One of the things that I love about going home is, well...home. My parents have lived in the same house since 1981, and over the years it has come to reflect who they are and what my family holds dear. Each time I come in the front door after being away (as I did just a few weeks ago) I feel as though I'm walking into a familial embrace.
The kitchen is probably where I spent most of my waking hours at home growing up. The day always began with a fortifying cup of tea
(Mom and Dad's tea stash, 2009)
which I suppose explains my enduring dedication to the morning ritual of the teapot.
There were always recipes to try out and ingredients available to make them,
(the dry goods and cookbook wall, 2009)
and plenty of implements at hand, ready to be employed in culinary service.
(the most highly trafficked kitchen countertop, 2009)
The nightly family dinner was a tradition that was adhered to faithfully,
(Christmas roast, Christmas 2009)
to which I attribute my family's general functionality and affection for one another. And accommodations were always made for whatever food regimes my sister and I were trying out at the time (although my sister has been vegan for more than a decade now so I suppose she's past the "try out" phase).
(Christmas tofu, Christmas 2009)
Fauna have always been welcomed, from the ever-present cats
to the birds which my parents feed religiously (with three different types of bird feeders, meant for three different categories of bird),
(Mom and Dad's front yard, 2009)
to the butterflies they attract through strategic choices of flowering plant in the garden.
And of course the fauna is no less important, not only outside (and there is a lot of outside), but inside as well.
(an amaryllis and Christmas Cactus, kitchen, 2009)
(an extraordinarily prolific vine, kitchen, 2009)
Music was always encouraged,
(my sister's cello and sheet music, 2009)
travel was always endorsed,
(spare bedroom bookshelf, 2009)
and the mementos from such travels are kept at hand, to serve as reminders of adventures past.
(an oil lamp from Turkey, standing in as a mistletoe holder, 2009)
Nostalgia for earlier days is appreciated,
(my Sassy magazines from the 1990s, which my mom has kindly retained, 2009)
and above all, family. Relatives of today,
and the things that they treasured
(holiday table set with grandma's linen and silver, embroidered and engraved with a "K" for her married name, and with great grandma's china, 2009)
are never far from mind, eye or heart.
Here's wishing you all a new year filled with the love and happiness of your families.