Looking for answers to life's questions

Posts tagged ‘food’

Speed

Have you noticed that the months of November and December go faster than any month of the year? It’s like these two months are on speed and I’m on molasses. The month between Thanksgiving and Christmas always finds me totally unprepared and way behind schedule.

Set myself up an assembly line in the den so I can watch Christmas movies while I work.

We know it’s coming with 12 months notice. It comes the same time every year and each year I’m behind in my list of things to get done. I’ve even shortened the list to a minute fraction of what it once was.

Someone apparently likes pink. Not my favorite..

Sleep doesn’t come easily when your mind is letting you know all night what’s left to be done before mailing is no longer possible. Since I make most my gifts from what I have available, my creativity has to work overtime as well.

 

Many days are taken up with fun things. Last weekend I went to the Hazelnut Festival in Mt. Angel, Oregon with my blogging friend Crystal, at Conscious Engagement.  There are better photos on her blog. She did the driving, I bought lunch. Santa was on the porch calling us to dine.

Having a chat with Santa

It’s less than an hour away from my house and two from Crystal’s. It turned into a beautiful day but quite chilly. They were wise enough to hold it in a large hall out of the elements. I bought a lovely hazelnut cake made by the Benedictine Sisters to share over the holidays. There was Chocolate hazelnut handmade pasta to make as a dessert. I can’t wait to try it. Hazelnut butter and so many things made with them I had a hard time leaving it all behind.

I’m dancing to the music

Next week will be full as well. Sewing group will have their all day (5 hrs) gathering to share our finished projects and our gifts for each other. Mine are ready for the bows.

Each one is a little different. For quilting friends.

Even the Pulmonary Fibrosis support group my sister, daughter and I attend will have their monthly gathering at a restaurant downtown. Thank goodness my daughter is a wonderful chauffeur. The drinks (if we imbibe) will be on us but the nibbles are gifted by the foundation. The chauffeur never imbibes and drives. I taught her well.

My first visit with Santa in over 30 years.

This holiday is once again going to be quite different from others. I’ve been gifting from my collections and making lots of bowl cozies for family members to give as their gifts to friends. Since they already have theirs, the making of these others will be my gift to them. I’m slower these days but finding a rhythm.

6 cozies made for my sister so far. She gives them as gifts

Today will be baking day. A favorite for both my daughter and me. We usually spend Saturday’s together and baking in my better-appointed kitchen than she has is fun and tasty. I can only say, I wish you were here. Now it’s time to start our breakfast.

Beginning of baking

How are you doing with timing?

 

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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A Beach Weekend

I complained previously, gently of course, about not having any vacation. Big problem for a woman with no job and every day is Saturday. With the busy summer, I was looking for a small change in scenery.  I finally got it.

Mid September, my daughter took an extra couple of days off work to take her car in for some extensive repairs in my little town and to take us both to the beach using my boat car.

Cannon Beach was our first stop. It rained the entire way there and most of the day. Very uptown shops for the most part and we sampled flavored vinegars and oils. Lunch was nothing worth repeating, ever. Our highlight there was the wonderful little quilt shop with the nicest ladies. My non-quilting daughter enjoyed it too. I didn’t buy much, really! Of course we found some fuzzy friends waiting out the rain.

Wet all the way and most of the day.

Wet all the way and most of the day.

She was wet and tired of the rain too.

She was wet and tired of the rain too.

Little sister was hoping for a warm spot in the book store

Little sister was hoping for a warm spot in the book store

We booked an inexpensive room with 2 beds and a kitchenette. There was no such thing in Cannon Beach so we spent our 2 nights in neighboring Seaside Beach. They are like night and day. Our motel was not fancy but fortunately, had a separate alcove for the second bed with a door. Daughter could sleep late and I could be up early having my coffee in bed reading. Perfect.

We were on the bottom floor, 4 windows in. Great access

We were on the bottom floor, 4 windows in. Great access

The Ebb Tide was the least expensive place I could find with a vacancy so my expectations were low. I was pleasantly surprised. Everything was clean and fresh. And as a warning, when the hotel says “climate controlled” they mean that in the most literal of terms. The fireplace didn’t work but we didn’t need it. I figured out how to crack the window for air during the night. They provided a fan. How much time do you spend in a room?

Seaside was a whole different feel. Because it’s more affordable, more families and young people are there crawling all the souvenir shops. We did talk to some nice shop owners. One recommendation for dinner was as disappointing as the meal in Cannon Beach. Another shop owner who was passing out free chocolate like I had room for it recommended a place for lunch or dinner the next day in a small town called Gearhart, 6 miles up the road. She said not to blink or we would miss the town.

We set the GPS and found the sweetest place and the best food. Fortunately it was Sunday and by the time we got there, the bakery portion was closing. Whew! Service at the restaurant part was excellent and the food tasty. My kind of town.

Gearhart's Pacific Bakery/Cafe

Gearhart’s Pacific Bakery/Cafe

Poppies at the Paradise Cafe

Poppies at the Paradise Cafe

The next morning we checked out and made our way to Astoria which was not more than 30 minutes away. It was also on the way home.

We passed a chain restaurant that we had eaten breakfast in once and were not that fond of,  in favor of a hole in the wall place called Stephanie’s Cabin. It looked like a tavern but the car was going that way and I was the passenger. Oh, my goodness, what a surprise! They spent nothing on ambiance and everything on the cook. It was perfect, priced right and I let them know.  Then we finally found the quilt store in a hard to get to spot. Small, but nice people and I found gifts for my quilting friends.

Did I mention anywhere actually sitting on the beach and stuffing my toes in the sand? We took our books and just soaked it up. Seaside had the best beach access.  Sand feels so good between the toes. One of life’s greatest pleasures.

Sandy feet on the towel.

Sandy feet on the towel.

Diversity in beach housing

Diversity in beach housing

There was a little meditation time, a few photos and time to talk about things like how we want to reshape our lives. Nothing major. Isn’t that what you do on a weekend at the beach? Where do you go for a quick change of scenery?

 

change-the-scenery-of-your-life

From my heart to your,

Marlene Herself

 

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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 a Second Look

Last weekend was my daughter’s birthday. We really like to celebrate. Our family sees each day as a gift and the more birthdays you have, the luckier you are. No one here lies about their age. We are grateful to have reached each and every one.

A birthday favorite. Thank goodness there were 4 of us to eat it.

A birthday favorite. Thank goodness there were 4 of us to eat it.

My daughter and I had made the trip to Leavenworth, Washington several years ago. We stayed in a room over the bookstore that time. You know how I love bookstores. This time we stayed in a regular motel/hotel that had a townhouse layout with enough beds to sleep all 4 of at a lower cost than the regular room rates. It’s a five hour drive each way and one way is easier on the nervous system than the other. I’m very uncomfortable in bumper to bumper highway traffic on a Sunday afternoon.

See, here's the sign. I can just smell the books in this little independent store.

See, here’s the sign. I can just smell the books in this little independent store.

Anyone for coffee and sweets first thing in the morning?

Anyone for coffee and sweets first thing in the morning?

This particular weekend was their “Taste of Leavenworth” event. Its pear country and my son bought us coupons to sample the wares of many of the shops that had everything from pear cheese to pear wine and strudel, though not all at the same time.

Bookstore is upstairs and around the other size of the building

Bookstore is upstairs and around the other size of the building

This little community worked hard to save their town. After seeing the town of Solvang, CA, the city council decided that might work to keep their town thriving and made the change in 1962. I loved Solvang too. Both towns have the flavor of old world Europe.

Everything here has a Bavarian flair to it. The green tall trees and the cascading mountains are very reminiscent of the areas in Germany I remember so well, giving me a bit of that “I’m home” feeling. Just my cup of tea or the beer I’d prefer. Even the sushi restaurant and the creperie look Bavarian on the outside. That made me laugh. I found the quilt shop again with so much eye candy that I was staggering out the door. The gingerbread cookies were saved from the bakery till later.

I looked at the town with slightly different eyes this time. Taking photos this time made me think about what others would see were they to want to visit. I took a bit more time to notice things like the clearness of the air.

They do Christmas here in a big way with an entire Christmas store and a Nutcracker Museum. Good Morning America and HGTV have both featured this town. I’m not fond of traveling in the snowy winters anymore so spring is the perfect time for me. The pear blossoms were in full bloom everywhere but we drove by so fast, only my son caught this.

There were fields of these.

There were fields of these.

First thing in the morning the streets were quiet but the smells wafting out of the bakeries and coffee shops was heavenly. The air was crystal clear and Sunday morning we saw fresh snow on the mountains. Everyone is behind on their moisture levels so snow was welcome on the Cascades.

The clouds played with us all morning. They were beautiful.

The clouds played with us all morning. They were beautiful.

My diet is postponed till after next week. I’ll be away again on a quilting retreat and food will be prepared for us. Can we all say woohoo! It’s sad when you are so busy with life you don’t have time to write about it. Well, maybe not.

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Have you ever looked at somewhere differently the second time you saw it?

From my heart to yours,
Marlene Herself

In Search of a New Event

Portland Oregon is a wonderful little city. I have been trying to move up here since the mid 1990’s. It wasn’t easy but after several false attempts, as of almost 3 years ago, I’m a permanent weird Portlander.

Last weekend Word Press offered their first ever workshop called Press Publish in downtown Portland. That’s part of why I love this place. Wondrous things happen here. My friend Sabine at “In Cahoots with Muddy Boots” gave me the heads up before I read my e-mail. She wanted to know if I’d like to go with her. We decided to take the MAX for a cheap public transport ride, stopping just a couple blocks from the event.

Great bag for our goodies

Great bag for our goodies

I must say, and Sabine did, that for a fledgling event, this one was extremely well-organized. The speakers were marvelous, informative and extremely entertaining. You know how most of those things have you looking for coffee to keep your eyes open? Well this one didn’t even though there was coffee (and snacks) at every corner. The staff was cheerful, and right on the spot to help with any questions. Did I get my money’s worth? Yes, and then some. I met new bloggers like Susie at nutshellversion and found out how to do things I’ve been struggling with in the technical area from the Happiness Engineers.

Our panel of bloggers/authors

Our panel of bloggers/authors

One of my favorite speakers and people there was Cecilia Gunther at the kitchens garden. She is a transplant from New Zealand to the Midwest. She runs an organic farm and photographs all of the events there. Cecilia has a strong following that she calls the fellowship and together, they wrote a book. Yes, I bought it and she autographed it. I adore her kind and inclusive nature. I’m reading it one story at a time.

Stories from women about women

Stories from women about women

Another speaker that I was quite fond of was Mary Laura Philpott at I miss you when I blink. You can also see some of what she had to say at the Press Publish event here. What a sense of humor. She has a funny little book coming out and I will have to order it. You can take a look at her information on the book here.

photo captured from her blog and pinned to Pinterest.

photo captured from her blog and pinned to Pinterest.

I must say the food was so much more than I could have anticipated. I brought nuts and a protein bar expecting the worst. I left waddling slightly. And everyone just kept smiling. The genuine warmth matched what I found online. Would I go again if offered? In a heartbeat. The next one will be in Phoenix. If you are in that area, please plan to attend. I’m not easily impressed. Word Press impressed me.

The worst thing I could say about lunch was that it was LOUD.

The worst thing I could say about lunch was that it was LOUD.

Their team of Happiness Engineers did have to ask me if this was really my last name.

Of course it's not really my last name but I kind of like it.

Of course it’s not really my last name but I kind of like it.

Do you feel like where you live is the best place in the world? What makes it that way? Have you learned something new recently?

From my heart to yours,
Marlene Herself

In Search of a Break

It’s been hairy, hectic, and heavy. We’ve had a long week of shifting, shoving and shimmying stuff around.

The pods arrived and so did my former (ex) daughter-in-law. She worked like a trooper in helping my son and I build shelving in the storage unit. When he bought the shelves, I shook my head and shrugged, thinking this man is not playing with a full deck. No, I didn’t say it out loud. I just couldn’t see the picture he had in my own mind.

Just like a tinker toy, The beginning looks nothing like shelving

Just like a tinker toy, The beginning looks nothing like shelving

Once they were together, I had to admire his foresight. My stored stuff was placed on the first set of shelves moving from another location to this one closer to home. Then we had to make quick work to empty the first pod so they could deliver the second. The first one held all the heavy stuff like tools. The rest of the week was so exhausting that we all ate many of our meals out, showered and fell in our beds. Trying to squeeze five bedrooms, 3 baths, a 2 car garage and a shed’s worth of stuff into one bedroom and a 12 by 25 storage building along with my storage building worth of stuff was an exercise in mental hydraulics.

This is all my Christmas and crafts plus more sewing. If I ever get done moving it, I can use it.

This is all my Christmas and crafts plus more sewing. If I ever get done moving it, I can use it.

When the last pod was emptied, we celebrated. My living, dining, sewing room, and kitchen are NOT celebrating. It looks like I just moved in all over again. Next week we will make it better.

One pod empty, one to go and there is still lots of room in here

One pod empty, one to go and there is still lots of room in here

Needing a break, the rest of the time my DIL was here, we wanted to show her some of Portland.

Where do we take visitors who come to our town? Well, my son had to take her to Multnomah Falls. He has photographed it every time he visited here.

One of my favorite of his photos of Multnomah Falls

One of my favorite of his photos of Multnomah Falls

Then of course there is the infamous “Powell’s City of Books”. They spent well over two hours there. I spent a great deal of it in the café watching Portland walk by, buying NO books this time. There is no time to read what I have so more will have to wait. Since they sell new and used, the kids came out with a few, mostly my son. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree when it comes to collecting books.

Don't let the small appearance fool you. You need a map inside as it fills a whole city block

Don’t let the small appearance fool you. You need a map inside as it fills a whole city block

It goes on and on and on

It goes on and on and on

Then my sister met us for a tour of the Pittock Mansion grounds since the Mansion itself was closed for the winter. The view was breathtaking. I mostly enjoyed petting the dogs everyone brought.

My son managed to capture the mansion with no one in front of it.

My son managed to capture the mansion with no one in front of it.

only part of the breath taking view.

only part of the breath taking view.

One of the highlights of our town is that we live in close proximity to Bob’s Red Mill. They ship to stores all over the country and have started serving 3 meals a day. I love having breakfast there so we did. My son found the best ginger cookies I’ve ever eaten.

We timed it just right as they are always busy. They have outdoor seating for those that want to dine with their dogs.

We timed it just right as they are always busy. They have outdoor seating for those that want to dine with their dogs.

You can't miss it driving by.

You can’t miss it driving by.

Row after row of organic everything. They will even teach you how to use it.

Row after row of organic everything. They will even teach you how to use it.

For me a town is a lot about the food and Portland does not disappoint. Since we were in such a jumble anyway, we tried several of the restaurants. The Ram makes the best French fries in the world. I should know, I’ve eaten them everywhere. We stopped by the German deli, Edelweiss, for stuff my DIL needed to bake the German cookies I gave her the recipe for.

One of 4 Gustav's/Rhrinlander's in the Portland area, this one is very close to home

One of 4 Gustav’s/Rhrinlander’s in the Portland area, this one is very close to home

Then to cap off her visit, we had linner (combination lunch and dinner) at Gustav’s German restaurant. She tried the beer sampler with dinner and we all enjoyed the pretzel and cheese fondue. My son, I don’t know where he come from, had a hamburger, while my DIL and I enjoyed more traditional fare. It was LUSCIOUS! I took home a bowl of their lentil soup to see if I can figure out how they make it. Better than mine any day of the week. Of course, my son disagrees. The spaetzle was extra good with a Madeira sauce on them. Mom always used a meat gravy that we loved.

We had a cozier spot.

We had a cozier spot.

We arrived home to pick up the mail at the box up the street from the house. There were stacks of mail for my son and my sister. I had one piece. Just one, and it was happy mail! The Snail of Happiness, who was inspired to do so by The Contented Crafter, sent me snail mail. A happy package filled with her creativeness. We all admired her handiwork. How lucky am I!! Bloggers are wonderful people.

A bouquet of knit roses in wonderful colors

A bouquet of knit roses in wonderful colors


A tiny paper rose was hidden inside, all was placed in star studded organza bag

A tiny paper rose was hidden inside, all was placed in star studded organza bag

The vase of the roses in a perfect shade of blue.

The vase of the roses in a perfect shade of blue.

Now I’m inspired to finish a few projects of my own…as soon as I unearth the sewing room, again.

That’s what I do when I need a break.

At what point do you need a break and how do you go about getting one?

From my heart to yours,
Marlene Herself