Posts Tagged With: Home

 
 

Where Am I?

Where am I?

That’s the question I’ve asked myself on waking this past year.

That probably happens to us as we get older, but I’m not that old. Yet.

“Where am I” came as a result of what seemed like constant traveling since June 2016.

IMG_8829A funeral, a birth, a reunion, a contract, another birth, an illness, a visit, more visits, a hospital stay, a conference or two, grandbaby sitting, visits, a 60th anniversary celebration, more visits, oh, and an eclipse. That briefly sums up most of the reasons for my going and going and going. A few times I stayed put. Six weeks were the longest I stayed anywhere and even there I left and returned on short stints.

At least half, or more, of every month our house sat empty, except for the occasional scorpion wandering through or a random spider spinning lies.  I was gone so much that we debated moving, on a permanent basis, out-of-state. But the stars didn’t align and it never felt right.

When I was away from home I missed my bed, my friends, my routine. But when I rfullsizeoutput_5eeturned I was anxious to leave again. The emptiness of a vacant house can wear on a person. And by vacant, I mean empty of people, not things.

I got in a bunch of amazing hikes though and a couple of campouts. I hiked in the snow as well as in the heat, but most importantly, in the mountains.

I experienced winter, which I haven’t done in decades. It’s a fun novelty when you know you don’t have to endure the full six months of it. Well, it’s fun unless your flight gets cancelled due to the weather and it’s nearly Christmas and company is due at your house that day while you’re in another state. Good times. But then, that resulted in a side trip to see my cousin, which was an unexpected bonus.

Through it all I learned to relish my personal space. Airplanes don’t lend themselves to emotional comfort if you’re an introvert with a fairly expansive personal bubble. (And an expansive backside.) And yet, on the other hand, I learned to cherish hugs and physical touch and actually being in the same room with the people you love. Phone calls and texts and video chats are great, but none of that compensates for the real thing.

IMG_8997I drove a few times to my far off destination. A debate still runs in my head if road trip or air trip is more comfortable, emotionally and physically. Eleven hours in a car can race by if you have an engaging audio book to keep your mind occupied.

Those people who travel as part of their job are troopers. Kudos to them for waking up in a different hotel, city, country, or hovel.

MSH has traveled for work most of our married life. I thought he had the kushy part of that deal, since he left me with the kids and went off to work (and sleep) without constant interruptions and demands. He’d fly home every few weekends to visit us. Until this year I didn’t realize what a drag air travel can become. Until this year I didn’t appreciate all he’d gone through living alone, living away, living out of a suitcase.

I love that man more than ever before after this year’s experiences. I’d prefer keeping our traveling to trips we take together.

fullsizeoutput_5eOf course, I’ve got to book a flight today for a trip next month. It’s definitely one I’m looking forward to as it involves some of the grands. So when I told a friend I was done traveling, I guess I only meant temporarily.

If home is where my heart is, then I’ve been home this entire past year. My heart is always with MSH. My heart is with my children and grandchildren. My heart is with my parents and siblings. My heart pounds right here in my chest reminding me to live and love life where I stand. No matter where that is.

So, where am I?

I am home.

~~~~~

“It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end.” ~ Ursula Le Guin

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Categories: Family, Relationships, Travel | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

Panivorous? Then This Holiday’s Made Just For You

Today is Homemade Bread Day!

Luscious!

Luscious!

There’s nothing more comforting than the aroma of bread baking, unless it’s actually putting your lips around a warm slice slathered in butter. It’s one of the topics I write about frequently; all too often, I’m afraid. Like this one where I sing the praises of bread. And then I posted these recipes that I adore. And there’s more, which is silly, but not, since bread serves as both metaphor and sustenance in so many different forms.

Doesn't look that great to start, but just wait.

Doesn’t look that great to start, but just wait.

I plan on baking twice as many loaves as normal today as a way of celebrating this delightful little known holiday.

I love sharing my bread. I love the way someone’s eyes light up when I hand them a warm loaf. They all but hug it to their chest. They always lift it toward their face to catch the intoxicating scent. Their eyes almost glaze with a sort of nostalgia, even if they never had homemade bread while growing up.

I’d like to bake a fresh loaf every single morning, but that’s not realistic with only two of us in the house.

Maybe I ought to take up baking for a living, or at least as a little side job. It’s nice to imagine that a plethora of people want to experience the wonder of an imperfectly shaped but exquisitely flavored loaf on a regular basis. And I’d get the side benefit of a house that always smells like freshly baked bread. Mmmm.

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Kneading sometimes provides therapy.

I could bake up six loaves every morning five days a week. That’s thirty extremely happy households regularly. Imagine the transformation in a neighborhood if more lips met more fresh-baked dough. Smiles would surely appear unbidden. Forgiveness would  spring forth almost instantaneously. Love would definitely find expression more frequently. Random acts of kindness might even become the norm and not even make the nightly news as something amazing and different. And, who knows, maybe even peace on earth might break out for an hour or two on occasion.

You laugh. But the power of bread exceeds the power of all other food groups combined. Even (gasp) chocolate! I kid you not.

Seriously, if you’re offered a hot loaf of homemade bread or some kind of chocolate, which would you choose? Be honest!

If you’re male you most likely picked the bread. Female, you probably chose chocolate covered bread. Am I right?

Wait some more.

Wait some more.

If it’s been a long while since you had a truly home-baked loaf of bread, fresh from the oven, still emanating warmth and goodwill when you laid hands on it, then you’ll have forgotten the joy and true power of bread. You’re overdue for a slice or two.

Man may not live by bread alone, but it’s certainly a staple of nearly every culture.

Even people with gluten intolerance or celiac’s disease search out replacements for that perfect mix of crusty crunchiness and inner softness. There’s little that can reproduce the oh-so-marvelous sensation of home-baked bread.

My favorite one-year old refuses almost all other sustenance aside from bread. Her mother makes a wondrous variety of breads and the child has decided she’s found manna and the promised land all in one food group. Oh sure, she’ll eat the random banana, or a green smoothie sometimes,  and she’s okay with pasta drenched in red sauce. But otherwise, it’s bread, or nothing. Smart kid.

Her mother learned that there’s a word for such people: panivorous. It means “subsisting on bread.”

Done rising and ready to bake!

Done rising and ready to bake!

I think I share the same trait. Muffins for breakfast. Bread with butter and cheese for lunch. A fresh loaf, just sliced and buttered, with a few spoonfuls of soup on the side for dinner. I guess I’m not quite a purist. But I could be. Just call me Super Panivore! Surely there’s a cape and tights to go with that, snug fitting but stretchy enough for the bit of tummy bulge sure to accompany such a super hero.

You could probably talk me into a loaf if you live locally. Or I might trade you something for it. For instance, I’m getting my lawn mowed for a loaf this week. Really! Hard to say who’s getting the better deal out of it. Someone brought me a Diet Coke yesterday when a headache threatened to take me down, so they’re probably getting some bread this week, too. Kind acts deserve kindness in return, don’t you think?

Bread’s not a difficult thing to learn to bake. Usually there’s five ingredients. Water, yeast, sugar, salt, flour. Occasionally a bit of oil or butter, or you leave out the sugar, or milk instead of water. Easy peasey. Really.

Can't wait to dive in!

Can’t wait to dive in!

I’ve promised a bread making lesson to a couple of friends a while ago. I need to follow through with that soon.

If you’re curious or feeling adventurous I found two YouTube videos that walk you through the basics of bread baking. I’ve included those links below. Be brave. Be daring. Treat yourself to some love and bake yourself a loaf or two. You’ll thank me or rather, you’ll thank yourself.

If all else fails, at least go buy a fresh loaf from a bakery. It won’t fill your house with loveliness, but your mouth will thank you, and so will anyone you share with.

Happy Homemade Bread Day!

***

Three minutes on the basics of homemade bread.

Fifteen minutes of bread making instruction, if you need a little hand holding.

~~~*~~~

“The smell of good bread baking, like the sound of lightly flowing water, is indescribable in its evocation of innocence and delight… [Breadmaking is] one of those almost hypnotic businesses, like a dance from some ancient ceremony. It leaves you filled with one of the world’s sweetest smells… there is no chiropractic treatment, no yoga exercise, no hour of meditation in a music-throbbing chapel that will leave you emptier of bad thoughts than this homely ceremony of making bread.” ~M.F. K. Fisher, The Art of Eating

 

Categories: Food | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Where My Heart Is

It’s Gratituesday!  I’m feeling grateful that I have a roof over my head, particularly with the looming remnants of yet another hurricane threatening a second deluge in the desert.

Dorothy Gale from The Wizard of Oz whispered, “There’s no place like home.” And Pliny the Elder said, “Home is where the heart is.” If you combine those two ideas you could say, “There’s no place like where your heart is.”

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It’s a tiny quilt. eight inches by sixteen inches or so.

I made this miniature wall quilt a while ago. I like to think that it symbolizes all my different homes.

No, I don’t own multiple homes. Let me explain.

The Home I Grew Up In

At seven years old our family moved from a two bedroom house into a much bigger home. I consider both of them as my childhood homes where so many memories happened. About a decade ago Dad and Mom built a house in the town Dad grew up in. I found out it isn’t the place, but the people who make it home.

“I believe that one can never leave home. I believe that one carries the shadows, the dreams, the fears and the dragons of home under one’s skin, at the extreme corners of one’s eyes and possibly in the gristle of the earlobe.” ~Maya Angelou

The “After I Left Home” Home

I had three or four different spots I called home after leaving my childhood home. Those all felt temporary, and I never really made those places homelike. Dorms and student apartments don’t have many homey touches, yet each still served as home. I hung my “hat” there, I slept there. Nearly everything I owned in the world fit into that tiny space. When they tore down one of those buildings years later I felt a twinge of melancholy, but nothing devastating.

“Home is people. Not a place. If you go back there after the people are gone, then all you can see is what is not there any more.” ~Robin Hobb

The “I’ve Lost Count of All the Moves We’ve Made” Homes

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Is there an ideal home?

I’ve had more than a few addresses since marrying MSH. I’ve known some people who can’t wait to unpack after a move, feeling unsettled until they’re surrounded by their “stuff.” I always hesitated to unpack it all, wishing instead for a fresh start, for less stuff surrounding me, requiring attention, needing dusting, cleaning and maintenance.

We’ve lived in tiny and big places, in between places, hot and cold places, weird places, new and old places, remodeled and mobile places. We’ve also had a couple of spells where we didn’t have an address, semi-homeless, staying with a variety of relatives while the dust settled and life sorted itself out.

I do wonder what it’d be like to stay in one place for twenty or thirty years. Would I get restless? Would I wish for a change? Would I feel content or would I find a need to remodel every so often? Or would I be completely and totally delighted and settled?

“Home wasn’t a set house, or a single town on a map. It was wherever the people who loved you were, whenever you were together. Not a place, but a moment, and then another, building on each other like bricks to create a solid shelter that you take with you for your entire life, wherever you may go.” ~Sarah Dessen

The Home I Carry With Me

I suppose that’s why my favorite home is the one I carry with me. I sometimes think of my body as the real home and the me inside it as its resident. I’m the one whose brain and heart feel twenty-ish years old, while the me everyone sees, this outer shell that looks and moves like someone much, much older, is just a house. I’m the turtle and this body is my shell.

Does that sound silly? Maybe it is. But it works for me. This home could probably use a new paint job, a bit of foundation work, and my plumbing isn’t always up to code. It definitely has some creaks and odd nuances. But it’s the house I’ve been blessed with and most of the time it doesn’t leak. So I think I’ll stick around in it and see what happens over the next few decades. The me that lives inside of it will always feel young and snarky.  At least, I hope so.

“Make a home for yourself inside your own head. You’ll find what you need to furnish it – memory, friends you can trust, love of learning, and other such things. That way it will go with you wherever you journey.” ~ Tad Williams

The Nicest Word

The word Home feels warm and comfy, welcoming and wonderful. I feel lucky, blessed really, to have lived in so many places and enjoyed multiple sorts of lives in and around them. I’m a lucky woman. After all, “there’s no place like home.”

 

The Oz series talk of silver not ruby slippers, (which show up better on film.)

The Oz series of books talk of silver not ruby slippers, (which happen to show up better on film.)

 

 

 

 

 

Categories: Gratitude, Gratituesday | Tags: , , , | 4 Comments

The Persuasion of a Cool Breeze

It’s Gratituesday! Today I’m grateful to have stepped outside two nights ago and felt actual cool air. I know in most parts of the world that’s a normal occurrence. In the Phoenix area it only happens for about five months of the year. After the summer’s onslaught of daily blast-furnace heat followed by evenings of sweltering baking, a cool breeze in the evening amazes and soothes.

Flower sad

(Photo credit: @Doug88888)

When the cooler weather arrives, a morning walk could happen without a bottle of water as a basic survival tool. The cobwebs get cleared off the front porch swing and long evening chats can happen again.

There’s a lighter quality to the oxygen in the air, a weight of oppression lifting. Hope returns that once again the park will fill up with people playing  games of capture the flag, soccer practices, tag, frisbee and lacrosse.

In a few days the air will begin to fill with the October smells of overseeding for winter lawns. Steer manure is the seed cover of choice around the valley. Things smell like a million head cattle drive moving  through for a few weeks. But after a brief spell of that malodorous scent on the breeze, grasses will green up in a riot of brilliant color. Flowers will burst out in a song of relief. Kids break out of their air-conditioned confines and populate the neighborhoods once more.

The idea of a walk in the moonlight no longer oppresses but instead sounds delightful and romantic.

With cooler air that blue hue in the sky just feels lovely instead of boring and repetitive.

To be honest with you, a few weeks ago I thought about moving. The idea of leaving this wretched heat played with my heartstrings in spite of the people attached to them. Now that the coolness, at least evening coolness, has arrived, I think I can stay.

English: Fishhook Barrel cactus (Ferocactus wi...

I’m pretty sure, in spite of the portent of milder weather and loveliness ahead, that deserts weren’t intended for human habitation. And yet, we as a species continue to insist on living  in them. Why do you think that is?

Is it like the mountain thing? We climb it because it’s there? We live here because we can? Do we always have to pick up the gauntlet when it’s thrown down at our feet? Could we just pick something in-between-ish for a change?

Or is that giving in to something, fence-sitting somehow?

I haven’t figured it out yet. I’m still not sure why I’m here after all these years later. Don’t get me wrong. I’m glad I’ve been here. Mostly. What an incredible sixteen year ride it’s been.

Still I wonder how I’ve managed to get through that many summers. And why I continue to stay.

If I had the choice would I go?

Maybe.

Depends on if the breeze blowing through my cropped hair was a warm one or a cool one.

Categories: Gratitude, Gratituesday, Nature, Outdoors | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Happymess is…

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Yes, that’s how I meant to spell it. It’s what home life with children can evolve into. A Big Happymess.

Life with kids is messy. And it’s often happy. Sometimes both things at the same time. Sometimes it’s just messy. Rarely does blissful, unadulterated happiness occur. But it does happen. Often when the children are asleep. But awake time happiness happens, too. Admit it.

Read the following quotations, then you tell me. Does the word Happymess fit when describing family life?

“We spend the first twelve months of our children’s lives teaching them to walk and talk and the next twelve telling them to sit down and shut up.” ~ Phyllis Diller

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“The quickest way for a parent to get a child’s attention is to sit down and look comfortable.” – Lane Olinhouse

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“What it’s like to be a parent: It’s one of the hardest things you’ll ever do but in exchange it teaches you the meaning of unconditional love.” – Nicolas Sparks

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“The best way to keep children at home is to make the home atmosphere pleasant, and let the air out of the tires.” – Dorothy Parker

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“Few things are more satisfying than seeing your own children have teenagers of their own.” ~ Doug Larson

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“I don’t remember who said this, but there really are places in the heart you don’t even know exist until you love a child.”– Anne Lamott

“Parents are not interested in justice, they’re interested in peace and quiet.” – Bill Cosby

So what do you think? Am I right? Life’s a happymess, if you take the chaos with a grain of salt. A dose of laughter every day helps, as well.

Remember, If you don’t laugh a bit, you’re gonna cry a lot.

Enjoy the mess.

Categories: Family, parenting | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

For My Dancing Daughter

It’s Gratituesday! Today I am grateful that we’re adding to our family tomorrow. We’re getting a son-in-law! My youngest daughter gets married on Wednesday!

As predicted years ago, this happens before my oldest daughter ties the knot.

Not that it was ever a contest. It’s all about personalities and differences. They’re both unconventional in completely different ways, so we all knew it would play out this way. It’s kind of fun to watch things unfold. This daughter getting married is the very one I wrote about in my Beanie Baby post.

This daughter loves dancing. She always danced her own steps and made up her own moves. She’s been that way with her whole life. Free spirited, wanting to do things her own way, confident, independent, persevering, determined. What a beautiful young woman she’s become. What a stunning bride she’ll be!

Since there isn’t a mother-daughter dance at a wedding, I’m taking a moment here for a mother-daughter song. So here it is:

“When you get the choice to sit it out or dance…I hope you dance!”

You might be saying to yourself, wait a minute, didn’t you just marry off a son a couple of months ago? Yup! Sure did! What vitality and light our new daughter-in-law brought with her. Lucky us! And my son? I’ve haven’t seen him smile this much since he got his Big Wheel at three years old.

Fireworks

I suspect something similar of my daughter, once the jittery, excited, nervous, busy, chaotic ride of the wedding day events unfold, I’m pretty sure her smile will be unending and blissful. For now, she’s holding it all in, like a firework, keeping things in check and under control until the last possible moment. Once she lets that smile break out, showing her real emotions, we’ll all bust out in contagious laughter and smiles.

I have to admit, I’ve definitely let my emotions run amok lately. Lots to do to prepare, plenty of everyday stress mixed in, plus the record-breaking heat we’ve had.

I’m sure I’ve been motherzilla-of-the-bride lately.

But, now that I think about it, I’m sure I can blame it on the denial I’m in about her moving out and moving on. Sure, I’ve been ready for it, praying for it, happy for her, for this next big step in her life. But at the same time, she’s my baby!

What’s next?

Holy mackerel, what isn’t next? It’s not like, once she leaves I’ll have nothing to do, hardly so.

But there’s this sense of loss when children progress, and this one I haven’t really addressed, until now, strangely out loud and in public. But I’m only acknowledging it briefly, to remind myself to think about it later. After all, Thursday will be just another day.

Wedding cake.

(Photo credit: THEMACGIRL*)

Or not.

Sigh…

Sniff…

Until then…

Wednesday is Wedding Day, a joyous occasion, a new beginning, a day for laughter.

A day for cheers.

A day of dancing,

A day for tears.

Here’s wishing my daughter a beautiful marriage with the love of her life!

Categories: Gratitude, Gratituesday, Joy, Love | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Ziggy’s Wisdom, Mom’s Hands

Ziggy always shared some bit of wisdom. This wall hanging I have at home, a gift of cross stitch from my Mom, has some of the wisest words that little roundish guy ever spoke.

photo-11 copy

Give a little, get a little.

Seems like a good philosophy.

What will you do today, or tomorrow, to start your day with a little love?

To check out Ziggy cartoons and other bits of wisdom click on one of the links below.

Ziggy Comic Strip

More Ziggy Comics

Categories: Love | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Food! Glorious Food!

It’s Gratituesday! Today I am thankful for the ability, resources and desire for cooking. There’s something so satisfying about taking a few ingredients, measuring, mixing, tasting and baking. I especially love working with fresh ingredients, having scents and sensations mingling into something tantalizing and new.

When I chop up tomatoes and onions, cilantro and peppers, then add a few spices, to make a lovely concoction called salsa, my favorite part is slicing a lime in half and squeezing it over the bowl. That’s the finishing touch, the little something that puts the perfect tortilla chip companion over the edge into something not simply good, but crave-worthy.

Bread

Bread, the food of love!! (Photo credit: Moyan_Brenn)

Mixing the most basic ingredients known to man, flour, water, salt and yeast is the magic formula for putting love into the air. Seriously, can you think of anything else on the planet that says comfort, love, security, safety and welcome as well as the smell of bread baking? I can’t. A fresh loaf of bread can make the most mundane meal into a feast.  Add some strawberry or raspberry freezer jam, handmade by me when berries are on sale, and it’s a perfect pairing. Satisfaction seeps into every pore.

Not enough time for a loaf of bread, some rolls, biscuits, muffins, banana bread, scones, bread sticks or even toast will do. Done with love as the main ingredient, you can’t go wrong with breads.

Don’t even get me started on deserts.

Cooking is my love language. If you show up at my house feeling blue, I’ll try to put a plate or bowl of something in front of you.

Everyone needs a few good comfort foods. I was lucky to grow up with bread baking, homemade cookies, home canned peaches, a backyard garden and a mom who taught me the basics of cooking. Joy is found almost every day as I frolic in my kitchen or sit at the table with family and friends.

Categories: Food, Gratitude, Gratituesday | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Looking for a Recipe?

“A good cook is like a sorceress who dispenses happiness.” — Elsa Schiaparelli

Is it an unwritten rule that blogs need to post recipes? Seems even the most scholarly, artistic or unconventional blogs end up posting a recipe once in a while.

All my recipes come from other people. If I posted a recipe it would be like plagiarizing, which I really don’t want to do.

How about instead of a recipe I just post some really yummy looking food pictures.

Finished cinnamon roll with glaze.

Cinnamon roll. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Italian Creme cake. #holidays #christmas #ipho...

Italian Creme cake. (Photo credit: pindarninja)

Hot Chocolate

Hot Chocolate (Photo credit: Jo Anslow)

Caramel Corn

Caramel Corn (Photo credit: Jenn Durfey)

Pot Roast

Pot Roast (Photo credit: Offbeat Photography)

It’s a blustery day. Makes me want to fill the house with the smell of bread baking, throw together a bubbling pot of chowder and curl up with a good book.

What I get to do instead is run errands.

Sigh.

Maybe later I can bake, simmer and chill out.

Happy Saturday!

Categories: Food | Tags: , , , , , , | 7 Comments

“Shut the door”

There's no place like home.

There’s no place like home.

“Shut the door. Not that it lets in the cold but that it lets out the cozyness.” – Mark Twain

Twain always had something to say about nearly every topic known to man. This one surprised me. It seems to indicate he wasn’t always a curmudgeon and a scalawag.

Is there anything as cozy as being able to stay indoors on a blustery day? Or as wonderful as finally throwing open windows when the warmth of spring arrives? There must be something about the flexibility of doors, allowing whatever we want in, or keeping whatever we want out.

Home, whatever its size or style, is the best place to be. It’s what we immediately think of when a catastrophe strikes. It’s where we ought to feel safest. It’s where comfort and joy can reside most abundantly.

I know I’m happiest at home. I love making the nest cozy, fluffing and straightening, baking and shining, making others feel at home and welcome.

Like Dorothy said, “There’s no place like home.”

There’s no place I’d rather be.

Categories: Joy | Tags: , , , , | 4 Comments

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