>When I stepped into my parents' house yesterday for the first time since December, I sensed something was different. A quick scan of the kitchen revealed a bald spot on the wall where the phone used to hang and cover a missing patch of maroon and navy flowered wallpaper. The phone sat on the kitchen table. A splitter jutted out of the phone's previous home, with one wire leading to the kitchen table, and the other snaking around the corner into the living room.

Then I remembered that my parents received a flat panel TV as a 35th wedding anniversary gift from my bubbe. My sister reported from a previous visit home that the TV required a land line connection for some reason. This was my parents' elegant solution.

Moving into the living room, I observed the new TV proudly gracing the top of a classy new glass TV stand. My mom's shrine to our family (framed photos from important family events, primarily but not limited to my sisters' and my weddings) took up the lower two shelves. The Shrine was arranged very well, with all pictures visible.

I flopped down on the couch. It took me a few minutes to notice that the other arm of the rust colored L-shaped sofa was covered with videos that used to occupy the cabinet in the old entertainment unit. I smiled, thinking about how the blue chenille thrift store couch that forms an L with the fading black fabric Ikea couch in my apartment is currently covered in old magazines and papers.

Two lessons: Like mother, like daughter; and, it's nice to be home.