Happy New Year, Happy New Home

Home, sweet home: a bungalow built for two.

I’m sitting at my computer with a winter sun slanting in, warming my back.  Our little Craftsman bungalow has lots of windows. If I turn around, I can watch the street traffic, the kids walking to school, the neighbors across the street unloading groceries, their dogs wagging tails. Mature maple and hackberry trees shade the neighborhood under a quiet arboreal hood. Down at the corner a pocket park with gazebo was busy this summer with impromptu jam sessions and weddings. A few blocks away is Main Street’s brick storefronts with coffeehouses, art galleries, upscale groceries, post office and library, and even an Irish pub. We can walk everywhere.

Good light and comfy reading chairs.
Yellow warbler, posed in ivy and trumpetvine.

For some reason, I’ve been thinking about a certain pine warbler- a vivid male- that showed up on December 1st, 2007, and spent the winter with us every year thereafter. He was very fond of suet dough and held his own against the mob of chickadees, titmice, jays and blackbirds, his brilliant yellow outflashing an entire flock of goldfinches. I keep wondering if he returned this year, picturing what he must have found, and push that thought back under the rug where it belongs.

Our new home has everything we could want: hardwood floors and high ceilings, an open, airy kitchen (a pleasure to cook in); a broad covered porch running the breadth of the house. A delightfully clichéd picket fence encloses a tiny front yard; in August I spent sweaty days chopping out most of the lawn with a mattock, digging in compost and manure and planting a butterfly garden. A great jungle of cardinal climber, English ivy, Carolina snailseed, clematis and trumpetvine twists into and over the pickets. The front door is framed by old-fashioned holly and Rose of Sharon. Out back an old whitewashed pergola covers a brick patio. It’s overgrown with wisteria, hung with hammocks. City birds inhabit the shrubbery, tolerating the odd avian country visitor. Underneath it all is a basement-a rarity in these parts. We love it here.

Still Life, Dining Room, photo by Tim Ryan.

Gizmo the cat, by the way, is doing well, too. She’s no longer allowed out of doors, and she gets a little antsy, but she has many windows to look out, lots of sunbeams to sleep in and new furniture to scratch. Toy mice and string toys are stockpiled for her enjoyment, and she has fresh catgrass to nibble at all times.

Gizmo, the city cat.

We’ve been rebooting, starting over, getting ensconced, furnished and settled. The process is more or less finished, and we are looking ahead with hopes of a benign and uncomplicated 2011. That said, the coming year holds promise of fresh adventures and excitements- of the best possible variety. It’s going to be an amazing year. Stay tuned.

Wishing you all a happy, healthy, calm and prosperous New Year.

23 thoughts on “Happy New Year, Happy New Home

  1. Lynn says:

    You’ve certainly made lemonade from lemons! You’re to be commended for the way you’ve come thru such a terrifying, stressful ordeal and emerged on the other side with such grace and harmony. Beautiful! Yes, happy new year!

  2. Corienne Cotter says:

    Debby, it warms my heart to see you so situated. You have made a warm home and to me it seems like a picture book cottage and a town you read about in romance novels. Just so pleased for you.

  3. Ann says:

    Gizmo looks much happier than the last time I saw him in the storm cellar! The house exudes warmth and people happy in their chosen arts.

  4. tim wootton says:

    Well done Debby – almost all human disasters have a story of great passion and revelation embedded within. This is one of those thoroughly uplifting moments; to see and hear of your triumph.
    Beautiful house – wonderful person.
    I’l say it again; well done.

  5. Gale says:

    Your new house looks beautiful and you sound pleased with it all. It’s nice that something wonderful came out of the disaster.

  6. murr brewster says:

    Oh, it looks gorgeous. There’s so much to be said for living in the city, including the fact that it lets the country be the country. Gizmo actually looks a little ticked, to me, but that’s show biz. Your new year will be amazing.

  7. zeladoniac says:

    “There’s so much to be said for living in the city, including the fact that it lets the country be the country.” Murr, that’s a great quote, right there.

  8. Sherrie Y says:

    Hear, hear, Murr! Well said. SO pleased to see you settled somewhere so cozy, Debby. As a fellow “we can walk everywhere” inhabitant of my own town I know that this simple delight alone can quickly make a place seem like home. Snoogle Gizmo for me (without the sneeze that would surely follow were I to do it myself), make a fresh pot of tea and sharpen a pencil for reverie. It’s gonna be a great year.

  9. TR says:

    God I love your writing! There are so many books in there – get busy! And yes, here its to an uncomplicated 2011 – and here’s to long distance phone calls that are breezy and chatty and chock full o’nuttin!

  10. Pam says:

    Congratulations — the house looks wonderful and warm.
    You deserve a quiet year. I met you in one of Barry Van Dusen’s classes in Massachusetts after reading your blog for a while, and have thought of you often during your recent trials.

  11. Jude Tolar says:

    Oh joy: You are writing in your blog. Comfort, cozy, Craftsman, Cotter, Kaspari. It’s crystal clear: nurturing the now and future, resolving the past.
    Your art is beautiful and so are you.

  12. Sophie says:

    Wow, looks different from last time I saw it! Wonderful! I want to spend the day reading in your sunny living room. Where is that cozy armchair from? I’ve been looking for something like that.

  13. Kathiesbirds says:

    Love the paining, love the house, love the sunshine, love that you have a basement! I do so hope that all goes well for you and that you get lots of inspiration for your paintings from nature and the birds! I wish for you a year of peace and serenity and all things wonderful and full of love.

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