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

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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

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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

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In Search of a Mixed Bag

I’ve had a wonderful Labor Day weekend. Mine started on Sunday and went through Tuesday. My daughter made reservations for two nights at the beach in Newport, Oregon to celebrate my birthday. I love it there and was looking forward to the cool. It thrilled her to be able to pay for our room and buy our meals for the three days we were there or on the road. The drive takes a whole three hours and we took the scenic route.

A nice spot for reflection and grounding.

A nice spot for reflection and grounding.

For her it was the first time she has been employed well enough to have extra money for such a luxurious gift. Her gifts are always thoughtful, just usually required some thrift. I never minded, always just happy enough to hear from her or spend some time together now that we live close.

Doing some grounding of her own with gratitude.

Doing some grounding of her own with gratitude.

 

While she is settled in wonderful employment, my son has been laid off from a high paying, highly skilled job. He has always been able to quickly find new work. This time, the work has been outsourced. There are many like him, highly trained and skilled and willing to work long tedious hours that can find nothing left here that can use any of their skills. It’s happened to many industries so he’s in good company. There is a lot of swift activity going on to get his house sold as well as a relatively newer car before the hand of doom sweeps in. Realtors have been by in droves and we are hoping for the best. Keeping a good attitude has been the most helpful tool.

 

There are 100 steps. We did them up and down...twice. Life is like that. The good stuff is always at the other end.

There are 100 steps. We did them up and down…twice. Life is like that. The good stuff is always at the other end.

My younger sister is also looking for a fresh start with my new home as her base camp. She is hunting for short-term work at an age she would normally be thinking about permanent retirement. It could be easier if computers were her friend but that’s not the case. She will then try to find a place of her own that is affordable and not so far from where all her activities are.

 These are scenes that have played out over and over throughout history. When it’s happening to you, it seems like the sand on the beach was just washed out from under your feet.

 

Beach was littered with jelly fish that just couldn't get back to where they needed.

Beach was littered with jelly fish that just couldn’t get back to where they needed.

While my daughter and I played tourist, others around us and the world are losing their footing. My son is seeing it as an opportunity for a major life shift. This could well be his base camp in the near future. We’d be delighted to have him closer. Hopefully he can find a way to carve out a new career for himself here. Only time will tell.

 

Heavy machinery required to rescue a capsized boat. Sometimes we have to be the heavy equipment for each other.

Heavy machinery required to rescue a capsized boat. Sometimes we have to be the heavy equipment for each other.

Life is always a mixed bag. I’m a pragmatic Virgo. You just keep putting one foot in front of the other till you step on solid ground again. The climb may be steep but with tenacity, relentlessness, fortitude, or whatever driving force moves you in that forward direction, you persevere. I can bet 90 percent of you have gone through something like this at one time or another and come out the other side thinking that it turned out to be a gift in disguise. We are counting on it again. That was my birthday wish this year. All who are struggling with major change, let your light shine at the other end of that tunnel.

 

There is always a sweet ending.

There is always a sweet ending.

 

 

From my heart to yours,

Marlene Herself

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In Search of Time to Write

I’m a blabber mouth. Yes, it’s true. I’ll converse with you about anything, anytime. I had a teacher actually tape my mouth shut in grade school. I thought it was funny until I almost didn’t get the tape off before I got home. It would not have been pretty. We weren’t allowed to speak at home. I made up for it big time in school.

I love the conversations I’m having with my new neighbors. The blabber mouth part stops when the conversation is done. I don’t carry what I hear from one to the other. People fascinate me and to keep them talking, I spend more time listening and share only enough of my own story to let them know I understand who they are and accept them. I learn from each and everyone.

That roll of metal in the trailer becomes the white cutter coming out the back side. Oh, my. I had no idea how they were made.

That roll of metal in the trailer becomes the white cutter coming out the back side. Oh, my. I had no idea how they were made.

Almost 60 ft of gutter comes out the other end all in one piece. Amazing!

Almost 60 ft of gutter comes out the other end all in one piece. Amazing!

 

In the two months I’ve lived in my new home, I have meet almost all my neighbors. Some just briefly, others have chosen to spend a bit more time. One older gentleman passes by and checks on the progress of my front garden. He asked if I were growing rocks in it. That was mostly what remained from the previous owner. Of course I replied that I was and hadn’t they grown quite large in such a short time. They did look larger without all the cover.

 

Next spring when everything fills in the boulders won't look so big again.

Next spring when everything fills in the boulders won’t look so big again.

 

I have been so busy making my home my own, that I have had almost no time to write about it or anything else that has crept through my pea brain as I tilled the dirt endlessly. I get up early to write in my journal and have my coffee as it is part of my spiritual practice. There is always a portion of my journal dedicated to gratitude. Then the outdoors calls me to come play in the dirt. I am so lucky not to have to go to a job. I love my life right now. Old age has many benefits.

It still looks bare but by next spring maybe I can add some pizzaz and some much needed paint.

It still looks bare but by next spring maybe I can add some pizzaz and some much needed paint.

 

We are getting some much needed rain today so the outdoors will wait for a bit. I could be hanging more pictures and artwork or putting more sewing stuff in a proper home but it seemed to finally be the moment for which I have been waiting. To sit down to read and write.

I’ll have the next three days off with my daughter and while she rests I can read a bit and maybe get a more of that writing done that keeps my brain fidgeting at night.
We are going to the beach. Her birthday gift to me and she has to do the driving. She made reservations for Sunday through Tuesday coming home Tuesday evening. We will be going out as others are coming back from this Labor Day weekend. We will walk, talk, shop and REST.

My sister wanted to play too. Pressure washing the deck before re-staining it. The dark is slimy when wet.

My sister wanted to play too. Pressure washing the deck before re-staining it. The dark is slimy when wet.

This was a cakewalk compared to stump grinding. A lot more still to do.

This was a cakewalk compared to stump grinding. A lot more still to do.

 

I have been dropping into bed each night with every muscle in my body aching from use. What a wonderful feeling it is but looking forward to some down time and as the hint of autumn creeps into the late August air, I feel more coming. I was even persuaded to sign up for the writing class again just to be forced into sharpening my writing skills. I miss all the fellow students and it will be nice to see everyone.

Have a wonderful Labor Day everyone. How do you celebrate it?

He who works with his hands is a laborer. He who works with his hands and his head is a craftsman. He who works with his hands and his head and his heart is an artist. ~ St. Francis of Assisi

From my heart to yours,
Marlene Herself

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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