Looking for answers to life's questions

Posts tagged ‘bloggers’

A Deep Breath

What I’d like right now more than anything else is to take a deep breath and read a good book. Seems like life has other ideas. A deep breath is not a good idea and though I have a good book, several in fact at hand to read; life has decided to write one all over me this month.

Birthday flowers from friend and fellow blogger. Thank you again.

I don’t quite know where to start and may end up backtracking if I lose my way here. I managed to have another birthday. Not normally anything to make a fuss over but I don’t take birthdays for granted anymore. My son and his lady made it a point to be here this year in spite of Covid. The kids (yes, they are kids to me) know that life holds no guarantees.

Boccone Dolche to share gift from my daughter and lunch for all.

A very dear blogging friend and artist passed to the next level of life on her 71st birthday. Blogger and friend Alys at Gardening Nirvana wrote a most beautiful tribute that I wouldn’t even try to surpass here. Pauline was more than a friend I’ve never met, she was a mentor and adviser during the most trying of life’s challenges. I will never stop missing her presence here but know she is still with me when I call to her.

Pauline and Siddy

Before the kids arrived, I was working fast and furious to get my home inspection ready. Inspections may take a bit longer to get done right now but other than cleaning up the debris from high winds and ash, the house is quite ready. The winds came up on Labor day and forced me to take down the flag put up at sunrise early. Right after taking it down, the power went out until the next afternoon. So no AC or fans and the windows shut tight against the blowing dust and debris, we munched on anything not in the fridge or freezer. Wonderful workers finally found the problem the next afternoon.

Quiet time hard chores

Pressure washing can be fun until the next day.

I’d sanded and repainted the front porch steps and started on the back. My daughter and I teamed up this year to run the pressure washer on the steps, deck and driveway. She thinks it’s a lot of fun but her whole body hurt for days after.

While the kids were here, they completed a project I’ve wanted done since moving into my place; painting the underside of my carport. I had the carport re-roofed but signs of the leaks were still visible. It was back breaking work but they did the job with a loaned paint sprayer in one day. I was almost some help.

My daughter and I are at an airport motel right now. We all shared a room so the kids could catch an early morning flight home after their birthday visit with me. It seemed the wisest place to set up camp and wait. Going home wasn’t a sensible option. We left our house at 4:00 pm and it took us 3 ½ hours to drive the 20 miles to the airport. Our entire area was at a stage 2 evacuation with fire slowly encroaching. The worst part is air quality. You can’t take a deep breath because right now it’s at a hazardous level. The airport hotel is in no danger of fire but the air quality isn’t better. I’m to stay indoors, not exert myself and not breathe deeply.

We are not alone. There are THOUSANDS out here with us wondering what will happen next. I’m confident that the fire will eventually get pushed back and under control but my heart aches for the many who have lost everything with fires up and down the entire west coast. Keep good thoughts for all of them, please.

View from my porch

Flat scary skies

In the meantime, I’m going to find the books I packed from my waiting to be read stack and get started on one. I have some hand embroidery to do while I listen to an audible book as well.

Are you able and getting time to take a deep breath?

From my heart to yours,

Marlene Herself

My Latest Adventure

In the middle of last week, fully (almost) recovered from my birthday blowout and some intense yard overhauling, I had a chance to do something I’ve only had the opportunity to do a few times before. I met a former blogger, Jan, from https://mommermom.wordpress.com/. She is no longer blogging but we have kept in touch through email and snail mail. I received a card several weeks ago that she had a little time before her flight from Portland airport and would I be available to meet? So, of course, I rearranged an appointment to go meet her in person. She was with a friend from college meeting other friends from college so it was lively conversation.

Satiated with lunch at Beaches

We had a lovely lunch and of course, we all had lots of questions. Jan no longer has a reliable computer and felt blogging was taking too much precious time from her large family. We all know how that is with more commitments than time.

Lunch was good, conversation was better.

Jan’s friend is a retired librarian and asked why I blog. I explained why I started blogging when I became so ill that I could do little else than read or write. No television, no sewing, no driving and barely being able to ride or walk without tipping over were a fact of life for well over two years. The more I thought about it the more I realized I didn’t fully answer that question. Why do I still blog when it crosses my mind like so many other’s whose posts I enjoyed, to give it up?

My birthday t-shirt. So very true

The simple answer is in the last line of the September t-shirt I wear. I have a mouth I can’t control. I’m a blabbermouth, a storyteller, a communicator. I love to converse and I will tell you about myself to get you to tell me about you. There is a level of trust involved here and I’ve never been let down and work hard at not letting anyone else down.

Thank you, Jan.

I don’t have time to blog. I also need this community more than it needs me. As I’ve healed from one profound illness and face another, bloggers have helped sustain a positive focus. Giving this up is like cutting a main artery. Friends I have made here will always be friends in my heart. The people I meet virtually all have good hearts and are trustworthy. Getting to meet them in person is an extra bonus. So, thank you Jan, for including me in your visit to the area. You and your friend were a delight to spend time with and I felt like we had know each other for years.

Asters in full bloom

Have you had chances to meet fellow bloggers? How was your experience of it?

From my heart to yours,
Marlene Herself

A Successful Sale

What defines success?

I no longer have a clear answer. We spent days sifting through boxes and tubs with a brutality that neither my daughter nor I have ever embraced; purging two households into one manageable one. If there were duplicates one of us released the copy. I have a fully stocked kitchen and some of my daughter’s had seen better days.

Dogwood blooming finally.

So, we decided to do a yard sale. I know, I can hear the “I told you so’s” from here. It was a lot of hard work and my house still looks like a tornado hit. I have let go of so many hopes here but each time I put something on the pile, I felt lighter.

Made bowl cozies for the sale. Sold 4

It turned out to be a perfect day for it. I had missed the community yard sale due to my carport repair and we are so far out of traffic’s way that I had hoped a lot of free advertising would help. It didn’t.

My driveway is 60 ft. long and 13 ft. wide. I borrowed a few small tables from a neighbor. When I returned them the next day, I paid with homemade banana and pumpkin bread. We had two bookcases filled and more tables loaded our driveway. We brought forward the table and red umbrella from the back deck to draw in attention. I had extra help enlisted to keep eyes on shoppers and answer questions.

She’s making progress.

Was the sale a success? Depends on how you look at it. We sold almost nothing with the top shoppers being my sister and Crystal. One or two other items found new homes and we gave away as much as possible. I met a few neighbors and had nice conversations with others that did come by.

Vintage set along with lines will be listed online.

It turned out to be a fun afternoon with my sister, niece, daughter and fellow blogging friend, Crystal sitting around the table talking about everything imaginable. We had a pizza lunch and kept hoping for someone to stop by. We are one mile down in the park so not a lot of traffic here.

Orange flowers gifted by Sabine @ https://incahootswithmuddyboots.com/

What was left was sorted the next day into boxes. I loaded those that were ready into my car and when I couldn’t get anymore in, drove it to the donation center. We’ll load it up again this weekend. As soon as we can get an appointment at SCRAP, we will be dropping off more crafting supplies.

Our one customer with two of us trying to sell her something.

We lightened our load so my daughter can have a much smaller storage unit. At some point it would be nice not to have any at all but this kind of purging takes time. I still have a lot of velour, flannels and fleece as well as dressmaking material. It will all find a new home…I hope.

I’d call that a success. How about you?

From my heart to yours,

Marlene Herself

*Two huge bags of fleece were donated to a neighbor making dog coats today and Friends of the Library can’t take my books. Onward.

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 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

 

Spring, Sprang, Sprung

It’s here today and gone tomorrow. Spring finally showed up and I put out my welcome sign. In the next moment, we went back to winter then summer and finally spring again. What we had of spring was lovely  Everything is confused except the bees. I’m listening to them.

 

Dressing in layers is the only way to go these days. We get a cold rainy day then a scorcher.  One day I have lots of energy to put into the yard  The next day I’m spinning my wheels and sitting trying to decide if I can do anything of use.  I’ve been here in my cozy home for four years at the end of this month and made so many changes.

 

Spring is the month I can get the most work done outside and even inside. Once I could open all the windows, I took a day to clean my oven. Four years ago, it took 4 hours to clean that nasty mess the previous owner left for me. Now it’s taking me a whole day to clean a rarely used oven. Looks like some of my spring, sprang.

Ground cover spreading and front porch in need of serious help.

Weeding on the hill and the front yard took lots of rest periods that would never have happened four years ago. But the end result was worth it.

 

The entire top of the hill was covered in these sticker weeds. Birds carry the seeds everywhere as does the wind.

 

 

beginning of the weeding

 

Still more work to do but a good start. Lower bed is the Oregano and Thyme.

I have been gifted with pieces of many plants from friends around here. I take those gifts seriously and nurture them to the best of my ability. Of course, I gift in return. A neighbor came looking for Thyme to cook his dinner.He said what I gave would have cost him $5 for a small bundle, he wound up with triple for a thank you. I’ve offered my Oregano as well to anyone that wants fresh. I’ve passed on ground cover and anything that I’m growing that can be split. It’s how the world should work. I get a lot of my plants from a fellow blogger and photographer, Sabine.

There are lots of projects on the list. This week I had the distinct urge to take care of my window trim as it was the last cool, cloudy day on the sunny side of the house. If the butterfly bush blooms, it will be covered in bees which are not conducive to standing on the ladder with black paint. I’m embarrassed to say it’s taken two years to get to this. I’ll do the one on the front porch tomorrow. Then I must sand the stairs and railing on the front porch and re-stain. Today I can’t move. Old feet on ladders takes its toll. I’ll wait for the next surge of energy.  They don’t come so often anymore.

So I’ve hung up the Welcome Summer sign since my spring is sprung anyway. How about you? Are you ready to welcome the next season or is there still a spring in your step?

This one goes up Memorial Day and stays until after Labor Day.

From my heart to yours,

Marlene Herself

 

Gifts in the Mail

Bloggers are a different breed of people. I think most have a broader perspective of the world. Our world is larger in many ways even if it appears to the eye to be quite small.

I started blogging six years ago to enlarge my world created by a debilitating illness. I could no longer drive my car that had taken me thousands of miles across the country. Catching a bus to go shop was a major event that brought a great deal of fatigue. The blogging community rescued me from self-pity and taught me I could reach out as well.

African Violet loves the kitchen sink area. Happy day.

I have met (virtually) many who are in some capacity, more debilitated than I, offering great strength and courage. Their tenacity moved me forward. Even though we are somewhat debilitated or even disabled, we still have much to share with one another.

Over the last year, my local quilting friend Patti was working on a cross stitch that I fell in love with. It was a pattern company I was familiar with but had never seen this design. Already having given away all counted cross stitch patterns I had as I could no longer see the tiny squares, I asked Patti if I could borrow the pattern to copy and share with a blogging friend that I thought might enjoy it. I was hoping to pay this blogger to make it for me.

Patti said that as soon as she was done with the pattern, I could have it. True to her word, as I ogled the finished project, she handed over the pattern which I promptly forwarded to my friend Lois at Life in a Minimalist Farmhouse.

I have sent and received gifts from many bloggers over the years. They are cherished more than anyone can imagine. These people have never and probably will never meet me in person. Despite this, we have formed deep and personal relationships. Lois is one of those friends who inspire on a daily basis. She reclaims cast offs and re-purposes them, inspires neighbors to garden, repair and rebuild. I had a lot of pink fabric and no more little girls to use it on as well as a few children’s books and no more children. I passed them on to Lois who had grandchildren that appreciated what she made from the fabric and enjoyed the books.

Previous gifts from Lois

This is what I received from Lois soon after sending her the pattern. Now she is making one for herself from it and then sharing it with another friend.

She chose different colors than the pattern asked for. I LOVE them.

I can be quite slow about getting things framed but this was too beautiful to wait. After all the hours of her hard work, I had to get it up on the wall quickly. So. I went to Craft Warehouse and had a discount coupon to get it framed in a way I hope brings more attention to the art than the frame. Thank you, Lois. You do incredible work. Her work on holiday and celebration gifts are stunning. Stop by and pay this amazing woman a visit. She just posted her version of this design so stop by and take a look at it here.

The frame is the same color as the trees.

Have you enjoyed close friendships with other bloggers?

From my heart to yours,

Marlene Herself

A Fantastic February

January was a long and arduous month. I was happy to wave goodbye. I accomplished little to speak of other than finally recover from the bronchitis I got after my back went out so completely my daughter had to wheel me into urgent care.

I used what they told my daughter to take for her bronchitis as it seems she gave the bronchitis to me while she was caring for me in my incapacitated state. What a sight we were. It seems you are most contagious the 3 days before symptoms present. We picked up masks as we entered the urgent care because there were so many with flu in there.

Avoiding the flu before we knew we had bronchitis. At least no one got that.

The first of February saw some return to health but still the need for resting. Now I’m almost back to normal and accomplishing a few things. I sent out several cards to friends as well as a birthday card to my aunt Mary who is my dad’s youngest sister and only a 18 months older than I am. We first met when my mother and I were left across the street from dad’s family while he was doing a yearlong tour of duty in Korea. Someone thought it would be cute to dress us alike.

 

Who thought dressing us alike was a good idea/

I didn’t see her again until I was 10 and then again at almost 14 when I move in with my grandparents. I was the little sister she never, ever wanted. For a year, she tried to teach me all the things a teenage girl should know. I was a little slow but she was a as patient as any 16-year-old could be with some little tag along. I’ve worked hard to nurture the friendship even though we have not seen one another in more years than I can count. She’s family and I appreciate what she did for me.

I’ve managed to get a little machine embroidery done. These are part of a set of six that will go into a quilt top wall hanging when complete. I’m avoiding a project that scares me so I decided to do these until I’m sure my brain has settled down from the coughing and sneezing as well as painkillers. I do not do well with medication. Scrambles my brain so I don’t connect the dots well. Can you tell here?

Lighting makes all the difference on how the fabric color looks.

Five by seven inches then borders will be added

I am also finally well enough to do a major clear and clean with some help from my sister. We can make a pretty good team. This has all needed doing for quite some time but the trick is to invite someone to visit that has never seen your home. My friend, Alys of Gardening Nirvana will be here next week and I have definitely let this place go for way too long. So, a fire has been lit under my lackadaisical self and things are finding their proper homes once again. I have filled more boxes for the thrift store and delivered them.

Half full of possibllities

Still room for more. Headed for the Senior center.

A box of “She was gonna”

There is another one in front of me that I have named the “she was gonna” box. The box of “good intentions” to read and make and do. Giving myself a break by passing it off to let someone else have a crack at it. It’s feeling so much lighter here already. And the weather feels like spring and will remain so all the way through her visit! I am so excited to finally meet after all these years of reading each others blogs.

 

What does it take for you to get things done you’d rather put off?

 

From my heart to yours,

Marlene Herself

Paying It Forward

This post is about gratitude. Deep gratitude. In the weeks since my last post, my gratitude list has increased exponentially. The kindness, support and ideas I have received from the blogging community has been almost overwhelming. It’s given me the strength and courage to press on, persevere and work on some of their ideas for helping others.

One of many roses that have bloomed to cheer me.

I ventured into our employment service here and registered as well as speaking with a Work Source assistant. She looked at everything I had filled out and realizing I had not held a job since the mid 90’s, with a spotty history of employment, (I  was the full-time caregiver for several family members after that time) she suggested that I check out nursing homes for possible volunteering, potentially checking out my next residence at the same time.  In not so many words it was gently implied that I am not particularly employable. I had an inkling of that fact already. I’m still not ruling it out. So on to option B. Whatever that may be.

We clocked the distance with the car. 1.5 miles straight up.

I take my walks now saying my gratitude’s out loud (softly, so the neighbors don’t think I’ve slipped a cog). I start with the list of what I CAN do. It’s quite lengthy. I CAN still walk.

I was able to help my 78 year old friend lift this into the cart. I CAN.

In all of this, I can still give. My friend, Emily gave me a couple of charity quilt tops she no longer wanted to finish. The pieces were all cut, all I had to do was sew them together following the pattern she gave me. I have one done. Finished this month’s quilt squares for the group charity quilt. I’m also still able to pick up a friend who is no longer able to drive and deliver her home.

Blogging friends have given me so many ideas that I have taken to heart. One has also suggested that in light of my understanding about how even the best of our plans can go sideways, sometimes we need a bit of a lift through a rough patch. I’m lucky that I have family and friends. Many are not so lucky. So we need to find a way to network and help each other.

I network here with local friends. We exchange plants so each of us can have something from the others. I’ve shared many pieces of my ever expanding ground cover, succulents, and exchanged several cordial glasses for a bottle of homemade Limoncello and a garden umbrella with stand to have on top of the terrace. Nice trade, right? I’m going to try making that friend a new swing cover. I’m looking at what I have here to work with to make, share or sell to help others as well as myself.

We are having a neighborhood yard sale this weekend. Hopefully some of my extra stuff can find new homes. Tech Support is here for the week and I’m hoping we can set up a website for networking while he is here. No outside projects this time. Instead of last year’s 100 degree temps, we have RAIN and 60 degrees!

The Rhodi’s where huge this year. Just needed a little love.

How do you find ways to pay it forward?

I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. And I will not let what I cannot do interfere with what I can do.~ Edward Everett Hale

From my heart to yours,

Marlene Herself

 

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A Cure for the Blahs

It’s almost the middle of February! Where the heck did the time go? And where has everyone been? Like myself, so many other bloggers that I follow have been curiously absent. After the holidays, and the push to get my place livable again, I found myself sitting in my chair in the den after waking up in the morning and staying there till it was time to feed the body. I read, watched some news, always in fast forward with the sound off until they came to something that didn’t make my blood pressure rise and then I was tired and took a nap. It was a bad routine of sitting and barely motivating myself to read much less write a post.

Maybe it was the full moon that caused the blahs?

Maybe it was the full moon that caused the blahs?

I was lucky to see it will all the cloud cover

I was lucky to see it will all the cloud cover

Research was necessary. I found my journals from previous years and discovered  there was a pattern. The after Christmas letdown. Some years it was like I had gone into hibernation. When you don’t have a job, it’s easier to do but I think the need was there even when I was working. Retirement age makes hibernation easy. It seems so many are struggling with a lethargy from the post-election time through the holiday until the first signs of spring peaks through.

A new book to cheer me on.

A new book to cheer me on.

I’ve been sending out e-mail and cards to blogging friends and other friends to check on them. I learned years ago that the quickest way to feel better was to reach out to others. Many of us get caught in a rut and don’t know which way to go next. We feel…blah.  My friend at Gardening Nirvana must have had the same idea.

Today started out slow again with good intentions. You know what they say about good intentions and the road to hell being paved with them. By mid-afternoon I forced myself out of my chair to the top of the terraces in order to bury more green waste. I had planned a walk that didn’t happen so instead I grabbed the rake and shovel. After digging two large holes and burying the green waste, I raked a great deal of the debris that had fallen from the trees in the last wind and rain and snow storms this winter. That’s pretty good exercise for me. Getting ready to invite spring. Then I noticed spring was popping up its little head. I’m thinking that spending more time out there will smack the blahs right in the tush and get me moving again.

The blueberry bush was a gift from my friend that also blogs at “incahootswithmuddyboots”

 

Are you coming out of the winter blahs or do you just power through without a problem?

From my heart to yours,

Marlene Herself

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