I’ve been curious for a while about the prevalence of storage unit facilities in the U.S. and whether this phenomena exists in other nations. So, here are the facts: The United States has more than 50,000 storage facilities out of a totastuffl of 60,000 storage facilities worldwide (including 3000 in Canada and 1000 in Australia). Currently, there is 7.3 square feet of self storage space for every man, woman and child in the nation; every American now alive could stand under the total canopy of self storage roofing at the same time.

Here’s another little factoid that might surprise you (or not). Americans spend more each year on shoes, jewelry, and watches ($100 billion) than on higher education ($99 billion). WTF!

For more jolts of reality, check out 21 Surprising Statistics That Reveal How Much Stuff We Actually Own by Joshua Becker.


The Journey by Mary Oliver

One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
kept shouting
their bad advice – – –
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
‘Mend my life!’
each voice cried.
But you didn’t stop.

You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations – – –
though their melancholy
was terrible. It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.

But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice,
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do – – –
determined to save
the only life you could save.

It’s around 6:00 a.m. as I stumble down the stairs trying not to become entangled with the small herd of cats eager for their breakfast. I push the button on the coffee pot as I pass by, open a can of cat food, distribute it among the six bowls on the floor and watch as they begin to devour it.

I pour a steaming mug of coffee, settle in at the table and open my journal. As I pull out my pen, our oldest cat, Chocolate, leaps onto the open page, head butting my hand to make sure she’s gotten my attention. What a wonderful wake up call she and the other cats are. My interactions with them are a direct indicator of how fully aware I am. If I shoo Chocolate off of my journal to get down to the serious business of writing, I know I am in my “doing” mode, believing what’s most important is to get stuff accomplished. And if I fail to take time to connect with the cats, I’m pretty sure I’m doing the same thing with humans. If I pause to play with Chocolate, as I do this morning, I know that I am in the flow, in touch with the best part of myself, connected with the web of life and all that it contains. (more…)

I dreamt about a hellish place
Of smoke and dust and fire
And volunteers responded to
A call that came from higher.

Feeding workers hearty meals
Washing dust and grime
Cheering cops day in day out
Regardless of the time.

What shall I do? My role to play?
A silent “thank you” mumbled?
Crying into my pillow at night?
By these ordeals I’m humbled.

I must do what I must do
To quench my heart’s desire
I come this way on Earth but once
Let me be cleansed by fire.

(Posted on 9/11/15, however I wrote this immediately after the events of 9/11/01.)

Loved this song in 1970 when my daughter Lilla was two, and I love it now as my daughter Gracelyn is about to turn five. “Teach Your Children Well” by Crosby, Still, Nash and Young

You, who are on the road must have a code that you can live by.
And so become yourself because the past is just a good bye.
Teach your children well, their father’s hell did slowly go by,
And feed them on your dreams, the one they fix, the one you’ll know by.
Don’t you ever ask them why, if they told you, you would cry,
So just look at them and sigh and know they love you.

And you, of the tender years can’t know the fears that your elders grew by,
And so please help them with your youth, they seek the truth before they can die.
Teach your parents well, their children’s hell will slowly go by,
And feed them on your dreams, the one they fix,the one you’ll know by.
Don’t you ever ask them why, if they told you, you would cry,
So just look at them and sigh and know they love you.

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