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Archive for the ‘My thoughts about things’ Category

Camping in a Hotel

This week resembled nothing that was written in my day planner. The entire country seems to be having one of those weeks. Someone said today they thought 2020 was over but this feels like a replay. I myself am feeling a lot fragmented and disjointed. This post may feel much the same.

No longer happy little tree

Here in my part of rain country, snow was minimal after the gigantic build up by the news. What was not minimal was the constant cracking of branches and trees loaded with ice coming to the ground! It was downright frightening when I heard all my butterfly bushes pull over the planter box they were in and hit the ground. We lost power at 3:00 a.m. and when the temp hit 58 inside, my daughter started packing to leave. She’s says she’s a delicate flower and cold hurts.

They covered my window nicely before

Will have to trim the butterfly bush way down and hope

We had to go into Portland to get a vacant hotel room till the power comes back on. Apparently, everyone else had the same idea. I whined like a 3-year-old once again at leaving my home. I did the same whine during the evacuation from the fire and smoke.

Trees here are covered in ice with many laying across the roads. We had no internet or phone service of any kind at my house so we couldn’t even start looking for a place until we got close to somewhere with power. Turns out the mall and all the restaurants were closed too so no lunch while we made calls. The only place that had a room for us was a downtown luxury hotel.  My daughter needed power to work so she made the call.

Icy tree leaning over my shed and neighbors house

It was a gorgeous hotel and had covered parking for the tiny fee of $10 a night for parking. That’s cheap in Portland. A little tricky to get there through the snow and icy roads but my beast with four-wheel drive went easily through. My fingerprints will remain in the door handles forever daughter drove with great skill. I brought a cold beer and had it with a Motrin after we got to our room.

Young pines stuck

 

We soon discovered this luxury hotel offered no in room refrigerator or microwave. It also offered no coffee, breakfast options, or nearby open restaurants. You do NOT camp out in a luxury hotel. We coped until the second morning when their power went out and we were on the 10th floor. I panicked. When my c-pap shuts down suddenly, I feel like I’m suffocating.

Widower all alone. I’m sure the park will get to this one soon.

My daughter and I were packed up by 1:00 a.m. when she finally located another room close to the airport that had everything we needed. It is perfect for isolated camping. I had hot coffee this morning and we heated up frozen breakfast bowls. No parking fees and much less expensive.

Cleanup beginning up the street

They are talking 10 days to get the power on. I’m hoping they are just tired of all the calls and want us all to leave them to do their work.

Once the sun came out 2 days later

We are fortunate to be able to pay for the motel, probably for the next year. Many are braving their cold, powerless homes. We have food from our home with us while the rest will probably not survive. We are coping well.

“If you can’t laugh when things go bad–laugh and put on a little carnival–then you’re either dead or wishing you were.”
Stephen King, Under the Dome

Have you found ways to handle the natural disasters in your life?

 

From my heart to yours,

Marlene Herself

Loss

Loss: a four-letter word that can and has filled volumes. I cannot begin to squeeze it into a 500-word post. I know of no one who has not been touched by this word in its many forms.

We often suffer loss. We experience each loss differently. Some losses are more profound than others. Each kind of loss extracts its own measure.

We lose in different ways. We lose jobs, friends, relationships, health, pets, ad infinitum. I didn’t understand most kinds of loss as a child.

Sweet, quiet Schatzie. She was my mom’s for her first year, mine for 10.

Every time we moved, I lost friends. I grieved for them knowing I would never see them again.  Sometimes I didn’t have to move for the loss of friendship to hurt. I’ve lost several pets that were closer to me than some family members. I know many of you can relate.

My sister’s Healer in her cousin’s bed

The losses in life can often redirect how you live it. One of the great losses is our personal independence. When my last husband had a retina detach, he lost the ability to drive and with that his job. That was his identity and his freedom in one blink of his eye. He was forced to retire at 59. He took it in stride for awhile then as his world grew smaller, he wrapped himself around mine needing constant attention and entertainment.

On February 11, 2010 I had my own eye blink moment. I woke up feeling queasy and my ear hurt. I had my husband call for an appointment at my doctor and call someone to take me there. I rarely went to the doctor. This felt serious. The doctor wasn’t sure what was going on and made some calls himself for consultation. When you see your doctor pacing the hall and scratching his head, panic starts to set in.

In the course of two days, I went from full time chauffeur, etc to completely disabled; not by shingles as they first thought but by Bells Palsy. We were in a fine pickle with neither of us driving.

It was supposed to go away in a few weeks. Same virus, different outcome. The damage was so profound they did a CT scan to make sure I hadn’t had a stroke.

The contact lenses I’d worn for 45 years never went in my eyes again because I couldn’t blink. I needed a cane to stay upright and television was out of the question. The movement made me nauseous. So did car rides. I couldn’t hear well and loud hurt. My entire brain was on fire trying to find up. It was more than two years before I could drive a few blocks to a grocery store and even now, my limit is 20 miles. My entire way of life was lost. I had to build it from the ground up all over again. I am certain I’m not unique in this.

March 2010. Needed a straw to drink anything. Still do.

I saw this as a wake-up call. I wrote how I wanted my life to look from that moment forward. I asked for help! Couch surfing for over a year brought me to California and Oregon for different treatments that should have been done immediately. I read everything I could find on neuroplasticity to heal my brain and I was given exercises to get my eyes to track together again. Dr. “full of himself” was a genius and knew it. I loved how he helped when no one else did. I got some electrical stimulation on my face so it doesn’t hang though still paralyzed. In the end, I did lose my smile. I rented an apartment within walking distance to groceries until I could put enough together to buy my own little manufactured home. For a while, I had some independence. It’s at a precarious balance again so I’m looking for a new path through.  Loss always has a lesson.

How many times have you lost someone or something that caused you to rebuild your life in one way or another?

From my heart to yours,

Marlene Herself

 

 

 

Contribution

This prompt had me think about my contribution to society and family. I obviously made choices in my life that failed to leave buckets of money that can be spread far and wide to benefit the world. It forced me to look at contribution in a different light.

We all matter or we wouldn’t be here

I think everyone makes a contribution in some way. There are those that teach others, those that take care of others, some contribute by making art, food, music or interesting literature. My quilt group and I made quilts for several organizations in need. It helped us all.

A fun way to give. Saw this somewhere on the internet.

Children contribute by showing us what joy looks like. There are those that contribute by showing us what we don’t want in our life. Contrast is essential for our growth, like it or not. It makes us work harder to find out how we want to be expressing in the world.

Borrowed this from somewhere. It made me smile too.

I’ve always thought I fell a little short in the area of contribution for many years. I wanted to do more and give more. Most of my life we were lucky to have our very basic needs met though there were plenty in my world who had less. Those are the people that give us the opportunity to contribute a helping hand, a listening ear, or just pay for their lunch when you can see they can’t. Small, simple things are valued by some as much as the bigger things.

I personally, like to make things and give them away. It’s my way of letting people know they are thought of with a caring heart. I’ve donated to animal shelters, given away fabric, books, clothing and household goods that were in good condition for someone else to use. I have enough of everything now and need less.

I’ve also come to believe that the more you give, the more good comes your way. Not necessarily in the same form but often in surprising ways. It took a few years of careful observation to come to that conclusion but I eventually had enough evidence to make that a fact. Give freely without expectation and it just boomerangs back in such subtle ways.

Are your views on contribution similar or vastly different? How do you feel you contribute in the world?

From my heart to yours,

Marlene Herself

What’s Missing

My first thought when I read this prompt was the old phrase “of all the things I’ve lost, I miss my mind the most.” ~ Mark Twain

I looked at my daughter and asked if I was missing anything in my life. Her reply took seconds. I miss my original language.

Missing something implies possible regret. Missed opportunities. I think my life unfolded exactly as it should. I have had a world of experiences and two children that grew into honest, honorable and kind adults. What more could I ask for?

It seems I’ve been talking about fully learning the language of my birth more than I realized. I have even started looking at YouTube classes to refresh my memory. Was it even worth the bother at my age? What are the chances I’ll ever get back there?

Still living in Germany Age 4

I left Germany at 4 ½ years of age, starting kindergarten in Kansas City. We moved twice the next year, then went back to Germany for three more years. I attended a base school that included a class on German language to help the kids that had never been there. My playmates were mostly the German neighbors. They didn’t taunt me even though my German was not up to standards even to them.

Kindergarten photo. The top knot brought lots of taunts.

While we originally lived in Germany, my dad, with the US army, spoke to me in English and I answered in German. We understood each other. Once we landed in the US my mother ‘earned’ her citizenship with study and testing. She stated to me that this was where we lived now, this is where our money came from and this was the only language we would speak. I was only to hear words in German if she did not know I was in range. They were usually muttered to herself, never outside our home. At that time in history, we were not well received here.

I traveled to Germany twice with my mother after their retirement. The first time was on a group tour with other military couples when my dad’ decided it was too much for him. Mom needed company. We were with Americans and that was primarily what was spoken on that trip.

Me and mom’s online friends. They spoke NO English.

The second time we went alone on her last trip, to all the places she had been with my dad and to visit some new online friends. Mom was struggling with pulmonary fibrosis and the trip was grueling. We rented a car and I did all the driving trying to understand road signs and rules. Mom had forgotten most of her German but I seem to find mine out of sheer need. Each occasion requiring information brought up words from the deep dark reaches of my mind. Mom would look at me and ask how I knew those words. I could only shrug and marvel at their appearance with gratitude.

In the city of my birth, mom found old friends that remembered her.

 

The building where my grandparents last lived. Arm swollen from lack of oxygen.

I think that brought on the desire to relearn what I had lost and build on it. I used to think in German and translate to English. Now I think in English and work very hard to translate to German. I’m not certain I’ll get the level of mastery where I can converse fluently but it would be so nice to go there, immerse myself for a few months and then once again, dream in my first language.

Do you feel there is anything still missing in your life? How would you go about finding it?

From my heart to yours,

Marlene Herself

 

Work

My second prompt was about work and I had a hard time with this one. Hence the late arrival.

Everyone needs work to do. It can build self esteem under optimal conditions. Which is why working at something you feel passionately about is essential. There are even animals that love to work. It’s built into us.

Growing up, we were instilled with an extra strong work ethic to the point that I found myself unable to be still unless I was reading a book which rarely was allowed. My parents always found work for us to do. Sitting and playing was never an option.

I’ll do the hard work

My dream of becoming a teacher never materialized. I hold teachers in the highest esteem. Without them, there would be no doctors, lawyers, or even actors and athletes. There are good teachers and then there are exceptional teachers. I was lucky enough to get at least one exceptional teacher. Her work changed my life.

Never afraid of hard work and I fit underneath better.

I am no longer in the work force but I’ve done so many different kinds of work in the different stages of my life. I’ve been an after school sitter and dinner maker, waitress, carhop, retail supervisor, hairdresser, secretary and switchboard operator for a security company where I had a phone at both ears. For a short time, I worked for Bell telephone in the IBM card reading department. I failed the eye test to work switchboard so they thought I’d do better reading tiny holes in cards. I wound up doing the job of two people working 12-hour days.  Each one of those jobs were about survival. I gave them all my very best efforts.

Mom and me, senior year of high school. Mom has the cigarette.

When my daughter was an infant, I went to a cocktail party with the husband for his work. One of his  coworkers was introduced to me and she asked what I did? I replied that I was raising two children and taking care of our home. She asked what else I did. Coming from another woman, I was stunned silent. That this is work that is not valued by other women made me question myself.

My favorite job in the world.

I learned about Color and Image consulting after the children were grown and gone. I studied for a year loving every minute. It was the first work I had ever done for myself. Now understand that I am not a fashion person. I found this method helped enhance individual personality in how you dressed and the colors you wore. It helped each person discover so much about themselves that had laid dormant.

I didn’t care about fancy dress. I cared about authenticity. Finding colors and styles that showed others who was really stepping in front of them was exciting. It couldn’t have been a job because I pretty much gave away most of my services for the pure delight of it. It was the second-best work I’ve ever done.

The best work I’ve ever had in my life was raising my children and giving them a voracious appetite for reading anything and everything. In our family, books are the gift of choice all the way around.

A most precious moment caught on film

Helping children read is my greatest passion and work in this world. Being brought up bilingual, I had a difficult time with words. For a short time when my dad was around, he taught me how to discern the spelling and meaning of words I did not know so that no one could speak above my level of understanding again. He did that with a GED earned while in the army.

What was some of your most interesting work through the years?

From my heart to yours,

Marlene Herself

Roadblocks

I’ve signed up for a writing challenge through Daily Om as a gift to myself. Or maybe it’s another way to torture myself by adding one more thing to my to-do list.

My son’s Gracie loves Christmas too. Bring more paper.

The first prompt is about roadblocks. I’m aware enough to know that the only real roadblocks to anything are those that I place there. I have a closet full of them. I can take out whatever works that day.

We don’t want to take it down yet.

Usually, I get out the biggest obstacle. My lack of  formal education. I barely made it through high school partly due to another roadblock; my visual impairment. Textbooks and required reading were often printed so small that the letters would swim on the page after a short time.

A favorite ornament hand stitched by a friend. She never goes back in the box.

I made another roadblock of the fact that I spent my childhood caring for my siblings rather than on my schoolwork. I’m still trying to fill in all the gaps from a gypsy life and education.

Don’t go yet! The closet is still full of roadblocks. I like the one that says ‘my sister needs me’ as she is healing nicely after her lung transplant. She has a friend doing care giving and all that’s needed from me is telephone support while in isolation. Just so you know, that’s a sneaky way to slip in an update.

Zooming with my happy sister. She’s looking good.

I have more to-do’s than hours in a day and I can all but guarantee that most people have many similar roadblocks to getting done things they really want to do. Christmas was all over my cutting table to create a nifty roadblock to completing my quilts. I cleared it off before going to bed last night. Unplugging Facebook and the TV while I sit in the light of the Christmas tree writing has helped to eliminate another roadblock.

A very old and favorite that says it all.

I’m trying to be more mindful of those minefields buried deep on my path to any success. I was not groomed for success. It doesn’t come naturally. I was brought up to be hardworking, honest and ordinary. Big aspirations were considered “silly.” I think the parents were trying to shield us from disappointment. That has become a major roadblock I didn’t even realize was there.

I needed a FLOUR pot to transplant these little darlings. Bob’s Red Mill lines them with plastic and will do till I can go shopping this spring, maybe.

I think it could be helpful to look at all the areas in life where we set up these obstacles. Keeping cookies out on the table does not help my plan to drop extra fluff from my midsection. So, I got all dressed and ready to go for my walk when daylight finally shows itself. One roadblock averted. More to go. That’s what you do with roadblocks. Find a good way around them or eliminate them.

Pizzelli’s

I have 52 weeks of prompts on this agenda. How many of them will I find roadblocks to navigate? How about you? Are you aware of your roadblocks?

From my heart to yours,

Marlene Herself

Suzy Q an Update

My sister has never, ever been conventional or ordinary. Around 16 or 17 she left home for good without finishing school. They kicked her out. She was seen kissing another girl. Back in the early 70’s, that did not fit in anyone’s box of okay.

The end result was she left home because the reception to that was less kind than what the school handed down. She left with a friend and joined a traveling carnival. Who does that kind of thing? Really? Only my sister, who I love with all my heart. I was out of the country during that time so I was unaware of how her life was falling apart. Somehow, she keeps landing on her feet.

She has been living with friends the last few years. That  has allowed her to have a menagerie of dogs around to spoil. Only one is hers, the rest belong to her friends. All the dogs sleep with my sister and depend on her for their meals.

Feeding the dogs. Notice the only one with a leash is my sister’s green tether to the oxygen in the other room.

We were treated as well as the dogs this Thanksgiving. Suzy Q made the small turkey and potatoes, etc. We brought pies and rolls. She had to watch her intake to keep her weight in check. It turned out to be very important.

December 2, I received a text from my sister at 3:45 a.m. She had just received a call to go to San Francisco. The domino effect was in play. We waited and waited. Finally, the medical airbus was scheduled for 11:00 a.m. Then, there was more waiting. Finally, a text that she was in S.F. at the UCSF hospital. Then a lot more waiting. Surgery took the entire night and into the next morning. Twelve hours of waiting and praying. We also prayed for the donor of those precious lungs and the family.

Another new adventure on a medical airbus. Oxygen onboard

Now my sister has new lungs to take a fresh new breath of life. We wait to see if they get along with each other. There will be three months of healing before she can go back home. Her good friend, a retired nurse is with her for the duration.

Finally awake and looking good.

How do you repay someone who gives up three months of their life to help save your sister’s life? How do you let the donor’s family know how much the gift has meant?

Breathing on her own with gifted lungs

We have had some sleep deprived nights and filled in with a nap to keep functioning around here. There will be a new normal for this Christmas season. My sister received the gift of life and is now on a new adventure. I am certain she will make this adventure exciting as has been her entire existence. The staff apparently commented that she was the strongest lung transplant patient they have ever had.

Thank you for bearing with my being so distracted. The year 2020 had a lot that was hard to deal with but as far as I can see, there has been a great deal to be grateful for as well. Has it been a mixed bag for you also?

From my heart to yours,

Marlene Herself

 

 

Autumn/Winter?

There seems to be some confusion as to what season we are in at this moment in time. I was walking my neighborhood like I do at least 5 days a week. I can do more of that in spring and summer. I love looking at the changes in a neighborhood I see everyday. Looking with fresh eyes is best if you can’t change location during these Covid controlled days.

Brilliant red and some green. But it’s really Autumn

I put up amber colored lights on my front porch this year for a touch of fall to be used through Thanksgiving. Then of course I will put up my colored Christmas lights but still not sure whether we will do any further decorating. Some of my neighbors seem to be in a hurry for winter or at least for Christmas.

Wait! What! There is no snow here nor has Thanksgiving arrived yet.

This plant thinks it’s spring and quite cheery.

I’m not far behind but still have too many things to accomplish to rush things. I’m truly enjoying the autumn right now. We’ve had some massive rain, which we love but the drier moments are stunning.

Further up the street is this delicious golden orb of a tree

There was enough dry time to trim my rosebushes and the rosemary along with trees and shrubs in front. I’ve received mail after sending out hearts so I know they have reached their destination.

I keep a list in my phone and in a notebook my blogging friend Alys gave me for my creative projects. Even though I keep getting things done, the list keeps getting longer.

Is someone adding to it in those few hours when I’m sleeping? I’ve been so busy with the making, so now it’s time to do what Alys taught me and clean up before the next project gets underway. She was a lifesaver in the organizational department. Now I know where everything is and waste less time.

One of 10 so far

Two done, 8 to go which includes Santa. Then it will become a quilt if I’m determined enough.

There was even time to read a short book that has been on my headboard waiting way too long. Everything has it’s right time and I had a night where sleep just eluded me. The book fell on my head wanting to be read and I couldn’t put it down. I’ll get back to the sewing tomorrow. Maybe.

Autumn or winter? Which is it now? Do you have a distinct marker of change or do they blend?

 

From my heart to yours,

 

Marlene Herself

Happy Hallowversary

Yes it’s really Halloween and I’m wishing everyone a safe and satisfying day. I was checking my comments late last night and saw this message from WordPress.

9 Year Anniversary Achievement

Happy Anniversary with WordPress.com!You registered on WordPress.com 9 years ago.Thanks for flying with us. Keep up the good blogging.

Made one for us and one for my son

It’s shocking to me that I have been here this long. Is it time to retire now? I’ve given it some thought since so many that I started out with have already done so. I still try to keep in touch with them. I mailed out three more hearts yesterday to former bloggers. I want them to know they may be gone from here but are never forgotten and I miss their input.

We weren’t sure Halloween was going to happen around here as it’s a large community of about 550 manufactured homes and many are older and unwilling to open their doors to strangers. There are a few with children and this year a list was started in our community of those giving out candy. I am one of 52 who signed up. I’m a full mile at the bottom of the hill and these kids and parents still have to walk back up those hills. Quite the price to pay for a little candy.

My daughter and I slipped on our latex gloves and put wrapped chocolate into treat bags and twist tied them shut. Then they were placed in the cauldron to put on the porch in front of the door so I can see through the glass screen who comes and goes in their costumes. We never connect and each child can take one bag of candy without touching anything else. I have orange lights strung along the porch so the kids can see where they are going. We have rarely had more than 10-15 children coming this far down. I’m hoping the map list brings more children this year.

Being safe for the kids

Just so you know, I have not learned to manage the new WP block method and do not like it so if you see something odd here it’s because this is a change I haven’t learned to deal with…yet.

Change is Inevitable. Growth is Optional~John Maxwell

From my heart to yours,

Marlene Herself

A Little Heart

Life has been a three-ring circus for the last month. Spending an extra amount of time getting ready for my son’s visit that was rudely interrupted by local fires and a outrageous amount of smoke was not a great way to start off my 72 year. We had some rain and then a short respite from the smoke.

It came back but not nearly as bad but enough so that outdoor activities for me were curtailed until the inversion layer lifted. In the meantime, my sister came to spend a couple of nights so my daughter could take her to a neighboring community for yet another test my sister needed to have done prior to a three day round trip to San Francisco.

Suzy Q and her very caring, competent friend made the 10-hour drive from my house to San Francisco through some more outrageous smoke to talk to a lung transplant team. Always the intrepid adventurer, my sister is taking on the possibility of getting new lungs while there is time. According to her doctors, her lungs have 6-20 months left. But she is a good candidate for new ones though only 15% of the population has her blood type and only 20% of lungs are viable. Not a lot to be optimistic about but we are giving it our best. So, you see there has been a lot occupying my mind and heart lately. It’s interesting that she spent the beginning of her years here in Oregon in the Forest Service doing a lot of back burning to stop forest fires.

This is what it took to get there and refilled to get back

I have been keeping busy all along to distract my mind from more troublesome thoughts. Perusing Pinterest one day I found something that spoke to me so deeply that I had to give it a try. Paper pieced hearts. I was told it would be too hard for me to learn but decided the struggle would be worth it. It’s my form of puzzle. The results were worth learning a new technique and I get to send out little bits of my heart.

Fabric goes on the back and you sew from the front!

I’m also going to show you what the end result looked like for the challenge we were given at my sewing/quilting group since we may not get back there again this year. I started and finished it right away but have been keeping it under wraps until our January meeting that won’t happen now.

Another challenge for my brain. Table Runner.
Back has all the colors of the front

These are the kinds of things that keep me out of bars and off the streets. Everyone has a vice and those, along with reading too many books at once and trying to get blogs read and one written are mine.

Are you finding ways to share a little bit of heart in your life?

From my heart to yours,

I’m always thinking of you

Marlene Herself