Looking for answers to life's questions

Corners

I have bought a lot of books. Nothing unusual about that. I love books and love to read them…sometime.

Last weekend my daughter and I went to a book reading and signing at our favorite metaphysical bookstore, New Renaissance Book Store in Portland, Oregon. I’ve told you about this bookstore before as we love to go to their events or just browse the shelves. In case you haven’t figured it out yet, I’m pragmatic and a little hippy woo woo. I got there a little late in life. Maybe the mid 1980’s. I was the one that searched out new ideas from new friends and new books and brought them home. My first metaphysical bookstore to discover was called the Psychic Eye in Burbank, CA. I was in love. A few years later, it was my daughter’s first job after school.

The beginning of the line for the book reading

The beginning of the line for the book reading

So this weekend, we went to see Donna Eden and her daughters. One of Donna’s daughter’s,(Dondhi Dahlin) had written a new book. Donna Eden wrote the forward and her daughter, Titanya Dahlin, wrote the afterward. It was a sold out event of over 70 people and we were packed in like sardines though no one minded as it was fun with very high energy.

Some great stories inside and quite entertaining.

Some great stories inside and quite entertaining.

These old buildings have very small rooms

These old buildings have very small rooms

We brought our books written by Donna Eden many years ago to be signed by her. They were in almost new condition. Why is that relevant? Because, like many of the books I have purchased over the years, I perused it, never fully reading or integrating the useful information into my life. I keep planning to find the time.

I've had this book for many years and never realized that another author I read wrote the forward. More corners

I’ve had this book for many years and never realized that another author I read wrote the forward. More corners

As I look over my shelves of books that tell me how to heal my body, life, relationships, spirit or write better in every way, how to cook a good meal, sew a better seam or decorate a prettier table, my father’s words come back to haunt me once again. They would be uttered whenever he was trying to teach me something and I wasn’t quite getting it.

“I buy you books and I buy you books but all you do is chew on the corners.” ~ James W. Liggett

It took me awhile as a child to understand what he was saying. Now it hit me full on. I buy these books and love the ideas in them. I am just lazy about doing the work to get the result from them. Resistance is ever present.

I remember daydreaming often of buying a bookstore and calling it Corners Bookstore just for the reminder of what books could really do if we quit chewing on the corners and got down to the meat of them and did the exercises.

More of early arrivals for the reading and signing

More of early arrivals for the reading and signing

I want more time to read is a familiar lament. I’m retired. I have time but squander lots of it. Some books are not as “fun” to read as others. Learning to heal the mind or body comes with some built in resistance that causes one to need another nap while trying to get through a chapter. It’s like losing weight. We all know what to do, we are just resistant to change our old habits and replace them with new habits. At 1:00 a.m. while writing this, I’m wondering if I’m done chewing on the corners and ready to sink my teeth into a couple of these excellent books. I may make that a goal for the New Year.

Do you read and incorporate instruction books fully or do they stare at you endlessly begging for attention?

From my heart to yours,
Marlene Herself

An Apple

I sat in my chair eating an apple. It was in one hand, coffee mug in the other, and the mouse was on the arm of my chair so I could move it to read my computer with the fingers that were not holding the apple.

Then I realized I was not tasting the apple. I set down the coffee mug, already about empty at this time of the morning and looked at that apple. It was a lovely small, crisp, happy looking apple.

One of my favorite kinds of apples. The Fuji

One of my favorite kinds of apples. The Fugi

 

Awareness began to creep in. This apple had been off the tree for quite some time before it arrived on my plate with a purchased salad. I usually get the bread with my salad, not the apple. This apple had something to say. It was still alive even though it was away from the source that gave it life. At least for a while.

An old standard, the Red Delicious.

An old standard, the Red delicious.

We are much like the apple. When we are unplugged from the Source that gives us that spark of life, we can still be alive but not as fully as if we were still plugged in. That spark of life, if we aren’t connected somehow, starts a slow living death until we too start to rot, decompose and go back into the earth. Those that are more connected, seem to stay fresh longer. You’ve all seen people wander through life that look like they have no spark left. The luster is gone, the juices run dry and after a bit, no one wants what you have to offer.

The sweet Gala apples

The sweet Gala apples

 

That little apple did more than nourish my body; it gave my spirit a quick reminder to pay attention and look for what gives me my spark. That Source of my energy and creativity. Don’t misunderstand. It’s not about religion unless that’s what works for you. It’s about paying attention to life around you. I was multitasking and missing it all and will probably never look at an apple the same way.

Do you find you miss the details when multitasking?

Are you finding ways to plug into your spark?

Thank you for reading and wishing you all a very mindful and Happy Thanksgiving.

From my heart to yours,

Marlene Herself

Why on earth did I pick Halloween to start a blog? Was I on a sugar rush or just enjoying the festivities of the ghoulish decorations at my son’s house while living with him.

Would you have asked her for candy?

Would you have asked her for candy?

Five years ago I was extremely debilitated by many unusual symptoms of Bells Palsy. I could no longer drive and as a passenger, I had to close my eyes, especially at night. I couldn’t sew because seeing the needle move up and down turned my brain into mush with an odd nausea. Television had its own terror. If things moved too fast on the screen, I had to close my eyes and look away. The cane is still necessary to keep me balanced and upright. The symptoms aren’t gone but they are far better.

Standing guard

Standing guard

The symptoms were a reflection of my life. Writing was all I had left to pull the terror of where I was in that moment into a cohesive plan for some kind of a future as a 62 years old freshly divorced and debilitated woman. Social Security advised I qualified for disability. I was not employable. That was scary enough.

The very act of writing helped train my damaged brain to find words again. Mimicking a stroke in many ways, this virus left my brain unable to put full sentences together without long pauses. I couldn’t find words I knew were there. Friends and family started finishing sentences for me. My writing was simpler five years ago. Gradually, I’m making progress, I hope.

This spider is tickling my nose.

This spider is tickling my nose.

In five years, I’ve found an online support community of bloggers. Who knew such a thing existed? Every time I got discouraged, there would be a comment, e-mail or even happy snail mail loaded with lovely things to cheer me on.

Corny wants a book with his treats

Corny wants a book with his treats

I scrounged together enough money after the home I shared with the last husband sold to put a down payment on a small manufactured home for myself, my books, fabric and other crafting tools. Slowly, I’m able to do little bits at a time of my cherished creative endeavors. Making this house my home has taken a lot of energy. Naps are on my daily agenda when tackling any project. It’s the brain that gets tired before the body so I’m exercising my brain as much as my body.

Got the borders, back and binding on the panel to that I quilted enough to hang by the sleeve on the back. It's said to be glow in the dark.

Got the borders, back and binding on the panel to that I quilted enough to hang by the sleeve on the back. It’s said to be glow in the dark.

This Halloween will be different again from the last. Aren’t they all? Not so many outside decorations as we’re having the wettest October on record and today brought high winds. Power has been intermittent. Inside, I’m ready for any brave little goblins that make it past the real bugs and spiders out there. It’s so warm, they have swarmed like an apocalyptic army. They scare me more than zombies any day.

Witchy Poo and her albino pumpkin are inside this year.

Witchy Poo and her albino pumpkin are inside this year.

I’m curious to see what the next five years will unfold. Heck, I’m curious to see how today will unfold. Thank you all for being on this journey with me and cheering me on. Have a Happy Halloween with lots of sweet treats and no tricks.

No candy in this pumpkin

No candy in this pumpkin

Is there anything that scares you more than a zombie apocalypse?

From my heart to yours,

Marlene Herself

 

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There are lessons to be learned about oneself even in the autumn of one’s life. I’m hoping it’s the autumn and not the winter so I have lots of time left for discovery. I’ve discovered I’m a procrastinator, big time.

As I set out to complete my daily tasks, I find that procrastination can be a perpetual companion and a teacher. It tells me there is fear somewhere in the task or maybe something even as strong as dislike.

I’ve had a lot of projects on the back burner lately. As all of the outside projects came to completion, I could finally focus on the inside projects. I realized that when I would rather mop the floor, do the dishes, laundry, vacuuming or make the bed rather than sit at the sewing machine, something was going on.

The workhorse

The workhorse

It started with my newest Viking Diamond Royale sewing machine behaving badly with almost every project. We’ve had many trips back to Montavilla’s where it was purchased and it always seems to work for the doctor. It must be something I’m doing they say. I have an old Viking SE that threads and operates the same but will sew circles around the new one. The new one has a larger embroidery field that I have not yet been able to enjoy. The whole unit is packed away. I don’t need more frustration.

An expensive doorstop. The embroidery unit is not connect here.

An expensive doorstop. The embroidery unit is not connect here.

My old machine works well, my eyes, eh. They could be better so when working on precision quilts, I have a hard time getting them exact. I’m thinking it’s time to let that go. I’ve done the squares required for the quilt group and am turning my attention to more fun things to make. It has to be fun or why bother.

Making a shirt for someone is very much like making a quilt. It has to fit just right. So it goes to the top of the procrastination list. Gifts for birthdays and Christmas are moving to the top of the to-do list and can’t even look at the procrastination list. Ten weeks, people, ten weeks is all I have left.

In the meantime, I found a fun project. Microwave bowl cozies. If you still use a microwave and the bowl is too hot to pull out, then set it in the cozy first, heat and just leave it there to keep your food warm while you eat. You don’t burn your fingers that way. My son thought they were great. I had to make some a bit more masculine looking. They are made of 100% cotton so they don’t melt or catch fire in the microwave. Also handy with a freezing dish of ice cream or frozen fruit. Your hands don’t freeze holding the bowl. I started with fabric that I was going to pass on and worked my way up to fabrics that were chosen by the recipients.

I found some kits for making pillowcases in fun fabrics. U-tube has some wonderful instructions and shortcuts. I’m also a sucker for cute prints and panels. I have one for Halloween on the table waiting for borders, backing and binding to be cut and attached. They should be easy but quilting on the machine is not something I’ve mastered yet. I’ll keep at it though. I still have puckers.

So as you can see, I’ve done a little with my down time and need to do so much more. The procrastination list needs to be shredded and everything moved to the do right now list. I have company coming in two weeks and then only eight weeks to get it all finished and mailed or wrapped. Sorry for the reminder. I don’t shop for the holidays, I craft for them.

What’s on your procrastination list? Are any of them creative endeavors?

From my heart to yours,
Marlene Herself

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One blog I follow is: //charlesfrenchonwordsreadingandwriting.wordpress.com/

Professor French has given me some wonderful tips and encouragement on writing. His kind and generous comments have kept me posting here when I was ready to throw in the towel. It’s like getting an education via blogging. I have not had the funds or the opportunity to pursue a higher education so I learn everywhere I can. Had I achieved that goal, I would have chosen to be a teacher.

It speaks for itself

It speaks for itself

This morning he re-blogged a post from: https://surfingtheseagard.wordpress.com/2016/10/05/world-teachers-day-2016-celebrating-the-jobs-and-art-of-two-of-my-favourite-teachers/

As you know I don’t normally re-blog though this post stirred something in me. I value education and good teaching. Not all teachers are good but a great deal are and so very under appreciated. It’s like any profession; you get some good and some that should find other work. But here is my comment on that post:

When they celebrate teachers the way they do actors, musicians and football players, the world will be right and proper. Someone taught them all those things. They are our front line and should be paid like doctors and lawyers. I have always felt that way and it bothers me that no one seems to get it. I’ll get off the soap box now.

Dr. French suggested I not get off the soapbox, rather post on it. So I’m looking for a bigger soapbox. I feel VERY strongly that the teaching profession is undervalued and as a result, we are not getting the quality of teachers we should have nor are we keeping those that inspire and challenge our children.

My children were bored out of their minds in school. One teacher complained that my daughter was growing books in her desk because each time she took one away, my daughter came up with another to stick inside the textbook she had already read the first week of school. My son had to go into gifted classes, when they were available, to be challenged enough not to yawn through school.

Teachers are often struggling with the same bureaucratic nonsense to which other professions are subjected. It’s not their fault they aren’t allowed to push a little harder. As a responsible parent, the best I could do was provide them with any book available and a public library to feed their curious minds. They had to be taught how to learn on their own as much as from school.

teaching-albert-einstein

There are many ways to teach and I applaud and appreciate them all. Those who write books were taught how to do that and I buy books to keep them coming. To me, a good day is a day I learn something new. I have a teacher to thank for that and I did. Maybe one day I’ll post the letter I wrote to her.

teachers

Do you have a teacher to thank for where you are today?

From my heart to yours,

Marlene Herself

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A Beach Weekend

I complained previously, gently of course, about not having any vacation. Big problem for a woman with no job and every day is Saturday. With the busy summer, I was looking for a small change in scenery.  I finally got it.

Mid September, my daughter took an extra couple of days off work to take her car in for some extensive repairs in my little town and to take us both to the beach using my boat car.

Cannon Beach was our first stop. It rained the entire way there and most of the day. Very uptown shops for the most part and we sampled flavored vinegars and oils. Lunch was nothing worth repeating, ever. Our highlight there was the wonderful little quilt shop with the nicest ladies. My non-quilting daughter enjoyed it too. I didn’t buy much, really! Of course we found some fuzzy friends waiting out the rain.

Wet all the way and most of the day.

Wet all the way and most of the day.

She was wet and tired of the rain too.

She was wet and tired of the rain too.

Little sister was hoping for a warm spot in the book store

Little sister was hoping for a warm spot in the book store

We booked an inexpensive room with 2 beds and a kitchenette. There was no such thing in Cannon Beach so we spent our 2 nights in neighboring Seaside Beach. They are like night and day. Our motel was not fancy but fortunately, had a separate alcove for the second bed with a door. Daughter could sleep late and I could be up early having my coffee in bed reading. Perfect.

We were on the bottom floor, 4 windows in. Great access

We were on the bottom floor, 4 windows in. Great access

The Ebb Tide was the least expensive place I could find with a vacancy so my expectations were low. I was pleasantly surprised. Everything was clean and fresh. And as a warning, when the hotel says “climate controlled” they mean that in the most literal of terms. The fireplace didn’t work but we didn’t need it. I figured out how to crack the window for air during the night. They provided a fan. How much time do you spend in a room?

Seaside was a whole different feel. Because it’s more affordable, more families and young people are there crawling all the souvenir shops. We did talk to some nice shop owners. One recommendation for dinner was as disappointing as the meal in Cannon Beach. Another shop owner who was passing out free chocolate like I had room for it recommended a place for lunch or dinner the next day in a small town called Gearhart, 6 miles up the road. She said not to blink or we would miss the town.

We set the GPS and found the sweetest place and the best food. Fortunately it was Sunday and by the time we got there, the bakery portion was closing. Whew! Service at the restaurant part was excellent and the food tasty. My kind of town.

Gearhart's Pacific Bakery/Cafe

Gearhart’s Pacific Bakery/Cafe

Poppies at the Paradise Cafe

Poppies at the Paradise Cafe

The next morning we checked out and made our way to Astoria which was not more than 30 minutes away. It was also on the way home.

We passed a chain restaurant that we had eaten breakfast in once and were not that fond of,  in favor of a hole in the wall place called Stephanie’s Cabin. It looked like a tavern but the car was going that way and I was the passenger. Oh, my goodness, what a surprise! They spent nothing on ambiance and everything on the cook. It was perfect, priced right and I let them know.  Then we finally found the quilt store in a hard to get to spot. Small, but nice people and I found gifts for my quilting friends.

Did I mention anywhere actually sitting on the beach and stuffing my toes in the sand? We took our books and just soaked it up. Seaside had the best beach access.  Sand feels so good between the toes. One of life’s greatest pleasures.

Sandy feet on the towel.

Sandy feet on the towel.

Diversity in beach housing

Diversity in beach housing

There was a little meditation time, a few photos and time to talk about things like how we want to reshape our lives. Nothing major. Isn’t that what you do on a weekend at the beach? Where do you go for a quick change of scenery?

 

change-the-scenery-of-your-life

From my heart to your,

Marlene Herself

 

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Clear Sight

I’ve had limited vision since I was 4 years old when a bad case of measles along with a picture window framing the snow outside left me struggling to see what everyone else took for granted. There is a gift in that. There is no sunrise, sunset, bloom or cloud that fails to leave me breathless for a moment.

 

Clear view through clean windows

Clear view through clean windows

Seeing things clearly is on the top of my list. I’ve had new glasses made, had the cataract removed, and recently, had my windows professionally cleaned. It was an extravagance that felt necessary. I love to be looking out my windows. I can see the sunrise from the chair I write in, the sunset and the moon on its journey from my bedroom, the coming and goings of the neighborhood from front windows and my lush fern covered hill from my kitchen window.

It looks very different through a dirty window

It looks very different through a dirty window

To tell the truth though, I’m used to seeing things a little fuzzy so it’s normally no big deal until I took photos of things at my windows. Not a pretty sight before the cleaning. My attempts at it left them not much better. I wanted to show off a couple of wonderful things so in came the cleaning man with his miracle cleaner. Now I can show you the lovely danglers that the very talented Pauline King  at the Contented Crafter made for me.

 

Too beautiful for words

Too beautiful for words

This is the larger purple dangler that hangs in my sewing room to inspire me. So much prettier with clean windows.

This is the larger purple dangler that hangs in my sewing room to inspire me. So much prettier with clean windows.

Each one is personalized for the individual she makes it for. I have Angels, butterflies, books, and things related to sewing on mine. One hangs in my sewing room window as it gets the first light of the day and when the sun hits, the crystal sends rainbows all through the room and down the halls.

The other hangs in my bedroom so I see it first thing in the morning and last thing at night reminding me that there are wonderful, creative and caring people in the world.

 

Blues and greens are the colors in my bedroom.

Blues and greens are the colors in my bedroom.

I also wanted to show you the shelves and lace curtains I made for some of my windows. I wanted lace to have a tiny bit of privacy but still allow in the light. I can see out better than anyone can see in through them.

My inner hoarder was brought to light when I made the curtains. Living room and my bedroom are panels that I had from the house we owned in the early 90’s. I saved them and found they worked quite nicely with some cutting and hemming.

Recycled curtains saved me time and money.

Recycled curtains saved me time and money.

The curtains in the den, dining room and kitchen were made from one of 2 bolts of lace I had left over from making curtains for the last house I lived in. I bought the lace at Walmart so inexpensively that I just couldn’t give it away knowing I might make use of it someday. Well, it’s someday. I still have another bolt left and now I can increase the fullness of the curtains or make valances. Nothing goes to waste here but I do hoard a bit. I looked in stores for lace curtains and they are a thing of the past, as am I.

Clear Vision isn’t only a matter of the eyesight, it’s also a matter of the heart and mind. Trying to get clear focus on your heart’s desire or your direction is a job from the inside out. Not so easy to hire help for this but it can be done. My tools for that are meditation and writing. A good friend, family member or coach willing to speak the truth you need to hear also helps.

The only thing worse than being blind is having sight but no vision. ~ Helen Keller
How clear has your vision been lately? What tools do you use to get clear?

From my heart to yours,
Marlene Herself

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