Inviting people in

We're always 'ohana at Mitzie and Robert's home. December 2006

As Tammy and Matt agree, we’re always ohana at the Puakea home. December 2006

“I allow my fear of embarrassment to stop me from hostessing anyone.  I tell myself it’s fine, it’s just not ‘my thing,’ but I actually think that’s a weak excuse.  Because there are things we should do, regardless of whether they are our favorite ‘things’ or not…I think inviting people into your home, whether it’s an impeccable mansion or a rusty old shack, is probably an important practice.”  – Glennon Doyle Melton

One of the most important things we can do to defeat despair — and to help others to do the same — is to let people in.  Into our lives, into our hearts, and yes, into our homes.  Even when our homes aren’t exactly ready for prime time.

My house is a wreck right now, even more so than usual.  In fact, all the piles of stuff that used to make a crazy sort of sense to me do not make sense to me any more.  There’s nothing for it but to plow into it as I have time, clean up, clear away and in the meantime, LIGHTEN UP on the inside.  Translation: even as I go about cleaning up, I can’t get impatient with myself because, compared to what’s been going on the past two months, and some of the other stuff that is still going on, this housekeeping stuff is SO unimportant.

This is not to say that I don’t clean things up when we have people over.  In fact, Jeff and I have always joked, “The house is really messy, we need to invite some people over” because that makes us prioritize tidying up.  But when people come over a few times, you stop worrying about it. There’s nothing like having someone in your home, and going into theirs, to let you get to know them in a way you won’t get to know them anyplace else.  And pretty soon, the superficial stuff doesn’t matter much.

When we go to each other’s homes, we see each other’s pets and furniture and art and projects and notes on the fridge.  We sit in their chairs and on their floors and at their tables, and laugh and talk and sometimes sing and pray together, and just soak in who they are in their natural surroundings. There’s nothing really like it, and I think one reason people are so crazy nowadays is that we don’t do enough of this type of thing anymore.  There are too many electronic substitutes for being with friends.  But they can’t replace face time.

Our friends Mitzie and Robert are wonderful examples to us when it comes to hospitality.  These people have more folks into their home than anyone I know.  Maybe it’s Mitzie’s heart of gold or Robert’s Hawaiian heritage, but they are like professional friend-makers and they bring people together all the time.  They host church groups and community groups and their sons’ friends, and at least once a year they have a big luau for local mainland Hawaiians and wannabe Hawaiians, complete with live music and food and more laughter than you can imagine and even a pig roasted in the genuine Hawaiian way.  I’ve never seen their home messy but the truth is I don’t think anyone would notice if it was. You walk in the door and it’s like you are ohana; you are home.

We have many other friends who are like them, and set a good example for us.  Two of them, Tammy and J.J., are coming over tomorrow for awhile, just to see us.  I won’t have anything special fixed to eat (although I’ll offer them tea 🙂 ) and you can bet the house will still be bordering on eligibility for a hoarders show, but I’m not worried about it, because we’ve been in each others’ homes so many times now they feel like family.

I hope you have people like that, people who can drop in anytime, no matter whether you’re ready for company or not.  I also hope you will join me in resolving to open your home to friends and potential friends.  It doesn’t have to be anything big (unless you enjoy that type of thing) — it can just be pizza and conversation.  A board game and snacks.  Whatever.

I admit that often, before people come over, Jeff and I get nervous and grouchy and run around trying to clean everything up and get everything ready, and we don’t usually feel totally prepared when the doorbell rings.  But we have never, ever, ever NOT felt happier afterwards.  It’s magical.

Do you have anyone you’d like to invite to your home, but have been putting it off for one reason or another?  Try moving that up on your list of priorities, and see what happens.  And if someone invites you to come to their home, try carving out time to go.  Let me know how it goes!

One year ago today

The ordinary arts


  1. sarvjit

    Yes, that flow of thoughts and words when we sit together helps us to understand a human and this world more. One Chinese proverb: Tell me, I’ll forget. Show me, I may remember. Involve me, I’ll understand.

    • I really like that proverb, Sarvjit, and I’ve found it to be true in my own life. Students are so much more engaged in lessons when they are able to participate and not just listen to a lecture. Nothing can replace being with people amid everyday activities to really get to know them.

      • sarvjit

        Practicality of things is more important than the theory. When we work with a group of people, the idea becomes much easy and applicable. Thank you for your presence.

        • Yes, it all starts to come more naturally when we are interacting, especially when face to face. 🙂

  2. A friend of ours has a sign up in her home….”If you come to see me come anytime. If you come to see my house make an appointment!”

    • Carla, I just LOVE that! I don’t remember ever hearing it before. Thanks so much for sharing it!

  3. Victoria Copp

    So true, so true. My husband said the same thing and yes, you feel wonderful for having had people over. It is amazing how trying a new recipe (oops) planning the menu, setting the table, the anticipation get so exciting. And you’ve made people happy and welcome. “Outreach right at home.”

    • There is nothing quite like it to lift the spirits and make life more fun. As with so many good things (exercise, church attendance, eating well, corresponding with friends) it’s easy to tell ourselves we don’t have the time or can’t manage it, but when we do there is always, always a big return on the investment. Thanks for being here and sharing your thoughts with us!

  4. Jack

    In The Five Love Languages, I’ve learned that I’m an “Acts of Service” guy. My wife is a “Quality Time” gal. So I speak my love language to her by slavishly cleaning the house, and she doesn’t care a whit about it. And she wants to sit on the sofa, or go shopping for lamps, or go to the grocery store with me, and I, candidly, don’t need a lot of company to do any of that stuff. So what I need to do is to speak her love language to her, but my pride tells me I’m loving her by doing these things that she doesn’t care about. What I’m really doing is loving myself and hoping she’ll notice. And over the years, she cleans the house more and I, grudgingly, go to the malls or the markets or the movies. And love grows.

    • Jack, this sounds so familiar! We have that book and Jeff has read it, but I have not. I think that you have made some pretty incisive observations here; we all tend to want to love people in the ways that come easiest to us, not necessarily in the ways they need us to love them. I have seen this played out most dramatically in Matt’s life, where people love him in a sense (mostly in a sentimental way) while keeping their distance from him in reality. This reminds me of a hilarious book I came across in a public library years ago. It’s called Porn for Women and it features color photos of men vacuuming the house, asking to go to craft fairs or shoe shopping, and having soulful conversations (one shows a man looking deeply into the camera and the caption reads, “That sounds fascinating! Please tell me more!” 🙂 It’s really funny but it has a lot of truth too. Sometimes truth is more palatable with a few laughs attached. Thanks for your terrific comments.

      • Jack

        I’m told a man doing housework is quite the aphrodisiac. That’s what I’m told, but not by my wife :).

        And by the way, I’ve found that when I go to a friend’s house, I never notice whether the floors are clean or the furniture dusted or the kids shoes are strewn about or the pillows thrown just right. Why, then, do I think they’ll notice at mine?

        • Jack, I have often asked myself the very same question. It’s equally true about clothes, hair, shoes, etc. Long ago a male friend told me — truthfully, I think — that most people are walking around so worried about what others are thinking of them that they will never notice our flaws.

          Meanwhile, here’s some housekeeping inspiration from Maxine as posted on another blog…

  5. Last week our school was visited by our mentors from the Board. That was one good reason to clean up the whole place. Loads of trash was removed from the place. And my office looks so fresh and spacious now. The teachers say it’s nice to have some guests now and then- we would become conscious and open our eyes to things we don’t pay attention to, otherwise.
    But guests always make me nervous.

    • Yes, even now, knowing how happy I always am afterward, it makes me nervous to have people coming over. We are all so fearful of being judged and criticized behind our backs (or even to our faces). More and more I think that the only way to live is to truly disregard those fears insofar as they hold us back from accomplishing helpful goals. And yes, the clean offices are a nice bonus! I used to hate moving every 3-4 years, but we were FORCED to clear out our stuff and get rid of a lot of things. It’s amazing how much can pile up without our being aware of it. Thanks so much for being here! I always enjoy hearing from you.

  6. merry

    Good morning, Julia. A delightful post…encouraging us to reach out and invite our friends into our homes. We need to do that more often…

    • Merry, we really do. I think we are happier when we don’t allow our defenses (or maybe a bit of laziness?) to get in the way of making time for other people. We need each other and being in each other’s homes brings us closer.

  7. Carlyle

    Today’s post is timely considering the fact that your mother is driving me nuts preparing for your visit this week end. BTW let us know if the weather has altered your plans.

    • Hee-Hee! I laughed when I saw this, since Carla and I have picked up on some Mom’s excitement that we are all going to be there. If you can possibly grit your teeth and see it as “cute” maybe that would help. I’m glad she is excited. I don’t plan to let the weather de-rail my plans, but of course, you remember your birthday celebration several years ago where the weather was ideal but a REALLY bad ATC delay at ATL had us landing in Macon! 😦 so let’s hope my flight arrives in time this time. With such a short visit for everyone, let’s pray that all the movable pieces line up just right. If all goes well you will have all four of your children in the same room at the same time for the first time in nearly 20 years! (July, 1994 was the most recent time that happened.)

  8. Megan

    I love this post! I think it is so so important to have an open home and I truly desire to have a place where people feel welcome and comfortable, though it is a struggle for me. I tell myself that our place is too small to host a small group, but when we have done it, no one seems to mind sitting on the fireplace ledge when the chairs run out. Thanks for the reminder that I’ve never once regretted having people over after the fact, even if I do get antsy with preparations before.

    • Megan, we had such happy years while Jeff was in dental school and everyone we knew was some sort of student, none of us with any money. Some of our happiest memories are of times in each others’ homes, playing games, singing, laughing, just having a ball. A grand setting is not important. We re-learned that lesson when we moved to the central coast of California. We had left an affluent neighborhood back east where people were building enormous homes “so we can have people over” and yet we never felt really close to any of these people. When we got to CA, several families from church had us into their homes within our first month there. All the homes were quite small and modest, as most are in California, and in one place there was not even a table that would seat more than four, but we all sat in the living room with our plates on our laps and had a wonderful visit. We lived in a tiny base house that was about half the size of the home we had just sold, but we were happier there than anywhere we have lived. In California, our riches had nothing to do with our home, and everything to do with the fabulous friends (Hi Amy!), lovely natural surroundings, fun trips to the library and picnics and get-togethers, and all the simple joys. I think Drew remembers those years as fondly as we do.

    • Rene

      I wouldn’t mind having people in our messy house, if I could just keep the chairs cleared of junk!

      • I’ve probably shared this quote here before…but one of the funniest things I’ve ever read about that was in a quiz to find out whether the reader has hoarding tendencies or not (I took it knowing full well that I did). One of the questions said “If the top of your head was flat, would there be stuff piled on it?” 🙂 I just had to laugh out loud at that one! YES, YES, YES.

  9. An excellent post. We belong within a community – this is the place we learn, share experiences and feel the power of connection.

    “What should young people do with their lives today? Many things, obviously. But the most daring thing is to create stable communities in which the terrible disease of loneliness can be cured.” Kurt Vonnegut

    • Clanmother, that Vonnegut quote is one I was planning to use here soon! Watch for it in a future post! 🙂 I don’t always agree with him, but I so agree with what he says there. I am hoping that we as a society will move more and more away from isolation and toward connection. Thanks so much for being here with us!

      • My pleasure! I love dialogue; and the best are those that challenge and lead to a greater understanding. I always liked the quote by Aristotle (although that I will freely admit that I do not live up to it on occasion) “It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.” Looking forward to your future post…

        • Thank you! Love the quote. I had not heard it before and like you, I don’t always live up to it, but it’s something to strive for.

  10. MaryAnn

    Paul & I have been doing a small group in our home, since Sept. 2012. The people we had not even met quickly turned into family, like you said. Even if we are stressed getting home on time, making sure the downstairs bathroom is presentable, etc.; it goes like you said: joy & peace prevails & we are feel so blessed to have “people in”! Being connected to people is the best way to show God’s Love.
    Thank you, Julia!
    P.S. I, too, am “stumbling” through the piles. Exactly what you say about inviting people for a visit will spur me to action!

    • Mary Ann, I will never forget the fun times in your wonderful historic home in Suisun. Wasn’t it a Victorian? My memory of it says that it was, but in any case, I remember it being full of all the things I love best: books, games, food and PEOPLE! I am happy to know you are continuing that tradition in your new (or at least new to us) home!

    • Rene

      I experienced this in our former home. Every Tuesday I was annoyed that I had to clean up for my husband’s bible study (I got home much earlier than he did), but was always wonderfully blessed by the end of the study.

      • I really need to build these sorts of “prods” into my schedule. One reason I keep blogging daily is that I would be way too inclined to just stop altogether if I didn’t keep to a regular schedule, but it’s too hard for me to choose which days to blog! And it does help to have something that forces me to stop and be thankful (or at least positive) each day. We really do tend to get back more than we give, in almost any situation where reaching out to people is involved.

  11. raynard

    Julia in the beginning( man I sound like a voice over trailer for a movie) People us to come to the house and ( cough cough) I use to serve the “Cake, Tea, and Hot soup especially in the wintertime. Now wit hour crazy work schedules, we do our”Smokey& The Bandit/Cannonball runs and Going back and forth to NJ to care for my wife’s elderly aunt and uncle with dementia .(If you seen my house now with my wife’s reorganization “you thought you heard the backup alarm of a Waste Management truck..(lol). Time to get ready for work. ( And no I’m not going to”make the donuts”( I already feel”fattered lol) Be blessed.

    • Raynard, I’m glad you survived the past 2 days OK, I heard you got a foot of snow, or more! I have been praying for you to be safe and not freeze. Tell your wife she can always use the snow shovel indoors too 🙂 but don’t tell Jeff that, it might give him ideas about some of my stacks of papers and magazines. I hope they allow you to take a mug of hot tea to work with you! Thanks for checking in, and stay warm!

  12. What a lovely, thought-provoking post, Julia. I was raised to tidy up before guests come, so that is a hard one to let go. That said, people come by and are always invited in. We enjoy entertaining, preferring small gatherings. We host a few small dinners each year, and then a big, neighborhood Halloween party every October which is great, great fun.

    I do tend to run myself into the ground trying to get things just so. It takes some letting go to invite someone in when my floors are dirty or you discover that the cat threw up on the couch as you offer your guest a seat.

    This is all good food for thought.

    • Alys, I think you have hit the nail on the head – it’s “letting go” that is the problem in so many areas of life, isn’t it? I think it was Anne Lamott who said “everything I ever let go of in my life had claw marks on it.” 🙂 It’s so easy to have dreams of the “ideal” party or gathering, and we seldom factor in the spills and messes that are part of living a full life. I admire people who are OK with NOT having it just right all the time. It’s admittedly a fine line between being relaxed and being messy and sloppy, and also between being totally OCD and being “together,” but there are those who manage it beautifully, and I hope to keep learning from them! Thanks for adding your thoughts here. I think so many of us can identify with what you wrote.

      • I love Anne Lamott! I read Operating Instructions a few pages at a time, in the first few weeks after giving birth to my first son.

        Yes…letting go is a challenge in many ways, yet so important for our own growth.

        I had a dream about you last night, Julia. I came to visit. You’ve really been in my thoughts.

        • I have never read Operating Instructions but I really want to go back and read it. I’ve read all her other nonfiction and I actually like it better than her fiction, although some of the novels I did enjoy (Crooked Little Heart was my favorite of the novels.) Maybe your dream is meant to be advance planning for you and K to visit the East Coast sometime! 🙂

          • I love that idea. A visit to the East Coast with Boomdee to visit you. That makes me smile.

            I haven’t read her fiction, only non-fiction. She’s quite amazing.

            • We will just have to start watching for good airfares. 🙂 The great thing about the DC area is that there are so many things to see for free or for very little cost, so the airfare is the big part.

              • I would love, love, love to visit DC. Can you believe that I’ve never been?

                • WOW, that settles it. DC just moved to the top of your travel list!! It really is a “must-see” especially for U.S. citizens. It will be good to plan well in advance, though. Spring or fall is best, and if you have any interest in meeting your senators or congressional representatives, or touring the White House, all that now has to be scheduled in advance due to security concerns. We’ve had visitors who were disappointed to learn that individuals can’t just tour the White House anymore. Although in my opinion, that’s not the most interesting thing here at all. In fact, I’ve never been there as a tourist, and didn’t see much of it except the East Room and surrounding areas when I went to the health care summit. You could easily spend an entire week or more at the Smithsonian alone, especially if you like museums. But there is SO much more in the area, and if you come in azalea or cherry blossom season (spring) you will probably want to be outside the entire time!

                  • Wow! Thanks for that amazing synopsis. What an incredible place. I had read the restrictions on the White House tours. Its a shame it has come to that.

                    I love museums and know I would really enjoy the Smithsonian. And yes, cherry blossom season too. I may never leave. It sounds wonderful.

                    • Just start making your plans! 🙂 Decide what to see on the first visit, what to save for your second visit, etc. 🙂

                    • 🙂 xoxoxoxoxo

      • Jello…LOL I’m wiggling in here because it’s the only reply button in this glorious conversation between my two favourite gals. Wouldn’t it be so fun! I just have to sweet talk Mr B. Especially if we find a house this year. I love all the history in your area and most of all it would be a dream to spend time romping around DC, maybe a White House Tour all the monuments and really the Smithsonian, gads yes! Amazing. Very close for Laurie B in Virginia too. I’m not sure if you’ve been to her Blog Julia but she’s such a great gal. Off to sleep soon. So much to be happy for xoK

        • Time to start cooking up plans! How many hours is LB from Yorktown or DC? We could meet her in Charlottesville, maybe, then you could see Monticello. Western Virginia is beautiful and worth seeing all on its own! It would be great if you could somehow manage to see some of the Blue Ridge Parkway. But at the very least we could spend at least a day or two in York County and maybe go to Virginia Beach. If you get a house this year that just means we can take an entire year for planning 🙂 but you might want to make a quick pre-planning trip ahead of time… 🙂

  13. Mitzie Puakea

    Thanks so much for sharing such a beautiful post. Robert & I have lots of special memories of times spent with our friends in our home. We are so blessed to be able to share our gifts, and the one of friendship is one of our most treasured gifts. We are thankful for the special times spent with Jeff, Matt and you, and Tammy & JJ. The pic is special since my sweet Buddy was front and center! Love you, Mitzie

    • Hi Mitzie, so great to “see” you here in the comments as well as in the photo! You know how precious Buddy was to me – of course I had to choose a photo with him in it. I still miss seeing him re-arrange his bedding again and again as he sat in the middle of us all while we sat and talked for hours. So many happy memories. Thanks to you and Robert for being such wonderful examples of hospitality for us, and for making the Puakea hale a home with open doors for so many people who treasure your friendship! Love to you too!

  14. Sheila

    Good Friday morning, Julia. I’d like to think I’m early except this is yesterday’s wonderful post. 🙂 I’ve been thinking of how we often “pile” 8 or 10 people into our motor home at Willow Tree for anything, anytime. It’s impromptu but so much fun. At our home, having someone over seems to get lost in the details. I must work on that. Have a great family weekend in Atlanta! I’ll be thinking of y’all. 🙂

    • Sheila, that does sound like fun! When I’m home, I’m so easily distracted by the endless tasks that are everywhere I look. It’s understandable that non-urgent things get lost in the details. When we had a small group from church, we had a commitment to meet each week in each other’s homes, and since there was a definite schedule, we met regularly. Otherwise I’m sure it would never have happened, at least not as often. But as you say, the impromptu things are wonderful too. It’s nice to have a bit of both. Have a great weekend!

  15. We sure did a ton of socializing at the lake. A lot of neighbours didn’t even lock their doors. I would think nothing of wandering over to Roy and Karens after a long day in the yard and garden unannounced. We’d sit and have a beer and usually plan to dine together. A throw together meal of whatever you each had planned. We actually had each others house key for emergencies and trading pet favours. Once I was in Karens pantry borrowing something when they came home…LOL. No worries, just oh hello! We tend to invite people over for desert and coffee when they join us in town now. I have to actually make tea in a pyrex measuring cup since all my stuff is still in storage and our Landlord was obviously not a tea drinker, ha We’re hoping to have a home soon because I really enjoy hosting so much. I have to say, (with exception of my craft room) our home usually is pretty spotless, I crazy like that LOL But then again, no kids or work pressures makes it pretty easy on me.

    • Unfortunately I’m afraid that even if I had no kids or work pressures, my house would STILL be messy. I admire those of you who can keep things nice and neat. I honestly think it must be some sort of neurological asset. Your crafts are so exquisite that I figured your home would be equally so; I’m not surprised to learn it’s spotless – I hope Mr. B. knows how lucky he is! That neighborly camaraderie you describe at the lake is the ideal situation, I think. It sounds like the old days in the neighborhood where I grew up. We had some very close lifelong friends (actually my dad’s childhood friend that I’ve written about here before) and sometimes we would literally just walk into each other’s houses when we dropped in on each other, not even knocking or ringing (always calling out to announce ourselves, but still, a far cry from today’s world). They were our second family and we kids always stayed at each other’s homes when our parents were away. And all the neighbors knew one another in those days, up and down the street; I can still drive through our old neighborhood and name practically every family that lived in each home on all three streets. I hope things will come full circle and we’ll see people getting out and visiting neighbors again when all the electronic stuff gets old and boring.

      • Yes, it would sure be nice if it came full circle. Maybe it still happens in small towns across the country. You’re right about electronic stuff taking up previous social time. There wasn’t any internet where we lived, or not usable internet anyways. So we actually enjoyed each others company.
        I dread that people, even some grownups, can’t hold a conversation to save their lives. We just saw a movie at the Cinema this afternoon called ‘She’. It stars Joaquin Phenix as a loveable guy going thru a divorce and he’s so lonely he buys an OS (operating system) that’s a really advanced technology. She’s able to have feelings and respond to moods and they start having a very nice friendship. She fills a void (like all technology) and he ends up falling in love with her (It’s set in the near future). I really found it original and interesting and the acting is truly Oscar worthy.
        Your old neighbourhood sounds so nice. I hope there’s still some safe communities out there.

        • WOW, that movie sounds depressingly possible. I would like to see it. Remember the evil HAL in 2001? One thing I like about the social media (as opposed to simply surfing the web) is that it’s interactive, but I have heard horror stories of gullible people getting hurt (in all kinds of ways) by folks they met online. Scary! Of course it can happen with people face to face, too, but that’s no reason to cut ourselves off from each other. When I think about how many of our businesses, government functions, systems, etc. rely on people being honest and doing a good job, I realize there are still way more nice and good people than there are bad ones. Of course, we all have our days, but we can’t let the rotten apples scare us all into becoming hermits.

          • That’s very true J, I think I’m pretty good at reading people and tend to trust more people than not. After being in a competitive sales business for so many years, I think I’ve come across more than a few sharks and dishonest people to know one when I meet one. Luckily integrity is something most people still value.

            I do remember HAL in the Kubrick classic. OMgosh, that movie was 1968, can you even imagine it was that long ago. I think I didn’t see it until the late 70’s, probably at an all night Drive Inn.

            • I just saw it for the first time about ten years ago, when they had a special screening of it in San Francisco. Drew, Gloria and I all went into the city to see it. I found it quite amazing. We talked for hours afterward about our various interpretations of different scenes. Each of us had seen something different in the movie as regards meanings, but all of our ideas made sense to me. That’s very unusual, for a movie to bring out so many different thoughts and ideas, which I think is what made it so popular in the introspective, psychedelic sixties. It seems to me that Kubrick’s overriding theme that runs through all the movies of his that I’ve seen, is “Man destroys himself.” He does manage to end most films, though, on a note of hope, as with the baby at the end of 2001.

              • I’ve seen a few of his movies and always leave confused, but in a good way. Like you say, everyone takes away something different. Mr B has never seen it. Maybe we need a movie night. I was probably to immature the first time and I’m sure we talked thru most of it. I don’t even recall the ending, so I must be missing a lot of important messages through out.

                I really loved ‘Her’ though and I think you’ll find it leaves you with a lot of thoughts about life. xK

                • Thanks! BTW I love, love, love the potpourri you sent. Surely you didn’t make it yourself? If so, I want the recipe!

                  • It really is a home made pile of what I could find at this local shop and a few drops of essence oil and a snip or two of a fir stick sold at Michaels. I don’t know how long it will last but you could always zoom it up with cloves, anise, cinnamon sticks or dried peel. I asked Mr B to save his mandarin orange peels and so some of thats i
                    in there too. HA. When I get home, I’ll try to remember to send a detailed email, you might have to remind me 😀 BTW, I hit the bookstore tonight. I had a hard time deciding and it came down to what weighed the least. More to come soon xox, Thanks again for being so generous Julia xK

                    • You really hit on a great combination, totally wonderful and unlike any I’ve ever sniffed before. I laughed when I read about Mr. B’s mandarin peels because my counters in both our homes are covered with them right now! I eat a ton of them and won’t throw them away because I use them to grind up in the disposal to clean it and scent the air. I read years ago in a household hints book that the oils in citrus peels are very effective at cleaning gunk off disposal blades and parts if you grind them up in the disposal. The first time I ground up a bunch of orange peels this heavenly scent filled the kitchen and I was hooked. What I don’t grind immediately I dry out and use in the “off-season” and they are almost as effective dried as fresh. I’m glad you were able to find some books. I sometimes wonder how many books we might have now if not for military weight limits on moving day, which always gave me incentive to clean out old magazines and “still perfectly good” old books I’d already read. Now and then I will still miss having some of them to browse through. I’m a great book browser and I love to have plenty to browse through on cold or rainy nights! But you’re right, they are TOO heavy. That’s one great thing about having a Kindle or Nook; you can have dozens of books at your fingertips (or even hundreds!) in one light little folder. Bon Voyage and I hope you bring back enough interior sunshine to last until Canadian springtime!

                    • LOL, I’m not at all surprised that you save your orange peels too Julia, isn’t that a breath of springs first cut grass? so…FRESH. I always smash my used lemons into the kitchen drain too. Thank you so much for your nice review of Gnome Home 😀 It was fun to make.

                      I know what you mean about giving up books and magazines. As you may have heard, I donated over 300 to my local library when we moved into the Condo and I miss them at times. I was worried I was becoming a hoarder…I think it was a bit much, I had them everywhere.
                      I got a beautiful new pricey mag that I started reading a couple of months ago a couple of other goodies. Stay tuned right cheer my dear 😀
                      I saw a number of really great books that I wanted but I wouldn’t have gotten it home. My bag weighed in at 48.5 with Jim taking stuff in his back, LOL…it’s sooooo hard to hold back.
                      I’m so happy to be home even though today was crazy busy…Omgosh the laundry was bananas an let’s just talk cat hair..LOL two weeks worth. Yowwwzer.

                      Come on springtime, and sublime sunshine..might be early according to a local groundhog, and they’d know, LOL xoK

                    • What a perfect name for the Potpourri scent! I had noticed Alyster’s trademark on the tin but didn’t make the connection. You should market that, with such a catchy title I’m sure it would be a big hit!

                      In the long run these pesky weight restrictions on our suitcases are probably a great blessing; it does help us to keep things at a sane level. For a long time I was a terrible overpacker, but I’ve changed my ways! And I do need to have something to limit my acquisitive nature when I travel. Have you seen Clark Howard’s hilarious take on how to keep putting on more layers of clothes until the suitcase is under the weight limit? He is probably the only person on the planet who is cheaper more frugal than I am, except he’s been a millionaire for years. Shades of Warren Buffet!

                      RE: the cat hairs – we are STILL finding “souvenirs” of Pasha here and there. I used to say that someone needs to come up with a way to turn pet hair into fuel or something useable. There is an endless quantity of it, that’s for sure! 🙂

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