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Posts tagged ‘birthdays’

The Rest of the Story

There has been so much going on that I almost can’t remember it all. The last two weeks of August and the first weeks of September were so packed that I slept a lot of last weeks trying to get my bearings.

My son (TS, tech support) came from Arizona to bring my daughter his car. They had three older cars in the driveway and his was not used except for long trips. It seemed logical to have my daughter pay her brother a reasonable amount each month instead of a bank. They both win. He will eventually get something more suited to his snow-covered mountain area. She will have AC in the summer and back warmers in winter, something she has been without for almost 10 years now.

My son took me for birthday lunch at my favorite German restaurant where we ate lightly, so we had room for my favorite birthday dessert. Yes, I had it twice this year. Then we proceeded to work it off in the back yard. He bought me a yard of ¾” rock for my birthday and unloaded it from my sister’s pickup. I helped by directing. We moved the landscape logs and added more so he could complete his vision for my back yard. He loves to move things around. Last time it was all the furniture.

TS shoveled it all.

He worked on my daughter’s old car finding that what the mechanics had said was wrong with it, was not. When I took mine in for an oil change, they told me the water pump was leaking and plugs and wires needed to be replaced. I had a new engine put in four years ago and all of that was done then. He called them on it and they verified it. We are looking for a new mechanic but I think it will always be the same story. My daughter needed the hinge on her old car door fixed. He broke the windshield but he fixed the door. I love that kid. Then he anchored an upright post the roofers failed to do. Does anyone need a lazy kid? Let me know if you find one. He’s not it.

Since my birthday fell on Labor Day weekend, my daughter and I had three days to celebrate. On Saturday we drove 30 minutes to the Swan Island Dahlia Farm for their yearly open house. This was my first visit since moving here. I had to share a few of the hundreds of varieties they grow. Can you find the bunnies in the mix?

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Sunday was breakfast at Bread and Ink downtown and then on to the Chinese Gardens for a little walk around and tea. Then to our favorite metaphysical bookstore, New Renaissance. They had a porch sale!

Three food groups, maybe? Waffle, fruit and whip cream.

A late lunch/dinner was at the Ram where I got my free birthday ice cream mudslide pie slice. Most of my dinner came home with me for later. Ice cream pie won’t keep.

Ice cream and hot fudge has to be shared.

Monday my sister joined us and bought lunch and dessert at Papa Haydn’s. If you ever get to Portland and have a sweet tooth, they have two locations and both have criminal desserts.

My sister also bought me a half yard of rock to fill in what the first yard did not. My daughter pulled a lot  out  with a hoe. Then the three of us pulled the canvas cloth off the plastic one onto the driveway. The guys at the landscape yard thought this was genius as it worked when they loaded the wrong size in the truck and I took it back for the right size. I was not going to settle for something that wouldn’t work for me.  It only took me one morning to get it all moved to the back yard. I ask for odd things for my birthdays. I’m a very practical Virgo.

Flowers from a very kind friend

Tuesday, I went on a diet that will last till my daughter’s birthday in April. I’ll pass on the holiday goodies this year. Birthdays are more important to me. I want another one..

I had another adventure this last week I’ll tell you about next time. Do you prioritize birthdays over holidays?

From my heart to yours,

Marlene Herself

 

 

Plants

It’s been the busiest, craziest summer in so many ways. I’m supposed to be slowing down at this time in life. I’m thinking that as we age, most of us realize we are running short on time and want to stuff as much life and action into what’s left rather than just take it easy.

I have taken a hiatus from my sewing fun and friends as well as blogging to concentrate as much time as possible to getting chores around here completed. Once the carport was repaired, we concentrated on purging, gardening and getting expenses managed so my daughter could afford a car that ran to more than the mechanic. Mission accomplished. More on that next time.

This is the 1997 that’s finally going to get sold, hopefully

Next came getting 3 pickup loads of yard mulch. My sister volunteered her pickup and we did our best to off load it with a little help. My niece looks 12 but is 20 and worked like a trooper on the second load. I’ll tell you about the third load later too. The mulch goes around the plants so they don’t require so much water. The front is getting an update as well.

Rosemary has been trimmed back, lavender harvested so very early and the Albizzia tree that my son bought a couple years ago and planted has had several trims this summer just to get around it. I did not know it would be so large and unwieldy. It’s not in a good spot for the size it will get. Should have done more research.

Albizia is an invasive species in Hawaii

My Aster has started blooming three weeks early! Never before has it bloomed before September first.

Asters blooming in August

Asters later

I have a new plant given me by my friend, Sabine and it’s showing off it’s first bloom. I truly love being in the yard and playing in the dirt as long as it’s not very hot or sunny. I don’t see all that well in the bright sunlight even after getting a new prescription and glasses.

 

Pineapple Lily

Things started out well enough though I noticed I was having difficulty seeing clearly when looking down at the ground. I was using a shovel to lift the stepping stones so I could move them out. That job has not been completed yet since I found another kind of plant in the process.

The steps were buried under the ground cover. Time for a face lift.

 

A different look for me too.

You have heard of the Face Plant I’m certain. I thought I did marvelous in staggering over the shovel handle on my way down and only winding up with some serious road rash, bent my new glasses but no broken bones of any nature. All the padding makes me bounce well.

Face Plant with road rash

Since I don’t care much for that kind of plant and don’t want any more of them, I called my daughter to drive me to the eye care clinic. She was more than happy to leave work early on a Friday. It took the new optometrist three tries at a prescription due to childhood optic nerve damage but looking down is still a problem. So, no shovels will be left laying down. I prefer my plants upright, thank you very much. It did slow things down a bit but I’m almost back in business now. More to this story coming. I won’t dawdle this time, promise. I’ve missed you all.

My birthday t-shirt. So very true

Welcome to September. Have you had any unusual plants in your garden?

From my heart to yours,

Marlene Herself

A Little Bitty Party

I’ve been absent and can’t quite explain why that happened. We had excessive heat along with smoke from fires in every direction. I think my brain melts in hot weather but I was willing to tolerate it without (too much) complaint as I bargained with the heavens that I would be quiet about the heat if the weather cooled for my company.

September’s flower Aster in full bloom on Sept 2

I had lots of it. My son and his significant other spent 10 days here and my cousin and her grown children arrived just in time to spend three days celebrating our birthdays. This is the time of year so many I know are celebrating birthdays. There were three of us in my family here and one good friend in just over a week. More of my blogging friends have them in early September as well.

The beginning of Autumn Hydrangeas

Why the party? My cousin who is many years younger had her heart stop a while back. It took three tries to get it going again and then a pacemaker. It’s happening more and more to younger people. She decided life was now and no more waiting. It’s been 15 years since we’ve been in the same space. This was also my 70th birthday two days before her birthday and she was named after me.

2nd cousins all grown up.

Bloody Mary toast to 70 and not 70.

Even drink these out of a straw. Her son did the grilling.

Birthdays are no longer a given. I was informed last December that I am facing a major health challenge that can only be managed, not treated. so all my ducks needed to be lined up as I go about the business of continuing to live a full and happy life. Family and friends are a big part of that so the party seemed to take on a life of its own. It was a zoo here! My sewing friends were invited to visit the zoo and were made honorary members for their efforts.

Flowers from Patti

Wall hanging from my friend, Emily. It was her birthday week as well.

It was so much fun to see how everyone pitched in to make it work effortlessly. These last months have been very full and I have many partially written posts waiting to be finished. Now that fall has finally winked at us, I may have a bit more time. Of course the rain has still failed to materialize and we desperately need it.

All the den, living room and dining room furniture in one space so we are all together

I think birthdays should be celebrated more than any holiday we have. I’ve always been grateful for the opportunity to grow older. Not everyone has that pleasure. My birthdays have usually been very quiet and sedate. This one, shared by my cousin, son’s partner and myself made it raucous and loud. A real party! I wanted no gifts as I’m in the giving away stage but some things were still gifted and deserved special mention.

A wonderful gift from my daughter for all of us. Another view of my favorite non cake. Doesn’t get better than this.

My son and his partner did many chores for me as well as putting new struts on the tailgate of my suburban. That door is quite heavy when it comes down on you. He also built shelves in the storage shed for better organization and put up more motion sensors for my safety. There is more to this but that’s another post.

 

Tech Supports favorite task when visiting.

My daughter and I went to see Christopher Robin at the movies several weeks ago and I mentioned after this wonderful and sweet story that I didn’t remember ever reading the Pooh stories. She said she had so I must have bought her a copy at some time. I am now having the childhood I missed the first time. I read myself a bedtime story each night. They are so lovely and I hope to catch up on more I missed.

Jennie at A Teacher’s Reflection’s entices me with her collection of children’s books. I feel quite young visiting her blog.

I love this book!

 

Do you celebrate your birthdays quietly or with a big slash?

Boccone Dolce for 3 birthdays and 10 people

From my heart to yours,

Marlene Herself

 

The Appearance of Old Age

My son came for a three-week visit across the Thanksgiving holiday this year rather than the Christmas holiday. I didn’t want a replay of last year’s fiasco of a three-hour drive to get 20 miles on icy snow. Pick up from the airport was much easier this time with just a bit of rain.

falling

The last of fall is so beautiful

fall over

Fall is over but the work remains

He spent the first week here recuperating from the pneumonia he caught just before leaving his home. I made him Matzo Ball soup to help him get well faster. It’s what mom’s do. We enjoyed the last of the fall falling and had simple Thanksgiving plans. Gratitude runs deep in this house and it runs daily.

The day after Thanksgiving, his ex-wife joined us to celebrate my son’s 50th birthday. This is always a day of deep gratitude for me as his doctors were certain he would not live after he was born, and they said if he did, he would probably have brain damage. (some days, we still wonder) But he is here in all his glory, coming to celebrate growing older with his mother. It’s an odd feeling when your children have reached that mid-century mark. If he is old, what does that make me?

ur old

My daughter found these candles and we couldn’t resist.

He has spent the last of his time here with his sweet partner setting up the fake tree, clearing up some of the mess in the shed, putting up all my outside lights, scrubbing moss off my roof and cleaning out the gutters for a start. They work as a team and I cook to keep them moving forward.

Towel bars were tightened, lighting updated so I can see better, and a myriad of tiny chores were taken care of by the two of them. He has also rearranged my furniture…again.

tree up top

Getting down Christmas for old mom.

My son has a sweet tooth which he indulges when he comes home. He found an empty can that had contained almond toffee candy and I had no idea he even liked it. It was left from my sewing group and I kept the can to put bits and pieces in. Is this what old age can look like?

the can is empty

It’s empty! So sad!

He baked some cookies and we watched sappy Christmas movies together.

baking cookies

He followed the directions quite well.

cookies off the sheet

Taking cookies off the pan

They will be back later in the dry season to see if we can get a new roof on this place. I have an invisible shield over it this winter hoping to keep it from leaking through. So far, it’s working. Getting the moss off is a good start at helping.

next project

What’s the next project that needs doing?

elf in the house

We have an elf in the house doing Christmas chores but needs cookies first.

At what point do you decide someone is old? Do you believe in the old adage that you are only as old as you feel?

wisdom

With age comes wisdom

From my heart to yours,

Marlene Herself

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

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

In Search of Thanksgiving

This is my only post this month. I’ve been needing down time. Thanksgiving is upon us here in the U.S. and for many, it’s just another day off. For me it’s extra special in many ways. First, it’s my son’s birthday week. His birthday always falls somewhere around Thanksgiving and sometimes on it.

There are a few more candles now and he doesn't need the chair

There are a few more candles now and he doesn’t need the chair

Second is Thanksgiving itself. I have a hard day on this holiday keeping tears in check. My gratitude overflows. Last year was spent at my son’s home that was all in boxes so there was no cooking and just the two of us. He had several invitations but chose to accept the one so he could be with his three God-children and their parents. It was an odd day for me to be a guest, not the host.

These will be added to a charity quilt for a little boy. Don't look too closely, You'll see my mistake.

These will be added to a charity quilt for a little boy. Don’t look too closely, You’ll see my mistake.

This year I thought it would be just myself and my adult children. I decided to invite my niece and her family that live and hour plus away. They graciously accepted and asked if their newly married daughter and son-in-law could be included. Of course. It turned out they had plans. Those plans fell through this week and with a few texts, they are coming after all.

My sister was going to the home of her daughter and her daughter’s other parent. Then I got an e-mail that her daughter wants to be with family. So three more will be at our multiple tables and odd assortment of chairs. I decided the sofa could be turned to face the dining room so sofa sitters could face the rest of the group. There is always a way to make things work.
This is my kind of Thanksgiving. The most I’ve ever had for a holiday dinner was 17. I always cook BIG so it’s easy for me. I’m sure there will be plenty of help.

A crowd for Thanksgiving is for what I am most grateful. Family, friends that are family and lots of happy chatter, playfulness, thoughtfulness, with lots of warm memories being made.

I was originally prepared for eight so I made that many placemats, trying to be festive. Who knew I’d need 13. I also made myself the first ever autumn apron deciding to not only line the pre-printed panel, but make it reversible with pockets on both sides. I’m grateful that I can sew. I am grateful for my home that has the room for so many in it. This will be my first Thanksgiving in this house. I am thankful every moment of every day but this one day is collect those around you to celebrate those moments. To top it off, I am deeply grateful for all of you who stop by to visit and share your hearts with me. It makes every day Thanksgiving.

How are you spending your Thanksgiving and for what are you most grateful?

Happy Thanksgiving
From my heart to yours,
Marlene Herself