Looking for answers to life's questions

Once again, mom sent me out to find my sister, now four years old. Mom’s hands were full and she wasn’t moving as fast as I could. My sister also did not want to be found or confined in any way. The pursuit of freedom was her agenda in the world, along with a good time.

I looked outside first. Outside was the place to be. When that search was exhausted, I looked to the playroom. As I reached the fourth floor I looked into the playroom on our side of the building with no luck. There was another playroom all the way across on the second side of the building with the long hall housing maid’s quarters. I would head that way just in case.

 

A reminder of what it looked like.

We never saw the inside of those tiny rooms because they were always locked as was the common bathroom for them. That was not the case this day. Someone had left the bathroom door unlocked. There, leaning up on the sink was my little sister, trying to figure out how to turn off the hot water but the handle had become too warm and water was running everywhere. Lots of water. She told me her hands were dirty so she wanted to wash them. I quickly shut off the taps and walked her all the way across the top of the entire building and down the other side hoping to get her dry enough that the parents didn’t notice.

Unnoticed by our parents, no questions were asked when we slipped in the door. They didn’t notice things like my sister sneaking sips from their Cognac glasses while they played cards with friends either. She was much easier to put to bed afterward so I wasn’t going to tell.

I never gave the water incident another thought until several days later. I was up there again and noticed the wood floors in front of the bathroom and most of the way down the hall formed a little hill. The floor had lifted up in a way that you almost couldn’t walk on it. I knew, just knew, that this was a result of my sister letting the water run but I just did not know what to do about it. So, I stayed silent. Speaking out would have brought extreme consequences to my sister.

As it was, we were getting ready to move out of these apartments and back to the States. No one ever found out about the floors while we were there and my sister played outside.

For some reason, the move to the States slowed her antics down. Maybe it was because she was getting older as were my baby brothers. With less available for her to get into,  life became a bit less chaotic. She continued to tromp through life at full barrel, swinging off vines in the woods behind our Georgia apartment for the next five years.

Can you see it yet?

At the same time, my memory of her later antics started to fade. There were times that I would catch her doing something I knew would get her in big trouble and I would paddle her as only a preteen could and tell her not to do it again. I did not want heavy hands coming down on her. Her exuberance fed me.

Life was never easy for this child that refused to fit in any box. A creature of her own making, she is out to show the world that she will live life on her terms. And so, she has; with all my love.

From my heart to yours,

Marlene Herself

It’s here today and gone tomorrow. Spring finally showed up and I put out my welcome sign. In the next moment, we went back to winter then summer and finally spring again. What we had of spring was lovely  Everything is confused except the bees. I’m listening to them.

 

Dressing in layers is the only way to go these days. We get a cold rainy day then a scorcher.  One day I have lots of energy to put into the yard  The next day I’m spinning my wheels and sitting trying to decide if I can do anything of use.  I’ve been here in my cozy home for four years at the end of this month and made so many changes.

 

Spring is the month I can get the most work done outside and even inside. Once I could open all the windows, I took a day to clean my oven. Four years ago, it took 4 hours to clean that nasty mess the previous owner left for me. Now it’s taking me a whole day to clean a rarely used oven. Looks like some of my spring, sprang.

Ground cover spreading and front porch in need of serious help.

Weeding on the hill and the front yard took lots of rest periods that would never have happened four years ago. But the end result was worth it.

 

The entire top of the hill was covered in these sticker weeds. Birds carry the seeds everywhere as does the wind.

 

 

beginning of the weeding

 

Still more work to do but a good start. Lower bed is the Oregano and Thyme.

I have been gifted with pieces of many plants from friends around here. I take those gifts seriously and nurture them to the best of my ability. Of course, I gift in return. A neighbor came looking for Thyme to cook his dinner.He said what I gave would have cost him $5 for a small bundle, he wound up with triple for a thank you. I’ve offered my Oregano as well to anyone that wants fresh. I’ve passed on ground cover and anything that I’m growing that can be split. It’s how the world should work. I get a lot of my plants from a fellow blogger and photographer, Sabine.

There are lots of projects on the list. This week I had the distinct urge to take care of my window trim as it was the last cool, cloudy day on the sunny side of the house. If the butterfly bush blooms, it will be covered in bees which are not conducive to standing on the ladder with black paint. I’m embarrassed to say it’s taken two years to get to this. I’ll do the one on the front porch tomorrow. Then I must sand the stairs and railing on the front porch and re-stain. Today I can’t move. Old feet on ladders takes its toll. I’ll wait for the next surge of energy.  They don’t come so often anymore.

So I’ve hung up the Welcome Summer sign since my spring is sprung anyway. How about you? Are you ready to welcome the next season or is there still a spring in your step?

This one goes up Memorial Day and stays until after Labor Day.

From my heart to yours,

Marlene Herself

 

It seems a natural thing for children to dance, a spontaneous action to their inherent joy. It becomes an issue when children dance on high things and don’t always pay attention.

It took all her strength to sit still there

My younger sister liked to dance, anywhere, anytime without a care in her mind. She was as happy and playful as I was serious and responsible. Her joy and playfulness fed my soul. She had rhythm where I had none. Her balance came later. I have to admit to finding no photos of her dancing anywhere because our parents were too busy to take photos.

By the time the youngest was that age, dancing on the furniture was photo worthy.

I heard the cry and ran into our bedroom. Mom ran in too. Mom saw the blood and started to panic. The drawers were pulled out of the dresser to make stairs so my sister could climb them to the top. As she had been dancing on the top of the dresser, it dumped her over and her head hit the corner of a drawer.

There was blood everywhere and mom didn’t know what to do. This was a new one for us so it seemed like the thing to do was to ask someone who might know about these things for some help.

I ran upstairs to the apartment directly above us. Mrs. Markum had three boys. Rowdy, mean boys that were always tormenting me if they saw me outside and they were also always covered with scrapes and cuts from their antics. A younger one was my sister’s partner in crime. Mrs. Markum would know what to do with blood.

We were on the bottom left of this building. Mrs M was directly above Photos taken in 2006 when we returned for a visit.

 

These were big buildings with several rows of them behind us.

I knocked and she answered. I pleaded my case and she immediately ran downstairs to help. Putting pressure with a clean cloth on my sister’s head, the bleeding slowed and then she scooped up my sister and took her and my mother to the base medic. When they got back my sister has a couple of little stitches at her hairline and a Band-Aid. She was happy once again and mom had some color back in her face. I had stayed home to watch my brother while they were gone and mop up some of the blood from the floor. Who knew heads bled so profusely from small cuts.

Mrs. Markum said that when the head bleeds like that, just put a clean cloth with some pressure on the cut. I was happy she talked to me like a grownup and realized that I would understand and know what to do. Thank goodness because this was only the first of seven times in that year my sister would need to be treated for what I called “holes in her head” during that year. She was like a bull in a china shop, running, dancing and plowing into things that made her head bleed.

How could you ever be angry with a face like that? Age 3 inside our apartment.

Our dad would often comment when we said something he thought was not too bright that we had rocks in our heads. When my sister said or did things he would think not to bright, she had holes in her head. It never stopped her from dancing though.

 

From my heart to yours,

Marlene Herself

 

Bloggers are a different breed of people. I think most have a broader perspective of the world. Our world is larger in many ways even if it appears to the eye to be quite small.

I started blogging six years ago to enlarge my world created by a debilitating illness. I could no longer drive my car that had taken me thousands of miles across the country. Catching a bus to go shop was a major event that brought a great deal of fatigue. The blogging community rescued me from self-pity and taught me I could reach out as well.

African Violet loves the kitchen sink area. Happy day.

I have met (virtually) many who are in some capacity, more debilitated than I, offering great strength and courage. Their tenacity moved me forward. Even though we are somewhat debilitated or even disabled, we still have much to share with one another.

Over the last year, my local quilting friend Patti was working on a cross stitch that I fell in love with. It was a pattern company I was familiar with but had never seen this design. Already having given away all counted cross stitch patterns I had as I could no longer see the tiny squares, I asked Patti if I could borrow the pattern to copy and share with a blogging friend that I thought might enjoy it. I was hoping to pay this blogger to make it for me.

Patti said that as soon as she was done with the pattern, I could have it. True to her word, as I ogled the finished project, she handed over the pattern which I promptly forwarded to my friend Lois at Life in a Minimalist Farmhouse.

I have sent and received gifts from many bloggers over the years. They are cherished more than anyone can imagine. These people have never and probably will never meet me in person. Despite this, we have formed deep and personal relationships. Lois is one of those friends who inspire on a daily basis. She reclaims cast offs and re-purposes them, inspires neighbors to garden, repair and rebuild. I had a lot of pink fabric and no more little girls to use it on as well as a few children’s books and no more children. I passed them on to Lois who had grandchildren that appreciated what she made from the fabric and enjoyed the books.

Previous gifts from Lois

This is what I received from Lois soon after sending her the pattern. Now she is making one for herself from it and then sharing it with another friend.

She chose different colors than the pattern asked for. I LOVE them.

I can be quite slow about getting things framed but this was too beautiful to wait. After all the hours of her hard work, I had to get it up on the wall quickly. So. I went to Craft Warehouse and had a discount coupon to get it framed in a way I hope brings more attention to the art than the frame. Thank you, Lois. You do incredible work. Her work on holiday and celebration gifts are stunning. Stop by and pay this amazing woman a visit. She just posted her version of this design so stop by and take a look at it here.

The frame is the same color as the trees.

Have you enjoyed close friendships with other bloggers?

From my heart to yours,

Marlene Herself

Lucky 13

Growing up in our house was very interesting. My mother, it turned out, was very superstitious. No shoes on the bed for any reason, no black cats (or cats of any color) could cross our path, no walking under ladders and squeezing your thumbs could bring you luck.

At school, we learned more folklore superstitions. Don’t step on a crack, knocking on wood, throwing salt over your shoulder if you spilled any. It was much later that I learned that 13 was an unlucky number and Friday the 13th was to be spent under the covers hiding from bad things happening that day. Breaking a mirror brought 7 years of bad luck, winning the big side of a wishbone brought good luck and the list went on.

Scary statue

I have since worked my way through those superstitions one by one until none really apply anymore. The biggest being the bad luck of Friday the 13th. A number of years ago, on a Friday the 13th, I had a daughter. The last child I planned to have and of course in those days, we didn’t know what we were getting until we go it.

Moss grows on everything.

That Friday the 13th was my lucky day. My daughter was healthy and perfect. Since then, every time I pull the number 13 in a raffle, I win. Everything related to the number 13 brings something extra special.

Daisy umbrella dispels the gloom

Once again, my daughter’s birthday fell on Friday the 13th. This year we covered a lot of ground. First a trip on the MAX to the quilt/sewing show then getting off the MAX   (Metropolitan Area Express or light rail) for a little lunch and a big dessert with shopping in a couple of our favorite places. We had tea at the Japanese Gardens even though it was cold with on and off rain. It rained when we were inside somewhere and stopped while we were outside most of the time. My daughter is teaching herself Japanese for the challenge.

We always have a great time together now that she has grown up into an incredible human. She was an independent thinker (and still is) and a challenging child. She often tells me how grateful she is that I let her live through some of the stuff she pulled. It was her aunt that prepared me for her.

Tea t-shirt always a favorite. “I could say I love you more than tea but that would be silly talk.”

So, when I see a Friday the 13th coming or anything with the number 13, I realize how lucky I am. My perception has changed about so many things in life. I have two wonderful adult children, a sister I’m very close to and many good friends. I am the luckiest person in the world.

Did you know that Friday the 13th comes only once in some years, twice in several others and rarely three times in a year? Our next one is in July of 2018 and the next year that we get three of them is 2026.

How was your Friday the 13th? Are you superstitious?

From my heart to yours,

Marlene Herself

My little  sister wanted very much to go to school with me every day. At three, four and five, there was no school for her on our Army base in Aschaffenburg, Germany.  Our mother would have liked nothing better than to send this curious and very active child to school.

The school building was just a block away from our apartment building. There was no enticing playground equipment. It was a basic building in an L shape with no frills. Our days were spent inside trying to learn hard things like arithmetic. I loved school with all the pencils, paper and notebooks. I could bring mine home to do my homework. My sister loved them too. We started playing school where I was the teacher about that time.

One afternoon in the middle of class, an office worker summoned me to the principal’s office immediately. I had never been to the principal’s office and was very surprised to see my little sister out their window with her arms full of paper, pencils and crayons. She had a smile on her face and seemed so pleased with herself.

I was told to take her home and then come and clean up the mess she made by turning over the big trash barrels outside to get all this wonderful stuff that had been tossed out. Wow, I thought to myself! How did she know all that good stuff was in those trash cans and how did she manage to dump them over? When I asked her about it on our way home, she said she had seen them tossing stuff out and wanted some of it to play with.

My little sister caught up with me in size quickly. This was taken a couple of years later by the grandparents with a camera our parents didn’t have. I was 9, she was 4 here

Well, I couldn’t fault that or the ingenuity to get it done but when I looked down at her feet I realized she was wearing my slippers, not her own. I asked her why she was wearing my slippers outside and all she had to say was she didn’t want to get hers dirty. Mom would be mad at her if she did. There was that devious mind I knew and finally grew to love.

Remember the slippers? Our Oma gave them to us and we loved them. Mine were never the same.

Always the wise, resourceful little dickens but it was one more fun thing she was not allowed to repeat. I was really sorry about that.

From my heart to yours,

Marlene Herself

MEAN PEOPLE

Just a very quick note here. Someone or many someones have apparently tried hacking my account and e-mail where I get notifications. This has happened to other bloggers so if you see a like on your site that doesn’t feel quite right, ignore it. I’m making some changes and have informed WP. They are already working on this due to others having the same issues. I can’t figure out the point of this hacking. Most of us here have little to nothing so what’s the point of this other than just to prove they can and be mean. They sure wouldn’t like us doing it to them.

Just another word of caution. I had a warning blaring on my computer that I had been infected and to call the Windows number written below. Do not call that number. I called my personal tech support that had to deal with the same thing earlier. Many of you know these things. I’m no spring chicken here nor very techy but at least I didn’t panic. Took a photo of my screen and messaged it on my phone to my son. (tech support) I had hoped all was well but will be changing e-mail accounts as well as passwords.

Darn those mean people. Lets hope you don’t run into them.

From my heart to yours,

Marlene Herself