In Search of My Word

Words are interesting. Our language gives us so many words for the same idea. Being a “wanna be” writer and a heavy reader, I love words. They are especially precious when you almost lose them. Many of mine wandered off when the Bells Palsy hit. Writing helps me find them again. Now I better understand how stroke survivors feel.

I have been looking for words in my native German to describe my new home to a 92-year-old friend living in Germany. When I’m on the phone with her, the words come harder because I have to think about them. The flow is long gone and many words I just don’t know. When using an online translator, I often end up with the English word because the computer can’t find the word I’m trying to use. How hard can the word “front porch” be to translate? It took a while, but an appropriate word finally appeared, I hope.

Ich habe einen neuen Ort, um zu sitzen!

I printed this picture to go with the phrase.

I printed this picture to go with the phrase.

Another way we use words is to describe ourselves and others. Have you ever been asked to describe yourself in one word? Hard to do since we are multifaceted humans. Mine used to be the word ‘kind’ or ‘caring’ or ‘compassionate’. Those are good words. I could have also used ‘pushover’, ‘amiable’, or even ‘gullible’ on occasion. Guess you could say I’m well rounded if nothing else.

My path, like my life, wobbles a bit. There will be readjustments along the way.

My path, like my life, wobbles a bit. There will be readjustments along the way.

Now I have a new word I use to describe myself. This house has taught me that in spite of life’s many challenges, the word ‘tenacious’, is the word that says it all where I’m concerned. Life hasn’t been easy, but I kept working to make it better. This house is a bit like my life. Good bones but there is a lot more work than expected. So do I throw in the towel before I’ve explored every possible option to make it better? Not going to happen. Like a dog with a bone, I will hang in there until there is no bone left. Even my sister asked me if I ever give up and sit down. I may sit awhile, usually for contemplation. That’s what I’m doing now. Thinking about which way to go next. There are so many choices.

Dug out the Camellia bush and 4 sweet neighbor boys leveraged this boulder into it's spot. There were roses behind the Camellia! Very tenacious boys too.

Dug out the Camellia bush and 4 sweet neighbor boys leveraged this boulder into its spot. There were roses behind the Camellia! Very tenacious boys too.


Weeds are tenacious too. We pulled a truckload of them and they will come back faster than those pounds on the scale unless I put something in their place. You’ve heard the phrase “Nature abhors a vacuum.” That’s why weeds do so well. So I’ve purchased some varieties of ground cover to plant around the stepping stone path. I’ll probably need a few more stepping-stones because my stride is shorter than my daughter’s.

There are real flowers and plants in there. Can you find them among the weeds?

There are real flowers and plants in there. Can you find them among the weeds?

We rented a stump grinder to clear out any remnants of the tree that once was and pulled all the roots that were growing under the house and driveway as well as carefully removing them from the water lines. That was one tenacious tree. I could fill the page with the work I’ve been doing but don’t want to bore you. Let’s just say, I’m bone tired most nights and falling asleep is not a problem.

This was challenging but fun. The roots went under the house, driveway and the entire front yard. All gone.

This was challenging but fun. The roots went under the house, driveway and the entire front yard. All gone.

It looked like so much fun, my sister had to give it a try. It was her truck so I had to let her.

It looked like so much fun, my sister had to give it a try. It was her truck so I had to let her.

My son has a similar word for himself. He uses ‘relentless’. Sounds tenacious to me.
Do you have a single word that describes you? Have you ever thought of it?

“Patience and tenacity of purpose are worth more than twice their weight of cleverness.”
~ Thomas Henry Huxley

From my heart to yours,
Marlene Herself

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Filed under Bells Palsy, journey to health, My thoughts about things

In Search of a Day Off

My family and I have been working very hard since I got the keys to my new, old, manufactured home. I’m down to the last of the carpet that needs to come out so I can seal the floors but they must wait until the wood floors go down in other rooms so we have somewhere to push furniture. Life has been busy in other areas as well.

This week my daughter started working the first permanent job she’s had in 5 years. The temp service placed her there and after 6 months the company wanted her to stay and gave her a promotion. She has worked extremely hard for a very long time to find good work. I asked her if she thought the lower unemployment rate was valid. Her thought is there are so many that are no longer eligible for unemployment and have just given up looking for work. Many, like she had to do for a while, move in with family members and take whatever they can get to pay for groceries. They don’t get counted in the unemployment equation.

2 computers,3 monitors plus a laptop. Days go very quickly

2 computers,3 monitors plus a laptop. Days go very quickly

She has had other offers to make positions permanent but this is the one that she felt was right for her. She’s happy there and they are happy to have her there. So last Friday she sent a text and asked if I wanted to come downtown, meet her boss, work mates and have lunch. LUNCH! I’m in. She had already worked so many hours that week that she was able to get off work at 1:00 p.m.

So I took the MAX (Metropolitan Area Express or light rail) downtown and found her office. Her boss and workmates were wonderful. I saw why she was so happy. Lunch was terrific and then we had some fun.

We didn't even have to drive to the beach.

We didn’t even have to drive to the beach.

Now that looks like good fun.

Now that looks like good fun.

I had planned to rip out more nasty carpet but celebrating with my daughter was worth a day off for me. We did enjoy it. Seems downtown was having a Sand castles in the City event. It was a very hot day and the workers were misting water on the sand to keep it damp for sculpting. It was so much fun to watch the kids having fun playing in the sand.

Wish I could have stayed to the finish. There were so many nice sculptures

Wish I could have stayed to the finish. There were so many nice scultures

Then I was ready to catch the MAX back home and get back into work clothes. Before the night was over, one more room of carpet was out and the floor ready to paint. I even helped with my sister’s move. She will be staying here awhile as she looks for a place of her own in the area and some part time work. It’s been a busy week already. No more days off for me…till the next one.

How do you like to spend a day off and do you take them regularly?

From my heart to yours,
Marlene Herself

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In Search of a Silk Purse

I know you’ve heard the old cliche, “you can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear.” Well, I beg to differ with that comment. I’ve done it and will do it again. How did I get hold of a sow’s ear in the first place? The price was right.

Good bones equals skylights in the kitchen. White paint reflects light and you can wash it now.

Good bones equals skylights in the kitchen. White paint reflects light and you can wash it now.

I was looking for bones, good bones. This place has them and somehow, they managed to cover the smell. I’d like to know how it was done and patent it. It had a musty smell but I think the realtor opened it up way before I got there and it was a dark house. All it needed was some white paint, right?

My son wanted a clearer view so he went on the roof and washed the outside. What a view from the kitchen ceiling.

My son wanted a clearer view so he went on the roof and washed the outside. What a view from the kitchen ceiling.

I’ve been working on this place since June 14th and the work will continue for months if not years to come. The list kept getting longer as we worked. My son and daughter are both weary from helping. They were both more than generous with their time and muscle. I’ve moved in some of my sister’s furniture as she will be staying awhile till she regroups and this will save her some storage costs. Somehow, it all works, I hope. I just go with the flow.

I have more of this to do. Like the rest of the house.

I have more of this to do. Like the rest of the house.

My daughter did all the prep work and a lot of the painting. She doesn't like her picture taken.

My daughter did all the prep work and a lot of the painting. She doesn’t like her picture taken.

Once, many years ago when I was young and strong, I moved into a house that had been previously occupied by a classic hoarder. It took YEARS to transform that place from the sub-floors up to the roof and the yard. Many old friends drove right by the house because it became unrecognizable from its previous life.

The color on the walls was watered down (alot) paint. No washing this stuff

The color on the walls was watered down (alot) paint. No washing this stuff

Happy laundry room. I can work in here now and not be depressed by it.

Happy laundry room. I can work in here now and not be depressed by it.

I find the process of transforming a house a true labor of love. This one is no exception. It felt sad and worn. Somehow, I feel the need to revitalize this house into the home it wants to be. The contractor thought I was a bit off when I said I need to take things slow and let the house tell me where it wants things and what it needs. Yup, I’m a hippy-dippy-woo-woo kinda girl. We are doing the Feng Shui treatments for the house as it sits on the lot sideways. (that’s not ideal) It’s all about the energy.

I really don't know where to start. It got away from us.

I really don’t know where to start. It got away from us.

When we finished the hoarder house, it sold for so much more than anyone thought we’d get for it. The new owners had decided to buy before they ever walked inside. Don’t think curb appeal doesn’t matter. My husband (last) couldn’t understand why I’d leave that house after all the work I put into it. It was never meant to be my home but it was happy for the facelift. Homes have energy and I think they are living things. Oddly, neither my sister nor daughter could remember my address at the apartment even though it was a lovely place. They both know this address already. It feels right to them.

It just looked too sad and blocked the way from the carport to the front door.

It just looked too sad and blocked the way from the carport to the front door.

Landscaping will be important here. The first thing we had to do was take out a tree. I know, I hated to do it but the roots were in the water lines and it was an invasive variety. It looked so sad in front of the house. We are going to make a lovely path from the carport to the front door and give the roses that are there a chance to shine. They were hidden and too wet. To me, this is as much a creative endeavor as sewing, quilting or my embroidery. I hope to get back to some of them real soon but this place was rolling in something that needed to be cleaned

Yuck and double yuck. There was a lot of this hiding in plain sight.

Yuck and double yuck. There was a lot of this hiding in plain sight.


and I really hope to make the house smile and welcome everyone more and more with each project done. This house and I are breathing life into each other and I know that silk purse is around here somewhere.

Do you think houses are living things? Do they speak to you?

From my heart to yours,
Marlene Herself

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In Search of Tech Support

I haven’t written in several weeks. First I was afraid to jinx my good luck. When things “worked out”, I had no time to write anything cohesive. I was trying to stay awake long enough to pick up tech support at the airport. Flight was an hour late. I drove to the airport before it got dark and just waited. Tech support is important to a blogger and anyone who spends as much time on the internet as I do.

On Friday the 13th, I got these in my hot little hand.

On Friday the 13th, I got these in my hot little hand.

I had been without internet for two days. I don’t think that’s happened since I first started using the computer. I had no idea how addicted (?) I am to the vast reaches of my wireless modem. I don’t excite easily but lose my internet connection and watch the electricity come off me. This last month I have e-mailed documents, printed them, signed them, scanned the signed copy back into the computer and e-mailed the document back to the sender. Did you know you can buy a house without ever seeing a human being? Then I learned how to play money on the internet. It’s like playing monopoly online. One click of the mouse and money’s all gone. You just bought some real estate that’s not quite Park place. But this time I have something to show for it.

Hydrangea by my front steps

Hydrangea by my front steps

If all works well, and you will know for certain by the appearance of this post, tech support landed safely and drove us to my new home. He will have to wade through bags and boxes to find the equipment he needs. Everything came out of the moving truck and the back of my car, landing squarely in the middle of every room, randomly.

Best move out of the 4 in last 4 years. Last one...I hope.

Best move out of the 4 in last 4 years. Last one…I hope.

So short and sweet, I have managed to purchase a manufactured home in a park where I rent the space. Not ideal but I have no one living down or upstairs. I don’t have to tiptoe at night or at 4:30 a.m. when I wake. I can paint my walls bright white and hang my own window coverings. It will cost me the same each month or even less than renting my apartment. This place needed a LOT of work to make it fresh and clean. I even needed to replace a floor. The pet the woman “didn’t have” made a real mess in one room and small messes in many. That fact was well hidden until I had the keys in hand. I’ll tell you more about it as time permits but just wanted you to know I have not been resting on my ample laurels.

After I ripped out the carpet and tackless strip.

After I ripped out the carpet and tackless strip.

sewing chair will roll nicely on this and it smells better now. Oil based paint underneath to seal it.

sewing chair will roll nicely on this and it smells better now. Oil based paint underneath to seal it.

This home park is like only a few I have seen. Plenty of green space around them and little fenced yards for your pet. The homes are permanent. They stay here until they fall apart and are replaced with another factory assembled home. I take care of my yard which is a perfect size for me. I even managed to snag a free lawnmower from someone moving on. My home was built the same year as my car so I’ll always know how old they are. They both need updating.

View from my kitchen window. Needs some care but it brings so much peace.

View from my kitchen window. Needs some care but it brings so much peace.

I don’t plan to see boredom until oh, 2025 maybe. I’ll send more pictures soon but tech support has completed his task and is scrounging the refrigerator for food I do not have at the moment. He’s going to have to wait till his next trip out to have mom cook his favorites. I’m just too tired right now. I might have managed the job of hooking up the internet but with everything else, it would have just been a bit much. You can’t beat a man at his own game. My techy took care of internet connection in 3 minutes flat. My tech support also hangs new shades, installs toilets and puts up shelves etc, etc, etc. I’m so lucky. All he needed was leftover Christmas cookies.

Who knew he would become my tech support and all round help? Just feed him.

Who knew he would become my tech support and all round help? Just feed him.

Tech support riding the cart while shopping. They never grow up really.

Tech support riding the cart while shopping. They never grow up really.

How far would you go to get tech support?

From my heart to yours,
Marlene Herself

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Filed under My thoughts about things

In Search of Versatility

I have received something I was not expecting. The Versatile Blogger award from Lisa Reiter at Sharing the Story. I am so very appreciative. Thank you Lisa. It’s taken me longer than expected to finish this blog.  Please bare with me a moment. As it happened, I finally gave in and called in tech support. (my son)

I have been nominated several times by several different bloggers for awards but unfortunately, I turned them down. Not because I wasn’t appreciative, but because I couldn’t figure out how to get them onto my blog page.

I’m in my mid 60’s (leaning a little to the far end here) and I work hard to keep up with technology. I can get a bit annoyed when folks my age say they have no need to learn new things. They hate technology. Same mentality that was present when cars were introduced during the horse and buggy era. We are not going backwards folks, no matter how much we miss the “good old days”. (Count me out on that one.)

I get a new laptop every 3 or 4 years and yes, I still swear at Windows 8. Please, someone fix it. I have a smart phone, know how to text, e-mail and use my GPS. I think it’s fun to learn new things. My motto has always been “if I don’t learn something new everyday, close the lid”. Yesterday, I learned to do a wire transfer over the internet. Whoo Hooo! Money all gone now! Today I’m going to learn how to paste the award on my blog courtesy of Lisa Reiter. Lisa did what I want to do and was exploring new blogs. She read many of mine and decided I was a candidate for the Versatile Blogger Award. Thank you so much Lisa. Again, I am honored.

versatile-blogger

Now comes the fun part. The instructions are:

1. Thank the person who gave you this award.versatile-blogger
2. Include a link to their blog.
3. Next, select 15 excellent blogs/bloggers that you’ve recently discovered or follow regularly.
4. Nominate those 15 bloggers for the Versatile Blogger Award – include a link to this site.
5. Finally, tell the person who nominated you 7 things about yourself.

This is not going to be easy but I have to try. Lisa made it so easy and also connected me with Sandra Bellamy at Quirkybooks to walk me through the process to get the image onto the blog. You just meet the nicest people on blogs!

So here are the Blogs I nominate as they have so many different things to educate and entertain:

1. Willow-Marie.real.
2. grevilleacorner
3. Living Simply Free
4. Gardening Nirvana
5. To Breathe is to Write
6. A View From My Summerhouse
7. The Contented Crafter
8. Boomdeeadda
9. Texana’s Kitchen
10. seeking life
11. What’s Green with Betsy?!?
12. pam grout
13. Writing Is My Drink
14. Eye-Dancers
15. The Garden Diaries

Now comes the hard part. List 7 things about myself. It seems easier when I respond to lists someone else comes up with. Things I can relate to, others not. So here is my attempt.

1. I have, but never want to start my day without a cup of coffee. (or two)
2. As much as I enjoy the company of people, I require a great deal of quiet, alone time.
3. I’m a collector of wayward fabric, books of every sort, butterflies and Angels
4. My favorite place in the world is a bookstore or a library. If it has food or coffee attached, so much the better.
5. I have moved 34 times in my life that I can remember. This month will be number 35. I think I’m done.
6. Most people don’t know that I’m terrified of them and struggle to make friends.
7. I love being older. It’s the best time of my life and I’m enjoying every tippy minute of it.

Thank you for reading and for the hours of education and entertainment you’ve given. I would like to read more blogs and as soon as the unpacking is complete and the boxes burned, (not literally). I will then settle in to widen my horizons.

From my heart to yours,
Marlene Herself

20 Comments

June 15, 2014 · 4:15 am

The Voice

Since I’m overloaded with moving right now, I’m filling in with a writing assignment I did for class. I don’t get any feedback to find out if it’s awful so you get to suffer through and feel free to critique. I promise to let you know when I know what gives with the home purchase. This is a major lesson in patience. I have none and it shows.

THE VOICE

Seven year old Maddie had been outside playing for an hour while the little ones took their nap. She wasn’t allowed back in until they were awake in case she made too much noise. Mom was taking a nap with them and waking her could be disastrous. Mom needed the nap more than the 2 toddlers and another baby on the way.

Maddie was hoping enough time had passed because she was thirsty and bored outside all alone. All the other kids had already gone back to their own homes. She quietly opened the large front door that led to the six interior apartments. There were 2 apartments on each floor with housekeeping rooms on the fourth floor that ran the entire length of the building to the other side where there were six more apartments. Downstairs a basement filled with storage lockers ran the full length of both units as well. Both sets of units had a large playroom at either end. The kids rarely played up there because there was nothing they could really do without making too much noise.

Stepping into the foyer, Maddie started for the stairs that led to her first floor unit. That’s when she noticed movement and heard someone call to her. Turning toward the basement steps, she saw a man dressed in a nice brown suit and a hat. Odd attire for someone in the storage area. Maybe he was lost. Again, he call to Maddie asking her to come down and answer a question for him. Maddie took a step forward to ask what he wanted. He waved her on down. He seemed nice enough and Maddie was always told she lived in a very safe place. She took a second step forward when she heard it. A voice she didn’t recognize said to her, “he means to hurt you; RUN!” Maddie looked around for where the voice was coming from but saw no one. Thinking herself silly, as her mother often called her, she reached for the handrail to go down. Again the voice warned her with more intensity this time. Then something happened that just couldn’t. A breeze in the closed basement blew the man’s jacket open. Inside the top jacket pocket was the handle of a long knife.

Maddie didn’t waste another second. She ran to her apartment door and banged on it loudly. No one answered and she was afraid the man would come up the stairs and take her down there. She banged one more time and still on one came to open the door so Maddie ran up. She ran all the way to the top floor and across the building, then down the stairs coming out the other side through that front door. All the while she was terrified because no one saw her or heard her run. She was afraid she would see the man outside but there was no sign of him anywhere. She stood outside for what felt like an eternity, shaking in disbelief. What had just happened?

Finally, she could wait no more and tried one more time to go home. Opening the front door to the building ever so carefully and quietly, Maddie looked inside to see if the man was still there. No sign of him by the door or in the basement. Maddie ran to her front door and knocked again. At long last, mother opened the door and she ran in. Her heart was still racing as she tried to tell her mother what happened. Mother thought she was being foolish but when dad came home they reported it to the police anyway. The police looked around the building but there was no sign of any strange man in a brown suit with a brown hat in the area. The police said if he had been there at all, he was probably long gone and Maddie shouldn’t worry.

Maddie never told her parents or the police about the voice that warned her. They weren’t really listening to her anyway. Maybe she had just imagined it. Maybe she was as silly as her mother said. That’s what she thought; until the next time she heard it.

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Filed under creative non-fiction

In Search of Homes for All

I am still in the waiting game with the bank. They want a bank statement that won’t be generated till June 7 and not available till June 10. The want it June 3. I see why so many people choose to rent. I will if I must but the rents here just went up another $40 a month. Wow! Supply and demand. If everyone trying to buy a home, even one like I’m trying to buy has this much aggravation, I understand the rental demand.

On that note, I’ll tell you about a few others that needed a bit of help to find a home. My daughter and I were coming back from our Sunday errands and saw little kittens poking their sweet faces out from under the apartment building across from me. The neighbor who lives there is not fond of cats, especially feral cats. I just can’t seem to mind my own business. So I brought down a little tin of food and a small, soft cat kennel. Those frisky little guys are like stealth jets. Lunging for food, then retreating into the hole. I finally managed to snag one and pop it into the kennel for a trip to my guest bath. My daughter took one look at (her) and gifted her the name Smudge.

Any question as to why she got her name? She also ran the show.

Any question as to why she got her name? She also ran the show.

It took another day to collect two more and while I was sitting on my neighbor’s porch trying to catch the last two, I was being observed by a gentleman in his car. He had apparently been keeping track and feeding the mother cat. He and his wife were going to attempt to get her spayed if they could corral momma. That was one big cat and I was not going to mess with her. I know almost nothing about them other than I wanted to find them homes.

Smudge got her share first, then the other 2 ate. I think that's why Smudge was the biggest.

Smudge got her share first, then the other 2 ate. I think that’s why Smudge was the biggest.

As it turned out, the gentleman and his wife came to my place and decided to call Smudge their own. They took her to their vet while I took the other two to mine. Ironic that I have a vet and own no animals. I thought about keeping one or two but I am surrounded by packed boxes with little room to walk, much less keep track of wily kittens. One wrong move and they would be gone again. On top of that, the vet determined they needed some extensive treatments which I didn’t have the resources or energy to do. Smudge had the same problems but her family were in a better position to take care of that. The vet fosters kittens so she took them in for treatment and would then place them in good homes. I was sad and happy at the same time.

Cinder and Puff (of smoke) outside the hard kennel. Door was open but they felt safe in there.

Cinder and Puff (of smoke) outside the hard kennel. Door was open but they felt safe in there.

It had to be about what was best for the kittens, not what would entertain me. I won’t have the time to devote for a while so it’s best for me to wait and see. In the meantime, I’ll do my best to keep wrangling strays when they cross my path.

Puff was larger than Cinder. At 7 weeks old, they are just too tiny

Puff was larger than Cinder. At 7 weeks old, they are just too tiny

Is there any solution to the abandonment of unwanted pets that leaves them to fend for themselves? If we can’t make some people responsible for the children they’ve brought into the world, how can we persuade them to be responsible for the animals they leave behind? I’m trying hard not to rant here, but I really want to.

From my heart to yours,
Marlene Herself

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