Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Down Home

Just started reading a book that's not a romance per se called, "Red House," by Sarah Messer. It's a very cool non-fiction about the oldest continuously lived-in house in New England. A friend of mine here in Minny, who's from back East, gave it to me because her family's mentioned in it.

The neat thing about this book is that the author's telling the story of her family within the home by relating the lives, successes, hardships of the folks who've lived within the structure. It's really vivid, and missing New England as I sometimes do, it's a quick trip back home. As it were.

Houses aren't homes -- my house, for instance, usually is more akin to a sty. But we can make houses homes by building ourselves little spaces in which to enjoy life's great fun, and triumph over the tragic stuff. Sometimes that triumph simply means cycling through another mundane 24 hours w/out forgetting it's great to be alive.

I'm not obsessed with homes, but the first home we bought was my favorite for lots of reasons that have nothing to do with it's size or location or opulence. It had this big yard with a perfect sledding hill for kids and friends to play on before heading in for hot chocolate (sangria for the parents). Deer tracked through the surrounding woods. Birds of all kinds chirped and flew by and stopped in for a treat from the feeder.

On nights when I was pregnant with my son, sick with a migraine but unable to take
meds, my husband walked my around our large, furnitureless, cathedral ceilinged living room until I was tired enough to sleep. My cats curled up in the windows of that same room, chirrupping at the wildlife while I re-read my favorite novels and awaited our baby's arrival.

The place just felt like home.

What makes your place "home?" What's your favorite thing about the space you live in? Where in your home is your personal sanctuary?

24 comments:

Portia Da Costa said...

Red House sounds like a fascinating read, Michelle. :)

And yeah, my house is v. much like a sty too, but I love it and I don't ever want to move.

I think what most makes my place home is my cats... they're always around, keeping me company, even when I'm on my own. My other favourite thing about where I live is also one of its drawbacks... it's a small bungalow, so everything is very compact. With all the internal doors thrown open, as they always are, it's like one extended living space and I can sort of be 'aware' of it all at once. The drawback is that himself and I are both pathological hoarders, so everywhere is crammed with 'stuff'!

My personal sanctuary is the bedroom. I work in there during the day too, with all my books, magazines and research materials spread around me, and my laptop on my knee. I have the TV on, and the window open so I can look out on the garden... and my cat Kuffer is almost always asleep and snoring beside me. As he is now, bless him!

Julie in Ohio said...

Good Morning, Bellas!!

What makes my house a home? It has to be all the grimey finger prints on the walls or maybe the grape juice stain in my living room. ;o)

My santuary at home is *MY* bathroom. It's the only room where I have a chance for some peace. Doesn't always work but if I lock my bedroom door and sneak into the bathroom and close that door, the noise level goes down a decibel. *bliss*
It's also the only room in the house that is mine alone. Hubby has his computer room and the kids own the rest of the house but I have my hidey hole in the back. That's all I need.

Monica Burns said...

Morning bellas,

A house a home...usually it's where I feel most comfortable. Our second home was the most favorite home we've ever owned. There was something so perfect about it. It wasn't big, it wasn't super nice, but it "felt" homey. It was comfortable and it just fit well, sort of like an old shirt you don't want to get rid of, even if its got holes all over it. That house was like that.

The house we're in now has a nice, warm feeling, but sound carries from the downstairs up the stairs and into EVERY room. Really annoying. Still, it's a nice house in a nice neighborhood. With some new carpet, a new kitchen and a deck outside, it would become pretty much perfect.

BTW - have a really funny story to share with you all. Forgive me Michelle for semi-change of subject.

About a month ago, I had some problems with my BB. I couldn't get the login screen to come up at work or at home. So I went to the geek BB and explained my problem. I wasn't getting any responses, so I kept puttering around with it until I figured out the problem on my own and corrected it. Yesterday, I got a response to the original post.

Here's the response I got.

Dunno about all this IP stuff, but if the topic of this thread is spelled correctly, you probably need a medical specialist... LOL

So I'm reading the response and I'm thinking what the hell is this guy talking about. Did he post to the wrong BB or maybe it was just some smart a$$ trying to be cute because he'd read my sig lines, which list my books. So I read his comment again, and I'm going ..."topic of thread. Is this a topic I started or did I post on the wrong topic!!?!?!?!?"

So I scroll up and see that I was the one who started the Topic, then I look at the Subject line and frown. So what is this guy talking about, all I asked about was the frigging...OMIGOD!

My Subject Line Read...

Loin Not Working Properly - Hijacked?, Menu Showing Disabled

Is that NOT an erotic romance writer for you? Sex is ALWAYS on the brain!! ROFLMAO

Monica

rachd said...

Oh, Mon! Too funny!

Home for me will always be my hometown. I grew up in the mountains of Southwest Virginia (yes, Mon, I know you have bad BAD memories of it :oP)in Blacksburg. I love my home, it's diversity and coziness. I miss it all the time and when I talk about going to the 'burg we say, "We're going home for the weekend." Odd isn't it?

My "home" now is in Williamsburg, which is quite lovely. My house is a dream house for us and I love it very much. However a large chunk of me is still in Blacksburg and I think it always will be. It was a slower pace of life where people were kinder (still are).

The chaos in my house (think two small kiddos, two dogs, a cat and a hubby) definitely signifies it as a home :oP. My sanctuary in all this used to be my bathroom (HUGE jetted bathtub) but the cat has taken it over. Now, there really isn't anywhere I can go to get away. Heck, I can't even go to the bathroom without one of the kids banging on the door calling out, "Mommy? Mommy?"

If I get *really* desperate I can head out for the porch swing on the back deck in the evenings. I can listen to the sounds of the crickets, frogs and toads and swing (and swat off mosquitoes :oP).

Yikers, this post got away from me!!

Michelle Buonfiglio said...

Hiya,Bellas! Goodness, what a couple days it's been. I've really enjoyed reading all your comments about our pervy Auntie Bella Portia's books.

Today, the home theme. Guess it's cause I'm stuck working at home with my kids around, and the "no electronics til 3pm " rule mocking me.

Also, it's rainy, and I'm looking out the window of my little room where I write -- or don't as the case may be -- and generally hang. It's a great window to look out when it rains, like now, and especially when it's really sunny. The walls are purple, and there are two big yellow chairs and lots of books.

I agree with Portia: cats make the home. But I'm not too crazy about the cat we have these days, probably cause I still miss my old kitty, Norman.

JUles, bathrooms are the best, cause they're so totally relaxing. It's kind of the universal Mom Space, isn't it. Does your pet always come to the door trying to get in like mine? Kinda creepy.

Rach, how interesting that we consider home the place where people treat us the nicest. So it's not really about the house or the community maybe, but the friends we make.

Oh, Mon! That's hilarious. Do you find that you often have fun conversations with folks you meet in passing doing Inet business like that?

Keira Soleore said...

Michelle, I loved the review of "Red House" and the seque into a blog on homes. Very well done. I've added the book to my list to get when I make a bookstore run later today.

The best place in my home for me is the study, or rather that part of the study which houses my desk, right by the tall windows. All the light that's to be had in the dark Seattle winter days comes in through those windows. My little treasures, frequently used reference books, the phone, pbotographs, papers...a whole slew of sort-of organized things that belong solely to me and have meaning only to me are clustered on the desk and the window sill.

When I'm there writing away, I the happiest.

Keira Soleore said...

Oops, that last bit should be "I am the happiest."

Michelle Buonfiglio said...

LOL. Oh, ,no Keira. I believe you the happiest,Bella. :) Maybe we should hijack that in place of "you the man..."

Portia Da Costa said...

Hi Michelle

I'm curious now... why aren't you too crazy about your current cat?

We used to have a feline Norman living in our road, and he was awfully sweet, though quite shy. Sadly though, he was in a RTA not so long ago. His family were devastated. :(

MaryKate said...

Hi Bellas! Hope everyone is having a good day. Isn't it funny what makes "home" to each of us? For me, home is where I'm most comfortable. My personal sanctuary is the basement. It's where my TV and most importantly, my big blue recliner is. I love my recliner. It's so incredibly comfortable, and fits both the dog and I.

But I'm "at home" in a lot of places. I have no compunction about opening the fridge and pulling something out at my sister's house, but also my friends John and Annie's there I'm as at home as I am at my house. I boss their kids around, tell them what to do, how to do it and why. I fuss at their dogs, I cook, know where everything is, etc. It's not home, but it's a darn good second.

rachd said...

Ah, MK, the distinction between a "home" and being "at home". Yes, I know what you mean. I too am "at home" at any given number of places (mom's, sister's, in-laws', friends) as well. I hadn't really thought about that until you mentioned it. Hm.

Monica Burns said...

...most importantly, my big blue recliner is...

MK is it an oversized Lazy Boy recliner with sort of a blue diamond-like pattern?? I've got one just like it. It's all mine. NO ONE gets to sit in it. Even our friends know it's MON's chair. LOL

MaryKate said...

It is an oversized LaZBoy recliner. But it's got this gorgeous blue verrigated checked patter called "Midnight" on it. I'm the same way, Mon. Absolutely nobody gets to sit in my chair. Seriously. Plus I have a matching blue blanket that I like to lie under at night while curled up in my recliner. In fact, I'm sitting in it right now. It's magic, I'll tell you that!

Michelle Buonfiglio said...

oooo, a blankie. I have this knitted wool thing I bought about two years ago and promptly lost. A throw, I mean. Turns out, Dave "put it away" and I found it in the basement. Now, i curl up on the setee in my office/room, and read or nap. HOnest ta God, this thing is magic, too. So comfy. It's kinda like what I used to feel with my old cat, Norman.

Which brings me Portia, to the sad tale of why I'm not so thrilled with my kitty, Sofia. Now, i used to be a vet surgical nurse and tech, so I luuuuv me some animals,specially kitties.

This cat, I picked out for the kids, cause we needed one they could handle, one that wasn't afraid of noise, etc. My Norman was a scaredy cat, and paid no attn to anyone but me (I kinda liked it that way. She used to flop on her side and groom my toes every morning, and curl up on my lap when I read).

Anywayz, Sofia isn't a lap cat. Plus, she sheds a ton, which worries me cause Dave's allergies have gotten really bad since we got her. Don't get me wrong: she's a yappy cat, always talking. And she always sits around us, but not with us. And, this is kinda funny, she loves to be petted on her stomach, and lay on her back. This isn't so funny, she whacks over tumblers to drink off the table. I dunno, I guess I just really miss my Norman. Apparently so, cause I've just written this epic saga about my cat.

So, while I'm sure this cat will outlive us all -- if'n you know what I mean -- I know we can't get another cause of Dave's allergies, and maybe I just wish I'd have chosen a different cat at the vet's, ya know?

Ugh, are you all ready to slit your wrists out of boredom yet?

Michelle Buonfiglio said...

MK and Mon, does size matter in recliners?

rachd said...

Ah, man, a recliner sure would be nice. Ahhhhhh. I have big, cushy furniture that you sort of sink into though, and a big ole ottoman for foot resting. Not quite a recliner, but it works (says Rach who is only slightly jealous of Mon and MK :oP).

rachd said...

Okay, so who got the new JQ today? I need to live vicariously through you since I'm home alone (until after dinner Saturday no less) with the monsters and finding time to get out is crazy!

Playground Monitor said...

After 20 years in a house we built, the DH and I moved 2 years ago. I love this house, except for the shocking lack of closet space. What WAS I thinking when I agreed to buy it?

But it's a nice home and great for entertaining. For the first time I've been able to decorate a home. We sold almost all our old furniture (amazing since we'd raised two boys on that stuff) and bought new stuff. I hired a decorator and I love what she helped me do.

The 3rd bedroom is my office. That was part of the deal when I agreed to move. It's all mine and my DH gave me cash for Christmas last year to fix it up. I have my computer and book shelves. There's a futon where I can sit and read. I have a leather bench/ottoman for storage and also where I can prop up my feet. I have photos of my granddaughter all over. The Playfriends gave me this really soft throw for my birthday this year. It's monogrammed with "To the best Monitor a Playground could have" and has all their names.

We've also worked a lot on the yard. This subdivision was an old cotton field and the back yard was red dirt. Now we have trees and shrubs and flowers. We enlarged the patio and have a little canvas gazebo over the table and chairs. We eat dinner outside as often as possible, which in the south can be risky after sunset since our subdivision also contains a protected wetland area that breed mosquitoes. But we've put out bird feeders and can sit and watch the birdies. The bluebirds are hatching their second brood this year and last month a kildeer hatched 4 babies. I have a couple tomato plants and put in an herb garden this year.

We have one cat left and she's getting to be a nuisance. She never took to the move and won't go outside any more. And about 6 months ago she started using my dining room rug as a place to poop. She still wets in the litter box, but she poops in the dining room and then scratches up carpet fibers to try to cover it up. I've tried everything and can't get her to stop. She's 14 and a mess.

Marilyn

Portia Da Costa said...

Hi Michelle

I've been lucky with cats... I think I've loved them all just about equally but in different ways. But some cats *are* easier to love than others, aren't they? And some, well, they just have personalities that are awkward and they don't let you get as close as you'd like. My Kuffer used to be very stand offish and a bit aloof and wasn't a cat you could love easily... but now he's an old gentleman, he's mellowed a lot and is really affectionate. He's become a real 'Mommy's Cat' and he's my constant companion while I work. Alice and Mulder like to be stroked and petted, but they don't tend to hang around with me as much.

Mulder is slightly in the bad books at the moment... due to the bringing live mice in at 3am and letting them loose in the house thing. She did it again last night! Now that's a trait I don't particularly love... but she's such a cutie otherwise that I quickly forgive her. :)

My turn to ramble on about cats, now... But once I'm started I could talk cats for England! LOL

MaryKate said...

MK and Mon, does size matter in recliners?

Michelle, you know many people say size doesn't matter. But to me...you bet your a$$! LOL!

I lost my kitty ZutAlors in February very suddenly. Both my pup and I miss her terribly, so I think we'll be getting a new addition to the family in August. I'm on a two week vacation in the middle, but after that, I'm going to go ahead and get a new baby. I hate not having a kitty. You don't realize how big an addition they are until they're gone. I still every once in a while will find a piece of kitty litter somewhere (I use feline pine, so it's in pellets), and it always makes me sad. She was such a love.

rachd said...

We were devastated by the sudden loss of our Guinness last December. He died in hubby's arms and it was *terrible*. He was quite young--only a year or so.

Last month we decided it was time to get a new baby. We like to get full-grown kitties since you can tell just what their personalities are. Plus, the older ones are harder to place than those cute little balls of fluff.

So, Othello has joined us. He is five and was a surrender from a family so he is very kid-friendly (well, except for that whole biting the Monkey thing although she really *did* deserve it). He is so affectionate and since hubby's gone for the week, he and I have been snuggling every night. There's something comforting about a purring kitty body curled up next to you in the middle of the night.

And now I've bored everyone stiff. sorry :oP.

Portia Da Costa said...

Aw, MaryKate, my sympathy over the loss of ZutAlors [what a marvellous name!] I still miss my beloved Boy, who died last year. He too was a devoted companion, and was the cat I'd had the longest. I still have his piccie as my screensaver, and SUITE SEVENTEEN is dedicated to him.

Portia Da Costa said...

No, you're not boring me, Rach! I love cat talk!

Condolences over Guinness... it's heartrending when you lose them, isn't it?

Othello sounds fabulous! I love a cuddler... Boy used to cuddle, and when the nights are chilly, Mulder climbs into bed and curls up behind my knees!

Michelle Buonfiglio said...

I, too, could talk kitties all day, so you've not bored me, either, Rach. You kill me with your comment, "she really *did* deserve it," cause I know exactly what you mean. My son treats animals and bugs and living things like Buddah reincarnate. But my daughter? Ever since she was a toddler, she's been, like," oooh, a bug." and I'd be, "yes, isnt the circle of life wonderful?" And then she'd pull the thing in half and start digging in to see what the middle is made of.

Please, God, let her be a surgeon so she can support us in our golden years in the style to which we'd like to become accustomed.

I remember seeing your dedication, WendyPortia. How sad but sweet. And you're right, Sofia's just not what I expected, and that's not her fault. I guess I really should stop referring to her as a "worthless piece of fur and flesh" when no one's around. See how far I've fallen? I used to do Humane Society fund raising...