Seeing With Fresh Eyes

The 'Glasses Apostle' in the altarpiece of the...
Time for a new vision? Definitely! Image via Wikipedia

I returned home a few weeks ago after a three-week absence, the longest I had been away for a few years in one stretch.

I suddenly saw the bedroom, robin’s egg blue, with fresh eyes, and I wanted a change, a big one.

Now it’s soft, warm gray — the same color we’ve had in our small dining room for a few years. It’s the exact shade of cigarette ash, soothing yet clean and crisp without being cold. (It’s called Modern Gray from Sherwin-Williams and the owners of Urban Outfitters and Anthropologie [one of my favorite stores] have the exact same color in their country home.)

One of the great challenges of everyday life is being able to see things with fresh eyes. It all starts to blur after a while into a haze of comforting, familiar, routine sameness.

Putting my mother into a nursing home jolted me — hard — out of this stupor.

I sat with her at dinner, a silent room filled with nodding gray heads, and came home desperately grateful for my sweetie’s laughter and loud music and even the noisy small baby downstairs.

We sorted through boxes of her belongings, lovely things she had acquired from all over the world, from hand-embroidered dresses from India to a folk art wooden animal she bought in London. I came home determined to toss everything without meaning or serious value to me, from my old wedding ring to the armoire that’s been in the garage for three years.

The cost of her care every month is as much as we, combined, earn. Now we’re looking into long-term care insurance.

What has sharpened your vision lately?

Burger King Offers It My Way — Restaurants You Actually Want To Eat In

SAN FRANCISCO - AUGUST 21:  A container of Bur...
Image by Getty Images via Daylife

Do you care if your burger is gulped down in a cool-looking space?

Burger King is re-vamping its restaurants to look edgier and more industrial. Designed! While only one-third of its customers now eat sitting down (versus take-out or drive-through), those who’ve made the upgrades are seeing a 15 to 30 percent jump in sales as a result. For those of us who care about design, this is great news.

As someone much happier handing my cash to those who actually offer me attractive spaces in which to spend my hard-earned dough — Anthropologie, yes, Wal-Mart, no — I think this idea is way overdue. Why does consuming even a quick, cheap meal need to be done in an ugly-but-easy-to-clean dump? Starbucks, for all their risible “individuality” offer the trifecta, for me, of comfortable seating, low lighting, art on the walls — and affordable, quick meals.