Looking for answers to life's questions

Posts tagged ‘bloggers’

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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What’s in my bed?

Do you sense a theme here? Sleeping isn’t something I do much but the sleep I do get seems to be better. In spite of my discomfort with that horrid C-pap machine, I’m waking more “rested”.

Up until a few years ago, I had my little dog, Schatzie sleeping on my bed. She was quiet all night and never seemed to mind my tossing and turning or the occasional snore fest.

Lucille is my sister's new rescue. She is a year and a half and came to visit this week.

Lucille is my sister’s new rescue. She is a year and a half and came to visit this week.

Now I sleep with just books and notebooks in my bed. My headboard is littered with them and so is the bookcase beside my bed as well as the nightstand next to it. Everything in my life is designed to accommodate my books and notebooks. That includes e-readers.

The other side of the headboard looks just like this.

The other side of the headboard looks just like this.

I don’t read like a normal person. I can read four separate books in one night. Once or two chapters each. I may read a bit from a magazine, a short story book, a non-fiction and a fiction. That’s after I’ve done my journal writing and gratitude list.

 

My sister is reading and loving it now that I'm done. I'll have to order dinner next.

My sister is reading and loving it now that I’m done. I’ll have to order dinner next.

Recommending books is not something I usually do. The book a person is supposed to read will appear at the right time and place for them. I can be excited about one and tell you about it but you may not be ready for that book now…or ever.  These are just a few that I have read lately.

 

Some of the journals and books that sleep in my bed.

Some of the journals and books that sleep in my bed.

I’ve had books fall off the bookstore shelves at me, slide forward on my own shelves or just jump into my Amazon cart from nowhere. I have books on crafting, painting, sewing, quilting, writing, quantum physics, spirituality, children’s books, novels, short stories, and the list goes on. Who has time to sleep?

 

I'm not fond of white t-shirts but I loved this one so much it turned purple.

I’m not fond of white t-shirts but I loved this one so much it turned purple.

My e-reader is filled with self-help books of every manner. Many are filled with wonderful quotes that keep me in a positive frame of mind. I don’t naturally lean that way and must stay cautious. I want to learn something new each day by any means possible. Happiness to me is a bookstore or a fabric store and best viewed with a creative friend.

I couldn't put this one down.

I couldn’t put this one down.

 

There are novels on my e-reader written by fellow bloggers that only write e-books. I wouldn’t want to miss any of those. Some have to wait a bit to be read but I’m making shorter work of them as the winter projects draw to a close. I’ve read several by Maddie Cochere and Jackie Phillips. They are entertaining and light as well as have a bit of humor which sends me off to sleep with a smile. The only reading done early in the day are all the blogs I follow. That’s done over morning coffee.

This is the fourth book of Maddie's I am reading.

This is the fourth book of Maddie’s I am reading.

Jackie has this writing thing down pat

Jackie has this writing thing down pat

Another of Jackie's with more to come.

Another of Jackie’s with more to come.

As I take off for my trip to Phoenix to see a friend, there will be no hard copies of books going along. Just my journals and a notebook as writing sometimes requires pencil and paper to let the thoughts flow.

I loved this book on creativity!! Most helpful and I finished it quickly

I loved this book on creativity!! Most helpful and I finished it quickly

I will probably find a bookstore while I’m there. Hopefully my favorite in the Mesa area called Changing Hands It’s an independent book store; my favorite kind. I would probably sell my soul to own one. Right now the bookstores own me. If Heaven doesn’t have books, I’m not going.

What are you reading these days? Do you keep books by your bed or in it?

From my heart to yours,

Marlene Herself

In Search of Quotes

I have been trying hard to catch up with reading of the blogs I follow. I’m outnumbered but still don’t want to miss any as they all leave me with something special.

Lately several bloggers have asked if I would be interested in posting three quotes in three days. It should be a simple request. I collect quotes. My refrigerator is covered with them. I live by quotes. My Pinterest boards have multitudes and my document files have several pages of quotes from every manner of subject. How the heck can I pare them down to three?

 

Just a few

Just a few

It would take hours to go through them to see which one is my favorite and that’s like sending me down the Pinterest rabbit hole. My head won’t look up for hours and I don’t have hours.

The first one that asked was The Thoughts and Life of Me. She is a lovely young woman who lives in Norway and writes her blog in English. Can I write mine in any other language? Not likely. I love her view of life from where she is and she’s kind enough to take us traveling with her. Her blog is delightful and refreshing.

Then there was The Contented Crafter who inspires me with every post. She was kind enough to pick up the baton and not tag anyone specifically but hinted kindly. We have very similar philosophies on life. When I start to wander off course, Pauline will gently guild me back where I’m wanting to go. Her furry family and some of her real family keep everyone amused.

Then Charles French who had nominated me for a couple of awards got on the quote wagon. I just didn’t have the time and energy to accept this summer. It’s been the most full summer I’ve had in YEARS! His blog helps all of us write a lot better and is so thoroughly entertaining at the same time.

I tried putting quotes at the end of my posts for a while. Finding relevant quotes was always a challenge. I use them a lot when someone I love has a problem.  They wonder why they are in so much pain and why bad things happen. I’ve traveled this world widely and met thousands of people. I’ve yet to meet someone who hasn’t suffered something.  It set me in search of answers. I found that hard to answer until I read the following quote by Rumi.

Does this make sense to you in any way?

The wound is the place where the Light enters you.”
Rumi

From my heart to yours,
Marlene Herself

In Search of a New Event

Portland Oregon is a wonderful little city. I have been trying to move up here since the mid 1990’s. It wasn’t easy but after several false attempts, as of almost 3 years ago, I’m a permanent weird Portlander.

Last weekend Word Press offered their first ever workshop called Press Publish in downtown Portland. That’s part of why I love this place. Wondrous things happen here. My friend Sabine at “In Cahoots with Muddy Boots” gave me the heads up before I read my e-mail. She wanted to know if I’d like to go with her. We decided to take the MAX for a cheap public transport ride, stopping just a couple blocks from the event.

Great bag for our goodies

Great bag for our goodies

I must say, and Sabine did, that for a fledgling event, this one was extremely well-organized. The speakers were marvelous, informative and extremely entertaining. You know how most of those things have you looking for coffee to keep your eyes open? Well this one didn’t even though there was coffee (and snacks) at every corner. The staff was cheerful, and right on the spot to help with any questions. Did I get my money’s worth? Yes, and then some. I met new bloggers like Susie at nutshellversion and found out how to do things I’ve been struggling with in the technical area from the Happiness Engineers.

Our panel of bloggers/authors

Our panel of bloggers/authors

One of my favorite speakers and people there was Cecilia Gunther at the kitchens garden. She is a transplant from New Zealand to the Midwest. She runs an organic farm and photographs all of the events there. Cecilia has a strong following that she calls the fellowship and together, they wrote a book. Yes, I bought it and she autographed it. I adore her kind and inclusive nature. I’m reading it one story at a time.

Stories from women about women

Stories from women about women

Another speaker that I was quite fond of was Mary Laura Philpott at I miss you when I blink. You can also see some of what she had to say at the Press Publish event here. What a sense of humor. She has a funny little book coming out and I will have to order it. You can take a look at her information on the book here.

photo captured from her blog and pinned to Pinterest.

photo captured from her blog and pinned to Pinterest.

I must say the food was so much more than I could have anticipated. I brought nuts and a protein bar expecting the worst. I left waddling slightly. And everyone just kept smiling. The genuine warmth matched what I found online. Would I go again if offered? In a heartbeat. The next one will be in Phoenix. If you are in that area, please plan to attend. I’m not easily impressed. Word Press impressed me.

The worst thing I could say about lunch was that it was LOUD.

The worst thing I could say about lunch was that it was LOUD.

Their team of Happiness Engineers did have to ask me if this was really my last name.

Of course it's not really my last name but I kind of like it.

Of course it’s not really my last name but I kind of like it.

Do you feel like where you live is the best place in the world? What makes it that way? Have you learned something new recently?

From my heart to yours,
Marlene Herself

In Search of a Break

It’s been hairy, hectic, and heavy. We’ve had a long week of shifting, shoving and shimmying stuff around.

The pods arrived and so did my former (ex) daughter-in-law. She worked like a trooper in helping my son and I build shelving in the storage unit. When he bought the shelves, I shook my head and shrugged, thinking this man is not playing with a full deck. No, I didn’t say it out loud. I just couldn’t see the picture he had in my own mind.

Just like a tinker toy, The beginning looks nothing like shelving

Just like a tinker toy, The beginning looks nothing like shelving

Once they were together, I had to admire his foresight. My stored stuff was placed on the first set of shelves moving from another location to this one closer to home. Then we had to make quick work to empty the first pod so they could deliver the second. The first one held all the heavy stuff like tools. The rest of the week was so exhausting that we all ate many of our meals out, showered and fell in our beds. Trying to squeeze five bedrooms, 3 baths, a 2 car garage and a shed’s worth of stuff into one bedroom and a 12 by 25 storage building along with my storage building worth of stuff was an exercise in mental hydraulics.

This is all my Christmas and crafts plus more sewing. If I ever get done moving it, I can use it.

This is all my Christmas and crafts plus more sewing. If I ever get done moving it, I can use it.

When the last pod was emptied, we celebrated. My living, dining, sewing room, and kitchen are NOT celebrating. It looks like I just moved in all over again. Next week we will make it better.

One pod empty, one to go and there is still lots of room in here

One pod empty, one to go and there is still lots of room in here

Needing a break, the rest of the time my DIL was here, we wanted to show her some of Portland.

Where do we take visitors who come to our town? Well, my son had to take her to Multnomah Falls. He has photographed it every time he visited here.

One of my favorite of his photos of Multnomah Falls

One of my favorite of his photos of Multnomah Falls

Then of course there is the infamous “Powell’s City of Books”. They spent well over two hours there. I spent a great deal of it in the café watching Portland walk by, buying NO books this time. There is no time to read what I have so more will have to wait. Since they sell new and used, the kids came out with a few, mostly my son. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree when it comes to collecting books.

Don't let the small appearance fool you. You need a map inside as it fills a whole city block

Don’t let the small appearance fool you. You need a map inside as it fills a whole city block

It goes on and on and on

It goes on and on and on

Then my sister met us for a tour of the Pittock Mansion grounds since the Mansion itself was closed for the winter. The view was breathtaking. I mostly enjoyed petting the dogs everyone brought.

My son managed to capture the mansion with no one in front of it.

My son managed to capture the mansion with no one in front of it.

only part of the breath taking view.

only part of the breath taking view.

One of the highlights of our town is that we live in close proximity to Bob’s Red Mill. They ship to stores all over the country and have started serving 3 meals a day. I love having breakfast there so we did. My son found the best ginger cookies I’ve ever eaten.

We timed it just right as they are always busy. They have outdoor seating for those that want to dine with their dogs.

We timed it just right as they are always busy. They have outdoor seating for those that want to dine with their dogs.

You can't miss it driving by.

You can’t miss it driving by.

Row after row of organic everything. They will even teach you how to use it.

Row after row of organic everything. They will even teach you how to use it.

For me a town is a lot about the food and Portland does not disappoint. Since we were in such a jumble anyway, we tried several of the restaurants. The Ram makes the best French fries in the world. I should know, I’ve eaten them everywhere. We stopped by the German deli, Edelweiss, for stuff my DIL needed to bake the German cookies I gave her the recipe for.

One of 4 Gustav's/Rhrinlander's in the Portland area, this one is very close to home

One of 4 Gustav’s/Rhrinlander’s in the Portland area, this one is very close to home

Then to cap off her visit, we had linner (combination lunch and dinner) at Gustav’s German restaurant. She tried the beer sampler with dinner and we all enjoyed the pretzel and cheese fondue. My son, I don’t know where he come from, had a hamburger, while my DIL and I enjoyed more traditional fare. It was LUSCIOUS! I took home a bowl of their lentil soup to see if I can figure out how they make it. Better than mine any day of the week. Of course, my son disagrees. The spaetzle was extra good with a Madeira sauce on them. Mom always used a meat gravy that we loved.

We had a cozier spot.

We had a cozier spot.

We arrived home to pick up the mail at the box up the street from the house. There were stacks of mail for my son and my sister. I had one piece. Just one, and it was happy mail! The Snail of Happiness, who was inspired to do so by The Contented Crafter, sent me snail mail. A happy package filled with her creativeness. We all admired her handiwork. How lucky am I!! Bloggers are wonderful people.

A bouquet of knit roses in wonderful colors

A bouquet of knit roses in wonderful colors


A tiny paper rose was hidden inside, all was placed in star studded organza bag

A tiny paper rose was hidden inside, all was placed in star studded organza bag

The vase of the roses in a perfect shade of blue.

The vase of the roses in a perfect shade of blue.

Now I’m inspired to finish a few projects of my own…as soon as I unearth the sewing room, again.

That’s what I do when I need a break.

At what point do you need a break and how do you go about getting one?

From my heart to yours,
Marlene Herself

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In Search of Versatility

I have received something I was not expecting. The Versatile Blogger award from Lisa Reiter at Sharing the Story. I am so very appreciative. Thank you Lisa. It’s taken me longer than expected to finish this blog.  Please bare with me a moment. As it happened, I finally gave in and called in tech support. (my son)

I have been nominated several times by several different bloggers for awards but unfortunately, I turned them down. Not because I wasn’t appreciative, but because I couldn’t figure out how to get them onto my blog page.

I’m in my mid 60’s (leaning a little to the far end here) and I work hard to keep up with technology. I can get a bit annoyed when folks my age say they have no need to learn new things. They hate technology. Same mentality that was present when cars were introduced during the horse and buggy era. We are not going backwards folks, no matter how much we miss the “good old days”. (Count me out on that one.)

I get a new laptop every 3 or 4 years and yes, I still swear at Windows 8. Please, someone fix it. I have a smart phone, know how to text, e-mail and use my GPS. I think it’s fun to learn new things. My motto has always been “if I don’t learn something new everyday, close the lid”. Yesterday, I learned to do a wire transfer over the internet. Whoo Hooo! Money all gone now! Today I’m going to learn how to paste the award on my blog courtesy of Lisa Reiter. Lisa did what I want to do and was exploring new blogs. She read many of mine and decided I was a candidate for the Versatile Blogger Award. Thank you so much Lisa. Again, I am honored.

versatile-blogger

Now comes the fun part. The instructions are:

1. Thank the person who gave you this award.versatile-blogger
2. Include a link to their blog.
3. Next, select 15 excellent blogs/bloggers that you’ve recently discovered or follow regularly.
4. Nominate those 15 bloggers for the Versatile Blogger Award – include a link to this site.
5. Finally, tell the person who nominated you 7 things about yourself.

This is not going to be easy but I have to try. Lisa made it so easy and also connected me with Sandra Bellamy at Quirkybooks to walk me through the process to get the image onto the blog. You just meet the nicest people on blogs!

So here are the Blogs I nominate as they have so many different things to educate and entertain:

1. Willow-Marie.real.
2. grevilleacorner
3. Living Simply Free
4. Gardening Nirvana
5. To Breathe is to Write
6. A View From My Summerhouse
7. The Contented Crafter
8. Boomdeeadda
9. Texana’s Kitchen
10. seeking life
11. What’s Green with Betsy?!?
12. pam grout
13. Writing Is My Drink
14. Eye-Dancers
15. The Garden Diaries

Now comes the hard part. List 7 things about myself. It seems easier when I respond to lists someone else comes up with. Things I can relate to, others not. So here is my attempt.

1. I have, but never want to start my day without a cup of coffee. (or two)
2. As much as I enjoy the company of people, I require a great deal of quiet, alone time.
3. I’m a collector of wayward fabric, books of every sort, butterflies and Angels
4. My favorite place in the world is a bookstore or a library. If it has food or coffee attached, so much the better.
5. I have moved 34 times in my life that I can remember. This month will be number 35. I think I’m done.
6. Most people don’t know that I’m terrified of them and struggle to make friends.
7. I love being older. It’s the best time of my life and I’m enjoying every tippy minute of it.

Thank you for reading and for the hours of education and entertainment you’ve given. I would like to read more blogs and as soon as the unpacking is complete and the boxes burned, (not literally). I will then settle in to widen my horizons.

From my heart to yours,
Marlene Herself