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Archive for the ‘My thoughts about things’ Category

The Next Chapter

Are you like me and always curious about the next chapter in the book? Or maybe what you’ve read so far has been a bit too intense or too mundane to make you want to read further?

Right now, I wish I could open the book and read the last page of the last chapter so I would know what’s going to happen. Unfortunately, it hasn’t been written yet. That’s my job and I’m winging it. ­

My first typewriter. 13th Christmas.

I never expected that after just over seven years I would be putting my beloved trailer up for sale. After exhaustive research and contemplation, I find I no longer have the physical or financial capacity to care for this place that has given me so much, the care it needs. ­­It was an agonizing decision and I have no firm answer to what the next chapter in my life holds. I’ve long exceeded my sell by date and that gave me time to get all my business affairs in order so my family doesn’t have to deal with it later. This will be the last detail.

I’m thinking it’s time to have a little fun, see some new places, taste new foods and let my gypsy loose again. Maybe this will turn into a travel blog for a bit.

Destined to be a gypsy reader and writer. Germany 3rd grade again.

I’ve looked at independent living facilities. Cost prohibitive for most of us especially in more metropolitan areas. My needs are simple. Somewhere to house my books and do a bit of needlework and sewing. My main requirement is living on my own with provisions within walking distance. Much more research will be required.

The time to sell is ideal. I put the house on the market 2 weeks ago and have a full price offer even after making sure the buyer was aware a new roof would be necessary. The inspection would obviously disclose that but I prefer to be up front. The time to travel is not ideal.

I don’t think anyone can see the sign in the window

I keep remembering my last husband asking me to wait a year to travel back to Germany with my mother hoping funds would be more available. I went with minimal funds. Mom was gone by the next year. I’ve learned some things shouldn’t wait.

Not allowed to put a sign in the yard.

There are no guarantees in life or in the offer on my home. It could go any direction but I’m staying optimistic. We’ve spent the summer getting everything sorted, cleaned, painted and patched. Work a little, rest a lot. It’s been a grueling summer that has hopefully paid off so I can start a new adventurous chapter. I’m looking forward to more time to visit friends here virtually and in the world.

Once the house was show worthy, I took a little time to start working on unfinished projects. I machine quilted a top that my friend Emily made as a donation quilt. Not sure who will end up with it but for now, I’m relaxing while binding it.

I also FINALLY got the hand embroidered aprons I’ve been working on ‘forever’ sashed and waiting for me to decide how to finish it up. It needs something.

A couple years in the making

I had a few dozen bowl cozies cut and ready to sew and I’m about halfway through. I waste a lot of time watching Hallmark movies so I try to do handwork then. Helps ease the anxiety.

The start. 2 layers of fabric, 2 layers of batting.

bowl cozy production

There is a lot more work to do here. Packing, dispersing and letting go. Then let’s see what the next page brings.

Are you writing any new chapters into your life?

The next best thing after finishing writing a chapter is starting a new one.Author: Chris Almeida

From my heart to yours,

Marlene Herself

Cats and Kittens

We didn’t have pets growing up as a military family. Every time we moved, very little went with us. We had a dog for a short time  when my dad decided he needed a hunting dog to help bring home dinner. Yes, it got that hungry out back then. When the family left Georgia, the dog didn’t. I was already staying with my grandparents so I had little connection or time with that sweet little beagle. She was not a pet for us.

We never had exposure to cats at all. I was middle aged when I realized my mother had a deep, unreasonable fear of anything feline. When my daughter was in grade school, her dad decided she should have a cat that would be all hers as the dog belonged to her brother and slept with him. He hoped the cat would keep my mother from visiting. Since my daughter had allergies, her dad found a Himalayan. Beautiful, sweet and gentle, she immediately became a member of the family and the dog was her mom. Blossom and Buffy were great with each other.

My daughter loved Buffy so much.


How can you be afraid of this?

How can you be afraid of this?

I still couldn’t understand how mom could be afraid of something so sweet. It wasn’t dislike, it was climbing on the washer or running into traffic to get away from a kitten – deep fear. I finally took her to a hypnotherapist I trusted and we got to the bottom of that sad story so there was no more running in front of cars.

We found the bunny outside at night. It was tame so we brought it in hoping to find its home.

Blossom thought the bunny was a new playmate. Everyone did well.

Best friends and playmates Blossom and Buffy

My son’s wife loved cats and through their years together have had several that lived extraordinarily long lives. Love will do that. The cats are all rescues. When Buddy passed at 18, she rescued Gracie at a gas station.and Gracie has reigned supreme for over 10 years when the DIL heard a tiny meow under their porch. A search brought a new kitten into their home and when they finally saw they could trust Gracie not to hurt him, he became a member of the family.

Baby Sonar. Just too cute

Sonar has circles in his hair pattern and plays like a dog. I get photos almost daily of Sonar’s antics. He plays fetch with the small cloth mouse, jumping high in the air to catch it and then actually taking it back to my son to throw again. This can go on for quite some time.

Sonar loves hands and feet

Gracie barely tolerates him and will not share the window mats I made for her. You will always find one of them laying on the mat, not the sill.

Gracie tolerating Sonar in her window

The kids (son and wife) had to run an errand while men were on the roof of the pre-school installing a new AC unit. Kids were all out in the yard with the teachers to watch the big crane do its job. (staying safe) When they came back the men on the roof told them they had watched a woman drive by and drop a box out her window into the yard across the street. Guess what was in that box.

One by the hat too dark to see

Too cute kittens

Yes! They found 3 tiny kittens squealing for all they were worth. Fortunately, they didn’t get time to wander into the road yet or get hurt. Inside the house they came; to be examined and cared for. There is a teacher at the school who already had 3 foster kittens and all the supplies necessary so she volunteered to foster these little guys too. After dinner my kids went back outside with flashlights to make sure they didn’t miss anyone. The neighbor came to check on what was going on and had indeed found a fourth kitten her husband would not let her keep. That little guy went to stay with his siblings until they are all ready to go to good homes.

Little throw aways

I understand fear and phobias, but when did kittens become garbage? I’m so grateful that so many, including my kids are there to facilitate a rescue.

From Home Town HGTV

Have you ever rescued a creature?

From my heart to yours,

Marlene Herself



The Rush

I drove myself to the grocery store at a time where there would be fewer people in there. I wanted to go without my daughter who has a tendency to edit my cart. You know what I mean. You don’t need those chips or cookies mom. They aren’t good for either of us. I do know and that’s why I like to go alone. I can stroll through leisurely and look at everything. For me, every trip out of the house is a social event. Especially these days when we rarely go anywhere or see anyone.

Pineapple Lily larger than an older Lemon Cypress tree next to it.

I’m always masked and gloved. There were only two check stands open and my favorite checker was at one of them. She’s fast and smart so I always try to go to hers. There was no one in line behind me but I realized she was still rushing. I mentioned that it was a shame that we could no longer take a moment to chat with one another as in days gone by. You knew your clerks and they got to know you. She calls me ma’am since she doesn’t remember me from one visit to the next.

Asters in full bloom Aug 2019

Asters Sept 1, 2021

Her response to my comment was that she should know better than to rush through life as she had died once as had her husband due to a car accident. They had obviously lived after lifesaving medical care but still never stop to enjoy life. This woman has a Master’s degree but health insurance and getting kids through college are her impetus.  I’ve gleaned bits and pieces from many small moments. I like that she is on task but I’d also like to see her take a moment to catch a deep breath and have everyone in line take a moment too. Maybe speak to the person in front or behind you. When did we stop connecting with the people that serve us? Why are we all in a rush all the time? Granted, I don’t have a job or a young family but I want to actually see and know the people that pass through my life even for brief moments. They are all fascinating.

I made certain not slow down the process for her in our brief encounter. She noticed my mask reads “Just a girl who loves her books”,  saying she loved to get grounded as a child and sent to her room. It gave her time to read. She also mentioned that she hoped there were books in heaven so maybe she’d have time to read there. I told her if there were none, I wasn’t going there.

I remember my dad saying one day when I was feeling sad he was so ill, he didn’t mind because now he could read guilt free. Mom was a bit of a taskmaster and we were shamed for not being busy working on something. Poor dad. Even in retirement, he had a long list of honey-dos. I’m hoping he found that library in heaven.

I decided to come home, sit on my front porch enjoying the beautiful day and write while thinking about what the rush is all about. I’ve been rushing too much as well. I’m trying to get it all done before my timer runs out.

What’s the rush about in your life or are you taking time to breathe deep and read some good books. Right now, I’m reading a book on synchronicity.

Print is too small so it’s taking a while.

From my heart to yours,

Marlene Herself

Breakfast on the Go

As I’ve said, I walk very early in the morning; just before daybreak in the summer months is best. Air quality has become another qualification to the time and day I walk. I also walk best on an empty stomach. Somehow, digesting breakfast of any nature slows me down so I wait until I get home for food and coffee. I know many of you have to have coffee before anything. I prefer my coffee with company so I wait until I turn on the laptop.

Yes, I still have to drink my coffee through a straw.

August has its own supply of breakfast on the go. As I’m rounding the next to last turn on my downhill trek to home, there are bramble bushes that are laden with ripening blackberries. I found I could have a few on my way back to the house and feel quite satiated. Some are quite sweet and some – not so much. They are free, organic and have lots of microbes for a healthy gut. A perfect meal. I don’t stop long but it feels so good to eat fresh from the bushes. Someone from the park cut them way back the other day. I’m struggling to reach high enough now to feed myself.  I’m still looking for the donut tree.

I’ve been trying again to grow a tiny bit of a garden in a raised bed. The cucumbers were prolific in the short run they had but something has had its way with most of my tomatoes. I’ll keep hoping to get a few more this summer. Most of what I grow is for the bees and birds anyway.

There is one less thing growing in the back yard right now. A very determined tree that was unfortunately left in a very bad spot. It began to push the terrace retaining wall forward probably as soon as it was erected long before my time in this home. I loved the tree even though I worried at each storm if it would come down on the shed or house. When park maintenance looked at it after the ice storm, they determined it had to go. I posted the photos back in February of it leaning over the shed. Watching the crew that was hired to take it down last week left me drained and relieved. It’s hard to lose any tree.

­I recently received a surprise gift from a special gardening friend and was inspired to create a fresh new fairy garden from it. We are big fans of fairies and the little garden had me looking up the proper spelling of the word. What a surprise I got thinking it was just a difference in spelling.


It’s been quite blistering out on many days so I’ve been able to hide the little garden in shadier spots to keep it from burning. I do that for myself as well.

The glory of gardening: hands in the dirt, head in the sun, heart with nature. To nurture a garden is to feed not just the body, but the soul. ~Alfred Austin

Are you a breakfast person and would you share it with the fairies?

From my heart to yours,

Marlene Herself


Do you sense a rant coming? I’m not going in that direction. The last two months have been a whirlwind. I get up at 4:00 a.m. I write a morning page as most days there isn’t time to write more. Coffee happens sometimes. I then dressed for my walk and once home again, get started.

First there were all the dressers to sand down after the kids left with my huge one. I’d do yard work until I was allowed to run the sander at 8:00 a.m. Then came the painting of them. I’m not 100% impressed with the outcome but they are done and in use.

Next, I repainted the shed, fascia boards on it and the back deck roof. I’ll rephrase that, my daughter did the high stuff while I painted the lower supports on the deck fencing where the pressure washer had removed the paint. Finally, I got to the major job that I wanted done for the last 7 years but just couldn’t muster the energy to do. Now that it’s done, I’m thrilled with the results. My body, not so thrilled. Why now?


My house needs a new roof. It will hold a bit longer, I have been told, but it’s coming. The floor of the shed is sinking in one corner from water going underneath. It was built into the carport which makes any change difficult. Those repairs are beyond my capabilities and I see my options dwindling.

The back of the shed sinking

So here comes the rub. I was never, ever prepared for the life I lead. It wasn’t in the original script. I’ve been in massive survival mode for most of it. Maybe all of it when I look back.

I see many others who are also scrambling to figure out how to make things work in a world they were never prepared to manage. I am so much more fortunate than many. I have a roof over my head even if it might leak.

My manufactured home was a perfect solution 7 years ago. Now, I see it as a constant source of never-ending work and worry though I delight in it every day. I’m getting old-er.

So, what are my options now? I can sit it out and pray the roof on the house doesn’t leak this year though I know the porch roof has been leaking in places just like the carport did until I had it redone three years and $5000. ago.  I can try to sell, take a little of the profit to do a bit of traveling while my health will still allow it and move into an apartment or independent living where I have no outside maintenance. I’ve been asking a lot of questions trying to come up with the perfect solution.

I’m leaning toward a simpler life though I would miss my garden. I guess pots can work instead. Apartments come with their own grief as I well know. More costly in some respects while less in others.

I’m watching the for the cogs to click into place. Signs I’m making a right choice. I vacillate a great deal when I’m in my head. My heart says it’s time for a change. Why do I work so hard to make a place beautiful and then walk away from it? Is life about not getting too comfortable?

Do you struggle with the options life has handed you? Have you found good solutions and how?

In life, we should explore options outside our comfort zone.” ~ Dani Alve

From my heart to yours,

Marlene Herself.

That Time…Again

Everyone I know can hardly wait for the warm weather of summer. The only part of it I really like is more daylight hours and seeing the pretty flowers. For me, summer is that time where. even with extra daylight, I am always behind. I have this same conversation every year. I want so much to embrace the summer and enjoy all it brings. It just doubles my work in the same amount of time. I have outside work to do as well as inside.

Sonar in his basket. He’s a permanent resident for my son and DIL

To start my summer off, my son and his wife came out early to avoid fire season. We enjoyed a cool drive to the beach for one night before coming back home to move every bit of furniture so they could replace the original molding in the common rooms of the house. Did you know they use pressed paper for window sills and molding in manufactured homes?

paper door frame, new plastic floor molding

When I had laminate flooring put in seven years ago, the molding was never put back properly. The dynamic duo made short work of a very hard project. It looks wonderful and fresh with the plastic that will hold up to cleaning so much better.

They cut new top boards for the fence as they were starting to disintegrate. Now I need to get them painted when the heat wave gives us a break. I do all my work very early in the morning before the rest of the world gets up. Heat is not my friend. They also cleaned my gutters and moss off the roof. How is that for a vacation?

After giving a great deal of thought to my age and vision, I decided to have my son take my beast home and have it looked at by his mechanic whom we both trust and decide if they want to keep it or sell it. Either way, I will probably not be doing much or any more driving. It’s not worth the risk to others on the road unless something changes at the eye doctor visit next month. This was a very hard decision with a lot of waffling back and forth. It’s like my house, I can no longer maintain it on my own. I also gave them my dresser which has always been too big for the space.

It was packed but not quite full this time. Dresser fit.

Moving that dresser was quite the feat. I suggested backing the car up to the bottom of the steps so they didn’t have to lift it so high. The dresser is oak with cedar lined drawers. Even taking the drawers out and the mirrors off, left it a challenge for the two of them. But it worked! My DIL held her breath, expecting the car to slam into the porch rails knowing they would have to help fix them. It went without a hitch. I picked up a smaller dresser at a thrift store while we were at the beach. Now I’m sanding and painting it and another old one that has needed a lift for YEARS!

It went straight across and slid right in.
A final goodbye to a trusted vehicle

One thing leads to another, doesn’t it? It’s that time of year…again.

Is summer a favorite time for you or just twice the work load?

From my heart to yours,

Marlene Herself

A Day Off

I know, I know. I’m retired and every day is a day off. Except in my world. When I wake at three or four in the morning and do my morning pages, I make a list of everything that needs doing today. Then I sigh deeply because I know it can’t all get done. How is it that there is so much to do? Well, silly me, I create all that busyness.


I borrowed this from another blog. We need to remember this.

This morning, my body just didn’t want to get out of bed. It kept saying “just a few more minutes of repose and relaxation, please.”  So today I listened and announced to no one there that I was taking a down day. Sitting and watching the Jay’s going back and forth to their nest. Still no sight of baby Jay’s.

In the last weeks I have worked hard on the upper terrace to clear out tree limbs and branches cut down. They pose fire danger in our dry months. Then I add weeds on top of that so that my daughter and I have to work together getting the green waste can down off the hill. Each week it’s repeated. I found that I have muscles that have not been used in a long time. Tomorrow will be that day again. Today, I contemplate those poor trees.

another brown green waste can full

Green waste can full again



So many dead branches


weeding required

Weeds, weeds everywhere

I’ve done a bit of sewing when I can concentrate. I found my box of pins under my bed languishing without purpose. I wore pins on my clothes for years and had a large collection. What could be done with them? I had a bit of inspiration and some scrap fabric given to me by friend going into a retirement facility. Now I can think of her daily as I see my pins each time I pass by. When I sent a photo to my son, his wife requested one as a gift for a friend. I have more scrap to make another similar but not exact. Request is on the list of to-dos along with cushions for the front porch furniture.

finished pin hange

I’ve made more hearts sent them out in the world to bring a little cheer.

I walk at least 5 days a week in my neighborhood where I see change daily. Nothing stays the same if you pay close attention. A young man and his family across the street draw a great deal of criticism from some of the neighbors over their large collection and constant running of vehicles. I sit watching with amusement as the entrepreneurial skills of this young man take an unusual leaning. He is very hardworking and minds his own business. The Redneck Limousine was from 2019.

My son sent some photos over the last weeks. He has been recovering the little chairs the kids sit in at the preschool. It seems their Gracie has taking to them while each waits its turn to be completed.
This week, I was sent photos of Gracie’s new sibling, a foster for now. This little darling was found under the porch yelling quite loudly. She or he gets quiet on two occasions, eating or laying in my son’s lap. Gracie is not a lap cat so my son is delighted with this little cuddler.

Gracie on the chair

Gracie likes the kids chairs


gracie hiding

Even better with 2 chairs making a roof and hiding place


rescued from under the porch

Rescued from under the porch.


foundling foster

Loud but cuddly

There is evidence of hopefulness and refusal to give up even when your roots have been cut out from under you in these trying times.

Do you find ways and times to just take a day off and let the day flow as it wants?

From my heart to yours,
Marlene Herself

National Pretzel Day

It was on my phone calendar this month. How did I not know this before? I think they have it wrong though. Every day should be pretzel day on my calendar. At least every day that I can get to a good one. After all, not all pretzels are created equal.

I like mine soft and the dough a little sweet, of course. With my pretzel, I like soft melted cheese and a small cold imported beer. A good Hefeweizen is my favorite. Both are a rare treat anymore but last Saturday we made a quick stop at Edelweiss, our favorite German Deli in Portland Oregon for a fresh out of the oven Pretzel. They have the best anywhere. Soft, fat and sweet, kind of like me.

I’m half German so I grew up with this fare and its memories warm my heart. Everything in the German Deli triggers some of my better memories. I’m pretty certain I experience the world through my taste buds. My daughter and I watched every episode of “Somebody Feed Phil” on Netflix twice and have decided that we want to travel to as many places as possible and experience the food. I’m more interested in the bakeries of the world and tasting as many pretzels as I can find. Open those borders everyone. My taste buds are tingling.

One of the best I’ve eaten.

Wikipedia says the origin of the pretzel is ambiguous and many countries take credit. I don’t really care about that. Just pass me another pretzel and the day will be perfect.

So how do you experience the world? Are pretzels your thing?

Happy Pretzel Day.

From my heart to yours,

Marlene Herself.

A New Normal

Spring is officially here for a few weeks at least. One day we get a taste of summer temperatures, then go back to the cold and rain which I always welcome. Someone down the road a few miles decided to camp out in the back yard and set the tent, house and 40 acres on fire. Again we got warnings of possible evacuation. Thankfully, our fire department got it out before our area had to leave. Spring is so full of hope.

Even this cut down tree is still trying to bloom

I’ve had a full plate the last few weeks with spring cleaning inside and out and getting ready for my daughter’s birthday.

Found a home for the bumper stickers and some cards.

Spring on my dresser

She announced a need for the beach and so we made plans for two nights so we could be leisurely about the trip. I found a route that would avoid a great deal of interstate so we could enjoy more scenery. It took us an hour longer and we stopped at the Tillamook Creamery and Blue Heron Cheese company for lunch and dessert. Everyone on their best behavior and masking as well as being socially distant to anyone that didn’t come with them.

My daughter loves yellow for it’s cheerfulness

Back of the heart.

Happy colored bowl cozy for my daughter

We’ve never been to the beach in the spring months. It was colder, clearer and much windier. Everything this trip was done with new eyes. Nothing is taken for granted.

Clear skies and hope flying high

I’ve come to the beach with new equipment as well. After going for my annual lung function test, I got the results that I expected. The hills have been steeper and the roads have become longer. So, I’m in need of assistance when I’m out walking for exercise. They sent me so much equipment that I am not quite ready for and some I’m very much welcoming.


I had my annual appointment with the pulmonologist yesterday. The news, in spite of everything was good and hopeful. The exercise is doing its job and keeping the progression of decline very slow. I could have much more time than I expected.  Maybe even two or three years! I can read a lot of books and sew a lot of fabric in that time. Maybe I’ll even get around to writing my life story for my children.

Mask, oxygen, walking stick, hat, check, check, check.

It’s been a wild ride through this life and I’m obviously not done yet. Yay!! The oxygen is only on two liters when I exercise and I don’t need it to do daily life…yet. This is my new normal. He also agreed that working in the garden was not harmful so I’m back at playing in the dirt. I told him that’s what keeps me so healthy. Breathing in all those microbes builds immunity to stuff in the world. Color me happy today and out for another walk up that big hill.

Heading for the hills

Are you facing a new normal? What color are you today?

From my heart to yours,

Marlene Herself


It’s spring here for a minute and that means so many things. What trees are left here have tried to bloom. The Arbor Vita I had hope to get trimmed has some new guests, so the trim is on hold until my guests are fully checked out of their suite. I hope they are finding their accommodations adequate. Then I can get on with the pressure washing of gutters and other outdoor chores.

This is also the time of year we are all working on our own nests. I’m shuffling around and cleaning out. Washing windows and curtains so looking outside is clearer. I have been spending a lot of time watching the tree trimmers doing triage on our broken jungle here.

The clean up truck checking every home here.

They are getting the widow makers and anything that can cause damage first before coming to take away the piles of debris. I’m hoping the birds I see in those piles are only getting material and not building nests in there. I worry for their safety.

Sizing up the job

Can you see him working his way to the dangerous limb?

This is the time of year for a breath of fresh air, to fluff the Chi and take stock of what’s possible. We had a beautiful sunny day on Saturday. A trip to the local Farmer’s Market was so refreshing for far too many people. We shopped quickly and left.

flowers from Farmers Market

I showed my daughter, who has lived here more years than I, a new way to get to a favorite bakery for a takeout sandwich and dessert. We laughed a lot and enjoyed the long absent sunshine. There were babies to see in the line and puppies as well. Nothing could be better. Everyone seemed to feel a sense of hope and joy. I’m hoping to see new baby Blue Jays. I won’t peek.

Hyacinth working to make spring

Are you doing any nesting or seeing new life around you?

“God gives every bird its food, but He does not throw it into its nest.” ~ Josiah Gilbert Holland

From my heart to yours,

Marlene Herself