In Search of Something Spooky

It’s Halloween again. I have to admit it has not been my favorite holiday but it’s growing on me thanks to the blogging community, especially the queen of Halloween herself at Gardening Nirvana. She made her own costume and it’s incredible as are her pumpkins and cards. Here is my daughter’s version of pumpkin carving. She had so much fun doing it.

My daughter had a pumpkin carving contest at work. Her's is spooky...ish

My daughter had a pumpkin carving contest at work. Her’s is spooky…ish

Halloween is my blogging anniversary. This is my third Halloween. I re-read my first blog and it was a sad thing indeed. I’ve learned one or two things since and hope to learn and grow even more with your help of course. Every time I thought I should give it up, one of you cheered me on.

They glow and make noise if you jiggle the battery box. Spooky?  eh. Not so much

They glow and make noise if you jiggle the battery box. Spooky? eh. Not so much

This year was going to be different. I decorated the outside of my new/old home. My daughter loves Halloween and really gets into it so we made a trek to the Halloween store and picked up many things to put in my yard. It was the first time ever to decorate outside. I got out all the cute things I had for inside the house but they were never put into place.

reaching from the grave. Is it at all spooky?

reaching from the grave. Is it at all spooky?

You know that phrase “make plans and watch God laugh”? Well the heavens opened up with a belly laugh. I’m not home for Halloween this year. I’ll be painting all day on my son’s halls and stairwell. Let me tell you, if I hand out candy after a day of painting, I’ll scare everyone, not just the kids.

We hung orange lights so  the skeleton wasn't scared at night. It's spooky out there in the dark.

We hung orange lights so the skeleton wasn’t scared at night. It’s spooky out there in the dark.

Bedrooms and molding also have to be painted hopefully before the appraiser comes by. I’ve packed a few more boxes and held up lighted mirrors as he screwed them to the wall. I let in the contractors that put in the new counter top and sinks in the master bath taking photos so he could see the process while at work. Someone will have a beautiful master bath that has not been used yet. We are expecting hoping for a flawless escrow and to be out of here by Dec 1.

Those chains on that little fence won't scare me. How about you?

Those chains on that little fence won’t scare me. How about you?

My son will be at work till late on Halloween. (Not bad for a guy that was just laid off from a job) He’s doing freelance to keep paying the bills and so far it’s working. That’s spooky if you ask me. Having a huge mortgage and no job. Somehow, everything just keeps working out. He’s in escrow without a realtor. Yes, that’s scary too.

Here is something that really spooks me. Especially when I don't see them ahead of time. Creepy crawlies.

Here is something that really spooks me. Especially when I don’t see them ahead of time. Creepy crawlies.

My daughter and sister will be at my house handing out candy to the kids that brave the rain. I’ll be sitting out front with the rest of the neighbors here in the warm dry weather. There has been no significant rain here in the last year. That’s scary but not spooky. My daughter made her costume this year herself. The hat she wears all the time to start conversations was the starting point. You can barely see the earrings hanging from the horns. I’m tickled with the whole look of it.

She's quite proud of the final look. Me too. Can you tell she's part Swedish?

She’s quite proud of the final look. Me too. Can you tell she’s part Swedish?

She even decorated the backpack she uses every day on the train.

She even decorated the backpack she uses every day on the train.

I would never have thought of all this.

I would never have thought of all this.

Not much really spooks me anymore. How about you? What spooks you?

Happy Spooky Halloween.

From my heart to yours,
Marlene Herself

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In Search of the Next Big Adventure

Things change fast in my little world. I was finally catching my breath. Completing the simple pillowcase dress that is going with many others to an orphanage in Haiti, and 2 quilt squares for my quilting group that scared me to pieces. Quilts do that to me. I was ready to get on with the unpacking and putting away of MORE BOOKS.

Simple drawstring dress for little girls with so little

Simple drawstring dress for little girls with so little

bottom border of the dress

bottom border of the dress

I bought 3 more bookcases so I could get the rest of my books out of storage and eventually get a smaller, more inexpensive unit. I have more to give away and more to sell. There has been a lot of work going on here and a lot of play. Let’s break this down into bite sized chunks.

This was the prototype (experiment)  to see how the final one would look

This was the prototype (experiment) to see how the final one would look

I thought about making another like this prototype but changed my mind.

I thought about making another like this prototype but changed my mind.

My house is starting to look like a home and my sister who has been with me for the last three months is looking for a place of her own closer to her new job and all the places she goes to regularly. My place puts a lot of miles on her truck so the search is on.

Now I’ll be heading back to California for a month of working with my son to pack and paint his house. He has an offer on his home and they want a 30 day escrow. There is no realtor involved so they must do the paperwork. After putting my home together with the help of my children and sister, I’ll be helping to dismantle his.

ready to turn in and combine.

ready to turn in and combine.

A closer look at my take on a quilt square

A closer look at my take on a quilt square

This little birdy faces the other way.

This little birdy faces the other way.

My quilt squares were turned in this week and I thought they would be put into a big quilt and raffled off. That wasn’t the case. They were divided in two and names drawn to win each of the stacks of 12 blocks. I won a stack and now I’m supposed to put it together and bring it to the Christmas meeting. It’s obviously not going to happen. I doubt I can get it done when I get back in time for the December meeting but maybe for the party after Christmas. It will be a keepsake of each member that made a square.

We all started out with the same 2 fabrics. Then added our own touch. Now the fun begins...in December.

We all started out with the same 2 fabrics. Then added our own touch. Now the fun begins…in December.

Can you see why my mind is a little scattered these days? Our weather went from hot to canoe weather. Wish I could send some of it to those who need it. My son hasn’t seen significant rain in a year. I’m grateful every day I found this perfect place to be a platform for transitions. That’s the story of life. Nothing every stays the same. It’s all one big adventure, if you choose to see it that way. Go with the flow, that’s what the canoe is for. Paddle in the direction of the current, not against it.

Home is where we can ground ourselves and share with others. I hand embroidered this piece.

Home is where we can ground ourselves and share with others. I hand embroidered this piece.

Life has offered many challenges opportunities. Even my health challenges have an upside. Since my mouth doesn’t work as well as it used to, I spend more time listening and learning. So much for being the biggest talker in the family. On to this next adventure. I’ll let you know how it goes.

What’s your next big adventure?

From my heart to yours,
Marlene Herself

Posted in journey to health, My thoughts about things | Tagged , , , , , | 20 Comments

In Search of My Favorite

There aren’t enough hours in the day, days in the week or weeks in a year. I don’t think there is enough lifetime to pick my favorite. I could be talking about a lot of things here. In my mind I am but for this moment, I’m talking about quilts.

quilt of valor for our servicemen. This is why I quilt. Generous hearts in these quilters

quilt of valor for our servicemen. This is why I quilt. Generous hearts in these quilters

3 Native ladies

3 Native ladies

If you are not a quilter, please don’t despair and think this post is not for you. If you are an artist or an appreciator of art, as I am, than you will surely find something here to delight you. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I like some art more than others but the creativity in others never ceases to astound me. Please don’t let me open a Pinterest page. I’m gone for hours.

A soft colored landscape made completely from fabric, but how?

A soft colored landscape made completely from fabric, but how?

Even letters and postcards can be made into fabric art

Even letters and postcards can be made into fabric art

I couldn't begin to sew on this since I'm already dizzy.

I couldn’t begin to sew on this since I’m already dizzy.

Modern look for a traditional pattern

Modern look for a traditional pattern

There was every form of fabric art imaginable at the NW Quilters Show. It’s a small show and I pared my photos down to a few of those that came out in spite of bad light. I wish I had room to show them all and if I knew how to do a slide show, I would. Maybe I’ll learn that this winter.

I see these ladies at every quilt show in their skirts made from  ties.  I have lots of ties to create with, just not enough hours...yet.

I see these ladies at every quilt show in their skirts made from ties. I have lots of ties to create with, just not enough hours…yet.

Something simple.

Something simple.

This has taken a while to post as I’ve been quite busy on my own projects. More on that later. I’m almost ready to catch my breath. The quilt show inspired me to keep trying to quilt and try new techniques. A day of appreciation is always inspiring.

What inspires you and which was your favorite.

From my heart to yours,
Marlene Herself

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In Search of Truth Serum

Blogging 101 assignment: Write on the daily prompt on truth serum, who would you give it to (with permission) and what questions would you ask? Make it personal.

I would bet most everyone has seen the movie “Liar Liar” with Jim Carrey. It was a silly movie but spoke volumes about our culture. I laughed during the movie, then went home and cried. Speaking the truth was something I had to teach myself to do.

If I had truth serum, I would take it myself. I was taught early in life to evade the truth in favor of saying what others wanted to hear. Even when I spoke my truth, no one would listen or the consequences were dire. The person I lied to the most was quite obviously myself.

I’ve learned over many decades to read people and I can usually tell when I’m being lied to. I was not as good at recognizing when I was lying to myself. Telling the truth no matter what, is a skill that I have been working on for many years now. My kids taught me how to do that. They are remarkably honest and forthcoming no matter what the circumstances. How did that happen? Maybe because I was always delighted when they told the truth. Discipline was milder when the truth was told.

What questions would I ask myself? There is only one that still needs to be answered at this point in life. It’s the same one many of us don’t know how to answer.

What would make me so excited about life that I wouldn’t have to drag myself out of bed in the morning? Followed quickly by, what am I really in search of? Why do I keep eating junk when I know it’s bad for me? Am I insane? Crud, I already know the answer to the last question. So do you, I bet. I’m a writer after all. No truth serum necessary on that one.

From my heart to yours,
Marlene Herself

Posted in My thoughts about things | Tagged , , , | 11 Comments

In Search of What Can’t Be Left Behind

Blogging 101 gave us another assignment that I’m tardy in completing. I tend to get bogged down with the technical assignments as in widgets and the blogroll vs blogs I follow. This assignment is to write about what prompted my comment on a new blog I’ve read and link you to it. This assignment was easy since a new blog I’ve started following inspired many thoughts.

Shaku Dreaming has so much fodder for thought I almost didn’t know where to start. We have a few things in common. We both left our country of origin leaving much behind. I was only four, she a grown woman. My mother had the same issue of what had to be left and what would be brought along. Mom snagged two pots her mother used to make the much sought after bread balls that go under luscious meat gravy. I don’t think she asked her mother before packing them. My toys were left behind as well.

I keep these within reach now.

I keep these within reach now.

As a person with ample belongings, I wonder if the start we had here contributed to the collecting of stuff. Shaku takes us through her reasoning process of what had to come along on her journey and what was left behind. While reading, I was reminded also of another time that decision was forced on me. Moves always bring those thoughts about but so does a fire evacuation. We experience that during Arizona’s Rodeo-Chedeski fire in 2002.

We at least had some warning and time to think about what to take and leave behind. When you are filling vehicles you look real hard and ask a lot of questions. Mostly, what can be replaced and what is irreplaceable. I have to be very forthright here. I never expected the fire to get to our neighborhood. The Governor had a home right across the road in a gated community. We also backed up to the Apache Reservation. I have to admit I was a bit casual about it at the time but evacuation wasn’t a choice.

Welcome to the parade. Thank goodness for tail lights.

Welcome to the parade. Thank goodness for tail lights.

Obviously there are photos, family videos, personal papers that can’t be replaced like my naturalization papers, passports and insurance documents. Computers but not sewing machines found their way into the vehicles. Dog food and blankets to make sure my best friend was always cared for. We brought very few clothes. It turned out we were evacuated for a mere 10 days. We also brought a cooler filled with some food and drinks. That came in handy in our drive across the desert in 110 degree heat. My daughter was following us in our pickup when the AC quit. We had her drop towels into the ice water and wrap them around her neck to keep heat stroke at bay.

It's fire proof but too necessary to be left behind unless necessary

It’s fire proof but too necessary to be left behind unless necessary

In my new house, those pots will soon find a spot on my wall with the other artwork created by my mother. They are no longer cook worthy but very much a memory. I think my car will be much lighter if I have to pack it again. Go by and see what Shaku found important.

There are many situations in life that bring us back to basics. What is really important? Have you thought about it lately?

From my heart to yours,
Marlene Herself

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In Search of My Dream Reader

One of the first assignments from Blogging 101 was to write a blog to our dream reader. At the time I was unable to define that idea. Who was my dream reader? Heck, I was happy to have anyone read anything I wrote.

This blog was originated to find help or someone else on the planet who had Bells Palsy as long as I’d had it or possibly someone who could help me get rid of it. That was almost three years ago and I’d already had Bells almost two years. It will be five years in February. I wanted contact with the outside world since I was at the time virtually housebound, unable to drive anymore or walk without a cane since my balance had become impaired by the illness.

My dream reader in no longer someone who can help me but more someone to whom I can forward the help and inspiration I’ve received here. Now, I want to share what I’ve learned from this very weird illness and the spiritual growth that has come out of it. My daughter said it was to teach me “don’t just do something, sit there” which is the complete opposite of who I am and how we were raised. Doing something takes more effort than ever. Before I was ill, my dog never laid on my lap. The lap never stayed put. Once Bells started running my life, I had more lap time. Not as much anymore but that’s why I write with a lap-top. So I will sit there and do nothing (but write).

When I read Louise Hay’s book You Can Heal Your Life I looked up the illness of Bells Palsy. Under probable cause for the illness it said “extreme control over anger. Unwillingness to express feelings.” I have 3 copies of that book and was a walking, talking example of that probable cause. I was a very ANGRY person and no one knew. The anger is now gone and I’m quicker to express my true feelings, gently.

There are many books that have helped me along the way but none have been as helpful at restoring my health as my readers and fellow bloggers. At one time I felt alone in the world without support. This gypsy who never had roots has them in the blogging community now. Out of 160 followers, probable only a dozen actually read my posts and that is who I write for. They cheer me on and we wish each other well. We have kindness, empathy and a desire to connect in common. We learn from one another and teach our little bits of wisdom. You know who you are. You are my dream readers. My heart is filled with gratitude for you.

gratitude heart

From my heart to yours,
Marlene Herself

Posted in Bells Palsy, journey to health, My thoughts about things | Tagged , , , , , | 14 Comments

In Search of One Less Thing.

Two other posts have gone on the shelf and I couldn’t hit the publish button. I just can’t think these days. I made the mistake of signing up for Blogging 101 and have an inkling that once again, I’ve bitten off more than I can chew at this moment. The clue came after day three and I was already behind and couldn’t figure out the technology parts.

My intentions were good

My intentions were good

I got a call today to find out if I was planning on joining the embroidery club group this afternoon. Since the date had changed due to instructors circumstances, I opted out. Portland had a nice day with perfect temperatures to paint, pressure wash and plant. That was all I could handle. I answered the call with a paintbrush in one hand, the roller in the other and had fortunately just stepped off the ladder. Don’t tell my kids. I’m not supposed to be on ladders.

Side two almost sealed. It will be yellow soon

Side two almost sealed. It will be yellow soon

I managed to get a coat of sealer on three sides of the storage building, (one side is against the fence which was poor planning in my opinion) plant two Black Eyed Susan vines and pressure wash part of the fence. Had to stop because the lady next door came home sick and she needed to rest. The machine is loud.

I didn't know Black Eyed Susan's could be a vine. They will need a trellis I think.

I didn’t know Black Eyed Susan’s could be a vine. They will need a trellis I think.


These flowers won my heart. I love the color

These flowers won my heart. I love the color

Last Wednesday we had a pot luck for the writing class that only 4 of us showed up for so I decided that was a sign and unregistered. That was the subject of one of the unpublished posts. My intent is to keep things upbeat here. Tuesday was quilt group all day and they helped me learn something new. It was so much fun. I want to get back to it but I’m racing the rain to get the work outside done.
For an old woman, I have a lot going on and right now it looks like this house is at the top of the to-do list. Once the rains come, I will no longer be able to get outside work done and can concentrate on the indoor creativity. Pictures have been hung, Books are on their shelves and the piles of stuff on the tables has mostly found a home.

Just the beginning of what I hope will be a wonderful quilt

Just the beginning of what I hope will be a wonderful quilt

old green mold going away with pressure washing. Lots of fence to cover.

old green mold going away with pressure washing. Lots of fence to cover.

The interior is completely painted. Finished the kitchen and guest bath after my birthday. I have two squares to make for quilt group by mid-October; come on rain! Wait a minute, did I just say come on, when I’m trying to get ahead of it? No wonder I’m in trouble!

I loved the yellow but even with washing, it still smelled and looked dingy.  Fresh and clean now.

I loved the yellow but even with washing, it still smelled and looked dingy. Fresh and clean now.


My daughter loved the lavender. The room was just too small for it. More white.

My daughter loved the lavender. The room was just too small for it. More white.

Something has to give. I’m enjoying every moment of the work and the learning but I have a lunch date next week with a new neighbor and a quilt show to go to so what’s a gal to do? I’m thinking it’s time for one less thing to do and just enjoy a bit more. There are stacks of things I want to read along with blogs to catch up on.

Finally, one red tomato before season's end.

Finally, one red tomato before seasons end.

So what do I put aside for now? Bet you’ve NEVER had this dilemma. How did you handle it?

From my heart to yours,
Marlene Herself

Posted in My thoughts about things | Tagged , , , , , | 16 Comments