Looking for answers to life's questions

Patti shot through the door of the sewing room and that was her first question for our group that had arrived two days prior. She was only staying for the day but we were happy to have our resident pot stirrer in our midst.

Patti's pumpkins have binding now.

Patti’s pumpkins have binding now.

There were only six of us at this retreat for the week. Another that had planned to come had been overcome by food poisoning at a church function and was in need of Urgent Care We kept hoping for a quick recovery but it just didn’t happen.

I fell in love with the framed crochet

I fell in love with the framed crochet

There were two new women brought to the retreat by another member of our group. The three of them shared a room. I shared a room with the other two members of our quilt group. With five beds to a room and more than four bedrooms, we had a whole room to spare and then some. There were even beds in the sewing room office if we were in need of a nap. We ended up sleeping three to a room.

If you need a nap between sewing projects, extra beds in the office

If you need a nap between sewing projects, extra beds in the office

It turned out to be a very amicable mix of women. You never know how a group is going to blend. This group worked well together like old friends. Each willing to teach and to learn from one another. We were all there primarily for rest (not so much) and relaxation. Wine helped that a lot. We each brought some to share but somehow, it was still done in moderation. After all, we still had sewing to do and some nights it was well past eleven when we gave up and headed back to the house.

Binding and banter into the wee hours of the night

Binding and banter into the wee hours of the night

Working in our jammies in the early morning until breakfast was ready

Working in our jammies in the early morning until breakfast was ready

 

jelly roll Christmas quilt done in record time.

jelly roll Christmas quilt done in record time.

 

Sunrise out the sewing room window.

Sunrise out the sewing room window.

Once again, Nancy’s Sew N Go delivered well beyond
expectations. If she ever decides to give up the quilting gig, she can cook anywhere and I know we will follow. There was coffee ready first thing in the morning for those of us that rise early and a separate brewing station in the sewing room with anything you wanted including an electric tea kettle. Of course there were snacks, fabric if we needed something and every quilting tool necessary should we fail to remember something.

Once again I wondered if I would ever try a different retreat. Those more experienced at this sort of thing swear this one exceeds every one they have ever been to and who am I to argue with experience? Most of the ladies were cranking out quilts faster than I could count. It took me all three days to get one top put mostly together. I came home quite relaxed and ready to sleep. My top is complete now and pinned for quilting. I’ll show it completed next time. Every quilt they made inspired me even more.

Sam's quilt with a good start on it.

Sam’s quilt with a good start on it.

 

Can you believe this is a donation quilt for a fund-raiser?

Can you believe this is a donation quilt for a fund-raiser?

 

I love the free-form Art quilt

I love the free form Art quilt

Connie had to copy but there are hidden bunnies in hers

Connie had to copy but there are hidden bunnies in hers

No one complained or heard my C-pap machine. I wasn’t bothered by any snoring and we all had the best time ever. One of our new friends wanted to stay longer so she locked her keys in the car. I wasn’t driving so I had to go home with my driver but left with leftovers to feed Tech Support. He’s offered to help edit color on Sew N Go’s new calendar when Nancy has all her photos ready. He’s been officially bribed and ready to work.

Baked taquitos were scrumptious and healthy. I brought some home for TS and his sister to try. Yummm!

Baked taquitos were scrumptious and healthy. I brought some home for TS and his sister to try. Yummm!

I’m not sure when I’ll do this again but would love to take a few classes that Nancy offers and she even does craft classes. Tech Support offered to drive me the 45 mile distance.

We are very serious about our meals.

We are very serious about our meals.

There was a time I could do that myself. It ended six years ago today when Bells palsy stopped me in my tracks for many of those early years.  Don’t wait for the right time to do things. Do them now. Who knew that at 61 my driving and sewing days would be pretty much over? I can at least once again get to the grocery and do a little sewing and quilting so I’m counting my blessings and taking advantage of every opportunity that comes my way.

The next generation of quilters coming up after dinner of course.

The next generation of quilters coming up after dinner of course.

Have you been sleeping with someone new? Maybe pushed your boundaries and had some extra fun?

From my heart to yours,
Marlene Herself

Life Lesson #1

I’m an old woman by some standards and very grateful to have reached old age. Not all are as fortunate. I hear a lot of comments about “old age isn’t for sissies” or “getting old is a bitch”. While both might be true, I’m always delighted that I get to wake up again and start another day full of the ordinary and extraordinary.

Just because I’m old doesn’t mean I have nothing left to learn. Some of my lessons have been a long time coming. Having trudged through life as a nomad, I’ve always had the feeling that I did not fit anywhere. I’ve talked about this before and such an ingrained feeling is a hard one to shake. But shake it I have. The lesson came when I was invited back to the same retreat I went to almost a year ago in April. I had a great time. I worked hard to keep going back to my quilt groups with that kind of feeling. I’ve finally come to the realization that the feeling isn’t a fact. I know this intellectually but to feel it deep in my heart was a big step.

I'm obviously not the only one struggling with this.

I’m obviously not the only one struggling with this.

My presence was requested at this slightly different group of women at the same retreat place! It finally at that moment settled into my cells that my feelings were just that, feelings.

It will be a different experience because you can’t step into the same river twice. Every experience is unique. I’ve decided that I will have a good time and learn as much as possible while there. It’s always my choice to either relax and enjoy or live with the fear of fitting in.

river

Only three nights with two half days is long enough for me. I’m hoping to finish a project that has been waiting a very long while to be started. As a beginner, I need all the help I can get and welcome it. I’ve almost completed two other projects I’ve been working on for quite a while. Photos to follow shortly.

In the meantime, here are photos of a gift I sent off before the holidays but didn’t get time to post. It’s a cheaters quilt panel but the colors were to fun to pass up. I put a couple of borders on and the backing and binding along with minimal quilting. There is also a sleeve in back for hanging. My first ever.


We also did a second little Christmas for my friend’s son. This way he wasn’t so overwhelmed with gifts at Christmas. I’m hoping to see more of him as the weather gets better and I feel more rested. I’m still waiting for that to happen.

I've open all the presents, read the books, played with the toys, now what?

I’ve open all the presents, read the books, played with the toys, now what?

Do you ever have feelings that should be questioned?

From my heart to yours,
Marlene Herself

Do you wake up in the morning ready to take on the day with gusto? Has your sleep been restorative, filled with wonderful dreams? You can count yourself lucky indeed.

 

I haven’t counted myself lucky for a very long time. Going to sleep isn’t the problem. In 5 minutes, I’m gone. But if something were to wake me in the first few minutes to the first few hours, it’s all over. I don’t just drop back off to sleep. Most mornings I woke more tired than when I went to bed.

That could be me exactly.

That could be me exactly.

I sent myself to the doctor for a sleep study. Turns out that I stopped breathing every couple of minutes. Not good. Brain cells die every time that happens. No wonder I can’t remember anything. Makes it hard to put coherent sentences together and it’s a contributing factor to weight gain, high blood pressure, stroke, heart failure, and even depression. Did that scare me? Oh yeah! I wasn’t looking forward to what came next. The dreaded C-pap machine. Everyone said I’d feel so much better after using it. I’m still waiting for that.

It's not very big and has a small container for water inside.

It’s not very big and has a small container for water inside.

The night before I got my machine, I was awakened at 1:00 a.m. I didn’t go back to sleep. I read blogs and left comments in the middle of the night. After the machine was all hooked up and attached to yours truly, I wrestle with it for hours trying hard not to feel like I was suffocating. Up again for the rest of the night but still not catching up on my blogs. You all write some very wonderful posts and I have to read all the comments. By day three, I was starting to feel a psychotic break coming on. I changed the size of the nose piece to the extra small and finally, finally slept a whole 6 hours. That’s about how long I last so far but I’m finally starting to feel better. Of course, I have been working hard to get any extra weight off as that is a contributing factor. It’s one of those catch 22 things. Weight exacerbates the obstruction and lack of sleep can cause more weight gain. I will win this war!

That's not me either. He looks more restful than I do.

That’s not me either. He looks more restful than I do.

I can tell you, it’s a good thing I sleep alone. The wind coming off the hose on that thing is enough to freeze anyone out of the room. One morning I woke up because my nose was frozen and hurt. I’m wearing long sleeve night shirts to keep my arms warm and a stocking hat to cover my head. Pretty picture, isn’t it? It’s not entirely quiet either.

Looks like I'm going into outer space with all that hose.

Looks like I’m going into outer space with all that hose.

There are an awful lot of people out there that need one of those delightful machines. A few I saw were quite heavy but most were like me with just a bit extra weight to some that were quite fit but still had problems with obstruction or brain induced sleep apnea. We all just want sleep, sweet sleep. It helps us be more productive and creative.

Are you a good sleeper or do you walk around in a brain fog too?

From my heart to yours,

Marlene Herself

A New Year’s resolution is something that goes in one year and out the other. ~ Author Unknown

2016 will bring a lot of change. We had high winds this week just to make sure I’m fully aware that it’s coming in full force. It’s going to start with my blog titles. In Search of: has been quite limiting. I’m not good with limits. It feels like a child being told to sit still and be quiet. You can only do it so long and then the squirming starts. I’m basically a searcher of knowledge. I’m still searching with the title being implied. It’s a spiritual search for understanding.

 

Does anyone understand why a teenager must wear pajamas all day Christmas day when visiting family?

Does anyone understand why a teenager must wear pajamas all day Christmas day when visiting family?

Last year was an uncomfortable year. I was glad to see it end. I’ve been one (well, maybe many) step behind. My “to do” lists were always moving to my “didn’t get done list.” I had big plans for 2015: Get organized, financial solvency, finish a lot of projects that have been waiting a decade to be finished, lose the excess weight and find a way to restore my health. I have stacks of books to read and I just keep adding more to the list. I think I should unsubscribe from Bookbub. It takes me to Amazon and then I’m sunk. There are too many good books out there and I don’t want to miss one.

There will be other changes this year. Since I have been struggling with chronic fatigue I decided to have a visit to my doctor. Yes, I needed to shed a few pounds, (isn’t that always the case) but a sleep study was ordered. Turns out I have severe sleep apnea. Even when I was asleep, I wasn’t. So the C-pap machine will be picked up in two weeks. Medicare and managed care do not move quickly. Next on the list has been my failing vision. I can see the big things, not the details so after several trips to the eye care center, it was determined the removal of the cataract might help. It can take up to three months to schedule. In the meantime, the words dance across the page and I have to trust spell check to tell me if I’ve mistyped. Bear with me please.

 

Gifts made for friends barely done in time.

Gifts made for friends barely done in time.

I have been off sugar since September with the pounds reluctantly wandering just a short distance away from the scale. I’m sure they are waiting to see if I’m serious.
Sometimes I am. It is apparent sugar and I will fight to the finish line as I love to bake and I don’t move enough to burn it off. That will have to find a resolution as well. I read everything I can find on how to heal the body. Sugar isn’t on the list in any of the books. Darn it all. It’s the one area that moderation doesn’t work well for me. I’m an all or nothing kind of girl when it comes to sweets.

 

Our quilt groups after Christmas, Christmas party. It was a hard day for me.

Our quilt groups after Christmas, Christmas party. It was a hard day for me.

I’m looking forward to finishing many, many projects this year. My house painting in the spring, sewing and quilting projects this winter and maybe even getting to furniture refinishing projects that look at me and snicker at my inability to do it all. Let them snicker. I’m ready to relax and have some fun with friends this year.

The stealing gift exchange part of our party.

The stealing gift exchange part of our party.

My sewing and quilting groups are feeding my social and creative needs. Writing had taken a back seat the last year. Maybe this year, it will move up the line of priorities. My house took all my time last year. It’s still a priority though more like number two on the list. At least for now or until the HOA comes by with a notice to get busy.

 

Made for my sewing group. Some of the snowmen have purple, not yellow scarves.

Made for my sewing group. Some of the snowmen have purple, not yellow scarves.

What are you expecting from this year? Do you have resolutions or just hopeful goals?

Happy New Year
From my heart to yours,
Marlene Herself

The day of reckoning is fast approaching. My days are long and the nights, oh my gosh short. The Charlie Brown tree from the last 5 years was pulled from its falling apart box only to find that most of the lights had not survived the darkness of storage. How does that happen? Every strand I added to it had sections that no longer lite up. It sat for a week glaring at me.

Last years tree. Boughs broke in the box.

Last years tree. Boughs broke in the box.

My sister arrived to do some errands with me in tow. I was her clothing advisor at our local Goodwill store. As I headed to the front for checkout, a sassy, fluffy tree caught my eye. It was decorated with stockings but I asked if the tree was for sale and how much. Yes, and $25 was the reply. With my sister’s approval, we loaded that monster into the back of her pickup. How fortuitous. (see me smiling here)

Angels everywhere

Angels everywhere

We couldn't get it all in one shot.

We couldn’t get it all in one shot.

 

What to do with Charlie Brown. Sis had contemplated a small artificial tree for her new abode. A real one was probably not a good idea there this year, so Charlie was loaded into her truck for the trip home and my son, (tech support) brought in the newer one. It’s really too big for my place but looks quite distinguished. New LED lights were strung, and every ornament I have fit on the tree nicely. I’ve had this collection for oh, SO many years.

 

Fat Friars doing the baking

Fat Friars doing the baking

Heavenly bakery

Heavenly bakery

Each Saturday, my daughter arrived to bake our Christmas cookies. I have a real kitchen, she has an apartment kitchen with a stove as old as the building. She took a tin of cookies to her Christmas party at work and I have enough (I hope) for guests coming by, the mail lady, (Mo) my baskets for neighbors and UPS delivery people. I did a little of the baking too but my daughter makes them like a pro now while I work on other projects. (And supervise)

The outside is lit up courtesy of tech support and all the presents are wrapped. This last Saturday, my daughter spent her visit putting all the ribbons and bows on each one to make them extra festive. It’s her thing and she does it so well. I must say, not a single piece of wrapping paper or ribbon was purchased this year or for the last few years. We use so much recycled stuff that is kept from year to year that I will probably never have to purchase ribbon and bows again.

All the handmade gifts that were finished, went in the mail along with cards. Hopefully they will find their destinations without a problem. I’m still looking for a package that was sent from Australia in late August. (see me not smiling here)

There are many gifts that were on my list to make that had to be set aside for my sanity. Some things just moved to the end of the priority list. I’m learning, slowly, that some things just have to be let go of in order to enjoy the moment. The motto now is: we do what we can, and enjoy what we do.

2 Sandwiched and pinned, one still waiting till after Christmas to be done. Oh well. Sigh.

2 Sandwiched and pinned, one still waiting till after Christmas to be done. Oh well. Sigh.

Hopefully, by the time company arrives, the house will be tidy, the decorations visible and the last of my gifts to be made are checked off the list. If not, have a cookie and don’t look.

How are your holiday preparations going? Are you HO, HO, HO-ing, or Bah Humbugging?

Merry Christmas, Happy Christmas, Happy Solstice, and anything else I missed. Oh, and Happy New Year too. Thank you all for stopping by and visiting with me.

From my heart to yours,
Marlene Herself

I’m learning to re-blog here so bare with me. This one is so worth it. I’ve already posted this on my Facebook page but I wanted to share it as far and wide as possible. Get your tissue ready. It’s so sweet and a little sad.
From my heart to yours,
Marlene Herself

Misifusa's Blog

thegnomist

This morning, the video below came to me via a friend and I had to pass it along to you.  It’s 17 minutes long and well-worth watching as the story line spans so many different lives, healings and wraps the art of kindness into a magical forest.  Fairies, forest and gnomes all rejoice!

For it’s December First ~ Repeat after me…Rabbit Rabbit ~ Today begins the magic, snow on our blogs, a festive spirit in the air ~ Here’s to hoping we continue it throughout the year!  Love to you all!

Shine On!

xo

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So I lied. I was only going to do the one post this month. I just can’t hold it in any longer. It was probably one of the best Thanksgivings I’ve ever had.

I was asked to model the apron. It really looks better on the ironing board.

I was asked to model the apron. It really looks better on the ironing board.

No one noticed all the fancy placemats or decorations I had scattered around. They were invisible among the hugs and laughter of family coming together after a long absence. The whole day was a rush and a blur of food being brought in and prepared by different cooks each in turn. I had my part under control…well maybe not so much. My oven does not cook evenly so the turkey was done more on one side than the other but it had a lovely taste.

Dining and kitchen table pushed together and had an informal gathering.

Dining and kitchen table pushed together and had an informal gathering.

Board games were played before and after dinner. Some Zen Tangle and adult coloring books of intricate detail were brought out after. My daughter made sure everyone had something to do. My son copied and shared photos for some family members and the pots and pans were washed as used so after dinner, clean up was quick with many hands making the work light. With my family, my sister’s family, and my niece’s family here, all blended well and no one left hungry. There were few leftovers.

We did turn the couch around to face the others and 3 of us had the most comfortable seat.

We did turn the couch around to face the others and 3 of us had the most comfortable seat.

There was no formality here and almost no order. It was just pure fun. My new home has been christened with love and joy. It doesn’t get any better. How was your Thanksgiving?

On that note, welcome to the Hanukkah and Christmas season. Are you going to be ready in time for the next holiday?

From my heart to yours,
Marlene Herself

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