Looking for answers to life's questions

Book Lovers

Today is National Book Lover’s Day. I had it saved on my calendar from last year. Dr. French has a post this year on the subject and he was the one who alerted me to this great day last year. I am always ready to celebrate a book.

This has been hanging on my walls for 15 years through many moves

I have often threatened to show photographs of my small book collection. It’s a good thing that my shelves have been culled and many passed on. There is a box waiting at the back door to go to “The Friends of the Library” bookstore. They sell used books so the library can buy new offerings.

One side of the living room

I have loved books since I discovered them at about the age of 12 when my parents bought eight for my Christmas gift. I had four Donna Parker and four Trixie Belden books. I had four of the books read before they were even wrapped and placed under the tree. Somehow my mother was suspicious of my over enthusiastic reception at Christmas. I sat on top of the refrigerator and read when mom was away and I was babysitting. They were hiding in the cupboard over the fridge with our school paper. Silly mom.

I have replaced some of
the original childhood books from that Christmas. When we moved, everything non-essential was left behind.

There was also a library on our base for the first time in my memory. Moving every six months to every couple of years left huge holes in my education so the library helped fill in the blanks. I started devouring books anytime I could get my hands on them which was not often enough.

the other end of the living room. I scrounge for book cases and space to put them.

My dream has always been to have a library in my own home, own a bookstore or at the very least work in one. I didn’t have the education to be a librarian but oh how I envied them.

In the den with the TV

My children are huge readers as well though only my son has kept enough to sink a battleship with the weight of them. My daughter reads as much but lets them go on so much easier. I’ve been a lending library for friends and family. My sister will often come and peruse my shelves looking for her next read.

At the end of the kitchen.

If you can read, you can do anything. I taught myself to cook, sew, quilt,  paint, meditate, and how to be a better person in the world from reading. I learned to garden and craft from a book. Books have kept me company when I’m alone and let me share when I’m not.

I had to stop accumulating so many books as I was afraid the floors of my factory crafted manufactured home would not hold much more weight. I’ve always joked that the books, soft and hard cover are insulation against the weather and holding down the house so it won’t blow away. I will buy a book before I buy food in case I can’t do both. Books will always be a  priority in my life. I need to learn something new every day and a book is a good place to do that.

Are you a book lover too? Do you have favorites or are they all friends?

From my heart to yours,

Marlene Herself

 

Lost and Found

Last night, while reading my Chicken Soup story just before dropping off to sleep, I saw a rather large (in my peripheral vision it was the size of a small tarantula) spider run up my bed to my pillow. I will not tell you the stream of words that came out of my mouth.

I jumped up out of bed and stripped off my nightgown to make sure it wasn’t hiding on me somewhere and before I started stripping my bed., I put on snug fitting pajamas just so I would know for certain I had nothing on me.  I then got out the vacuum and tried to move the bed. It weighs a ton and I was shaking so much my strength was missing. I gave up and went to sleep on the sofa for all of four hours.

Camellia to take your mind off spiders.

What does this tell me? I need to do some more cleaning out. I have been continuing to purge since Alys’ visit but last night set up a more in-depth purge. I had bags of fabric (hiding) under my bookcase headboard that I’ve been wondering where it should go. After pushing the bed out and dragging all those plastic bags of “I’m gonna” fabrics out, they are now in the thrift store box. Vacuuming and searching brought no results for the spider so I’m still quite jumpy.

Bags in the going box

 

Going through bags to go

I will admit that going through things is a good idea and have been bragging to anyone who would listen about my Alys adventure. I was looking through a bag on it’s way to the thrift store when I found a treasure rolled up in other things. My mother had finished this needlepoint for me well before my move to Arizona in 1999. I couldn’t figure needlepoint out but mom excelled at it and I loved the design. With everything that happened during the ensuing years, this needlepoint went missing. When I showed it to my daughter, she was stunned and agreed that it had to be framed and hung. She helped me to pick the mating and frame since it will one day grace her walls.

My mother’s handwork more than 20 years old

 

On the wall where it belongs.

My Alys worship affected one of my sewing friends who frequently spoke about buying a new, easy to carry machine. She knew just what she wanted and was going to go shopping. But first she had to do a little closet cleaning so there would be room for her machine. At the next gathering of our sewing group, she had to do a show and tell. It was her new machine and it’s little carrying casethat she found in the back of her closet! It had been there so long, she had to refresh herself on how to use it. Of course, we had to help her get it all figured out so she could quickly enjoy her find.

I’m having a glass of wine tonight in hopes of a real night’s sleep. Cheers.

good stories start with alcohol

Have you ever lost things only to find them years later right where you put them? What does it take to get you to part with things that you “were gonna” use? Hopefully not a big spider.

From my heart to yours,

Marlene Herself

 

I’m really not trying to fool anyone here. I am no artist in any capacity but as I had all of Julia Cameron’s books out two weeks ago as well as my workbook, I was inspired.

When my daughter came for our Saturday together, I put on the tea kettle and she started her laundry. We sat down to decide what we would do with our day. I was thinking at first of helping her start on a summer dress that is waiting to be made. Then it occurred to me that I was ready for something out of the ordinary.

Ms. Cameron is very big on Artist’s Dates to unblock creativity. They should be done alone but I drive very little these days while my daughter is an excellent chauffeur. I suggested that after we had our brunch out at Bob’s Red Mill where she could do some grocery shopping for the following week, we go to a thrift store, a dollar store and another little junk shop nearby for some inspiration.

I found notebook paper for a dollar to put into the binder I’ve had for at least 20 years that has been only used for decor so far. It is now the holder of my morning pages. Then we decided to go look in a fun antique consignment shop in a suburb where she once worked to see any changes. It’s been three years at least since our last visit. This time I saw the soda fountain. How did I not notice it before? We purchased nothing but had a good time looking.

Directly across the street from where we parked was a new shop. K. Marie Vintage Ephemera. I had to go look. So much was French inspired and they were offering classes in making interesting things with paper and ribbons, etc. I know we spent a good twenty minutes browsing. I could have stayed much longer but it would have been rude as I would be purchasing nothing. Too many hobbies already.

Next door to the Vintage Shop was a…CHOCOLATE shop! My daughter, trying to be ever helpful of my diet insisted on walking me right past it and kept going. My two-year-old self almost had a meltdown. You could not pass this place and not go in! I opened the door for her and pushed her through. It was like time travel. Their chocolates and sweets were mostly from France and they had a Parisian theme going on as well as very vintage. It’s called “Enchante.” I was in love and there was as much eye candy as edible candy. It was like Alice going down the rabbit hole.

We left with only one piece of rich, dark chocolate each. I had to have a lemon marshmallow and my daughter got raspberry. We saw wish candles and tiny tiara’s plus so much more. We left with the wish candles and I think a tiny crown will find it’s way to her birthday package when I can get someone to take me back there.

Chocolate bees in the tree

I was feeling like an artist afterwards and inspired enough to continue work on a crazy quilt that has been on hold. More on that later. I think we will do this once a month.

Do you take yourself places that are out of the ordinary in your own town to inspire you or are you a strictly routine kind of person?

From my heart to yours,

Marlene Herself

Bumper stickers

I’ve collected a few bumper stickers but I never put them on my car. No one on the road is interested in my philosophy. They just want me to get out of their way so they can go faster. I am not a slow driver in the fast lane and I don’t, for the most part, drive in the slow lane. On the road as well as in life, I tend to go with the flow to some degree. I will take a stand about something I believe in and if you are going too slow in the fast lane, I’ll find a way around you, carefully and with consideration. They won’t let me install a lift mechanism on the front of my car to move you physically so I have to do a mind meld.

 

My favorite

My sister puts lots of bumper stickers on her truck. She has a lot to say to the world. I love reading bumper stickers, but many make people want to hammer the vehicle or smack the driver on the back of the head and ask what is wrong with them. You know that feeling. Of course, I restrain myself because we are all going to see things from a different perspective. I’ll be nice to you even if yours is wrong.

An extension of my sister.

 

 

My license plate frame says “A creative mind is never tidy”. I really need that hanging from my front door to let people know what to expect if they decide to enter my home. Bumper stickers tell people a lot about you. Maybe more than you want them to know or is safe for them to know about you. I keep them for my own reference about who I am in case I get lost some days. I will never put anything derogatory towards anyone or anything out there. There is enough hate without adding even a slice of it to the world.

 

My beliefs are quite strong, and I’ve done my research. I’m sure everyone else feels the same way about theirs. I can hang my views in my home for all who enter to see. I do not want to start an argument or a debate. My verbal skills are too limited to make many understand my perspective. I also have a great deal of difficulty with confrontation of any nature. My sister is the brave one in our family.

All I fully understand is that whatever view I hold, it will always come from a place of caring and kindness. Nothing else matters. So I’m sharing some of my bumper stickers here where the only thing that can be hurt are my feelings and I’ll get over that quick enough. I still like to be mostly invisible on the road. My Angels have learned to move very quickly and keep the police radar guns aimed elsewhere.

Do you proudly display your bumper stickers or do you slide under the radar in traffic?

From my heart to yours,

Marlene Herself

Morning Pages

I’ve been sitting on my front porch in the early daylight hours sipping my one cup of hot coffee, writing my morning pages. Julia Cameron, of whom I am a big fan, says there should be three pages but I’m hard pressed to take the time for one or two. Once my coffee is gone, so am I. The pages of drivel seem to others to be a waste of time and paper. I figure I can shred the paper later and put it in the compost. Writing in the morning sorts out my mind. Since I am alone with no one else to bounce ideas and thoughts out, they reflect back off the paper. I get all the muddle out in front of me, make my list of possibilities for the day, then see how much of that I can bring to fruition.

I took the 12 week workshop with many other women. Wonderful!

No day goes exactly as planned. I can deviate so quickly by a turn in my step. Finding myself organizing my shed when all I wanted to do is find the fertilizer to finish watering my plants. Then the pain in my foot will bring me back to my original intention of getting the watering done before the heat descends.

I’m sure she has written something I haven’t read yet.

Writing my morning pages is very different from what I write in my journal each night. Morning pages set intent for my day. My nightly journal page is a documentation of that day. Time, date and weather are included in both. Morning pages help me bring my intention into focus and clear my mind clutter. The nightly journal page, only one as I’m quite tired by then, helps off load my thoughts so I get a better night’s sleep.

When my children were young, I began the practice of reading to each of them separately at night as there was quite the distance in age, then ask how their day had gone. That’s the time when they would tell me anything that had troubled them or had been of particular delight. I was their nightly journal. Since both children have Dysgraphia, actual journal writing isn’t something they do. But mom still asks at the end of their workday how it went. My daughter spills most on her Saturday visits and my son calls daily to make sure I’m still among the living. He knows he can still share the good and the troubling. If it’s something big in need of working out, I still say, “WRITE IT OUT”.

Borrowed from the library and listened to it.

Like a piece of paper, I can fix nothing, just be the place to reflect back. Life is slower for me now. More solitude than many would find comfortable. Writing longhand on paper always clears things up in a way that writing on a computer does not.

There is scientific evidence of the brain to hand connection that does not exist with the computer. Long hand, free-flowing writing can unblock creativity and the next thing you know, you have a list of what can be done that day as well as a blog post all done for you. I may not be an artist but these books help unlock all kinds of creativity. Now I need to do another artists date. Hmmm.

https://www.edutopia.org/blog/writing-by-hand-benefits-brain-ainissa-ramirez

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/09/12/writing-on-paper_n_5797506.html

Have you found the benefits of morning pages yet or journal writing at night?

From my heart to yours,

Marlene Herself

 

 

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