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Lucky 13

Growing up in our house was very interesting. My mother, it turned out, was very superstitious. No shoes on the bed for any reason, no black cats (or cats of any color) could cross our path, no walking under ladders and squeezing your thumbs could bring you luck.

At school, we learned more folklore superstitions. Don’t step on a crack, knocking on wood, throwing salt over your shoulder if you spilled any. It was much later that I learned that 13 was an unlucky number and Friday the 13th was to be spent under the covers hiding from bad things happening that day. Breaking a mirror brought 7 years of bad luck, winning the big side of a wishbone brought good luck and the list went on.

Scary statue

I have since worked my way through those superstitions one by one until none really apply anymore. The biggest being the bad luck of Friday the 13th. A number of years ago, on a Friday the 13th, I had a daughter. The last child I planned to have and of course in those days, we didn’t know what we were getting until we go it.

Moss grows on everything.

That Friday the 13th was my lucky day. My daughter was healthy and perfect. Since then, every time I pull the number 13 in a raffle, I win. Everything related to the number 13 brings something extra special.

Daisy umbrella dispels the gloom

Once again, my daughter’s birthday fell on Friday the 13th. This year we covered a lot of ground. First a trip on the MAX to the quilt/sewing show then getting off the MAX   (Metropolitan Area Express or light rail) for a little lunch and a big dessert with shopping in a couple of our favorite places. We had tea at the Japanese Gardens even though it was cold with on and off rain. It rained when we were inside somewhere and stopped while we were outside most of the time. My daughter is teaching herself Japanese for the challenge.

We always have a great time together now that she has grown up into an incredible human. She was an independent thinker (and still is) and a challenging child. She often tells me how grateful she is that I let her live through some of the stuff she pulled. It was her aunt that prepared me for her.

Tea t-shirt always a favorite. “I could say I love you more than tea but that would be silly talk.”

So, when I see a Friday the 13th coming or anything with the number 13, I realize how lucky I am. My perception has changed about so many things in life. I have two wonderful adult children, a sister I’m very close to and many good friends. I am the luckiest person in the world.

Did you know that Friday the 13th comes only once in some years, twice in several others and rarely three times in a year? Our next one is in July of 2018 and the next year that we get three of them is 2026.

How was your Friday the 13th? Are you superstitious?

From my heart to yours,

Marlene Herself

MEAN PEOPLE

Just a very quick note here. Someone or many someones have apparently tried hacking my account and e-mail where I get notifications. This has happened to other bloggers so if you see a like on your site that doesn’t feel quite right, ignore it. I’m making some changes and have informed WP. They are already working on this due to others having the same issues. I can’t figure out the point of this hacking. Most of us here have little to nothing so what’s the point of this other than just to prove they can and be mean. They sure wouldn’t like us doing it to them.

Just another word of caution. I had a warning blaring on my computer that I had been infected and to call the Windows number written below. Do not call that number. I called my personal tech support that had to deal with the same thing earlier. Many of you know these things. I’m no spring chicken here nor very techy but at least I didn’t panic. Took a photo of my screen and messaged it on my phone to my son. (tech support) I had hoped all was well but will be changing e-mail accounts as well as passwords.

Darn those mean people. Lets hope you don’t run into them.

From my heart to yours,

Marlene Herself

After Alys

It’s hard to explain but the best I can say about Alys’ visit is that a switch was flipped and I saw a light at the end of a very dark tunnel. Clearing so much out of my line of sight seemed to lift a weight off of my shoulders. After a short rest, I walked into my organized sewing room and got to work.

All my projects were listed in order of priority. I started with making the kitchen curtains from fabric given to me by my sewing friends. They were coming to my house for sewing that week. It had been laying across the curtain rod since I decided that’s what I wanted to do with the fabric.

Butterflies and flowers

close up view of fabric

Then came a machine embroidery, quilted for a friend who I felt could use a little lift. I had planned to mail it as soon as I finished it but as I finished the binding at my sewing group, my friend Patti said she needed it for the Senior Center’s quilt show because they didn’t have enough to show. It was a fund raiser for the Senior Center and Meals on Wheels. How could I say no?

Next came the shirt Patti asked me to make for her almost 10 months ago. She gave me the fabric and I had to decide how to piece this puzzle together. It’s the first one I’ve made in at least 10 years. Patti seemed happy with it. It’s called a Big Shirt to be worn over another like a light jacket and this one is made of flannel.

I made a cover for the pillow I need in my car. The old one had long gone to the trash and I had a new form in my closet and even had the cover cut out. That’s as far as it got until the shirt was finished.The serger was out and ready for the shirt so pillow cover was next in line. I’m a little taller in the seat again now.

Since they were all sorted and sitting in a reusable zip lock I started on bowl cozies that had been waiting not nearly so long. Batting was already cut so I just cut fabric and marked it for stitching. They go quickly but not quickly enough for me to make for sale. I sew to make gifts. It’s not an easy way to make a living especially if you don’t see well and sew like I walk, wobbly.

There were fun to do but take a bit of time.

So now there is only one project that I’ve procrastinated on for well over a year, as the pattern is one I’ve never used and directions are sketchy. I’ll tackle that next week when the rain starts again. I expect a few uninterrupted days together to get started now that my courage is up there.

I’ve spent time working in my yard pulling weeds which always makes me feel calmer. That’s the plan as long as the rain holds off. bumble bees are working hard out there already so I have to time my work carefully. I’ll keep you posted but it’s already looking much better.

My Bunny Basket for spring. Painted back in the late 1980’s

Does organization make you more productive?

Happy Easter to everyone or happy spring.

From my heart to yours,

Marlene Herself

An Organizing Goddess

This month has turned out to be all I had hoped for after my January letdown. My bookcase is plastered with the valentines I received from friends and family. I didn’t get any sent out. Other things called for my attention.

Valentines

As I’ve mentioned, I have been trying to clear clutter and make my space more user friendly. It’s been ongoing since I moved into my house. I have a lot of stuff for creative endeavors.

On Valentines Day I received a special gift. My blogging friend, Alys from Gardening Nirvana came to visit. It was our first meeting and I was looking forward to it as she is dear to my heart. Alys is an advocate for kindness, animals, and an uncluttered life. She has another blog that she rarely posts on entitled Organized at Heart. It’s how she makes her living.

Coming off the airplane I’d recognize her anywhere

Soups all gone Very tired traveler.

I spent many days cleaning and clearing before she arrived as you would guess. There is more company coming next week. I couldn’t think of where to take her to show her around the Portland, Oregon area. So we just let it happen. We had a simple dinner of homemade lentil soup and veggies,  The next morning we went to Bob’s Red Mill for breakfast. She buys their products but had no idea of what we would find there. Who knew it would be a huge birthday party for Bob’s 89th birthday with a band for entertainment. We even got a slice of birthday cake and a free cup of oatmeal to take home.

Entertainment getting ready

Bob at 89 stops in every weekend when he’s not working. The oldest working CEO in the country I think.

He looks great at 89. Saying happy birthday.

After breakfast we needed to walk a bit so I took Alys to Fabric Depot. It’s an acre of fabric and notions where you can find anything you can possibly imagine. She did find something that had to come home with her. I left it all there. I shop at home now. The party continued through the afternoon. Back at my house, I had to sit and rest my poor sore foot and Alys started to move like someone had set fire to her. She was everywhere at once. Asking how I felt as we proceeded. She immediately honed into the areas that were causing me the most grief and visualized an immediate solution. I was awestruck!

Right at home

We can make this easily

Watch yourself Vanna

Shelves were emptied and moved and other shelves were emptied and moved and then everything went back together looking like a department store had set up a beautiful display but she didn’t do what I was so afraid an organizer would do. She didn’t suggest I throw things away. I looked at things with different eyes and a lot more left to the thrift store. We found things my daughter wanted to keep with her.

Above the washer has never been so pretty. One day maybe a closing cabinet.

The next day, we had a light breakfast to fortify us for a trek through Powell’s City of Books, occupying an entire city block and housing approximately one million books. We only spent and hour and a half but managed to find things we couldn’t live without.

My sister had to drive us there as it’s out of my safe range. Then we went to have lunch at a nice and noisy restaurant friends of my sister own. We waddled out but stopped at Salt and Straw for our evening dessert to go. My sister drove us by the Rose and Japanese gardens but it was too cold and wet to stop.

Much lighter without the bookcase on top.

This bookshelf was on the kitchen desk.

That rack was originally in the laundry room looking quite ugly. Much better here.

Getting back home, Alys once more became more energized and the next thing I knew three more rooms had their Chi fluffed big time. I hobbled along the best I could but Alys was moving like lightning making changes to make my life so much easier. It’s like she read my mind and saw how I needed things to flow. I’m now able to do my sewing and crafts in a way that brings peace to my soul.

This was next to the desk in the kitchen. An emergency basket on the floor by the back door. I’ll paint this bookcase and the others this summer.

Will be putting a tension rod to cover the detergents.

 

My daughter came the next morning and was overwhelmed by how well Alys had read my needs and provided them. My daughter has dubbed Alys her new Goddess Hero for making my life so much lighter. She was gleeful as we moved more things around. In Feng Shui, there is a phrase that if you want to change your life, move 27 things. I think big changes are coming now.

Would you be able to let an organizer help you?

From my heart to yours,

Marlene Herself

A Fantastic February

January was a long and arduous month. I was happy to wave goodbye. I accomplished little to speak of other than finally recover from the bronchitis I got after my back went out so completely my daughter had to wheel me into urgent care.

I used what they told my daughter to take for her bronchitis as it seems she gave the bronchitis to me while she was caring for me in my incapacitated state. What a sight we were. It seems you are most contagious the 3 days before symptoms present. We picked up masks as we entered the urgent care because there were so many with flu in there.

Avoiding the flu before we knew we had bronchitis. At least no one got that.

The first of February saw some return to health but still the need for resting. Now I’m almost back to normal and accomplishing a few things. I sent out several cards to friends as well as a birthday card to my aunt Mary who is my dad’s youngest sister and only a 18 months older than I am. We first met when my mother and I were left across the street from dad’s family while he was doing a yearlong tour of duty in Korea. Someone thought it would be cute to dress us alike.

 

Who thought dressing us alike was a good idea/

I didn’t see her again until I was 10 and then again at almost 14 when I move in with my grandparents. I was the little sister she never, ever wanted. For a year, she tried to teach me all the things a teenage girl should know. I was a little slow but she was a as patient as any 16-year-old could be with some little tag along. I’ve worked hard to nurture the friendship even though we have not seen one another in more years than I can count. She’s family and I appreciate what she did for me.

I’ve managed to get a little machine embroidery done. These are part of a set of six that will go into a quilt top wall hanging when complete. I’m avoiding a project that scares me so I decided to do these until I’m sure my brain has settled down from the coughing and sneezing as well as painkillers. I do not do well with medication. Scrambles my brain so I don’t connect the dots well. Can you tell here?

Lighting makes all the difference on how the fabric color looks.

Five by seven inches then borders will be added

I am also finally well enough to do a major clear and clean with some help from my sister. We can make a pretty good team. This has all needed doing for quite some time but the trick is to invite someone to visit that has never seen your home. My friend, Alys of Gardening Nirvana will be here next week and I have definitely let this place go for way too long. So, a fire has been lit under my lackadaisical self and things are finding their proper homes once again. I have filled more boxes for the thrift store and delivered them.

Half full of possibllities

Still room for more. Headed for the Senior center.

A box of “She was gonna”

There is another one in front of me that I have named the “she was gonna” box. The box of “good intentions” to read and make and do. Giving myself a break by passing it off to let someone else have a crack at it. It’s feeling so much lighter here already. And the weather feels like spring and will remain so all the way through her visit! I am so excited to finally meet after all these years of reading each others blogs.

 

What does it take for you to get things done you’d rather put off?

 

From my heart to yours,

Marlene Herself

SUZY Q The Bicycle

A couple of months after my eighth birthday mom brought home another little brother. So there we were, an eight year old, a three year old, a one year old and an infant. I’m pretty certain that is why my sister managed to be so elusive for my mother. Our play was required to be quiet and sedate. Not exactly descriptive of my sister. We were in military housing and things had to remain perfect for our exit inspection. They always were. No hand prints and no marks on the walls or floors. Kind of a neat trick. Go outside and play was the constant refrain.

Mom and dad must have somehow managed to afford a shiny new 24” skinny tired bicycle with green fenders for my 8th birthday. I was so surprised and delighted with this vehicle of freedom that I was off riding any of the few spare moments I had.

One afternoon I was inside helping mom with my little brothers when something caught mom’s eye. There were GI’s in the windows of the barracks across the street  with frantic looks on their faces.

Mom knew that look. She had seen it before and probably would again. “Where is your sister” she said. I went outside but didn’t see her at first glance. A moment later I saw a flash of green flying by. My three-year-old sister was straddling the lower curve of my bike with her arms outstretched to reach the handlebars and her feet and legs back behind her peddling for all she was worth. I stared just like the GI’s with my mouth and eyes wide as she weaved expertly in and out of the parked cars in front of our building. Then she turned in the other direction and rode back down the side of the street where no cars were parked for some distance, turned,  then repeated the pattern between the parked cars.

I was sure she would hit one but somehow, she managed to awkwardly turn the handlebars at just the right moment and keep going. When I finally had the presence of mind to call her name, unable to apply the brakes at that awkward angle, she just jumped off the bike and let it crash-land. Apparently, she had taught herself to ride it while I was in school but hadn’t figured out the braking part yet. All those crash landings would take my bike from shiny new to well-worn to all but destroyed in a matter of months. Somehow she remained unscathed.

So much for my freedom rides. My sister had them now. The odd part was she looked so happy riding that bike and I rarely had time. Nothing was going to slow her down.

 

From my heart to yours,

Marlene Herself

Reset Priorities

December was one of those months that just left me run over. Or maybe it was the couple of months before. I’m supposed to be RETIRED!  That means I’m tired twice, right? It seems that has been my mantra for ages. I’m tired and dragging my buns behind me or sometimes I’m so tired I’m behind my buns.

Dec 25 2017 Last years snow

Dec 25 2018 This years snow. Big difference

I looked around and saw projects that need doing. So many projects and so much basic work that I finally realized I was waking up every morning with a chronic sense of overwhelm. I’ve finally put Christmas away. It’s not that there was a lot out this year, I’m just slower at putting it back.

This one is done and mailed.

I found out why I’m so tired after my physical in October. I have some health challenges that are being addressed and I need to start taking things a little more gently. It doesn’t help when I set my bar higher and higher and wonder why I’m spinning in circles with nothing getting done.

Christmas tea with my daughter at the quilt retreat center. I forgot to photograph before it was all gone.

Lunch at a quilting friends home for our group of six

This year I am taking back some time. I’ve given up some of my outside activities to concentrate more on the internal activities. Wellness is a mindset and mine needs a reset.

I’ve noticed that a lot of my favorite bloggers are not blogging as often either. Many have life challenges and often, when life gives you a load of manure, you use all your energy trying to excavate the pony rather than talk about it. You take a deep breath, pull in your resources and come up with a game plan before you venture out the into the world again.

Jan 1 2018 Super moon on a foggy night

Quiet time is very healthy and I hold a space in my heart for all the bloggers that need that time. I’m wishing you all well too. Going away from this community is not an option for me right now. It gives me hours of encouragement and enlightenment as I see others traverse this treacherous trail of life. I’m traveling a little slower for the time being.  I’ll be here for you too.

 

From my heart to yours,

Marlene Herself