Posts Tagged ‘lifestyle’

It’s not always bad news…

Reason #39- Redecoration

Decorating and redecorating have been passions of mine for decades.  One of the most exciting things about moving into a new house (or new to us) is the prospect of a clean slate and letting my creative juices flow.  We’ve lived in almost a dozen apartments, townhouses and houses since we’ve been together, and each one needed décor.

It’s not just the end result that is satisfying, it’s also the process leading up to it.  I’ve never had formal training in home décor or interior design.  It’s something that seems to come naturally to me, somewhat like my photography.

Moving into our fifth wheel full-time was a real adventure in home décor, having to juggle space and comfort and create a living space.  That’s quite different from using an RV for weekends.  Unlike a house, remodeling an RV can be exceedingly difficult, with extra-small spaces exaggerating the features and colors.  Non-standard construction and materials can make any project seem daunting or impossible.

Some see redecorating as a personal project to design and implement, some as a relief from a boring or stale existence.  There are those who see it as a tedious task that might be slightly more than a necessity.  Others see decorating as a totally creative endeavor.  No matter the purpose, beautiful outcomes can be exceedingly rewarding.  It is well-known that functioning in beautiful spaces can boost our mood and reduce stress, so improving your atmosphere will likely improve your morale.

Similar to the “new car smell” when you first bring home a new auto, redecorating can give a room or house a new look, often refreshing a worn, dingy space you had more than gotten used to.  That new look can also be a springboard for inspiration in all your creative ventures.  If a room is decorated in an interesting way, you are more likely to spend hours in it, comfortably examining all of its features and appreciating the eye of the decorator.  It might feel like you have modernized as well, as dated decor can often become boring and “so yesterday.”  Remodeling can also make extra room or a construct a more exciting use for a space.  Change can be good, but enhancing the use of a room can be priceless.

 It doesn’t take an expensive construction project either — even repainting can significantly affect the look of the space.  Anyone who has seen their home space become cluttered will appreciate a cleaning out and refurbishing of the space.  Purging can be a difficult but emotionally rewarding task.

Last but not least, a competent redecoration of your home will increase its value, both monetarily and in desirability.  Whether you work on the project yourself, hire professionals or help an experienced crew, the result is sure to benefit you and your life in many ways.


To complete this discussion, I’ll quote American businessman Gary Hamel, who said, “As human beings, we are the only organisms that create for the sheer stupid pleasure of doing so. Whether it’s laying out a garden, composing a new tune on the piano, writing a bit of poetry, manipulating a digital photo, redecorating a room, or inventing a new chili recipe – we are happiest when we are creating.

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It’s not always bad news…

Mullinville, Kansas

Reason #38- Roadside Attractions

One sunny afternoon in the flat plains of Central Kansas, we came across a field with hundreds of kinetic and other metal sculptures.  I had heard that there were unusual roadside attractions in the Midwest, but this was the first time I was taken aback by one.  Mullinville, Kansas, is a small town on U.S. Highway 400 and its claim to fame are these “totems,” as their creator, a reportedly ill-tempered M.T. Liggett, calls them.  They are made from junked farm machinery, car parts, road signs or railroad equipment.

From the giant dinosaurs in Cabazon, Calif., to “Carhenge” in Alliance, Neb., to the massive “Geese in Flight” metal sculptures in North Dakota, surprises around the bend will usually delight, if not impress.  There’s a giant elephant in New Jersey, the world’s largest thermometer in the California desert, and mammoth statues of Paul Bunyan and Babe, the Blue Ox, throughout North America.  Bring your own spray paint and help decorate the upended relics at Cadillac Ranch in Amarillo, Texas.

There are literally hundreds of these attractions scattered all over America, many on out-of-the-way back roads, and are the hope of each county or town near their location.  What makes them special is the quirky or humorous nature of the creations, the more unexpected the better.  For example, the World’s Largest Ball of Yarn doesn’t really cut it any longer, but New York State’s “World’s Largest Garden Gnome” will definitely have you cracking a smile.   Beneath an overpass in Seattle, there is a cement statue, the Fremont Troll, so large that a full-size VW bug fits in its clutched hand. 

There also seem to me popular themes to these attractions.  Treat yourself to a visit to the UFO Welcome Center in Bowman, S.C., or to the Little A‘le‘inn, a roadside café and motel on the Extraterrestrial Highway in Nevada.  Huge dinosaurs can be found in nearly every state, as can the “World’s Largest” almost anything. 

There’s a Foamhenge in Virginia, a replica of Stonehenge in  Washington State, the aforementioned Cadillac Ranch and Carhenge, and other “Henges” of various types across the country.  There are also umpteen metal horse, elk and buffalo statues on the plains and rolling hills of the Midwest and the deserts of Texas, Oklahoma and Arizona, some with Native Americans in chase.

We’ve seen bowling ball gardens, hot-dog-shaped cafes, coffeepot or teapot gas stations, giant rocks in a myriad of shapes, and a “city” of round rocks.  Ghost towns seem to be everywhere, as are an abundance of outdoor museums of farm and ranch equipment, and strange man-made structures like Bishop’s Castle in Colorado.  Many have expressed fascination with the over-painted Salvation Mountain in Slab City, Calif., or the Unclaimed Baggage Center in Alabama.

All told, we wouldn’t enjoy life on the road as much without at least some of these respites from dreary highway travel, helping make the road less traveled much more fun.


Interestingly, my closing quote typifies why interesting roadside attractions are so often missed by tourists.  It was attributed to Gilbert K. Chesterton, an English writer who lived during the turn of the 20th century.  He wrote, appropriately, “The traveler sees what he sees, the tourist sees what he has come to see.

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