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Posts tagged ‘blogging’

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

In Search of Five

Happy Halloween. It’s here again. We have the perfect Halloween weather, though not for the kids. It’s windy, raining and spooky. The wind is knocking down decorations right and left whipping them down the street to be recovered later.

Tombstones went flying.

Tombstones went flying.

My daughter, son and I have combined our meager collection of decor and put out everything we had here at my place. This is where we will be tonight eating the candy that was intended for the neighbor kids. I don’t think any will brave the rain. Most go to city sponsored functions anyway. We have candy just in case.

I’ve been trying to race the weather to get my outside work done before the rains came. Guess who won? I had to pay someone to paint the front of my house. My son is not good with ladders and paint buckets. My sister spilled half a bucket of paint trying to do just the trim so I call in help. I did manage to get the porch area painted with 2 coats. It’s hard to see the difference but it feels so much happier to me. The soft yellow is so much better than the dull beige. Got it finished and cleaned up in time for decorating. I know the bugs schedule now and I’ll do the rest of the painting first thing next spring.

 

the differemce 2

I put up the metal quilt square to show that this is a quilt friendly home.

I put up the metal quilt square to show that this is a quilt friendly home.

Halloween marks my blogging anniversary. I’ve been doing this four years now and wondering about the merits of a fifth. I know I want to reevaluate where I’m going with this. This last year and a half has been challenging in many ways. What am I saying? They are all somewhat challenging. So the weather has brought us inside and that’s where I need to go. Inside for some deep soul-searching. There is that word again. Searching. Do I still have anything of value to offer? Your time is precious. I never have enough time. So I’m going to take a moment to ponder the number five.

Corny wants a book with his treats

Corny wants a book with his treats

I hope you have a festive Halloween with more treats than tricks.

Are you ready to come inside?

 

From my heart to yours,

Marlene Herself

In Search of Good Books

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

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

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

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

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

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

Just a few of my books

Just a few of my books

What’s on your reading list tonight?

From my heart to yours,
Marlene Herself

 

 

 

 

In Search of that Grinder

You have my apologies. “What for, you ask?” I can’t seem to find the grinder that has ground my work here to a halt. What does it look like and where is it hiding?

Is the grinder in this load of laundry waiting to be finished?

Is the grinder in this load of laundry waiting to be finished?

In trying to keep up with blogs I follow, I am sadly ground down as well. I’m outnumbered and you have so many wonderful posts I want to read. Nothing else is getting done. My energy has waned and the cogs in my brain are slipping.

Is it in the pile of laundry waiting?

Is it in the pile of laundry waiting?

You’ll usually find me spinning in circles trying to figure out what needs to be done next. There are four quilt tops on my machine in different states of readiness for me to sandwich and quilt. No small task in there. Yesterday, I tried to seal the wood on a plant pot holder I had out front last summer to gray the wood. I dumped an entire can of sealer on the porch when I lost my balance trying to move it. Fortunately, I managed to contain the spill enough to finish the job.

Room is smaller than the work to do in it. Could the grinder be in there?

Room is smaller than the work to do in it. Could the grinder be in there?

My daughter needed my help with her move and that has taken more chunks of time. Friendships need nurturing and groups for handwork and quilting are vital to my mental health. It all takes time and energy.

Helping my daughter with the move. Several days of packing here.

Helping my daughter with the move. Several days of packing here.

There are things I want to write about, but don’t, so I write nothing. There is a battle waging internally about what should be done about this.

Could the grinder be in this box of photos to be gone through?

Could the grinder be in this box of photos to be gone through?

Of the 250 people who follow my blog, the most that read it are less than 30. I follow less than 50 because I want to read the blogs I follow. They have become very dear to me and it would be like losing friends. I cannot bear to part with friends.

Could all these books waiting to be read be hiding the grinder?

Could all these books waiting to be read be hiding the grinder?

Maybe the grinder is hiding here in all the yard work waiting for me to do.

Maybe the grinder is hiding here in all the yard work waiting for me to do.

Where do I need to go to find that grinder? How do you manage not to come to a grinding halt?

From my heart to yours,
Marlene Herself