There’s No Place Like HOME

dog in car windowFor much of the past eight weeks, I’ve been traveling. First, I drove out to San Diego to see the Aged P’s, then I dropped in on a brother near Santa Fe, and paid a call on Beloved Offspring in Colorado.

Got home, did a load of wash, lassoed a cyclone of paperwork at the office, then took off for what I thought would be a jaunt in Italy. Within a week, I was flying back to Georgia with my sister (family stuff flared up), and I just returned from there yesterday.

UK Spring of 2011 006I have not finished unpacking–I’m too busy blissing over the pleasures of being home. My house doesn’t get a lot of attention from me. I often say it’s more of a camp site than a home, but I’m wrong. Home is my favorite place to be, for more reasons than I realized.

My computer screen sits at exactly the proper height for me, and my chair is a fancy ergonomic extravagance given to me by a friend on my birthday. LORDY, have I missed my computer set up!

My house is quiet. If a car goes by, the dogs and cats and I all look up. If there’s no traffic (which is for hours at a time), we can hear the stream that cuts through the property.

irisesOnce I get it aired out, my house smells good (to me, provided nobody’s visited the litter boxes lately). I can smell the new mown hay from across the lane and the enormous German irises in the vase by the door.

My books are here. My keepers, my references, the books I’m reading that are too large to tote around (The Autobiography of Mark Twain, Volume I, weighs more than four pounds).

dog chestnut log wallMy favorite things to eat are here, and nobody’s fussing about When Will We Eat, or What Will We Eat, or Where Will We Eat. I eat when I’m hungry, I don’t eat when I’m not, and I like to eat mostly raw food (except for good cheese and Ghiradelli dark chocolate squares) that’s light on wheat and sugar. This is not what’s offered at most restaurants, and holy Ned, does it make me grouchy to eat stuff I’m not jonesing for.

captive_295w-274x450Home is the thick chestnut logs that form the wall I stare at when the words are fighting me, but it’s also the control I have over this space, and over myself when I’m in it. I love my home, and I’m so very grateful to have a home.

What have you done with the place where you live to make it YOUR home? Is there a part of home you take with you everywhere (I bring my favorite tea, for example). To two commenters, I’ll send signed copies of “The Captive.”

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29 comments on “There’s No Place Like HOME

  1. Once my wall tapestries go up, then it’s MY home. They are too heavy to hang in a rental place, so they only go up when we are settled

  2. Some of my favorite childhood memories are of my great uncles farm in Maine. I remember the wrap around porch, the lilacs and the cows.

    We’ve lived in our home for 26 years. I asked for lilac bushes and a kitchen aid mixer for my birthday after we moved in. We planted three lilac bushes the first Spring. I wasn’t too sure if they would survive the first winter. They wintered over and grew. We have taken lots of photos using the lilacs and a background. Last weekend, I cut boughs and put them in vases My house smelled awesome !

    About 15 years ago, my husband (really me) got the idea of adding a covered front porch. The porch is a place where we gather, wave to neighbors, watch thunderstorms dance over the ocean, read, talk or enjoy time with a book or a corgi. I am grateful to have a home filled with lots of memories. 🙂
    My ideas for chickens, geese and cows make my husband laugh! Some day…..!

    I always take a book amd my tea (Constant Comment) with me when I travel.

    Grace–Glad you are home . Enjoy your day!

  3. Even though I’ve lived in this apartment over five years, it wasn’t until last summer that I looked around and realized I hadn’t fully made it my HOME. So I added things like more family photos (esp. of my dear nephews) and lots of blue and turquoise accents (my favorite colors).

    Otherwise, it wouldn’t be home without my favorite quilts, a well-loved pair of slippers, a pile of books, a well-varied stash of tea, and lots of light.

    So glad you are enjoying the comforts of home, Grace. Travel is wonderful but as the cross-stitch hanging from my grandmother’s home says, “Travel East, Travel West, After all, Home is Best”!

  4. I love my house (flooded and trashed basement notwithstanding.) Hubby graciously smiled as I commandeered two of the bedrooms. One became my library, with all my books, photos, movies, cd’s, mementos and even old records. I smile every time I walk in here. The second room is my office, with the computers, tv, stereo system, recorders, and numerous gadgets that feed the geek girl in me. This is where I spend most of my time when I’m not at my real job. This is my own little space, and it makes me happy.

  5. I live alone, so the whole house is all mine. I have my favorite room though, it’s my study/office where most of my books, my computer and my little mementos/things that I love are. The part of home I take with me is my iPad (which is a substitute for my computer) and books to read. With those I feel at home when I’m gone, although nothing is better than coming home after a trip and being back in “my space.”

  6. Books travel with me, also things that help me sleep which I do not do well when not in my own bed (light mask, ear plugs, softest night shirt). I always miss my cats and dogs so maybe I take all that pet fur on my clothes on purpose..

    I ha e recently done some things to fix this place up that I have denied myself for years. That should make coming home a little sweeter. I am off to visit darling daughters soon so we sall see if it is true.

  7. I’m one of those people who enjoy clutter lol. Books and mementos. It’s a comfortable house – not a showcase. My pets are more important than furniture. I spend a lot of time here and I am happy. Unlike so many people I know that want bigger and better. Now I wouldn’t mind a library though lol.

  8. Your home sounds wonderful, Grace. It is often the little things that makes a house a home. Sometimes, the little things mean more than the big ones.

    The main thing that makes my house a home is the inhabitants. My husband, our children and our pets. The children are growing – both are young adults. Our son is only home during breaks from University and after this summer the same will apply to our daughter. But, as will most families, we will always find a place for them to sleep when they return – even if it is eventually on sleeping bags on the floor in their former bedrooms. 🙂

    One of my favorite material conversions to our home is the pond. We have an old hot tub that came with the house that my husband and son converted to a fish pond. It is next to impossible to dig in our area of Texas, so they built a planter around it. I have learned not to become attached to the fish in this pond, because the wildlife gets hungry. In fact, we fed a blue heron quite well 2 years in a row. This batch of fish seems to have mastered the art of hiding in the pvc tubing in the bottom of their pond.

    The pond provides water for the many other critters in the neighborhood, including the mothers of the newly born deer that appear every spring in various areas of our few acres. I love watching the animals from inside the house when they are enjoying my pond.

  9. First: ‘holy Ned, does it make me grouchy to eat stuff I’m not jonesing for’ just became my new favourite phrase. I shall be quoting you!

    Second: My parents divorced when I was seven and I spent Sunday, Monday, Tuesday with dad, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday with mom and went back and forth on Saturdays – ergo I moved twice a week for years. I had duplicates of the important stuff at each place, but a (very) few essentials went back and forth with me. Two favorite stuffies, a couple favourite books and a photo album with pics off both parents. This frequent moving has led to a long tradition of simple living. I live in studio apartments and as long as the books are unpacked, my stuffed pup is on watch and a few family pics sit on top of the bookshelves, I’m home. Oh – and something yummy smelly is plugged into the wall; preferably citrus!

  10. To make this house my home, I put my own creative talents in play. I painted watercolor paintings for some of the walls, I made my own curtains, I selected the decorative objects and now i am thoroughly enjoying my efforts.

  11. I’m glad your travels went well. Congratulations on the starred review for “The Captive” in Publisher’s Weekly! Books and photographs of loved ones are what makes a place “home” for me. I enjoy encouraging quotes and tea, as well, which makes life more soothing. I take my e-reader with me whenever I travel so that I have some of my favorite books with me, which lends a sense of comfort and home wherever I go. Have a great start to your week!

  12. I love when I get home to get into my comfortable pajamas.
    I plug in the Christmas lights that my husband put on each wall. I light a candle and watch “HGTV”. It’s a beautiful thing.

  13. The one thing that goes with me on every trip is a photo of my dad. Pop has been gone 13 years now but I know if that photo is in the car, my trip will end with me home safe!

  14. I just happened upon your website and immediately found a common link. I have just returned from a short trip and felt like Dorothy as I sank into the familiar arms of my mattress, “There’s no place like home” I said to my already sleeping husband.
    Thanks for your writing.

  15. I love collecting beautiful things – crystal, hand made baskets, extremely well crafted, yet artificial, flowers and plants, hand crafted imported pottery, etc. Since I like an uncluttered style, this means that I continuously change my décor by rotating what gets displayed. My bathrooms each have several “complete makeover” options, due to the fact that redecorating those small rooms is a cost effective way to make everything seem new. I love looking around my house and being “surprised” at something different that wasn’t there last week. The picture over my mantel gets changed with each season.
    One of my indulgences when I get home is to take off my jewelry. When I go out, I feel the need to “put on my uniform” of my wedding ring and other jewelry my husband has given me, because when he sees me wearing them, it’s a form of courtesy to him and a “thank you”, but I honestly would rather go without. I never know where in the house I’ll be when the urge to remove them will occur, so I’ve placed small beautiful bowls in each room. Then, the next day, when I’m looking for something, all I have to do is survey each of the bowls to pick out what I need!
    I also am very into how my home smells. Both my home and RV have Pier 1’s Ember. Our summer place (where we go each weekend) has their Citrus Cilantro.
    When I travel, I splurge and bring along Crabtree & Evelyn’s Rosewater Bath & Shower Gel, so I can be surrounded by fragrance in the shower. I completely declutter all surfaces in the hotel room & use glassware or dishes to organize things. I’ll often buy a small bouquet of flowers for the room as well. I also bring my current Via flavor and favorite Lelo (wink wink).
    My android phone holds other things I can’t travel without – pics of my two newlywed daughters, my link to my library’s electronic site, kindle, audiobooks, and, most important – my Merriam-Webster app. Grace – throughout all the accolades of your books, I have seldom seen the comment that your vocabulary is the most marvelous brain-teaser ever! For instance, how on earth did you become familiar with the word “uxorial”?

  16. Music!! I bring music with me to bring some of home with me when I travel. This used to be harder than it is now – I used to bring tapes, and then CDs, but now it is all on my phone. Comforting music, rousing music, fun, sad, moving. Whatever the mood I can create a space evoking home wherever I am. I also travel with my journal. Music makes wherever I am into journaling space.

  17. One thing I’ve done to make my home my own is to hang the watercolors I’ve painted on my walls and displayed the quilts I’ve made. When I go away from home I take my paints and brushes with me never know when you see something great to paint.

  18. I know I am late but welcome home. It’s the perfect time of the year to be here. Your mention of bearded iris makes me smile because I love them too and I associate them with my mother. I have a small home that I refer to as my nest. I have way too many photos on display according to all the design shows. When I leave home I always have photos with me too.

  19. I have pictures and little knick knacks my son has made all over. I have my favorite blanket on the couch and I have a stack of paperbacks on my night stand that I keep promising my husband I will get around to reading soon. we actually just built our house about 5 years ago so it took us awhile to get it just the way we wanted

  20. Unfortunately for me it’s a feeling, a sense of comfort, not an object. Makes it difficult to bring home with you. Although, my husband adds to it a little.

  21. Wow, we have much in common, I was born and raised in Santa Fe,lived in. Maryland for 10 years, and now I live in Colorado. At least we have been in the same areas recently. I was just in Santa. Fe and read one of your books on the trip.
    That was beautiful descriptive writing of your travels and home and you have motivated me to take a good look at myself, my style and the impact on my home.

  22. After living in our home now for over thirty-six years, it wasn’t until we were forced into tearing out our bedroom floor due to dry rot in the joists underneath that I made a stand about having the bedroom the way *I* wanted it. I was tired of a dingy, dreary blue paint job that had seen better days twenty-seven years ago.

    With a new, lighter hardwood floor in place, I chose a color named “Sunrise” which just makes me smile every morning when I open my eyes. I added new bedding and window treatments, and we are slowly adding things back in, taking our time to figure out just *what* we want in there to keep it peaceful and serene without clutter which had begun to smother us. For the first time in almost forty years of marriage, I feel like *I* am coming out more in our home rather than just a hodgepodge of whatever hubby and kids want to throw up on the walls. 🙂

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  26. I’ve found a home in books.

    Raised in an abusive family– and for the past 36 years having participated in an abusive marriage, the first book I read of yours– The Laird– [Whoa!] rocked my world and deeply encouraged my heart.

    While I learn to do things differently, books are part of my emotional safety plan. I just reserved a dozen of yours at the local library.

    Bless you for plying your trade in the world I live in. They make me feel right at home.

    ~ Pam from Michigan