Looking for answers to life's questions

Posts tagged ‘Bells Palsy’

Seeing

It’s been too long but I see the light! Winter is a favorite time of year…usually. This year was long, dark and exceedingly wet. I’ve plodded along trying to summon up the energy to do things. My friend and fellow blogger at incahootswithmuddyboots.com came by to cheer me with signs of spring from her yard.

First signs of spring from my friend

The struggle with my vision has really slowed things down. I finally wised up and went back to the optometrist. My glasses that are eight months old were not working and I was scared. “Well no wonder” he says. “You’ve lost a whole diopter of vision since this last prescription.” Now I have no idea what a diopter really is even after my son explained it to me. “What caused it” I asked? He seemed to think it was because of excessive dry eye. That eye doesn’t blink as well as the other and leaks tears since the onset of Bells Palsy 7 years ago. Why am I losing so much vision now?

I bought 5 of these for my sewing group as a Christmas gift. This is mine finally finished.

The back is pink, not my favorite color but it’s cheerful.

It’s possible the C-pap machine that blows wind in my face all night might be drying out the eye if I’m not keeping it well closed in my sleep. I didn’t think that could be the answer so I made another appointment with an ophthalmologist and she verified that the eye was indeed quite healthy and quite dry.

So onto finding solutions. I put in a gel at night for better lubrication and have an eye mask to cover the eyes. My son’s ex-wife saw something online that she thought would help and I checked it out. This morning on my trip to town for lunch with friends, I stopped at the sleep study center and asked if they had it or could they get it for me. In 15 minutes, they saved me the more than $100 and handed one over after a fitting. I practically danced out of the office. No more wind in my face all night. Granted, it’s not terribly attractive but I’m hoping it fills the bill.

The wind is at the top of the head with this one.

So the second pair of glasses that were made a few weeks ago works quite well for distances but I can’t read the computer with them. Back to the old pair when I’m on the laptop. The optometrist will try to come up with another prescription that works better for both. It’s frustrating but there’s still so much I want to do, read and write. Vision seems essential to those desires.

I’ve been working on this forever it seems. Now comes the quilt around it.

In the meantime, the clutter has continued to be cleared. All of the industrial shelving from my son’s storage unit were sold and are gone from the yard. I am continuing to pare down but have found it’s a good idea to go through the boxes carefully before donation. I found a whole bundle of embroidery patterns that I bought almost 10 years ago for over $60. Everything else in the box went, the patterns are now being lined up to work.

I’ve managed to get a few other things done.

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So how are you seeing this time of year? Signs of spring or signs of autumn becoming more clear? Are you starting to perk up or wind down?

From my heart to yours,
Marlene Herself

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Happy Halloweeny Anniversary

Why on earth did I pick Halloween to start a blog? Was I on a sugar rush or just enjoying the festivities of the ghoulish decorations at my son’s house while living with him.

Would you have asked her for candy?

Would you have asked her for candy?

Five years ago I was extremely debilitated by many unusual symptoms of Bells Palsy. I could no longer drive and as a passenger, I had to close my eyes, especially at night. I couldn’t sew because seeing the needle move up and down turned my brain into mush with an odd nausea. Television had its own terror. If things moved too fast on the screen, I had to close my eyes and look away. The cane is still necessary to keep me balanced and upright. The symptoms aren’t gone but they are far better.

Standing guard

Standing guard

The symptoms were a reflection of my life. Writing was all I had left to pull the terror of where I was in that moment into a cohesive plan for some kind of a future as a 62 years old freshly divorced and debilitated woman. Social Security advised I qualified for disability. I was not employable. That was scary enough.

The very act of writing helped train my damaged brain to find words again. Mimicking a stroke in many ways, this virus left my brain unable to put full sentences together without long pauses. I couldn’t find words I knew were there. Friends and family started finishing sentences for me. My writing was simpler five years ago. Gradually, I’m making progress, I hope.

This spider is tickling my nose.

This spider is tickling my nose.

In five years, I’ve found an online support community of bloggers. Who knew such a thing existed? Every time I got discouraged, there would be a comment, e-mail or even happy snail mail loaded with lovely things to cheer me on.

Corny wants a book with his treats

Corny wants a book with his treats

I scrounged together enough money after the home I shared with the last husband sold to put a down payment on a small manufactured home for myself, my books, fabric and other crafting tools. Slowly, I’m able to do little bits at a time of my cherished creative endeavors. Making this house my home has taken a lot of energy. Naps are on my daily agenda when tackling any project. It’s the brain that gets tired before the body so I’m exercising my brain as much as my body.

Got the borders, back and binding on the panel to that I quilted enough to hang by the sleeve on the back. It's said to be glow in the dark.

Got the borders, back and binding on the panel to that I quilted enough to hang by the sleeve on the back. It’s said to be glow in the dark.

This Halloween will be different again from the last. Aren’t they all? Not so many outside decorations as we’re having the wettest October on record and today brought high winds. Power has been intermittent. Inside, I’m ready for any brave little goblins that make it past the real bugs and spiders out there. It’s so warm, they have swarmed like an apocalyptic army. They scare me more than zombies any day.

Witchy Poo and her albino pumpkin are inside this year.

Witchy Poo and her albino pumpkin are inside this year.

I’m curious to see what the next five years will unfold. Heck, I’m curious to see how today will unfold. Thank you all for being on this journey with me and cheering me on. Have a Happy Halloween with lots of sweet treats and no tricks.

No candy in this pumpkin

No candy in this pumpkin

Is there anything that scares you more than a zombie apocalypse?

From my heart to yours,

Marlene Herself

 

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Who’s sleeping with who?

Patti shot through the door of the sewing room and that was her first question for our group that had arrived two days prior. She was only staying for the day but we were happy to have our resident pot stirrer in our midst.

Patti's pumpkins have binding now.

Patti’s pumpkins have binding now.

There were only six of us at this retreat for the week. Another that had planned to come had been overcome by food poisoning at a church function and was in need of Urgent Care We kept hoping for a quick recovery but it just didn’t happen.

I fell in love with the framed crochet

I fell in love with the framed crochet

There were two new women brought to the retreat by another member of our group. The three of them shared a room. I shared a room with the other two members of our quilt group. With five beds to a room and more than four bedrooms, we had a whole room to spare and then some. There were even beds in the sewing room office if we were in need of a nap. We ended up sleeping three to a room.

If you need a nap between sewing projects, extra beds in the office

If you need a nap between sewing projects, extra beds in the office

It turned out to be a very amicable mix of women. You never know how a group is going to blend. This group worked well together like old friends. Each willing to teach and to learn from one another. We were all there primarily for rest (not so much) and relaxation. Wine helped that a lot. We each brought some to share but somehow, it was still done in moderation. After all, we still had sewing to do and some nights it was well past eleven when we gave up and headed back to the house.

Binding and banter into the wee hours of the night

Binding and banter into the wee hours of the night

Working in our jammies in the early morning until breakfast was ready

Working in our jammies in the early morning until breakfast was ready

 

jelly roll Christmas quilt done in record time.

jelly roll Christmas quilt done in record time.

 

Sunrise out the sewing room window.

Sunrise out the sewing room window.

Once again, Nancy’s Sew N Go delivered well beyond
expectations. If she ever decides to give up the quilting gig, she can cook anywhere and I know we will follow. There was coffee ready first thing in the morning for those of us that rise early and a separate brewing station in the sewing room with anything you wanted including an electric tea kettle. Of course there were snacks, fabric if we needed something and every quilting tool necessary should we fail to remember something.

Once again I wondered if I would ever try a different retreat. Those more experienced at this sort of thing swear this one exceeds every one they have ever been to and who am I to argue with experience? Most of the ladies were cranking out quilts faster than I could count. It took me all three days to get one top put mostly together. I came home quite relaxed and ready to sleep. My top is complete now and pinned for quilting. I’ll show it completed next time. Every quilt they made inspired me even more.

Sam's quilt with a good start on it.

Sam’s quilt with a good start on it.

 

Can you believe this is a donation quilt for a fund-raiser?

Can you believe this is a donation quilt for a fund-raiser?

 

I love the free-form Art quilt

I love the free form Art quilt

Connie had to copy but there are hidden bunnies in hers

Connie had to copy but there are hidden bunnies in hers

No one complained or heard my C-pap machine. I wasn’t bothered by any snoring and we all had the best time ever. One of our new friends wanted to stay longer so she locked her keys in the car. I wasn’t driving so I had to go home with my driver but left with leftovers to feed Tech Support. He’s offered to help edit color on Sew N Go’s new calendar when Nancy has all her photos ready. He’s been officially bribed and ready to work.

Baked taquitos were scrumptious and healthy. I brought some home for TS and his sister to try. Yummm!

Baked taquitos were scrumptious and healthy. I brought some home for TS and his sister to try. Yummm!

I’m not sure when I’ll do this again but would love to take a few classes that Nancy offers and she even does craft classes. Tech Support offered to drive me the 45 mile distance.

We are very serious about our meals.

We are very serious about our meals.

There was a time I could do that myself. It ended six years ago today when Bells palsy stopped me in my tracks for many of those early years.  Don’t wait for the right time to do things. Do them now. Who knew that at 61 my driving and sewing days would be pretty much over? I can at least once again get to the grocery and do a little sewing and quilting so I’m counting my blessings and taking advantage of every opportunity that comes my way.

The next generation of quilters coming up after dinner of course.

The next generation of quilters coming up after dinner of course.

Have you been sleeping with someone new? Maybe pushed your boundaries and had some extra fun?

From my heart to yours,
Marlene Herself

In Search of Good Books

Have I done this one before? Maybe the title but the book and reason for it are quite different today. September is a month of birthdays. Actually August and September are filled with people I know having birthdays. I love giving presents and cards even more than receiving them.

My gift to myself should come to fruition next Tuesday. Keeping fingers crossed that it pays off and reading comes easier.

People often ask me what I’m reading and I hesitate and stammer that it’s not the normal read. I’m currently listening to the audio-bookThe Ghost in my Brain by Clark Elliott. Then there is “The Brain That Changes Itself” by Norman Doidge in an effort to find a way to heal my brain from the damage done by Bells Palsy. On a more spiritual side of healing was the audio book “Dying to Be Me” by Anita Moorjani. I had to order a second set as my sister and I kept loaning it out. I tend to be an odd duck in my reading choices as well as other things.

Odd ducks usually spend a lot of time alone reading anything.

Odd ducks usually spend a lot of time alone reading anything.

But then there is fun reading. The kind I love and find hard to come across. This latest was a short story written by fellow blogger, Jackie Phillips at To Breathe is to Write that I just couldn’t put down. She is offering the short story as her birthday gift for a day. Her following demanded more and she obliged. Her stories compiled themselves into a book.The short story would be worth paying for and the book is worth far more than is being charged. We were able to read the rough draft. I rarely run across a book that I don’t want to end. I hope there will be more to follow. So as a belated gift to myself, to  Jackie as well as to you, here is the link to one of the best mysteries I’ve read in a while. I think she will rank up there with the best of them. Stop by, wish her a happy birthday and have a great read. You won’t regret it. Happy Birthday to us all.

Just a few of my books

Just a few of my books

What’s on your reading list tonight?

From my heart to yours,
Marlene Herself

 

 

 

 

In Search of a Way to Spread the Love

This week I have been a bit unsettled. Not sure what the cause is but it may be many things rolled into one. February itself is a rough month in many ways. I sent a birthday card to my last husband only to find out he had spent his birthday in the hospital and was still struggling to breathe on his own again. We are all sending our best thoughts his way.

My heart is a little raveled these days. Slightly worn.

My heart is a little raveled these days. Slightly worn.

Then on the 11th, I had my five year anniversary of the onset of Bells Palsy. Who would think the effects of it wouldn’t go away? It left me a little blue to know I haven’t unpuzzled the riddle to complete healing and recovery from the damage it left in it’s wake. But giving up is not an option.

Red and white courthouse steps pattern seemed appropriate for this month contribution. Too bad they were all 1/2 inch too small. Must redo at least one more. I haven't been entirely idle

Red and white courthouse steps pattern seemed appropriate for this month contribution. Too bad they were all 1/2 inch too small. Must redo at least one more. I haven’t been entirely idle

Then there is Valentine’s Day coming up. What can I say about that? That day has never been a big one in my life. All my married years it was of little significance. We had more pressing matters to deal with though I had fun doing valentine’s with my children. So now, with no significant other in my life to celebrate, how do you spread the love in the middle of an oddly balmy winter? I’m asking a lot of questions here, I know.

My hearts all red and fuzzy.

My hearts all red and fuzzy.

I’ve decided that I can spread the love by sharing a few new blogs that are just starting out. I know how overwhelming it was when first starting out. It’s still a learning process. Everyone seems willing to help. All you have to do is ask.

The Contented Crafter was the instigator of random acts of kindness that was a global endeavor. You saw many of the things I received as a result. Now I get to show you what I sent out and was finally received all the way in Tasmania. Stop by The Road to Serendipity and have a look. She’s been so hard at work there.

Before it was over, I made 3 rows. I couldn't let anything go to waste.

Before it was over, I made 3 rows. I couldn’t let anything go to waste.

 

A couple of fellow writing classmates have started blogs that are read worthy. The photography is excellent as is the writing. My friend, Sabine of In Cahoots with Muddy Boots, blogs here on Word press, my friend, Missy of Isabella Bird is here. So I’m going to try and find a few other ways to spread little bits of love around. Missy had some interesting ideas on what love looks like.

Hope your day is happy no matter how or if you celebrate.

Hope your day is happy no matter how or if you celebrate.

What ideas do you have for sharing little bits of love? What does love look like to you?

From my heart to yours,

Happy Valentines Day
Marlene Herself

In Search of Stability

Has it been two weeks already? Where does the time go? Life has a way of setting its own time table and agenda.

My good friend made this calendar with all photos she took.

My good friend made this calendar with all photos she took.

As I’ve said for the last couple of months, my son was planning on moving up to the Portland area with us as soon as his house sold. When he lost this last job he knew it was time to make a major change. Over the last 25 years, the companies he has worked for have been sold off, taken over, or just folded. This last company has started outsourcing their work. Those that pay for their services no longer care about quality of work, only bottom line costs. My son made the decision that the career he wandered into when his father died, had lost its charm and is looking in a new direction.

Much in both pods was removed and left behind before pickup. They were overweight

Much in both pods was removed and left behind before pickup. They were overweight

The contents of a 5 bdrm house and 2 car garage are inside 2 small pods.

The contents of a 5 bdrm house and 2 car garage are inside 2 small pods.

So much for the illusion of stability. What he kept from his home is going into storage until he re-establishes himself. Much was given away or sold along with the house. The rest is in pods on their way here. He arrived safe and sound Tuesday evening, the loan for the buyers funded on Thursday afternoon. He is free and clear of the weight of making house payments without employment. Yes, we did a happy dance and celebrated with orange juice in a brandy snifter.

I have been busy clearing out his (guest) room of my sewing stash and finding other places to store (hide) it. I managed to get more sewing done this last week than I have in several months. I shipped off a package to Tasmania on Tuesday afternoon.

Organized chaos in the sewing room. Both machines working at the same time while I addressed cards.

Organized chaos in the sewing room. Both machines working at the same time while I addressed cards.

Leaving my quilt group early for a post office run, I sat in the parking lot chatting on my cellphone with my sister-in-law. I saw this happy face staring at me. He was so adorable and his mom kindly leaned over the seat so he could have a better look at me and I could photograph him more clearly. This fella was not camera-shy.

He saw me looking at him.

He saw me looking at him.

Take my picture please

Take my picture please

Quilt group is always fun because I learn something new each time. I’m a novice at this so there are lots to learn. I managed to finish a foster kid quilt that had been waiting and turned it in to them for distribution. This next year we will focus on providing quilts to the Safe House in our area. I’ve had so much going on that my sewing room looks like a tornado went through. Projects are stacked up and I must get down to work.

I just finished making the sandwich

I just finished making the sandwich


I used tissue paper to help the batting slide across feed dogs. Works like a charm

I used tissue paper to help the batting slide across feed dogs. Works like a charm

back of foster quilt

back of foster quilt

I spent some time in the last two weeks checking out storage facilities for my son. I still have one for my overflow of stuff that will eventually find its way here or out. My sister has a lot of her things here too. Walking in to the office of one closer to my home, I was met by a sweet, little lab mix. I knew this was going to be the place we would rent from. The manager and dog’s servant, mentioned he had Bells Palsy and it has plagued him for the last three years. He told me it presented just like a stroke would and they had to confirm by MRI that it wasn’t. He also had it present in February, a cold February just like mine. Fortunately for him, he wasn’t hit with the dizziness. That is the first person I’m met or talked to that had a similar experience with Bells. He can walk and drive quite easily. So my son and I will share a storage unit for a time. I know, I know. We shouldn’t need one. But sometimes when you are making so many major changes, you need time to review what the next chapter in your life will look like.

Mine feels like shifting sand under my feet and I think that’s true for so many people. Our stuff keeps us grounded till we feel stable again. My son watched episodes of hoarders while packing. It helped him let go of so much.

I think we have stuff to keep us stable when we don’t have roots. We take what’s familiar with us, especially if we are making changes alone.

What helps you feel stable?

From my heart to yours,
Marlene Herself

In Search of the Handbasket

The week has been quite busy for me doing not very creative things. Just more of the same old stuff like cooking, laundry, holding boards, and packing. The buyers are having some difficulty but we aren’t giving up yet. Either way, the work still needed to be done. My feet are giving up though. They announced their retirement at 5:30 yesterday and said enough. If I had a nickel for every time we have gone up and down those stairs, I could take us out to dinner. I never want to see stairs again.

The tiny shrubs I planted 2 years ago are big but gangly.

The tiny shrubs I planted 2 years ago are big but gangly.

We have no TV channels here at my son’s house and don’t have the time to watch anyway. At the end of the day, the computer takes care of business and I don’t want to look at bad news anyway. You’ve heard many people say over and over in different ways for many generations that the world is going to hell in a handbasket. Well, I’m wondering what their handbasket looks like. From where I sit here in front of my laptop, I see substantial evidence of a different world and a different handbasket.

One handbasket coming up.

One handbasket coming up.

I was reading The Contented Crafter latest post on her blog and once again am totally enthralled by her ability to take little bits of this, that and nothing much GIFTED to her by fellow bloggers from all over the world and turn it into an amazing work of art. Even if you are not a blogger, you should pop by and see some of the wonders of her mind. Her stories of Siddy and Orlando (fuzzy family) leave me giggling for hours.

If this is what a world going to hell in a handbasket looks like, sign me up for one of my own. I see things I could not have ever imagined before I started reading blogs. Who knew what wonders lurked out there? Sweet, kind and caring Gardening Nirvana introduced me to the world of Fairy Gardens that are just delightful. I want one of those baskets too. Add that to her introduction to Little Free Libraries and I was all in.

I shared with you already the delights I received from the hysterically funny and creative Boomdeeadda. When you drop by you will see her magical creations from little else other than paper!

The handbasket I’m carrying these days is filled with a collection of blogging friends who fill my day with mirth, entertainment and motivation when my spirits are lagging.

Lavender is huge but refreshes the soul. Grabbing a handful for my basket

Lavender is huge but refreshes the soul. Grabbing a handful for my basket

My friend at To Breathe is to Write writes stories that make me laugh or get my mystery fix satisfied. She can spin a yarn or tell it like it is. When I find someone’s blog I like, I check out the people who leave comments or follow her or him. That leads to a lot of great blogs and enlarges my community. This list could go on and on, so maybe I need a larger handbasket?

It's still not big enough for all the kindness I've seen lately

It’s still not big enough for all the kindness I’ve seen lately

Bells Palsy normally only lasts a few weeks or months for most, just like Shingles. Same virus, different expression. I’m heading into the 5th year with this.  I was under extreme stress when I got it and it expressed itself very much like a stroke. Balance is a continuing issue as well as the visual disturbance it caused. Huh, what did you say? I don’t hear as well either. No one knows why it won’t go away or how to fix it. It really doesn’t matter anymore. I now have a life full of friends in town and online that are constantly motivating me. When I see their creativity and thoughtfulness, there is no time to wallow. I just roll up my sleeves and get busy.

Roses, like good friends are treasures.

Roses, like good friends are treasures.

 

You can’t tell me the world is all bad. It’s like picking flowers to put in your basket from the yard. Which flowers do you want in that basket? I’ve found the flowers with the kindest energy out there. My basket is filled with beautiful blooms.

What are you putting in your handbasket? It’s always your choice.

Happy Thanksgiving to those in the States.

From my heart to yours,

Marlene Herself