Looking for answers to life's questions

Seeing

It’s been too long but I see the light! Winter is a favorite time of year…usually. This year was long, dark and exceedingly wet. I’ve plodded along trying to summon up the energy to do things. My friend and fellow blogger at incahootswithmuddyboots.com came by to cheer me with signs of spring from her yard.

First signs of spring from my friend

The struggle with my vision has really slowed things down. I finally wised up and went back to the optometrist. My glasses that are eight months old were not working and I was scared. “Well no wonder” he says. “You’ve lost a whole diopter of vision since this last prescription.” Now I have no idea what a diopter really is even after my son explained it to me. “What caused it” I asked? He seemed to think it was because of excessive dry eye. That eye doesn’t blink as well as the other and leaks tears since the onset of Bells Palsy 7 years ago. Why am I losing so much vision now?

I bought 5 of these for my sewing group as a Christmas gift. This is mine finally finished.

The back is pink, not my favorite color but it’s cheerful.

It’s possible the C-pap machine that blows wind in my face all night might be drying out the eye if I’m not keeping it well closed in my sleep. I didn’t think that could be the answer so I made another appointment with an ophthalmologist and she verified that the eye was indeed quite healthy and quite dry.

So onto finding solutions. I put in a gel at night for better lubrication and have an eye mask to cover the eyes. My son’s ex-wife saw something online that she thought would help and I checked it out. This morning on my trip to town for lunch with friends, I stopped at the sleep study center and asked if they had it or could they get it for me. In 15 minutes, they saved me the more than $100 and handed one over after a fitting. I practically danced out of the office. No more wind in my face all night. Granted, it’s not terribly attractive but I’m hoping it fills the bill.

The wind is at the top of the head with this one.

So the second pair of glasses that were made a few weeks ago works quite well for distances but I can’t read the computer with them. Back to the old pair when I’m on the laptop. The optometrist will try to come up with another prescription that works better for both. It’s frustrating but there’s still so much I want to do, read and write. Vision seems essential to those desires.

I’ve been working on this forever it seems. Now comes the quilt around it.

In the meantime, the clutter has continued to be cleared. All of the industrial shelving from my son’s storage unit were sold and are gone from the yard. I am continuing to pare down but have found it’s a good idea to go through the boxes carefully before donation. I found a whole bundle of embroidery patterns that I bought almost 10 years ago for over $60. Everything else in the box went, the patterns are now being lined up to work.

I’ve managed to get a few other things done.

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So how are you seeing this time of year? Signs of spring or signs of autumn becoming more clear? Are you starting to perk up or wind down?

From my heart to yours,
Marlene Herself

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I know, I know, it’s over and old news. Something kept gnawing at me that I should write about it anyway. There is a lot of flak about this supposed amorous day that has turned so horribly commercial. I would grouse about its commercialism as well since I didn’t have a Valentine.

These hearts are new after Valentines day for next year. I needed more bookmarks for friends

These machine embroidered hearts were made after Valentines day for next year. A positive experiment. I needed more bookmarks for friends

I’ve been alone for many years now and I like it. When I was married, Valentine’s Day was not high on our list. We were practical people and the price of a card could go a long way to filling the gas tank or buying a few groceries. Valentine’s Day just wasn’t in the cards.

This year was different. Not because I met someone special but because my friends and I did something special. Our hand sewing group of six became five last spring when one of our members was moved to a retirement home by her daughter. She is in her late 80’s and her daughter had to move so it seemed time. The Retirement home is in downtown Portland and access for most us is difficult.

I gave Dolly a bookmark for the book she is reading. She reads, knits, and quilts.

I gave Dolly a bookmark for the book she is reading. She reads, knits, and quilts.

I got a text the night before from Emily that we were going to see Dolly the next morning for Valentine’s Day and have lunch with her. We couldn’t get there at Christmas because of the snow. Several of us carpooled with Emily to Pattie’s. Pattie drove us all downtown to see Dolly. The light in Dolly’s eyes was so bright and she was so happy to see us all that it lifted all our spirits. I can’t say that I have ever had a better Valentine’s Day in my life.

She even made little paper heart decorations that morning when she found out we were going to come.

Dolly made one for each of us. What a surprise.We wore then down to the dining room for lunch.

Dolly made one for each of us. What a surprise.We wore then down to the dining room for lunch.

We brought our hand work, enjoyed the cheerful company and had a show and tell. Making someone who doesn’t get out often so happy was the best way to spend that day and hopefully we can do it again soon.

I think this will change how I look at that date on the calendar from now on. How about you? Did you do Valentine’s Day in an unusual way? Any ideas for next year?

From my heart to yours,

Marlene Herself

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It’s almost the middle of February! Where the heck did the time go? And where has everyone been? Like myself, so many other bloggers that I follow have been curiously absent. After the holidays, and the push to get my place livable again, I found myself sitting in my chair in the den after waking up in the morning and staying there till it was time to feed the body. I read, watched some news, always in fast forward with the sound off until they came to something that didn’t make my blood pressure rise and then I was tired and took a nap. It was a bad routine of sitting and barely motivating myself to read much less write a post.

Maybe it was the full moon that caused the blahs?

Maybe it was the full moon that caused the blahs?

I was lucky to see it will all the cloud cover

I was lucky to see it will all the cloud cover

Research was necessary. I found my journals from previous years and discovered  there was a pattern. The after Christmas letdown. Some years it was like I had gone into hibernation. When you don’t have a job, it’s easier to do but I think the need was there even when I was working. Retirement age makes hibernation easy. It seems so many are struggling with a lethargy from the post-election time through the holiday until the first signs of spring peaks through.

A new book to cheer me on.

A new book to cheer me on.

I’ve been sending out e-mail and cards to blogging friends and other friends to check on them. I learned years ago that the quickest way to feel better was to reach out to others. Many of us get caught in a rut and don’t know which way to go next. We feel…blah.  My friend at Gardening Nirvana must have had the same idea.

Today started out slow again with good intentions. You know what they say about good intentions and the road to hell being paved with them. By mid-afternoon I forced myself out of my chair to the top of the terraces in order to bury more green waste. I had planned a walk that didn’t happen so instead I grabbed the rake and shovel. After digging two large holes and burying the green waste, I raked a great deal of the debris that had fallen from the trees in the last wind and rain and snow storms this winter. That’s pretty good exercise for me. Getting ready to invite spring. Then I noticed spring was popping up its little head. I’m thinking that spending more time out there will smack the blahs right in the tush and get me moving again.

The blueberry bush was a gift from my friend that also blogs at “incahootswithmuddyboots”

 

Are you coming out of the winter blahs or do you just power through without a problem?

From my heart to yours,

Marlene Herself

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I’m a bit on overload this month clearing and sorting while the rain continues to pummel down. At least it’s no longer snow and ice. Bear with me please. In the meantime, the long ago promise of another story.

Part 2

Maddie was agitated and frustrated. What the heck was Public Relations and how was she supposed to be of help to this firm? The Temp service had sent her over to work for an undetermined amount of time and after a week, she was still a fish out of water. She didn’t know what she was doing and it was becoming more obvious the two women who owned and ran the company didn’t know what they were doing either. Thank goodness it was Friday!

Maddie was in a hurry to get out of the parking lot and onto Riverside Drive towards home after another mind numbing day. She and her husband had free tickets to the Pasadena Ice House Comedy Club. Maddie could really use a laugh after the day she’d had and pulled out a little too fast cutting off another car that seemed to be in as big a hurry as she. She waved behind her apologetically. That curve was hard to see around. Just after pulling out, she was first in line for the stop light with the angry man just behind her. She could almost hear him swear at her as the light finally turned green. Maddie put her foot on the accelerator and started to move forward when she heard it loud and clear. PUT YOUR FOOT ON THE BRAKE! But the light was green she thought. Again it came louder this time. PUT YOUR FOOT ON THE BRAKE NOW! So Maddie did.

Looking into her rear-view mirror, she fully expected Mr. Angry and Impatient to drive right over the top of her car. It was in those milliseconds that a flash of white passed in front of her and she heard the most horrendous sound. Looking over at the lane to the right of her and just a half car length ahead she saw the very large woman in her small Ford Mustang flop over sideways like a rag doll and come back up. The white delivery truck had struck her door with full force. No brakes on his vehicle had been applied. His big truck had pushed the Mustang all the way out of her lane. Maddie knew she had to be dead.

When things stopped for a few seconds and the lane was quiet and clear, Maddie drove across the intersection and pulled up to the curb on the other side. Mr. Angry continued on as did as much of the traffic as possible until the police arrived. Maddie waited till they came to talk to her. She was going to be late getting home but she was alive. Why?

When the police came to get her statement, they asked if the truck driver had gone through a yellow light. “Absolutely not” Maddie stated! Our light was green. Maddie couldn’t explain to the policeman that they’d had a green lights for seconds already and why she had not gone. Maddie made it very clear that the truck driver had gone through a clearly red light on his side and was going so fast he was a blur to her.

Big white truck

Big white truck

small Ford Mustang. No competition.

small Ford Mustang. No competition.

It became clear to Maddie that if the truck had hit her, she was eight feet closer and would most likely not have survived. If she had not pulled out in front of Mr. Angry and Impatient, he would have been first in line at the light. He may have gone quickly as the light turned green.

They would not tell her the other woman’s condition but Maddie was hopeful. Drinks at the Ice House once they got there that night did little to assuage her anguish. Why did she hear the Voice and not the woman in the car next to her? She just couldn’t make sense of it.

The next week, Maddie ask the Temp service to transfer her somewhere else.   She needed life to make sense.

Does life make sense to you?

From my heart to yours,

Marlene Herself

I’m a planner.  My son, plans very differently from me. I will ask what his plan is and he shrugs like a teenager instead of a full grown adult male. I’m sure something is working itself out in his head but I don’t see it. My plan was to have less stuff, his was to move anything that he couldn’t sell and pay less for storage.

I have plenty of  stuff and I’m working feverishly to pass most on or make use of it. We have both sold a great deal and given away more. My little corner of that storage unit is now in my house, driveway and shed along with some of his stuff. I figured I’d go through it this week as he drove his 26’ rental truck to the Northern Arizona Mountains where he has a shipping container purchased and placed conveniently and inexpensively. No more storage costs. The container can later be used for other projects.

This driveway was clear before Christmas

This driveway was clear before Christmas

The pile kept growing. We tried to sell the chain saw at the 100 degree yard sale last summer. Bargain rate if you are interested.

The pile kept growing. We tried to sell the chain saw at the 100 degree yard sale last summer. Bargain rate if you are interested.

There was a time frame to do all this as his navigator/alternate driver/friend flew in to ride back with him. It took us two days to pack the truck with some unprofessional help. A teenager thinking about the video games he was missing and a wonderful blogging friend who was a tiny force of nature. Crystal worked circles around the teenager and me. My son was methodical in a way that was testing my patience. It was cold in a way this city hasn’t seen in decades. Once it was all loaded, he began to be concerned. It fit but felt too heavy. The morning he was going to pull the truck out of the storage area, the gates froze shut and wouldn’t come open. Obviously a clear sign of things to come.

Four layers and I still got too cold when the sun started down.

Four layers and I still got too cold when the sun started down.

By 9 a.m. my son and his navigator/2nd driver managed to get the gate open by hand. The manager stood inside his office door in his long johns with his hands flapping in the air looking helpless to assist in any way. Once the gates were open, we fled after pulling them closed again.

My boxes in the back corner. Only the Holiday boxes will stay.

My boxes in the back corner. Only the Holiday boxes will stay.

Is this the end of the story? Oh, no. It took one stoplight for it to register fully that this load was not going to fly. An attempt was made to rent a tag-along trailer to distribute the load. There wasn’t one to fit the truck. Just go ahead they said at the rental place.

My wise son took the truck to our refuse and recycling center and had it weighed. 6000 pounds over is significant. So the next option was to call mom. That’s what we are for, right?

All but the tan posts go with this unit

All but the tan posts go with this unit

They spent the better part of a precious driving day, offloading his commercial steel shelving into my back yard along with anything too heavy and no longer worth the move. It would have to be sold from my place with him negotiating long distance. As they drove down the highway in the very late afternoon, I got a call that the truck was behaving nicely and all was well.

All together and full of stuff

All together and full of stuff

I wish I could say that there was rest for the weary after all this. I cleaned out the unit the next day in slightly warmer temps, loaded the third seat back into my vehicle by myself to get it out of the incoming weather and moved and sorted things to go to different places. Their truck made it into Utah and headed across to Arizona. Ahead of the weather I’ve been mentally holding back for them. I thank everyone who kept good thoughts with me for this to be a safe journey.

Cleaned out and empty. Ready for the next customer.

Cleaned out and empty. Ready for the next customer.

Anyone interested in a commercial steel shelving unit with the plywood shelves or several different weight bench thingies? I have some of my mom’s end tables that might go to the thrift store in the next load unless you want them?

P.S. They made it safely all the way. Yay!!!

From my heart to yours,

Marlene Herself

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What’s New?

I’m trying to figure out this New Year thing. Saturday turns into Sunday and everything is supposed to be different? My house looks like the same mess it was in yesterday. In other words, same stuff (putting it nicely), different day. My mind is as chaotic as my home is right now so forgive the fragmented writing, please.

packing boxes mixed in with Christmas decor.

packing boxes mixed in with Christmas decor.

I was awakened at midnight by the fireworks that sounded like gunshots going off in my neighborhood and it took a while to go back to sleep. I’m a very early riser. Why do we humans like to celebrate things? Maybe  to keep life from being mundane. Animals don’t do celebrations. Every day is good to them. I know there is a lesson in there.

I got time for Christmas. Something I really need.

I got time for Christmas. Something I really need.

Christmas is over. I love/hate Christmas, though this year was unlike any of them. I had a lot to do this year that just didn’t get done. I spent most of my time working on a quilt for my son. He is moving all his stuff to snow country. After expressing a fondness for a soft plain quilt he saw in a craft show, I made it my mission to get one made before Christmas so he would have it with him. I had no idea what I was doing and no pattern or measurements. He wanted “soft” so that’s what I made. Flannel on one side, Minky® on the other. Other than an embroidered fleece blanket for my niece to take to college next fall, the quilt is the only thing I finished this year.

Quilt for Tech Support.

Quilt for Tech Support.

Isabel Rose is her name.

Isabel Rose is her name.

When the truck pulls out with everything from his room and the storage unit, I will start my new year. Sorting and selling. We have already sold many things through a neighborhood website that just popped up. Yay!!! I still have a village to sell and all its inhabitants. There is nowhere to store them year to year anymore and nowhere to display them. Anyone need a collection of dust catchers?

Alpine Bakery

Alpine Bakery

New for me this year will be just one thing. Find ways to move more. Just my body, not my house.  None of what I do involves a lot of movement. I’m also planning to try new things this year. Maybe connecting with more blogs that ask us to write something specific, and possibly take some classes to meet new people. I tend to be a hermit. One of those extroverted introverts. People scare the dickens out of me but we need each other.

People sharing ideas and good fun

People sharing ideas and good fun

Also new this year, we’ve had an unusual amount of snow already and extra cold temps. Looks like more is on the way. I won’t mind once the kid has his rental truck safely where it’s going. I don’t wish driving in this crazy weather on anyone.

Handmade by a quilting friend, this snow-mama came home with me.

Handmade by a quilting friend, this snow-mama came home with me.

It already feels like a very different year. In my bones different. Let’s hope it brings more good than not. So are you really expecting anything NEW about this New Year?

 

From my heart to yours,

Marlene Herself

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Creeping

I thought I had loads of time to get it all done. Every year the same thing happens. I hear everyone commenting about the stores getting ready for Christmas in September, not even waiting till Halloween is done. Well let me be very clear here, three and a half months is not enough time for me.

All are welcome here

All are welcome here

Somehow, and I can’t imagine how it happens, Christmas is creeping up on me with less than four days to go. Where the heck did all the time go? It was there just a minute ago.

Could it have gone here?

Snow barely covered the ground but kids were enjoying every drop.

Snow barely covered the ground but kids were enjoying every drop.

The first snow this year. I spent too much time watching the children play in it from the sewing room window where I should have been working.

Oh, to be a kid again.

Oh, to be a kid again.

Could it have gone here?

It all froze. First time in the last 4 years we have had this much snow and freezing rain.

It all froze. First time in the last 4 years we have had this much snow and freezing rain.

Our second snow this season brought the city of Portland to its knees. The aftermath is beautiful but the 3 hour ride to cover the 22 miles from the airport after picking up my son complete wore us both out. Cars were littered over all the roads and interstate. No one was prepared for the amount of ice on the roads. My son, the expert driver, got us home without bending anything.

Nothing but gray skies as far as the eye can see.

back-porch-12-14-16-cropped

It sure is pretty if you don’t have to leave the house.

 

I’ve been busy working on things, some of which I can’t show you right now. Shh, they are presents. Here is one I made for my son’s birthday last month at his request.

My son has a great sense of humor

My son has a great sense of humor

I had a tiny photo of my tree skirt on a previous blog and a better photo was requested. I have more started but the details I add take a great deal of time. I think I’ll start on them next month.

The whole tree skirt

The whole tree skirt

Lots of added detail like the gold bows sewn on before it's assembled

Lots of added detail like the gold bows sewn on before it’s assembled

There is a spot to hide a gift under the heart.

There is a spot to hide a gift under the heart.

My son flew home for Christmas and collecting all his belongings to move them into a shipping container on a friends piece of property. The shipping container was less expensive than a year’s storage fees and when it’s no longer storage for his things, it can be used as a shop and work space. So along with the Christmas decorations and preparations, we are getting ready for another shuffling of stuff and moving it. Not the best time of year for it but storage unit fees are getting astronomical. Is anyone starting to question our sanity?

Someone has to make use of these things.

Someone has to make use of these things.

I also made time to walk my daughter through a project she wanted to do and we were flying by the seat of our pants with no real pattern. We made it up as we went and it turned out pretty good for her first time. She likes using my machine so I can hover and calm when fear arises. It’s a gift for a hard to gift friend of hers. We are both proud of her.

I still have a dozen projects to finish in the next three days. What are the odds? Will the baking get done? How about you?

Is Christmas creeping up on you like a cat stalking a bird or are you ready to smack it down?

 

Since I most likely won’t get another chance, I’m wishing you all the joy this Christmas season can bring and hope that the New Year will bring a new start and peace in your heart.

From my heart to yours,
Marlene Herself

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