Blog, Home

In This House

Day 324

This is the house I always thought of as home even though we lived in other places. It was that way until my grandmother died. I try not to let my mind drift to how horribly betrayed my father was to discover he could not inherit the house as was his mother’s intent. It is a story which I will write someday, but not today. That will be a post about honesty, trust and betrayal. But today is not that day.

Maybe home is that place where we feel safe. Where none of the world’s problems can get to us. Maybe it is where our memories reside and where we learn who we are to be one day. I know this house was all of that to me. When we recall the love of home, it is not the house we remember so much, but the memories forged between those walls.

My grandparents slept in different rooms. My grandfather upstairs and my grandmother downstairs. When my grandfather slept, we tried to sneak in his room without waking him. The goal was to taste the cinnamon and sugar mixture he kept on his bedside table to help his cough. His bed rail was perfect for creating horses, using a towel and pillow for saddle blanket and saddle and a belt for a bridle. (Must have been sturdy furniture back then).

We had a room with bunkbeds. The top bunk was where we used an old stick with twine and an open safety pin as a fishing rod to catch the wire-hanger fish we had scattered on the floor.

This was the house my father grew up in. The place where he swears he saw little green men from outer space when he was home alone one day.

This porch is where we hung our heads over the edge of the knee wall to wash our hair in the rainwater.

Out back we had a small arbor of Concord grapes that was buzzing with bees in the summer months. My grandmother made the best jelly from those grapes and my grandfather made a small quantity of wine he kept in the cellar.

There was a Rose of Sharon bush that stood at the corner of the house. This is where I first observed the ability of a hummingbird to fly backwards. As I write this I can see the hummingbirds darting in and out of the hosta blooms outside my kitchen window.

Home was where I knew I was loved and felt safe. There would be many more places of residence in my life, but the number of ‘homes’ are relatively small in number.

Blog, grandchildren, Home

#1LinerWeds – The Night Hour

Day 311

It was another day full of fun. Being summer, the grandkids have a lot of flexibility concerning bedtime and wake-up time. It is no different here. We go full throttle all day.

Yesterday, we had a big brunch because they slept so late. We took walks, watched the birds, chased bubbles and even had fun playing some online games with Grandpa. After a huge chef salad for dinner (with some accompanying chicken nuggets for the little ones) we relaxed before going out to check for lightening bugs.

We were much more successful in our pursuits this time. A few bugs were caught and released and there was much playing with flashlights and just running around in the early darkness.

Nearing bedtime, they requested a Chapter 2 of what they now call ‘Diamond Eyes’, so I invented a new chapter. Once tucked in they were extremely restless. Perhaps ice cream too close to bedtime – way to go Grandma. It took a lot of Grandma fussing for them to settle down. Even so, I could hear them whispering to one another so I asked what was wrong.

I miss Mommy and Daddy.”

I pulled my little one close, hugged him and told him I understood. I turned on one of our battery operated candles (with a timer for shutoff time) to put near him as a nightlight, I tucked him in again with extra hugs but I could tell he remained restless for a while.

Here’s the thing. No matter what fun we have or where we go, we always want to be where we feel the safest. For them, that place is home. I will forever be thankful they have a home that makes them feel safe and happy. I think about how many children do not feel safe or loved at home and it is heartbreaking.

It has been a long fun-filled summer for these two and our visit comes on the end of five weeks of being away from home visiting aunts, uncles, cousins and grandparents. I understand how much they must miss being at home in their own beds and surrounded by all the things that make them feel safe.

After all, we all want the same thing, don’t we?


One Liner Wednesday is brought to you by Linda Hill. If you care to give it a whirl, visit Linda’s blog for the rules (there are not many) and give it a shot.

Blog, gardening, Home

Sunday Simplicity

Day 280

Yesterday, I was feeling a bit puny as my sister would say. Nothing major or drastic, just not feeling up to par. Hubby and I had plans to go see a local bluegrass band play at a small venue near us. I decided I had best not try to go since my stomach was a bit queasy. I encouraged hubby to go on as he had been working all day making his wonderful all from scratch vegetable soup.

I lounged around watching tv and nursed my stomach by eating a few small portions of soup throughout the night. I had a difficult time finding sleep, but eventually I drifted off.

I slept in and, surprisingly, I was the first one to rise. Morning tasks are not my forte, but I was feeling good and decided to go put the bird feeders out and water the plants. It is so dry here. It was a nice cool morning but I could tell the humidity was inching up so I enjoyed my time outside while the weather was nice.

Three of the sunflowers I planted survived the squirrels, possums, and the crazy wet and dry periods we have experienced. They are each in a different stage of blooming and they are such a joyful flower to see.

When I came inside I thought how my sister would laugh if she could see me. She had a house far out in the country and went outside in her pajamas or robe all the time. She had very few neighbors, but I remember telling her she really should get dressed before venturing outdoors. She would just laugh at me. Here I was kicking off my slippers and wondering what she would say knowing I had gone outside in my nightgown. It is not revealing so there is very little concern. There is literally no house within sight especially now that all the trees have filled in.

I do think age makes us feel differently about things. The things society would have you worry about are far less concerning than they once were. There is something freeing and joyful stepping outside to just breathe in the air without concern. It is moments like these that remind me why we chose this house.

Today I am feeling better and I am thankful. The birds are content and I have a few tomatoes almost ready to pluck from the vine. We have a family of hawks that have moved in nearby. We hear them constantly and see them frequently. They are magnificent although I fear for my little feeder birds. We also discovered a yellow jacket nest to be wary of. A small patch of wildflowers has a few blooms and right in the middle a sprig of poison ivy seems to have taken up residence.

Such is life in the country. Full of life and abundance and a few hidden dangers. It’s all about balance.

And besides, I like having the ability to walk about outside in my night clothes without worry. I get it, Sis. I finally get it.

Blog, Cloudy, Home, memories, nature, Plants

Walking Familiar Territory

Day 160

This morning I went for a walk. It’s odd to be walking in a place where I lived for so long but now seems very unfamiliar. I have become accustomed to my mountain life and the sights and sounds that surround me. The first few minutes of my walk I felt unsafe. That was a new feeling for me because I’ve never felt unsafe walking by myself. After a few minutes I re-accustomed myself to my surroundings and I was OK.

I did a 2-mile walk on very flat land which is very strange compared to the hills and curves in my mountain community. I wrote once about fences in an earlier post, but here I was struck by the signs and fences to contain or keep out or to protect. The newer the community the higher and stronger the fences — brick walls and metal gates. I guess that’s what money buys.

img_8856-1I noticed the smell of pesticides and fertilizers along my walk throughout very well-crafted communities. It was a familiar smell but not something I smell often where I live. It’s very beautifully landscaped here but it’s not wild, it’s very controlled. The weeds are held back by chemicals and the flowers are all similar from yard to yard to yard. I’m not sure if they are all native or not but I’m sure some are.

I had forgotten how sandy the soil is here. Such a contrast to the red clay in North Carolina.

Some of the things I saw made me so happy to see again. They were very familiar to me from my life here. I’m a little bit late to see the yellow tab trees in full bloom. They’re a sight to see when their flowers fall — this beautiful tree sitting on a blanket of yellow flowers. One of my favorite trees from my time in Florida.

The squirrels are very different in behavior here. They aren’t so skittish of humans and will climb a tree but constantly check to see if you’re still there and if you are posing any type of threat.

I also enjoyed seeing the resurrection ferns. They look so dead when in need of moisture, but they look so alive just moments after receiving water.

I loved seeing all the crepe myrtles, but they are not blooming yet. Most of the crepe myrtles have been cut back by half. That’s normal here. I always preferred to let mine grow naturally. To each his own.

I only saw three fruit trees. One lemon, one orange, and one kumquat. I am sure this area at one time was covered in orchards. In Florida, most fruits are ripe in December or January timeframe so the fruit I saw on the trees was beginning to look old.

It is so warm and humid here. There is algae growing most anywhere protected by shade. The sidewalks, the telephone poles, and the sides and roofs of many houses are covered in algae. I remember once being written up by our home owners association because we had algae on the roof. We were required to pay someone to pressure wash our roof with bleach even though it drastically shortened the life of this shingles.

Much of Florida is much more rural than this. There is a beautiful wildness to see here. I recommend you seek it out if you have the opportunity to visit. The Spanish moss is not fiend removed from the trees, but in the wilder areas it is very prevalent.

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It was really a beautiful day. Cloudy and overcast with a cool breeze and the threat of rain. A perfect Florida day for me. I enjoyed walking in the cool breeze because in a few months that will be rare. I loved seeing the familiar things but it made me miss the wild area where I live now.

Other than my children and my granddaughter, Florida is now just a memory for me. As long as they are here, I will always return. And I will always have a fond remembrance of the many years I lived here and all the happy times I experienced. But we move on. Sometimes places don’t suit us anymore and we have to find where we fit. I think I found my place and I’m happy to be there. I only wish all the people I love were there too.

Blog, Home, joy, memories

Letting Go

Day 124

How do you let go of what no longer serves you? I see a lot about this subject especially in the ongoing Marie Kondo frenzy. Letting go is so much more than cleaning house, or downsizing, or de-cluttering. It is an act of knowing yourself well enough to have the courage to believe there is something richer on the horizon.

I can pack things up and take them to charity, but if the essence of those things still weigh me down, then all I have accomplished is making space in my closet or my cabinets. Letting go requires a little soul-searching and a lot of opening our hearts and minds to what lies ahead.

I am a sentimentalist. I cling to tactile things that hold memories for me. The thing is, I am also guilty of holding onto things that trigger unpleasant memories just because it was a gift. This year when packing up my Christmas decorations, I finally let go of a music box I have held onto for 15 years. It was a gift from a very close friend who one day just decided the friendship was over. Every time I saw it, it brought back those bad memories rather than the joy of the initial gift. So, I packed it up and took it to a favorite charity thrift shop. I am hopeful someone will stumble upon it in the thrift store and it will again regain its joyful energy.

I am confident and content in who I am. Confidence is a blessing and the result of many long years of feeling unworthy. I quit wearing makeup 10 years ago after a lifetime of feeling like I looked terrible without it. (My mother warned me that would happen, but I didn’t listen of course.) So one might ask, why did I still have makeup in my bathroom drawer? If I look closely, maybe it’s because there might be an occasion when I would need it. Need it?

Learning to listen to our internal dialogue serves us well. Yesterday I threw it all out with the exception of a tube of lipstick that I love and an eyebrow pencil. No more reminders of the woman who felt she didn’t measure up unless she was ‘made up’. I kept two things I love because I love them. Nothing else sparked joy for sure!

I have also let go of other’s expectations and in many ways, my own expectations of who and what I should be in this phase of my life. I am excited to let the days unfold and I find myself enjoying every little morsel. Yesterday I noticed the camellias were blooming outside the guest room window. It is not unusual for this time of year when we have a sudden warming trend. I love seeing them knowing it won’t be long before the squirrels find the blooms and devour them.