Looking for answers to life's questions

Archive for the ‘My thoughts about things’ Category

A Beginning


I missed Halloween. It was my 6-year blogging anniversary and I just couldn’t get caught up enough to do anything about it. So goes the story of my life.

Today is my younger sister’s birthday. She likes low-key celebrations and this year is no exception. We had breakfast yesterday at Bob’s Red Mill after I picked her up from dropping her truck off at the mechanic. Everywhere we went, we saw geese. So many geese taking a rest from their flight to warmer climates.

Too far and too many for a good shot.

They wander on the road here. Everyone stops.

Her birthday would not be something I would ordinarily write about but right now she is mostly all I write about in my personal writing. I have started to recall all the hair-raising episodes of her life and want to quickly compile them into a booklet form. This photo should tell you that as soon as she could walk she was railing at the world and grasping life with both hands loudly and with abandon.

Don’t mess with me.

This year she was diagnosed with Pulmonary Fibrosis. It apparently tends to run in families. Our mother had it so we know what it does. I have cut back on many of my other activities to spend more time with her and to get her stories written and pictures collected and scanned. My sister is what is referred to as a character. I’d like to share some of them with you over time.

Mom, me and sis

 

Everything is changing and everything that ends brings with it a new beginning. The leaves on the trees are changing though many haven’t quite made up their minds. Our weather has the trees so confused. The time is changing this weekend and we fall back an hour. It’s so hard to adjust. My perspective on life has changed as well. I’m examining each moment for hidden treasures.

In full splendor

Undecided about changing

On Halloween afternoon as I was trying to write this, my internet died. When I called my cable company after doing the things I should to check and see if it was something I could fix, I finally got a sweet young woman on the phone. Brianna said she would try to work her magic and see if it could be repaired from there. After several moments she came back on the line and said my modem had sent an “end of life signal”! I laughed at the irony of it. She did get it working again for the time being.

Today, a giant of a man, made his way to the den with plastic booties over his shoes and laid the modem to rest, replacing it with a newer model He was shocked I still had the old model as they had all been brought back last year. How had mine survived? I told Brianna that the gremlins finally got it. There was a lot of treasure in these moments.

Life is a little uncertain right now.

Are you seeing the treasures in the moments? Do you have “characters” in your life you like to tell stories about?

From my heart to yours,

Marlene Herself

 

A Bit of Fluff

I’ve been putting off writing, waiting for a more positive frame of mind. There is so much going on out there in the world and in my own little world that I just want to focus on a little bit of fluff. Fluff is such a light and happy word that you would never think it can be used any other way. That will be another story, another time. I’m an old believer that where attention goes, energy grows. I’m aiming for the positive.

During the last trip to the metaphysical bookstore my daughter and I made, she brought my attention to some bumper stickers. She does not put them on her car nor do I put them on mine. She intends to tack hers up somewhere in her cubical. I really have nowhere to hang them up where I will see them every day, but I’m working on that.

I’ll pop one in here on occasion so I don’t draw any attention to myself on the road. It’s best to blend in out there. Here, if you are offended, you just click the button to close my site.

I’d kind of like this on a t-shirt too.

I’m ruminating a great deal these days on things that are not fluffy. Mostly when I take my walks. Five days a week with a minimum of two miles each day. With good weather, uphill. Yesterday it was done early at the mall before the stores open. I then took the MAX downtown to have lunch with my sister and a friend even though it was raining out. I like to wear yellow on gorpy days.

This was purchased in 1997 for a trip to Germany. It’s held up well and cheerful.

Walking is my meditation time. Driving is when I can be seen talking out loud to no one present asking the big questions. I noticed the music in the mall could cover that same kind of out loud conversation and these days, people don’t look at you as strangely. Maybe they think I’m on a blue tooth talking to the powers that be, asking very pointed questions. Wouldn’t it be lovely if the answers to our questions came the same way? I have a lot of serious questions these days.

One of my favorite T-shirts

What do I get for answers? Sun glistening through the clouds and the drops of rain on the windows. Breaks in the rain when I had to drive or walk to the restaurant. Most don’t notice those little things. I seem to notice everything these days. Traffic was lighter than usual, making my way back and forth easier.

This was my souvenir from 2004 or 95 from a trip to Victoria BC Butterfly Garden

Despite all that struggle in the world, the sun keeps doing its thing whether we notice or not. Life for some keeps going on while for others, it comes to a grinding halt or stops suddenly. I’m going to keep looking for the sunshine between the clouds. The view is so much better.

Are you noticing any good fluff in your life right now?

From my heart to yours,

Marlene Herself

 

 

September’s Celebration

My favorite month is half over in the blink of an eye. Two weeks gone but they were fully loaded. You remember the lonely Aster flower on September first?

This Aster has its own calendar

Well two weeks brought quite a change in the plant and in the weather. We are going from the upper 90-degree temps to mid-70’s and starting next week, we will get to the 60’s with a full week of rain. This is what I call race weather. I race to get everything outside done and buttoned up for whatever comes next. There is no second guessing the weather these days. You must be ready for anything.

Asters halfway through September

September is a busy month around here. It starts out with lots of birthdays. I get mine early and then many friends and family fall in line until the month is just one big celebration. My daughter and I had a simple Saturday together on my birthday. I felt a little giddy as I waved farewell to the last of my 60’s.

A special blogging friend knows me so well. I really wanted that book too.

First, we visited our favorite metaphysical bookstore downtown to see what was new. I spotted the pretty journals that I did not need but this one made it into my daughter’s shopping bag. I’m going to write my goals and dreams for the next year in it to start the 70’s out right. It was presented to me over a luscious lunch at a tiny Italian place within walking distance of the bookstore. They are known for their criminally delicious desserts of which we had to partake. There was a candle in the cake and Happy Birthday written on the plate.

My son gifted me with the laptop, refurbished with a hard drive that should not break if it was jostled. Now I can visit with everyone again.

Some of the cards that graced my day.

On the way to lunch, wait for it, we saw there was no line at the Salt and Straw!!! It was only 11 a.m. but I had never been able to get in to try their ice cream. It’s famous in Portland, Oregon for its locally sourced and organic ingredients. Lines usually going around the block all day. Dessert before lunch? Well it was my birthday and they were all but waiting for me. I had to try it once.

We did a lot of walking that day to work off the lovely lunch getting home as the 90 plus degree temps invaded our day and we settled in to sit and read.

The first and last part are most applicable to me.

September is my favorite month as the autumn descends upon us and cool things down. Remind me of this post when you see me lamenting the cold and gloomy months ahead. I love the cold over heat but will miss the fresh tomatoes from my garden that I munch on as I work outside.

The big ones had a hard time, The little tomatoes were prolific

I will miss the hard physical work of hauling mulch up the terrace steps and the weeds that always seem to grow better than the flowers. Mostly, I will miss the long daylight hours as days shorten into longer nights. This is the month of transition from summer to winter as autumn here, only gives us a brief wave and moves on.

Are you ready for the changing seasons? What is your favorite month?

From my heart to yours,

Marlene Herself

 

 

 

 

 

Permanence

This has been a year where many have faced extreme challenges in so many areas.  Seeing some of it is hard on the heart. We, as humans are creatures of habit and like things to be the way they have always been.

My neighbors house directly across from me

I’m no different but life and 35 moves has forced me to learn to be more adaptable than most. I’m extremely grateful for that ability as it makes life so much easier to cope when things change and change they will.

Last spring, I mentioned the heavy rains we received here in the Portland, Oregon area. I love the rain and would really like some of it now though others are praying for it to cease. I was in a place, that for a bit of time, gave me pause for concern. As it turned out, my neighbor directly across the street was not as fortunate in location as I turned out to be in. She ended up losing a good portion of her back yard as land eroded from under her.

The land washed away

Giant hole too hard to tell from here.

Owner and management waited most of the summer for the ground to dry out and finally we were inundated with workers preparing to remove the house she was forced to move out of and start stabilizing the ground. There are two other homes on either side they don’t want to have to remove. There were months of negotiations while they found someone to purchase the vacated home and pay to move it elsewhere. That was only the beginning.

Men doing the hard work

If you are not familiar with manufactured homes, they are brought in and out, in sections. There are a lot of preparations to make the house itself moveable. All plumbing and power must be disconnected and then the concrete blocks they are sitting on are removed and axles and tires are placed back underneath.

Axles have to be reattached.

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I spent the best part of the last few weeks watching the comings and goings here. Any wonder why I accomplished little else? It was quite entertaining as I observed the conflab between the powers that be around here making decisions with Engineers, heavy equipment operators and assorted professional crews including tree removers. So many trees had to go. Many precariously held to the earth, many already dead. NOTHING is permanent.

Lots of trees cut down and trucked away.

 

It’s hard to watch all the changes for some people but today I had a sign that things are still very much under control. Just not by me.

Aster’s are September’s flower. I planted these that had been in a pot when I first moved into my apartment five years ago and then put them in the ground here two summers ago. Today is September 1. I looked out the kitchen window and saw the very first bloom on my Aster plant. Do they have a calendar or what?

This Aster has its own calendar

 

How do you deal with impermanence?

From my heart to yours,

Marlene Herself

Something Special

I am so far behind with my reading of posts, books on my bedside stand as well as so many other things that want my attention but this grabbed it first thing this morning and I can do nothing less than share it. I  was overwhelmingly moved by the writing as well as the story.

I met Cecilia here in Portland at the Press Publish conference a couple of years ago. She is a little bit of a thing running her own farm by sheer force of will. I heard her story as she was one of the speakers and we met in the hall afterward. This tiny dynamo has a heart as big as most countries. I know her heart and hold her dear.

Painted in 1988. A first project

Each morning, even though she never reads my blog, I go see how things are at The Kitchen’s Garden. She barely has time to feed herself but she feeds everything else and my soul so I stop by every day no matter what.

Take a few moments to stop by there. It will be worth your time. Enough of my words now. Time for you to read hers.

From my heart to yours,

Marlene Herself

Back in Business

It’s been a very long month and there has been so much going on that there has been little time to share any of it.

My sister brought the plants for me to grow. These are delicious.

Tech support  (my son) put in a new hard drive and I got my files downloaded from Crash Plan. It took  a week  of leaving the laptop on while it did the work. Now I must do the filing and cleanup to get everything back where it belongs. The most important part has been my photos. There will be a lot of housekeeping going on to get them backed up to several places. I had to reinstall programs that I used every day as well.

Bet you thought I was sitting on my hands here just enjoying my down time. Ha! I wish that could happen one day. Only one yard of rock in my sister’s truck. She drove, I did the shoveling.  She’s not allowed.

We had a short spell of decent temperatures that were combined with so much smoke in the air from forest fires. First the smoke came down from Canada and Washington then the wind shifted and we got smoke from southern Oregon. In the interim, I managed to get a little outside work done as well as some inside projects.

mulch 2 yards

2 yards of mulch took awhile to move so the car could go in and out

This will be a bridging post for the next thing that’s been going on around here. Never a dull moment in Sleepy Hollow.

This fabric was a gift from my son when he went to Hawaii. Was it a whole year ago?

I’ve been making sets of placemats to sell and give as gifts.

 

With all the work I’ve done, there has been a lot I haven’t been able to get around to doing. My sewing room has been collecting dust for the last few weeks since before my company came and left. I have been looking at what is going to take priority in my life in the coming year. I love to make things for friends and family and will probably continue to do that on occasion but circumstances are changing and there is some writing that needs to be done sooner than later. Stories that need to be written for posterity while this old mind can still recall them.

So, quilting is taking a back seat for the interim. It’s been a hard decision to make as I love all the members of my group. I think they understand. As soon as it cools down just a bit; we are expecting 99 degrees this week and close to that most other days for the next 15; I will finish up preparing the outside for winter and settle into my writing almost exclusively. Losing my laptop for even a short period of time pointed out how much I enjoy the process of writing. It feels good to be back in the business of telling stories.

African Violet loves the kitchen sink area

Do you suffer any angst from losing something you work with daily? How about setting priorities and focus?

From my heart to yours,
Marlene Herself

Tech Support

Where in the world would we be without good tech Support in this high tech age? My heart goes out to those who don’t have it available to them. I am blessed to have both of my children turn out a little techy. They got it from their grandma, my mother. My youngest brother was tech support for her. I don’t remember exactly when she got her first computer but I’m sure it was well before I finally got one. Mom took classes at the adult school and the senior center to stay current with technology. I have done the same to learn new programs and how to finesse them. Mom also liked to get the newest updated technology as often as possible.

 

Inge alone

Would you guess she was a techno geek?

Since my post a couple of weeks ago, my damaged laptop arrived at my son’s. He is working to resurrect it with a new hard drive. He sent a laptop that was in the back of a closet for me to use while I waited for the repair. It worked for slightly more than an hour before doing a tab dance without music. If I could show you the gyrations it performed all on it’s own, you would probably give it a 10. It took all I had to click the cursor quickly enough to shut it down as the cursor was having a party all it’s own. Trying to work with my tablet was not an easy task. I’ve been advised to purchase an external wireless keyboard for it and may soon. In the meantime,  Tech Support (my son) had me log on to the laptop he sent and quickly before it started dancing again, download a remote operating program. Once I had that accomplished, he quickly signed on and took control. Within minutes the laptop was working perfectly. A few adjustments later, I’m pretty much back in business.

Eric's laptops

Tech support at work. There are more computers in the office. Gracie’s waiting to play.

Why has it taken me so long to get back to you? You know the rules don’t you? Everything comes in threes! I had an old friend come to visit. It’s been a year and a half since our last visit when I went to see her and right after leaving her little dog pulled her over causing  head and body injuries that left her in rehab for several months. I made only one plan for our time together and figured we’d wing it from there.  All went well through lunch and dinner time until after we put on our cozies for bed. An infection causing extreme pain surfaced quickly and I was looking for an emergency room at 10 pm. I am again grateful for our current technology as without GPS we might still be trying to find it. I don’t drive at night due to vision limitations but somehow, we arrived safely and I guarantee I’m not sure I could find it now.

My friend finally got well enough with medication and much sleep to make it to Fabric Depot. As the quilter who got me started down this addictive path, an acre of fabric and notions is like visiting the chocolate shop. They have electric scooters for those who can’t make it on foot. I heard a lot of exclamatory comments as she motored through.

fabric depot

Just the beginning of the fun

The next morning there was a phone call at 6 am. Family had been trying to reach her but we have poor cell reception here. There was a family tragedy. After getting grounded enough to take care of business, she changed her flight and headed back to deal with all that is laying ahead. Every time I think my life is harder than it needs to be, I look around and someone else is having a tougher time. This was one problem Tech Support couldn’t fix but he could give me moral support as I gave some to my friend.  Life is strange and challenging.

How are you fixed for tech support?

 

From my heart to yours,

Marlene Herself
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