Looking for answers to life's questions

Posts tagged ‘books’

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

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

The Winds of Change

A New Year’s resolution is something that goes in one year and out the other. ~ Author Unknown

2016 will bring a lot of change. We had high winds this week just to make sure I’m fully aware that it’s coming in full force. It’s going to start with my blog titles. In Search of: has been quite limiting. I’m not good with limits. It feels like a child being told to sit still and be quiet. You can only do it so long and then the squirming starts. I’m basically a searcher of knowledge. I’m still searching with the title being implied. It’s a spiritual search for understanding.


Does anyone understand why a teenager must wear pajamas all day Christmas day when visiting family?

Does anyone understand why a teenager must wear pajamas all day Christmas day when visiting family?

Last year was an uncomfortable year. I was glad to see it end. I’ve been one (well, maybe many) step behind. My “to do” lists were always moving to my “didn’t get done list.” I had big plans for 2015: Get organized, financial solvency, finish a lot of projects that have been waiting a decade to be finished, lose the excess weight and find a way to restore my health. I have stacks of books to read and I just keep adding more to the list. I think I should unsubscribe from Bookbub. It takes me to Amazon and then I’m sunk. There are too many good books out there and I don’t want to miss one.

There will be other changes this year. Since I have been struggling with chronic fatigue I decided to have a visit to my doctor. Yes, I needed to shed a few pounds, (isn’t that always the case) but a sleep study was ordered. Turns out I have severe sleep apnea. Even when I was asleep, I wasn’t. So the C-pap machine will be picked up in two weeks. Medicare and managed care do not move quickly. Next on the list has been my failing vision. I can see the big things, not the details so after several trips to the eye care center, it was determined the removal of the cataract might help. It can take up to three months to schedule. In the meantime, the words dance across the page and I have to trust spell check to tell me if I’ve mistyped. Bear with me please.


Gifts made for friends barely done in time.

Gifts made for friends barely done in time.

I have been off sugar since September with the pounds reluctantly wandering just a short distance away from the scale. I’m sure they are waiting to see if I’m serious.
Sometimes I am. It is apparent sugar and I will fight to the finish line as I love to bake and I don’t move enough to burn it off. That will have to find a resolution as well. I read everything I can find on how to heal the body. Sugar isn’t on the list in any of the books. Darn it all. It’s the one area that moderation doesn’t work well for me. I’m an all or nothing kind of girl when it comes to sweets.


Our quilt groups after Christmas, Christmas party. It was a hard day for me.

Our quilt groups after Christmas, Christmas party. It was a hard day for me.

I’m looking forward to finishing many, many projects this year. My house painting in the spring, sewing and quilting projects this winter and maybe even getting to furniture refinishing projects that look at me and snicker at my inability to do it all. Let them snicker. I’m ready to relax and have some fun with friends this year.

The stealing gift exchange part of our party.

The stealing gift exchange part of our party.

My sewing and quilting groups are feeding my social and creative needs. Writing had taken a back seat the last year. Maybe this year, it will move up the line of priorities. My house took all my time last year. It’s still a priority though more like number two on the list. At least for now or until the HOA comes by with a notice to get busy.


Made for my sewing group. Some of the snowmen have purple, not yellow scarves.

Made for my sewing group. Some of the snowmen have purple, not yellow scarves.

What are you expecting from this year? Do you have resolutions or just hopeful goals?

Happy New Year
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 Dads’ Day

I had something else in mind for posting today but as I was going through my photos, this was the first to pop up. I think I’m being summoned.

That was his spot. Everything in his late life happened there.

That was his spot. Everything in his late life happened there.

My father has been gone 16 years now and Fathers’ Day was hard for us when he was alive. He wasn’t the warm cuddly kind of dad. He wasn’t “likable” to his children and we really didn’t get to know him. I learned much later in life that he was a voracious reader. So books became the thing to buy him. When I found out we were reading the same spiritual books, it finally gave us something to talk about. He was thinking about his end, I was working on my present.

My day always sat in that chair with a book or magazine in front of him. He wore only blue and mom had a hard time getting the clothes he wore to the washer. Now he showered every day, He just liked his clothes soft and lived in. They would be threadbare before she could sneak them away to toss. Because he’d worn a military uniform most of his working life, the blue shirts, pants and sweaters were his new uniform.

Sometimes warm and cuddly isn't what we need for life. We were well prepared.

Sometimes warm and cuddly isn’t what we need for life. We were well prepared.

Since I have no father living, my children have no father living and my son is not a father, what’s the point of even thinking about Fathers’ Day? I guess it’s to remember them and the gifts they gave us along the way. My dad always said the most dangerous thing in the world was a closed mind. I found that comment interesting coming from him.

My son said the thing he learned from his father was what kind of father he didn’t want to be and how much he wanted to handle frustrations in a better way. His dad thought it was his job to make the living and mine to do the rest. There was no balance. These dads didn’t know how to be daddies. I think there is a difference. There was no place for them to learn. They did their best as did we. Happy Father’s Day to all that are fathers.

He smiled a lot too. Can you see the smile? No, me either

He smiled a lot too. Can you see the smile? No, me either

My sister sent a text this morning to wish me a happy summer solstice. Now that my dad has had his say, I’ll go back to celebrating the solstice in my garden before they turn the oven back up later this week.

Do you find reasons to celebrate dads’ day?

“Fathers never have exactly the daughters they want because they invent a notion of them that the daughters have to conform to.”
Simone de Beauvoir, The Woman Destroyed

From my heart to yours,
Marlene Herself