The Goldilocks Theory

comments: 35

Book_1Every month or two I threaten to pack it all up and move to the country. Lately, I've been thinking about wine country in the Willamette Valley, just outside Portland, where the hills roll smoothly away from the ocean, and little vineyards trace diagonals across the fields. I think it frustrates Andy that I'm always doing this; we live in a fairly urban neighborhood, and he is quite happy here. Maybe he'll want to be a country nurse practitioner someday, I don't know. . . . I feel like there must be a place that's "just right." But that might be wishful, wistful thinking, and I don't want to be one of those people that can't be satisfied. No no no. I really don't. Nevertheless, neither do I want to be someone who pines, when it wouldn't be that hard to make a change, really.

BookdetailThanks for the comments about home yesterday, and thanks for the head's up about the stuffed houses  by Cassi at Bella Dia and Heidi at My Paper Crane. I'm sorry I didn't see these, you guys -- they are adorable, and I'm embarrassed to say that even though both of these blogs are on my list, I missed them. I will do something very different, I promise. I looked at my list and moved some things around in my sidebars last night, and thought about how there's been some chat around the blogs lately about how to include links that you like and keep things manageable -- and even visually manageable -- at the same time. I have a subscription to Bloglines, but I never use it; I like to look at people's blogs the way they design them, and I don't like the way that Bloglines makes everything look, though it seems more convenient. Nevertheless, I have just about the worst memory on earth, so unless I put things on my list, I'll forget to check them (and obviously even if they are on the list I forget to check them). I usually go through things on Tuesdays and Fridays when I'm at work and have wi-fi, otherwise it's no fun to wait for pictures to download. But then there's the issue of having a gazillion blogs on the sidebar, and that just . . . doesn't look nice. Except that I think people really appreciate having them. Not to mention that I sincerely believe in and do try to support the people who have supported me.

I have this theory that's been cooking around in my head, ever since September, when I started shopping exclusively at our little, independently owned neighborhood grocery store, Zupan's. Nevermind that we live two blocks from a Safeway; I can't stand the place. When I told the sales guy that their milk refrigerator smelled extremely bad and was caked in nasty, crusty old milk, his response was, "Well, it's too hard to keep clean." When I told another worker that I repeatedly find expired food on their shelves, in every department, he said, "Well, I've never seen any." That was the last time I shopped, like, for-a-whole-week-shopped, at Safeway. Zupan's, though more expensive, fits me just right. It's the right size, it's beautiful and pleasant and clean, they're always extremely nice to me when I'm there, and most of all, I feel like they've actually edited their collection of stuff in a way that makes my life easier and nicer. Instead of having a billion things to choose from, I let their choices be my guide. It feels like a small-town, old-fashioned grocery, and though like I said, it is pricey, I know that I am investing in my own mental-health and my community by shopping there, so I never mind. I know that a lot of people love Costco and places like that, but when I go to stores that are that big, I feel so panicky and overwhelmed and the experience just feels so wrong it negates all the money I supposedly save. Even the carts are enormous and unwieldy. I feel like Alice, freaking out in large-o Wonderland.

Nevertheless, this is the Goldilocks Theory, in honor of  that other searching girl, and it's about finding a thing, a size, that is just right for you. Whether it's a house, a yard, a city, a store, a group of friends, a number of blogs, a job, an amount of work, a number of emails you can answer well, a number of handbags, a number of new product lines for spring, even when people are yelling at you for more, and for more faster. There's just got to be a size, a pace, a place that's "just right," within all these genres, don't you think? And if we try to find the things that are just right, do you think that adds up to happiness and peace?

I'm not sure. I might just pretend that it does and see what happens.


I hear ya on the grocery store stance -- I'm the same way. And I try to support small business whenever possible, because there's more to life than the bottom line.

I like Bloglines... it makes it easier to keep in touch and read through the many things that light up my world. Like yours!

lovely post. i am just coming off of a whirlwind of "trying too muchiness" and love your simple, calm way of things. It is finally showing in my crafts. Back to the studio and lovingly handling each more mass products from me!

Love the T&C pictures! We live in the SW suburbs of Portland, but we live around the corner from many farms. I love to drive down the country roads, it is so beautiful and peaceful out there. I grew up in a small town with many farms and I always long for the day when we we will be able to live out in the country. On another note, I use Bloglines to see who has new posts, but then I go directly to the site to see the post as it was intended to be seen. Have a lovely weekend.

Nice post. I use my web from yahoo - it is new and I can oranize all my links with tags and can access it from home or work or whereever. It is nice - I have a blogs tag, a shops tag, etc.

I really related to your post today. I think about the perfect place often and mine is "out" someplace too. I've only been to Costco about 6 times in 5 years and have actually walked out after 5 minutes of being in there every time except 3.

Your posts over the last few days have really resonated with me on so many levels. I particularly liked your comment on being described the dilemma perfectly.

as a teacher, I've been thinking about when I am responsible to my students. With email, they can contact me (and do!) at any time of the day or night. When do I 'owe' an immediate response? I know some people are comfortable with always answering immediately--but for me the 'just right' is generally during my 'business hours'--10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Same goes for my business--I don't send out packages on the weekends anymore, because it means a special, inconvenient trip to the post office. It's not that I don't care about my customers--those packages will go out bright + early on Monday morning--but I need to draw some lines. More, faster, isn't always the right answer, at least for me.

Except for this novel I appear to have written, I suppose.

Great post. I feel that way many times. I detest Wal-mart, Costco, Sam's, etc. But, unfortunately, there are times when a trip to these places are neccesary. I live in a small country town ( actually a village its so small). I love being away from the city's hustle and bustle. Thanks so much for you post.

Every place has things that could be better...but there are some that fit better than others...thanks for writing.

I love your Goldilocks theory.

yes, yes, yes. I hear you on this, and as always, you're so articulate about it. I feel like I'm always tweaking and adjusting things--in life, my home, blog--whatever--to get it just right. "right" being comfortable, and 'true'. I love your Goldilocks Theory!

i love this post! conjures up lovely thoughts of countryside living, as well as introspective thoughts of how much is too much.

here's to just right- which, time and again, is your posts! thanks for everything you write.

Yay for Goldilocks theory! Lately i have been thinking the same way but i wasn´t able to articulate it in words. Yours are brilliant! Thank you.

You're so right. Although I do sometimes shop those big warehouse type stores I try to avoid them because I get lightheaded from the harsh smells in them. They all have a strong plasticy / cardboard smell that makes me feel ill. I'd rather go to a smaller shop that isn't so offensive to the senses.

And I, for one, love it when people have a list of blogs they frequent. :)

I feel like you just pulled all of the words out of my head with this post... although you're so much better at articulating them!

Cheers to us "dreamers". ;)

lately, i too have been having a strong desire to move out of the city and onto a nice little place in the country. i love the city, but almost feel like i've gotten my fill. someday, i will be in the country, but that is probably a few years off.

I have been struggling for about two and a half years now to feel "just right" with where i am and what I'm doing, and I feel like things are finally starting to come together. I love your theory. I wonder though if I ever really will feel "just right". hmmmm.

Your words always inspire me, make me think. And then there is always the satisfying bit of eye candy, like those illustrations of the perfect little house on the perfect little street! I think some of us are looking for that elusive sense of cosiness, of fitting perfectly, of feeling like our surroundings are in the exact right scale that works for us. Sounds like lots of us are looking for that. And funny you should mention the grocery cart! I love the little upright carts at our Central Market! I detest those big ones!

As Kathleen says... cheers to us!

I can so understand your post. It's such a difficulty to find that perfect space whether it be a home or a grocery store. I'm glad I'm not the only one who feels little and slightly overwhelmed by Costco's craziness! I grew up in a small town in the midwest and it was just gorgeous and now living in the suburbs of Seattle has been quite the change. I almost wish I could combine my fav things from both and live happily ever after or just never leave my house LOL!

Monica Flores says: February 24, 2006 at 09:54 PM

Goldilocks theory? I love it! I Think we all trying to find that feeling of "just right" that you mentioned, hopefully one day this troublesome but beautiful world feels "just right" for everybody.

I'm pretty new to all this blogging stuff (and I LOVE it!) so I just love that long list of links you have,regardless of whether it's pretty or not. It promises so much...and leads me to so many other amazing places. I'm now truly addicted to your blog and others.

Oh yes! Sometimes it takes a while to find "just right" but it´s certainly what I strive for.

Goldilocks Theory, eh? I love it! It makes so much sense to me and could be applied to so many things, big and small. For instance: right now I just took a break from packing for a camping trip. I'm looking at every item and asking myself, "do I need this?" Eventually, I'll end up with a packed backpack and a pile of stuff I don't need for this trip. Will the amount I packed be too much? not enough? or will it be "just right"? Will I have the perfect amount where I'll not just survive the weekend, but also be at peace? Time will tell. (and hopefully the bears won't come home)

I love this post. I've been feeling like goldilocks lately too. I live in SW Portland right on the edge of the country. I love it, this is a beautiful place we live in. But I've been wanting to move up to NE and live near a Zupans. Wanna trade houses for the summer?

What a good post. I read it all and I read all the comments too. It's so interesting to read what other people think and how they deal with such things. I always eat something once a year I dislike to find out if I still dislike it. I try to say that sometimes one just needs to go to the big bad dirty cheap shop to find out that the small clean sweet expensive shop is the good one. Do you get that? LOL!!

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About Alicia Paulson


My name is Alicia Paulson
and I love to make things. I live with my husband and daughter in Portland, Oregon, and design sewing, embroidery, knitting, and crochet patterns. See more about me at




Since August of 2011 I've been using a Canon EOS 60D with an EF 18-200mm kit lens and an EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro lens.