Looking for answers to life's questions

In Search of Quote Three

Quotes are usually extracted from the writings or sayings of learned men or women. Today’s quote is inspired by my father. He had very little education. The Army insisted that he complete his high school education getting an equivalent of a GED while serving. I spent very little time with him growing up but much of that time was spent helping me with my English. Who would have known that now I would need help with my German?

He told me that if I could learn how words were constructed I would know how to understand words I had never seen before. I might not know exactly what the word meant but I would be able to follow the gist of the conversation.  We worked with a dictionary on Sundays to improve my vocabulary.

One little tidbit he dropped on me has stuck like plaster to a porous surface. I’ve looked for another source for this saying everywhere but can’t find it. His take on the world was:

“There is nothing more dangerous than a closed mind” ~ Dad

Others have said it differently.

People’s minds are like parachutes – they only function when they are open. ~ Sir James Dewar  (1842-1923) Scientist

You can learn nothing new if your mind is closed.  Sometimes we just need to allow the guy who says the world is round, not flat some room for possibility.

I’m thinking that when dear old dad says it, it’s a platitude. When Sir James Dewar says it, it’s a quote.

Dad had other platitudes. He would follow-up the open mind saying with another.

Take everything you hear and read with a grain of salt.

I heard that one as often. It took a bit to get the full meaning of it. Be discerning with that open mind. Don’t swallow everything you read and hear like it was…Kool Aide.

There are quotes, sayings and platitudes that we live by but do we really think about them? I have a philosophical mind bent and question everything. What I believed yesterday, may not be as true for me today. When you educate yourself, you can change your mind.

I took a look at my refrigerator magnets this morning to see if anything else stuck like glue. Since I have no more photos today I’ll leave you with these little gems.

Winston Churchill said it.

Winston Churchill said it.

We all go through hell once in a while. Just don’t make it a vacation spot and invite your friends. It’s ok to write a book about it though.

This one is self-explanatory.

notes

What are the quotes or platitudes you live by?

From my heart to yours,

Marlene Herself

There is much I want to share with you today but mostly I want to share my love of learning. Several blogs I follow have done the 3 quotes in three days challenge. I wasn’t able to think straight at the time but these ladies have taught me a great deal, although only a couple have done the challenge…so far.

Gardening Nirvana has two blogs but you can see her wonderful quotes here and enjoy some rays of sunshine. She exudes it. Maybe she’s storing it up while in her garden.

Momermom is someone I’d like to hear from more often. Her quotes were wonderful and so is her sewing skill and her writing. She has such great heart.

Conscious Engagement offered me a wonderful quote yesterday and I seriously thought about borrowing it but decided to invite her to join in. Her photographs are incredible as are her travels. I get to go along for free without leaving the living room. Yay!

Can you tell I’ve broken all the rules here?

Things are slowing down here. We have rebuilt the deck structure after the fire uncovered lots of dry rot.

We couldn't see it because it was the foundation!

We couldn’t see it because it was the foundation!

I’ve finished staining the front porch and most of the fencing.

I’ve even started painting the back of the house before the new deck is completely in place.

I figured out that I needed to prime it first. More work.

I figured out that I needed to prime it first. More work.

I’ve finished and sent off a lap quilt to my Aunt Helga in Australia for her 84th birthday the middle of this month but the photos have vanished from the cameras. All that is left is the label I put on the back. It’s flannel for the texture that people with Alzheimer’s need.

I did get the photo of the back side with the label I made on my embroidery machine

I did get the photo of the back side with the label I made on my embroidery machine

There was a last minute rush to get an embroidery done for last weekends wedding gift.

Towels for the happy couple. We are not very traditional.

Towels for the happy couple. We are not very traditional.

Also completed earlier this month were a couple of pillow cases for my son’s ex-wife’s birthday. They were a kit with the worst instructions. I went on the internet and found the directions I needed.

I made 2 pillowcases for a birthday gift

I made 2 pillowcases for a birthday gift

There were also more squares to contribute to this month’s donation quilt. I have more things done but that will have to wait for a better time. I’m still trying to catch up.

Purple month with white contrast

Purple month with white contrast

The end result of several women adding a couple squares each

The end result of several women adding a couple squares each

Can you spot two of these in that big finished quilt?

Can you spot two of these in that big finished quilt?

Most of what has been done by my son and myself on and in this house has been self-taught. We have found books and more recently on-line videos to teach us the things we don’t know how to do.
My son learned how to re-build my deck with some help from my step-granddaughter’s significant other and the internet.

There is a lot we can learn in this world but only if we are open to learning. Once you are open to learning something, there will be a way provided to give you that knowledge. Somehow when you are ready and open enough there is someone or something to teach you what you need to know. That happens with life too. I’ve seen too many that you can see struggle with a problem and you try to help them fix it. Only they aren’t ready for the fix. It took me a long time to learn that I had to be ready to learn the lesson and so do others. It’s always up to us.

So here is my second quote. There is often a lot of synchronicity involved in this reminder.

This teaches me to be a ready student.

This teaches me to be a ready student.

Have you ever had a teacher appear when you are needing to learn something?

From my heart to yours,
Marlene Herself

In Search of Quotes

I have been trying hard to catch up with reading of the blogs I follow. I’m outnumbered but still don’t want to miss any as they all leave me with something special.

Lately several bloggers have asked if I would be interested in posting three quotes in three days. It should be a simple request. I collect quotes. My refrigerator is covered with them. I live by quotes. My Pinterest boards have multitudes and my document files have several pages of quotes from every manner of subject. How the heck can I pare them down to three?

 

Just a few

Just a few

It would take hours to go through them to see which one is my favorite and that’s like sending me down the Pinterest rabbit hole. My head won’t look up for hours and I don’t have hours.

The first one that asked was The Thoughts and Life of Me. She is a lovely young woman who lives in Norway and writes her blog in English. Can I write mine in any other language? Not likely. I love her view of life from where she is and she’s kind enough to take us traveling with her. Her blog is delightful and refreshing.

Then there was The Contented Crafter who inspires me with every post. She was kind enough to pick up the baton and not tag anyone specifically but hinted kindly. We have very similar philosophies on life. When I start to wander off course, Pauline will gently guild me back where I’m wanting to go. Her furry family and some of her real family keep everyone amused.

Then Charles French who had nominated me for a couple of awards got on the quote wagon. I just didn’t have the time and energy to accept this summer. It’s been the most full summer I’ve had in YEARS! His blog helps all of us write a lot better and is so thoroughly entertaining at the same time.

I tried putting quotes at the end of my posts for a while. Finding relevant quotes was always a challenge. I use them a lot when someone I love has a problem.  They wonder why they are in so much pain and why bad things happen. I’ve traveled this world widely and met thousands of people. I’ve yet to meet someone who hasn’t suffered something.  It set me in search of answers. I found that hard to answer until I read the following quote by Rumi.

Does this make sense to you in any way?

The wound is the place where the Light enters you.”
Rumi

From my heart to yours,
Marlene Herself

I have company this weekend. My sister-in-law is in town from Missouri to attend her granddaughter’s wedding. After picking her up from the airport we arrived back at my place to get dinner ready for the granddaughter and her fiancé. It was a rather whirlwind day with final cleaning of the abode to a polished shine. Showing off my treasure was high on my list that day. The weather was almost co-operative with temps in the low 80’s. I even got a few more feet of fence board stained and every plant well-watered before making the final touches on dinner. I did forget one little thing.

My sister-in-law smokes. I knew this but somehow the brain did not register that there would be a need for a butt receptacle. Yes, I put chairs on the deck so she could sit quietly staring at the trees while she enjoyed a few moments of peace before retiring for the night. It was well after 11 pm, her time. As we said our final good nights we each asked what was that smell? It smelled like someone roasting marshmallows over a fire. My neighbor two doors down has a fir pit and I suggested that tech support (my son) take a look and see if he could see it. One thing led to another and no one looked to see if the neighbor had a fire going on the hill with it being banned due to high fire danger.

At 1:00 a.m. I heard a beep, beep, beep. I got out of bed and it stopped. Turning towards my bed, it started once again. We have also had warnings of bobcat sightings here as the weather is so dry. The beeping was coming from the annoying motion sensor my overzealous, paranoid son put up all around my house. One beep is someone is at the back, two if someone is on the driveway side and three for the front porch area. My son did not wake up to the sound. I shut the darn thing off.

I peeked out the back door window and was surprised to see … FLAMES! What the heck. Who would start a fire on my deck? What manner of prank was this? At 1:00 a.m. my wits were not about me so I did what any sensible person would do. No, not dial 911 for the fire department, I called tech support. Opening his door, I called his name and said “we have fire”. Then I ran for the hose which was at the top of the terraces where I had last watered. The hose was caught. In spite of probable bats and possible bobcats, I got the darn thing loose. That’s me not swearing here, just so you know.

As I turned around to bring the hose down, overzealous, paranoid tech support was fast at work with one of those fancy fire extinguisher thingy’s that I also thought was a waste of money. I’m old and have never needed one before. Why spend all that money. Today’s lesson will be how to use one. :))

I had given my sister-in-law an empty paint can with some mulch in it, that I was certain would snuff out her cigarette just like sand does. My whole yard is filled with it. I’m rethinking that quite strongly at this moment. Maybe rock will be a better option. She feels responsible. I am.

 

I’m cracking up that the decision to replace the rotting wood of that deck with Trex has been made after much agonizing. We replaced one board already that had twisted out of shape from the rain and now the whole deck was out of balance. I’ve stumbled several times. There is a board close to the steps that is all but rotted through and a step was twisted from the rain and lack of care. Yup, decision made.

There are more changes to this place on the horizon. We were very lucky this morning. Blessed in so many ways. I have no photos of the fire. My son said it looked cool for just a moment before he put it out. This was one August night that got a little too hot and there weren’t even any marshmallows.

 

Have you had any hot August nights?

 

From my heart to yours,

Marlene Herself

Have you ever been so tired that even your fingernails hurt? That’s how I felt the last few nights after a long days of manual labor. Hard physical work is good for the body but my body keeps screaming, “You’re too old for this.”

For Alys. My fairy garden lives

For Alys. My fairy garden lives

 

Once cooler weather arrived, I was out the door trying to get the projects done that were on the list from the HOA. These are required to be done for this home that was not well cared for the past 10 years. I let a lot slip by when assessing this place for purchase. Now I really pay. In addition, I have a list of my own of things that I want done outside. My mind is totally occupied with these lists and the work being done.

Filling front porch with flowers out of the heat

Filling front porch with flowers out of the heat

 

Welcome to my home The porch needs to be resealed

Welcome to my home The porch needs to be resealed

I pressure washed the driveway side of the fence.  Tech Support did most of the rest of the fences. Now all four sides are done and ready to stain. I’m ready to do it too. I’m not sure if my body agrees. Hopefully the weather continues to cooperates and keeps the intense heat at bay.

 

Each morning I have been planting flowers and ground cover called stepables. You can walk on them just like grass and don’t have to mow. I am tired of mowing weeds so they had to go. Ground cover went down a little at a time. I used a lot of cardboard then weed block cloth. We aren’t allowed to have weeds here. I think you can be evicted for them. They give you a warning first.

 

I had 5 yards of bark dust delivered. I measured the yard and asked how much it would take to cover it. I really thought they were wrong and almost ordered 10 yards. Tech Support talked me out of it. Thank goodness!

The amount is hard to explain. It's a LOT!

The amount is hard to explain. It’s a LOT!

 

It took 3 hours of me working alone to shovel it out of the driveway into a 4 wheeled cart so it could go out back. Then Tech Support arrived home and worked with me another 2 and a half. As we were getting to the last of the pile, a neighbor boy showed up who had helped move my boulders when I moved in. He wanted to help. He was bored, like most teenagers when school is out. He has some developmental difficulties but is a good young man and a hard worker. I offered him $10 dollars and he had the rest shoveled and in the back yard in less than 30 minutes. Best $10 I ever spent.

From the driveway to the other side of the house

From the driveway to the other side of the house

What’s left is spreading the bark mulch, placing landscape logs between it and the river rock that I placed around the perimeter of the house to keep mud off, staining the fences, painting the house, and pressure washing the front porch so it can be resealed. All before autumn rains.

Going this way too

Going this way too

In addition to all the planting on the terraces, I found a need to spray paint my plastic chairs that I keep up there to rest a minute. My next door neighbor on the porch side kept asking if I would give them back to her as she needed them now. She started asking other neighbors if they would get her chairs for her. Each time she asks, I explain they are mine and I brought them with me. That satisfies her for a few moments but with Alzheimer’s, it’s an endless loop. I spoke to her son and he had locked her chairs up because she kept bringing them into the house. I finally convinced him to put one on her porch for her. Making mine a different color was the easiest solution. Alzheimer’s is something I would not wish on anyone.

My chair on the hill

My chair on the hill

My Chair on the hill after

My Chair on the hill after

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I love summer because we can be outside. I enjoy all the work and find much of it meditative. It just doesn’t leave much of me for anything else. I’ll pop back by when I can but you can bet I’m probably up to my elbows in stain, paint or dirt.  Maybe next summer will be a little less work and leave more time for the writing I haven’t been able to concentrate on.

I didn't paint it but it's too true.

I didn’t paint it but it’s too true.

 

That’s what’s up in my world, what’s up in yours?

From my heart to yours,

Marlene Herself

 

I have so much to tell you all about that I almost don’t know where to start. This summer has been so full I can barely catch my breath, so I’m going with what touches my heart the most and save the rest for a later post. This is my way of saying thank you for all the thoughtfulness in the world.

What I must admit here, is that I’m having a love affair with the postal service. I know, I know; they have a very bad reputation. Everyone complains on the speed of their delivery or the condition of the mail when it finally arrives. Me, I’m just very happy to get mail. It’s not often that I do but when I do, oh boy, it’s a dozy of a delivery.

I don’t get bills since mine are all paid automatically. I only get one tiny little magazine that I have subscribed to for over 20 years. Letters are few and far between, like at Christmas. But earlier this spring I received these handmade items from Fran and Steve in Tasmania via Serendipity Farms. Steve made them from their native wood.

Hand carved from native Tasmanian wood

Hand carved from native Tasmanian wood

So why the love affair? I have received in the last short while so much wonderful mail that I could almost kiss my mail carrier, Mo. (short for Maureen). I’m not sure she would appreciate the kiss. She’d rather have cookies or banana bread but it’s too hot to bake. I just received this wonderful hand-made thank you card.

A wonderful hand crafted thank you. So much thought went into it.

A wonderful hand crafted thank you. So much thought went into it.

Most of my mail has had an aqua tinge to it. It’s now also becoming a favorite color of mine. Can you guess who sent all this wonderful mail?

Aqua and pink are the signature colors here.

Aqua and pink are the signature colors here.

The first package arrived a several weeks ago. There was an Easter bunny in there and chocolate. My son saw the chocolate and decided I needed help with my diet. The rest was pure fun.

The second was supposed to be just a check for the aqua sewing machine I sold and mailed to this sweet soul to add to her collection. Well the check was in a fair sized box that left me quite in a titter. Here is what was in the box with the check.

When I mailed the machine, I decided to mail it from Victoria while I was there to see if postage would be less than from Oregon. Not only was it one third the cost, I had an old address on there and the lovely Canadian postal system bothered to find her and send it on. After a year, my post office can’t find me and I only moved 3 miles but I’m not giving them a bad time because they brought me such lovely things.

From someone special

From someone special

I love snail mail and my postal workers. Without them I wouldn’t have all of these delights. I just wish international mail were not so expensive and difficult. Now to get my thank you card done.

Another coaster with pink typewriter.

Another coaster with pink typewriter.

Can you imagine life without the ability to send wonderful things to each other?

From my heart to yours,
Marlene Herself

How much can you cram into a short day and a half? Well, if I’d been younger and in better shape, probably a whole lot more than I did. Crossing borders is hard work.

Our next destination for the day.

Our next destination for the day.

We left Butchart Gardens early Saturday afternoon so we could drive 3-5 minutes down the road. Another place that I wanted my children to see was the Victoria Butterfly Garden. I have been a collector of anything butterfly related for many years. They represented freedom to me which has been my quest for most of my life. It’s also a part of my personality. I flit. From project to project, book to book, experience to experience. It’s like being in a bakery, tasting a little of everything and going back and tasting again. That’s what these butterflies did too.

Old banana peels and orange slices enticed these diners to sit a spell

Old banana peels and orange slices enticed these diners to sit a spell

An indoor tropical oasis that is climate controlled at 80% humidity and 25 degrees Celsius (77 Fahrenheit). If it wasn’t so warm in there, I would have stayed for days. As it was, we spent almost two hours. It was a little harder to photograph as our models kept flitting around. Some were tiny, some were quite loud and vocal. The pink flamingos were the loudest edging out the parrots. The turtles, as silent as the butterflies. They didn’t have any snakes in this jungle but they did have an iguana. I didn’t get a photo because it was way up high and blended in fairly well to the background, but my son got a great shot. He has a better camera and vision.

Can you see the Iguana hiding in the green?

Can you see the Iguana hiding in the green?

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This was a day of surprises for me all the way through. I saw my very first dragon fly that morning at Butchart and had a parrot land on my arm for a long and meaningful conversation in the late afternoon.

Th
I don’t know what the rest of the day could have brought had we tested it further. My daughter found out butterflies like red toes. This one circled her feet for several minutes.

This butterfly thought those toes might be a flower

This butterfly thought those toes might be a flower

Departure day brought relief at the end of our hotel stay. Super 8 had the idea that a “climate controlled” room means being controlled by the climate. The AC unit was totally non functioning. I wouldn’t recommend that one as the fans were only slightly helpful. It was on the edge of the city and available. Very few options in our price range with short notice.

Thank goodness there was no heat wave as the AC unit did not work.

Thank goodness there was no heat wave as the AC unit did not work.

We had a lovely breakfast at a place called Cora’s, which was recommended by the nice young man at the post office on that fine Sunday morning. This is a place I can recommend. They had everything on the menu but the kitchen sink and it was all good and the place was exceptionally clean and welcoming. Then parking our car in line for the ferry, we traversed the town of Victoria. At least as far as I could hobble.

The Empress Hotel was as impressive as ever. My daughter found a nice t-shirt in the gift shop but we didn’t stay for tea. The view at Butchart has them beat as far as I’m concerned.

The Empress Hotel. She wasn't home. So daughter bought a t-shirt in the gift shop

The Empress Hotel. She wasn’t home. So daughter bought a t-shirt in the gift shop

The architecture and the feel of the city make you feel right at home. The one way streets, not so much. We found an outdoor artist market but left the wares behind. I am totally enthralled with that city and could have stayed many more days exploring. Everyone there was helpful, warm and welcoming. Next time, I’d like a week or more and see much more of Canada. I hear it’s pretty big and they have beautiful butterflies.

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Are you a flitter or a sitter? Do you go from one thing to the next or do stay with it till it’s time to move on?

From my heart to yours,
Marlene Herself

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