No Candlelight for Renters?

Are you enjoying all the cozy vibes this season with string lights and candlelight?

For those who own their residence, then it’s no problem. If you rent the place where you live, it might not be so easy. Burning candles is often prohibited in lease agreements.

I love the scents and soft light of candles. They are part of my daily routine when I do yoga, meditate or just want to relax. Especially this time of year when we’re losing daylight. Tomorrow is the winter solstice. Winter starts officially and we will have more hours of darkness than any other time of year. Creating our own light sources indoors is the best way to create hygge and embrace the season.

My first encounter with burning candles being prohibited was at my last apartment. Before signing the lease, I spoke with the owner of the property and negotiated an addendum allowing me to burn candles.

The next encounter I was not so lucky. It was around this time last year that I sold my mother’s house and rented her an apartment. Again, the lease did not allow burning candles. This time I was not able to negotiate anything. It might be the difference between renting an apartment in a smaller multi-family house from an individual versus an apartment in a large complex with hundreds of units and a corporate landlord.

Further, where my mom lives there had been a recent fire caused by a candle, which resulted in a lot of damage. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), “Candle fires peak in December and January with 11 percent of candle fires in each of these months.”

Because of the dangers caused by candle burning, I can see why property owners want to prohibit the practice. According to Statista, there were more than 40 million housing units occupied by renters in this country last year. That’s a lot of people who are potentially having lifestyle restrictions.

I wonder about that fine line between a lifestyle choice and a religious and cultural practice. How often do landlords enforce this provision in a lease? When they enforce it, do they enforce it uniformly? At what point could this restriction result in religious discrimination?

Are people allowed to have birthday candles? If someone has a birthday party and they light candles and blow them out right away, that is different from someone burning several candles for a sustained period of time.

What if someone is lighting a menorah for Hanukkah? Or lighting the kinara for Kwanzaa? Not all candle burning is the same, so I wonder how do property owners decide. Maybe there is no actual enforcement, until there’s a fire and someone has to pay.

Polar Night in Svalbard

Have you heard of Svalbard? I hadn’t until this past week.

A suggested YouTube video for me with the title, “Life in the DARKEST PLACE on earth (24/7 darkness)︱Svalbard, an island close to the North Pole” caught my eye and I watched.

I had never heard the term “Polar Night” until then either. I’ve heard of places where it’s dark 24/7 for periods of time during the winter, but this term seemed to encapsulate something different the way the vlogger, Cecilia, describes it. Polar Night in Svalbard lasts for two months!

The tourism website for Svalbard describes it in a rather fun way too.

‘Winter doesn’t just show up overnight’ is something you’d be safe enough to say most other places in the world without being wrong. But what if the night doesn’t just last a couple of hours, but instead spans over two months? The dark season in Svalbard lasts from around the end of October until the middle of February, but between November 14th and January 29th we enter the darkest and cosiest part of the dark season, also known as the Polar Night. As the days darken during late autumn the cold of winter also creeps in, and with the coming of the sun the light also shines on a new winter in our archipelago. While winter may not show up overnight, a lot can happen during the course of a Polar Night!

Cecilia loves this season and really leans into it. She’s all about the hot drinks with sweets, lighting fires and plaid flannel pajamas. Full on cozy! Which I love, and reminds me of when I started writing my Collection Of Moments series. Where I could find the good in all the seasons, not just the warm ones that I prefer.

I learned about hygge, which is a Danish term, where they also lean into the coziness of the dark winter months. Svalbard is one of a cluster of islands that are part of Norway, but very west of the country and closer to the North Pole.

One of the wildest things that she talks about is the polar bears. There are many around and they are a real threat. In one of the videos when she went for a walk, not only does she have a hat with a spotlight, she slung a rifle over her back. I’m not a gun person, but I can definitely see the need for one. This is no joke and one of the many tools for survival.

So I’m enjoying the videos and will watch more. But I don’t think that I would visit. Especially not during Polar Night. We’re in the darkest month right now here in Massachusetts. It will keep getting darker until the Winter Solstice on December 21st. Getting dark at 4pm is bad enough. Never mind complete darkness for two months!

I don’t want to wish time away, so I’m leaning into the cozy as well. The light will return soon enough. And at least we don’t have to worry about polar bears!

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Image: Screenshot

NaBloPoMo Complete!


NaBloPomo 2023

NaBloPoMo is ovah!!! I did it! Posted everyday this month. The past couple of days, I thought I wasn’t going to make it. But it worked out.

As I’d hoped, NaBloPoMo has helped me get back on track with my blogging. If I can blog everyday for a month, I can certainly blog twice a week.

And that’s my new goal for a regular blogging schedule. Twice a week, on Wednesday and Sunday. I may veer from that if something unexpected comes up, or if I am away on vacation. Traveling more is a big goal for next year! I should be able to schedule posts ahead of time if needed, so hopefully it won’t be an issue.

I started using the Notion app recently and it’s really helping with keeping track of my goals. It’s free and I’m enjoying it more than expected. I know I mention YouTube all the time, but lots of vloggers use Notion. Starting this past October, I tried it as well. Actually, I use the app on my phone and the desktop version too.

Many of the vloggers also do a 5:00am morning routine, but I’m not there yet. Who knows though? Maybe I’ll try it for a week and see what happens.

So far I’m just using Notion to do a monthly reset. It’s quite useful in letting me define short and long term goals by reflecting on the prior month. What worked. What didn’t. Then deciding how I can tweak things to work better for the upcoming month.

December starts tomorrow, so it’s time for another monthly reset.

SKUBB Storage Solutions

SKUBB under bed storage

When I look back at what I did this month, one of the biggest themes will be organizing. I got rid of a lot of old storage items that no longer worked well for me. Then found new ways to organize. From adding a clothing rack with shelves, to adding bins and other containers to my fridge.

For the longest time, I’d been storing my off-season clothing in a very large suitcase that I had stopped using. The way that I stored it in my last apartment, the suitcase was out of the way and I hardly ever had to deal with it.

Where I live now, it was in the way everyday and constantly annoying me. Then I realized that the wheels of the suitcase were literally disintegrating, leaving trails of black plastic whenever I moved it. That was the final straw. Time for a change!

I needed to figure out a different way to store these items, but wasn’t sure what I needed. Within a couple of weeks of realizing this, I saw a YouTube video showing under bed storage using SKUBB storage cases from IKEA. I ordered two of them right away. What a joy to throw away that old suitcase!

Storing off-season clothing is so easy now. With all the changes I’ve made recently, I’ve actually freed up a lot of space. This makes my Virgo brain very happy!