Looking for answers to life's questions

Posts tagged ‘friends’

A Different Thanksgiving

This is the first Thanksgiving I have spent at the home of my son and his wife in way too many years. We will also be celebrating his birthday while we are here on the mountain in Arizona. He’s still busy working though; even after knee replacement surgery. Obviously, it went very well.

It took a while to get here. First a day’s drive to Redding, CA. Hot, dry and windy we headed out the next morning for the San Fransisco Bay area to visit for a few hours with fellow blogger, Alys and family. We had a lovely dinner together with a lot of chatting. I was privileged to view her garden up close. I could be jealous but I am always grateful for all I learn from her. Getting there was no party though. It’s California traffic after all.

The next night was Bakersfield, CA. There was so much dust and pollutants in the air the it was in the unhealthful range. I did have the best Cobb salad I’ve ever had anywhere. Then a night in Flagstaff to get acclimated slowly to the altitude. Even with oxygen, it left me huffing and puffing as I still am where my son lives. Thanksgiving dinner will be another 1000 ft higher. I won’t need wine.

Right now, I’m very grateful we made it here for a unique celebration of gratitude with family and their friends. Only eight of us but lots of food and I hope friendly conversation. I’m making Watergate for a side dish/dessert. My son’s favorite German dinner is the order of the day for his birthday. I’ll be the chef of the day for that meal.

The day I found out escrow had closed and I had to go sign papers on my house, I was having a lovely soup and salad with my quilting friend, Patti. Her son lives close by with his partner in life. They were away so Patti had to check the mail and house while we were out. She had to show me how her son’s partner had already set the entire dining room for their version of Thanksgiving. She apparently has a flair for making things very festive as their dinner will be including several friends without family. I was in love with it so I took copious photos.

How will you do your Thanksgiving?

I wish you all things good and much for which to be grateful.

From my grateful heart to yours,

Marlene Herself

10 Halloweens

10 Year Anniversary Achievement

Happy Anniversary with WordPress.com!
You registered on WordPress.com 10 years ago.
Thanks for flying with us. Keep up the good blogging.

Definitely Autumn

Happy Halloween Everyone. I’m not doing Halloween at all this year.  Our decorations are all in storage as it looks like the house has sold and we are in the process of moving out. I don’t want to have as much leftover candy as last year. I’m still wearing it around my middle. The kids rarely come this far down the hill and the wind is wild out there. Halloween is another holiday that has fallen victim to Covid.

Coffin it up
My photos of that same house outside of the park

Just hanging out

Since I’m short on time this Halloween, I’ll let my friend and fellow blogger, Crystal entertain and scare you with photos she took on her way home from visiting me. We don’t get to visit often enough. This place on the main road must have access to a warehouse of decorations because the do it up big for every holiday.

Wicked fence

Tilted coffin

How has your celebrating changed this year?

From my heart to yours,

Marlene Herself

Missing

There is so much going on in my life these days that a lot of things are just not getting the top priority they deserve.  I’m befuddled, discombobulated and seriously distracted.

Sonar holding down the mouse. This photo from my son calms me.

Autumn came VERY early this year. Then summer made a momentary encore. It brought the stink bugs with it. I thought we had been exceptionally fortunate this year but just as my son arrived to help with some really hard jobs, the darn bugs showed up. The rain was kind. It let us get our outside jobs done and only rained when we had inside stuff to do.

This was the first of October!

The house is in escrow. Inspection has been completed and appraisal today. We were asked to put in a new hot water heater even though it worked just fine for a 16-year-old tank. All the smoke detectors were too old so up the ladder he went five times. We worked together to get stuff shifted in storage while we had the help.

Finally done with the current shift of 2 households

The real muscle behind the job.

My son trudged on for over four days to get done in time to get home for knee replacement surgery on Nov 4. Yes, he really loves his mother. It was two 12-hour days driving each way to be so overworked. We did fill up the Suburban with things I will never use again to send home with him.

Extra points since nothing rattled on the way home.

You never know how much you miss things until they are locked away. I’m missing my library, tubs of fabric, dressers and even my hair dryer that I rarely use. I’m going to miss my ice-maker in the freezer A terribly decadent luxury. The repairman for the ice-maker came 3 times before he admitted the dispenser would not work again. Packing time was put on hold while he muttered under his breath at the **** machine

I miss time to sew which is on my list daily and never crossed off the list.

I hadn’t had the brain bandwidth to write a post so we go back to the old phrase ‘of all the things I’ve lost, I miss my mind the most.” The charger for my watch has gone missing with all the shuffling of stuff. Poof! Into thin air.

I miss my routine. Nothing is routine anymore. I make a plan for the day and before the first cuppa is finished, it goes in the bucket.

Taking mom shopping. I forgot a cane so holding on tight.

Plans?? It’s impossible to make any because we don’t know if or when escrow will close with great certainty. Partway through the process, the second potential buyer decided the loan percentage rate was not to their liking and started again. Delays mean a later start to our trip running us deeper into winter months. Hopefully that means we will miss the crowds in the places we are going to visit. My birthplace being first is never crowded.

Basically a one street town.

I missed seeing my sewing friends too. Emily has already moved to Independent Living but managed to come visit a couple of times. Patti called to offer help and take me to lunch. We poured old wine down the drain together. A good day all the way around. I’m going to miss that too for a while.

Most of all, I miss being here and popping in to see you regularly. Let’s hope that changes soon.

Do you have anything you find you miss when it’s out of reach?

We ourselves feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean. But the ocean would be less because of that missing drop. ~ Mother Teresa

From my heart to yours,

Marlene Herself

Breakfast on the Go

As I’ve said, I walk very early in the morning; just before daybreak in the summer months is best. Air quality has become another qualification to the time and day I walk. I also walk best on an empty stomach. Somehow, digesting breakfast of any nature slows me down so I wait until I get home for food and coffee. I know many of you have to have coffee before anything. I prefer my coffee with company so I wait until I turn on the laptop.

Yes, I still have to drink my coffee through a straw.

August has its own supply of breakfast on the go. As I’m rounding the next to last turn on my downhill trek to home, there are bramble bushes that are laden with ripening blackberries. I found I could have a few on my way back to the house and feel quite satiated. Some are quite sweet and some – not so much. They are free, organic and have lots of microbes for a healthy gut. A perfect meal. I don’t stop long but it feels so good to eat fresh from the bushes. Someone from the park cut them way back the other day. I’m struggling to reach high enough now to feed myself.  I’m still looking for the donut tree.

I’ve been trying again to grow a tiny bit of a garden in a raised bed. The cucumbers were prolific in the short run they had but something has had its way with most of my tomatoes. I’ll keep hoping to get a few more this summer. Most of what I grow is for the bees and birds anyway.

There is one less thing growing in the back yard right now. A very determined tree that was unfortunately left in a very bad spot. It began to push the terrace retaining wall forward probably as soon as it was erected long before my time in this home. I loved the tree even though I worried at each storm if it would come down on the shed or house. When park maintenance looked at it after the ice storm, they determined it had to go. I posted the photos back in February of it leaning over the shed. Watching the crew that was hired to take it down last week left me drained and relieved. It’s hard to lose any tree.

­I recently received a surprise gift from a special gardening friend and was inspired to create a fresh new fairy garden from it. We are big fans of fairies and the little garden had me looking up the proper spelling of the word. What a surprise I got thinking it was just a difference in spelling.

http://www.differencebetween.net/language/words-language/difference-between-fairy-and-faerie/

It’s been quite blistering out on many days so I’ve been able to hide the little garden in shadier spots to keep it from burning. I do that for myself as well.

The glory of gardening: hands in the dirt, head in the sun, heart with nature. To nurture a garden is to feed not just the body, but the soul. ~Alfred Austin

Are you a breakfast person and would you share it with the fairies?

From my heart to yours,

Marlene Herself

What’s Missing

My first thought when I read this prompt was the old phrase “of all the things I’ve lost, I miss my mind the most.” ~ Mark Twain

I looked at my daughter and asked if I was missing anything in my life. Her reply took seconds. I miss my original language.

Missing something implies possible regret. Missed opportunities. I think my life unfolded exactly as it should. I have had a world of experiences and two children that grew into honest, honorable and kind adults. What more could I ask for?

It seems I’ve been talking about fully learning the language of my birth more than I realized. I have even started looking at YouTube classes to refresh my memory. Was it even worth the bother at my age? What are the chances I’ll ever get back there?

Still living in Germany Age 4

I left Germany at 4 ½ years of age, starting kindergarten in Kansas City. We moved twice the next year, then went back to Germany for three more years. I attended a base school that included a class on German language to help the kids that had never been there. My playmates were mostly the German neighbors. They didn’t taunt me even though my German was not up to standards even to them.

Kindergarten photo. The top knot brought lots of taunts.

While we originally lived in Germany, my dad, with the US army, spoke to me in English and I answered in German. We understood each other. Once we landed in the US my mother ‘earned’ her citizenship with study and testing. She stated to me that this was where we lived now, this is where our money came from and this was the only language we would speak. I was only to hear words in German if she did not know I was in range. They were usually muttered to herself, never outside our home. At that time in history, we were not well received here.

I traveled to Germany twice with my mother after their retirement. The first time was on a group tour with other military couples when my dad’ decided it was too much for him. Mom needed company. We were with Americans and that was primarily what was spoken on that trip.

Me and mom’s online friends. They spoke NO English.

The second time we went alone on her last trip, to all the places she had been with my dad and to visit some new online friends. Mom was struggling with pulmonary fibrosis and the trip was grueling. We rented a car and I did all the driving trying to understand road signs and rules. Mom had forgotten most of her German but I seem to find mine out of sheer need. Each occasion requiring information brought up words from the deep dark reaches of my mind. Mom would look at me and ask how I knew those words. I could only shrug and marvel at their appearance with gratitude.

In the city of my birth, mom found old friends that remembered her.

 

The building where my grandparents last lived. Arm swollen from lack of oxygen.

I think that brought on the desire to relearn what I had lost and build on it. I used to think in German and translate to English. Now I think in English and work very hard to translate to German. I’m not certain I’ll get the level of mastery where I can converse fluently but it would be so nice to go there, immerse myself for a few months and then once again, dream in my first language.

Do you feel there is anything still missing in your life? How would you go about finding it?

From my heart to yours,

Marlene Herself

 

Suzy Q an Update

My sister has never, ever been conventional or ordinary. Around 16 or 17 she left home for good without finishing school. They kicked her out. She was seen kissing another girl. Back in the early 70’s, that did not fit in anyone’s box of okay.

The end result was she left home because the reception to that was less kind than what the school handed down. She left with a friend and joined a traveling carnival. Who does that kind of thing? Really? Only my sister, who I love with all my heart. I was out of the country during that time so I was unaware of how her life was falling apart. Somehow, she keeps landing on her feet.

She has been living with friends the last few years. That  has allowed her to have a menagerie of dogs around to spoil. Only one is hers, the rest belong to her friends. All the dogs sleep with my sister and depend on her for their meals.

Feeding the dogs. Notice the only one with a leash is my sister’s green tether to the oxygen in the other room.

We were treated as well as the dogs this Thanksgiving. Suzy Q made the small turkey and potatoes, etc. We brought pies and rolls. She had to watch her intake to keep her weight in check. It turned out to be very important.

December 2, I received a text from my sister at 3:45 a.m. She had just received a call to go to San Francisco. The domino effect was in play. We waited and waited. Finally, the medical airbus was scheduled for 11:00 a.m. Then, there was more waiting. Finally, a text that she was in S.F. at the UCSF hospital. Then a lot more waiting. Surgery took the entire night and into the next morning. Twelve hours of waiting and praying. We also prayed for the donor of those precious lungs and the family.

Another new adventure on a medical airbus. Oxygen onboard

Now my sister has new lungs to take a fresh new breath of life. We wait to see if they get along with each other. There will be three months of healing before she can go back home. Her good friend, a retired nurse is with her for the duration.

Finally awake and looking good.

How do you repay someone who gives up three months of their life to help save your sister’s life? How do you let the donor’s family know how much the gift has meant?

Breathing on her own with gifted lungs

We have had some sleep deprived nights and filled in with a nap to keep functioning around here. There will be a new normal for this Christmas season. My sister received the gift of life and is now on a new adventure. I am certain she will make this adventure exciting as has been her entire existence. The staff apparently commented that she was the strongest lung transplant patient they have ever had.

Thank you for bearing with my being so distracted. The year 2020 had a lot that was hard to deal with but as far as I can see, there has been a great deal to be grateful for as well. Has it been a mixed bag for you also?

From my heart to yours,

Marlene Herself

 

 

ISO Intelligent Conversation

I’m letting it all hang out here today. I’m normally an optimistic person but this Covid crap has been pushing my optimism to its last edge. Thank goodness for my monthly therapy appointment. This wonderful woman gets paid a little bit to help me live a full life as I face my mortality. I can’t afford to slide into the well of hopelessness.

It starts out with white blooms and by summers end they are purple.

The first thing I did was bring her a present to make her laugh. It worked. She has the best laugh I’ve ever heard and it makes me so happy to make someone laugh. She got the joke and her laugh filled the near empty building. I ordered this after the TP crisis.

I brought her one roll of this.

After that I unloaded my bag of frustrations.

I’ve been locked away far too long for this extroverted introvert. I love people and there have been so few around during this sheltering in place isolation. I struggled to make myself write, sew, garden or much of anything. Turns out it’s not the best time to be on a rigid diet either.

Book one of this series. I’ve read through book four. I can’t put them down.

I did finish four cozy mysteries in two weeks time.  Doc said many of her clients were feeling the same. I explained that one of my friends had become so lonely she was talking to Alexa on a daily basis. She would ask Alexa questions and wait for answers. Quite the learning experience. I don’t have an Alexa so we came up with other ideas to help me snap out of my funk.

Can anyone tell me what I’m growing here?

First, she had me mask and glove up and head for the bookstore. My daughter freaked out at the idea. I took all possible precautions.  The mall and bookstore echoed hollow. So few were there. Walking it helped anyway. Then it was suggested I write a post about it as so many others were struggling with this as well. Another block overcome.  Though my daughter is living with me, she’s a hermit so I’m still mostly alone.

I have been In Search Of so many things on my blog. Finding people that I can talk to about the bigger picture in life is at the top of my list. Without outside relationships, we can lose inspiration and feedback. I have acquaintances I can talk about some things but not have those deeper more serious conversations.

My daughter finished this. Her philosophy.

Good conversations were hard to find before we were in lockdown, now they are even more difficult. How many people are excited to talk about quantum physics or secular spirituality?

Love in the mist playing with the oregano and thyme.

I have a new 25 year old neighbor renting the place next door from her uncle. She’s still in college to become a practicing behavioral therapist for autistic children. I’ve warned her she will be asked a zillion questions and she’s willing to answer in exchange for gardening tips. It’s a start and I am willing to learn from others while I share over the fence what I’ve learned in life. I keep walking the neighborhood and talking to anyone in hopes of expanding my bubble about life.

My wonky Dogwood bloomed later than all the rest in the neighborhood.

Are you finding intelligent, inspiring conversations while still isolating in place?

From my heart to yours,

Marlene Herself

 

 

Walking Backward

We ended  another month! How does that happen and why am I  always surprised? We are all sheltering from something we can’t see so our activities are limited.

Deep purple Lily on my walk

My walks were getting a bit routine. I usually start up the hill, go around the first left corner and text my quilting friend that I’m on her street. Since she is being extra cautious, she comes out on her front porch to wave and say good morning. We have a little conversation the whole neighborhood can hear from six feet apart and she sometimes shares what she’s been quilting. It’s more fun when you can show your work to someone that appreciates it. I get there early in the mornings. (For her)

Then I walk up another steep hill and finally start down again. I decided yesterday to go the other way since I’d left even earlier and stop at Emily’s last. Maybe she’d be awake when I got there. Changing my routine had me noticing things I had not seen going the other way. I think that applies to life in general. If we keep doing things the way we have always done them, nothing changes. Going backward changed my perspective on the neighborhood. Now I am carrying that idea into other areas of life to see what I can shake loose.

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Today I finally finished the leftover quilt and the binding is attached to the front. I’ll hand stitch it to the back while I watch TV or listen to Ted talks or YouTube. I already have a project halfway done that I can’t show yet until all of our group are ready to share. I’ve also turned over the two charity quilt tops I finished first. Emily gave them to me already cut out. I did make some changes in the fabric since some went missing. It happens.

I’ve learned how to use Zoom to connect with our PF support group and wave at my sister at her house. We have learned to zoom together since we can’t get together. So many are using all kinds of media to connect. It feels a little backwards too. They kept telling us before to stay off the social media and spend more time in personal contact.

Metal sculpture puppy

While I Zoom, I do what I always do when listening a long time without speaking, I work on my embroidery. I did a lot of this at PF group so I don’t fidget. Embroidery keeps me focused on what I’m hearing rather than what’s playing in my head.

slow work in progress

#6 Hoping to start #7 soon.

The weather dried up enough to get a lot of weed pulling done. I filled the green waste can up and my daughter took it off the hill for me. It gets composted by the city and I’ve worked until everything hurts and yard looks almost nice again. As the rain comes to an end here, my list of outside chores goes up.

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I’ll be posting less in the summer due to other demands. You really don’t want to see the list. Bored is not in my vocabulary. In a given day I go from one thing to the other until sleep claims me. I spend my sleep hours thinking up more things that need to be done.

I am…enjoying the moments

Do you like to change up your routine to gain new perspective on old habits?

From my heart to yours,

Marlene Herself

A Roll

It’s been a while since I’ve done any creative work. First one must dig out and put order into the space where creativity happens. There has been no shortage of projects placed in my hands in the last two months or more.

It was clean yesterday

First, here is one I finished for Christmas and forgot to photograph. My son and his wife really want to live at the beach so I made this panel up for them. They have no wall space left so it hangs in front of his desk.

Seating for two at the beach. I think it needs pressing from the shipping.

Many of us have found projects we no longer chose to do so the reasonable thing is to pass them on to someone who is more inclined to finish them. I have  fabric that I’m going to pass on to a quilting acquaintance who does quilts for Veterans. I like the word ‘finish’ and hoping that’s the word for our winter as well.

Another quilting friend gave me two sets of embroidered donkeys. Her heart was a little broken looking at them as her granddaughter thinks quilts are for old people and didn’t want one for her  baby boy. The joy of making something for her great-grandson was lost. So I will do my best to complete it and find someone that will cherish it. I did make a mistake right away by letting myself get distracted when trimming them down. They are going to be much smaller now than I originally thought.

At our last gathering for hand sewing, Emily had each of us reach into a paper bag and pull out a 5” charm pack to make something from. A couple of us are not very creative on our own so Emily brought me a pattern to use and walked me through the first part. The wonky stars have turned out to be quite the challenge for me. Emily eventually remembered how they were done and will take me through it this week.

I also finished five embroidered aprons out of seven in the last year or so and am starting on the last two. I’m also hand sewing  the binding on a quilt top Emily didn’t want to finish. I put on the border, batting and back then quilted it before machine stitching the binding on to one side. Now I have simple handwork for our groups gathering.

My son uses the phrase “an object in motion stays in motion” often. Let’s hope this object stays in motion once on a roll.  It will be a slow roll.

“Creativity takes courage.” –Henri Matisse–

Are you finding new momentum to roll with in this new year?

From my heart to yours,

Marlene Herself

My Latest Adventure

In the middle of last week, fully (almost) recovered from my birthday blowout and some intense yard overhauling, I had a chance to do something I’ve only had the opportunity to do a few times before. I met a former blogger, Jan, from https://mommermom.wordpress.com/. She is no longer blogging but we have kept in touch through email and snail mail. I received a card several weeks ago that she had a little time before her flight from Portland airport and would I be available to meet? So, of course, I rearranged an appointment to go meet her in person. She was with a friend from college meeting other friends from college so it was lively conversation.

Satiated with lunch at Beaches

We had a lovely lunch and of course, we all had lots of questions. Jan no longer has a reliable computer and felt blogging was taking too much precious time from her large family. We all know how that is with more commitments than time.

Lunch was good, conversation was better.

Jan’s friend is a retired librarian and asked why I blog. I explained why I started blogging when I became so ill that I could do little else than read or write. No television, no sewing, no driving and barely being able to ride or walk without tipping over were a fact of life for well over two years. The more I thought about it the more I realized I didn’t fully answer that question. Why do I still blog when it crosses my mind like so many other’s whose posts I enjoyed, to give it up?

My birthday t-shirt. So very true

The simple answer is in the last line of the September t-shirt I wear. I have a mouth I can’t control. I’m a blabbermouth, a storyteller, a communicator. I love to converse and I will tell you about myself to get you to tell me about you. There is a level of trust involved here and I’ve never been let down and work hard at not letting anyone else down.

Thank you, Jan.

I don’t have time to blog. I also need this community more than it needs me. As I’ve healed from one profound illness and face another, bloggers have helped sustain a positive focus. Giving this up is like cutting a main artery. Friends I have made here will always be friends in my heart. The people I meet virtually all have good hearts and are trustworthy. Getting to meet them in person is an extra bonus. So, thank you Jan, for including me in your visit to the area. You and your friend were a delight to spend time with and I felt like we had know each other for years.

Asters in full bloom

Have you had chances to meet fellow bloggers? How was your experience of it?

From my heart to yours,
Marlene Herself