Looking for answers to life's questions

Archive for the ‘journey to health’ Category

Observation

I have started walking at least five days a week to get at least 7000 steps according to the fitness tracker my daughter gave me for Mother’s Day. It helps me challenge myself not to spend so much time sitting. Everything I do is sitting. Reading, writing, sewing, heck I can even garden sitting.

No photographic evidence of me sitting but I have proof my sis does.

My walk is one mile up hill and one mile down, minimum. I can add to that by wandering all the side streets. I find that this neighborhood of slightly over 500 manufactured homes has a lot of diversity. I put on headphones, not always to listen to happy, fast-moving music that gets me up the hill, but more often to just keep the wind out of my ear. After the Bells Palsy, the left ear is extremely sensitive to any wind or cool. When I don’t have music playing, I’m more prone to notice things around me so occasionally, I’ll start doing little posts about what I might find interesting on my walks.

I have become so much more observant since I started blogging and even more so since I started walking again. Now that I’m old, I notice what I didn’t have time to see before.

In this political climate, I was surprised to find this sign in a car window. Not being a political person, I didn’t fully understand it and maybe I still don’t.

It was there for a couple of days, then gone. Hmm.

The sign seemed to bother me even though I did not understand it. I guess because they used the words hates and racist in it. I’m glad the sign is gone.

Another morning I was truly surprised to see this as I rounded the corner. Looks like someone was either playing a very good prank or they were delivering a gift. That woke me up a bit.

Was this a joke?

The other side gave no clues either.

 

I like to look at landscaping as I go down each street. There are no sidewalks here. Guess they don’t encourage walking here but I do it anyway. I saw this tree and took a good look. It had a familiar feel to it.

Very large tree with familiar feathery flowers. My son is in for a huge surprise.

As I was coming a little closer to the end of my walk, I observed this tree. I studied quite intently. I’m sure the owner of the house was wondering why I kept looking at their tree. Once I was sure, I photographed it and marched on home.

This one is a little younger

Here is the photo of the tree my son planted last summer before he moved. He saw the tree in Hawaii and fell in love with it so we had to go to a nursery and find one. I thought for sure it had not survived the unusually harsh winter but here it is in all its spring glory. I don’t think we picked a good spot for this little tree. I had no idea it could get that big and he had no idea it flowered.

Are you more observant when you are walking? Do you find ways to enjoy walking?

From my heart to yours,

Marlene Herself

 

 

 

Happy Halloweeny Anniversary

Why on earth did I pick Halloween to start a blog? Was I on a sugar rush or just enjoying the festivities of the ghoulish decorations at my son’s house while living with him.

Would you have asked her for candy?

Would you have asked her for candy?

Five years ago I was extremely debilitated by many unusual symptoms of Bells Palsy. I could no longer drive and as a passenger, I had to close my eyes, especially at night. I couldn’t sew because seeing the needle move up and down turned my brain into mush with an odd nausea. Television had its own terror. If things moved too fast on the screen, I had to close my eyes and look away. The cane is still necessary to keep me balanced and upright. The symptoms aren’t gone but they are far better.

Standing guard

Standing guard

The symptoms were a reflection of my life. Writing was all I had left to pull the terror of where I was in that moment into a cohesive plan for some kind of a future as a 62 years old freshly divorced and debilitated woman. Social Security advised I qualified for disability. I was not employable. That was scary enough.

The very act of writing helped train my damaged brain to find words again. Mimicking a stroke in many ways, this virus left my brain unable to put full sentences together without long pauses. I couldn’t find words I knew were there. Friends and family started finishing sentences for me. My writing was simpler five years ago. Gradually, I’m making progress, I hope.

This spider is tickling my nose.

This spider is tickling my nose.

In five years, I’ve found an online support community of bloggers. Who knew such a thing existed? Every time I got discouraged, there would be a comment, e-mail or even happy snail mail loaded with lovely things to cheer me on.

Corny wants a book with his treats

Corny wants a book with his treats

I scrounged together enough money after the home I shared with the last husband sold to put a down payment on a small manufactured home for myself, my books, fabric and other crafting tools. Slowly, I’m able to do little bits at a time of my cherished creative endeavors. Making this house my home has taken a lot of energy. Naps are on my daily agenda when tackling any project. It’s the brain that gets tired before the body so I’m exercising my brain as much as my body.

Got the borders, back and binding on the panel to that I quilted enough to hang by the sleeve on the back. It's said to be glow in the dark.

Got the borders, back and binding on the panel to that I quilted enough to hang by the sleeve on the back. It’s said to be glow in the dark.

This Halloween will be different again from the last. Aren’t they all? Not so many outside decorations as we’re having the wettest October on record and today brought high winds. Power has been intermittent. Inside, I’m ready for any brave little goblins that make it past the real bugs and spiders out there. It’s so warm, they have swarmed like an apocalyptic army. They scare me more than zombies any day.

Witchy Poo and her albino pumpkin are inside this year.

Witchy Poo and her albino pumpkin are inside this year.

I’m curious to see what the next five years will unfold. Heck, I’m curious to see how today will unfold. Thank you all for being on this journey with me and cheering me on. Have a Happy Halloween with lots of sweet treats and no tricks.

No candy in this pumpkin

No candy in this pumpkin

Is there anything that scares you more than a zombie apocalypse?

From my heart to yours,

Marlene Herself

 

Save

Who’s sleeping with who?

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

Patti's pumpkins have binding now.

Patti’s pumpkins have binding now.

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

I fell in love with the framed crochet

I fell in love with the framed crochet

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

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

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

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

Binding and banter into the wee hours of the night

Binding and banter into the wee hours of the night

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

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

 

jelly roll Christmas quilt done in record time.

jelly roll Christmas quilt done in record time.

 

Sunrise out the sewing room window.

Sunrise out the sewing room window.

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

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

Sam's quilt with a good start on it.

Sam’s quilt with a good start on it.

 

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

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

 

I love the free-form Art quilt

I love the free form Art quilt

Connie had to copy but there are hidden bunnies in hers

Connie had to copy but there are hidden bunnies in hers

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

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

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

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

We are very serious about our meals.

We are very serious about our meals.

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

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

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

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

From my heart to yours,
Marlene Herself

Life Lesson #1

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

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

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

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

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

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

river

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

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


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

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

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

Do you ever have feelings that should be questioned?

From my heart to yours,
Marlene Herself

Sleep, sweet sleep

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

 

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

That could be me exactly.

That could be me exactly.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

From my heart to yours,

Marlene Herself

The Winds of Change

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

Gifts made for friends barely done in time.

Gifts made for friends barely done in time.

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

 

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

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

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

The stealing gift exchange part of our party.

The stealing gift exchange part of our party.

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

 

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

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

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

Happy New Year
From my heart to yours,
Marlene Herself

In Search of a Way to Spread the Love

This week I have been a bit unsettled. Not sure what the cause is but it may be many things rolled into one. February itself is a rough month in many ways. I sent a birthday card to my last husband only to find out he had spent his birthday in the hospital and was still struggling to breathe on his own again. We are all sending our best thoughts his way.

My heart is a little raveled these days. Slightly worn.

My heart is a little raveled these days. Slightly worn.

Then on the 11th, I had my five year anniversary of the onset of Bells Palsy. Who would think the effects of it wouldn’t go away? It left me a little blue to know I haven’t unpuzzled the riddle to complete healing and recovery from the damage it left in it’s wake. But giving up is not an option.

Red and white courthouse steps pattern seemed appropriate for this month contribution. Too bad they were all 1/2 inch too small. Must redo at least one more. I haven't been entirely idle

Red and white courthouse steps pattern seemed appropriate for this month contribution. Too bad they were all 1/2 inch too small. Must redo at least one more. I haven’t been entirely idle

Then there is Valentine’s Day coming up. What can I say about that? That day has never been a big one in my life. All my married years it was of little significance. We had more pressing matters to deal with though I had fun doing valentine’s with my children. So now, with no significant other in my life to celebrate, how do you spread the love in the middle of an oddly balmy winter? I’m asking a lot of questions here, I know.

My hearts all red and fuzzy.

My hearts all red and fuzzy.

I’ve decided that I can spread the love by sharing a few new blogs that are just starting out. I know how overwhelming it was when first starting out. It’s still a learning process. Everyone seems willing to help. All you have to do is ask.

The Contented Crafter was the instigator of random acts of kindness that was a global endeavor. You saw many of the things I received as a result. Now I get to show you what I sent out and was finally received all the way in Tasmania. Stop by The Road to Serendipity and have a look. She’s been so hard at work there.

Before it was over, I made 3 rows. I couldn't let anything go to waste.

Before it was over, I made 3 rows. I couldn’t let anything go to waste.

 

A couple of fellow writing classmates have started blogs that are read worthy. The photography is excellent as is the writing. My friend, Sabine of In Cahoots with Muddy Boots, blogs here on Word press, my friend, Missy of Isabella Bird is here. So I’m going to try and find a few other ways to spread little bits of love around. Missy had some interesting ideas on what love looks like.

Hope your day is happy no matter how or if you celebrate.

Hope your day is happy no matter how or if you celebrate.

What ideas do you have for sharing little bits of love? What does love look like to you?

From my heart to yours,

Happy Valentines Day
Marlene Herself