Photo 101: Finding bliss in The Little Bitty

Refurbished ranch house

I found my bliss in a little house in Syracuse, N.Y.

Assignment No. 4 in Photo 101 is Bliss. Open up the door a little wider, Cheri. What brings me happiness in life? Much, hopefully. Great grown daughter Elisabeth. Love to write, for this blog and the freelance opportunities elsewhere. Ellie B aka Dogamous Pyle.

My dear wife Karen on a line of her own.

And it comes together in the Little Bitty, the house we share in the Syracuse city neighborhood of Eastwood come 12 years this summer.

Karen arrived in my life first, following a dark time. The daughter was terrific, and the journalism job at the big daily was solid, but the first marriage had dissolved and personal remodeling was at ground level.

We found this house together, took it from what it was to what it is piece by piece by working as one, and made it the place where we could best digest what the world handed. Somewhere between the new windows and siding and the kitchen remodel and the new floors and screens for the back porch and the layoff from the big daily, Karen took my last name.

Ranch house in Syracuse, N.Y.

From the street, the Little Bitty withstands winter on March 5, 2015.

The Little Bitty is our home. Small. Happy. Plenty left still to accomplish within its walls. Our talks now center on the age of the roof. Yet it looks blissful from the long view. Come retirement age, do we want to winter somewhere warm? Well, yes. Yes, we do. But bliss will await here.

Where do you find your bliss? Do you have a lot of projects behind you at your house? Do you have a lot of projects ahead of you?

60 thoughts on “Photo 101: Finding bliss in The Little Bitty

  1. Oh I love Little Bitty! I am a serious fan of small homes. The closest I’ve come was my 400sq ft apartment for a few months before I got married — it was bliss! Four kids translates to “need more space.” But we’re down to two kids now, and we’re headed to year two in our little bungalow πŸ™‚ Mostly, I enjoy the lack of stairs and not spending an entire morning cleaning floors!
    I am always behind on projects. On all projects, lol. More to go than what’s done, but at least I enjoy the work!

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    • Both MDW Karen and I had experience the big house phenomena before Little Bitty, Joey, so this was such a great switch. I’m glad to hear that you and your hubby got Downsize No. 1 under your belt, too. And the Project List is never-ending, no matter the size of the house, I’m quite sure.

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  2. How great your images of bliss! In both words and photos. Thanks for sharing. Now I must find mine and post! We got a small helping of snow last night, and what a field day “capturing” these Ozark birds.

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    • Thanks for noticing that I put equal effort into the words and photos to share my feelings of bliss, Freeda. πŸ™‚ Your kind words are greatly appreciated.

      I am looking forward to seeing your Ozark birds in a small helping of snow.

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  3. I would trade you houses, Mark, in a Heart beat! A large home is SO much upkeep, and I really would LOVE LOVE LOVE to downsize. It is the LOVE in a house that makes it a HOME, no matter the size. (((HUGS))) Amy who is cheating here by commenting instead of being in the darkroom. Hehehehehe

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  4. The Little Bitty looks cozy. Those are the best houses in my opinion. What’s the point in having a family if they’re all spread out in separate wings of the house. A cozy home equals a close-knit family.

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  5. As I’ve said, and Alan Jackson, “It’s alright to be Little Bitty.” So nice of you to put Karen on a line of her own. I like the blue color. You should only live in blue houses from now on. Calming to the nerves when March should clearly be in the 50s and rid of snow, instead of this blizzard. Due to ice, the kids had off today, and now it’s bright and sunny again. Still cold. I would really get depressed around that much snow and overcast sky. I would want to just curl up into a sofa and drink cocoa and get fatter.

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    • It hit 25 this afternoon, Kerbey. Wow. I can hardly contain my enthusiasm.

      I’m taking my dear wife Karen out for pizza in the new shop they opened inside the bowling alley before league play starts tonight. That’s what a man does when he puts his woman on her own line, right?

      Blue is a good color. Let’s drink cocoa. Mine has to be sugar free. I ate sugar free jam and chunky peanut butter sandwiches for lunch today and each bite I thought how crappy the jam tasted even though it had a name like Smuckers. I don’t want to get fat now that I’ve lost 25 pounds in a year. Gotta keep it off for the A1C.

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  6. Sweet brother, at least you didn’t lose weight the way I did. My last two MS relapses caused swallowing problems and the only good thing that came out of it is that now my diabetes is in control with no meds at all. I love your Little Bitty. It has everything you need and lots of things you want and that’s the point. It’s filled with love, so that’s everything, especially with a dog to keep you company. I once lived in a pre-Civil War house, 8 rooms with tall ceilings, all beautiful. Raised my children there, but after they left the love went with them. I tried other apartments before coming to this 2 room place, but when I saw this I knew I was home. I guess that’s why I’m putting up with all the stuff they are doing now, because this is HOME, and it still feels like home, even tho it’s been invaded. The doors are locked against the invaders now, and my home is secure again, and I love my 2 rooms. You are turning your place into a showplace of love for yourselves, Karen has her own line, and your world is good. You’re okay brother. You’re really okay.

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    • We are good, sister Angie. You keep fighting to make those two rooms your home against their lazy tide and bounce back from your ills, and I’ll keep working to get my writing and compensations balanced, and we’ll be A-OK. Homes sweet homes.

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      • EVentually I’ll have to move to a different 2 rooms on the same floor, but it will give me a chance to rearrange things without having them in the middle of the floor. Hate the moving part, but at least it will still be home. And I’m bouncing back bro Mark, less pain and more movement every day. Be it ever so humble there’s no place like homes.

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      • I’m just trying to stay out of the way now bro Mark. They have the ceiling tiles torn out downstairs, and the doors seem to open automatically every time the wind blows, so it’s been too cold to sit down there and gossip for a long time now. A lot of noise still, and having the water shut off for reasons they don’t share with us, but since I refuse to sign anything without having a lawyer look at it first, they wait until almost the last minute, but still are afraid to push too hard. I think that word scares them.

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      • πŸ™‚ I like the sentiment MBM. Have you ever looked in to the “tiny house movement”? I am fascinated by it. I have been reading and watching videos on it for years. I’ll be honest, I don’t think I could live that tiny (unless we were back out in the country again) with another human being. But then I think…..why can’t I. I’m so fascinated by it I start to talk myself in to it, then out of it….. Home might be where ever I pull it!!!! πŸ™‚

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      • I have watched the Tiny House shows on HGTV, and while interested in the people and the concept, no thank you at this time. The Little Bitty works fine for my dear wife Karen and I and Ellie B aka Dogamous Pyle. I want our little piece of land to garden, and our little storage space to cram full. πŸ™‚

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      • That’s what we keep talking about. We ‘could’ go tinier than what we have. We love the concept. But the reality is…we would probably just end up expanding. But, if we went tiny, we would have to do so on a piece of land so that outside living was made an essential part of the plan. I am fascinated by it though. πŸ™‚

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  7. love that you find Bliss in your home πŸ™‚ Oodles of house projects here, though we did finally drag our basement out of the ’80s with new flooring, paint colors, etc. Even an X-Box! Mostly it’s fighting the daily fires like permanent marker on the couch or cat poop on the rug or nail polish on the carpet. I wouldn’t say I’m finding Bliss too many places right now, but I’ve got Full covered.

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    • I am impressed at your basement recovery, Liz. And Bliss has its own timetable, my friend, tied to many factors that spin around in your life. Full is one of Bliss’s biggest bullies, I think.

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  8. There’s the little bitty! Great post hermano! Hey I see Photo 101 at the top of the fold? I need to catch up apparently. Sounds like you’re having fun. πŸ™‚ yay

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  9. Yikes! Look at that mountain of snow! I love your house, Mark, and also the yard. I know you can’t wait for spring to show us your awesome gardening skills again. And as for retiring somewhere warm, I hope you don’t go and move here just as I’m moving up there to have you as my neighbor. πŸ™‚

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