Looking for answers to life's questions

Posts tagged ‘blogging’

ISO Intelligent Conversation

I’m letting it all hang out here today. I’m normally an optimistic person but this Covid crap has been pushing my optimism to its last edge. Thank goodness for my monthly therapy appointment. This wonderful woman gets paid a little bit to help me live a full life as I face my mortality. I can’t afford to slide into the well of hopelessness.

It starts out with white blooms and by summers end they are purple.

The first thing I did was bring her a present to make her laugh. It worked. She has the best laugh I’ve ever heard and it makes me so happy to make someone laugh. She got the joke and her laugh filled the near empty building. I ordered this after the TP crisis.

I brought her one roll of this.

After that I unloaded my bag of frustrations.

I’ve been locked away far too long for this extroverted introvert. I love people and there have been so few around during this sheltering in place isolation. I struggled to make myself write, sew, garden or much of anything. Turns out it’s not the best time to be on a rigid diet either.

Book one of this series. I’ve read through book four. I can’t put them down.

I did finish four cozy mysteries in two weeks time.  Doc said many of her clients were feeling the same. I explained that one of my friends had become so lonely she was talking to Alexa on a daily basis. She would ask Alexa questions and wait for answers. Quite the learning experience. I don’t have an Alexa so we came up with other ideas to help me snap out of my funk.

Can anyone tell me what I’m growing here?

First, she had me mask and glove up and head for the bookstore. My daughter freaked out at the idea. I took all possible precautions.  The mall and bookstore echoed hollow. So few were there. Walking it helped anyway. Then it was suggested I write a post about it as so many others were struggling with this as well. Another block overcome.  Though my daughter is living with me, she’s a hermit so I’m still mostly alone.

I have been In Search Of so many things on my blog. Finding people that I can talk to about the bigger picture in life is at the top of my list. Without outside relationships, we can lose inspiration and feedback. I have acquaintances I can talk about some things but not have those deeper more serious conversations.

My daughter finished this. Her philosophy.

Good conversations were hard to find before we were in lockdown, now they are even more difficult. How many people are excited to talk about quantum physics or secular spirituality?

Love in the mist playing with the oregano and thyme.

I have a new 25 year old neighbor renting the place next door from her uncle. She’s still in college to become a practicing behavioral therapist for autistic children. I’ve warned her she will be asked a zillion questions and she’s willing to answer in exchange for gardening tips. It’s a start and I am willing to learn from others while I share over the fence what I’ve learned in life. I keep walking the neighborhood and talking to anyone in hopes of expanding my bubble about life.

My wonky Dogwood bloomed later than all the rest in the neighborhood.

Are you finding intelligent, inspiring conversations while still isolating in place?

From my heart to yours,

Marlene Herself

 

 

A Little Less Crazy

It’s in my front window this year but doesn’t photograph as well there.

I missed St. Patrick’s Day and many others. This month was first about planning for my family to come visit. I haven’t seen my youngest brother more than 10 years at least. My son was coming to see his uncle and cousin with her family here since it’s been even longer for him. I saw my niece and grandniece a couple of years ago when they came for a short visit.  All trips have been canceled.

My last visit to our grocery store!

Then I had four days of excruciating pain from a handful of cashews. The doctor mentioned in passing I had diverticulitis. I’d never experienced any discomfort from it so I just ignored it. I won’t make that mistake again. No more nice crunchy nuts for me.

I have been so distracted that I even missed a friend’s birthday and had to send a belated card to him. When I noticed I was starting to slip off the crazy edge, I started looking for ways to ground myself. Since all my sewing groups have been canceled, (we are all at risk aged) I sat myself at my machine to work on starting and finishing a few projects.

The start of a scrappy charity quilt and a learning project

Then I started catching up on my blog reading and looking for funny and inspirational. I found funny here. Barb Taub always hits my funny bone.

Inspirational I found here. Pam Grout blogs on Word Press too and she always brings my monkey mind back to center with so much wonderful humor as well.

Something so droll to read turned flat funny.

I’m no good at cloistering. As an extroverted introvert, I need people as much as I need quality alone time. People are how I know I’m still connected here.

Donkeys all done

My daughter is working from home for the next month. She is determined to keep me well and at home. She is an introverted introvert. Another words, a hermit. She’s happy to work in her room and only come out for meals. I can sometimes hear her on the phone helping co-workers with the problems they are encountering since they have all been switched to a whole new computer system. Like her brother, she is amazing at virtual tech support. My son fixed my embroidery program issues by connecting to my computer from his earlier this week. That saved me more money than I cared to admit. I tell him to send me a virtual bill and he laughs.

Practicing making wonky stars

I, like so many of you are struggling with this new situation. The physical costs to life are enormous. Then there is the financial aspect where so many have been laid off jobs as so many businesses have been forced to shutter. Our world is connected as a whole whether you want to accept that thought or not. What affects one, affects the whole somewhere down the line. I know there is a silver lining in here somewhere. Jennie found one that she shared. I love this wonderful person and what she does. Pop over and have yourself a little smile.

What are you doing to cope with the craziness and the isolation?

“Control your own mind. Or somebody else will.~ Tony Robbins

Stay well and connected virtually.

From my heart to yours,

Marlene Herself

 

A Road Trip

There has been a lot going on here and I wasn’t sure I wanted to write about some of it. If being honest is a core value for me, then write about it I must.

I love this mug.

As you may know, I started this blog while healing from the most debilitating case of Bells Palsy even my doctors had ever come across. There was little else I could do at the time but sit in my bed writing and resting. February 11 was the 10-year anniversary of it and I have come a long way in healing. There are still many residual effects but nothing that can’t be handled. At this point, it’s just history and not worth mentioning again since I found no one that had encountered a similar experience.

It’s hard to embroider with Leo’s tail on it.

My focus now has been making the best use of my time since being diagnosed with IPF. My mother had it and my sister is in late stages with it. Seems to run in the female side of our family. The ‘I’ stands for idiopathic, which means unknown origin. Perfect word if you add the letter T, I think. I was not a smoker which is what most people ask but many around me did smoke.

It’s waiting for me to quilt it.

A series of synchronicities occurred that caused me to decide a visit to a medical intuitive, so I made an appointment for my daughter and myself. We had to wait months for an appointment. Sigh… I didn’t want to tell anyone about this alternative therapy appointment. The session was extremely helpful and I would recommend it to those who need a little help in the right direction or those the traditional medical community have nothing  left to offer. Reiki was part of the treatment along with instructions to take my mind from what ails me and put it on something fun. Where attention goes, energy flows.

We met at Portland’s New Renaissance Bookstore. Took 2 years to decide to see her. The book says it all.

During our trip, we had some fun taking a ferry to Poulsbo, Washington. Bless the inventor of GPS! We arrived around 1:00 p.m. and ready for lunch. There was a Europub that claimed authentic cuisine. A few bites and the rest of my lunch went to the trash. I don’t throw away food but this couldn’t be salvaged. We walked a lot that day to see the sweet little Norwegian settled town. Their ice cream shop made up for the lunch. It was outstanding in its unusual flavors and quality.

We also stopped at a very lovely quilt shoppe where I found a perfect coordinating fabric for my donkey quilt. I really had to force myself not to buy anything that I wasn’t immediately needed. Fabric is more addictive for me than sweets and just slightly less than books. Now you see what’s usually on my reading list. We found one more quilt store close to our motel and had great fun in there. Yes, I bought just the yardage I needed for another project I’m working on. Most creatives have dozens at once. There is no cure.

Just for a bit of uplift, I left my Bluetooth headphones accidentally wrapped in the bedding. As we were many miles outside of Seattle, the hotel called to let us know they had them and would send instructions on how to get them mailed back. Housekeeping had turned them in!  They are now back with me.

Now we are restored and moving forward to optimum health.

Have you had any interesting road trips lately? What’s you thought on going outside mainstream medicine?

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

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

 

An Organizing Goddess

This month has turned out to be all I had hoped for after my January letdown. My bookcase is plastered with the valentines I received from friends and family. I didn’t get any sent out. Other things called for my attention.

Valentines

As I’ve mentioned, I have been trying to clear clutter and make my space more user friendly. It’s been ongoing since I moved into my house. I have a lot of stuff for creative endeavors.

On Valentines Day I received a special gift. My blogging friend, Alys from Gardening Nirvana came to visit. It was our first meeting and I was looking forward to it as she is dear to my heart. Alys is an advocate for kindness, animals, and an uncluttered life. She has another blog that she rarely posts on entitled Organized at Heart. It’s how she makes her living.

Coming off the airplane I’d recognize her anywhere

Soups all gone Very tired traveler.

I spent many days cleaning and clearing before she arrived as you would guess. There is more company coming next week. I couldn’t think of where to take her to show her around the Portland, Oregon area. So we just let it happen. We had a simple dinner of homemade lentil soup and veggies,  The next morning we went to Bob’s Red Mill for breakfast. She buys their products but had no idea of what we would find there. Who knew it would be a huge birthday party for Bob’s 89th birthday with a band for entertainment. We even got a slice of birthday cake and a free cup of oatmeal to take home.

Entertainment getting ready

Bob at 89 stops in every weekend when he’s not working. The oldest working CEO in the country I think.

He looks great at 89. Saying happy birthday.

After breakfast we needed to walk a bit so I took Alys to Fabric Depot. It’s an acre of fabric and notions where you can find anything you can possibly imagine. She did find something that had to come home with her. I left it all there. I shop at home now. The party continued through the afternoon. Back at my house, I had to sit and rest my poor sore foot and Alys started to move like someone had set fire to her. She was everywhere at once. Asking how I felt as we proceeded. She immediately honed into the areas that were causing me the most grief and visualized an immediate solution. I was awestruck!

Right at home

We can make this easily

Watch yourself Vanna

Shelves were emptied and moved and other shelves were emptied and moved and then everything went back together looking like a department store had set up a beautiful display but she didn’t do what I was so afraid an organizer would do. She didn’t suggest I throw things away. I looked at things with different eyes and a lot more left to the thrift store. We found things my daughter wanted to keep with her.

Above the washer has never been so pretty. One day maybe a closing cabinet.

The next day, we had a light breakfast to fortify us for a trek through Powell’s City of Books, occupying an entire city block and housing approximately one million books. We only spent and hour and a half but managed to find things we couldn’t live without.

My sister had to drive us there as it’s out of my safe range. Then we went to have lunch at a nice and noisy restaurant friends of my sister own. We waddled out but stopped at Salt and Straw for our evening dessert to go. My sister drove us by the Rose and Japanese gardens but it was too cold and wet to stop.

Much lighter without the bookcase on top.

This bookshelf was on the kitchen desk.

That rack was originally in the laundry room looking quite ugly. Much better here.

Getting back home, Alys once more became more energized and the next thing I knew three more rooms had their Chi fluffed big time. I hobbled along the best I could but Alys was moving like lightning making changes to make my life so much easier. It’s like she read my mind and saw how I needed things to flow. I’m now able to do my sewing and crafts in a way that brings peace to my soul.

This was next to the desk in the kitchen. An emergency basket on the floor by the back door. I’ll paint this bookcase and the others this summer.

Will be putting a tension rod to cover the detergents.

 

My daughter came the next morning and was overwhelmed by how well Alys had read my needs and provided them. My daughter has dubbed Alys her new Goddess Hero for making my life so much lighter. She was gleeful as we moved more things around. In Feng Shui, there is a phrase that if you want to change your life, move 27 things. I think big changes are coming now.

Would you be able to let an organizer help you?

From my heart to yours,

Marlene Herself

Something Special

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

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

Painted in 1988. A first project

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

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

From my heart to yours,

Marlene Herself

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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World Teachers Day

One blog I follow is: //charlesfrenchonwordsreadingandwriting.wordpress.com/

Professor French has given me some wonderful tips and encouragement on writing. His kind and generous comments have kept me posting here when I was ready to throw in the towel. It’s like getting an education via blogging. I have not had the funds or the opportunity to pursue a higher education so I learn everywhere I can. Had I achieved that goal, I would have chosen to be a teacher.

It speaks for itself

It speaks for itself

This morning he re-blogged a post from: https://surfingtheseagard.wordpress.com/2016/10/05/world-teachers-day-2016-celebrating-the-jobs-and-art-of-two-of-my-favourite-teachers/

As you know I don’t normally re-blog though this post stirred something in me. I value education and good teaching. Not all teachers are good but a great deal are and so very under appreciated. It’s like any profession; you get some good and some that should find other work. But here is my comment on that post:

When they celebrate teachers the way they do actors, musicians and football players, the world will be right and proper. Someone taught them all those things. They are our front line and should be paid like doctors and lawyers. I have always felt that way and it bothers me that no one seems to get it. I’ll get off the soap box now.

Dr. French suggested I not get off the soapbox, rather post on it. So I’m looking for a bigger soapbox. I feel VERY strongly that the teaching profession is undervalued and as a result, we are not getting the quality of teachers we should have nor are we keeping those that inspire and challenge our children.

My children were bored out of their minds in school. One teacher complained that my daughter was growing books in her desk because each time she took one away, my daughter came up with another to stick inside the textbook she had already read the first week of school. My son had to go into gifted classes, when they were available, to be challenged enough not to yawn through school.

Teachers are often struggling with the same bureaucratic nonsense to which other professions are subjected. It’s not their fault they aren’t allowed to push a little harder. As a responsible parent, the best I could do was provide them with any book available and a public library to feed their curious minds. They had to be taught how to learn on their own as much as from school.

teaching-albert-einstein

There are many ways to teach and I applaud and appreciate them all. Those who write books were taught how to do that and I buy books to keep them coming. To me, a good day is a day I learn something new. I have a teacher to thank for that and I did. Maybe one day I’ll post the letter I wrote to her.

teachers

Do you have a teacher to thank for where you are today?

From my heart to yours,

Marlene Herself

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That sense of Accomplishment

Procrastination is an art form born of fear. I tend to put things off knowing that somehow everything will be harder than it appears in the directions. Every report card I had in grade school had a small notation at the side saying “Marlene does not follow directions well.” I just never read them through properly resulting in my own unique version of the completed assignment. Sound familiar? I’ll bet it does. Most of us are not direction junkies or follow written directions as a last resort. And I can tell you from a great deal of experience, most directions are not well written to start with so why bother with them only to be totally confused.

christmas braid done 2016

Christmas braid bought 7 years ago. Finally, finally finished. Not perfect but done.

christmas braid back

Happened to have the perfect match to back it and bind it. Lucky me.

Sewing is about following directions. It never goes well for me. Especially if the directions “ASSUME” I understand what they want me to do. I had a friend bring a “pattern for dummies” to me on making a shopping cart cover for her grandchild. We read the directions a dozen times each and I finally just said, “screw the directions” and showed her how to put it together. I think I’ve spent more time taking apart things than putting them together or had one square going one way and the next one a different direction.

MG done

After a year and a half, it’s completed with borders, binding and quilting

MG done Back

I even learned how to put a sleeve at the top for hanging. Had to do it twice to get it right.

But in the end, something winds up completed. There is always a learning curve for me as most things I tackle are brand new to my scope of experience. I’ve made many shirts. Every pattern puts them together in a different way. Quilts are like that too. Getting one to completion is a big deal. Machine embroidery is probably easier for me. I enjoy it because there are fewer directions to follow. I have a very simple brain and pleads with me not to keep pushing so hard but I’m relentless in my pursuit of knowledge. Who needs a crossword or box puzzle when I have quilts and sewing patterns? There is also a deep seated desire to be creative and make pretty things. It drives me beyond my limits daily.

MG tshirt

My quilt group is called Material Girls so I made this to wear to the retreat and to meetings.

MG shirt center

Some thread color choices worked better than others. It’s a learning process

The very best part is that I have something tangible when I’m done. I can see it, touch it, wear it, cover up under it or gift it which is my favorite part. Even putting up a post on my  blog gives me that sense of accomplishment. I can see where my hours and hours went. I can listen to a book while I do some of these creative activities or even with handwork, watch something on television and not feel like I’ve totally wasted my hours.

The quilt I started on retreat is going to be ready to go in the mail before I leave to visit the friend in Phoenix who started me on the long road of quilting. I have not hugged this sweet lady in almost 6 years. I think the art of quilting has saved the sanity of us both.

 

almost done sams

Just finishing the binding then mail for Sam’s 75th birthday. Son’s former father-in-law and good friend

back of sams

Fleece backing for the man who loves wolves.

With the built in friendships we make of any quilter either real or virtual, we can get through anything life hands us. Many bloggers fall into this same category. They reach out a hand to one another across the internet and lift each other with encouraging words, even sometimes a bit more as is the case here. I received this book yesterday from my friend, at Living in Denim.

farmers wife book big

There is a CD inside to help create new and interesting quilts. A thoughtful gift from Lois whose friendship I cherish.

 

The perfect ending to a perfect day spent with blogging friend Sabine who lives close by. It just doesn’t get any better. Life is just all good.

What gives you that sense of accomplishment or is it even important to you?

From my heart to yours,
Marlene Herself