Looking for answers to life's questions

Posts tagged ‘books’

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

 

 

On My Oct. Walks

 

Ten Chicken Soup books are on their way out.

Another month more than half gone. Time is in super speed from September through December. We’ve had some very interesting weather this month. One moment it’s nice and warm then comes the cold with near-freezing temperatures followed by massive amounts of rain and then we get a little of all of it in a week or even a day.

One thing is consistent. I walk. Five days a week I do as many miles as possible to count as exercise on my fitness tracking device. Unless I get my heart rate high enough, long enough, it won’t matter how many steps I walk. So, I have been pushing myself up hills that I didn’t think I could do anymore. My oximeter lets me know how hard I’m struggling and that I need a moment to just breathe before pressing on.

One of my hills to walk

Cold weather requires ears covered

I like to see what’s going on in my neighborhood, talking to new and familiar neighbors if they are out. I usually walk very early but sometimes the weather says I have to wait a while. I’ve also found that on cold days, a lot of people use their fireplaces to warm up. I have to dress differently on those days. While I love a warm fire, it’s no longer a good idea for my lungs.

Can you see the smoke in the air?

Since I have the option unlike many people who are employed, I get to shop or go to public places when the number of people is minimal. Did you know many respiratory illnesses are most contagious the week before the person even knows they have it? Bronchitis is like that so I wear a mask so I don’t catch it from others. It’s not the most flattering look even if I put my earrings on to distract you.

Cold and smokey days require a mask. Yes, I’m getting a better one.

When I’m walking, I see more of my neighborhood than when I drive through it slowly. I always get some kind of show. This is a car my neighbor boy works on and rents out. It’s not popular with many of the neighbors but I figure it keeps the kids busy and out of trouble. They need something to engage their minds and hands other than their electronic devices.

I also get to look closely at landscaping, mine, and others around me. I’m done with the outside chores for now. I had to enlist my daughter this year to clean the gutters. She doesn’t even like to do dishes so it was not high on her list of fun things to do. The kids don’t want me on the ladders so I do dishes and she climbs.

Yucky job but better than dishes

I have still been purging with 4 more tubs of fabric going to various charities and many of my books heading off to the senior centers. I’m happy to have finally started some holiday gifts and quilting now that I’ve unburied my machine.

I will get it done, I will get it done. So many more to go.

Purging is messy work. I see more of the fun stuff ahead now that it’s cold and rainy again. I really do enjoy walking in the leaves and wind.

Do you enjoy autumn walks and check out your neighborhood for changes?

From my heart to yours,

Marlene Herself

 

A Successful Sale

What defines success?

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

Dogwood blooming finally.

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

Made bowl cozies for the sale. Sold 4

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

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

She’s making progress.

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

Vintage set along with lines will be listed online.

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

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

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

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

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

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

From my heart to yours,

Marlene Herself

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

Comment Oops

I have a hard time with certain blogs I visit. I also have difficulty with groups I belong to when it comes to discussing childhood activities.

I was never really a child. I sometimes think I was born old in a tiny body. Well, not so tiny, actually. Does 13 pounds qualify as an infant?

Dr. French often asks questions on his blog and I really want to answer. Especially since he has been so kind and encouraging of my continuing to write my drivel. Most of the time I click the like button and disappear. This time, I wrote a comment, copied it to a word document that I keep for unpublished comments and began to delete the comment from his post. I hit send instead. You can read the drivel I left here.

Another blog that makes it hard for me but I usually gush over even though I make no sense is Jennie’s. She’s the worlds BEST preschool teacher. Why on earth would I read that blog? I have no young children nor grandchildren. Jennie is no kid herself but her heart is so very young and pure. She shows me what could have been under different circumstances. Like when you get a teacher who cares with all her heart. Very often I weep at how far she goes to teach her preschoolers the most important things in life. I’m a little sad because I wasn’t even able to do that for my own children.

What do these two blogs have in common? Books and reading. The thing that keeps the blood coursing through my body. They are teachers who love books.

Books in the den

When I was filling out my advanced directive they asked when I would consider the quality of my life no longer viable and be ready for it to end. It’s when I can no longer read or listen to a book. If there are no books in heaven, I’m not going.

Books in the kitchen

I was supposed to go blind before I was 21. Fooled them. There were no audio books then and I wanted to read…anything and everything. Then science created contact lenses and saved a lot of vision for me. More time to read. Yay!

There are children in the good homes with no books who are not being read to by their parents. When it comes to gifts for the children in my life, books are the only thing I give unless it’s something I’ve made. So many children don’t have a Jennie to awaken in them a love of books, art and music. Dr. French tries to do that for his college age students. I’m not a fan of his genre but definitely of his love of reading, writing, kindness and honesty. So, I had to be honest.

Books saying goodbye… maybe.

Do you ever regret a comment you left or have second thoughts about leaving it?

From my heart to yours,

Marlene Herself

 

A Shoehorn

The line between a hoarder and a creative collector is very delicate. I’m beginning to see how wobbly I walk that line. It may have to do with the intention behind it. The last few weeks in the process of moving my daughter into my house has had me looking at that line a lot more closely.

Still sorting and shoveling in the sewing room

I’ve emptied a closet full of crafting and fabric tubs, as well as the linen closet to make room for my daughter. She brought her bed, linens, dresser, while I provided an emptied bookshelf. Everything on the bookshelf had to go…somewhere.

We have both moved so much stuff last month that it’s giving each of us pause. Boxes have been filled for donation. She sold most of her furniture with only two cherished pieces in storage for now. More will be sold at the summer yard sale.

I managed to give away the queen bed and frame that was my guest bed to a young couple. My daughter’s box springs came to the house, her old mattress went to the dump. My sister and I took care of that. We are so proud of ourselves for all the lifting and maneuvering of heavy obstacles at our age and in our condition. My sister loves trips to the dump; chatting up everyone who works there with her friendly nature. Couldn’t have done this without her.

When expected help didn’t show up, my daughter and I looked at each other and decided we would manage on our own to move the last heavy item. Then there was the cleaning of 3 years’ worth of living in 400 square feet with appliances older than my daughter. We also had the free use of a moving van to move her stuff in storage closer to my house where she will have easy access to go through and continue to purge. We didn’t need a truck that large by any stretch of the imagination but she had fun driving it just to say she could do it. There is something very empowering in doing things you didn’t think you could do before.

We were both so tired that meals were catch-as-catch-can. To be honest, I didn’t know how exhausted I was getting until it was all done. Then it caught up with me big time. I went down for a week and could do nothing but sleep. Eating wasn’t going well either. So, I’ve been taking some gentle time for myself and doing next to nothing. Trying to read and leave comments was a short-term project most days and I’m not sure I was totally coherent nor were my comments. After a fair amount of rest with some exercise for good measure, we are both beginning to feel human again. The next move is up to someone else.

Sewing room shuffle

Do you ever have the tendency to push your limits too far? What do you do to recover? Did you find yourself purging excess in this first month of the year?

 

From my heart to yours,

Marlene Herself

A Little Bitty Party

I’ve been absent and can’t quite explain why that happened. We had excessive heat along with smoke from fires in every direction. I think my brain melts in hot weather but I was willing to tolerate it without (too much) complaint as I bargained with the heavens that I would be quiet about the heat if the weather cooled for my company.

September’s flower Aster in full bloom on Sept 2

I had lots of it. My son and his significant other spent 10 days here and my cousin and her grown children arrived just in time to spend three days celebrating our birthdays. This is the time of year so many I know are celebrating birthdays. There were three of us in my family here and one good friend in just over a week. More of my blogging friends have them in early September as well.

The beginning of Autumn Hydrangeas

Why the party? My cousin who is many years younger had her heart stop a while back. It took three tries to get it going again and then a pacemaker. It’s happening more and more to younger people. She decided life was now and no more waiting. It’s been 15 years since we’ve been in the same space. This was also my 70th birthday two days before her birthday and she was named after me.

2nd cousins all grown up.

Bloody Mary toast to 70 and not 70.

Even drink these out of a straw. Her son did the grilling.

Birthdays are no longer a given. I was informed last December that I am facing a major health challenge that can only be managed, not treated. so all my ducks needed to be lined up as I go about the business of continuing to live a full and happy life. Family and friends are a big part of that so the party seemed to take on a life of its own. It was a zoo here! My sewing friends were invited to visit the zoo and were made honorary members for their efforts.

Flowers from Patti

Wall hanging from my friend, Emily. It was her birthday week as well.

It was so much fun to see how everyone pitched in to make it work effortlessly. These last months have been very full and I have many partially written posts waiting to be finished. Now that fall has finally winked at us, I may have a bit more time. Of course the rain has still failed to materialize and we desperately need it.

All the den, living room and dining room furniture in one space so we are all together

I think birthdays should be celebrated more than any holiday we have. I’ve always been grateful for the opportunity to grow older. Not everyone has that pleasure. My birthdays have usually been very quiet and sedate. This one, shared by my cousin, son’s partner and myself made it raucous and loud. A real party! I wanted no gifts as I’m in the giving away stage but some things were still gifted and deserved special mention.

A wonderful gift from my daughter for all of us. Another view of my favorite non cake. Doesn’t get better than this.

My son and his partner did many chores for me as well as putting new struts on the tailgate of my suburban. That door is quite heavy when it comes down on you. He also built shelves in the storage shed for better organization and put up more motion sensors for my safety. There is more to this but that’s another post.

 

Tech Supports favorite task when visiting.

My daughter and I went to see Christopher Robin at the movies several weeks ago and I mentioned after this wonderful and sweet story that I didn’t remember ever reading the Pooh stories. She said she had so I must have bought her a copy at some time. I am now having the childhood I missed the first time. I read myself a bedtime story each night. They are so lovely and I hope to catch up on more I missed.

Jennie at A Teacher’s Reflection’s entices me with her collection of children’s books. I feel quite young visiting her blog.

I love this book!

 

Do you celebrate your birthdays quietly or with a big slash?

Boccone Dolce for 3 birthdays and 10 people

From my heart to yours,

Marlene Herself