A year after settling in VA I'm still exploring what home means.
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I'm drinking out of a coffee mug that used to be mine but I'm not in my kitchen. A cooler with our last name on it is sitting out in the hall. One of my favorite floral blouses is in the laundry basket. It's like that moment that you first wake from a vivid dream and can't tell where you are. But you know something isn't quite right. It's like the sinking feeling of dejavu.
Before Zach and I left with our daughter to travel the US for a year, we sold our house in a hurry. To say it was chaotic was an understatement. Zach would have gladly set our belongings ablaze in the front lawn to save the hassle of dealing with them. But we opted for peddling them on our friends and family any chance we got. Our former belongings are scattered across East Tennessee and on up to Virginia. I don't miss them. Each time we gave away another thing I thought it would be so hard. Once gone however, it was like it was never there. They were just things after all.
Now as I sit at our friends house, having just crossed the US in a rush to tow their truck home, those things are reminders. Reminders of the home we renovated. The home that we brought our daughter back from the hospital to. The house that we won't be returning to.
Coming back made it just feel like a long vacation. That we should walk through our front door and find our house just as we left it. That we'll sigh and clean and cook and put our daughter to sleep in her crib and crawl into our bed to whisper to each other about the adventures we've had.
It's a strange feeling to yearn for a place that is so close and yet no longer what it was. Not for us. I guess that is the duality of what we are doing. That I both crave more travel and miss a place. That I feel both lost and more on a path than I have in a long time. That I both have a home and am homeless. That I am both homesick and already home.
To me, there is absolutely nothing like starting my day off with a warm drink. It's one of my few daily rituals that I stick to. I also realized this morning that it's one of the few Still Moments that I have everyday and it always starts the day off right. My morning usually starts very early and there is something about making coffee or pouring tea that calms, rejuvenates, and prepares me for the day ahead. It's a time where I contemplate the dreams that are still on the edge of my consciousness and turn my thoughts to what's in store.
We all need morning moments that speak to us whether it's coffee, prayer or meditation, or maybe lacing up your shoes for a run. What is yours? I encourage you to revel in your personal still moment this morning and start today feeling reawakened.
It's the first day of spring and the flowers in my front beds are blooming. This week they really just came up out of no where and opened up to the world. I couldn't resist sharing them with you. As I mentioned in my post "I Spy Something..." my Mother helped me plant these flowers last fall. It was really special to me to be able to spend that time with her. Although I spent most of the time watching her plant these flowers since I was recovering from surgery, it was just nice to sit and catch up. These days it's pretty rare that we get time together, just the two of us. While we were together she told me a story about one of her fondest memories of me as a little girl. She also told me how she told herself at that moment that she had better remember it. While she said this I was thinking the same thing about watching her plant these flowers. I thought to myself, you have to remember this, don't let this memory slip away. And lucky for me, I have a beautiful reminder. Each spring, when these flowers bloom, I'll think about that weekend with my Mom and how we planted these together.
Another memory that the flowers in our yard bring, is that of Speed Racer's Grandfather. He planted most of these flowers, and since I've moved here I've tried very hard to maintain them. But he must have used the front flower beds for annuals because they were empty before we planted bulbs in them. Last night though, Speed Racer turned to me as we walked by them in twilight, and said "My Grandfather would have loved to see those flowers, they're really nice. You did a wonderful job." That meant the world to me. When you move into a house that was owned by a family member it's hard to balance the "This is now your house" and the "This holds lots of memories." So when I look out at my front yard and see the flowers, it just makes me smile. I just look out and see Speed Racer's Grandfather, and his love for nature; my Mother and I, and the bond that we have; and our future...small little children picking flowers in the front yard. These are the best parts of home ownership: dreaming, making memories, and keeping memories alive.
Friday night around midnight, I got in the mood to bake. This happens more often than you would think. So the only question was, what was I going to make? The answer was simple. My FAVORITE chocolate pie. My mother had made it at Christmas but due to my bout of cluster headaches I was unable to partake ( chocolate + cluster headaches = even more pain). It was terrible, no chocolate a christmas!! The horror. So, I made up for it this weekend. This recipe actually came from my Aunt which I'm sure she also got from somewhere. It's one of those recipes that's just been passed along. So I'm going to pass it on to you. In mixing bowl, beat 3 eggs until light, beat in 3 T. white caro syrup, 1 1/2 c. sugar, 1/4 t vanilla. That right there is delicious.
Meanwhile, over low heat melt 1 stick of butter and 3 square of baking chocolate. NOTE: I do this in the microwave just because it's simpler, but you can do this in a saucepan if you wish. Also by "3 squares" it turns out that means 3 oz. Hershey now sells bakers chocolate in 1/2 ounce squares so that can be a little confusing. I also use unsweetened baker's chocolate.
Now at this point you may be tempted to lick this whole freakin' bowl, ahem, but remember this chocolate is unsweetened. It will not taste as yummy as it looks. Not yet. Add slightly cooked chocolate mixture into mixing bowl.
Mine was not very pretty but very very delicious. I think the reason it fell and cracked was because instead of stirring in the chocolate mixture I beat it in, thus adding more air, so it puffed up a lot. WARNING: This chocolate pie is so good you (and maybe your husband) might just eat the whole thing before the weekend is out...and gain 3 pounds...might happen. Just sayin'.
[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gbke1GHsejQ] Alert! This video will make you want to have babies, lots of babies. Men, guard your loins.
The holidays have been fantastic. I really have enjoyed every minute, and I hate to say that I'm sad to see them go. They've also been a whirlwind of presents, paper, food, traveling, family, and friends. So as we head into the new year (can't believe it's going to be 2011) I'm going to try to do a little catching up. The week before Christmas we had all of Speed Racer's side of the family over for dinner and presents. It was the first time since we really got a lot of work done on the house that everyone had been there at once.
The day of was a bit of fiasco until everyone got there. I had been having terrible headaches every night the week before that were keeping me up at night (more on that later). I was tired, moving slow, and just downright not thinking. I was feeling so bad at work that I knocked off a little early and came home to take a nap, knowing that I had plenty of time to put the ham in before people got there.
Oh what a lie that was. In my tiredness I had misread the cook times, and there was not enough time for ham. So, I ran back to the store...in the rain...and bought another, precooked, smaller ham. As I started cooking everything became a disaster, the potatoes, the ham still wasn't cooking fast enough, things still had to be done...I was on the verge of giving up and going back to bed. But who came to my rescue? None other than my Speed Racer.
He kissed me. Told me everything was going to work out, that the mash potatoes were bad but fixable...put on some Christmas music and got to work. He ironed the table cloth, started the fire, and then helped me in the kitchen. It was teamwork and just as people were arriving, we pulled a beautiful ham out of the oven.
Wonderful peanut butter fudge. Mmmm. We accidentally forgot to check how much the recipe made, so we doubled it. And we made 6 lbs...you heard me 6lbs of peanut butter fudge. If you need a fudge fix, stop by my house.
I have had the song titled "Home" by Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros stuck in my head now for weeks. There is just something about this song that absolutely moves me. The connection between singer Alex Ebert and Jade Castrinos is very June and Johnny Cash-esque. I am also in love with Jade's voice. If you haven't listened to it, you should check it out.
If you check out Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros you'll also see the amount of very cool art that accompanies a lot of the songs. All the videos have an older feel along with the photographs as well. This really inspires me to not be limited to a time with photographs... but to create a story.
Alabama, Arkansas, I do love my Ma & Pa Not the way that I do love you Holy moly, me, oh my, you’re the apple of my eye Girl, I’ve never loved one like you
Man, oh man, you’re my best friend, I scream it to the nothingness There ain’t nothin’ that I need
Well, hot & heavy, pumpkin pie, chocolate candy, Jesus Christ There ain’t nothin’ please me more than you
Chorus: Ahh, Home Let me come Home Home is wherever I’m with you (2x) La la la la, take me Home Baby, I’m coming Home
I’ll follow you into the park, through the jungle, through the dark Girl, I’ve never loved one like you
Moats & boats & waterfalls, alley ways & pay phone calls I’ve been everywhere with you
We laugh until we think we’ll die, barefoot on a summer night Nothin’ new is sweeter than with you
And in the sticks we’re running free like it’s only you and me Jeez, you’re something to see.
“Jade?” “Alexander?” “Do you remember that day you fell out of my window?” “I sure do, you came jumping out after me.” “Well, you fell on the concrete and nearly broke your ass and you were bleeding all over the place and I rushed you off to the hospital. Do you remember that?” “Yes, I do.” “Well, there’s something I never told you about that night.” “What didn’t you tell me?” “While you were sitting in the backseat smoking a cigarette you thought was going to be your last, I was falling deep, deeply in love with you and I never told you ‘til just now.” “Now I know.”
Ahh, Home Let me come Home Home is whenever I’m with you Ahh, Home Let me come Home Home is when I’m alone with you
Home Let me come Home Home is wherever I’m with you
Ahh, Home Yes, I am Home Home is when I’m alone with you.
Alabama, Arkansas, I do love my Ma & Pa Moats & boats & waterfalls & pay phone calls
Ahh, Home Let me come Home Home is wherever I’m with you Ahh, Home Let me come Home Home is when I’m alone with you
Most of us who have never known war can never understand what these people have done for us, but the best we can do is say thank you and make home something worth coming home to. Thank a veteran today, and help in any way you can with different groups we now have that support them once they are home.