ve never really thought to ask that question, except in regards to Toady, who is so unusual (and whose continued existence Kyle interrogates daily: ‘can we get rid of him, PLEASE?) that his very presence demands that variations on that question – why are you here? what need or want are you fulfilling? – be asked of him, constantly. (Notice that I fall so naturally into calling Toady a ‘him.’ This is disturbing.) The presence of, and my children’s preference for, all those other things goes unquestioned, I suppose because those preferences don’t read as unusual. Who doesn’t love the iPhone? Crayons? Cookies? I mean, really? So, no, I never asked.

Then I sat down with Genevieve Bell, who is a cultural anthropologist and Director of Interaction and Experience Research (awesomest title ever, by the way) at Intel, at the Consumer Electronics Show, and she said that she and her research team ask themselves that question all the time. Why, they ask, do people love the stuff that they already have?

Oooh, I thought. Love and technology! This was thrilling. I might have knocked over a lamp. (Not might. Did.)

She called it ‘the love landscape.’ “It’s a matter of asking, why this?” she said, picking up my iPhone (which was, I am only somewhat ashamed to admit, wrapped in a Cookie Monster skin at the time.) “… why do you love this?” And then it becomes a matter of asking that of everything. Why do people love what they love? What’s the love landscape that is the sum of the things – the technologies – that people cherish? She used the example of the Princess Phone (which, for those of you who are less than a hundred years old, is exactly what it sounds like, and was extremely popular a few decades ago), which, she said, was the very antithesis of ‘sexy’ or ‘edgy’ or even extraordinary (it was just a phone, marketed to women. It was small, and the dial-pad – ! – lit up.) So why did people love it so much? If you can answer that question – establish an understanding of why and how people love the things that they already love (why, for example, someone like me sleeps with her iPhone under her pillow when she has only a very limited ability to check email or play Angry Birds in her sleep)  – and you can get a better sense of what new things people might grow to love. Or not. Did anything ever really replace the Princess Phone? Was it the iPhone? What about the stuff that can never be replaced/supplanted (like, for example, old, scribbled-upon books and real sketchpads and pencil crayons and vinyl records and the like)? What is it about that stuff?

(About love for the iPhone, Genevieve offered this explanation – I’m paraphrasing  – ‘it holds the promise of you never having to be alone or without diversion.’ The iPhone IS MY TOADY.)

That’s what’s so interesting about the question – apart from its usefulness for a scholar and developer of technology whose job is to search for what might be next – it demands that we interrogate our stuff and our relationship to our stuff, and that we do so by paying attention to our very real affective feelings for that stuff. It acknowledges that stuff matters. It acknowledges that stuff shapes us. It acknowledges that, sometimes, when we grab on to something and whisper, I love this, we really, really mean it. And so do our children. And that matters for how we understand their stuff and their relationship to it. We don’t have to believe that that stuff loves them back, a la Toy Story. We just have to recognize that there can actually be -with some things, not all things -  relationships there.

Surveying the ‘love landscape’ of our lives – and our childrens’ lives – might, in other words, be a useful means of gaining a better understanding of our own environments and how these environments both reflect and shape our (and our childrens’) emotional lives. Which would, I think, put us in a much better position to shape and reshape our environments to more positively serve our emotional lives.

It also (and, yes, this is kind of obvious) facilitates a different way of talking about consumption, with our children and with each other: since I returned from CES, my conversations with Emilia about why she wants the things that she wants have taken on a more interesting character. When she said the other day that she wanted – WANTED, HAD TO HAVE, LOVED – a particular thing (a Dora castle) that she saw in an ad, we discussed why she thought she would love it, really love it, and how that compared to what she knew that she loved, and where that thing might fit among the things that she already loves; that is, whether the space that it might occupy in her ‘love landscape’ was already filled or not (it was – by, as it happened, a cardboard box adorned with princess stickers). The same interrogative principle can be applied to any technology or object (why do my children love the iPad, really? Is it the tablet form – with its graphic, touch-intuitive interface – that they ‘love’, or is it the games, the virtual storybooks, or all of the above? In which case, might we consider other tablets – like the Intel-powered one that I described in this post – or a Kindle or other reader, instead of, say, a Nintendo DS type thingy, when we consider acquiring shiny new electronic toys?)

But mostly, I think, it applies to how we understand our surroundings, generally. Are we surrounded by things that we love? It’s a trope of the discourse around getting organized and keeping a nice home (edit! edit! edit!) that we only keep the stuff we love, but when/if we follow that rule, are we really being mindful about what it is that we love, and why? So are we really surrounded by stuff that we love? Most of us are surrounded by things that we like – we wouldn’t have acquired and kept them if we didn’t like them (and ask any child in any playroom whether she ‘likes’ the stuff there. Of course she does. That doesn’t mean that she loves that stuff in the sense of having an engaged, affective attachment to it) (maybe some day I’ll do a whole post on this issue in the context of the argument laid out in Heidegger’s The Question Concerning Technology and bore you all crazy-senseless, just for kicks) – but is it stuff that we love? And – this is important – what it is about that stuff that we love? Why do we love it?

Because, shouldn’t we love the things that surround us? Like, really love those things? Shouldn’t the landscape of our lives be a love landscape, whatever that looks like? Whether that means rooms filled with beloved books or Kindles or sketchpads or musical instruments (real or XBox-mediated virtual) or plates filled with cookies (none with raisins) or craft detritus or televisions or iPads or notepads (the old-school Moleskine kind) or kid-friendly laptops (Emilia has this one – Intel Inside! – and adores it) or LEGO (real or 3D Interactive) or shoes or loveys or all of the above and more… if it’s what we love, and in loving it we’re engaged with it, and we’re really reflective and mindful about the fact that that’s why we have it, that’s why it’s there, then, really, we’ll have our love landscapes, and we’ll inhabit them with joy.

And we’ll probably also get rid of some of really useless crap in the process. So there’s that.

What objects/things/technologies do your children love? Do you love? Like, really? Do you ever really ask yourself why you love the stuff that you do? Do you have interesting answers? Share them – share the stuff, and your answers to the question of why do I/my children love this? in the comments.

*Disclosure: I was a guest of Intel Canada at CES. I like Intel Canada, and not just because they introduce me to cultural anthropologists who make me think about love and technology and don’t kick me out of the room when I start knocking over lamps. You can sometimes find me over at their Facebook page, chatting people up.

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    { 57 comments }

    Mel Gallant January 13, 2011 at 8:52 pm

    I’ve heard when it comes to home organization that you should surround yourself with household items that you love – a favourite throw blanket, piece of art, etc. That holding onto something because someone gave it to you isn’t a good enough reason to keep it, unless you love it and/or it’s useful. Otherwise all you’re doing is cluttering you home and diminishing, as you describe it, your “love landscape”.

    My 17-month old daughter has a lovey, Byron the Bear, that I would say she loves, along with her Lego and her Baby Signing Time videos. But I honestly think she could take or leave the rest of her toys. Which I find interesting…because maybe she doesn’t need the amount of toys she has. Hrm…

    As for me, I love my iPhone too. And my Macbook Pro. Probably because of my love of social media and the ability to connect with others online anywhere, anytime. But I also love my books. I like looking at them on the bookshelf and relishing the stories I can dive into.

    Thanks for making me ponder that question about the love landscape of my family home.
    .-= Mel Gallant´s last blog ..All ‘Aboutme’ =-.

    Catherine January 14, 2011 at 5:36 pm

    @Mel Gallant, I would have a hard time deciding amongst my books. I need to think of them collectively, as one collective love object ;)

    Lindsey January 13, 2011 at 10:08 pm

    I don’t keep a lot of stuff, but if I only had stuff I LOVED I’d have even less. We probably all would.

    Now you’ve got me thinking. And maybe heading for the garbage bags.

    Tanja January 14, 2011 at 11:27 am

    Delurking:
    The children LOVE their Zhu Zhu pets. I LOVE traipsing to their rooms naked and cold from my warm bed to turn off their chirping furry bodies (eye roll). I think the fake hamsters make them feel like they are taking care of a brood. Just ilke mumma.

    I LOVE my iPhone, can’t wait for the next iPad – why? The part about constant source of amusement rings true. I am never alone or bored. And my boring & quirky alike thoughts can be tweeted from the toilet.

    I LOVE good food. Salty olives, stinky cheese… I feel like I am nurishing my soul and teaching the girls a wide range of food appreciation when I lay these out on the table. Art for the eyes. Beautiful things. Just love them. I dont know that it matters why.

    Catherine January 14, 2011 at 5:38 pm

    @Tanja, why it matters? Because knowing why can guide you in figuring out what else you might love. So, food that is art for the eyes? Might lead you (if it hasn’t already) to figs, pomegranates, caviar…

    But yes – sometimes you need to just LOVE and not analyze ;)

    Anne January 14, 2011 at 11:28 am

    I have a lamp that I love, love, love, love. Can’t help it. It’s just one of those things. It’s small, rustic, warm and the light just glows from it. It will always be in my house. I love my iPhone also, I have to sometimes fight the kids to get it back. ;)

    Catherine January 14, 2011 at 5:48 pm

    @Anne, Emilia just the other day wrote a little book for me of all the things she thinks I love. LAMPS were one entire category (as in, she figured that among the many lamps that I like, there would be one that I loved most) because, as she said, ‘lamps are really good. they make different kinds of light.)

    Heh.

    mamaspeak January 16, 2011 at 4:18 am

    @Anne, I have a 4yo that “loves all her babies” and I sometimes find it hard to cull the herd. I will occasionally “clean out” a garbage bag full of dolls/stuffed animals to the garage. They sit there for a month, if no one notices they’re missing in that time, they get donated. My girls know I do this, and they get annoyed with me sometimes, but I pointed out to them that we have too much. I also told them they didn’t even notice for over a month, and there are many kids who don’t have any. We take toys like this to a nearby childrens’ shelter. I’ve explained that the kids there are there because their parents can’t watch them right then and it can be a scary place. I also explained that if an animal or doll really helps a kid feel better they will sometimes let them take them home. Knowing that their dolls/animals were helping other kids seemed to do the trick for them. They aren’t exactly volunteering them, but they are accepting of it now.
    .-= mamaspeak´s last blog ..Suffering from Bouncy Brain =-.

    Sheri Bheri January 14, 2011 at 12:23 pm

    For technology, I love my iTouch, because it answers my questions (via the internet) and it’s instant entertainment, via music in the car, movies/tv for a bored kid (in a waiting room, on the train, while we pick cupboards, waiting for supper at a restaurant) and games (on the toilet).

    But honestly, after a quick review of what I “LOVE” in my house, the first thing that popped into my head was “flashlights”. And it’s true, I have a lot of little lights, stashed all over the house (quickly, 12 including the little 1 LED spots). I love them because they dispel something I’m afraid of (the dark). I have a little light with me when I check on my daughter at night. I use the same little light when putting her back to bed after a nightmare. I leave a little light on for her when she’s scared. I bring one or more with us when we travel. I have those little lights that attach to your faucet to light up the stream of water – really useful in the middle of the night.

    My daughter is 6. She has a lot of dolls & stuffies and it has always amazed me which ones she really LOVES. It makes it hard for me to ‘cull’ the pack because I’m always worried that I will get rid of something that’s precious to her. If you asked her, she loves them all, and when faced with the “one in, one out” rule, she never wants the new one that badly.

    Catherine January 14, 2011 at 6:42 pm

    @Sheri Bheri, Emilia loves flashlights. She has about a dozen. Funny that I hadn’t thought to question THAT one. Is it the comfort thing? Security (lighting up the dark)? Or that light itself is pretty, and MAKING light is awesome?

    SO INTERESTING.

    Issa January 14, 2011 at 1:21 pm

    I think of my iPhone as my binky. But same thing I’m sure.

    I love my iPad and my laptop. I do. Completely. I adore my Kindle. (Maybe I’m a technology lover?) I also have a chair that I love.

    I also love, love, love the photos that sit on my night table. Every morning and every night, they make me happy.
    .-= Issa´s last blog ..This part is called counting my blessings =-.

    Heather January 14, 2011 at 1:41 pm

    I love a pair of hot pink velour yoga pants that I bought when I was pregnant with my first daughter Emma. I love them because their hem is loose and I rub the hem under my fingers. I love these pants for the same reason I loved my baby blanket. Rubbing under my nails is my go to comfort thing. And now I look like a total nut job. But I promise, I`m not.

    My my daughter Emma loves music. Music ins`t tangible, but listen to and making music are where my daughter shines her brightest.

    Catherine January 14, 2011 at 6:43 pm

    @Heather, I have big pink Minnie Mouse sweatshirt that is the fashion equivalent of napalm, and I ADORE it. PASSIONATELY. You’ll never see me in it, but I wear it, like, four out of seven days a week. Only at home, but still.

    caetb January 14, 2011 at 1:45 pm

    I have a photo of me and my son on the bay beach in Cape Cod. It’s taken from far away and we have our backs to the camera, holding hands, watching the seagulls. My son was almost two at the time and, unbeknownst to me, I was pregnant with my daughter. It is just such a sweet, unposed moment and it make my heart squeeze a little every time I look at it.

    My daughter has a lovey, Lambie, that is as real to her as anyone else. Sometimes she loves Lambie more than me. But that’s okay – everyone needs some source of unconditional, will never be upset with you, never makes you mad sort of love.

    Roberta January 14, 2011 at 3:01 pm

    Hmm, technology. I do love my iPhone, as does my daughter. I love my camera more, though. My Nikon digital SLR. For non-tech, I love my printed photographs in frames (both ones that I took and that others took) for the memories and feelings that they always evoke. Which is why I love the camera – I can make those things, freeze that time. I love my chef’s knife in the kitchen, for its satisfying weight and all it can do. And I love my books, always my books. I try to part with the ones I can (my house is small), but some I will cart with me all my life, if I can. My daughter – she is two; her loves change quicksilver by the day. She’s never had one constant lovey – her comfort objects change often. The things she always loves: me, her papa, her grandparents.
    .-= Roberta´s last blog ..Nothing but bullet points =-.

    Her Bad Mother January 14, 2011 at 6:04 pm

    re: the chef’s knife – the weight of things can bear (no pun) heavily on the love that they inspire. The perfect balance of weight to size to fit in hand, the way that weight feels, can be just so *compelling*

    Her Bad Mother January 15, 2011 at 10:55 pm

    I’m noticing that Nikon owners are way more vocal about their attachment than are Canon owners. INTERESTING.

    Rachel Bailey January 14, 2011 at 3:05 pm

    I love my phone because it feels like my portable connection to the world and my own personal assistant.
    I love books. I really like my Kindle, but I love books. I like the way they smell, I like the underlining and little scraps of paper you find in used books, I like the feel of them in my hands.
    I love really good sheets on my bed, my favorite fuzzy sweatshirt, my mom’s perfume, hot strong coffee, really good shrimp bisque. These things make me feel like me, like my preferences for them seal up my identity in a safe way.

    Heather Mundell January 14, 2011 at 3:09 pm

    I love (in no particular order) my MacBook, the new body lotion I just got, flannel sheets, a very small and lovely diamond necklace I received from my husband 10 years ago when I was pregnant with our 2nd (and last) child, lip balm, and my car (it’s very cute and very small).

    The hand-knit baby blankets are STILL a must-have at night for my ‘tween girls. One daughter adores books, the other adores small, Japanese erasers.

    I’m lucky that I love so much of what’s around me!

    Her Bad Mother January 14, 2011 at 6:03 pm

    small Japanese erasers? picture please?

    Kristin January 14, 2011 at 3:23 pm

    Before I even talk about what I love I need to share with you what my 4-year-old says she does and doesn’t love. She loves macaroni and cheese (but only the way I make it), she loves thin sliced spicy roasted sweet potato and she loves chocolate (she claims more than I do, little does she know the depths of my affection for the cocoa bean) but she, apparently, doesn’t love me, or daddy or any other human being (or cat). No, she likes me but she doesn’t love me, love, she says, is just for food. I wonder where she gets that from ;)

    Me, I love mystery novels – the British cozy kind, not the intrepid suburban housewife kind, I love good food, I love my music, I love my movies, I love my photographs, I love my kitchen gadgets, I love the clothes that actually fit my style and body, and man do I love my bike.

    I don’t love my phone, it does the job it has sudoku, but it’s more of a good friend than a soulmate. I don’t love my computer per se, but I do love that it allows me to stay connected to people I love and gives me a platform for writing. I don’t love my car but I do love driving alone on country roads with loud music.

    Some things I love flat out, some things I am attached to because they are an adequate means by which to do things I love to do.

    I find that I don’t usually feel like I love my tech the way I love other more ‘real’ things (oh and beautiful hand dyed yarn!). Technology is a tool but my bike is freedom, my books are home and good food is the best kind of nourishment.
    .-= Kristin´s last blog ..Depression- Part 2- Falling down the rabbit hole =-.

    Bee January 14, 2011 at 3:31 pm

    Delurking! (And, by the way, getting set to add you to my blogroll if I can figure out how the hell the thing works.)

    I am in the process of reducing the contents of a nearly 3,000-square-foot house to something that can fit into a much, much smaller home. (We were going to have lots of kids and be married for seventy-five years. Two kids and one vasectomy down, one divorce to go. Fun times.) This is a good, good question to ask myself in my throwing-out process.

    What I love is a little random, but then isn’t everybody’s Things I Love List?

    The cast-iron teapot trivet shaped like jumping frogs that my sister gave me.

    The tea-light candle holder made of chunks of raw amethyst. The way the light comes through it makes it easier for me to breathe, on those bad-breathing days.

    The paper star with glitter on it that is the first craft project my son (who has autism) voluntarily participated in.

    The handwritten note (red marker, on a scrap of notebook paper) that reads “Good job Momy!” – a gift from my daughter after I finished my first marathon. If I had the choice between keeping the note or the finisher’s medal, I’d take the note every time.
    .-= Bee´s last blog ..Stupid Broken Toilets From Hell =-.

    Her Bad Mother January 14, 2011 at 5:43 pm

    It’s fun to think about (and share) precisely because it is so random. I *LOVE* hearing what other people’s favorite things are, because the choices are all so unique. And hearing why, too – is cool because it lets me share it, a bit :)

    Her Bad Mother January 14, 2011 at 5:44 pm

    (Like, “cast-iron teapot trivet shaped like jumping frogs” – I LOVE that. I can almost PICTURE it.)

    Laura B. January 14, 2011 at 10:15 pm

    @Bee, My favourite aunt, a veteran of eighteen billion military postings, advised me to only pack anything too expensive to replace on the other side (ie: cast-iron and brass bedframe? Keep. Ikea shelves? Yard sale.) and anything with a great sentimental attachment. Sounds like you’re on the right track there.

    Also – small homes? WAY faster to tidy up.

    Bee January 15, 2011 at 3:27 am

    @Laura B., I had a tiny home before this one, but it turned out that two home businesses, a baby, and my then-undiagnosed ADHD were a little too much for it. I am actually really looking forward to less space (oddly enough), once I get rid of about half my stuff. I will not miss all the cleaning.

    I just wish I had a Magic Cleaning Fairy (and maybe Hermione’s time-turner) so I could … you know … skip ahead. Getting there won’t be a picnic.
    .-= Bee´s last blog ..Stupid Broken Toilets From Hell =-.

    Her Bad Mother January 15, 2011 at 10:58 pm

    House Elf. Get a House Elf. Treat him nicely, though.

    LizP January 14, 2011 at 5:29 pm

    Hello from Oregon!

    My 5 year old son likes anything related to Cars, Toy Story, and Spiderman. He love doing “crafts”, playing with lego, and peanut butter & jelly sandwiches.

    My 3 year old daughter likes anything related to Dora and princesses. She likes playdough, painting, and anything made out of potatoes.
    .-= LizP´s last blog ..The Layers of Me =-.

    Her Bad Mother January 14, 2011 at 5:42 pm

    What is it about licensed characters, I wonder. Emilia is the same, and Jasper too, in some small ways (he much prefers Thomas trains to generic trains). Is it just the familiarity, the recognizability? The fact that they have pre-existing identities, and so (perhaps) can be more easily related to as friends? Now I’m going to wonder about this all night ;)

    sashalyn January 14, 2011 at 7:24 pm

    @Her Bad Mother,
    I think you’re onto something with the identity/friends idea. So much to think about!

    Bee January 14, 2011 at 8:04 pm

    @Her Bad Mother,

    That IS an interesting thought. My daughter (who is neurotypical) got very connected to various commercial critters, with Disney Princesses being the last hurrah before she hit middle school and *sniffle* put away childish things.

    My son (who has autism) preferred things without faces – we had a few years of fixation on wooden trains, a brief passion for reptiles, and now it’s been amazing Lego constructions for a few years. I hadn’t thought of it before, but I bet you’re right about the pre-existing identities of licensed characters – instant friend, just add money! ;)
    .-= Bee´s last blog ..Stupid Broken Toilets From Hell =-.

    ahdra January 14, 2011 at 5:29 pm

    Me: My camera…I like to have it with me at all times, sometimes just to look at it. I love that I can create particular images with it. I wish I could sing opera or paint Rembrandts, or write War and Peace, but I can’t. So photography allows me to get out that driving need to create something, anything, without going stone, cold bored or crazy in the process. And now that I’m a mom with little spare time, I especially like the speed and ease with which I can arrive at something I create. Before kids, I loved film. Now, I’m a digital girl. And the side benefit is I can capture some of our family’s story in the process.

    Daughter: She loves her “soft blanket” and her Daffodil, a stuffed bunny. Daffodil goes everywhere, by the cotton-ball tail. She can never have enough soft things around her.

    Son: Anything that resembles real life, ie: Matchbox cars, but only the ones that look like service vehicles. He loves to role-play.

    Her Bad Mother January 14, 2011 at 5:40 pm

    This – “My camera…I like to have it with me at all times, sometimes just to look at it. I love that I can create particular images with it. I wish I could sing opera or paint Rembrandts, or write War and Peace, but I can’t. So photography allows me to get out that driving need to create something, anything, without going stone, cold bored or crazy in the process” – I love this sentiment. I share it ;)

    Her Bad Mother January 15, 2011 at 10:54 pm

    (Nikon or Canon or…?)
    ;)

    mom2boy January 14, 2011 at 5:52 pm

    My three year old loves anything by Imaginext. That can sometimes make getting out of Target toy free a bit of a challenge but he plays with those toys and the little people constantly and talks about them when we aren’t home and talks about them to me when we are.

    Brenna January 14, 2011 at 6:51 pm

    Baby girl goes through various loveys of soft stuffed animals that she can pick the fuzz off systematically while sucking her thumb. ;)

    The boys are a different story. If I had to guess their most loved things would be their books, legos, and rocks.

    I have been doing a lot of decluttering and getting rid, loaning out, or packing up a lot of things that I just don’t love. I feel so much better for it!
    .-= Brenna´s last blog ..Going green with baby steps… =-.

    mamaspeak January 16, 2011 at 4:08 am

    @Brenna, are you a fly lady girl? I ask because you mention decluttering and the title of your post mentions babysteps. Plus, I think she has a page called Going Green w/Babysteps… hmmm…
    .-= mamaspeak´s last blog ..Suffering from Bouncy Brain =-.

    Brenna January 16, 2011 at 12:03 pm

    @mamaspeak, I am not sure what that is? Sounds intriguing though!
    .-= Brenna´s last blog ..Going green with baby steps… =-.

    Naomi January 14, 2011 at 6:58 pm

    When I left for college at 17, I took all of my records. I have an irrational attachment to my vinyl and have toted my collection across the country several times, in spite of the fact that I rarely put needle to wax much anymore. Many have moisture damaged sleeves from damp basements and others are probably too scratched or warped to play. I love them anyway. I love it when my kids pull out my old Disney storybook LPs and ask to listen to them, even if it irks them that you can’t fast forward or rewind at will.
    .-= Naomi´s last blog ..31 Days- Eating Healthier =-.

    Deer Baby January 14, 2011 at 7:10 pm

    My things are a silver charm bracelet with a charm for each of my kids ( a stork and a miniature stroller); a deer (I have a thing for deer) and various others that symbolise things in my life including a cupcake and a Pavilion.

    I love my Art Deco wedding ring and a thirties chair that spins around.

    My 10 year old loves a raggedy old bear called Boo and my 3 year old likes anything with Peppa Pig or Dora on. I hate things with branded characters on but you know…. She has crazes on things and will rapidly throw over her ‘favourite and her best’ for the next craze.

    sashalyn January 14, 2011 at 7:22 pm

    I love my bed- really love my bed- over other beds. I have worked hard to make it a super comfy, safe haven. It’s my pleasure to end each day by climbing in there & snuggling down for what I always hope will be a good night’s sleep. I have a two-year-old, though- so, you know…
    I also love love love my iPhone & iPad- for all that they offer.
    My daughter Sophie has a puppy named Phoebe, who wears a back brace like hers, that she loves… And she’s taken to a baby doll that is much like “Big Baby” in Toy Story 3. She LOVES her Toy Story DVDs & that strange baby.

    Desiree January 14, 2011 at 8:41 pm

    Delurking :-)
    I have lived with the majority of my things in storage for the past year and while I have still be able to function without them, I do find there are things that I loved using that I miss. Silly things, like my ice cream scoop, big things, like my bed, and in between– the dish set I found after searching for so long! That said, I do tend to be really picky when I buy (I tend to drive my family nuts when I am shopping for something!), I want to have something I know I will love for a long time :-)

    Bobbie January 14, 2011 at 10:17 pm

    My boys love their phones; their laptops, and their (shared) car. Can you tell they’re 17 and 20?

    I love my soft leather chair in my family room. It’s right by the big picture window so while I’m sitting here with my laptop (on my lap, of course), I can look outside and watch what’s happening in the neighborhood.

    Laura B. January 14, 2011 at 10:43 pm

    I love my quilts, all made for me by my Grandmother and collected over the years at birthdays and Christmases. (The year I turned 18 she started making double-bed quilts).

    I love tiny kitchen utensils. I have a wee whisk, two bitty spoons stolen from a German train, and two tiny graters for grating garlic or nutmeg. I love recipes and snacks that allow me to use them.

    I love the two mugs I picked up for pennies at a garage sale years ago. I love their heft and warmth, even after the tea is drained.

    I love the two floral tea cups whose saucers are shaped like leaves. I’ve schlepped them to 4 apartments and 3 houses now, but never used them. I can’t help it. I love them.

    I love my atlas (National Geographic).

    I love my dictionary (Oxford Canadian).

    I love my cello (though I seldom play it).

    I love my pearls.

    My loves are largely tactile.

    My 8-month old daughter loves the wind in her face, and my boobs. She has no lovey or blankie or what not. I wish she had a special soothing toy, to save my boobs the wear and tear. (Not one word of a lie: she sucked a hickey on my boob this afternoon. She was nowhere near the nipple.)

    Jen January 14, 2011 at 11:16 pm

    My boys (8 & 12) have some overlapping loves: their Xbox 360, their footed pj’s, books of all kinds.

    As for me, I love my Ipod touch (which is as close as I’ll get to an Iphone of my own….waiting desperately for my company to realize how much better they are than the Crackberries we currently use) and I love my bed. I love books so much that I buy them and then don’t read them right away. I just want to look at them.

    I love my piano, although I don’t play it enough. I love my cats, even when they drive us nuts. I love my camera, I just have to use it more.
    .-= Jen´s last blog ..Hello- January…so nice to see you again =-.

    Elissa January 14, 2011 at 11:22 pm

    Hmm, I LOVE many things – more than the other people I know seem to, although maybe they just don’t talk about the things they love. I have both Big Loves and Small Loves – the things that are ongoing, important parts of my life, and the incidental nifty things that I like or make me happy.

    Big Loves:
    - Fabric, particularly natural fibres, nice colours and quirky prints. I don’t even need to do anything with it – just looking at a little pile of pretty fabric just makes me happy. I also love having a Stash – especially now that it’s grown big enough to be a useful stash.
    - Books. I love books both individually and collectively. My particular favourites are worn and well-used because I read them so much. And I love to collect books – I have small collections of Anthropology, Sewing, Human Evolution, Feminist Classics, Science Fiction, etc, which I’m slowly adding to. I’m working on my Children’s Classics collection at the moment. :)

    Small Loves:
    I often love clever kitchen accessories, and quirky items of clothing (like the pleated ruler skirt I’m working on at the moment), and cute internet pictures, etc. Mostly I love them for a just a short while, and then let them go. The ones that I come to possess I tend to keep loving (mm, blue cast-iron casserole dish), but you can’t bring home every cute toothpick holder or teapot you see :P

    Dana Udall-Weiner January 15, 2011 at 8:51 am

    I agree that our stuff shapes us, and that we can truly love and attach to things. My daughter has fallen head over heels with her Annie CD, a gift from Santa. And boy, we should have seen that coming. (Do you know the words to It’s a Hard Knock Life? I do. Every. Single. One.) And she loves virtually every book in the Little Mr. series.

    For me, I’d say it’s my down pillow, which is now squashed, flat, and very yellow. (Thank goodness for pillow cases to cover that up.) But it has been with me forever. I also adore the new pair of leather riding boots I purchased this year. A rare indulgence.

    Many years ago, after I graduated from college, my car, along with all the possessions from my college dorm room, was stolen. I was heartbroken. Of course my sense of self was still intact, but these were the things that represented my college life, the things I had surrounding me for four years. There was no way to get them back. So yes, things matter.
    .-= Dana Udall-Weiner´s last blog ..It’s a Matter of Degree- Do You Use Education for Status =-.

    han January 15, 2011 at 12:48 pm

    delurking!

    I love my Norfolk pine tree, and “Ferny,” hanging in a sunny corner.

    I love my iPod.

    I love my Granny’s cookbooks.

    I love my heavy ceramic Campbell’s soup kid coffee mug. (or do I love what it delivers?)

    I love my leather/sheepskin-lined thriftstore slippers.

    I love Clairefontaine notebooks. And my pen collection, which is mostly off-limits to the kids. Which means they love it too, because when they get to dig in it’s a big event.

    I love my baskets full of yarn. I love my Tom Bihn knitting bag.

    I love the sculptures my Dad made.

    My kids love: me, bristle blocks, Strawberry and all her many smelly friends, the Wii, their bath, eating anything and everything with their cheater chopsticks, the thunderstorm CD we sometimes put on in the dead of winter to escape for half an hour, my elliptical.

    Her Bad Mother January 15, 2011 at 10:56 pm

    Oooh, I have some of my grandma’s and my mom’s and my husband’s granny’s old cookbooks. And I collect random retro ones. LOVE them.

    Her Bad Mother January 15, 2011 at 10:57 pm

    Oh, and also? My dad didn’t do sculptures, but he did do carvings, and I have those, and they are much, much beloved. (We seem to have much in common ;) )

    Rachel January 15, 2011 at 8:25 pm

    Can I just say how much I appreciated this article? I don’t think I’ve ever commented before (I haven’t been following for too long) but I really enjoy your blog!

    Its really interesting the thought or surveying my ‘love landscape’. My little family is constantly on the move between countries so in the past 5 years of being married, I barely own anything anymore. I’ve had to get rid of so many things I ‘love’…right now next to the necessities of course, I would have to say its my Nikon DSLR, our laptop, my precious hard drive that houses all my photos, and a box of my old journals. My nearly 3 month old loves my boobs, and my husband, who incidentally agrees with my 3 month old, also has everything he loves on the laptop and hard drive with exception of his mountain bike…which is in China…while we are in America temporarily…there’ll be no getting rid of that in the near future!

    Her Bad Mother January 15, 2011 at 10:56 pm

    Another Nikon lover! And I don’t think we’ve heard from a single Canon enthusiast yet ;)

    (And, thanks for commenting! Hope you’ll do so again!)

    Rachel January 19, 2011 at 5:39 pm

    @Her Bad Mother,

    Well…I have to admit that while I love my Nikon, I wouldn’t mind a Canon 7D or Mark II…I guess I’m a bit of a traitor…

    Kat January 16, 2011 at 12:49 am

    Here I am de-lurking.

    I had to think quite hard about what I LOVED. I came up with my books (collectively – I love owning lots of books), my ice skates (I’m learning to sakte and LOVE having my own white boots, very Noel Streatfeild), my photos and photo albums and my kitchen mixer. My pasta maker may become a loved item, I got it for Christmas and am pretty fond of it.

    No technology on the list for me. I like having a computer (and need one) but realised am not emotionally attached to it, which surprised me a little, considering how many hours a day I am on here. My phone is very, very old (no colur screen or polyphonic ring tines for me) but does the job. I’m fond of it in an ‘I’ve had it forever and it never breaks no matter how may times I drop it’ kind of way.

    No kids for us yet, so can’t comment there.

    PS. As a long-time-reader-rare-commenter I just wanted to say hi and happy de-lurking day (a bit late but still), I love your blog :)

    mamaspeak January 16, 2011 at 4:02 am

    I did not read all the comments here because I just don’t have the attention span right now. So I might be repeating, sorry for that if I am.

    Are you familiar with FlyLady? She helps people get their clutter under control, for free. I used to think she had a lot of stuff & felt overwhelmed (like me!) But now the Hoarders has come out, I think she was probably more on the Hoarder scale than not. She figured out a system for herself, and shares it with the world. She talks a lot about how you decide what you want to keep. The big thing she explains is that you only keep things you love. You may love something because of who gave it to you, but if you’re keeping it because it was a gift & you don’t want to hurt their feelings? That’s not love. From reading this, I think you might like what she has to say. (she’s at flylady.net )
    .-= mamaspeak´s last blog ..Suffering from Bouncy Brain =-.

    Meg G January 16, 2011 at 11:20 pm

    It’s funny you talk about the iPhone here, because I have truly developed a “love” for my iPhone since my son was born. I’ve said it maybe a hundred times in the last three months since he was born, I love my iPhone. Why? Because I can sit up at 2am and not feel alone or detached from the world. It has helped me maintain my connection to the world during the long lonely nights that parenthood brings.

    Sara Johasun January 20, 2011 at 5:20 am

    good info !. thanks for sharing this inspiring blog.

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