All posts tagged: Treasure

Why Do We Love The Things We Love?

As a boy, my son Peter collected seashells — most were found during morning walks along a variety of shorelines from Maine to Florida to Kauai; a few were purchased in souvenir shops; a very special few were ordered from seashell suppliers. Peter spent hours arranging his shells, sorting and displaying them with intense concentration and pride. These days (Peter is now a college senior), the bulk of his collection sits in a dusty box on the top shelf of his closet. But even though this hobby may have lost its appeal, I suspect Peter might always name his seashell collection among his prized possessions. Why do we love the things we love? For most people, the appeal of an object has little to do with its monetary value. Typically, we prize certain possessions because of some intangible quality that’s supremely personal. When a team of researchers from Arizona State University examined the motivation behind human attachment to possessions, they found that people form attachments when objects help narrate their life story. These lifeless “things” …

How Working on a 100-Year-Old Boat Gave Me New Life

(Photo Credit: Kristy Krivitsky) If you’ve ever driven on the Brooklyn Queens Expressway between the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge and the Gowanus Canal you know that construction is an ever-present reality. The deck of this elevated section of roadway is being replaced with new reinforcement bars, concrete, wooden timbers and metal sheeting because it’s basically falling apart. I know this not because I’m an engineer or a construction worker, but because I collected piles and piles of scrap wood from the site as part of a volunteer job I had for five months. After being unemployed for the better part of a year, I was desperate to work and engage with people again. Searching through New York City’s government volunteer website I found a museum on a barge docked in Red Hook, Brooklyn that was looking for a museum docent. As a lover of that neighborhood and boats, it felt potentially like the perfect place to be. On top of that, I had recently been raped and needed to normalize my life. The water felt like a natural …

Is It Ever Ok To Be Foolish with Money?

(Illustration: Mark Gardner) A regular series wherein we discuss deep topics via instant message. This week Margit Detweiler and Stacy Morrison discuss their “spendy regrets” on a Friday afternoon at 6pm while multi-tasking. So, my friend, how are we defining this thing called “spending foolishly?” I have a hard time with the word foolish. Underneath it all, foolish often means FUN and who doesn’t want that? But yes, I’ve had my spendy regrets. Spendy regrets. Love it. Give me an example. I just made a foolish purchase today. I absolutely could have found a perfectly fine piece of furniture for about 1/10th of what I paid. But I fell in LOVE with an aged-wood credenza. The masterful handiwork! The crossed-iron base! And I have to say, the love I give to that piece, I will get back for decades. So no regrets. So that’s not really foolish then? “If it makes you happy…” to quote Ms. Crow. What are the things you will *always* spend money on? Like for me, it’s a comfortable seat with a …

Money Don’t Mean a Thing When it Comes to My Sobriety

(Photo Credit: Andy Kropa) It’s the horror of all horrors, and it’s happening to me: It looks we’re going to have to give up cable. And our cleaning lady. Even worse, I think I’m going to have to wait out the winter without getting my hair highlighted, which as a beauty writer is as shameful as not taking a shower. Because right now, I’m pretty effing broke. When I left the world of glossy mags almost three years ago, I wasn’t a fool — I knew I was giving up a pretty sweet paycheck, along with a host of cool perks. But I had just spent two weeks watching my dad die, and was so run down and emotionally spent, I really didn’t care. Suddenly, stressing over the factual accuracy of a lipstick price or a lotion ingredient seemed insane to me. And my dad was always the one who told me to do what you love (he was a writer, too), and to take serious chances when you need to. Otherwise, you might never …

Manage Your Money, With Feeling

(Graphic: Kat Borosky/TueNight.com) A few years ago, I dreamed of quiet, tree-lined streets, quality neighborhood public schools, a car, a dog, and a yard. My husband and I had had it with city life, so we began hunting for homes in New Jersey. We must have looked at fifteen homes over the course of a year. But after all that, we decided to move just a few neighborhoods over in Brooklyn, where we could get at least 80% of the things we wanted. (We still don’t have the yard or dog. Some day, perhaps.) I always find it interesting to hear why people make homeownership decisions. Some people do a cost analysis and decide that it may be cheaper to own than rent, or predict that it will be a better long-term investment. Some people buy simply because they like the idea of home ownership and they’ve always imagined themselves as a homeowner. Unlike many other types of financial decisions, such as how much to contribute to a 401(k), owning a home is a deeply …

Unlikely Treasures: A Few of Our Favorite Things

Here at TueNight HQ, we all share a bit of an obsession with stuff. Lovely stuff, ephemeral stuff, goofy stuff, that we pile and store and cherish. Old magazines, beautiful shoes, nostalgic action figures, scraps of meaningful scribbles. Maybe we’re all just weird and that’s why we work together, but I think there’s something about our generation (Xish, we like to say), that’s wont to hang on versus let go. Even while we become more virtual and cloud-y (as of last weekend my CDs no longer exist in their jewel cases; next step, digitize!) we still have trouble tossing the mementos. Curators, collectors, packrats, call us what you will, but we treasure our unlikely treasures. Here are just a few: MARGIT MoMA Bubble Necklace A present from my husband. If I could wear this necklace every day, I would. Cowboy Boots I’m no cowgirl, in fact I’m a bit a-feared of cows. But I do have a mini collection of cowboy boots from Austin, TX. Austin was one of the first “work” trips I took as a …

My Edited Life: Moving Day Identifies Real Treasures

At last count I’ve moved 15 times, including the first cross-country move from Philadelphia to Seattle. I was on a tight budget, so most of my bulky belongings were purged via a series of stoop sales. What remained were my treasures: all of the art anyone has ever made me, photos, a decade of my design work for the City Paper, art school projects, all shipped to the West Coast  via UPS in a handful of boxes. And later, my stereo, records and tapes arrived, driven through the mountain passes by a brave friend. (The ultimate nod to “When Music Was a Thing”). I was happy to spend money on new hangers and spatulas, so long as I had my special trinkets surrounding me. Then, after a decade plus in Seattle, it was time to return back East. This time, the technology of moving offered up an option to store my goods in a moveable pod. I could have loaded all my things into a bin the size of a tractor-trailer. But, I had to ask …