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

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

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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