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Archive for February 26th, 2004

Home, Sweet Home

Thursday, February 26th, 2004

I missed you… we had a busy day Wednesday, with a trip to Tampa, a shopping spree at the resale shops, and dinner with our only relative in Lakeland… she is a writer and musician, has been since the 1960’s, and so we have much to discuss. It was a jam-packed day… and at the end of it, we fixed Mom’s email system which kept my computer off their phone line and that delayed my posting.

I got home today (Thursday) and it is great to see Brian again. I had a wonderful time with Mom and Eric, but I was ready to see my sweetheart once more.

I have been thinking about the idea of “home” recently. I realize that there is no place I’ve ever lived that I didn’t really like. I tend to come in and make it my own (are you surprised?) with color and fabrics I like. Even when I had my efficiency apartment (the kitchen was so small you could not open the refrigerator and the oven at the same time) I loved that it was all mine.

Some people tell me they are not creative, but they have homes that really reflect themselves. Some people (like my friend Marlene C., especially) really make their homes a work of art. Marlene has one wall that is purple and one that is orange, in her very colorful home with many windows and collected artworks collected from travels and purchased from art friends. And of course her own works! They also have wonderful gardens which you can see from inside, which really makes the home artful, inside and out.

My home has many things I love, and Brian loves. You can tell we love music and color in this house! Unfortunately, I’m so enthusiastic about things that reflect my style, that my house is just full of what can look like clutter when I’m not right on top of it. And I am Soooooooo not “Suzy Homemaker” so often we live in a cluttered space. We love it anyway.

When I move, the last thing I pack is my teapot collection, and the first thing to come out when I get to my new place, is my teapot collection. I have not really been collecting for a long time now, but they are colorful and beautiful in shape, and I love the implication of a teapot… pouring hot lovely tea, often for a friend. What a welcoming idea, even with a plain-looking pot!

I realize that I love to travel, I have loved it for a long time… but I seem to keep a solid home front as a sort of home base. I lived in one house for about 12 years when I was a young adult. I moved a few times around the time of my divorce, then bought a house I had for 5 years (I moved and sold it because I married Brian and moved to the house he bought before he knew me). I’ve been in this house about 8 years or so. I didn’t choose the house, but it is home and I love it, perhaps as much as if I had chosen it myself. The neighborhood is not as energetic as my old one, but it is more stable instead. And the house is full of character.

The front of this house as it stands now, was built around 1904 (with varnished oak window trim) and the back was in the 1920’s sometime (pine floors and painted window trim). We have a claw-footed tub in a bathroom which was once a bedroom, we surmise from its size. The house surely once had an outhouse (or as my mother would say, a “path,” implying the destination of the path was an outhouse) rather than a flush toilet, given its location and age.

I love taking long trips. I love getting in the car and driving, particularly alone. When I was single after my divorce in particular, I traveled alone a lot. I went to Chicago uncountable times, and also Washington DC, New York City, San Francisco (I flew there as well as Portland Oregon), Minneapolis, and surely other places I am forgetting right now.

Eric (my brother) and I had a wonderful conversation this week about our favorite travels alone. He took a barefoot cruise to islands in the Caribbean once, and also took three weeks driving alone in Scotland with no particular agenda for 2 weeks. Loved every minute. I learned so much about him and his passions, by hearing him talk about that trip to Scotland this week. He went perhaps 10 years ago or nearly that, but he remembers detail well over time and I enjoyed his stories and historical background.

I used to go to Boston a lot, maybe 5 times in 3 years. I drove alone and if you drive really steadily it takes at least 16 hours. I tend to meander so it could take over 20 hours easily. But one day I was driving from Concord, Massachusetts to Boston, and I saw a sign that said “Walden Pond” indicating a right turn. I thought, “Why not?” It sounded too cool to miss. So I went. Right then, with a split-second decision. I could not have done that easily with a group or a passenger. And now Walden is one of my favorite places on earth… second only to Tulum, in the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico.

Speaking of traveling, these pictures I took at the Florida Aquarium in Tampa, on Wednesday. Eric loves otters, and they have a couple of river otters at the aquarium. We had fun watching them dive for small fish and generally frolic. They moved too fast for a good photograph, but here is a picture of a duck with five turtles (notice three turtle heads lined up in a row down the back of the log), a lizard whose species I do not know (he was over a foot long), and a picture of the gardens in front of the aquarium… the building there is the Tampa Port Authority. There are colorful buildings all over Florida, even governmental buildings! In East Lansing we have a colorful parking ramp and people generally do not like it. I do, of course!