Gratitude Sunday: There’s No Place Like Home

Gratitude * Sunday
Sunday’s heartfelt tradition.
A time to slow down, to reflect, to be grateful.
A list of gratitudes, our gratefulness feeds one another.
Quoted from Taryn Wilson
Joining the Gratitude Sunday Tradition at Wooly Moss Roots.

Sunday Haiku
Breezes shake branches,
green leaves rattle boogaloo
and roll in soft air.

Sunday Musings
I love houses. Since I was little I have loved houses. Mom used to let me make dollhouses and furniture out of cardboard boxes before she thought I was old enough to take care of a real dollhouse. I was allowed to carve windows and doors with a knife, and she didn’t panic the day she said, “Be careful. Don’t cut yourself” as I looked up and sawed the serrated knife right through the tip of my finger. She washed the cut, slapped on a bandage, and got out the box of used gift wrapping scraps so I could finish covering my furniture with pieces of pretty paper without getting blood on the precious bits of saved paper. Blood is no reason to abandon a perfectly good cardboard dollhouse in progress.

I think most people benefit from having a house. That used to be part of the American Dream, owning your own home and being able to pay your property tax. I know an old woman, she must be nearly 90 now, whose family used to sell apples from the trees in their yard every fall to pay their property tax. Stability, being able to count on something (like your home) always being the same, is an important factor in success in American culture. Those days are gone. But are they? Maybe we need to do things differently.

I am saddened by empty houses, and more so when they are allowed to become derelict or worse, zombies, especially when so many people are in need of homes. Is greed that important? Empty businesses distress me as well. Another piece of my sadness about housing is how many young people cannot afford a home within 10 miles of their workplace. Home prices here in the Pacific Northwest are so high, with their accompanying property taxes, people are choosing to live an hour’s drive or more from where they work. We’ll just set aside the math of the gas expenditure, because home purchasing is more about qualifying for a home mortgage than about how you arrange your finances to pay for it. Recently three of my nieces and nephews, all in their 20s and 30s, have purchased homes outside the metro area, because the homes were less than $200,000.00 and the property taxes proportionately lower. They face daily drive time which isn’t just about the gas, it’s time one could have spent at the farmers market, or preparing home cooked food, or in their home gardens, or simply snuggling with their families. I understand wanting to live in a rural area. I lived “in the country” for 11 years down by the Oregon coast and I loved the constant relationship with nature, but I worked within a 10 mile radius of my home. In most rural areas you cannot earn enough money to pay for the home you can barely afford to purchase there, but I admire my young people for choosing to buy homes while they are still young. What an American conundrum!

If I’d had the knowledge and the ability to radically change my career I used to entertain the idea of restoring houses. Not remodel, necessarily. I like the old forms, the old shapes, the old patterns. Until I don’t. If it makes sense to take out a wall for more space or repair a bad remodel then I’m for that, but for me, I think in most cases keeping the original intact with a freshening is the way to go.

I enjoy watching remodel/restoration shows on TV. In many cases I find myself disagreeing with the changes they make. I’m not doing the work or paying for the work so of course I don’t get to say, but they are inspiring, and it’s rather fun to disagree and dream about what I would do instead. I love simple changes and additions like taking out old damaged carpet and adding under-floor heating before installing a hardwood floor. Another favorite is upgrading wall heaters to central air. My favorite additions are screened porches for enjoying evening or morning breezes mostly insect free. I am also in favor of taking out bathtubs that are too small for the owners and installing tubs of comfortable size. Nothing restores the body like a deep hot bath.

Isn’t dreaming fun? I have always veered away from selling real estate because I was afraid of loving too many houses. Restoration would likely affect me the same, plus I’d have the investment of the upgrade, whatever it was, so the house would feel like part of me.

Speculators and construction companies should be required to renovate a house inside the urban boundary for every new house they build on speculation, especially if the new house is built on land that has, in the past, been used for agricultural purposes. For every person who wants to live outside the city there is one who wants to live inside. For every person who wants to live in a larger home there is a person who wants a smaller one. If we put houses on all our farm land, where will we grow our food? We are already seeing the evidence of commercial farming, such as obesity from poor quality processed “foods” , and poisoning of our waters and lands from poorly handled waste management. We cannot continue unsustainable agricultural processes any more than we can continue letting people live under bridges or become squatters in zombie houses.

The amusing part is, I am hardly able to take care of my own home. I keep finding corners that haven’t seen the light of day for years. If I can work a few minutes every day in a few years I can start back at the same corner and do it all over again. Never a dull moment. I’d just love to have more steam to get more done. Or help getting stuff done (though I can’t afford to pay for help). I can see now why families had many kids, so at least one would stay home and help out the old folks.

Remember my magic wand? That pretty pretend one I made up? I get to use it whenever I want and I’ve been thinking about it a lot lately. If you have a home I wish you get to keep it and can take care of it. If you want a different home I wish you get to have it. If you need a home, double wishes for you to get it.

It’s spring and my doors and windows are open. I can see all the saggy cobwebs and the beggar’s velvet waiting for my Swiffers and sinks full of soapy water. There is so much abundance as I clean, I try to have a couple boxes set up as I go. One box is for items (that I’m finally ready to let go) that can go to family members who will appreciate them, and another box for items (that I’m finally ready to let go) that can go to a local re-sale shop.

That’s the best abundance, isn’t it? Having enough on your to-do list to fill the hours of your days. Even if your to-do list consists of reading and writing and movie watching and napping and a bit of cleaning. Add dreaming and bird watching and watching the grass grow, and the list is nearly complete. Top it all with a layer of gratitude and all in all you have a lovely day ahead of you in your house.

Color Watch – colorful attractions in my neighborhoods this week – Oh, my, the mighty iris! Everywhere I went this week I noticed the irises had popped out. So many colors from yellow to burgundy. So many shades of purple. Some wilder than others.

Current View – {These are only my opinions about movies and books, but don’t let me stop you from trying these reviewed items yourself; your opinion may differ.} Manchester by the Sea (2016, rated R), drama, tragedy, drama, tragedy, drama, beautiful pictures of the town. I can see the significance of the film dealing with tragedy and depression, but for me: Meh. * Season 3 of Game of Thrones (2015, rated TV-MA), the power struggle persists.

Currently Reading – Finished Melissa Febos’s Abandon Me (2016, memoir) and appreciated her self-analysis and thoughts about human connections. * The Dressmaker (2000, fiction) by Rosalie Ham, the novel from which the movie I watched twice last week was based. Looking for answers to a couple questions the movie left in my little brain and enjoying the differences and similarities between the two formats. The author wrote a treatment for the screenplay as well. * Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right (2016, radical politics), by Jane Mayer. Semi-assigned homework in the interest of a project upon which I may be embarking. I tried to read this book last year and was intimidated by the politics of the wealthy from my lower economics point of view, I could not connect with the information and had to set it down. I will read with different eyes this time.

This week I have been grateful for:

  • Time spent speaking with and getting to know more about an acquaintance.
  • Being introduced to ideas I had not encountered before and suggesting ideas someone else had not pondered before. And nobody got upset; it was all intellectual discourse.
  • University commencement weekend (I live in a semi-rural town the farthest west you can go before getting into the foothills of the coast range and it happens to have a private university in it) and glad I didn’t have to go out in the traffic.
  • Being able to hear the commencement music from the privacy of my home a couple blocks away.
  • Enjoying the cheers for the graduates.
  • Looking forward to a quieter town next week after the students have made their summer transitions.
  • Lovely mild days, not too hot, not too cold, not raining, not too sunny, not too windy. As Goldilocks said, “Just right.”
  • Spring fragrances on the air, breezed into the house through open doors.
  • New tree leaves looking like they are happy-dancing on their branches when the breeze moves them.
  • My local aquatic center, supported by our tax dollars (yes, I pay my taxes), which is one of the best investments in maintaining my health.
  • Eating up some leftovers in the fridge because I didn’t get to go to farmers market this week.
  • Oregon cherries!
  • Daydreaming.
  • Water.

Hoping you have a lovely week.

Namaste. Peace. Blessings.

Floral ribbon border by Laurel Burch

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This entry was posted in abundance, Aging, Art, Entertainment, Family, GRATITUDE, Grief, Health, History, Housing, Nature, Photography, Poetry, Politics and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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