Looking for answers to life's questions

Archive for the ‘journey to health’ Category

In Search of the Next Big Adventure

Things change fast in my little world. I was finally catching my breath. Completing the simple pillowcase dress that is going with many others to an orphanage in Haiti, and 2 quilt squares for my quilting group that scared me to pieces. Quilts do that to me. I was ready to get on with the unpacking and putting away of MORE BOOKS.

Simple drawstring dress for little girls with so little

Simple drawstring dress for little girls with so little

bottom border of the dress

bottom border of the dress

I bought 3 more bookcases so I could get the rest of my books out of storage and eventually get a smaller, more inexpensive unit. I have more to give away and more to sell. There has been a lot of work going on here and a lot of play. Let’s break this down into bite sized chunks.

This was the prototype (experiment)  to see how the final one would look

This was the prototype (experiment) to see how the final one would look

I thought about making another like this prototype but changed my mind.

I thought about making another like this prototype but changed my mind.

My house is starting to look like a home and my sister who has been with me for the last three months is looking for a place of her own closer to her new job and all the places she goes to regularly. My place puts a lot of miles on her truck so the search is on.

Now I’ll be heading back to California for a month of working with my son to pack and paint his house. He has an offer on his home and they want a 30 day escrow. There is no realtor involved so they must do the paperwork. After putting my home together with the help of my children and sister, I’ll be helping to dismantle his.

ready to turn in and combine.

ready to turn in and combine.

A closer look at my take on a quilt square

A closer look at my take on a quilt square

This little birdy faces the other way.

This little birdy faces the other way.

My quilt squares were turned in this week and I thought they would be put into a big quilt and raffled off. That wasn’t the case. They were divided in two and names drawn to win each of the stacks of 12 blocks. I won a stack and now I’m supposed to put it together and bring it to the Christmas meeting. It’s obviously not going to happen. I doubt I can get it done when I get back in time for the December meeting but maybe for the party after Christmas. It will be a keepsake of each member that made a square.

We all started out with the same 2 fabrics. Then added our own touch. Now the fun begins...in December.

We all started out with the same 2 fabrics. Then added our own touch. Now the fun begins…in December.

Can you see why my mind is a little scattered these days? Our weather went from hot to canoe weather. Wish I could send some of it to those who need it. My son hasn’t seen significant rain in a year. I’m grateful every day I found this perfect place to be a platform for transitions. That’s the story of life. Nothing every stays the same. It’s all one big adventure, if you choose to see it that way. Go with the flow, that’s what the canoe is for. Paddle in the direction of the current, not against it.

Home is where we can ground ourselves and share with others. I hand embroidered this piece.

Home is where we can ground ourselves and share with others. I hand embroidered this piece.

Life has offered many challenges opportunities. Even my health challenges have an upside. Since my mouth doesn’t work as well as it used to, I spend more time listening and learning. So much for being the biggest talker in the family. On to this next adventure. I’ll let you know how it goes.

What’s your next big adventure?

From my heart to yours,
Marlene Herself

In Search of My Dream Reader

One of the first assignments from Blogging 101 was to write a blog to our dream reader. At the time I was unable to define that idea. Who was my dream reader? Heck, I was happy to have anyone read anything I wrote.

This blog was originated to find help or someone else on the planet who had Bells Palsy as long as I’d had it or possibly someone who could help me get rid of it. That was almost three years ago and I’d already had Bells almost two years. It will be five years in February. I wanted contact with the outside world since I was at the time virtually housebound, unable to drive anymore or walk without a cane since my balance had become impaired by the illness.

My dream reader in no longer someone who can help me but more someone to whom I can forward the help and inspiration I’ve received here. Now, I want to share what I’ve learned from this very weird illness and the spiritual growth that has come out of it. My daughter said it was to teach me “don’t just do something, sit there” which is the complete opposite of who I am and how we were raised. Doing something takes more effort than ever. Before I was ill, my dog never laid on my lap. The lap never stayed put. Once Bells started running my life, I had more lap time. Not as much anymore but that’s why I write with a lap-top. So I will sit there and do nothing (but write).

When I read Louise Hay’s book You Can Heal Your Life I looked up the illness of Bells Palsy. Under probable cause for the illness it said “extreme control over anger. Unwillingness to express feelings.” I have 3 copies of that book and was a walking, talking example of that probable cause. I was a very ANGRY person and no one knew. The anger is now gone and I’m quicker to express my true feelings, gently.

There are many books that have helped me along the way but none have been as helpful at restoring my health as my readers and fellow bloggers. At one time I felt alone in the world without support. This gypsy who never had roots has them in the blogging community now. Out of 160 followers, probable only a dozen actually read my posts and that is who I write for. They cheer me on and we wish each other well. We have kindness, empathy and a desire to connect in common. We learn from one another and teach our little bits of wisdom. You know who you are. You are my dream readers. My heart is filled with gratitude for you.

gratitude heart

From my heart to yours,
Marlene Herself

In Search of a Mixed Bag

I’ve had a wonderful Labor Day weekend. Mine started on Sunday and went through Tuesday. My daughter made reservations for two nights at the beach in Newport, Oregon to celebrate my birthday. I love it there and was looking forward to the cool. It thrilled her to be able to pay for our room and buy our meals for the three days we were there or on the road. The drive takes a whole three hours and we took the scenic route.

A nice spot for reflection and grounding.

A nice spot for reflection and grounding.

For her it was the first time she has been employed well enough to have extra money for such a luxurious gift. Her gifts are always thoughtful, just usually required some thrift. I never minded, always just happy enough to hear from her or spend some time together now that we live close.

Doing some grounding of her own with gratitude.

Doing some grounding of her own with gratitude.

 

While she is settled in wonderful employment, my son has been laid off from a high paying, highly skilled job. He has always been able to quickly find new work. This time, the work has been outsourced. There are many like him, highly trained and skilled and willing to work long tedious hours that can find nothing left here that can use any of their skills. It’s happened to many industries so he’s in good company. There is a lot of swift activity going on to get his house sold as well as a relatively newer car before the hand of doom sweeps in. Realtors have been by in droves and we are hoping for the best. Keeping a good attitude has been the most helpful tool.

 

There are 100 steps. We did them up and down...twice. Life is like that. The good stuff is always at the other end.

There are 100 steps. We did them up and down…twice. Life is like that. The good stuff is always at the other end.

My younger sister is also looking for a fresh start with my new home as her base camp. She is hunting for short-term work at an age she would normally be thinking about permanent retirement. It could be easier if computers were her friend but that’s not the case. She will then try to find a place of her own that is affordable and not so far from where all her activities are.

 These are scenes that have played out over and over throughout history. When it’s happening to you, it seems like the sand on the beach was just washed out from under your feet.

 

Beach was littered with jelly fish that just couldn't get back to where they needed.

Beach was littered with jelly fish that just couldn’t get back to where they needed.

While my daughter and I played tourist, others around us and the world are losing their footing. My son is seeing it as an opportunity for a major life shift. This could well be his base camp in the near future. We’d be delighted to have him closer. Hopefully he can find a way to carve out a new career for himself here. Only time will tell.

 

Heavy machinery required to rescue a capsized boat. Sometimes we have to be the heavy equipment for each other.

Heavy machinery required to rescue a capsized boat. Sometimes we have to be the heavy equipment for each other.

Life is always a mixed bag. I’m a pragmatic Virgo. You just keep putting one foot in front of the other till you step on solid ground again. The climb may be steep but with tenacity, relentlessness, fortitude, or whatever driving force moves you in that forward direction, you persevere. I can bet 90 percent of you have gone through something like this at one time or another and come out the other side thinking that it turned out to be a gift in disguise. We are counting on it again. That was my birthday wish this year. All who are struggling with major change, let your light shine at the other end of that tunnel.

 

There is always a sweet ending.

There is always a sweet ending.

 

 

From my heart to yours,

Marlene Herself

In Search of My Word

Words are interesting. Our language gives us so many words for the same idea. Being a “wanna be” writer and a heavy reader, I love words. They are especially precious when you almost lose them. Many of mine wandered off when the Bells Palsy hit. Writing helps me find them again. Now I better understand how stroke survivors feel.

I have been looking for words in my native German to describe my new home to a 92-year-old friend living in Germany. When I’m on the phone with her, the words come harder because I have to think about them. The flow is long gone and many words I just don’t know. When using an online translator, I often end up with the English word because the computer can’t find the word I’m trying to use. How hard can the word “front porch” be to translate? It took a while, but an appropriate word finally appeared, I hope.

Ich habe einen neuen Ort, um zu sitzen!

I printed this picture to go with the phrase.

I printed this picture to go with the phrase.

Another way we use words is to describe ourselves and others. Have you ever been asked to describe yourself in one word? Hard to do since we are multifaceted humans. Mine used to be the word ‘kind’ or ‘caring’ or ‘compassionate’. Those are good words. I could have also used ‘pushover’, ‘amiable’, or even ‘gullible’ on occasion. Guess you could say I’m well rounded if nothing else.

My path, like my life, wobbles a bit. There will be readjustments along the way.

My path, like my life, wobbles a bit. There will be readjustments along the way.

Now I have a new word I use to describe myself. This house has taught me that in spite of life’s many challenges, the word ‘tenacious’, is the word that says it all where I’m concerned. Life hasn’t been easy, but I kept working to make it better. This house is a bit like my life. Good bones but there is a lot more work than expected. So do I throw in the towel before I’ve explored every possible option to make it better? Not going to happen. Like a dog with a bone, I will hang in there until there is no bone left. Even my sister asked me if I ever give up and sit down. I may sit awhile, usually for contemplation. That’s what I’m doing now. Thinking about which way to go next. There are so many choices.

Dug out the Camellia bush and 4 sweet neighbor boys leveraged this boulder into it's spot. There were roses behind the Camellia! Very tenacious boys too.

Dug out the Camellia bush and 4 sweet neighbor boys leveraged this boulder into its spot. There were roses behind the Camellia! Very tenacious boys too.


Weeds are tenacious too. We pulled a truckload of them and they will come back faster than those pounds on the scale unless I put something in their place. You’ve heard the phrase “Nature abhors a vacuum.” That’s why weeds do so well. So I’ve purchased some varieties of ground cover to plant around the stepping stone path. I’ll probably need a few more stepping-stones because my stride is shorter than my daughter’s.

There are real flowers and plants in there. Can you find them among the weeds?

There are real flowers and plants in there. Can you find them among the weeds?

We rented a stump grinder to clear out any remnants of the tree that once was and pulled all the roots that were growing under the house and driveway as well as carefully removing them from the water lines. That was one tenacious tree. I could fill the page with the work I’ve been doing but don’t want to bore you. Let’s just say, I’m bone tired most nights and falling asleep is not a problem.

This was challenging but fun. The roots went under the house, driveway and the entire front yard. All gone.

This was challenging but fun. The roots went under the house, driveway and the entire front yard. All gone.

It looked like so much fun, my sister had to give it a try. It was her truck so I had to let her.

It looked like so much fun, my sister had to give it a try. It was her truck so I had to let her.

My son has a similar word for himself. He uses ‘relentless’. Sounds tenacious to me.
Do you have a single word that describes you? Have you ever thought of it?

“Patience and tenacity of purpose are worth more than twice their weight of cleverness.”
~ Thomas Henry Huxley

From my heart to yours,
Marlene Herself

In Search of a Garden

I’ve had my glass of wine to celebrate. Only one tiny glass but enough to say “Yay!” I’ve been looking for a home in my area for almost two years now. I have a very tiny budget since I’m no longer married and have only Social Security and 1/12 of my ex’s pension. After 24 years of marriage that was quite a step back. We sold our house a year ago for what we paid for it 12 years prior and I got half the equity to invest. I promise, it wasn’t a lot but better than nothing at all.

Geraniums I planted at my son's 2 years ago. Fencing was to keep housemates dog from sleeping on them.

Geraniums I planted at my son’s 2 years ago. Fencing was to keep housemates dog from sleeping on them.

You know the thing about money sitting in the bank doing nothing? It seems to wander away like a child unattended. I have a tendency to want to be of help to those struggling and enjoy going out and seeing life from other perspectives. It was starting to dwindle as I was searching high and low for a home to purchase. With my meager budget, even a foreclosure was more than I could afford. By the time I purchased the home, I would have nothing left to bring one up to loveable standards. My standards are no longer all that high.

In my son's yard. Weeds have their place in nature. I'm looking forward to my own...ladybugs.

In my son’s yard. Weeds have their place in nature. I’m looking forward to my own…ladybugs.

All I wanted was a place to house myself and guests comfortably, a porch to invite neighbors to sit a spell and converse, and a garden area. The kitchen was inconsequential. Room for books and creativity were more important than food. I’d like to grow some of that food and composting is big on my list.

When I finally made peace with what I could afford and manage on my own as a senior citizen, the place popped up. It’s a manufactured home in a well-established and permanent park. I did my homework here. So many have been sold out from under residence that I had no desire to be caught in that fiasco. There are lots of rules about keeping homes up and cared for. It’s three miles from where I am now and the neighbors seem to keep an eye out for each other without getting in each others business. Yes, I checked that out too. No barking dogs at night and I’m at the back of the park backing up to forest with no one behind me.

Not my furniture yet. The front doors almost all face sideways. Not good Feng Shui but we will deal.

Not my furniture yet. The front doors almost all face sideways. Not good Feng Shui but we will deal.

The garden space is minimal but I’m in my later 60’s so that will be perfect. Just enough to do a little gardening and enjoy the nice covered porches. There is some work to do and I’m looking forward to making it my own. I looked at the photos of the Contented Crafter’s redo on her place and am very inspired by the fresh, clean, cheerful look of her place. I can only hope to achieve similarly cheerful results when all is said and done.

This is all the grassy area. The rest is terrace to the woods May lose the grass to planting.

This is all the grassy area. The rest is terrace to the woods May lose the grass to planting.

I’ve made my offer, and now waiting for all the paperwork to be finalized. Of course, I’ve seen sales fall apart at the last-minute, but I’m optimistic that all will go well. So it looks like I will be more than busy for the next month or so as I pack, unpack, paint, clean and clear out. It has always been my dream to own my own home that I had some say about. This is nothing fancy, but I’m looking forward to the peacefulness in this place that feels ever so healing.

I planted the mint but my son wasn't sure about the plant in the middle. Yes, it's a weed.

I planted the mint but my son wasn’t sure about the plant in the middle. Yes, it’s a weed.

My apartment was as good as they get. It was a wonderful apartment. The layout was perfect and location ideal. It’s served its purpose. I’ll miss the ducks wandering about most of all.

Do you dream of gardens in your sleep or hope for things that seem to have eluded your for oh, so long?

From my heart to yours,
Marlene Herself

In Search of Pink Snow?

Spring has sprung in our little corner of the world. Winter tried to keep its grasp teasing us while we tried to decide whether a coat or a light jacket were in order. Layers are the operative word of this month. Pile it on so you can take it off. Ok, get your minds out of the rain-soaked gutters.

I’ve been a busy girl on some days. Other days I have done next to nothing. The nothing days were for observation; my favorite kind of day. Last week was my second physical therapy appointment. Wet and gray the day was not lending itself to anything cheery. I kept my head down to keep my glasses dry except to cross the street. I found out I cannot do parking structures anymore with my vision difficulties. I’m nauseous before I’m parked so I get to walk a bit more. When I looked out across the sea of cars I noticed the ground look as though covered with snow. I walked faster. Hmmm. The closer I got the deeper it looked. Oh my word, did I miss something? When I finally got a good look, the snow was…pink Yes, lots and lots of pink…blossoms. They covered every inch of ground blown or rained off the trees above. Too bad I only get to therapy once a month. I missed them on the trees. Darn!

Spring popping out through the pink snow

Spring popping out through the pink snow

it was an awesome view for me.

it was an awesome view for me.

Spring may be short this year. So many places miss it almost entirely. I knew it was here because the ducks were ducking. Quacking all over the place. Did you know ducks will eat the cat food left in the dishes on porches? No wonder they like going from apartment to apartment. On my walk back from the market the other day, I spotted these baby ducks scampering around. Mom was trying desperately to take a nap but there was so much interference. I worried about the chicks so close to the road. They did seem content to stay within beaks reach of mom.

You know how it is when you need a nap and the kids won't leave you alone.

You know how it is when you need a nap and the kids won’t leave you alone.

They are just too cute!

They are just too cute!

Looking for a dry spot

Looking for a dry spot

Now getting to the days I did do something; well here you go. I finished this quilt top I bought 5 or 6 years ago before I got Bells and could still sew. It was a kit and hadn’t realized it was so expensive but was too embarrassed to admit it was over my budget. I’m not a pink and blue kind of girl but loved the tea cups. Peach and blue are more my style but now I’m happy to have this part done with only the back, batting and quilting together to complete before binding. That will take longer than the top. What do I do with it when it’s finished? Maybe put it up for sale.

Love the teacups and satiny fabric, just not the colors

Love the teacups and satiny fabric, just not the colors

The next project was just a test of my endurance with the embroidery machine. This little number took at least 8 hours to complete the stitching. I tend to run the machine a bit slower in case of, well all kinds of problems. Especially if it’s the first time I’ve stitched out the design. The second time will be easier because I’ll know where the hiccups are. I’m still trying to decide how I will use this. Pillow, apron top or will it be a wall hanging?

Hoping the second time looks better but I loved the design

Hoping the second time looks better but I loved the design

Anyone want to put in their two cents worth? I’m open to suggestions. Have you found pink snow in your neighborhood?

From my heart to yours,
Marlene Herself

In Search of a Title

I never thought about writing a blog long-term when I started this two and a half years ago. On occasion I think I may throw in the towel and give it up because I’m not sure I have anything relevant left to say. I’m also not writing about what I really want to talk about and that is my search for wholeness, even more than health. I think health will follow. And so it seems I’ve run out of creative titles as well. I’m trying to figure out what direction to go with this because I really don’t want to give up the wonderful connections I’ve made online.

How do you title a blog that says “I’ve been busier than a one-armed paper hanger?” For someone with limited energy, I’ve tried to get a fair amount accomplished. I dug out boxes of craft supplies as you saw last time and I found my old friend here. I painted this sweet lady 25 years ago. Since I have no little ones to indulge on Easter, I filled her full of chocolates and took her to my quilt group, and both writing groups last week. Daisy enjoyed the outing and being passed from one person to another.

Hardy old hare, Miss Daisy herself

Hardy old hare, Miss Daisy herself

Miss Daisy from behind

Miss Daisy from behind

She has room to hold a lot of candy and this summer maybe even some flowers. Hmmm

She has room to hold a lot of candy and this summer maybe even some flowers. Hmmm

I had two machine embroidery classes in one month due to schedule changes by the instructor. So here are the completed projects. The apron was the most challenging for me as it was made from a man’s shirt and if you have them handy it’s a good upcycling project. I had to go to the thrift store for this. No men in my house. The other was not something I think I will make again. It’s pretty for a lavender sachet but I think it will be harder to replace the lavender when it loses potency. Both sides are exactly alike but the design is flipped to do the back and stitched on organza to contain the lavender.

The back of the shirt was used to make the ties

The back of the shirt was used to make the ties

Pocket was from the sleeve and cuff.

Pocket was from the sleeve and cuff.

machine embroidered lace on organza

machine embroidered lace on organza

I finished a couple of strip quilt tops for our group and have almost finished sewing the binding on another. Easter was quiet here.

I don't pick the fabric, just sew it together.

I don’t pick the fabric, just sew it together.

All done from left overs donated

All done from left overs donated

My daughter wanted to take me to breakfast so we got up and out early to beat the after church crowd and then did our grocery shopping for the week before spending a few lovely minutes in the bookstore. Everything else was closed to the dismay of many, including this confused goose. Goose was standing looking in the door at Kohl’s for over 10 minutes. I guess Goose was looking for a sale. My daughter walked within a few feet of him/her without being charged. We had a quiet evening at home where I cooked on the grill and she did her weeks laundry. Real exciting stuff.

Where is everybody?

Where is everybody?

Open up. I came for the Easter sale.

Open up. I came for the Easter sale.

What’s next? I have several quilts to finish and more organizing to do. I found a several small projects to do by hand with ribbon embroidery. A nice walk in the sunshine brought a writing assignment into clarity so I stopped for a glass of tea at the market and jotted it in the notebook that is always with me. Maybe next time I’ll get clarity on titles.

Are you clear on your direction or do you meander around looking for the best path to follow?

From my heart to yours,
Marlene Herself

In Search of Better Balance

Have you noticed my posts getting farther and farther apart? I’ve been feeling quite badly about it but can’t afford to stress even a little. I mentioned a few posts back that I had taken on a bit more these days than previously. As the winter weather let go its icy grip, signs of life showed up in my apartment in a big way.

Note at mailboxes said "Can’t get myself down the stairs but the first one than can will get to take me home from #2048." It worked.

Note at mailboxes said “Can’t get myself down the stairs but the first one than can will get to take me home from #2048.” It worked.

My daughter helped me pull out several large boxes of craft materials from the far reaches of my garage. I rent a garage to store things so as not to be too cluttered up here. Riiight! One of the boxes was from a new toilet if that gives you any idea of the size. When I moved out of my home 4 years ago, we pretty much tossed stuff in boxes and hoped for the best. I wasn’t in the best of shape then. The other box was almost that large and I have found several boxes of old photos as well. Have you ever started looking at photos and been able to stop? I spent a whole week going through, sorting a bit and tossing a lot of duplicates.

No more tea cups for this cabinet. Still hunting paints and glue gun. Have glue!!!

No more tea cups for this cabinet. Still hunting paints and glue gun. Have glue!!!

With all the joining I have done to make friends in my new home, I’ve overloaded myself a bit with classes and projects. I’ll have some photos of the finished work shortly. Little by little, I’m starting to find how much I can do and what needs to be eased off from. Setting limits is something new for me.

This replaced the recliner in my bedroom. Put it together myself but took a few adjustments. Still WIP here.

This replaced the recliner in my bedroom. Put it together myself but took a few adjustments. Still WIP here.

But the kind of balance I’m talking about here has more to do with my Bells Palsy than my creative endeavors. Since acquiring health insurance this year, I have the opportunity to get some medical assistance for the balance. A new acquaintance at the quilting group let me know my HMO had vestibular integration therapy available. The first job was to get a different primary care doctor. The last one was quite dismissive. That done, I requested some therapy to get my eyes working together again which in turn, helps with my standing balance. If I’m in a dark room, I start to tip over and closing my eyes, well let’s just say that’s a dangerous move when standing.

After a trip to a neurologist, (the third one in four years) I was allowed to get physical therapy for my balance. I have exercises to do twice a day. Some are standing holding onto my kitchen counter for support. (I don’t have a chair) The rest are sitting and turning my head and looking up and to the side that is unaffected. I’ve found I must do these when I don’t have to drive anywhere. Oddly, they add to the dizziness but I’m going to do whatever I can to get well.
Even after four years, I am noticing movement in some parts of my face that was flaccid and I can almost make a complete smile. Still a bit odd-looking but hey, I’m happy with any improvement.

Flowers from my new friends garden. Made me feel better immediately.

Flowers from my new friends garden. Made me feel better immediately.

Funny how much I took for granted before Bells hit like a hammer. Unfortunately, healing of any nature still requires lots of rest. I’m not a fan. Moving and doing have been how I lived in the world, now I rest a whole darn bunch. Hang in there with me a bit longer. We shall see how effective these exercises are.

Have you ever taken your health for granted and wound up with a major wakeup call? Do you believe your health is connected to your emotions and what’s going on in life or just something that happens?

A wise man should consider that health is the greatest of human blessings, and learn how by his own thought to derive benefit from his illnesses.
~
Hippocrates

From my heart to yours,
Marlene Herself

In Search of my Next Read

As I’ve often mentioned in passing, books are my PASSION! I like many things but books are what keep me moving through life. My lifelong fantasy (get your minds out of there) had been to own a book store with a coffee/tea/gift shop included. I asked Barnes and Nobles if I could just put a cot in the back room and help out for free. They weren’t having any of it. I actually asked several. Working a job is no longer an option so I just hang out there for HOURS.

Books fall off the shelf at me. I will wander the aisles of books until one literally falls forward at me. No joke. Inevitably, it’s something I need to read. My search of it all has been for many things. Mostly, it’s a spiritual search. I know I’m not alone here, just most of us are reluctant to speak or write about it. Jean at “Seeking Life” has challenged me to open up. I’ll let her know when the courage finds me. You know the phrase, talk about anything except religion or politics. Well, I’m mum entirely on politics and religion is like skating on thin ice in spring.

Easy to grasp and lots of reference marks

Easy to grasp and lots of reference marks

I’m not religious in the traditional sense anymore. I am very deeply spiritual. I’ve had an inordinate number of unusual spiritual experiences in my life that sent me down a very meandering path. I think my reading reflects that.

Along with very eclectic interests, a large number of my books are on writing. Since college was not an option, I have tried to self-educate as there are many fine writers who have some wonderful books to teach those willing to learn. I even learn from Mike over at Eye Dancers. His novel is geared toward adolescent boys but I found it written well enough to keep me intrigued to the end.

I don’t just read most of my books. If they are any good, I absorb them. I’ve got little markers in many and some require highlighting for repeat reading. I found “Writing Is My Drink” wonderfully written, and quite helpful. Now I’m going to read Theo Nestor’s memoir. I can hardly wait to read “Sleeping Single in a King Sized Bed”.

Writing is my Drink did jump off the shelf. It now has lots of reference tabs.

Writing is my Drink did jump off the shelf. It now has lots of reference tabs.

Novels are rare for me but I just finished one and am working on the second recommended by Jackie at “To Breathe is to Write”. Jackie is a wonderful writer herself so I trusted her and downloaded Maddie Cochere’s new mystery, “Murder Under Construction”. It was funny, easy to get into with a perfect flow. One of those books you like to read before bedtime to relax. I’ll let you know about the next one after I’ve read it. I need books like this because so much of my reading can be a bit heavy at times. “Living the Course in Miracles” was much easier than the Course itself and helped make sense of it.

Then, of course, I must have writing, quilting and miscellaneous magazines to stir up my creativity. I could go to the library to read these, but they would not like me tearing out the pages I want to keep. So the books and magazines are insulation in my apartment. I hope they don’t crash through the floor. Are there any questions as to why I don’t get more done? My apartment looks like a cyclone hit with craft stuff on every surface looking for a new home but that’s another post entirely. The work will always wait for a book to be read.

The M. S. Living is a loan from my German  friend. No, I can't read it all yet.

The M. S. Living is a loan from my German friend. No, I can’t read it all yet.

I saw a sign on Facebook that said “The most unattractive thing you can say to me is that you don’t read.”

What are you reading that you feel excited about? Do books fall off the shelf at you demanding to be read? Isn’t it fun to wonder what’s going to fall next?

From my heart to yours,
Marlene Herself

In Search of my Spring Project

It’s really here! The snow is gone but not the cold. We’ve had some lovely sunny days that had me out walking the area once it warmed a bit. Of course, walking warms everything but the nose and ears. I did four miles last Saturday looking for a mobile home community. I found it but it was filled with homes that had long since passed their expiration date and there was no yard space to make a nice garden. The more I look around at what I can afford, the better my rented apartment looks.

As the spring buds start to pop, I seem to finally be doing the same. Winter is so hard on those of us who are solar powered. Oregon is probably not the best place for me but I thought I could afford to live here. I may have to rethink that idea.

Seeing these made the 4 miles worth the walk.

Seeing these made the 4 miles worth the walk.

This bush is thinking about spring but not ready to commit.

This bush is thinking about spring but not ready to commit.

In the meantime, I’ve been inspired by the wonderful Boomdeeadda to make better use of what I have available.

These things will stay somehow. The rest will stay boxed for now.

These things will stay somehow. The rest will stay boxed for now.

These are in with the regular dishes for now. I can't put them all away!

These are in with the regular dishes for now. I can’t put them all away!

I have scrapbooking papers in my garage that I have not been able to get to in the last four years and four moves. Seeing the beautiful stuff she creates, I wanted to get my toys out to play with again. So the beautiful teacups were packed away for another time. I have been rummaging in the garage and organizing as I go. Much of what was in this old china cabinet will one day be passed on to my daughter or son. Maybe we can even make use of it once I find a real dining table. In the meantime, the cabinet will hold my crafting supplies as well as some sewing supplies as they tend to cross over their uses. In bringing out things from the garage, a great deal has made its way to the thrift store. Two trips so far this week and I still have a trip to the antique store to sell off some things I no longer have space to use.

Finally finished and up. Is it warm yet??

Finally finished and up. Is it warm yet??

I’ve done a bit of sewing to get a new spring sign made since I gave my sister-in-law the last one. This one is larger than I wanted but my attention to detail seems adrift these days. I used some different colors and fabric and put a binding on for a change. I have three more charity quilts to finish this month so there is no shortage of projects but the projects that make you clean and organize are the most productive and fulfilling. I’ll take a photo when the change is complete. My poor daughter is aware that her Sunday will be taken up helping me carry boxes up and down stairs. I bribe her with dinner out somewhere. We’ll both be too tired to cook.

I took a two mile walk this week in the mall since it was going to rain again, arriving early enough to catch something I’ve never seen before. Moms getting ready for spring too. I was walking too quickly to get a photo of moms gathered doing standing exercises by a little used entry with their little ones close by. The next trip around the mall brought enough awareness to capture this of the moms in front of Macy’s before the store opened. Later you could see them in a brisk walk with strollers and youngsters working to keep up.

I was floored! In front of Macy's no less

I was floored! In front of Macy’s no less

What a lovely, inexpensive way for young moms to get together and keep their children out of day care. I imagine there was a treat somewhere for the little ones after because they were exceptionally well behaved. They probably went home as tired as mom. I saw a few in their yoga pants passing through the book store as I sat sipping ice tea, perusing magazines and collecting yet another book. Yes, I’m embarrassed.

They were oblivious to the mall walkers. All that work before 10 a.m.

They were oblivious to the mall walkers. All that work before 10 a.m.

I know my friend at Gardening Nirvana has her spring projects all lined up. How about you? Is the hint of spring for those of you who are still suffering with the wild winter, bringing out a desire to start something to bring new bloom to your life?

From my heart to yours,
Marlene Herself