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Posts tagged ‘connection’

A Fantastic February

January was a long and arduous month. I was happy to wave goodbye. I accomplished little to speak of other than finally recover from the bronchitis I got after my back went out so completely my daughter had to wheel me into urgent care.

I used what they told my daughter to take for her bronchitis as it seems she gave the bronchitis to me while she was caring for me in my incapacitated state. What a sight we were. It seems you are most contagious the 3 days before symptoms present. We picked up masks as we entered the urgent care because there were so many with flu in there.

Avoiding the flu before we knew we had bronchitis. At least no one got that.

The first of February saw some return to health but still the need for resting. Now I’m almost back to normal and accomplishing a few things. I sent out several cards to friends as well as a birthday card to my aunt Mary who is my dad’s youngest sister and only a 18 months older than I am. We first met when my mother and I were left across the street from dad’s family while he was doing a yearlong tour of duty in Korea. Someone thought it would be cute to dress us alike.

 

Who thought dressing us alike was a good idea/

I didn’t see her again until I was 10 and then again at almost 14 when I move in with my grandparents. I was the little sister she never, ever wanted. For a year, she tried to teach me all the things a teenage girl should know. I was a little slow but she was a as patient as any 16-year-old could be with some little tag along. I’ve worked hard to nurture the friendship even though we have not seen one another in more years than I can count. She’s family and I appreciate what she did for me.

I’ve managed to get a little machine embroidery done. These are part of a set of six that will go into a quilt top wall hanging when complete. I’m avoiding a project that scares me so I decided to do these until I’m sure my brain has settled down from the coughing and sneezing as well as painkillers. I do not do well with medication. Scrambles my brain so I don’t connect the dots well. Can you tell here?

Lighting makes all the difference on how the fabric color looks.

Five by seven inches then borders will be added

I am also finally well enough to do a major clear and clean with some help from my sister. We can make a pretty good team. This has all needed doing for quite some time but the trick is to invite someone to visit that has never seen your home. My friend, Alys of Gardening Nirvana will be here next week and I have definitely let this place go for way too long. So, a fire has been lit under my lackadaisical self and things are finding their proper homes once again. I have filled more boxes for the thrift store and delivered them.

Half full of possibllities

Still room for more. Headed for the Senior center.

A box of “She was gonna”

There is another one in front of me that I have named the “she was gonna” box. The box of “good intentions” to read and make and do. Giving myself a break by passing it off to let someone else have a crack at it. It’s feeling so much lighter here already. And the weather feels like spring and will remain so all the way through her visit! I am so excited to finally meet after all these years of reading each others blogs.

 

What does it take for you to get things done you’d rather put off?

 

From my heart to yours,

Marlene Herself

What’s New?

I’m trying to figure out this New Year thing. Saturday turns into Sunday and everything is supposed to be different? My house looks like the same mess it was in yesterday. In other words, same stuff (putting it nicely), different day. My mind is as chaotic as my home is right now so forgive the fragmented writing, please.

packing boxes mixed in with Christmas decor.

packing boxes mixed in with Christmas decor.

I was awakened at midnight by the fireworks that sounded like gunshots going off in my neighborhood and it took a while to go back to sleep. I’m a very early riser. Why do we humans like to celebrate things? Maybe  to keep life from being mundane. Animals don’t do celebrations. Every day is good to them. I know there is a lesson in there.

I got time for Christmas. Something I really need.

I got time for Christmas. Something I really need.

Christmas is over. I love/hate Christmas, though this year was unlike any of them. I had a lot to do this year that just didn’t get done. I spent most of my time working on a quilt for my son. He is moving all his stuff to snow country. After expressing a fondness for a soft plain quilt he saw in a craft show, I made it my mission to get one made before Christmas so he would have it with him. I had no idea what I was doing and no pattern or measurements. He wanted “soft” so that’s what I made. Flannel on one side, Minky® on the other. Other than an embroidered fleece blanket for my niece to take to college next fall, the quilt is the only thing I finished this year.

Quilt for Tech Support.

Quilt for Tech Support.

Isabel Rose is her name.

Isabel Rose is her name.

When the truck pulls out with everything from his room and the storage unit, I will start my new year. Sorting and selling. We have already sold many things through a neighborhood website that just popped up. Yay!!! I still have a village to sell and all its inhabitants. There is nowhere to store them year to year anymore and nowhere to display them. Anyone need a collection of dust catchers?

Alpine Bakery

Alpine Bakery

New for me this year will be just one thing. Find ways to move more. Just my body, not my house.  None of what I do involves a lot of movement. I’m also planning to try new things this year. Maybe connecting with more blogs that ask us to write something specific, and possibly take some classes to meet new people. I tend to be a hermit. One of those extroverted introverts. People scare the dickens out of me but we need each other.

People sharing ideas and good fun

People sharing ideas and good fun

Also new this year, we’ve had an unusual amount of snow already and extra cold temps. Looks like more is on the way. I won’t mind once the kid has his rental truck safely where it’s going. I don’t wish driving in this crazy weather on anyone.

Handmade by a quilting friend, this snow-mama came home with me.

Handmade by a quilting friend, this snow-mama came home with me.

It already feels like a very different year. In my bones different. Let’s hope it brings more good than not. So are you really expecting anything NEW about this New Year?

 

From my heart to yours,

Marlene Herself

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In Search of a Slower February

Another month gone! Where did it go? One moment I was looking at the beginning of it thinking of all the possibilities it had to offer, and the next breath I took left me stunned in wonderment. What the heck happened to all that time? I realize February is shorter than most but does it have to speed up? I won’t ask anyone who lives along the east coast or mid-west that question? They are probably ready to have February zip on out.

February calendar courtesy of my friend at in cahoots with muddy boots.

February calendar courtesy of my friend at in cahoots with muddy boots.

The weather went from this:

Winter in my Portland back yard.

Winter in my Portland back yard.

to this:

Another view of winter in my Portland back yard. Any questions?

Another view of winter in my Portland back yard. Any questions?

My son is fully ensconced in his tiny room where he works and sleeps. We squeezed real hard. I’ve had to compact my ample supply of stuff too. Fortunately, Tech support (my son) came with a bonus. Somehow, he ended up with the shelves that came out of my sewing room in Arizona. I didn’t much care for them in that small room but since they were available, may as well make use of them. So I sanded them and painted them white to disappear into the walls. I had plenty of leftover paint.

There is one valuable lesson I learned in this process. Even though I was outside, the dust from some of the sanding blew back at me and left me snizzeling, sneezing and coughing for several days. It hasn’t been pretty. But the two shelves that are already up are pretty…useful.

I did 4 of these. 2 longer than the other.

I did 4 of these. 2 longer than the other.

There is less clutter on my workspace and I’ve found things I had misplaced to keep it from getting lost. Go figure. My organization is so much better and will continue to do so as we get the other two shelves up and then build shelves for the closet. It’s been fun except for the snizzeling part.

Shelf on one side of sewing room ready to load up

Shelf on one side of sewing room ready to load up

Using wasted space and helps with insulation.

Using wasted space and helps with insulation.

2 more ready to put up. Want to drop by for tea? This is my living/dining room floor!

2 more ready to put up. Want to drop by for tea? This is my living/dining room floor!

We spent one day this week meeting with a fellow blogger from Portland. When I saw her photographs and all the places she had been, Tech Support and I had to meet and ask her as many questions about the hiking/riding trails and photography as possible over one meal. She has been blogging so much longer than I have and we had a delightful visit. Check out Conscious Engagement’s wonderful photographs here. She gifted me with a few in magnetic sleeves for the fridge.

These look wonderful on her blog.

These look wonderful on her blog.

Tech Support is eager to get on the trails as the scenery here draws one out the door. That’s as far as I want to go but he bought a bicycle to ride since Portland is such a bike friendly area with lots of trails. In the search for a bike, he made the acquaintance of this cute fellow that wandered into the bike shop and never left. The owners call him Shop Rag and he goes up to everyone and greets them hello. Checking for treats is my guess. I’ve never met such a friendly cat towards strangers.

T.S and Shop Rag in the bicycle shop the cat runs.

T.S and Shop Rag in the bicycle shop the cat runs.

Shop Rag really runs the bike shop and certainly owns that sunny strip of floor.

Shop Rag really runs the bike shop and certainly owns that sunny strip of floor.

That’s only part of the things that made this month fly by. I think we are all ready to say goodbye to winter. The wind is blowing cold today with a fooling sunny day. I’m certain in the months to come, I’ll wish for another taste of winter, but for now I’ll enjoy the new view.

I wish they were in my yard but they are a few houses up.

I wish they were in my yard but they are a few houses up.


first flowers of spring in back yard. I don't even know what they are called,

first flowers of spring in back yard. I don’t even know what they are called,


New buds on the Hydrangea. Hooray for spring

New buds on the Hydrangea. Hooray for spring

Did February fly for you or did it slog on at a snails pace?

From my heart to yours,
Marlene Herself

In Search of What I’ve Gained

Last week I lost my mind and discovered it had slipped away due to a short-term fever of unknown origin, caused by a vague and undetermined malady. After finally having the energy to get to the doctor, I gained his approval of my course of treatment. Liquids, rest and a sip of brandy every so often. Only a sip now, mind you.

I saw my mind peeking round corners blowing raspberries at me, taunting “catch me if you can.” I had to sneak up on it and it looks like I have a slightly better grip on it as of yesterday.

As I look back on the year behind, I count my blessings with deep gratitude. I gained the first home of my own. Nothing fancy, yet quite adequate in that it allows me to have space to share with those in transition. I’ve also gained the opportunity to look at my life differently.

An ornament from my ex-DIL. Still a sweety. Hers is the round one.

An ornament from my ex-DIL. Still a sweety. Hers is the round one.

The world that I thought was shrinking, became so large that even I’m astounded. So is my mail carrier, Mo. Thanks to Jackie at To Breathe is to Write and Pauline at The Contented Crafter, I’ve received cards, letters, and even gifts from all over the world. In my little area of Sleepy Hollow, Mo rarely sees these postmarks on cards and packages. We are both having fun. Thank you both, Pauline and Jackie for initiating such fun.

Yes, I live in Sleepy Hollow. Scary, isn't it?

Yes, I live in Sleepy Hollow. Scary, isn’t it?

These are the results. First, from the lovely Pauline’s own art studio several much coveted postcards and note cards that will be shared with good friends. I’m still going to get one of her original works of art for my wall soon.

Even a tiny Angel for the collector in me. The bookmark will be much used as I read several books at once

Even a tiny Angel for the collector in me. The bookmark will be much used as I read several books at once

There is a beautifully stitched bag from mommermom that had my daughter and I peering at every angle of this piece. I have never made anything as well stitched as this. I would love to take some lessons from her.

It's like a surprise package just waiting to be opened

It’s like a surprise package just waiting to be opened

The outside is like an envelope

The outside is like an envelope

A handmade card to go with the beautiful drawstring bag

A handmade card to go with the beautiful drawstring bag

A new friend I’m getting acquainted with courtesy of Pauline is Jem Arrowsmith who sent this lovely book and knit shawl. She wasn’t sure if I’d like the color. As you can see from the quilt I made behind it, it’s a color I would choose anytime and see everyday. The book was about her town. What a fascinating way to get to know someone! I looked around. There are no books on my little town but plenty on Portland. I’m finding other bloggers from this area as well.

I don't knit but wish I could when I see work like this. Stunning and lacy.

I don’t knit but wish I could when I see work like this. Stunning and lacy.

Gardening Nirvana has a new word this year. Connections. I had to point out that by first following her blog, then following her followers, I’ve made most of those connections. She has inadvertently been connecting people all along. Her talents are eclectic and here is just one small sample of it. I wish she lived closer as she is an organizer extraordinaire and that is my word for the year. Organize. It will be an ongoing project this year.

I couldn't decide what was the best part

I couldn’t decide what was the best part

hand made cards inside the card box

hand made cards inside the card box

She made this one herself as well to send the rest. A quilted card.

She made this one herself as well to send the rest. A quilted card.

The Eco-Grandma has moved this year as well. She’s been a little harder for me to follow as her moves included her blog as well as her home. I don’t get to visit as often as I’d like but hopefully with a little time, I’ll get more of her earth-wise advice. Another blogger with a huge heart who knows how to make a big statement with a little bit of thread.

The card held the perfect surprise. She couldn't have said it better.

The card held the perfect surprise. She couldn’t have said it better.

Just like most everyone this year, it’s been lose some and gain some. Pounds that is. The perpetual cycle. I’ve finally gained the understanding that I cannot diet. The deprivation sets me up for failure. So I’m trying a different tactic and I’ll let you know how it goes.

This year I’ve gained insights, books, information, and wonderful new friendships. The cards alone made my day. I’m an old school letter writer. With all the gifts and the vast amount of kindness I see in my world, there is no other choice but to pass it forward. I will share all the wonderful cards I’ve received with others and start making a few of my own creations to pass on as well.

Snail mail in addition to virtual is a great balance of old and new. These gifts though, were the kind that touched my heart. Thoughtfulness, kindness, and reasons to keep marching on. When you reach out, there is no limit to how your actions can affect others.

What have you gained that you’d like most to share?

From my heart to yours,
Marlene Herself

In Search of an Expression of Gratitude

I’ve been blogging for over two years now with a post only once a week at the most. Every once in a while, I think I’ve run out of things to write about. Then something special pops up. I’m an older woman, with limited ability to drive making my world smaller and smaller. That happens a lot to older people. So here is where my world becomes LARGE!

A sweet handmade card from Gardening Nirvana. Reminds me of butterfly wings.

A sweet handmade card from Gardening Nirvana. Reminds me of butterfly wings.

The blogging community has enlarged it in a way that I cannot even begin to express. How does one say thank you for the kindness and caring of those never physically met? Are there words LARGE enough to encompass a heart so full of gratitude?

Over the course of many months I have received many cards via snail mail from Alys at Gardening Nirvana that were so beautiful and hand crafted that they can’t be put out of sight. They remind me daily that I am not alone. Her work is detailed and thoughtful. She is always there with encouraging words and ideas. There are others who cheer me on while they continue with their own personal struggles.

There is so much heart in this card it's impossible to imagine.

There is so much heart in this card it’s impossible to imagine.

Handmade heart came in handmade envelope. I'm in love with the paper.

Handmade heart came in handmade envelope. I’m in love with the paper.

Little hearts punched out of matching paper sprinkled inside. I'm such a lucky girl.

Little hearts punched out of matching paper sprinkled inside. I’m such a lucky girl.

Today, I walked to the grocery for a few things for my quiet dinner. I stopped at my mailbox as I passed by with my groceries. Inside was that sweet slip of paper that said “you have a package.” Hmmm, I hadn’t ordered anything. Fortunately the complex office was still open so I could retrieve it. I don’t remember the stairs I walked up to my apartment as I carried that wonderful box.

I'm sure the mailman had a delightful day delivering this. Covered the addresses.

I’m sure the mailman had a delightful day delivering this. Covered the addresses.

I have taken photos of my gift from every angle. How does one say “Thank You” to someone for such exorbitant generosity? Especially someone you met through a Blog. I have always been a woman who loved words, but right now I’m without sufficient words to express my gratitude for a gift that is generous beyond measure. If you could package and sell this variety of human kindness and generosity, the world would be a much richer place.

This is just the lid!! It's so intricate. and full of detail.

This is just the lid!! It’s so intricate. and full of detail.

I have received Boomdeeadda in a can. It made me smile all the way through. I am now so inspired to start my paper crafting again that it’s hard to not pull it all out and begin. Alas, it must wait a few more weeks as I repackage it carefully for a three-mile move to my final home. Let’s hope address number 35 is the last one and that it actually comes to pass. I’m looking at this bucket with longing. My fingers are itching and my heart is full. I am ever so grateful for her thoughtfulness and for the entire blogging community that has made these difficult years incredibly manageable.

I thought I was going to have a party when I first removed the paper

I thought I was going to have a party when I first removed the paper

Fun in a bucket. Too much to describe!

Fun in a bucket. Too much to describe!

Snail mail still has great appeal

Snail mail still has great appeal

The aqua tissue seems hand decorated as well

The aqua tissue seems hand decorated as well

Have you found unique ways to express your gratitude? Are words enough?

At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.
~Albert Schweitzer

From my heart to yours,
Marlene Herself

In Search of Some Reins

In my search for community and a sense of belonging, I may have gone over the top just a bit. Does the phrase “all or nothing” ring any bells? I had to sit back and take a look when I couldn’t find the energy to write for the last two weeks. What the heck was I doing?

Writing class will start again in a few weeks and I have decided to give it another go as I made some good friends there and they challenge me. That is worth the time by itself.

When it comes to challenges, the last shirt I made was such a disaster, I was beginning to wonder if I’d slipped a cog in my brain. The solution to that question was to try another right away. This one went together almost effortlessly.

I liked this one a bit better.

I liked this one a bit better.

No butterfly on this one.

No butterfly on this one.

Not having enough to do, I decided to join a quilt group that meets close enough to walk if I didn’t have to carry my sewing machine and all the paraphernalia that goes with quilting. I found my way into their hearts by bringing a snack. They have decided to test my worthiness by sending me home with a bag of pre-cut strips to sew together for a small quilt top that will be quilted by someone else then later donated to foster children. I also was given a quilt to make the binding for, then sew it on to complete it. I enjoy the hand stitching part.

I didn't pick the strips, just sewed it together for later quilting.

I didn’t pick the strips, just sewed it together for later quilting.

The most fun part of that day was when my neighbor dropped by to donate some of her unwanted fabric. Parting with any is hard for quilters but this neighbor was not one so she dropped two sacks full on the table and we watched. It was like a pack of wolves circling a few scraps of meat. Though each took only what they could use, being very decisive about what they wanted.

I also joined a machine embroidery club hoping to learn some new techniques. I was quite disappointed that there was no embroidery being done that day and I had not been sent a supply list for what they were working on. Not exactly my cup of tea but somehow, the instructor pulled together enough supplies for me to join in. There were very few women there so I will give it a little more time then decide if it will be worth the long drive.

This is how it starts.

This is how it starts.

It's a gadget holder that fit into a coffee mug. Wasn't sure I would like it.

It’s a gadget holder that fit into a coffee mug. Wasn’t sure I would like it.

Not my cup of tea

Not my cup of tea

A few weeks ago I mentioned that I’m trying to relearn my first language, German. Rarely hearing it or using it has left many holes in my education, a reasonable vocabulary and no grammar. A new friend is meeting with me every few weeks, weather permitting and supplying me with text material. The price of these lessons is steep but so worth it. We meet at a local Starbucks and I buy her a latte for her trouble. She is already in my area to take French classes at the community college and already knows Spanish and is obviously fluent in German. I’m such a slacker.

I have SO much work to do here.

I have SO much work to do here.

I’m going to admit that my eyes are all that’s holding me back right now. I have a few good hours to get things done, then small print or stitches are impossible to see. Even the new glasses aren’t helping. So instead of continuing to expand my search for connecting to my community, I have to rein myself in a bit somehow. Is it even possible?

Do you have trouble keeping yourself reined in? I’m betting I’m not alone here. Go on, admit it. Are you, like me, circling those projects like a wolf licking your chops or are you pulling the covers over your head because it’s all just too much?

From my heart to yours,
Marlene Herself

In Search of a Happy Halloween

We don’t get trick or treaters here at the apartment complex. There are mostly elderly and college kids living here. An odd mix I’d say but the few children that live here go to churches or parks that have arranged entertainment for them. It’s a different world than when my kids were little. The mothers in our neighborhood walked together with the kids for safety and we knew our neighbors. I do imagine that is still true in many places.

My daughter made a great witch. Almost no movement until the kids got real close.

My daughter made a great witch. Almost no movement until the kids got real close.

Last year I decorated, hoping that a few stray children would find their way here. Now I know better. This year I put up the few decorations I have and had all but written Halloween off as a lost cause. It can happen as you age. Bummer.

web shooting squirt gun got the porch ready for Halloween

web shooting squirt gun got the porch ready for Halloween

Then comes the announcement in my writing groups. Our leader is a sugar junky too and looks for reasons to get us connected and having some fun while struggling to bring stories to paper. We are having a Halloween party in both creative writing and memoir classes so I have to bring some kind of treat both days. I’m off sugar again so it will be something relatively healthy. I’m not a kid anymore and the treats stay around way too long…on my hips. It will give a new twist to a day that has brought some tough times. I wrote about some of it in last year’s post. This week, I wrote about my most memorable Halloween for my memoir class. There weren’t many to choose from. I may post it as creative non-fiction after giving it some careful thought.

They are writers, really! Great imaginations.

They are writers, really! Great imaginations.

October 31 is also my two-year blogging anniversary. The reason for blogging was to connect with someone who could give me insight into why I still had Bells and how to get rid of it. Well, the Bells Palsy is still here but my reason for blogging has little to do with it. I am still on the search for the best way to move through life with as much fun and joy as possible in spite of the small hitch called Bells. I have learned so much from each person who reads my blog and those that I follow. I’m trying to read more because you are all so varied and wise in different ways. So this Halloween is the start of happy and different Halloweens. I’ve included pictures of my creative writing class party as we read, write and eat. What fun it was. Also a few of the Halloween at my son’s house two years ago. He has a great neighborhood for trick or treating.

They take their holiday seriously like their writing

They take their holiday seriously like their writing

I wish you all a very happy Halloween and a lack of extra girth to your mid-sections. Have your Halloween’s changed over the years?

We have a couple in their 90's all the way to the 30's An eclectic group

We have a couple in their 90’s all the way to the 30’s
An eclectic group

From my heart to yours
Marlene Herself