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Posts tagged ‘books’

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


Book Lovers

Today is National Book Lover’s Day. I had it saved on my calendar from last year. Dr. French has a post this year on the subject and he was the one who alerted me to this great day last year. I am always ready to celebrate a book.

This has been hanging on my walls for 15 years through many moves

I have often threatened to show photographs of my small book collection. It’s a good thing that my shelves have been culled and many passed on. There is a box waiting at the back door to go to “The Friends of the Library” bookstore. They sell used books so the library can buy new offerings.

One side of the living room

I have loved books since I discovered them at about the age of 12 when my parents bought eight for my Christmas gift. I had four Donna Parker and four Trixie Belden books. I had four of the books read before they were even wrapped and placed under the tree. Somehow my mother was suspicious of my over enthusiastic reception at Christmas. I sat on top of the refrigerator and read when mom was away and I was babysitting. They were hiding in the cupboard over the fridge with our school paper. Silly mom.

I have replaced some of
the original childhood books from that Christmas. When we moved, everything non-essential was left behind.

There was also a library on our base for the first time in my memory. Moving every six months to every couple of years left huge holes in my education so the library helped fill in the blanks. I started devouring books anytime I could get my hands on them which was not often enough.

the other end of the living room. I scrounge for book cases and space to put them.

My dream has always been to have a library in my own home, own a bookstore or at the very least work in one. I didn’t have the education to be a librarian but oh how I envied them.

In the den with the TV

My children are huge readers as well though only my son has kept enough to sink a battleship with the weight of them. My daughter reads as much but lets them go on so much easier. I’ve been a lending library for friends and family. My sister will often come and peruse my shelves looking for her next read.

At the end of the kitchen.

If you can read, you can do anything. I taught myself to cook, sew, quilt,  paint, meditate, and how to be a better person in the world from reading. I learned to garden and craft from a book. Books have kept me company when I’m alone and let me share when I’m not.

I had to stop accumulating so many books as I was afraid the floors of my factory crafted manufactured home would not hold much more weight. I’ve always joked that the books, soft and hard cover are insulation against the weather and holding down the house so it won’t blow away. I will buy a book before I buy food in case I can’t do both. Books will always be a  priority in my life. I need to learn something new every day and a book is a good place to do that.

Are you a book lover too? Do you have favorites or are they all friends?

From my heart to yours,

Marlene Herself


Morning Pages

I’ve been sitting on my front porch in the early daylight hours sipping my one cup of hot coffee, writing my morning pages. Julia Cameron, of whom I am a big fan, says there should be three pages but I’m hard pressed to take the time for one or two. Once my coffee is gone, so am I. The pages of drivel seem to others to be a waste of time and paper. I figure I can shred the paper later and put it in the compost. Writing in the morning sorts out my mind. Since I am alone with no one else to bounce ideas and thoughts out, they reflect back off the paper. I get all the muddle out in front of me, make my list of possibilities for the day, then see how much of that I can bring to fruition.

I took the 12 week workshop with many other women. Wonderful!

No day goes exactly as planned. I can deviate so quickly by a turn in my step. Finding myself organizing my shed when all I wanted to do is find the fertilizer to finish watering my plants. Then the pain in my foot will bring me back to my original intention of getting the watering done before the heat descends.

I’m sure she has written something I haven’t read yet.

Writing my morning pages is very different from what I write in my journal each night. Morning pages set intent for my day. My nightly journal page is a documentation of that day. Time, date and weather are included in both. Morning pages help me bring my intention into focus and clear my mind clutter. The nightly journal page, only one as I’m quite tired by then, helps off load my thoughts so I get a better night’s sleep.

When my children were young, I began the practice of reading to each of them separately at night as there was quite the distance in age, then ask how their day had gone. That’s the time when they would tell me anything that had troubled them or had been of particular delight. I was their nightly journal. Since both children have Dysgraphia, actual journal writing isn’t something they do. But mom still asks at the end of their workday how it went. My daughter spills most on her Saturday visits and my son calls daily to make sure I’m still among the living. He knows he can still share the good and the troubling. If it’s something big in need of working out, I still say, “WRITE IT OUT”.

Borrowed from the library and listened to it.

Like a piece of paper, I can fix nothing, just be the place to reflect back. Life is slower for me now. More solitude than many would find comfortable. Writing longhand on paper always clears things up in a way that writing on a computer does not.

There is scientific evidence of the brain to hand connection that does not exist with the computer. Long hand, free-flowing writing can unblock creativity and the next thing you know, you have a list of what can be done that day as well as a blog post all done for you. I may not be an artist but these books help unlock all kinds of creativity. Now I need to do another artists date. Hmmm.



Have you found the benefits of morning pages yet or journal writing at night?

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.


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

September’s Celebration

My favorite month is half over in the blink of an eye. Two weeks gone but they were fully loaded. You remember the lonely Aster flower on September first?

This Aster has its own calendar

Well two weeks brought quite a change in the plant and in the weather. We are going from the upper 90-degree temps to mid-70’s and starting next week, we will get to the 60’s with a full week of rain. This is what I call race weather. I race to get everything outside done and buttoned up for whatever comes next. There is no second guessing the weather these days. You must be ready for anything.

Asters halfway through September

September is a busy month around here. It starts out with lots of birthdays. I get mine early and then many friends and family fall in line until the month is just one big celebration. My daughter and I had a simple Saturday together on my birthday. I felt a little giddy as I waved farewell to the last of my 60’s.

A special blogging friend knows me so well. I really wanted that book too.

First, we visited our favorite metaphysical bookstore downtown to see what was new. I spotted the pretty journals that I did not need but this one made it into my daughter’s shopping bag. I’m going to write my goals and dreams for the next year in it to start the 70’s out right. It was presented to me over a luscious lunch at a tiny Italian place within walking distance of the bookstore. They are known for their criminally delicious desserts of which we had to partake. There was a candle in the cake and Happy Birthday written on the plate.

My son gifted me with the laptop, refurbished with a hard drive that should not break if it was jostled. Now I can visit with everyone again.

Some of the cards that graced my day.

On the way to lunch, wait for it, we saw there was no line at the Salt and Straw!!! It was only 11 a.m. but I had never been able to get in to try their ice cream. It’s famous in Portland, Oregon for its locally sourced and organic ingredients. Lines usually going around the block all day. Dessert before lunch? Well it was my birthday and they were all but waiting for me. I had to try it once.

We did a lot of walking that day to work off the lovely lunch getting home as the 90 plus degree temps invaded our day and we settled in to sit and read.

The first and last part are most applicable to me.

September is my favorite month as the autumn descends upon us and cool things down. Remind me of this post when you see me lamenting the cold and gloomy months ahead. I love the cold over heat but will miss the fresh tomatoes from my garden that I munch on as I work outside.

The big ones had a hard time, The little tomatoes were prolific

I will miss the hard physical work of hauling mulch up the terrace steps and the weeds that always seem to grow better than the flowers. Mostly, I will miss the long daylight hours as days shorten into longer nights. This is the month of transition from summer to winter as autumn here, only gives us a brief wave and moves on.

Are you ready for the changing seasons? What is your favorite month?

From my heart to yours,

Marlene Herself







I have bought a lot of books. Nothing unusual about that. I love books and love to read them…sometime.

Last weekend my daughter and I went to a book reading and signing at our favorite metaphysical bookstore, New Renaissance Book Store in Portland, Oregon. I’ve told you about this bookstore before as we love to go to their events or just browse the shelves. In case you haven’t figured it out yet, I’m pragmatic and a little hippy woo woo. I got there a little late in life. Maybe the mid 1980’s. I was the one that searched out new ideas from new friends and new books and brought them home. My first metaphysical bookstore to discover was called the Psychic Eye in Burbank, CA. I was in love. A few years later, it was my daughter’s first job after school.

The beginning of the line for the book reading

The beginning of the line for the book reading

So this weekend, we went to see Donna Eden and her daughters. One of Donna’s daughter’s,(Dondhi Dahlin) had written a new book. Donna Eden wrote the forward and her daughter, Titanya Dahlin, wrote the afterward. It was a sold out event of over 70 people and we were packed in like sardines though no one minded as it was fun with very high energy.

Some great stories inside and quite entertaining.

Some great stories inside and quite entertaining.

These old buildings have very small rooms

These old buildings have very small rooms

We brought our books written by Donna Eden many years ago to be signed by her. They were in almost new condition. Why is that relevant? Because, like many of the books I have purchased over the years, I perused it, never fully reading or integrating the useful information into my life. I keep planning to find the time.

I've had this book for many years and never realized that another author I read wrote the forward. More corners

I’ve had this book for many years and never realized that another author I read wrote the forward. More corners

As I look over my shelves of books that tell me how to heal my body, life, relationships, spirit or write better in every way, how to cook a good meal, sew a better seam or decorate a prettier table, my father’s words come back to haunt me once again. They would be uttered whenever he was trying to teach me something and I wasn’t quite getting it.

“I buy you books and I buy you books but all you do is chew on the corners.” ~ James W. Liggett

It took me awhile as a child to understand what he was saying. Now it hit me full on. I buy these books and love the ideas in them. I am just lazy about doing the work to get the result from them. Resistance is ever present.

I remember daydreaming often of buying a bookstore and calling it Corners Bookstore just for the reminder of what books could really do if we quit chewing on the corners and got down to the meat of them and did the exercises.

More of early arrivals for the reading and signing

More of early arrivals for the reading and signing

I want more time to read is a familiar lament. I’m retired. I have time but squander lots of it. Some books are not as “fun” to read as others. Learning to heal the mind or body comes with some built in resistance that causes one to need another nap while trying to get through a chapter. It’s like losing weight. We all know what to do, we are just resistant to change our old habits and replace them with new habits. At 1:00 a.m. while writing this, I’m wondering if I’m done chewing on the corners and ready to sink my teeth into a couple of these excellent books. I may make that a goal for the New Year.

Do you read and incorporate instruction books fully or do they stare at you endlessly begging for attention?

From my heart to yours,
Marlene Herself

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