Looking for answers to life's questions

A Deep Breath

What I’d like right now more than anything else is to take a deep breath and read a good book. Seems like life has other ideas. A deep breath is not a good idea and though I have a good book, several in fact at hand to read; life has decided to write one all over me this month.

Birthday flowers from friend and fellow blogger. Thank you again.

I don’t quite know where to start and may end up backtracking if I lose my way here. I managed to have another birthday. Not normally anything to make a fuss over but I don’t take birthdays for granted anymore. My son and his lady made it a point to be here this year in spite of Covid. The kids (yes, they are kids to me) know that life holds no guarantees.

Boccone Dolche to share gift from my daughter and lunch for all.

A very dear blogging friend and artist passed to the next level of life on her 71st birthday. Blogger and friend Alys at Gardening Nirvana wrote a most beautiful tribute that I wouldn’t even try to surpass here. Pauline was more than a friend I’ve never met, she was a mentor and adviser during the most trying of life’s challenges. I will never stop missing her presence here but know she is still with me when I call to her.

Pauline and Siddy

Before the kids arrived, I was working fast and furious to get my home inspection ready. Inspections may take a bit longer to get done right now but other than cleaning up the debris from high winds and ash, the house is quite ready. The winds came up on Labor day and forced me to take down the flag put up at sunrise early. Right after taking it down, the power went out until the next afternoon. So no AC or fans and the windows shut tight against the blowing dust and debris, we munched on anything not in the fridge or freezer. Wonderful workers finally found the problem the next afternoon.

Quiet time hard chores

Pressure washing can be fun until the next day.

I’d sanded and repainted the front porch steps and started on the back. My daughter and I teamed up this year to run the pressure washer on the steps, deck and driveway. She thinks it’s a lot of fun but her whole body hurt for days after.

While the kids were here, they completed a project I’ve wanted done since moving into my place; painting the underside of my carport. I had the carport re-roofed but signs of the leaks were still visible. It was back breaking work but they did the job with a loaned paint sprayer in one day. I was almost some help.

My daughter and I are at an airport motel right now. We all shared a room so the kids could catch an early morning flight home after their birthday visit with me. It seemed the wisest place to set up camp and wait. Going home wasn’t a sensible option. We left our house at 4:00 pm and it took us 3 ½ hours to drive the 20 miles to the airport. Our entire area was at a stage 2 evacuation with fire slowly encroaching. The worst part is air quality. You can’t take a deep breath because right now it’s at a hazardous level. The airport hotel is in no danger of fire but the air quality isn’t better. I’m to stay indoors, not exert myself and not breathe deeply.

We are not alone. There are THOUSANDS out here with us wondering what will happen next. I’m confident that the fire will eventually get pushed back and under control but my heart aches for the many who have lost everything with fires up and down the entire west coast. Keep good thoughts for all of them, please.

View from my porch

Flat scary skies

In the meantime, I’m going to find the books I packed from my waiting to be read stack and get started on one. I have some hand embroidery to do while I listen to an audible book as well.

Are you able and getting time to take a deep breath?

From my heart to yours,

Marlene Herself

Comments on: "A Deep Breath" (92)

  1. You all are in my prayers! We’ve actually been getting smoke here in Illinois, halfway across the country, and it’s been enough to drive my sinuses crazy. Stay safe!

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    • I’m sorry you are feeling the effects of this so far away. It’s pretty bad here. Thanks for the prayers. I know our firefighters need them. They are plumb worn out. I can stay indoors and make the best of this. They have to be in it all day and night. We are all praying for some rain as unusual as it is this time of year. Take care of yourself too. Thanks for the visit. I’m hoping to do some catching up.

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  2. So stressful. Sending prayers and thoughts your way Marlene. We were evacuated in the 07 fires that burned over a thousand homes where we used to live. The Holler is on highest alert as we have thousands of empty rural acres dry as tinder. Sending you love and hopes this is all over sooner rather than later. I read they arrested four arsenists for setting fires during the fires, in several western states.

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    • It’s so hard to leave your home behind and not know what will happen. We left at level 2 as the smoke was so bad already and we needed to get to the airport anyway. It’s not so bad here inside. I hope you don’t have to evacuate again. Arsonists are deeply troubled but they need to understand that the consequences are for their actions are firm and stringent. Thanks for stopping by and I’ll keep you in my thoughts as well.

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  3. Glad to know you are still well Marlene. The hazy orange sky looks familiar, but those last few photos from your porch are horrible and ominous. Can anyone get you an N95 mask? Once it’s a bit safer to go outside that will filter more particles than any other mask out there right now. If nothing else at least try to double mask when you are finally able to go out. This gunk will hang in the air and be stirred up for some time. Let’s all think RAIN and lots of it.

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    • I so agree with you, Deb. I’ve been doing my rain dance since they finished painting the carport. I have done the double up. I even had an N95 on riding in the car and was coughing my lungs out. PF is not the thing to have with air like this. It’s bad at my sister’s too in Woodland WA. She is on liquid oxygen hoping for a new set of lungs. By the time this is over, she will probably need them sooner. Do you have as much smoke where you are? If so, I’m so sorry.

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      • They say we are in unhealthy conditions, which is upgraded since this morning, but to expect all this to stick around until Monday at least. And it’s cold! We’ve gone from 90 to 62 since the sun is completely blocked. Nothing like instant winter on top of everything else! Take care Marlene.

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      • It feels apocalyptic. Keep in touch.

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  4. The photos are like nothing I’ve ever experienced, and are enough to make anyone stop and think about how vulnerable we all can be. I am glad you found a place you could stay.
    I might find concentrating on reading a bit of a struggle if I was in your situation.
    I hope for the best, and will pray that you’ll be able to return to your home soon.
    By the way – my shoulders began to ache in sympathy looking at that carport. Reminds me of putting bottom paint on a boat – least favorite job!

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    • I’ll read this to my son next time he calls. I feed my workers well though. 😉 He had tried to get his paint spraying into luggage and was told it was ok by TSA. Southwest said no so they had to send it by shuttle back to their hotel. ;( But my sister came up with one we could borrow so the carport is done. I may do the front porch by hand myself if I ever get to go home.
      I don’t think anyone has seen air quality like this in Oregon unless it was on the fire lines. The Feds came in to help our guys today. We shall see if it helps. We were and are still at stage 2 but the kids wouldn’t let me wait for stage 3. ;(
      You are right, it’s hard to concentrate on anything so I’ll just keep doing my best.

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  5. I was saddened to learn of Pauline’s passing. I know how much she will be missed. I’m so sorry to see that your town is in harm’s way. I’ve been watching the devastation of those fires to the West Coast. It’s just heartbreaking. You will be in my thoughts. Please take good care.

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    • Thanks for stopping by, Liz. I hate that so many are dealing with so much everywhere right now. I’m pretty good at rolling with it but this smoke is creating a real hardship on already compromised lungs. It doesn’t look like the smoke will dissipate any time soon.
      All of Pauline’s art that I have left with me as did another blogger’s art. The rest of the stuff can be replaced. But the Feds are there helping firefighters as of today. These guys are worn out already and the air will eventually take it’s toll on them. It’s just heartbreaking.

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  6. My heart is breaking over the news of Pauline’s passing. What a bright light she was. She’ll be missed by so many. I’m so sorry to hear you had to leave your beautiful home, Marlene. I will certainly keep you in my prayers. Take care and stay safe. xo

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    • Thank you so much, Jill. I sent a card off to you this week and hope it arrives safely. Pauline is like a member of our family. She’s deeply ingrained in our hearts. All of her art that I have went with me when we evacuated. Many have stayed behind but I couldn’t breathe there and the kids wanted me out of the Hollow. If the fire gets there, escape can be tricky. Better to be proactive. Thanks for stopping by for a visit.

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      • I just shared Pauline’s summer spotlight post from September 5, 2014 on my blog. I’m so sad. Please stay safe. I’m glad you have Pauline’s beautiful artwork with you. xo

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      • I read it and copied to a file for me to keep. I remember that post as Pauline and I were just getting acquainted then. You had closed comments this time. We are changing hotels tomorrow and hoping for less smoke. I’m never going to complain because I’m not out there trying to put the fires out. Hugs to you

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      • I’m happy you copied the post, Marlene. I remember how excited she was for her retirement. Keep us posted on your well-being. Stay safe.❤️

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  7. One of Pauline’s beautiful light-catcher’s hangs in my bedroom. It is mostly yellow and gold and that’s how I always thought of her – a joyful human light-catcher. I’m stunned at the news and so very sad that we won’t hear from her anymore. She was a dear, dear person.

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    • I have 2 of her light catchers that are now in my car until we get back home. Not taking any chances. Yes, Pauline was what I think of as a light worker. Spreading light at every encounter. I’m assuming she is called to do heavier work elsewhere now. She is family to us in my home even though we never met. Alys did get to go visit her and the girls in NZ a couple of years ago and they met when Pauline came to the east coast to meet several of her blogging friends. I so wish I’d been able to make the trip. She will always be in our hearts. Thanks for stopping by, Susanne.

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  8. Geez Louise Vonderfrau, that sky looks totally ominuse ! I’ve been seeing the news here and keeping up with Alys. So glad you made it to the airport. It’s just horrendous, what’s happening on the west coast!! Fingers crossed tightly for safety to all who live in harm’s way and those that are working tirelessly to save lives and property.

    Your place looks spit spot, what nice kids to get ‘er done for you while they visited for your Birthday. You and Pauline, just a day apart I guess.

    That’s a great photo of Pauline and Siddy. I’m sure he’s missing mom and wondering. He was her heart. It’s been really hard to say goodbye from so, so far away. Pauline was a great mom, you could tell by the love shared between her and the girls. I love them all so much and will miss Momma P forever (my nickname for her). I’m hoping to get back to NZ when this covid thing is in the past. In a way, our trip seems like yesterday and in other ways it seems like long ago. I don’t know how that could be, but it is, what it is.

    Life is pretty challenging lately, hopefully, it can only get better. Much love xK

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    • Thanks for visiting, Kelly. I’ve missed you. Yes, there is an endless missing of Pauline. We are on year and 3 days apart. I’m older. We floated in the same boat so there was a deep connecting at least on my part. She, like you and Alys will always have a permanent spot in my heart. You are family. I can handle to covid thing, just not this smoke. We are praying for rain to actually materialize on Tues. It’s like this country has been hit with one punch after another.
      I do have great kids and they work hard to take care of me. My birthday was bitter sweet because I knew about Pauline so we honored her as well. My son’s lady (ex-wife) had her birthday the week before so the cake was for her too. She is a heard worker too. It’s the month for birthdays. 😉 I’d give up cake to make this smoke go away. 😉

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  9. Oh Marlene, I was thankful and saddened to read your post today. First let me say I had not heard about Pauline and my heart is heavy with the loss of such a good friend. Without her I would have never come to know you. She touched so many lives with her beautiful art and special heart. She will be missed. I was happy to hear that you are safe and well. I have been watching the fires in Oregon very closely and keep looking for your town on the map to make sure that you’re all right. I’ve seen the pictures and heard about your air quality and how horrific it is. I am so thankful to know that you are okay. A belated happy birthday to you. Glad to hear that you were able to celebrate with your family. Praying these fires will be under control very soon. I see you have rain in your forecast early next week but hopefully they will get things under control before that. Take care my friend!

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  10. Oh Marlene. Losing Pauline is so hard! I had zoomed with her last month and I tear up whenever I think about her. She was indeed a light! It’s so good that you had such help with your home. I have been worried about friends on the west coast and mostly they’re out of harm’s way–except for the smoke, which is apparently all blanketing. I hope you can stay well out of it–and a good mask as someone above suggested, might help a bit. You’re very brave with all that’s going on with you and the world. I’m glad you had a good birthday.

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    • My birthday was bitter sweet because Alys had forewarned me. My whole family feels like they knew Pauline and were hoping beyond hope that she got to stay a little longer. We wished her a happy birthday and a safe trip home. This has been so bad for so many. We have it pretty good. No direct fire involvement so far and just hazardous air quality that sneaks inside. I wonder if Pauline knows how many people she has touched in her life? She’s an amazing light worker.

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      • Yes. She had worldwide reach! My mother has one of her light catchers and my brother is wearing fingerless gloves she made. It’s sad. Still, she gave us all so much, we can be grateful in our grief.

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  11. Aspen said:

    What great pictures Sis. Really tells the story of your birthday week. Never to have another like that again.
    Truly impressed with your life and your amazing attitude.
    Keep the peace
    Little Sis

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    • Aspen! It’s so great to hear from you. It’s been way, way too long since we’ve seen each other. I send gigantic hugs to you. What a challenging year and I wish clearer air upon you as soon as possible. ❤

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  12. Aspen said:

    What great pictures Sis. Really tells the story of your birthday week. Never to have another like that again.
    Truly impressed with your life and your amazing attitude.
    Keep the peace
    Little Sis

    Liked by 1 person

  13. It’s heartbreaking to see the destruction and resulting los, suffering, and hardship. But here are my belated birthday wishes for a year of deep breaths and clear skies.

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  14. Dear Marlene, stay safe and breathe cautiously. Down Under, we know what you’re going through, and the hope I offer you is that it WILL end. So many of my blogging friends seem to be clustered around your neck of the woods, and I’m worried about you all. Even if you’re not in the fire’s path now, or its path soon, you’re still at risk of running out of decent air. Thinking of you all, but especially YOU. xxxxx

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    • Thanks so much Kate. I know you are familiar with what we are going through. Wish it wasn’t so. You and so many are in the same boat. The air isn’t just bad, it’s hazardous! We could conceivably run out of good air which we all take for granted. Fires are being held at bay…so far.

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  15. Happy Birthday! The fires are terrifying. I hope the rains come and SOON!

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  16. Hi Marlene. That was a very heartfelt post 🙏🏻 We are drenched in smoke as well, staying indoors with the air filtering. It is a very sad time for our state and the entire west coast. Someone posted on my Facebook page Mr Rogers’ comment, “look for the helpers.” So, that’s what I’m doing. Stay safe and take care, my friend. ❤️🙏🏻❤️

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    • You are in the Bend area, right? Yes, thousands are being affected by more than just the fires. The entire west coast and even inland are feeling this. I was lucky my son and his partner were here. It took all 3 kids to get me together in a hurry. I did not want to leave my home again. But the smoke made it mandatory for me. You stay safe and out of the smoke too. Keep me posted on how it’s going down there.

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  17. So sorry you lost your friend, Marlene. As we age it gets harder when we lose friends. And your home! I do hope they get the fires under control. Stay safe and stay breathing my friend! Much love to you! ❤

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    • Thanks for the visit, Jackie. You know how it goes with catastrophes. You just roll with them. Lack of oxygen in the air is affecting brain function for so many of us. 🙂 I was stunned at losing Pauline. She helped me keep a stiff upper lip when I was diagnosed with PF. A year and 3 days younger and in better shape. How did she go first. They have stopped the fires 20 miles out so I think we are holding. What would you take besides your fuzzy family if you had to evacuate? That was a really hard question to answer in a short time.

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      • What would I take besides my fuzzy kids? That would be a hard one. I have a big brown envelope that I keep all my important papers in (passport, birth certificate, marriage certificate, etc) and would grab that along with my purse. All else is just material things that are not as important. Maybe a few clothes and my wedding rings. We have had close calls with fire here too (not lately thank goodness). I try to always keep a plan in the back of my mind for emergencies. Stay safe, my friend. ❤

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  18. Marlene, I’m so sorry to see you’re going through this frightening time with the fires! Stay safe! On a more positive note, all your fix-ups around the house look great; how wonderful that you had visitors for your birthday:)

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    • Thanks so much, Becky. I’m not alone in all this mess. It’s impacting so many more than us here. My neighborhood is just feeling the effect of the smoke. That’s on the heel so power outage for Labor Day and the next day, We just have to be prepared for anything. 😉 My kids are all hard workers and I need no other gifts. 🙂

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  19. Thank you for sharing your birthday with us Marlene! A belated Happy Birthday to you 💝
    The dessert looks absolutely delicious!
    How scary to be so close to the fires, and breathing in the smoke filled air. Stay safe and well my friend 🙏

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    • Thank you, Val. I was happy to have so many to share that cake with, which makes it taste better. Only a once a year thing but it’s heavenly. They stopped the fires about 20 miles out so far. The air is worse now until we see rain. We just need rain.

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  20. Oh, Marlene! What a roller coaster ride you have had. First the highs of your birthday (Happy Birthday!) and the kids coming to help with projects. The stairs and carport roof really look wonderful. Doesn’t it feel good to get jobs done? So, why do you need an inspection? You’re not selling your house, right?

    And then there are the lows of a fellow blogger and good friend passing away. I feel choked up, because if any of my blogging friends died, I would be devastated. Isn’t it interesting that our blogging community is so close, and the friendships we have developed are as strong as our ‘real life’ friendships? I think about that often. Really.

    And now there are the fires. So scary! Where are you in relation to the fires? You say the air quality is 596. What is a good number and what is a bad number? The pictures are incredible, yet you said everyone is calm. Yikes! Our daughter is in Bend, OR, and it’s smokey.

    You are the one who needs air quality. Are you staying inside with fans? You really inspire me, Marlene. Your work ethic, your positive attitude and good humor, and your words of wisdom… they are a treasure to me. Thank you for being you, my friend.

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    • Thanks for the visit, Jennie. AQ Good up to 55, Mod 60 and up to? Poor is around 100. We are in off the charts hazardous. Change hotels to get to 330 range further away from home. Step Granddaughter got me a family discount.
      Oregon state law says they have to inspect manufactured homes in parks yearly for structural soundness. They take that to mean they can site us for stuff in the driveway, yards unkempt, etc, etc. They can also evict for many reasons as we only lease the land our homes are on. Not the best option in the world but better than apartment living. I would keep up my home anyway but they like to exert power wherever they can at management level. ;( Bend gets hit with fires often enough. Smoke travels far and wide. I hope your family are not plagued by this right now. My house leaks enough that the air is just unhealthful to breathe. Going out and exerting is not an option now. It’s life. We just roll with the flow and pray a lot. I think the wonderful firefighters have stopped the big fire from coming any closer. About 20 miles away but we are back to level 1 for now. I could go home if I didn’t mind holding my breath for days. 😉 Say some extras for the firefighters.

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      • Thanks for getting back to me, Marlene. Your AQ is scary bad. Now I understand about the inspection. I hope you can return home soon. Our daughter and her family are okay right now. Bend does have a lot of fires. Yes, I’m saying some extras for the firefighters. Please keep us posted!

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      • Marlene, what a nightmare. I hope your insurance also covers some of your evacuation costs. I am sorry you are going through this.

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      • I’m sure you are feeling some of the effects of the fire too. The numbers are going down on AQ but I’m not going anywhere outside until we get a good rain. Insurance is good if I burn, the rest is up to me. We just manage it between us. It all comes out in the wash. No worries. I’m so lucky compared to so many. Just coughing a lot. Ordered an air purifier. Hope it gets to us. There is a run on them here. Not one left in a store for 100 miles! Wow! This isn’t my first evacuation. Well seasoned in the art of catastrophe. Just lots of hug to you.

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      • Today was our first non-spare the air day in a month. I think we had 27 STA day in a row. I hadn’t realized how bad things had become till I opened the door this moring to clear, blue skies. What a treat! I hope your blue-skies treat is just around the corner, Marlene. You’ve been through far too much. Hugs back your way. xo

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      • We awakened at 3 a.m. this morning to what sounded like a hurricane coming through. That’s what happens when so many are praying for rain. The whole neighborhood woke up! Even H who sleeps through train wrecks. 😉 All I could think about was I hoped those poor firefighters were not out in this thunder and lightning. We are so very grateful here to have this much rain…finally. I don’t think we’ve had it as long as so many, just piled in a bigger heap all at once. 🙂 Take some time to enjoy that sunshine. Who knows what’s next on the agenda. 😉 Thinking of you extra hard these days. Extra squishy hugs.

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  21. So much to catch up on, Marlene, in this one post. (I’m not getting around to my favourite blogs fast enough as I am helping with grandbaby and loving every minute of it. But I’ve thought of you from time to time.)
    First, I’m glad to hear you got to spend your birthday with your loved ones. Second, I continue to be impressed by your busy and hard work around the house. Glad you had your daughter to help with the pressure-washing!
    And finally, the news of Pauline’s death is both shocking and sad. She was one of the brightest, kindest lights in my blogging network, and I will miss her.

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    • I agree with you on your assessment of Pauline. I think she was a light worker in this lifetime and sure she will be back again to do more good work. We grabbed her art and danglers when we packed for evacuation. She is family to my family though we have never met. That was the plan though. maybe we will go see her daughters.
      I didn’t get grandchildren so I do understand how precious time with them is. Much more important than blogging. ;)) As for the hard work, I’ve heard rumors that if you stop and sit still too long, you freeze up so the grim reaper can catch you. ;)) We Germans have a very strong work ethic and I love making my place look nice.
      Enjoy the grand baby and give a squeeze for me. 😉 Thanks for popping by.

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  22. And yes – we have been praying for all our relatives and friends who are being affected by the forest fires, including certain bloggers who are living under threat. What a rough time for everyone.

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  23. Oh my goodness that smoke looks horrendous. My cousin lives in Oregon too, my geography is hazy but I worry for you all. May you have clean air soon. It’s something we just take for granted, such foolish people we are. I was very sad to read the news about Pauline, I loved her blog and her encouragement, and little Siddy.

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    • Sorry to be the barer of bad news, Cathy. Pauline will be deeply missed by more than she ever expected. In our house, we called her family, though we never met. As we were evacuating from the fire zone, I took all of Pauline’s art and danglers with me. One of Pauline’s daughters has Siddy and Orlando. I’m sure they miss Pauline too. Her daughters are devastated.
      Oregon is a big state but most is being impacted by wildfire smoke from somewhere on this coast. It’s very hard to breathe here now. Thanks for stopping by.

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  24. Marlene! I am so glad to find your new post. I have been worried about you, and hoping the out of town kids were still there. Now I see they are gone, but they managed to look after you before they left. My heart is lighter now. Those photos are AWFUL. Oh gosh, it looks terrifying from the Hollow. I’ve been breathing smoke too, but the scene above your house looks otherworldly.

    And all this kicked in right after your birthday, which was on the heels of the painful loss of Pauline’s light. I know you are still trying to process your grief, and to have so much else to worry about at the same time: inspections, trying to breathe, battling traffic to get the kids to the airport. Oh man. I want to visit so much. I need to put my love into your general vicinity. Please know that my place is available if you need to leave your place. I think Tuesday’s rain is really going to help, but weather can change on a dime. I will also come and pick you two up in the middle of the night if you need it. I promise. Love you so much.

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    • Hey, Crystal. We came home this morning and are settling in. Have a pot of water boiling on the stove to hopefully deal with some of the smoke. It’s exhausting. You stay in too. There will probably be no rain today. Not enough if there is any. We are safe and other than the smoke, doing fine. How is Tara doing? I thought they had fire and smoke down there too. It feels so apocalyptic. Don’t worry about me. Keep an eye on your animals though. They need help in this as well.

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      • Corvallis had it really bad at first, but Tara and Brynnen were in Olympia then. But now they’ve got similar skies to what I have, which is bad, but nothing like your place. Tara’s dad’s got nasty skies in Keizer. I have asked them all to come stay at my place, but so far they are all staying put. It rained all evening and overnight here, but the amount was very little and made zero difference in air quality. I am so sad. I had really hoped for a good dousing, and for it to rain much farther east of me.

        For animals, I am worried about my bees. Smoke makes them dormant, but they should not be dormant for over a week. Without active workers, they might not be properly caring for the rest of the hive. Tara said they saw two squirrels lying on the ground that didn’t appear to have any injuries on the outside. Ugh. Racecar spends 18 hours a day napping inside the house, so she’s good. I, on the other hand, am not good at doing what’s best for me. I just posted about the smoke. You will see that I’ve been out and about quite a bit this week. I’m sorry. When people need me, I just don’t know how to say “no.”

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      • I’m so glad they were away from Corvallis. I’m worried about the bees etc too. If I can’t breathe out there, I don’t think anything else can either. This is an ecological nightmare. I understand to need to be in and out. I just can’t do it. I’m getting dizzy just walking around my house in this air.

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  25. Great work on those stairs! They look like brand new!
    Whew. Pauline. We are all going to miss her so very much.
    Hugs, my friend.

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  26. Ah Marlene, I didn’t know Pauline but she was obviously a fabulous person. It’s very very hard to lose a friend like that. I’m sorry for your loss.
    The handyman (handywoman? handyperson?) work on your home makes a huge difference. It’s the sort of thing that, when it’s done, you think Now why didn’t I get that done sooner? I loved seeing your wooden steps. I hope you’re enjoying the feeling of satisfaction.
    And a belated Happy Birthday to you! So glad your son and his partner could come and visit, you of all people deserve kind and thoughtful children xxx

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    • Thanks for the visit and your kind words, Jill. There are a few people in the world who light the way for others and lift them up. Pauline was an artist, teacher and a light worker in the world. She will be missed by so very many. I was glad the kids could come and really wanted to paint the carport for me. 😉 You really can’t buy work like that so I cook their favorite foods. Works every time. 🙂 They know I don’t need any gifts so they give me help with chores.

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  27. Oh, Marlene, I held my breath the entire time I read this post. What a hard wacky time this is for us, for our world, for our Souls. And in the midst of this – your birthday. Yes, we must celebrate every year, every day we have left on this Earth – this Earth that keeps warning us to take better care of it.
    Now – you take care of YOU. Are you back home? The smoke and air is so so bad for the north west. My kids/friends in the SF Bay area are having such problems with breathing/asthma. Staying indoors is so difficult. The firefighters are WONDERS and need all the prayers we can send their way.
    Hearts and hugs to you, my friend.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for stopping by, Pam. Yes, we are back home and have continued to stay inside. Even though we woke this morning to a granddaddy of a thunderstorm and a good amount of rain, the air is still too smoky to be outdoors. I was hoping the firefighters weren’t caught outside in this hurricane like storm. It’s like the whole west coast is on fire. I wonder if we are ever going to put the earth first. Without it, we die. It is a rough time in the world for all of us. Mother Nature is pissed and has sent us all to our rooms. Maybe we will figure it out soon.

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  28. I’m so sorry about your loss, Marlene, Pauline sounded like a wonderful friend.

    Those smoke-filled pictures are very scary, I can’t even imagine how awful it must be to breathe that air and I hope that rain will soon come to help you all. The fire fighters are all heroes to endure these conditions day and night.

    You and your kids got so much work done! I’ve been thinking of using one of those pressure washers for my heating radiators as they’re so difficult to clean on the inside.

    Take good care, read your books and enjoy your audio books while doing your hand embroidery. Thinking of you and your daughter and sending hugs!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much, Sarah. Pauline was a true gift in the world. And I too consider firefighters at heroes. I don’t know how they do their jobs because breathing that smoke hurts. AQ is getting better each day. I need to do an update. Been pretty worn out lately.
      The pressure washer does a really good job of cleaning but mine is old enough that it takes two of us to run it now. It can literally peel the wood off the fence with the paint if I’m not careful.

      Finally ready to start doing something creative again. That smoke affects the cognitive thinking ability so I just read and did little else. As the AQ gets better, so does my ability to work. I think we are seeing light at the end of this tunnel.

      Liked by 1 person

  29. It is hard to “like” some parts of this post. We have already shared thoughts of Pauline and of course the fires have been devastating. I do like all the work that you and your family accomplished.
    I am very glad that you are safe and back at home. Take care, stay inside, and know that over here in Virginia, my thoughts have been with you and all others suffering due to the fires!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much, Laurie. I appreciate the good thoughts. So many in the world are going through so much right now so I try to stay optimistic. My kids have a great work ethic and I prefer help with projects than gifts that I have to find space to put. We had RAIN today that felt hurricane like in the beginning. We are all so grateful. I saw most of my neighbors up at 3 a.m. cheering a welcome. I hope you had a wonderful honeymoon and am so happy you have found someone to share the rest of your life with that obviously loves you very much too. You deserve that. Hope to see you back posting on occasion. We have missed you.

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      • I’m a bit late to reply … but loved the image of your and your neighbors cheering at 3am. So often people pull together during the bad times (let’s hope that is what we all do on November 3rd!). Thank you for your loving thoughts about my wedding and honeymoon ❤ We feel quite fortunate to have found each other. And yes … it is a goal to get back to blogging! I miss everyone! Take care, my friend!

        Liked by 1 person

  30. First let me start by wishing you a very happy belated birthday……….so happy you are here! I am sorry to hear of your treasure friend passing on to her next journey, I can’t imagine how much you must miss her.
    Looking at the picture from your front porch I literally gasped! I had no idea you were so close to the fires…….that must have been very scary for you and thankful you guys received so much rain!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for the birthday wishes, Wendi. It’s been crazy here since the end of August and FINALLY starting to calm down. I think of Pauline every single day even though we never met in person. Blog friendships can be quite strong. Having some of her art keeps her in my heart. The fires were 20 miles away but the smoke was beyond belief. We are getting some here from California fires so outside is not a place I spend much time until it rains again Saturday. Never thought I would love rain so much. I’ll catch up here soon. Thanks for the visit, Wendi.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I love that you have some of Pauline’s art to remind you of your deep bond……….and I am sure she misses you just as much!
        I am glad you guys are safe and I hope the air clears up so you go outside again! Take great care of yourself…….

        Liked by 1 person

  31. Thanks for sending me the link to this post as I didn’t get any notification and had no idea this was transpiring. I did hear some reports of bad fires but thought they said California. Your photos look like something from a summer here in Australia. So glad you made it through and I do hope the awful threat has now passed. Nature can be so cruel and now the words about the dust and lack of power makes sense.
    But the painting of the steps and garage are something to cheer about as is that you are still here. It is sad to read about Pauline. Any one of us could not wake up to see another day and so we must all live for the day, for the moment, enjoying it as much as we can. It is the antidote to laziness!
    Take care of those fragile lungs! Hope the air quality is better now and that cake does look fabulous. I will hunt down a recipe and copy it. Hugs from down under.

    Liked by 1 person

    • September was a hard month here even though the kids came for my birthday. The air quality gets better as soon as we get rain. I still miss Pauline everyday. With so much of her art here, there is a constant reminder. You mentioned marshmallow in your pavlova and I don’t think it’s in the Boccone Dolce. Interesting.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I don’t use marshmallows directly in the pavlova but whipping the egg whites creates a marshmallow like texture and taste.
        It is so sad when friends leave us. Selfishly, we want them to still be here, for us.

        Liked by 1 person

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