Looking for answers to life's questions

Archive for May, 2016

Show no Mercy

Relentless is what I am when it comes to weeds. There are hundreds and thousands of them up on the hill and all through the terraced beds. The winter wind and rains whipped them down and planted them deep into the clay soil. Once it dries, it’s like digging in rock. There isn’t a weed that is safe around me. I show no mercy when I see one. So far I have filled the entire green waste can to the top three times and made a huge stack next to it. Once it’s emptied, I fill it back up again. My last husband thought I had a vendetta against weeds. The weeds were quiet.  I liked that about them.

Then comes the real trick. What to plant to crowd out the possible weeds that want to grow back in that empty space? You know the phrase, nature abhors a vacuum.

I am growing arm muscles now and stretching leg muscles as I attack those wily beasts.

During the last hard rain we had, I saw a neighbor out with her umbrella over her head, mud boots on her feet, looking down at her yard. Once I was back inside, I shot off a text asking what she was doing out there. Was she playing in the rain? No, came her reply. “I’m trying to intimidate my weeds.” I’m still laughing. She must be doing a good job of it because there are no weeds in her yard. At 76, with macular degeneration, profound hearing loss and her new cane for the blind, she is determined to keep up her yard. It’s beautiful, front and back. This lady lifts boulders to place around her plants. She shows no mercy to her weeds either.

For many of us, this kind of yard work is meditative. I can do it for hours unless the sun is being relentless as well. Covered from head to toe for protection from the sun, I can sit in the dirt and play quietly with deep contentment for hours. I need no music. Nature provides that. The birds supply my conversation and all my cares find themselves in that little red bucket with the weeds.

My 5 gallon red bucket gets stuffed then emptied

My 5 gallon red bucket gets stuffed then emptied

They have done their job for the winter months, holding the soil to keep it where it needs to be. Now I will do mine and mercifully plant something without stickers in their place.

Made from the wood of the old deck. Nothing going to waste. Shoveled 2 1/2 yards of good soil but didn't need it all.

Made from the wood of the old deck. Nothing going to waste. Old gate for the snap peas to grow on. Shoveled 2 1/2 yards of good soil but didn’t need it all.

There are many kinds of weeds in life. Relationships that no longer serve, old crafts that no longer call to you, even clutter is like a weed that needs to be culled to make room for something new and better. If you don’t replace it with something better, more clutter continues to grow.

Where in life are you relentless? What are the weeds in your life?

From my heart to yours,

Marlene Herself



One Size Fits All

Last Wednesday found me once again in the ophthalmologists’ office. A different doctor this time, checking to make sure cataract surgery was healing as it should.

First the young (by my standards) technician came in to do the pre-exam work. What could I see? Not a lot yet but what I could see was more clear.

As she donned her pretty purple surgical gloves, I voiced my envy. I had just been to the hardware store to get more disposable gloves for painting my house. I’m a very messy painter but the job gets done. I could only find gloves that said “one size fits all.” How can that be?

Took these back to the store.

Took these back to the store.

I put them on and the gloves from the hardware store fell off. Well that wouldn’t work. How can a glove made to fit a much larger man, fit me?

I told the technician about my dilemma. She told me I could buy the kind they used there, at their pharmacy. What size did I need? I replied I thought a small would work. She handed me one. Yes, it did. She gave me a second so I had a pair. Off we went to the pharmacy and purchased a whole box of these lovelies. The cost was less than what I paid at the hardware or grocery for half as many. Just to let you know how messy I am, I buy an outfit at the thrift store for painting only. At the end of the seasons painting, it usually is so covered in paint, it just goes in the waste bin. Yes, I wash them in between. Painting is hot work.

I love these. Perfect color and they don't fall off.

I love these. Perfect color and they don’t fall off.

How many areas in life are we accepting the notion of one size fits all? Many clothes are made that way. How about one size fits some.

Education is designed to have one method of teaching for all the children in a class. All teachers must follow the one set of standards. If we only had one sized car, we either all drive a big beast of a vehicle or a family of 6 or 8 would have to cram into a Mini Cooper.

Different vehicles for different applications.

Different vehicles for different applications.


This would be a great one for short trips to the market. You couldn't buy much though.

This would be a great one for short trips to the market. You couldn’t buy much though.

They don’t make one sized can of paint or one brand. Why just one size glove? How would one genre of book work for everyone? We are all such unique human beings that nothing should be one size fits all. Who came up with this hair-brained idea? I think they need a smack on the back of the head.

Even thoughts don't come in one size

Even thoughts don’t come in one size


How many areas have you seen the “one size fits all” attitude inflicted on you?

From my heart to yours,

Marlene Herself


Up to No Good

Up to no good. That’s the answer I usually give when someone asks me what I’m up to these days. Ask my daughter the same question and she will give the flip answer, “5’7”.  She’s kind of a smart a**. How do you answer a question like that quickly?  I can’t.

I’ve been almost busy and mostly lazy. Catching up on reading blogs, or more accurately, trying to, but they come in a lot faster than I can read and comment.

The work on the house had slowed for a while. In between rainstorms, my son built a side yard gate. I held pieces and parts while he put it together, then I stained it. Holding pieces and parts is important work.

I wanted it to look like it's always been there

I wanted it to look like it’s always been there

We started painting the house again. My son did the high stuff on the roof line. I took the rest. It’s slow work with a paintbrush. I finally got a small roller so I can move a bit faster on the rest but the cold rain slowed us down.

Everyone should have a kid on the roof. Take a look underneath.

Everyone should have a kid on the roof. Take a look underneath.

Not before we tried our hand at using the paint sprayer for the underside of the back porch roof. Talk about a messy job. We tented the whole area and he wore a respirator so as not to breathe in over-spray. Days later, he says he could still smell the paint. It’s the only way to paint large areas over your head. More progress soon.

I have pulled lots of weeds and will get to them again soon. The entire upper hill was covered in them but I managed to clear enough to plant 3 lilac bushes. Planted a few daisies and more ground cover including some a generous neighbor gave me. She was clearing something out of her perfect yard that is called Snow on the Mountain and it’s supposed to be a good ground cover as well. Some of my hyacinth bulbs are coming up in spite of the fact I may have planted them too late.

I’d be outside working or working on a sewing project but it all has to wait a bit longer. I had cataract surgery on Thursday in hopes of correcting the blurriness in the only eye that’s useful. So far so good. It will take a bit of time to heal but I should be able to resume my work in a couple of days so I’m watching the weather for the perfect temp to paint and weed. Meanwhile, quilting and writing are on the back burner, simmering, smoldering, ready to ignite. Since my glasses aren’t working now, a new pair will be ordered in about 6 weeks when the healing is complete Good thing I can make the print big so I can at least keep working here.


So what are you up too? I hope it’s something interesting and fun or at least tall.

From my heart to yours,

Marlene Herself