Monday, December 10, 2012

What is Home?

I’ve heard many iterations of what “home” means to people. All definitions are varied and all are relevant. But, the definition changes depending on the experience of the individual defining it. For some, home might be a scary place; an uncomfortable, dark nightmare. For others, it could be a magical, happy place. My personal definition fell more toward the happy side of the spectrum, thankfully, at least in relation to my childhood home.
But, that home is different now. It is empty. It is dark. It is lonely. It echoes.
A year ago I didn’t know how empty a home could feel when the faces associated with it were gone. I don't think I ever truly realized that a home is only a shell. No amount of upgrades can change the fact that the four walls of a home encompass a hollow building. And, given a few years left to the elements, it’s amazing how much nature starts to reclaim that shell.
Or, is it not a shell, but maybe a seed? Yes, maybe it is seed. Maybe a home is cyclic, like a plant. My childhood home flowered in my youth, in the magical days, and now it has withered and sets in a dormant mode ready to flower again. It needs water. It needs nourishment. It needs care.
But, I’ll never make the mistake again of thinking that a home is a “where”, because that would mean that it is defined by the property on which it stands. No, a home is a “what”, because it is what you make of it. It is what you put into it. It is what you give it, and what it gives back to you. Rather it’s a castle or a modest 3 bedroom 2 bath 63 year old ranch-style sitting on an acre of overgrown weeds.


Sunday, December 2, 2012

Cement (or Cheesecake)?

Cheesecake.  It sounds good enough, two of my favorite things combined into one.  Cheese and cake.  But, there’s nothing good about it! It’s a pale brick, mixed up with some sugar, vanilla, maybe a few eggs, barely baked then flapped on a plate with a cherry on top and called ‘dessert’.  It’s disgusting.  It has the density of a meteorite.   

Cake is a wonderful thing, when it is baked thoroughly.  It is pure happiness on a fork; fluffy and sweet, evoking memories of happy celebrations.  Cake should be light and fun, with sugary icing and sprinkles, not scraped on a plate like a trowel full of mortar.  A proper cake is a party.  A proper cake marks a special occasion and brings a smile to everyone’s faces.  A proper cake is happy.  Cheesecake is not happy.  
I imagine that people who consume cheesecake do so in private occasionally, eating it slowly while in their pajamas, as if it were some unspeakable secret indulgence.  When a friend orders cheesecake from a menu, they usually get a gleam in their eye as if they are just about to commit a sin.  When they place their order, the waiter or waitress will repeat their choice “Ah, the cheesecake, excellent choice” while nodding their head approvingly.  It's as if “I’ll have the cheesecake,” was the password to some secret club.  If I decide to order an ice cream, my choice is never repeated to me nor met with such excited approval from the wait staff.
Cheesecake is obnoxious; it is the offensive joke of dessert.