Turning a House into a Home

IMG_1171As an English Teacher in Korea and then as a military wife I know that moving happens on a regular basis. Such frequent relocating means that I have to turn whatever house I am in, into a home for my family. So, this daily prompt from The Daily Post, asking what five things I need to make a house into a home, is perfect for me.

The first thing I need for a house to be a home is my family. My husband and my kids are what turn any house into a home. We could be in a mansion or a hovel, surrounded by high rises, deserts, or oceans, but as long as we are together, we have a home. That sounds incredibly cliche, I know. However, it is true. My family is my home, and I hope that I am part of theirs.

A group of people is a good start. However, it alone does not make a home So, there are things we pack to turn any landing spot into a home. The first of these things is a shelf full of books. The whole family reads so that we will need a variety of books. My husband and I enjoy science fiction, history, and philosophy. Heinlein, Robinson, and Asimov would be my science fiction picks. For history, I like anything pore-renaissance, but my husband is also a fan of American History. As for philosophy (which also encompasses religion and ethics in our house, one shelf for all), I would love to have a good broad spectrum
introduction book and the core texts of many religions. We have some books, but this is a growing section in our house. The baby has his books. One of my favorites is “The Cuddliest Cuddle.” He enjoys his board books (of which we need more). The teenager is the hardest. He enjoys science fiction, but is more picky about it than my husband or I, probably because he has the least free reading time.

People are the life of a family, and books are a conversation starter, but they aren’t a unifier. Books can provide a smell (wonderful smell) that bring back old memories, but can’t create new shared memories easily. Games can. So our table top games make our house a home. I won’t list them all here. I will say that you can read my blog about which five games I would want on a desert island if you want some new game ideas. Games provide a thing around which to focus discussions and memories.

What games do not do is provide sustenance for people’s physical selves or allow those random heart-to-heart conversations. For that, you need a functional kitchen. If I had my druthers it would be a well stocked kitchen with double wall ovens, a six burner stove, and a walk- in pantry with a secondary fridge and a chest freezer. However, as long as there are a working stove and oven I can make sweet or savory treats to encourage people to talk about what is on their mind.

Finally, a little thing for each of us to see and know that this is home. For me, that is the pieces of lovingly hand-crafted art from Jonah and Robert. I am sure that the new little one will contribute to that as well. If I had to choose an item for my husband, it would be the hand painted Norwegian sign that says “Welcome to our home!” Robert still
has the blanket that he was attached to as a child, but now it lives in a unique space in his room. Henry is growing attached to the new bunny Will gave him, and the soft blankets from his aunt and her colleagues, but he hasn’t settled on one yet.

It doesn’t matter how grand a small your house is because iff your family is there its home. With people the things that help you remember, and the things to create more memories build a home. What are those things for you?

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Walking Into the Storm

A march without a stop, unable to.Approaching Storm

With throbbing, bleeding feet we walk and walk

As always on the horizon storms do brew.

These raging tempests from our minds we block.

 

But closer we do always traipse to them.

They grow and blacken as we near. Eyes closed

Until they break o’er us and leave us dumb.

We tremble fearful, think our death supposed.

 

But when the squall unending feels, a light

Breaks through. Then wind and rain just stop. A peace

Of green and blue is where a bird takes flight.

We wish a world where shifting storms do cease.

 

These storms are change, and nothing stops it. We

Still walk through life and storms. Our paths are free.

 

Posted for Poetry 101 Day 10: Future and Sonnet. I wrote this a few days before starting Poetry 101, and everytime I sat down to tackle the assignment this one kept popping into my head. So I thought that I would post it to share with you here. 

 

Originally posted on A Geek’s Eye View. 

Blog Roll

There are two types of blogs that I follow. I follow parenting blogs because I am a mother and a new one that doesn’t have a lot of “parent friends.” Reading parenting blogs gives me ideas and stories that I relate to. I follow writing blogs because I enjoy writing myself. I hope to one day sell my stories. To that end, I read both aspiring writers for camaraderie and professional writers for more education and information about the writing world.

Also, I follow a smattering of blogs about travel, teaching, and other topics. Most of these I read because something about how the author writes captures my attention. For travel, it may be that they get into the local culture instead of just talking about the tourist locations. For teaching, it may be that they share experiences that I have had as well. I might follow a reading blog because there are a lot of books in genres that I enjoy there.

So here are some blogs that I am enjoying right now:

Parenting:
Kids Crumbs and Crackers by Lisa, a mother of four. She shares fascinating snippets of her life, and it’s great to get glimpses that everyone else doesn’t have a supremely perfect life, or a life so messed up it should be on TV. The in between is nice, and she has a beautiful way of telling it.

Writing:
From the Desk of Jakebe T. Rabbit. There are a lot of good articles on the blog about writing. He also keeps us updated about his state of writing. I particularly like the Episodic Pacing post.

Travel:
Lately, I’ve also been reading a lot of “Travel Much?” which appears in both English and Norse. Now that’s an enterprising blogger. She’s been to several places around the world, including Spain, Japan, and Norway. Also, she always has beautiful pictures to go with her posts.

Web Comic:
Scandinavia and the World is an excellent webcomic. The premise is that each nation is personified, and they interact together. It often takes on political issues that are encompassing the world, or at least Europe, but they also have a lot of fun with it.

Shameless Plugs!
Also, I regularly read some of my family’s blogs. There is mine, A Geek’s Eye View, which is about my family and includes a lot of my writing. My mother writes “Whatever Happened To…?” She’s magnificent at writing essays. Finally, my uncle writes Undulant Fever whenever the mood strikes him.

My intent is to attempt to update this blog roll every month or so with new blogs that I am currently finding fascinating. However, I’m not sure how often that will happen. Life comes before the internet.

Other than your own, what blog has captured your attention lately?

To a Storm

Oh mighty storm that rages on aPlanebove,

A flash of light, a crack of sound you give

With rods of iron in a velvet glove.

The noise and sight they mean that you still live.

 

Alaska_Railroad_tracksYou pelt us, rocks of ice that sting and slice.

They fall like crystal tears that wound the low

Attackers. You now make them pay the price.

Your rage, it spins the wind. Tornadoes blow.

 

You leave a path of vast destruction here.

Destroying houses which mistreat your mom,

Of nature, but untouched are those who hear

And heed her words. Those are all left quite calm.

 

And after you are burned out – silence, peace

That reigns her over all when winds do cease.

 

Poetry 101: Apostrophe and Landscape

Five Games

IMG_1171Last time I talked about the five books that I would like on a deserted island. However, I do not exist in a vacuum. Ideally, if stranded, I would end up with my family. Rather than books for entertainment, we would want games that we could play together. So here is my list of five games we would want:

First of all, we would want a game that would be different every time we played and would also be complicated enough to take our mind off of the problems at hand. For this choice, I would choose Firefly and its expansions. Firefly has many different story scenarios to play and can even be played solo. On a deserted island, with the full game, we could probably make up additional material of our own if the old stories and locations get boring.

Firefly is an awesome game, but it takes a lot of brain power. Somedays we would be so exhausted from surviving that we wouldn’t even want to look at it. So we need a game that takes little brain power, is appropriate for little kids (can it forget Henry), and that we all find enjoyable – Uno. Yes, Uno is overdone, over played and boring for many, but it would be that touch of home that everyone needs. Also because of how big a good Uno deck is it can easily be turned into a regular deck of cards. Everyone just has to agree on which action Uno card is what face card before hand.

Both Firefly and Uno are competitive, and there are times where we will want to play cooperative games to build up teamwork. Two different games popped into my head, but one would just be silly So, I will take the second. Let is discuss the first one first, though. Forbidden Island is a very cooperative based game. But it is set on a deserted island. Why remind ourselves of the problems that we have? Why imagine the deserted island we are on sinking? On the other hand, Martians is also a cooperative game, has a lot of variability, and can be played competitively. I just wish that they had made expansions for it like “Zombies!!!

We will need something to keep our minds sharp. I prefer “You’ve Been Sentenced,” which is a sentence creation game. However, debates required to resolve issues of what is a sentence can cause strife. Scrabble is a good one, but without a dictionary, which we don’t have, (see my previous post), we would have difficulty resolving disputes. So that is out. The Sherlock Holmes Puzzle Case has good logic but is limited to the cases it contains. Plus, Robert doesn’t like it. However, the Riddle Cube game is something that can be used to keep us sharp, and we can create new challenges for each other once the cards get boring.

Finally, the whole family enjoys roleplaying games. However, that takes a lot of books, paper, and planning. On the other hand, Munchkin has a lot of expansions and room for variants. Then with all that time we can turn playing that game into a full roleplaying game.

For a bonus, we could make a Go/Othello/Paduk set out of rocks on the island. That one wouldn’t have to be stranded with us. We’d use indigenous objects to create it. The only problem with that game is that it is a two person game.

What games would you want on a deserted island with your family? Or friends?

After writing the blog post about the five books, I realized that it was an expansion on the blog comment that I had made. However, it did not add anything or take a new direction. This blog post does. (Response to Day 9: Get Inspired by the Neighbors.)

Five Series on an Island

Someone else inspired this post, but I can’t find the original post. I read it and enjoyed the books that she would include on her desert island. I chose to write a post about the books that I would enjoy on a desert island. If I were alone on an island there areIMG_1669 several different books that I would want, limiting it to five is nearly impossible. However, I think I have (mostly) managed it.

The first book I would want is to help me survive. The original author suggested SAS. However, Robert’s Boy Scout Handbook has much of the same information.

Once I manage to survive I am going to need comforting. My security blanket books are Spider Robinson‘s Callahan Series, so Callahan’s Crosstime Saloon Omnibus is a must. I know it is three books in one, but each one is a short book. Plus, the story only ends with the end of the third one.

Surviving and comforted, I now have lots of time on my hands. One thing I could do is get the Lord of the Rings trilogy read. I can’t seem to push myself through it, so all of this alone time would be the perfect time to do so. I would even have enough time to get philosophy, lessons, and enjoyment from them. However, I would probably still get characters and plot points mixed up.

Being alone on a deserted island gives me ample time to study something new, too. A deserted island would also have a lack of electricity. By extension, that means no light pollution. No light means that I will be able to see the stars much better. I would want a book on astronomy. I might have to study the book during the daylight hours, but it would give me something to fall asleep to at night.

Finally, I would need away to bring or create some old friends to pass the time. The blog I read suggested Lackey’s Bardic Tales Omnibus. My first thought for Lackey is the Queen’s Arrows trilogy, but as I reflected upon it, I realized that I would prefer Tamera Pierce‘s Tortall series. Yes, this is way more than one book, but they are very interconnected and build upon each other. They also are not that long. The books and the characters in them feel like old friends when I read it.

Those are the five series that I would want on a deserted island. However, I am not alone anymore, and books are only superb entertainment for an individual. Next time, I will discuss the five board/card/table games that I would want my family and I to have on a deserted island.

I wrote this blog as part of the blogging fundamentals series. They wanted me to take a comment and expand on it. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find the original comment. I have a few more of these as well. 

Silence and Starting

A silent moment, calm, relaxed. I write

A story, poems and blogs to clear my brain.

A rush of sweet romance so very trite.

Through silence, screaming wails. I start again.

Henry6mo

A silent moment. Peaceful reading books:

Medieval fantasy – a quest for pen

Of mighty stories, hidden by the cooks…

A door now clicks, unlocks. I start again.

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A silent moment, stitching pictures which –

Enjoyable despite some stabs of pain.

A needle in the finger, thread a switch.

The dinner bell, it dings. I start again.

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A silent moment, look at all this gain.

A sound breaks it. I sigh. I start again.

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Poetry 101 wanted us to write a poem using repetition at the beginning and the end of the poem. It was difficult to do it in a sonnet, but I had fun. The topic was supposed to be “pleasure.”