Home is where…your stuff is?

A heart-shaped stone found on a recent walk along the creek

If you were to step into our house this evening, you would be greeted by the very fragrant aroma of fresh guavas and ripe prickly pear awaiting the blender while coffee-scented logs crackle away in our fireplace. You would also see two little ones, madly eating cold-brewed coffee popsicles, snuggling on their Papa’s lap watching Iron Chef America. You would even notice yours truly, typing away and giggling to myself every time baby#3 kicks, flips or hiccups in my belly. On nights such as this, I take cinematic snapshots of these moments in my mind, these moments in time that will never lose their lustre.

It has been a wonderful day of shopping and eating, and a much-needed day off as a family. I must stress that the quality and variety of food available in Austin is absolutely incredible. Where else in the USA can you buy massive branches of aloe vera alongside citrus trees, chile relleno, and more fruits, chile peppers and artisinal beer than we’ve ever heard of AND feast on Texan barbecue with all the fixings… all in the same grocery store? In my husband Grant’s words this afternoon: “I’ll take brisket with a side of ribs, please!”

At home, the organising continues and I am relieved to report we are nearly finished with our grand exodus to the Lone Star state. The movers managed to locate all of the furniture that had gone missing.  It seems that our lost items have always dreamed of travelling to the American Southeast  and are now somewhere in Miami, indulging in mojitos and languishing on a beach overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. Wouldn’t you do the same if you hopped on an 18-wheeler heading for the horizon?

While I have long been a proponent of reducing our possessions as much as humanly possible, I cannot begin to tell you our elation in having our things back. We set to work piecing back our possessions bit by bit, hanging paintings on walls, placing books on shelves and re-imagining this blank space of a home. Every item we chose to bring are things we cannot live without: favourite books, artwork, pottery…These things tell the story of who we are as individuals and what we represent as a family. Even our cat was delighted to see his old, beat-up basket again, this tiny circular wicker basket into which he stuffs himself as a circle, curling up and dozing off.  All of us have a desire to carve out our personal space, to craft our domains according to our lifestyles, and I suppose animals are no different.

…Here now are some photographs of our treasures…What are yours?

1.  Some of my favourite books…

First edition, signed Salman Rushdie books are prized possessions
Stevens, Baudelaire, Walcott, Cummings – a definite poetry enthusiast!

This porcelain dove was the first present we received for baby-on-the-way. It comes from our dear friends  N+O back in Vancouver…

And just a wee few of Grant’s cookbook collection for good measure…

Good taste all around

Before the invention of “push presents” …there were watercolour paintings….
My husband bought these for me after the birth of our first child.  One afternoon, several days after A’s birth, Grant wandered down the avenue in our arrondissement, Plateau-Mont-Royal, and stumbled upon a vernissage of a local Québécois artist.  What spoke to him was the deep russet colour of the moon, the very same colour of the moon that was hanging in the sky the night A was born.  It is called a “corn moon” or “full harvest moon” and occurs in the month of September, marking the time of year when corn is to be harvested. 
Mother, Father, and Baby in the light of the corn moon
And…a fisherman casting his line into the sea…
Craggy trees, corn moon and a wayward sea
Parents embracing their children seems to be a theme in our household…
This Cecil Youngfox print was purchased on our very first visit to Vancouver as a new family (years before we actually moved there)…
Winter Travel

I wish we could track down the artist of the following two paintings.  We purchased these when we lived in TriBeCa, during our week-end ambles through artists’ stalls in Soho. One is a dog and one is a rat, symbolising the years of our children’s births. We thought these were unique because they each incorporate the Chinese character they depict. We are currently in the Year of the Dragon, and we would love to have one for the new baby. Any talented calligraphers and painters out there?

Year of the Dog – 2006
Year of the Rat – 2008

Lastly, this ceramic tile is an item that has given us great pause for the past 7 years. This is the only wedding present we received to which we cannot attribute a gift-giver.  We have absolutely no idea who gave us this dynamic yellow bird.  My suspicion is that is from a very close teaching colleague of mine named Caroline; sadly she passed away shortly after our wedding so I have no way of confirming this. What we do know is that it was a very fitting gift for us – we will treasure this unassuming piece for its beauty and mystery always.

Yellow bird, yellow bird, sing us a song…

Indeed, no matter our location, our tangible treasures remind us to always be joyful and to follow our hearts. Afterall, who knows – they might just lead us back home to where we started.


One thought on “Home is where…your stuff is?

  1. 🙂 the Dove made it to Austin! Love that it is one of your special possessions. Vancouver is not the same without you guys. Kisses to all five of you.

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