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Moving Along…

25 Mar

Hello friends. Thanks so much for supporting this blog over the last couple years. It’s been a LONG time since I’ve written here and I haven’t felt right about posting here for much longer than that. Within a year my thinking evolved a lot around the topics of consumerism, especially responsible/conscious consumerism, so the old content and title of this site are no longer relevant, and are even slightly offensive to my new perspective.

So I’m retiring it. Check out my new digs over at where I’m allowing myself a lot of room to grow (literally & figuratively). A Sustainable Mind is primarily a space to discuss the mindset of sustainability. I’ve been considered (by others) to be a tree hugger for years and it was only when I reflected on my principles and realized that I truly AM passionate about the environment that I started taking conscious action to be eco-friendly. Before that it was just recycling because it was the right thing to do but I was still somehow disconnected. Now I believe that true & consistent sustainability starts with core beliefs and not just with individual actions.

I will also be interviewing sustainability enthusiasts on a regular basis starting in April. Writing at ASM is an exciting challenge and I hope you will join me. See you on the flip side!

Marjorie Alexander

March 24th, 2013


What’s the Deal with (tiny house) Roofing!?

10 Sep

I’ve been spending a lot of time considering what kind of roof I will have.

My tiny house design with a Box Gable Roof

In my design I have a pretty traditional gable roof or a box gable roof technically since it hangs over the open porch. I feel like I want to go with the typical symetrical slopped roof because I think it might be a bit more aerodynamic and may be easier to drive through areas with low lying trees. I’ve seen the Lean-to roof that Macy is building and blogging about over at

Macy’s Lean-to roof at

Then there is Jay Shafer’s Fencl design which features a Dutch Gable roof or should I say double-Dutch (no pun intended…really).

Jay Shafer’s Double-Dutch Gable Roof

Or the gabled roofs with a raised gable roof pitch in the center or a gambrel roof like these.

Gable roof with higher pitch in the middle (left) and a Gambrel roof (right)

At the moment I like my design but #1 I have yet to actually step foot in a tiny house to feel it out and #2 I want mine to be a bit more aero dynamic because I will be traveling a lot with it. I can’t really get a feel for the interior space, headroom, various window heights and door positioning without being in one so I may take a trip to the nearest TH with occupants willing to give me a tour in the next month or so.

What are other people’s experiences with roof shapes? Is there any wear on the hitch side of the roof edge where the wind hits it? In this picture there is a roof end cap but I see a lot that don’t appear to have any extra protection there.

Is high speed wind conditions an issue or no? Obviously there are hurricane or tornado winds much faster than my highway driving speed but when you are combining high wind and highway travel say on the drive between Los Angeles and Palm Springs where they have a HUGE wind farm (which is obviously there for a reason) or along the Grapevine on your way north out of Los Angeles County where high wind is an issue for any vehicle. I’m not worried about the entire structure because well…it’ll be 7-8,000 pounds. But I just wonder what the best roof shape and installation practice is for these situations to ensure it wont loosen over time any more than normal roof wear and tear.

I mentioned a youtube video where a gentleman’s tiny house survived a tornado and it held up very well. his roof looks like this.

It may be a bit hard to see (couldn’t find a better or clearer angle) but he has end caps and a ridge cap on top. He does not have anything on the bottom edges and I don’t even know if they have anything to put there but it is something I’ve thought about.

Anyway, does anyone have any advice, thoughts or considerations for tiny house roofing.

Also Please check out my new voluntary simplicity documentary film Simple by Design and please donate to and help spread the word about our Kickstarter Fundraiser. I will be raising $28,500 to build and filming the construction of my tiny house as well as interview other voluntary simplicity supporters and create day-in-the-life segments of them. Learn more about the film and the project at

Thanks for your support!


26 May

Something overcame me last night, a moment of weakness, and I watched a film that seemed…just kinda angry. Well, not the film but the characters. It was funny, honest, sad and quirky but definitely like watching a war of the classes in a microcosm. I fell asleep halfway through and finished watching it this morning. Then I received a rather unpleasant text, kinda angry…just like the movie. What a downer…

These days I am a decently happy person. I’m pretty even keeled, some would call me mellow and although I am told I’m a difficult read, I’m standing somewhere on the more happy half of the emotional scale most of the time. But I remember the first time I realized I was an unhappy person. Not angry, just an angsty teen, turned hermity college student, turned workaholic LA resident. There was a point, I honestly can’t remember when, either way it was was several years ago, at which I became more happy and therefore noticed more often when I was in fact unhappy. The juxtaposition of existing resentfully and living joyously, even if only for moments few and far between was enlightening and I’ve been mostly-effortlessly evolving into a more happy person ever since. I look back on that moment and I am grateful.

So after finishing the movie and receiving that text I first decided that today’s movie would be something more optimistic, The Future We Will Create: Inside the World of TED, which has been in my Netflix queue for a while. Second, choosing to stew in my totally freakin doneness with the whole situation for 10 minutes, I punched out a few paragraphs on my laptop to vent and simply ignored the text.

 All the while I’m having an internal dialogue with my Higher Self:

“My communication is the response I get. The text topic is relevant and actionable but the tone has nothing to do with me. Nothing happening in this moment has anything to do with this moment but is past experiences being projected onto this moment. But each and every moment is a new moment and there is an infinite number of possibilities for how I can respond, what I can say and the actions I can take. With all these things in mind what will I choose to do next?”

It reminded me to simply be more nice, more often. There is a moment in every situation, whether it be talks between nations, in businesses interactions or between family members, where communications can either stay negotiable or can jump to a more emotional, tense interaction or totally fall apart and become hostile. There is always a decision made on the part of an individual, group or between groups that takes it to that next level, good or bad.

What if I chose to respond in the same tone I was approached with? The possibilities and ridiculousness of it all actually makes me giddy to think about. To be so intensely conscious of myself and my thoughts in that moment I imagined myself and that relationship after a negative response…it didn’t look good even though I would have felt vindicated. Then I turning the channel, so to speak, and in living out the higher choice decided to take action and correct the issue, half of which had nothing to do with me and just not respond to the text. I’ve been all smiles ever since. And the great thing about it is that it IS a choice and all choices have a chain reaction. After this choice I reacted to 3 other communications this morning that had the potential to become negative or tense or difficult and just decided to be nice, generous and grateful. And hopefully those positive interactions will multiply.

I look back on the last week and I’ve had these “higher choice” moments a few times but was unconscious that I was doing it. Which means that I am integrating it. And that makes me happy…

There are an infinite number of possibilities of what you can do today, what you can say and how you can say it. And whatever you do will cause a chain reaction that will affect this planet more that you know. What choices will you make?


Tiny House Film & Furniture

27 Apr

I’d almost forgotten the allure of being on a film set; the butterflies the night before Day 1 (I could never get a decent night’s sleep for fear of sleeping through my alarm and missing my call time), the build up to “Action” and then the silence as the camera rolls, the beauty of a finished film that took dozens of individuals and often years of hard work to bring to life. All wrapped up in a seemingly neat little 80-120 minute package. It’s been over 18 months since my last real film project and I haven’t really missed it. I’d been scarred by narratives too many times and decided to go industrial/corporate for a while. Oddly enough I’m now on set three days straight working for friends in LA.

When I posted my Tiny House Plans on my Facebook page I got a very warm reception from friends and family, found out an old acquaintance was also planning to build her own tiny house and even got a few offers from friends to help out. I was very surprised. This combined with the fact that all my friends are creative types, mostly filmmakers, and all will probably want to document it at some point, I figure…why not just go ahead and do what I do best: Produce a movie.

Work is good, income is great, working on projects I care about…Priceless. So with that in mind I have some plans in the works to bring my love of film and my obsession for tiny houses together. I have a lot of meetings to schedule to make this project go so more on that later.

Lucky for me in the midst of all my busy-ness I have a MLHP unposted entries backlog. The post below is from Friday the 13th.

Yesterday was a long and tiny day. I did admittedly spend all day creating floor plans on Icovia, researching furniture, fixtures and appliance sizes…really just trying to get all my measurements down so I could settle on a general floor plan. I also have a few pages in my idea journal devoted to tiny house add-on & efficiency ideas: hidden storage and storage tips, ladder designs, skylight ideas, multi-use interior design aspects, furniture, etc.

Speaking of furniture…I found a lot of awesome seating options along the way…and a couple really great blogs. The first blog, Small Space Living, is now defunct but still has all the old content up, including the 3 designs below, and is a really great resource. The other, Ikea Hackers, has great ideas about how to mix & match, modify, etc. to create exactly what your space needs and not just what the catalogue dictates. Two thumbs up.

I was introduced to cubed furniture yesterday through my blog surfing and two designs really caught my attention:

The first one is a tad big, about 28 x 28 x 28 in. if my approximate measurements from the picture are correct. Since it’s only 3 furniture pieces and all seem to be geometrically straight forward a properly equiped & patient DIY type would be able to put this together in a couple long weekends. Plywood, wood glue, nail gun & compressor, jigsaw and your other run of the mill tools along with a steady hand could get this done no problem.

The second is smaller, more efficient in its design size to seat capacity ratio and way more complex. Would be much harder to recreate and probably worth simply buying. It would also make a great ottoman in its constructed form if you have a cushion for the top. If my math serves I believe it’s just small enough to go under the square ottoman covers that Ikea sells.

At the end of the day I probably wouldn’t use either but it was interesting to consider. Now here is one that I think is actually worth a serious look. Pretty great.

A word on couches. I found a lot of places selling day beds, futons, convertible couches…but none seemed to really fit what I was looking for. In this video you see a tiny house with a bathroom on one side and kitchen on the other (which makes for a more narrow hallway). With a typical shower stall on the left that makes the left wall space 36+” deep which when a couch or bench is introduced in the main area you dont feel like you lost any space because the couch, typically 34-38 deep, is flush with the hallway wall. In my design (bathroom on the hitch end, 24″ deep kitchen on one side & 24″ deep storage on the other a typical couch or even a “wall hugger version” seemed a bit obtrusive. So an idea for a convertible couch popped into my head. I dont think it super unique but I haven’t found one like it yet and certainly not in the size I want. 30″ max from wall, 6 ft wide. It would convert to a queen sized bed. And a second design popped in my head earlier this morning that would be very easy to assemble with some welding knowledge and scrap metal and still convert to a queen sized bed…so I looked into classes and there is a workshop a few miles away that does evening classes at a reasonable price and has open workshop days. AWESOME! This may actually be my first successful tiny house project since I’m still in search of a building location (interior or exterior) and gathering funds. I wonder what else in my tiny house I could weld…wall sconces for the interior, porch light housing for the exterior…maybe the railing on my porch can be a custom design or reworked ornate fence pieces instead of wood….ohhhhhh! Good idea! All this can be made from scrap metal and lots of elbow grease.

With a basic welding class and a few trips to the hardware store and a local scrap yard I could make this couch frame for under 100 I think. Foam for cushions I’ll still have to research and I have a few friends that can sew me cushion covers with zippers. Or I could just give the specs to someone else and have them make it for me. But what’s the fun in that?! I build myself a house to suit my own needs but not my a couch? I couldn’t back away from such a challenge.

~ Half-Price

Old Habits

7 Apr

Last week I emptied my refrigerator. I’ve been needing to do this for weeks, months even. I had stuff in there from my mom’s visit in late October and other food that was gifted to me for Christmas. Yikes! One thing I’ve learned about myself is that I am forgetful especially if I don’t have a specific place to file stuff in my brain. If I didn’t personally buy it, need it and make meal plans for it I forget it’s even in there. Sad but that’s just how my brain works…I’m getting use to it.

A few posts ago I spoke about passion, preferences and habits. So there are a few I am adopting. Some for the planet, others for myself, and some I even practice or at least use to but not regularly enough for them to make a significant impact. Experts say it takes a certain amount of time to integrate new habits and that you should never try to integrate more than one at a time. But then again I could never keep my car clean until I had an accident, went through the entire buying process on my own and bought a new one. Now my car is always clean. My point is I don’t think it’s the multitasking that makes new habits not stick but rather that there isn’t a dramatic enough change in environment to jar the old habit loose and reinstate a new one. So out with the old in with the new:

#1. Give Away Food

When I go to Trader Joe’s and get a great deal on the biggest bag of tiny oranges that I couldn’t get through in 2 weeks if I tried I will hand them out to the homeless that I pass at traffic lights. I did this once when I had a bag that I couldn’t eat all by myself and thought it was a much better idea than giving away money. And everyone was super happy and grateful. There is also the quandary of “do I really want to get the rest of this to go when I know that tortilla is gonna be soggy and disgusting by morning?” I HATE leaving food on the plate at restaurants so I always get it to go but some stuff simply wont last even in a fridge…wet burritos are one example or anything starchy that is gonna have to sit next to something liquid. You get my drift. So I feel like this might be a good opportunity to give it to someone on my way home. Instead of asking for money I’ve been asked to buy stuff by people waiting outside a fast food place so I think this is similar. The food, although cold at that point, is still fresh and hopefully good quality and a decent portion since it came from a restaurant. I will have to figure out the utensils though. Plastic? :/ The dollar store sells 4 stainless steel forks for a dollar. I may get a pack or two just for this as a test. Same goes for stuff in my fridge that I know I just wont get around to. Better than it going to waste in a dump.

#2. Let the Toilet Flush Itself

Go with me here. You can skip to the next habit but if you can tolerate it I would say this is worth reading. So I had to pee in the middle of the night a while back but didn’t want to wake my roommate so I didn’t flush. I come back in the morning and it’s like it never happened. I thought to myself…hmm, that’s curious. I know most things don’t evaporate that quickly so I assumed it just made its way down the drain over time somehow. And then a strange thing happened. My toilet started to run. Most new toilets run every few hours on their own. That cycles a good amount of water through the system in addition to the water used for each flush (mine is 2.5 gallons/flush) and does in fact work exactly like a regular flush just with very little force. So I’ve been “not flushing” liquids for about a week now and it totally works! I still come back to an empty bowl every time (except for the paper). I have a couple friends who go by the rule “if it’s yellow let it mellow, if it’s brown flush it down” regularly. I think it’s worth a try just as an experiment if nothing else. If your toilet runs at random times give it a shot. Of course #2’s are treated as toxic waste and should be flushed. Now I will admit still always flushing on the rare occasion that my roommate is around. Even though we don’t share a bathroom I don’t want her to think I’m unclean. I may have a conversation soon with her explaining my findings.

#3. Stuff Exchange (for accumulation elimination)

A lot of people who practice voluntary simplicity shop by this rule: “buy one, give one away”. A friend of a friend is taking her daughter shopping for clothes this weekend because she gave away two bags of clothes to good will last week. Like I keep saying I don’t buy that much so I think my best and easiest way to integrate this is with food. I finish a box of cereal I can buy a package of pasta. Crude example but you get the picture. Even though I want to eat everything I buy sometimes my plans for consumption don’t quite line up with how long things last in the fridge and I end up wasting it because it went bad a few days after I opened the package. I am only one person so this means a lot of trips to the store and eating a lot of the same thing for a few days straight. I kinda already do this so…no change there. I just want to be more conscious of the timing of my purchases so that I don’t waste things simply because I couldn’t eat it fast enough. I also have a Macy’s gift card I want to make good use of so this is the perfect time for a closet cleanse.

#4. 15 Minute Daily Cleanup

When friends visit, when my mom’s in town or when it’s hot or cold enough that I want to let some air circulate by leaving the door open my room is immaculate. Otherwise there are clothes piles. And shoes piles. And luggage. I have a habit of not ever completely unpacking. If I’m going to live in a tiny house or downsize at all I’m going to have to consistently keep my room clean. I had a 15 minute daily cleanup routine that got away from me a while back so I’ll be reinstating that. The great thing is, if done daily it doesn’t take but a few minutes and the rest of the time I can organize, wash dishes, etc. And the main culprits are clothes so I think getting rid of the useless 2/3 of my wardrobe and moving the remainder of my clothes from one side, behind my desk chair and far from my bed closer to the door where I get dressed anyway will make me more likely to hang jackets and belts up immediately and anything else I can wear more than once instead of putting them on the back of the chair. Shoes are one issue though. Door/closet shoe hangers aren’t cute but they work. This may be a solution to look into. Overall, clean is sexy and I won’t have to stress about cleaning up for an impromptu houseguest so…I think this one will do me a lot of good.

#5. Inspirational & Educational Audio

Hot talk radio has been around forever; less political and way more edgy and comedic than regular talk radio but usually still hitting on the big news topics of the day. I’ve been listening to Heidi and Frank (Frosty, Heidi and Frank) for about 4 years now and I haven’t missed a show in well over 3 years. These days they’ve created their own network online where they broadcast live each day and they have on demand podcasting so I listen to old episodes all day and sometimes go to sleep with it on. I am a devout fan but I will admit it’s probably one of my worst habits. It’s not the listening that’s inherently bad but more the topics they talk about. Not only is it hard to get stuff done because I’m actually trying to actively listen but their topics aren’t always the most uplifting. They are self-deprecating, everything and everyone is a target for a joke and their events are pretty much a kegger combined with a live radio show. I love you HF but you are no good for me. I won’t stop listening entirely but for working hours it’s probably for the best. Technically, classical music is the way to go but sometimes I need a bit more substance especially if I’m doing mindless work. So I’ve started listening to TED Talks instead. Most are 10-20 minutes each and are educational and inspirational. They are equally as distracting especially because I’m learning something but I figure it’s helping to balance out whatever negative energy HF puts off. I also listen to the 4-Hour Workweek, The Secret, and interviews from Niurka or Michael Bernard Beckwith. As cheesy as The Secret is I am the most productive when I listen to it. I’ve heard all of these so many times they are no longer distracting but just background noise so I am still getting the benefit of the topics and the tracks are wordy enough to keep me interested.

So that’s it. A little bit of everything. I’ll report any interesting findings.

What Sustains Me

7 Apr

The food, water, electricity and shelter that keeps me alive I don’t contribute to at all. I am so disconnected from my own sustainability. I turn on the faucet and there’s water. I plug something in and there’s electricity. I go to the store and buy food. If I leave the faucet and lights on and leave for a week they’ll still be on when I get back. I don’t have to worry about running out. That bothers me.

These are not the fruits of my labor but the labor of others. I want to know what it takes to power a light bulb for a day. I know how electricity works, I could draw you a diagram and I understand it intellectually. But what about harnessing the power to make those light bulbs burn? Is it something I can create by myself? Why (over)pay a company that puts money in the pockets of people I’ve never met to do all these things? Each hour enough sunlight hits the earth to power the world for year. When you get outside of our seriously polluted ozone and study the sun itself it radiates more energy every second than has been consumed by the entire world since the beginning of time. Wnd we use almost none of it. why?

Solar panels use to be super expensive. They still are but nothing like they use to be. If one is willing to make panels themselves  (and that a BIG if for most people) and consumes very little energy  (another BIG if) you can generate all your own power from DIY panels and a well regulated battery system. My first project in self-sustainability solar power wise will be to research and make a mini solar panel to run my laptop off of and go to the beach to work for a day to test it out. You can buy solar laptop bags or a mini panel specifically for this purpose but that kinda takes all the fun out of it.

In terms of food…I’ll stick to buying it all for now. Making solar panels seems so much easier to me than remembering to water a plant everyday and put it in the right sunlight. Trust me…I’ve killed many a green thing. But I may put in some hours at a community garden. That way I know my efforts wont be in vain.

The same for the home I live in. I designed my first complete home at age 11. A simple 7th grade school project turned into complete blueprints drawn to scale of a 4K sq ft home complete with 2 self-contained units, one on either end for both my parents complete with their own independent entrance, full kitchen, elevator. The blueprints also included a glass-enclosed atrium off the back with a mechanical roof that opened up and a winding river style pool that traveled between the plants and trees. A home that big in Hollywood would be easily priced at 8 figures. Only in recent years have I rekindled my love for designing homes but they’ve been minimalist in design, have contemporary finishes, use recycled and sustainable materials.

I figure building a tiny house would be a fun challenge that would actually make a profound impact on my finances. The trick is in the design since it’s such a small space you do have to plan carefully…and I’m great at planning.

Okay enough with the talk. Some of these are easy to put into practice, others will take time, here are the changes I am implementing TODAY.

You can’t take it with you: stuff and other clutter.

7 Apr

A few posts ago I mentioned having a very long solo therapy session…I suppose you could say I was NLPing myself (don’t laugh), getting to the root of some of these new ideas evolving in my consciousness lately. What they mean to me, why they matter now and how I’m planning on implementing them in my life. I feel like if I don’t put some of this into practice I might explode. I started looking at all the excess in my life and thinking….I can do with so much less…and would be better off for it either because of money or just to free up space in my brain and my bedroom.

I met back up with some NLP classmates a few days ago for dinner and we got on the topic of ‘stuff’. One friend had basically moved into a friends place several months ago with the clothes on her back and her car. She just now realized that she turned into a gypsy overnight completely by accident and was totally cool with it.

Stuff (noun): a group or scattering of miscellaneous objects or articles, unspecified material (these definitions were not at the top of the list but they hit the nail on the head)

Personally, I have all this ‘stuff’ and it’s driving me nuts. I have boxes in my closet that I moved to LA with. Literally the same boxes that I shipped from Pittsburgh to a storage unit in Gardena…they still have the shipping labels on them. And about once every year I think “hey what ever happened to that thing…oh it’s in the box next to the other thing”. I spend an hour figuring out which box to open, open it, retrieve what I need, close it up, put it back in the closet…and there is sits for another 12 months collecting dust.

I think sometimes the stuff we have really holds us back. That certainly holds true for me. I’m gonna get a bit out there and I hope you all don’t mind. Everything is energy, literally. All my old stuff holds energy from when I actually use to use it. For better or for worse it’s simply not a part of this current version of me and having those things around doesn’t help in my personal evolution. And if not the energy itself effecting me just knowing that it’s there occupies some amount of brain power on a regular basis. I don’t know about you but I don’t have a ton of brain capacity to spare. I’m running on overdrive in my head a lot these days.

There is a path between my door and my bed that I almost never deviate from. I go right once a day to get clothes out of my closet, and go left to my top drawer only for socks and skivvies. I have a queen sized bed, half of which acts as my laptop and paperwork…’holding spot’. *sigh* Okay, lets get real. My closet is storage, my desk is a catch all and the other half of the bed is covered in books, paperwork and whatever I was too uncomfortable to continue to wear all last night. And this is when my room is clean! I’m actually very organized but I simply have too much stuff. I have 2 jars FILLED with writing utensils yet I can never find anything that I WANT to write with. (Odd example but go with me here. After all, most things are a microcosm of the larger picture.) This is both wasteful and petty. I’m gonna start using every pen/pencil/dry erase marker/highlighter/sharpie I have until they run all the way down or run out. seriously I feel like this alone will make me feel better. I NEVER walk around the other side of my bed. its literally an entire half of my room that I never set foot on. it gets vacuumed only to make both sides of the carpet look the same…ridiculous.

but I digress. let me get to the point because I do have one.

I require very little to be happy.

  • Limited use of my current belongings: Other than my laptop and accessories there is NOTHING that I use daily. My dry erase board and my oven/stove I use almost daily. There are 10 shelves of books filled with college textbooks I thought might become relevant again, empty DVD cases that I put up to look cool I guess (the actual disks are in a huge album in the ugly or oversized portion of my shelf), film books that are just a reminder of how unattached I am to the industry at this point, old journals that I should fill before buying new ones. I own clothes that still have tags on them (from grandma’s who didn’t grasp the narrowness of my preferred wardrobe until very recently), other clothes that are too big for me (left over from my baggy is cool phase),
  • Limited use of my currently oversized living space: I already touched on this and will downsize my stuff before looking for a smaller place.
  • My unattached lifestyle: I’m a single, virtual professional with no dependents, no pets and no extraneous vehicles.

Making a smaller footprint on the Planet.

  • Use less natural resources: I think a really funny thing happens when all the water you have at your disposal lives in a 15 gallon tank under your house. “Conservation consciousness” wraps it up pretty well and something to expound upon in a future post.
  • Create less trash: This actually starts at the purchasing phase. Buying at the farmers market instead of the grocery story, buying cereal, nuts, grain, everything in bulk cloth bags instead of in traditional packaging, and the easiest of them all that I constantly forget…reusable grocery bags. All this helps reduce our trash output dramatically.

Less expensive living.

  • Minimized utilities – this is worthy of its own post so I’ll hold off.
  • Live rent/mortgage free – I’ve always found paying someone else’s mortgage wasteful. With rent inflated as it is it’s almost the same as paying your own mortgage. Obviously without all the homeowner responsibilities but you don’t get any of the benefits either.


  • I want to build the home I live in and work for what sustains me – Again this is another post entirely (hence the cont’d below) but I really feel strongly about being connected with the home I live in, the food I eat, and the energy I use. Right now I’m not and a void is starting to open. If I were the one responsible for sustaining myself instead of shopping for it in the grocery aisle, so to speak, I think I would look at my life a lot differently.