Home, Life

making home

So here is a bit about me.  I am currently living in a rural college town.  Yes, they do build Universities in the sticks.  I have always been a west coaster although now I am closer to the mountains than the sea.

Growing up, the trees and rivers surrounded us.  It was like a fairy tale to me.  The mossy trunks, the ferns so delicate, the spunky (and funky) skunk cabbage all added to the elfish quality of the surroundings.  And the fog… I loved it.  I could walk into the fog forever.  It was a blanket of mist surrounding me and shielding me.  Now,  I understand that on the road fog is dangerous but then it was a wonderful cocoon. I loved it.

My college dorm room was located right next to the elevator.  As in, the elevator shaft was closed in and that enclosure was in my room.  It was an old building too.  The oldest on campus.  I didn’t really mind too much.  Once I got used to it I began to predict who it was coming and going based on what time of day it was.  In some cases I would expect people and be ready at the elevator door and my predictions were usually pretty accurate.  The rumble of the cables became familiar and comforting.  Who was coming up?  A guest?  A friend? It always gave me a sense of expectancy.

When I rented my first apartment fog horns would blast outside my bedroom window.  My apartment overlooked the mouth of the Columbia and it was wonderful to see the water traffic going too and fro.  Another bit of magic and wonder to me.  I still love that sound coupled with the watery scent of the docks.

Nowadays I associate the blare of a fog horn to with the whistle of a train.  The train runs through my town and is required to blow the horn at certain points.  I have often been in that bleary state between sleeping and waking and mistaken my location because they sounded alike to me.

The soft earthy pine smell of the mountains replaces the damp earthy smell of the woods. There are no rumbling elevators in my house now.  But I can still hear the train whistle across town.  I suspect if I lived in South Africa I would associate the trumpet of and elephant with both the fog horn and the train!

So it is with me.  I am home where I am.


Ode to Electric Blanket

Soft and warm

to varying degrees

You shield me from frigid nights

A home of heat away from all danger of frost

Electric blanket


I don’t mind your wires that wind

I can’t express my gratitute

You heat me

You help me

You warm me to the core

Shall I go on?

Need I say more?

You are the answer for blustery winter nights

And when spring comes again

I’ll pack you away

And you won’t even be offended

I like that!


Going giftless this holiday

Hey there!

I have been seeing more of this as late and I’m actually super happy to hear that others are trying it out.  A couple years ago my hubby and I gave zero gifts to each other or our three kids for Christmas.  Ok, I know you must be thinking that I am cold and heartless and I have now robbed my children of a magical memory that will never be replaced….well, maybe you aren’t.

I have been to places where I have seen children begging for something, ANYTHING from you because you are a white American.  I have seen a child’s face light up when they discovered a baby wipe can clean their face without water.  It’s heart breaking and hope building all at the same time.

How do we open our children to this experience without hauling them to a third world country?  How to we teach them compassion for those that have less?  How to we instill a strong work ethic and to earn what they get?  How do we teach them that when they earn and purchase what they want that it is not the thing that makes them happy but the earning?

For these reasons I chose to opt out of gifts.  It was pretty awkward Christmas morning.  I gotta admit most of my family probably didn’t see where I was coming from.  But I learned that my kids were very understanding.  Now when we see an angel tree in the store we talk about each child that will go without.  We look for ways to help the hurting instead of making lists for our newest “wishes”.

This year we are doing small gifts (nothing over $10). The kids are purchasing with their own money.  One gift per person from each person – there are five of us.  It’s perfect. It’s all we need.

We are also being a bit sneaky and playing secret santa to a dear friend who has faced a loss. More to come on that….LATER.

FYI we did take a ski trip in February and Christmas week we went shopping for snow clothes so there was some purchasing involved. Just not on the actual day!