Looking for answers to life's questions

One Thing

What comes immediately to your mind when you hear that phrase, ‘one thing’? Ok, now you can keep reading.

You know that old phrase “one thing leads to another”? Last weekend was a prime example of how we get lost in what we are doing and can be easily led astray.

Our Saturday chore was to try to make some sense of the kitchen pantry while incorporating my daughter’s dry goods in with mine. I’ve done that with each family member that moved in for a time. Who knew that this activity would become a wanderlust? We emptied out EVERYTHING! Then I washed down the shelves and we took stock of what was there.

It took all day to clean out and rearrange.

If you think pickled foods and stuff in glass will last forever if unopened, have a second think. So, I opened and dumped things, rinsing out glass jars and putting them in a recycle bin. My heart did a thud seeing the waste. I find it abhorrent. It all looked fine last I looked. Quite the wakeup call here.

All years past the use by dates. Too sad. I hate waste.

As we took a short break, we watched another episode of Marie Kondo’s Netflix shows to keep us encouraged while we had a hot bowl of the Matzo Ball soup, I’d made the night before with lots of garlic, leftover turkey and noodles to chase away the winter germs. Then we watched natures show of beautiful snow showers.

Once everything was placed in systematic order, ‘genius’ here decides to pull out everything from the liquor cupboard and see what’s there. Some was mine, my daughter’s and my sister’s. I played the game ‘what one thing is unlike the other’ and that led to cleaning the stove top. While I was at it with a vengeance, my daughter, seeing all the lovely liqueurs on the floor, thought it would be lovely to make a quick run to the grocery for ice cream. You see the link here, right?

Sorting and separating out what doesn’t belong

What are these doing down here with the wine and liqueurs?

Reds for some friends, white for others and the rest for ice cream. Yum

Liqueurs and ice cream go together and we needed to be rewarded for our hard work and the organizing of such wonderful goodness. It would appear that I’m quite the lush but the liquor has been there longer than some of the pickled foods I had to toss, some much, much longer. So, in the event of an apocalypse, you know now what will stay good and what won’t. Forget the food and keep the booze.

14-year-old stove but at least it’s clean now. One thing leads to another.

Next is the tea and spice cabinet. Oh my word, that could be problematic. I think the teas will need their own cabinet so what will have to go? Hmmm.

Many of the blogs I have been reading in the last couple of weeks are reverberating the same theme. Everyone seems to be clearing clutter and purging excess. Most people wait till spring to do these things. What pushes us to do it after the first of the year? Do you stockpile anything?

Happy Valentines Day everyone. Have a little loaded ice cream to celebrate.

 

Oops, wrong holiday. I think it’s time they go somewhere else

From my heart to yours,

From my heart to yours

Marlene Herself

 

A Shoehorn

The line between a hoarder and a creative collector is very delicate. I’m beginning to see how wobbly I walk that line. It may have to do with the intention behind it. The last few weeks in the process of moving my daughter into my house has had me looking at that line a lot more closely.

Still sorting and shoveling in the sewing room

I’ve emptied a closet full of crafting and fabric tubs, as well as the linen closet to make room for my daughter. She brought her bed, linens, dresser, while I provided an emptied bookshelf. Everything on the bookshelf had to go…somewhere.

We have both moved so much stuff last month that it’s giving each of us pause. Boxes have been filled for donation. She sold most of her furniture with only two cherished pieces in storage for now. More will be sold at the summer yard sale.

I managed to give away the queen bed and frame that was my guest bed to a young couple. My daughter’s box springs came to the house, her old mattress went to the dump. My sister and I took care of that. We are so proud of ourselves for all the lifting and maneuvering of heavy obstacles at our age and in our condition. My sister loves trips to the dump; chatting up everyone who works there with her friendly nature. Couldn’t have done this without her.

When expected help didn’t show up, my daughter and I looked at each other and decided we would manage on our own to move the last heavy item. Then there was the cleaning of 3 years’ worth of living in 400 square feet with appliances older than my daughter. We also had the free use of a moving van to move her stuff in storage closer to my house where she will have easy access to go through and continue to purge. We didn’t need a truck that large by any stretch of the imagination but she had fun driving it just to say she could do it. There is something very empowering in doing things you didn’t think you could do before.

We were both so tired that meals were catch-as-catch-can. To be honest, I didn’t know how exhausted I was getting until it was all done. Then it caught up with me big time. I went down for a week and could do nothing but sleep. Eating wasn’t going well either. So, I’ve been taking some gentle time for myself and doing next to nothing. Trying to read and leave comments was a short-term project most days and I’m not sure I was totally coherent nor were my comments. After a fair amount of rest with some exercise for good measure, we are both beginning to feel human again. The next move is up to someone else.

Sewing room shuffle

Do you ever have the tendency to push your limits too far? What do you do to recover? Did you find yourself purging excess in this first month of the year?

 

From my heart to yours,

Marlene Herself

I’ve wanted to write everyday but either my brain or body were just too frazzled to make any sense of it all. So, bear with me here.

Christmas gift that lasted through the new year. Thank you dear friend.

Christmas was small and quiet. Only five of us for dinner. The focus this year was my niece who is in her second year at University. She and her mother are Jewish but they do Christmas with us because we love each other. It was a very practical year. She received a simple white robe from my sister and an extra set of sheets for the extra long twin they have in the dorms from me. I washed them both and mailed them after personalizing the robe so it didn’t wander off while unattended.

The rose is significant and larger than I thought it would be.

After a week of recovery and dealing with leftover food, the process of taking down Christmas began. There are rules here in this park. No outdoor decorations after January 15. I picked the first dry day and took down all outside lights. Since Christmas is my favorite holiday because it’s so festive, I have a lot to put away. More is being given away.  Paring down takes time. Grieving must be allowed.

When you add in the fact that my daughter is moving in with me and her things must have some room, we have utter chaos in play. I had to completely unload the ‘guest’ room and figure out what to do with it all. Crafting and its accoutrements had filled the closet and spilled out everywhere. She brought in kitchen spices and things she needs for her kitchen that must fit in mine. Most of her things are going into storage or being sold, donated or dumped. We are really ‘fluffing the Chi’ in our homes this time. Nothing is untouched.

 

A gift from my son. Kinder as in Children.

 

From my son to his sister. I have seen it all now.

My feet revolted so I went to use the exercise bike at the gym on Monday to stay off them for a couple of days. I ended up at the store afterward buying two of the two cubic ft. bags of planting mix for my Lemon Cyprus that was blown over in the wind Saturday night. It felt just under tornado strength from the way my windows in the bedroom whistled most of the night. I will move its mate this weekend while we are having a short dry spell and give it more room. So much for staying off my feet.

 

Today I ignored the waves of foot discomfort again to walk the mall and have a long coffee break with a friend before things get really crazy around here. By the first of February, things should be only slightly chaotic which is normal for me.

My sewing friends enjoyed the last Christmas potluck party on Tuesday and now I wish I had taken photos. The table was so pretty, the food so good, and the company inspiring.

Today is the start of more normal, healthy eating. I don’t think my clothes or my feet could wait another day.

Did the last month go by in a flash for you as well? Is this new year shaping up to have lots of changes for you too?

 

From my heart to yours,

Marlene Herself

 

Speed

Have you noticed that the months of November and December go faster than any month of the year? It’s like these two months are on speed and I’m on molasses. The month between Thanksgiving and Christmas always finds me totally unprepared and way behind schedule.

Set myself up an assembly line in the den so I can watch Christmas movies while I work.

We know it’s coming with 12 months notice. It comes the same time every year and each year I’m behind in my list of things to get done. I’ve even shortened the list to a minute fraction of what it once was.

Someone apparently likes pink. Not my favorite..

Sleep doesn’t come easily when your mind is letting you know all night what’s left to be done before mailing is no longer possible. Since I make most my gifts from what I have available, my creativity has to work overtime as well.

 

Many days are taken up with fun things. Last weekend I went to the Hazelnut Festival in Mt. Angel, Oregon with my blogging friend Crystal, at Conscious Engagement.  There are better photos on her blog. She did the driving, I bought lunch. Santa was on the porch calling us to dine.

Having a chat with Santa

It’s less than an hour away from my house and two from Crystal’s. It turned into a beautiful day but quite chilly. They were wise enough to hold it in a large hall out of the elements. I bought a lovely hazelnut cake made by the Benedictine Sisters to share over the holidays. There was Chocolate hazelnut handmade pasta to make as a dessert. I can’t wait to try it. Hazelnut butter and so many things made with them I had a hard time leaving it all behind.

I’m dancing to the music

Next week will be full as well. Sewing group will have their all day (5 hrs) gathering to share our finished projects and our gifts for each other. Mine are ready for the bows.

Each one is a little different. For quilting friends.

Even the Pulmonary Fibrosis support group my sister, daughter and I attend will have their monthly gathering at a restaurant downtown. Thank goodness my daughter is a wonderful chauffeur. The drinks (if we imbibe) will be on us but the nibbles are gifted by the foundation. The chauffeur never imbibes and drives. I taught her well.

My first visit with Santa in over 30 years.

This holiday is once again going to be quite different from others. I’ve been gifting from my collections and making lots of bowl cozies for family members to give as their gifts to friends. Since they already have theirs, the making of these others will be my gift to them. I’m slower these days but finding a rhythm.

6 cozies made for my sister so far. She gives them as gifts

Today will be baking day. A favorite for both my daughter and me. We usually spend Saturday’s together and baking in my better-appointed kitchen than she has is fun and tasty. I can only say, I wish you were here. Now it’s time to start our breakfast.

Beginning of baking

How are you doing with timing?

 

From my heart to yours,

Marlene Herself

I’ve been looking through as many of my photos as I can get to and can find almost none of our Thanksgivings. Especially the meals. I asked my son about it today and he said it was because I was always busy cooking and never had the time to really enjoy it. That’s not going to happen this year.

The last of fall is so beautiful

I didn’t grow up with Thanksgiving. It’s an American holiday and my mother had a hard time grasping its purpose. As a young war bride, she had seriously limited cooking skills. You could actually say very little that came out of her kitchen was tasty for most of my growing up years.  We ate it anyway.

Our first Thanksgiving  at age six in Colorado Springs, Colorado, was fraught with frustration. First there was little money for all that food and turkey was foreign to her. A kind and generous neighbor brought over the very first turkey mom had ever seen. Unfortunately, it still had its feathers and head. The neighbor was asked politely to take it back home with her. That sweet woman plucked and prepared the turkey to go in the oven explaining to mom how it was done. We invited another hungry military family to share it with us. That’s how many military families survived.

This says it all. I don’t know where I got it so long ago but it still resonates

While in elementary school on base in Germany, we were asked to bring in a washed potato to make an art project. It was destined to become a turkey with paper tail feathers. Mine never made it to art class. I was hungry and the raw potato tasted just fine to me. I didn’t need that paper going to waste. We didn’t have Thanksgiving dinner at our house until years later.

Many later Thanksgivings were spent by my own young family with in-laws, or out of the country where we had no stove, much less an oven.  Tradition was fluid and flexible.

Just the in-laws long ago. Very formal

When we had our own home, the first Thanksgiving was such a big deal because we had invited both sets of parents to join us. Mine had far to travel and my mother-in-law was a great cook. Nothing like setting the bar all the way at the top. I cooked a 30-pound turkey that year and with my dad’s direction and advice, it came out PERFECT!

Every year, Thanksgiving is different. The number of people who show up for dinner, the food changes with some of the old favorites showing up repeatedly until they don’t. I’ve gone from making everything myself from scratch with lots of leftovers to quick and easy for only a few. This year my daughter, sister and I will go out for a buffet lunch/dinner in a restaurant. Maybe I’ll take photos this time.

The one thing that never changes in all the years of Thanksgivings is the thanks. No matter where the food comes from, I am grateful to have it. I’ve had 17 at my table and once there were only two. I’m grateful for the restaurant that cooks when I just don’t have the energy and  for family to share the meal. I’m grateful for the air I get to breathe and a body that can move and work. It’s the little things that matter. Having family at the touch of a button or within grasp. When I wake, I’m grateful for another day to choose what I can make of it. I’m grateful for the rain we desperately need and so much more.

While I was looking through my photos, I found this and thought it was a good time to share it. I’m grateful for the ability to put pen to paper and wish everyone a great day of gratitude and a full stomach.

From my heart to yours,

Marlene Herself

 

Haunted

I’ve been haunted this year. Not by ghosts but by memories. There are seven years of memories that haunt my waking hours and keep sleep at bay.

Haunted

Today is my seventh anniversary with WordPress. My first post was on Halloween night. The haunting started at my son’s home while he and his sister terrorized the neighbor children with frightening sights and sounds.

It’s also the anniversary of my father’s death. But he doesn’t haunt me. Unless I’ve misspelled a word or used it incorrectly.

Frankie ate the candy so he brought flowers for his coffin

What is haunting me is whether I have the capacity to keep blogging in the face of all the new challenges ahead. I have a cemetery of unread posts and another of unfinished posts to write. You know about the well of dead plots, I’m certain.

Halloween here is quiet, deadly quiet in my neighborhood. It’s rainy and not quite cold enough to keep the ghouls away.

Witchy Poo

My lights are on and the snickers are louder than ever before. Calling me to step outside and put my hand in the cauldron with the chance that my hand may never come out of it…empty.

Frightening

The moon is covered so we can’t see the witches fly by it or the ghouls creep up the steps. I have my bowl of popcorn and a host of Halloween hilarity waiting. I’m no good with the horror of this night and will stay hidden until it’s all over, hoping next year will be better and the haunting comes to an end.

Have you got hilarious or horrific plans for your Halloween/Anniversary?

From my heart to yours

Haunted Marlene Herself

Falling

No, not me. At least so far so good. I’m old but upright.

Leaves, temperatures, temperaments, daylight hours, rain, even the number of posts I’m writing. Everything is falling and changing. That’s the natural order of life. We all want it to stay the same. One person worships the warm weather and constant daylight. Another, like myself, prefers the falling temperatures and rain. Odd for a person who is solar-powered but I am not one who does well in the heat.

Finished with scrap fabric

My expectations of myself are always rising, but my results have fallen a bit. This year, as the autumn closes in with a tease I find myself moving more slowly, introspectively.

Hydrangea in the spring

 

The seasons of weather are much like the seasons of life. The leaves of my mind blow here and there, not quite coming to a place of rest. Energy in the fall can seem quite scattered. I say that’s why I blow from project to project not quite completing any of them. Lot’s of works in progress.

Showing off for sewing friends Now I need to finish the back and bind it.

 

Only 10 years in the making. It started out in a class.

Even my plants are showing me that fall is here. My Hydrangea went from a soft blue to green and shades of purple as the fall came blowing in. Our clocks will be falling back an hour on November 4th. Not a fan of changing the clocks because the body takes so much longer to pick up the rhythm.

Here’s how I thought time got away from me.

 

They started out light blue.

 

From light blue to dark purple

The whole world is in a cycle of change like the weather. If we can love each season for the good it brings with it, we can weather the storms and find ourselves with the beauty that was always right in front of us.

Beautiful colors against a clear sky

I love the colors of fall

There are many dealing with storms of all kinds this autumn. My thoughts are with you and wish you well. I’m going to enjoy the wobble of weather from cold to warm and back again along with the lovely changes in the colors of leaves. How are you dealing with the Fall?

This is where they end up. Glad it’s not me.

From my heart to yours,

Marlene Herself