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Archive for the ‘My thoughts about things’ Category

Perfect Gifts

Birthdays, Christmas, Hanukkah, Mother’s Day. The list goes on. It’s even Graduation time and wedding season. This is the time of year you hear from people that never call or write, inviting you to things they know you can’t attend. It is gift giving time.

I want for nothing. My cupboards are full to the brim and my children are at wits end when they want to gift me and the same is true in reverse. We are a nation of too much stuff looking for ways to pass it on to those that are in need. Most of us are more than generous in our sharing but what do we do about our desire to gift?

Maggie Magellan hard at work.

I have found the best gifts are those of experience. My daughter’s birthday was last month and I gave her the class schedule for adult community education. I suggested she pick something she wanted to try and I would pay for it for her birthday. She chose a watercolor class. It happened to be at the same time, in the same building as the memoir writing class I’ve been wanting to take. Each Monday night for 6 weeks we go to our separate classes together. Yay!

Who needs navigation. Just follow the car in front of you.

Mother’s Day just paid us a visit and my children know better than to buy me more things. My son used my audible points to buy two books I had on my wish list. Then he put the cash in my checking account. I found a use for it.

Mother’s Day was a quandary for my daughter. She called me and said we needed a beach day. She made reservations for two nights with a great motel discount from work. It was cool, grey and internet was sketchy. Couldn’t have been better. I loaded the cooler with food for dinner and off we went through Tillamook to Newport and Nye Beach. The money my son put in my checking account gave me a bit to buy some cheese and jam at a great place along the way in Tillamook as well as ice cream at the creamery. We played all the way there and just chilled on the beach barefoot. Now that’s a good gift. So is listening to a favorite book in bed after wearing myself out walking in the ocean.

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I have a grandniece who just had a birthday earlier this month. At 18 and ready to graduate, I no longer knew what she would enjoy since we rarely connect. Smart girl that she is; with a generous heart, she posted a link to her Facebook page to donate to her local animal shelter directly. I didn’t even know you could do such things! I hope there is something similar for her graduation gift. I don’t know them well enough to pick something out.

Tillamook Creamery. Cheese and Ice Cream along with some learning

Sylvia Beach House high on the hill. Each room named for a different author. A favorite of mine.

I prefer handcrafted gifts but they are not very popular with young people. Since I’m so swamped with too much on my plate again, I’ll beg you all for ideas. My brain is on hiatus and gave no forwarding address. What do you do for such difficult gift giving situations? I’m open to all suggestions. Especially inexpensive ideas.

From my heart to yours,

Marlene Herself

 

 

The Pick Up -Truck

All winter I mentioned  to my son that when he came for a visit, he should fly out and rent a large truck and take lots of stuff back with him. He had to drive one of those when he moved his things back to Arizona and it wasn’t fun. It was January, cold and lots of snow and ice all the way. It’s summer now, almost.

All 3 lilac bushes in the memory garden are blooming.

Does he listen to his mom? Not usually. I was hoping he would wait another month to come out until I was a little more rested and ready for the chores and clearing I was preparing to get done. Instead, they show up two days after I get back home from my trip visiting them driving the father-in-law’s pickup truck. I was absolutely certain that everything I had for him to take home would not fit.

They came to work. Tools in the back taking up valuable space but they came in handy. I had a list of big and little jobs for getting this place inspection ready and for the future sale when that should need to happen.

 

They worked hard each day completing projects that I had asked to be done and many that popped up out of current need.

Because my daughter is now living in the room they usually slept in, we had to make adjustments. I gave them my queen bed and tried the air-mattress in the sewing room floor. Didn’t do it for me so we tried to put it in the den and moved out the TV into the living room.

All the books had to be moved. I slept in there a night and it was slightly better. Mentioning it to my sister, she suggested we come get the full-size bed she wasn’t using. After the hour drive to her house, the kids did a good job of getting it down her stairs, into her open bed truck, then set up in my den. I now have a guest room again. I slept very nicely the rest the two weeks they were here. We had a giant inside shuffle.

My son trimmed the shims under the master bedroom toilet and caulked it, replaced the flimsy skirting we had originally put around the new raised deck after the fire and hauled all the wood out from under the deck. It had to go. They pressure washed the old deck wood and cut it to fit in the truck. Then we went to the shed and got four large boxes of Dept 56 village pieces, several boxes of Christmas ornaments and trims, a space heater, pictures and knick knacks that would eventually be his anyway. He took books and anything else I could give him. If he didn’t take it, I threatened it would be sold in the yard sale.

 

They also arranged several contractors to come look at my carport to see about repairing it. It’s leaked since I moved in and I can’t sell it like that. The main roof has to wait…indefinitely. It’s not leaking yet.

A bribe for one of the contractors. His two sons are my step great grandsons. Long story.

They wouldn’t let me pay them so I took them to my new favorite place for breakfast.

In SE Portland, Hawthorne street is an eclectic, artistic area where hippy and creative types hang out.  They have great shopping and fun little restaurants. Not a chain to be seen. So, it was breakfast at Bread & Ink for all with my sister joining us. My sister and niece introduced me to this sweet, busy restaurant. Breakfast was my daughter’s contribution because she was always at work. We love the atmosphere and the food. Here is the link to the history of this wonderful little place. They stand for an hour to get a table on weekends. https://www.southeastexaminer.com/2016/01/bread-and-ink-cafe/

Then came the stuffing of the truck. My DIL is quite skilled at fitting 40 pounds of stuff in a two-pound bag. Son took a large portion of what I had set out but there will be more. The truck needed to be a bit bigger.

How do you deal with the unexpected and are you good at stuffing?

Your life does not get better by chance, it gets better by change.Jim Rohn

From my heart to yours,

Marlene Herself

 

Good Advice

I’ve said before how fond I am of Chicken Soup for the Soul books. I typically read one story a night just before drifting off to sleep. I take whatever I’ve been reading or watching on television into my dreams so I work to keep things light. I bought the book The Best Advice I Ever Heard: 101 Stories of Epiphanies and Wise Words. I’m coming to the end of it and thought I would pass it on to my niece. She’s young, in college and asking a lot of questions while getting every imaginable answer. It made me wonder about the wisdom that’s passed down from generation to generation.

Heard anything astounding lately?

I didn’t get advice from my parents. They weren’t the kind of people who talked to their kids. My dad would drop little sayings on occasion. “Never vote for an incumbent”; ‘There is nothing more dangerous than a closed mind’; ‘He who hesitates has lost’. Mom told me one New Year’s eve after a little bit of celebrating, that no one would ever take care of me the way I could take care of myself. She was a little late with that advice and offered nothing to implement it with. On rare occasion, she would spill a little story of something that she had dealt with in a way that taught me I needed to be strong.

There was the time she had a flat tire with my siblings in tow. She called my dad at work. Apparently he was less than helpful and told her to handle it. She did, Once the tire had been changed, she drove to the nearest tire store and bought four new tires. Problem solved. It was a lesson for him as well. She always said that when someone (dad) told her no, all bets were off and she would find a way to do whatever he said no to. Like how she taught herself to drive when he was away on maneuvers and couldn’t stop her. Those were sound life lessons for me.

Our Nash Rambler with new tires. ALL 6 of us slept in it on trips.

I picked up what I know about life from books, life experience and the School of Hard Knocks. Then I found out some of the books were outdated. I’ve learned to listen carefully to advice from friends and other family members, smile and weigh it for a glimmer of good sense. Then do what I always do, trust my gut. It will never fail you if you pay careful attention. The truth for everyone depends on what filter people see information through.

What could I pass on to my impressionable young niece?

My niece is still the smallest in her class.

Always be truly yourself. It’s your job. Be kind and honest no matter what it might cost at that moment. Do what sings to your heart, the rest will take care of itself. Read and listen to things that are contrary to what you believe at the moment. Take everything with a grain of salt. Only part of it may hold true for you.

People are filled with good advice. I think most of us hear advice with a tunnel through our ears. You know, in one ear, out of the other.

Did you get any good advice and did you pass any on to friends and family?

From my heart to yours,

Marlene Herself

 

 

 

Comment Oops

I have a hard time with certain blogs I visit. I also have difficulty with groups I belong to when it comes to discussing childhood activities.

I was never really a child. I sometimes think I was born old in a tiny body. Well, not so tiny, actually. Does 13 pounds qualify as an infant?

Dr. French often asks questions on his blog and I really want to answer. Especially since he has been so kind and encouraging of my continuing to write my drivel. Most of the time I click the like button and disappear. This time, I wrote a comment, copied it to a word document that I keep for unpublished comments and began to delete the comment from his post. I hit send instead. You can read the drivel I left here.

Another blog that makes it hard for me but I usually gush over even though I make no sense is Jennie’s. She’s the worlds BEST preschool teacher. Why on earth would I read that blog? I have no young children nor grandchildren. Jennie is no kid herself but her heart is so very young and pure. She shows me what could have been under different circumstances. Like when you get a teacher who cares with all her heart. Very often I weep at how far she goes to teach her preschoolers the most important things in life. I’m a little sad because I wasn’t even able to do that for my own children.

What do these two blogs have in common? Books and reading. The thing that keeps the blood coursing through my body. They are teachers who love books.

Books in the den

When I was filling out my advanced directive they asked when I would consider the quality of my life no longer viable and be ready for it to end. It’s when I can no longer read or listen to a book. If there are no books in heaven, I’m not going.

Books in the kitchen

I was supposed to go blind before I was 21. Fooled them. There were no audio books then and I wanted to read…anything and everything. Then science created contact lenses and saved a lot of vision for me. More time to read. Yay!

There are children in the good homes with no books who are not being read to by their parents. When it comes to gifts for the children in my life, books are the only thing I give unless it’s something I’ve made. So many children don’t have a Jennie to awaken in them a love of books, art and music. Dr. French tries to do that for his college age students. I’m not a fan of his genre but definitely of his love of reading, writing, kindness and honesty. So, I had to be honest.

Books saying goodbye… maybe.

Do you ever regret a comment you left or have second thoughts about leaving it?

From my heart to yours,

Marlene Herself

 

A Different Me

I’ve been trying to visit new blogs when I get a chance; to get new perspective and a little brain stimulation. I tend to visit blogs that many of my readers visit because I think we may have something in common. The cleaning out processes I’ve been on has not failed to touch so many in blog land.

When I read Luanne’s post quite late in the game, it had me looking at what I was doing in a whole new light.

So, I started hunting through my photographs to see if I could find any that had me wearing something I truly loved. A dress I had made for me in a soft pink while living in Taiwan was a favorite for a while.

A different me. NCO club celebrating a friends adoption of a baby.

I was never one to be stylish. In school, I bought skirts in brown, black, and navy with several shirts to go with each. Basic and inexpensive. I always have had to buy my own clothing unless my mother made it for me. Mom was quite the seamstress and I was always proud to wear anything she made. Sometimes it was too fancy for school but I wore it anyway.

Light blue taffeta with scallops. Where are my glasses. Sister feeling uncomfortable in her homemade dress and petticoat.

Another Easter Sunday with new outfits all around. Mom even made the suit but the littlest brother wouldn’t stand for photo.

In one of incarnations during this lifetime, I studied color and image consulting. It took a year of intense training as it was extremely individualized. It was my favorite occupation except for one small hiccup. I was supposed to dress at least one or two steps up from my clients. That just wasn’t who I was. I loved finding the perfect colors to go with a person’s personality and energy level and help them find their style.

Mine would always be pragmatic and basic with a little fun in the mix. I had a number of outfits that I felt really suited my personalities. Most of us have many facets to our personality that can be expressed through our clothing.

I tended toward monochromatic outfits for a more slimming look

When the day came that I no longer did consulting or worked outside the home, I put all my special and well cared for clothes in a suitcase and carried them down to the Safe House auxiliary store for women who needed nice things to find jobs. I still miss the feeling I had when I wore them. The dressing up and feeling like I was seen.

As an older woman it’s easy to become invisible. That works for us sometime but I have my moments when the little cap I must wear most of the time is what draws a tiny bit of notice so I can give my best smile and engage in a happy exchange with a stranger.

 

Sipping tea in my trusty cap.

Today, the exchange was over the greeting card section at the market where a woman laughed out loud at one and I was approachable enough in my cap to share the laugh with her. I suggested she have a fun day as she walked on. My caps, cane and crooked smile must do the job of pretty skirts and shirts now. They tell people if you are friendly or not. The smile is still getting better after eight years of paralysis and I can now make my eyes smile a bit better too. A smile is always your best outfit.

How about you? Do you have a photo of you in a favorite outfit? That applies to men as well.

From my heart to yours,

Marlene Herself

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Goose

It has been the oddest week. Monday started out playing musical cars with my daughter as we had used mine all weekend. She was on her way to work at 6:30 a.m. I pulled out and waited for her to pull out next, then I would back into the driveway as she went off to drive to the MAX for the rest of her trip into downtown.

I looked back and her headlights started flashing. Rolling down my window and backing up a bit, she got out of her car to tell me her battery was dead and her car wouldn’t start. The mechanic where she’d recently had work done on the car mentioned that it was weak and suggested replacing it. There would be no more procrastinating. She ended up taking my car to the MAX and picking up a battery on her way home.

It’s still pretty for a 1997 Olds Bravada.

I must say, I was impressed with her tenacity to struggle with the bolts that held the battery in place; hunting for the tools she needed in the dark and cold to get the job done.

The next morning, I was cautious as she started her car after I pulled out to let her head to the MAX but off she went. I put mine back in the driveway. We are not allowed to park in the street which makes sense to me because they are narrow and emergency vehicles need easy access. Ten minutes later, my daughter was back in the driveway. What was wrong now? She got out of the car and came inside but she wasn’t alone.

She witnessed a medium sized dog running around the streets of our neighborhood dragging its leash behind. What could have happened to its person? So, she pulled her car in ahead of the dog and called it to her. This sweet thing came willingly and once she had it in the car, she brought it home for me to figure out the next step as she hurried to catch the light rail.

I did what any dog mom would do, I fed her and spoke soft sweet words to her. She was curious about everything including the chunk of ham from which I had just cut a piece. She was tall enough to reach to top of the kitchen counter to retrieve it herself so I quickly put it back in the fridge and sat to post an ad in our neighborhood site with a fuzzy photo and my phone number.

Where’s the food?

She had no tags nor name attached and was not going to settle down so I quickly dressed and put her leash back on. After giving her a few moments to wander my tiny backyard, we hopped into my car and I began the search for someone searching.

Riding shotgun. I could have kept this sweet girl but she wanted her own people.

It didn’t take long after a couple of stops to ask a neighbor or two if they were missing a dog or knew of one, to find a car slowly driving up and down roads randomly. I flashed my headlights at the car and it stopped. A young man (by my standards) got out and came to my window on the passenger side. Dog was in the back seat. I asked if he was looking for a dog. He was. It was his parents’ dog and her name was Goose! She jumped into the front seat as soon as she saw him and responded to her name. Goose was quite strong and I could see her easily pulling someone over in her playful puppiness. She had apparently seen something that made her run after it and off went the chase. Goose was finally back where she belonged and my daughter was relieved no humans were left lying in the street injured somewhere. Another rescue with successful results.

Is your week going according to plan or have you also had things pop up unexpectedly?

From my heart to yours,

Marlene Herself

One Thing

What comes immediately to your mind when you hear that phrase, ‘one thing’? Ok, now you can keep reading.

You know that old phrase “one thing leads to another”? Last weekend was a prime example of how we get lost in what we are doing and can be easily led astray.

Our Saturday chore was to try to make some sense of the kitchen pantry while incorporating my daughter’s dry goods in with mine. I’ve done that with each family member that moved in for a time. Who knew that this activity would become a wanderlust? We emptied out EVERYTHING! Then I washed down the shelves and we took stock of what was there.

It took all day to clean out and rearrange.

If you think pickled foods and stuff in glass will last forever if unopened, have a second think. So, I opened and dumped things, rinsing out glass jars and putting them in a recycle bin. My heart did a thud seeing the waste. I find it abhorrent. It all looked fine last I looked. Quite the wakeup call here.

All years past the use by dates. Too sad. I hate waste.

As we took a short break, we watched another episode of Marie Kondo’s Netflix shows to keep us encouraged while we had a hot bowl of the Matzo Ball soup, I’d made the night before with lots of garlic, leftover turkey and noodles to chase away the winter germs. Then we watched natures show of beautiful snow showers.

Once everything was placed in systematic order, ‘genius’ here decides to pull out everything from the liquor cupboard and see what’s there. Some was mine, my daughter’s and my sister’s. I played the game ‘what one thing is unlike the other’ and that led to cleaning the stove top. While I was at it with a vengeance, my daughter, seeing all the lovely liqueurs on the floor, thought it would be lovely to make a quick run to the grocery for ice cream. You see the link here, right?

Sorting and separating out what doesn’t belong

What are these doing down here with the wine and liqueurs?

Reds for some friends, white for others and the rest for ice cream. Yum

Liqueurs and ice cream go together and we needed to be rewarded for our hard work and the organizing of such wonderful goodness. It would appear that I’m quite the lush but the liquor has been there longer than some of the pickled foods I had to toss, some much, much longer. So, in the event of an apocalypse, you know now what will stay good and what won’t. Forget the food and keep the booze.

14-year-old stove but at least it’s clean now. One thing leads to another.

Next is the tea and spice cabinet. Oh my word, that could be problematic. I think the teas will need their own cabinet so what will have to go? Hmmm.

Many of the blogs I have been reading in the last couple of weeks are reverberating the same theme. Everyone seems to be clearing clutter and purging excess. Most people wait till spring to do these things. What pushes us to do it after the first of the year? Do you stockpile anything?

Happy Valentines Day everyone. Have a little loaded ice cream to celebrate.

 

Oops, wrong holiday. I think it’s time they go somewhere else

From my heart to yours,

From my heart to yours

Marlene Herself